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Meet Me @ The Altar have just released their new single ‘Kool’ from their upcoming debut album, Past // Present // Future, set to drop March 10 via Fueled By Ramen. The band has described the track as the “love child of everything [they’re] into musically”. “There’s rock’n’roll guitars, heavy drums, and a crazy, catchy, pop-inspired vocal melody on top,” they explain. “It’s a fun, anthemic song about having a crush on someone, and wanting them to know how ‘kool’ you think they are.” The album is said to be a homage to the music the band grew up loving, while also reflecting their modern-day lives and experiences. According to the band, “The things we hold from our past inform who we are now and where we might go.” [via Dork]

Back in 2019, the twangy punk band Rodeo Boys released their debut album, Cherry, and they followed it up a year later with the stray single ‘Dog Leg.’ Now, the Lansing, Michigan group have announced a new album, Home Movies, their first for Don Giovanni Records. They’re sharing the gnarled, catchy lead single ‘Sugar,’ a chugging showcase for vocalist Tiff Hannay’s melodious growl. “How can I make it up to you?/ Could have been anyone else/ Well, it’s the least that I could do/ But I just can’t get through to myself,” Hannay sings. Watch a video below. [via Stereogum]

LA mystic-rock mainstay Death Valley Girls share their final empowering title-track ‘Islands in the Sky’ accompanied by a haunting visual directed by Dylan Greenberg. The band’s new LP Islands in the Sky is out now via Suicide Squeeze Records and the band are set to tour across the UK this February and March. About the track, lead-member Bonnie Bloomgarden offers: “We wrote ‘Islands in the Sky ‘for our future selves, hoping that if we can share the secrets we have learned from this life, and all our past lives, we wouldn’t have to suffer or feel alone again in our next carnations! You are not becoming the best version of yourself, you are and always have been, the highest and best you, eternally! You may have forgotten from societal programming, how you were raised, trauma, or ancestral circumstances, but as you grow, try to remember that the highest version of you, is cheering you on! Sending you messages to pay attention to your intuition and trust yourself. To love yourself. And to never forget… From director, Dylan Greenberg on the video: “When Bonnie approached me about making a video for this song, I was excited because the song connected with me immediately. The music and lyrics have a beautiful, melancholy optimism that called to mind a certain timelessness found in work by the Sherman Brothers and the late Burt Bacharach, with a rock/punk edge. The video was made remotely, so I wanted to put together an immersive digital environment for the band and the ghosts to be able to move in. My partner and I dressed in all black and wore ghost costumes they made and double exposed them into the video. It’s an effect that’s been done since the dawn of special effects by pioneers like George Melies, but with the benefit of digital effects allowing me to control them with a virtual camera. I wanted to make sure the movement, tone and visuals all matched the “spirit” (no pun intended) of the song and had a flowing, optimistic energy that I felt emanated from the music.”

Musician and singer-songwriter Lina Maxine releases her latest track ‘LET ME’, launching the next exciting phase of her career with an anthemic pop-rock song guaranteed to captivate listeners with its universal message and up-tempo, power punk musical heart. Lina explains, “Inspired by the great 007 anthems, ‘LET ME’ is about the power of human embrace in the face of adversity, with commanding lyrics conveying strength and drawing people closer together. I wanted to kick off 2023 with a passionate song that offers emotional support to listeners, eliciting hope and a real sense of connection to music, and to each other.” The track opens with a stripped-back, subdued intro, with warm piano chords supporting Lina’s husky, power ballad vocal. ‘LET ME’ then picks up the pace with steel-stringed guitar riffs, energetic bass, hi-octane drums and raw electric strums allowing Lina’s effortless, rockstar vocals to shine. The track intersects genres, gliding through nostalgia-tinged pop with elements of acoustic prog rock and punk expertly thrown into the mix. Written, produced, recorded and mixed in-house by Lina Maxine and Dean Aladay, ‘LET ME’ showcases Lina’s modern rockstar energy alongside an intelligence and musicality that transcends the stage. Mastering the spotlight in both live and recording studio environments, Lina continues to grow her international fanbase, building her close community of ‘Nerd-n-Roll’ addicts.

