This week, Foy Vance released his new 13 track Album, Signs of Life. Foy will be celebrating with a live streamed concert from St. Pancras Old Church in London on September 10th. Find out more about the livestream here and listen to Signs of Life.
Foy Vance has just shared his latest single “If Christopher Calls” from his upcoming album Signs of Life. Be sure to pre-save the new album and listen to “If Christopher Calls” here.
Samia’s 2020 debut album, The Baby, was a testament to her impressive vocal might, irresistible tunefulness and vulnerable lyricism, both clever and illuminating in equal measure. Drawing widespread acclaim from Pitchfork, Stereogum, NPR, NME, The Sunday Times, and others, the LP more than delivered following the promise of early singles like 2018’s “Django” and 2019’s “Ode to Artifice.” After emerging as one of the most exciting up-and-comers in indie rock, Samia released a companion album this past January titled The Baby Reimagined, a collection of covers and remixes featuring Bartees Strange, Anjimile, Field Medic, Palehound, former tourmate Donna Missal, and more.
Samia spent much of 2020 in self-reflection, and she also made various life changes that left her feeling more earnest and centered. “I got back into therapy and started thinking about boundaries, I moved to Nashville, I did yoga sometimes,” she says. During this time, she wrote a handful of songs that make up Scout, a new EP that’s out everywhere now. “These were pretty much the only four songs that came naturally during this time, but I think they really mirror my emotional experience this past year,” Samia says.
While The Baby leaned more on self-deprecating humor, Scout was born out of a need to “honor feeling secure in what [she] had to say.” Lead track “As You Are” revels in the preciousness of unconditional love (“When somebody loves you / They take you as you are,” she belts in the chorus) and floats delicately with graceful vocals and steady percussion. Staticky guitar number “Show Up” is an acknowledgment of personal growth, and its unwavering desire for wholesome joy really tugs at the heartstrings (“Nothing could ever stop / my ass from showing up / to sing another song for the people I love”). The EP is packed with reverence for life’s ups and downs, but more than anything, it’s an ode to loved ones.
The compassionate glow of this EP partially stems from her new Nashville surroundings, as well as her recent experiences “feeling genuinely loved, making new friends, and holding onto old friendships.” There’s a palpable intimacy to these recordings, whether it’s the voicemail murmurs of “As You Are,” the heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics or the piano twinkles throughout. It’s reminiscent of that reassuring exhale in the mirror after an imperfect yet fulfilling day. As Samia puts it, Scout is “The Baby‘s slightly older sister letting her know that everything is gonna be alright.”
The EP title is a nickname of Samia’s, and it’s a fitting nod to the record’s benevolence. “My partner calls me Scout,” she explains. “It’s just a word that implies bravery to me. I always picture a little girl with a sash and badges basking in her autonomy selling Samoas.” Whether you’re a girl scout trying to gain confidence or an adult who needs reminders of our inability to make everyone happy (“Elephant”) or the untold power of being there for someone (“The Promise”), this EP is an unashamed loving nudge.
“I’m always writing,” says Simone. “It’s therapeutic for me, like a muscle I need to exercise every day.”
Such devotion to craft helps explain the breakout 16-year-old star’s prolific output over the past year, as well as the remarkable growth showcased on her addictive new EP, Love Lessons. Written and recorded entirely during quarantine, the collection is a pure rush of dopamine fueled by raw, vulnerable performances and deep, insightful lyrics. Simone writes with a cinematic eye here, capturing the rough edges of modern relationships in vivid detail, and the EP’s arrangements are sonically rich to match, mixing radio-ready pop hooks with indie rock grit and singer/songwriter intimacy. The result is a collection that lands somewhere between Carly Rae Jepsen and Phoebe Bridgers, a buoyant, brilliant batch of earworms exploring the rise and fall of teenage romance in all its exhilarating, heartbreaking transience.
Born and raised in New York City, Simone first fell in love with Broadway as a youngster. By the age of ten, she’d already appeared in a slew of musicals, and by the time she hit middle school, she was writing her own songs and performing regularly in bars and clubs all over the city. It was at one of those early performances that Simone caught the attention of a New York-based producer, and soon she found herself recording in a proper studio and making major waves across Spotify and social media. With a mix of mesmerizing performance clips and down-to-earth, straight-to-camera videos documenting daily life, she quickly went viral on TikTok, racking up millions of likes from fans around the world who could relate to both her unabashed ambition and dry, self-deprecating sense of humor.
It only takes a few seconds to fall in love with Francis Karel. Need proof? Check out any of the unassuming singer/songwriter’s countless Omegle reaction videos, in which he reduces unsuspecting strangers to instant tears with just his mesmerizing voice and soulful guitar. Recorded alone at home, Karel’s jaw-dropping, impromptu performances have taken the internet by storm over the past year, earning him more than 1.2 million followers on TikTok and high-profile Instagram fans like Benny Blanco, Meghan Trainor, Zedd, and Bebe Rexha. And while those videos certainly make for a great introduction, they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the prolific 22-year-old’s otherworldly talents.
