before and details that may or may not have relevance for the day ahead, and in the midst of it all, I hopped into the car and listened to "Cherries."
"Cherries" is an exercise in therapy; the 18-year-old Chicago-native/LA-transplant believes “music is intended to be an emotional journey." Sonically, “Cherries” really cleared the air for me, mentally speaking. The EP starts off with “Nevermind,” which immediately gave me impressions and sensations of a sonic palette that was not what I had anticipated, and I was pleasantly delighted by it. Opening with a subdued guitar riff, Joy appears to be embarking on a bit of joint therapy as she slowly makes her way through the verse. This is only to say that the emotion in her performance really stands out. Her confidence shines again as she declares that she's “not the one.” As we make our way through the song, it feels like she offers up more and more of her vulnerability, which for me is summed up with the following line: “but I wish I was.” It is so hard to allow yourself to be vulnerable, especially for a young artist. However, being vulnerable is a key to forging real connections with people. Joy’s music is pretty focused and mature stuff. There's something about the choice of snare drum that really gets me going with this song it's a digitized sound that seems to have the tail end cut off of it and it smacks you in the face as the song progresses, much in the way moods like these tend to smack our hearts and minds.
read, and sophomoric. A big part of that tendency is probably because singing about love is one of the oldest lyrical topics in existence. However, Joy manages to jump over the trap, avoiding the pitfalls that consume so many singer-songwriters by remaining vulnerable, confident, and witty. “Carbon Copies” shows Joy flexing her artistic skills and mature perspective. More importantly, it displays a contagious confidence. She crones, "you think you're too good for me…” but ends with “I'm too good for you," really nailing the hook. The sonic atmosphere of this track takes a thicker, darker turn than the previous two.
This EP kind of culminates with “Cherry Bomb,” and some of you out there might say, “of course, obviously,” but I wasn't sure at first. Joy pushes the pop to another level with strong instrumentation and, frankly, another song of gorgeous vocals that really puts me in an ethereal and dreamy mental headspace that allows me to shed stress. I say that it “kind of” culminates the EP, considering the energy and dynamics of the track. The final song, “Posiedon” is also a strong pop-offering, but I felt myself a little emotionally winded after “Cherry Bomb.” I had to listen to it twice in a row, because I wasn’t really ready. My favorite line is "one heart broken, one heart to go." Posiedon is simultaneously majestic and powerful. It is aptly named and a fitting end to the journey. Joy leverages her voice with uncanny control and efficiency. I feel able to identify some of her influences I’m familiar with, such as Lorde and St. Vincent. Her music excites me because she is clearly making a conscious effort to blend and make something authentic. Her delivery feels sincere.
The former GRAMMY Camp attendee has successfully achieved her goal of allowing the listener to “get inside her songs and recognize moments in their own lives.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, but will try. For me, this type of songwriting is of the highest level. It takes effort and, more importantly, a real “touch” or “sense” for what we’ll call “word-play” when it comes to lyrics. New listeners of Julianna Joy will cherish experiencing “Cherries.” This is music to leave your lover to. This is perfect music for when you have a long drive ahead. “Cherries” is ripe to accompany heavy moments and can lead the listener to catharsis. It has a home in every hopeless romantic’s Spotify library. The self-proclaimed “author with musical abilities” has already become a seasoned songwriter. “Cherries” creeps down into the psyche of each listener.
"You and I" is the first track from Anja Kicken's debut EP. The song immediately delivers a warm and romantic atmosphere with minimal keys and a sample of a crackling fireplace. As Anja's vocals enter the mix, my expectations are set to hear an intimate piano ballad, but a deep, groovy synth and rock beat arrive to subvert them. The track is still totally a love song, written for new lovers, packaged in a downtempo/indielectro/R&B wrapper. Listen to this when you're feeling both wistful and hopeful - Anja won't let you down.
"Not Your Type" is one of Bailie's most recent tracks, currently released on Soundcloud, but I'm hoping for a wider release on other platforms. The song begins with an atmospheric synth and Bailie's vocals, which remind me slightly of Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast, though Bailie's lyrical content isn't quite as dark. The track eventually adds layers of glittering arpeggiated synth, drums, and additional electronic sounds. Even though the composition is built with electronic elements, the fabricated ambiance manages to have an acoustic feel about it. "Not Your Type" is a breakup song meant for passing ships in the night - sometimes people just don't line up - the track is sad, but hopeful.
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"Atomic Love" showcases Djan's skillful combination of acoustic and electronic sounds. It's a fun, sprightly song with a pop melody. The track begins with a couple measures of nothing but strummed guitar, then the rest of the musical elements join in. Djan's vocals are lovely and fairy-like. Her playful way of singing combined with the acoustic sounds of the song remind me a bit of Sixpence None The Richer. However, the electronic and spacey sounds that ebb and flow through the track add to Djan's unique sound. "Atomic Love" is a song for the lovers who find themselves unable to think straight. We all need a little "Atomic Love" in our lives - it's satisfying, overwhelming, and might just blow up!
The track is a dark and angsty bit of folk noir, shown in both the melancholic undulation of the instrumentation and the lyrics, which explore themes of poverty, gambling, and isolation. Regarding the inspiration behind the song, Gemma states, “Nursing hangovers on a Saturday morning we shared our saddest stories and came up with the opening line “I’m never going back”; from there the song wrote itself.”
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This track begins with a singer-songwriter quality, opening with a stripped down piano line. However, it takes on an electronic vibe as a subtle layer of dark synth is added as a bed beneath Lisette's soulful vocal entrance. She really delivers an emotive performance, bursting at the seams as the song builds to its climax. The way she belts "never meant, never meant to run this far" makes me think Lisette finds inspiration from Amy Lee. "Run This Far" is a beautiful, dark, heartfelt composition. I could easily see the song being part of a movie score.
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Art is in the details and what separates hobbyists from professionals is paying attention to that detail. Little Comfort's final track, "Sky," makes sure to pay attention to detail and it's one of the things that make this song such a solid offering. The band delivers us a warm sound in "Sky" with its beautiful acoustic guitar and solid rhythm that sets a beautiful stage for extremely polished, well-performed vocals. The vocal layering gives the composition a glowing sensation. A dash of electronica influences occasionally peek out of the vocal tracks in the best way. This gives the song and band a refreshingly unique listening experience. Listening to this song makes me long to hear the band perform. This song was crafted at a high vibration, oozing peace, love, and tranquility. The West coast has no shortage of innovative artists (in truth too many to reference here), but I believe it's safe to say Little Comfort won't be underground much longer.
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"Nebulou" begins with a relaxed guitar riff over a deep and dreamy synth, creating a celestial bed from start to finish. As Stewart's vocals enter, I am immediately reminded of Mazzy Star. The first line she sings, "moving through space," further cements the otherworldly tone of the track. She creates a laid-back and enchanting piece, adding layers of vocal harmonies as the song blossoms and spirals into the stratosphere. I'd like to classify the sound of "Nebulou" as "space folk" and really look forward to hearing the rest of Stewart's sophomore effort.
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