Multi-instrumentalist and producer Madison McFerrin announced her debut album, I Hope You Can Forgive Me, due out on May 12. Madison produced most of the album herself, and it includes a feature from her father, Bobby McFerrin. The first taste of the album comes from new single ‘(Please Don’t) Leave Me Now,’ an alluring R&B/pop track Madison wrote following a severe car accident. It was produced by Andrew Lappin and is accompanied by a music video directed by Kemp Baldwin. Madison explains: “Being able to walk away from a near-death experience without physical harm is one of the greatest blessings I’ve received in this life. It reaffirmed my purpose as an artist. Writing ‘(Please Don’t) Leave Me Now’ became an incredibly therapeutic and cathartic experience. Being able to express that kind of fear while still creating a fun environment was key to making this song. Death showed up in more ways than one in the process of making this video. In the weeks leading up to the shoot, multiple family members on the production side passed unexpectedly, bringing our plans to a halt. The fate of the video was in flux. Thanks to the tenacity of my team, we were able to regroup and move forward, albeit with a delay. For the video, we wanted to capture the feeling of not being prepared to die. I’m talking to myself both above and within the grave, grieving both who I was and who I could be. I didn’t expect being in a grave for multiple hours in a day would affect me, but it definitely contributed to my journey in processing a near-death experience. This song and video are a manifestation of my own personal growth as not only a musician, but as a human.” [via Brooklyn Vegan]

Prima Queen have announced their debut EP Not The Baby. Set for release on May 3 via Big Indie Records, the duo have described the EP as a reflection on their own feelings and the feelings of those closest to them. “We’ve both experienced a lot of change in the past few years and since we write all our songs together we’re usually drawn to write about our parallel experiences,” Louise Macphail and Kristin McFadden explain. “In this EP we explore different types of change – birth & death, leaving & returning – and how it can affect our relationships. It’s a reflection not only on our own feelings but also the feelings of our family, friends and lovers. We’re really excited to finally release a complete body of work, rather than stand alone singles. These songs are meant to be listened to together and we want people to experience the emotional journey that they create.” News of the EP is accompanied by the new single ‘Back Row’, with the duo revealing, “’Back Row’ is about the pain of hurting someone that was really important to you. The EP talks a lot about changes in relationships and this song brings to light how failed relationships can be beautiful in their own way and ultimately make you who you are.” [via Dork]

Creams has shared new single ‘Need To Talk’. The track is fuelled by an urgent sense of energy, yet its intensity is rendered in a hugely positive fashion. Confrontational in the best possible sense, it’s a hyper-stylised piece of left-field pop, experimental while daring to be open. The Tbilisi, Georgia creator leads from the front, cutting through the challenges in her way. The vocal is on-point, the driving passion of her delivery set against emphatic electronics. Creams comments… “Confronting challenges in life, whether it be in relationships or careers, can be interpreted in different ways. However, facing these challenges helps to build strength and resilience. Eyes that consume, a struggle that’s real, and a mind that won’t stop spinning.,This song is like a journey through my feelings and the chaos in my head. This is a raw and honest look at the fight against my inner demons. Are you here alone or with your support system?” Avi Musaifi directs the video, a hypnotic short film shot at Tskaltubo Sanatorium, an abandoned resort in Tskaltubo. [via Clash]

Glasgow dark-pop mistress Lucia & The Best Boys returns with new song ‘When You Dress Up’. The new single is her first piece of music since 2021’s The State Of Things EP, and finds the songwriter doubling down on her evil, twinkling charm. Mid-way between Lana del Rey and Jenny Hval, Lucia & The Best Boys seems to make pop songs for people who think Wednesday Addams is a little on the optimistic side. New single ‘When You Dress Up’ is shrouded in post-midnight glamour, and it represents something of a turning point for the Glasgow artist. She comments… “I’ve known since the first time we played ‘When You Dress Up’ in the studio that it was the first song I wanted people to hear for this turning point in my music. This song resonates deeply with my values as a woman with its unapologetic, empowering energy. For me, this is an evolution from themes I have sung about in the past which underline the weight of the male gaze, and learning not to suppress our own identity for the sake of another person’s version of who we should be.” [via Clash]