Born and raised in Jakarta, Karel’s unlikely path began while working backstage at an Indonesian music festival, where he accidentally spilled coffee in front of a top record executive. Despite the awkward introduction, the two hit it off, and the next thing Karel knew, he was saying goodbye to everyone and everything he’d ever known, flying halfway around the world on a terrifying but exhilarating journey toward a new life in America. Now based full-time in LA, Karel’s set to build on his viral success with his debut studio recordings, which hint at everything from Bruno Mars and BTS to Ed Sheeran to Jon Bellion as they showcase both his extraordinary vocal talent and charismatic charm.
So go ahead and press play on Francis Karel. He may be new, but all he needs is an instant to win your heart.
Half Chinese and half Icelandic, Laufey spent much of her childhood traveling between Reykjavík and Washington, DC, where she learned to speak English with barely a trace of an accent. Inspired in part by her mother, a classical violinist, she took up piano and cello early on, but it was her father’s collection of Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday albums that spoke to her on a deeper level.“I’m definitely very influenced by composers like Ravel and Chopin,”Laufey explains,“but when I discovered the Great American Songbook and the music of George Gershwin and Richard Rodgers, it felt like this middle ground between jazz and classical that suited me perfectly.”Laufey dove into the music headfirst, captivated by the lush arrangements and dreamy vocals, and by her teenage years, she was already turning heads with a mesmerizing style that belied her young age. After landing a prestigious Presidential Scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, Laufey moved to Boston, where she began writing her own songs blending sophisticated jazz melodies and slow-burning R&B grooves. Unable to tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she began performing a mix of originals and vintage classics on Instagram and TikTok, and within a year, she would find herself racking up millions of likes, topping the Icelandic radio charts with her debut single,“Street By Street,”and earning support from Billie Eilish and Willow Smith. Laufey will release her debut EP,Typical of Me, later this year.
To welcome the new year, Wilder Woods released his song “sink our love now (work tape).” This is the first of a series of intimate songs written and produced by the artist from his home studio, as well as his first song released independently in 20 years. Stream “sink our love now (work tape)” here.
— Wilder Woods (@iamwilderwoods) January 1, 2021
“There’s something really dark and existential about my songs,” says mazie, “but at the same time, they’re all wrapped up in this bright, playful, sugar coating. I’m always trying to walk that line.”
Indeed, mazie’s music is built on contradictions and double negatives, pairing bleak, fatalistic lyrics with shiny, alt-pop arrangements as infectious as they are unpredictable. Mixing modern malaise with vintage psychedelia, her writing exudes a childlike innocence, but with an eerie, off-kilter twist, like watching old home movies through a funhouse mirror. There’s nostalgia in her hypnotic performances, to be sure, but it always comes laced with dread, with an impending sense of doom fueled by a world in ever-deepening crisis. And so mazie smiles and laughs as she steps into the abyss, because if the world’s about to end, why not at least have a little fun with it?
“So much of what I consume on a daily basis is really heavy political content,” says mazie, who devotes much of her time outside of music to social activism. “I think anyone who knows me would say that I’m a pretty happy person, though, so I end up with this music that sounds very upbeat and whimsical even though it’s about loneliness or isolation or anxiety.”
Born in Albany, Georgia and raised outside Baltimore, mazie fell in love with singing at an early age and spent most of her childhood studying classical and jazz vocals. By the time she hit her teenage years, she was writing her own music and recording it with her neighbor, Elie Rizk, who was teaching himself to engineer and produce in his basement studio. The two were deliberate about their search for a sound, though, and spent years experimenting and collaborating before they landed on “no friends,” mazie’s breakout 2020 debut. Clocking in at less than two minutes, the utterly addictive single exploded online, earning widespread acclaim and quickly racking up millions of streams.
“We were in total shock,” says mazie. “That song really defined the project for us, and when it started going crazy, everything just accelerated.”
In the months to come, the pair would follow it up with two more singles, the lilting “i think i wanna be alone” and trippy “sippy cup,” both of which arrived to similarly rapturous responses. Like “no friends,” the tracks were deceptively cheerful, full of jaunty melodies and earworm hooks and accompanied by DIY artwork and videos that resembled outtakes from some deranged children’s TV show.
“Leaving childhood is tough,” says mazie, who recently relocated to LA. “You’ve got to come to terms with the fact that life is hard, that your family isn’t perfect, that the world isn’t such a good place after all. I wanted to find ways for the music and the visuals to reflect that uneasy transition into adulthood, that feeling of growing up in the midst of all this chaos.”
And while mazie may be a stage name, it’s certainly not a character. The emotions behind the songs, the highs and lows and pain and hope and sadness and joy, they’re as real as can be, even when they all happen at the exact same time.
“When I’m writing a song, I’m kind of putting my feelings under a microscope,” mazie explains. “I’m zooming in and blowing them up and exaggerating them to their extremes. It’s a way of not taking myself too seriously, of being able to laugh at all these conflicting things I’m feeling once.”
Happy and sad, bitter and sweet, vulnerable and guarded, mazie is full of contradictions, and that’s just the way she likes it.