For the past few years, the Chicago poet and musician Kara Jackson has popped up as a collaborator on albums from the likes of Sen Morimoto and Lala Lala. After being named the National Youth Poet Laureate in 2019, she released her first collection of original music, the A Song For Every Chamber Of The Heart EP. In the last couple months, Jackson has shared some singles — ‘No Fun/Party,’ ‘Dickhead Blues,’ and ‘Brain’ — from her debut album, which is being officially announced alongside another new song, ‘Pawnshop.’ Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love? is out in April, and it features production contributions from Nnamdi, Kaina, and Sen Morimoto, who are all part of the same Chicago scene. Jackson cites Nina Simone, Fiona Apple, and Joanna Newsom as influences, and you can hear all of them to varying degrees on ‘Pawnshop’. [via Stereogum]

While ideas of catharsis are explored on the latest single from Dama Scout’s Eva Liu under her moniker mui zyu, ‘Talk to Death’ is far from heavy, upbeat, or otherwise blood-pumping. Instead, she expresses release through a collected and calculated evaluation of a past “putrid” relationship, as she puts it, with the near-ambient and often-surreal instrumentation still recovering from the decayed romance before beginning the next chapter. “It’s about pawning moldy gifts for new beginnings and playing with ideas of the mundane vs. the extraordinary,” she explains. For a more literal reading of the track title, the video’s directors CLUMP Collective show Liu in an administrative setting literally becoming bored to death as a co-worker talks at her about office matters, landing her in hell where she receives a mani from Death himself. “We had loads of fun killing Eva off in mui zyu’s video!” the collective shares. “We sent her to have a chat with the least threatening Death imaginable; expect fabulous nails, chattering teeth, and the return of her beloved peachy pet.” [via Flood]

Lido Pimienta has shared the music video for ‘Te Quería,’ a track from her 2020 LP, Miss Colombia. The video—directed and edited by J. Gallardo Kattah—depicts Pimienta in a fantasy world as “Queen of the Clowns,” dancing with her clown court before being interrupted a sad clown who turns his gun on them. Of the new clip, Pimienta said in a statement: “The visual for ‘Te Quería’ has always been conceived as a story about transformation—about getting right back up, despite having our spirit shut down. ‘Te Quería’ is a song that exposes toxic relationships, power imbalances and the need for some people, particularly those who we love the most, to confuse our generosity for stupidity.” [via Pitchfork]

International pop sensation and Grammy nominee JAIN is unveiling her new single ‘The Fool’ alongside a music video. This marks the first taste of new music following her sophomore album Souldier and her debut album Zanaka. The song is the first off her much-anticipated new album coming this spring on Columbia/Sony Music France. A new chapter for the multi-cultural popstar both personally and artistically, this poetic body of work is inspired by self-empowerment, new chances and beginnings, and the need to overcome one’s fears. Although entirely composed by JAIN and produced by her long-time collaborator Maxim Nucci/Yodelice, she teamed up with some new creatives to elevate her work to a new era. This international pop and folk album chronicles all the stages one goes through when making a fresh start: fear, excitement, innocence, doubts, letting go and epiphany. While the new album draws on artistic influences such as Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks, much of JAIN’s music originally blended a myriad of genres such as Arabic percussion, African rhythms, electro, reggae, soul and hip hop. She relies heavily on Tarot de Marseilles, an art her mother passed on to her which gives her the strength to jump into the unknown through an instinctive perception of the world’s dangers and possibilities. The Fool is the holiest card in the deck. You can’t go on any kind of journey unless you’re willing to be foolish. Taking your first step, driving a car, falling in love. There’s always a risk you’ll lose your balance. At any moment. But in the end, the fool’s journey is the only journey. [via Broadway World]

Less than a year after the release of her debut album, The Paradise Club, Claudia Bouvette is back with ‘Highly Unrecommended,’ a brand new single that tackles the difficult subject of forbidden love. This bittersweet pop song, which could have been featured on the soundtrack of an early 2000’s rom-com, is an anthem for the hopeless romantics of this world. The inspiration for ‘Highly Unrecommended’ came from a time when Claudia fell in love with someone she shouldn’t have, in a context where it was unthinkable and unacceptable to feel that way. “He came into my life as fast as he left and that feeling stuck with me for a long time,” explains the singer. Originally written on the guitar, bold snares and vocal melodies were later added to give the track a nostalgic y2k feel. ‘Highly Unrecommended’ is accompanied by a music video directed by Vincent Gravel. With an intimate lighting and a distinctive visual identity, the artist captivates the viewer’s attention as she delivers her lyrics with tenderness in a way that evokes the sentimental nature of the song. [via Bonsound]

Powder Blue, the highly anticipated new album from Begonia—the solo project of alt-pop Canadian artist Alexa Dirks—is out now on Birthday Cake Records. In addition, Begonia unveils the music video for feature track ‘The Only One’, directed by Gwen Trutnau. Of ‘The Only One,’ Begonia recalls, “you know that feeling when you think everyone around you is having more fun in their lives than you, so you force yourself out of bed and into the world only to realize you just want to be at home back under the covers? That feeling of running up to the club doors like you are about to enter the best night of your life, but then you end up waiting at the back of the line freezing cold wishing you’d never gone out. I wrote this being like…‘I can’t be the only one, right?’” [via Total Entertainment]

Allison Ponthier returns with ‘Character Development,’ her first new music since her acclaimed 2022 EP Shaking Hands with Elvis. The track calls out an emotional villain who tries to spin past bad behavior as a “growth experience.” Ponthier penned the song with Grammy Award nominees K.Flay and Tommy English. English also produced and played on the track. “‘Character Development’ is about the people I’ve encountered who have treated me poorly, to then turn around and say that learning from that experience has made them a better person,” says Allison Ponthier. “No one should be made to feel like they have to be a casualty or compromise themselves for someone else’s growth. I wrote the track with K.Flay and Tommy English, and it’s been the most cathartic song to sing on tour.” Ponthier teamed up with Brooklyn-based visual artist and content creator Maris Jones–who, like her, is enamored with pop culture and retro style–to co-direct the official video for ‘Character Development.’ Playing into the title’s literary reference, Ponthier plays a best-selling romance novelist with writer’s block. After exploring a series of plotlines that just don’t click, she reimagines the dashing young protagonist and chances for a happily-ever-after ending soar. Maris Jones said, “I was so privileged to work with Allison whose creative vision aligned serendipitously with mine. Working with her was effortless, and the result reflects our shared passion for creating a vibrant visual journey to take viewers on a unique ride parallel to the music. I hope the video will capture the song’s essence but also connect with viewers, leaving a lasting impression that resonates with them long after the video has ended.” [via UDiscoverMusic]

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Bella White has announced her new album Among Other Things, out on April 21 via Rounder Records. To mark the occasion White has released a new single, ‘Break My Heart’ and its companion music video. “Out of all of the songs I’ve written, ‘Break My Heart’ is probably the most explicitly about getting dumped. I wrote it with no intention of ever sharing it. I didn’t even feel any particular emotional attachment to it like I do with my other songs, because it was such an isolated experience, zooming in on one specific moment in time. That said, bringing it to life by turning a valley into a peak felt deeply cathartic. It’s a heartbreaker that I hope will at least get you moving.” [via UDiscoverMusic]

The Reneé Rapp hype train barrels forward and is picking up right where she left off a breakout 2022. The deluxe version of Everything to Everyone has arrived with an extended edition of the title track and a new single, ‘Bruises.’ “All my friends make sweet fun of me, I guess it’s funny but the truth’s I bruise easily,” Rapp croons on the ballad. “I’m down to be the joke, metaphorically though, you could flip me inside out and they would show black, purple and green.” The accompanying visuals show Rapp being attacked with knives by strangers and, perhaps cutting deeper, by friends on an ordinary day out. The music video was directed by Hannah Lux Davis, who’s best known for her work in pop with stars like Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and more.“On the day [of the video shoot], I was incredibly annoyed. Not by anyone or thing, just, anxiety for me manifests in a lot of different ways,” Rapp tells Rolling Stone. “I don’t remember even acting throughout most of the video. It was just naturally there through the edginess of the day. Hannah created this entire world that cradled the song like a baby.” [via Rolling Stone]

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