Nora Rothman, Founder of Queer/Femme Music Community Earhart, Premiers New Single

"Strange" is the bittersweet first single off activist and feminist Nora Rothman's forthcoming EP, 'Nothing New.'

Nora Rothman is setting what should be a precedent for every musician.

The singer-songwriter has long been blending her musical output with activist work, and she practices the feminist ethos that she preaches. Today, she released a new single called "strange"—an ethereal, buoyant new track that meshes her honeyed vocals and bittersweet lyrics with expert production from Kate Ellwanger (aka Dot).

The track is the first taste of her upcoming EP, Nothing New, out on July 12 on female-led label Unspeakable Records. It explores common themes of the human experience such as longing, nostalgia, and the gap between the past and the future.

It's the product of a musician who's spent much of her life blending the arts with social justice work. Rothman was born in Los Angeles, and after migrating to the East Coast to study creative writing at Brown, she returned to LA to pursue music and acting. She took a hiatus from the arts to serve as a field organizer for the Clinton campaign in 2016, and upon Donald Trump's election, she vowed to dedicate herself to uplifting "womxn's" voices through her work ("womxn" being an umbrella term for femmes, gender-nonconforming, and trans people that Rothman uses to describe the demographic her work is intended for).

She released her first EP in 2017. It was followed by a Remix EP that was created with a lineup of all-female-identifying producers such as Birch and Libra Rising, and 50% of the proceeds went to Planned Parenthood. During its release, Rothman vowed to work with exclusively female and gender-nonconforming artists, and since then, she has teamed up with artists such as Pakistani illustrator Areeba Siddique, who created the visuals for Rothman's song "Truth or Dare," and many more. Rothman has also used her artistic platform to support other feminist organizations like EMILY's List, selling out a direct-to-vinyl fundraiser for the foundation, which supports female politicians.

In 2018, Rothman launched Earhart, a platform dedicated to "celebrating femme, trans and gnc artists." Named after the legendary pilot, it's intended to foster support and community among that demographic, and features resources such as running lists of womxn in electronic music and in composition. It also curates regular playlists and features profiles of up-and-coming artists.

Rothman's music itself has drawn comparisons to the work of Joni Mitchell, Nora Jones, and other great songwriters who blend soft guitar-driven melodies with introspective lyrics. It's hard to say whether the best part of her work is that it was created by exclusively womxn or that, with its blend of dream-pop gauziness and 70's folk motifs, it's a pure delight to listen to—or maybe each these things uplifts the other, ultimately creating something truly great and profoundly relevant for our times.

Listen to "strange" here, and stay tuned for Nothing New, out on July 12.

Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.

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Six New Songs You Should Hear This Week: Musical Mixology

This week's best tracks include new songs from Lizzo, Aisha Badru, Johnyswim, and more.

This week's best new releases combine disparate genres and unexpected sounds to create listening experiences that are alternatively climactic, relaxing, and transportive.

Whether you're seeking a soundtrack for your trip to the beach, a venture out on the town, your next car chase, or a night lounging around in your lingerie, there's something here for you.

1. Saxsyndrum: Up To You

The Canadian trio Saxsyndrum just released their sophomore album, Second Nature, and it's an expansive fusion of dream-pop and luxurious saxophone. Having cut their teeth in the Montreal underground scene, they're ascending to the mainstream with their unique blend of danceable beats, ethereal synthesis, and raw instrumental talent, which all come together to form something both accessible and complex. The album's first track, "Up To You," is a carefully crafted bath of catchy beats, flawless production, and folky vocal lines. All in all, it's a treat for the ears, a swirl of saxophone and rhythmic bass that balances out to create a track that's calming and energizing at the same time.

2. IYVES: Gold

Iyves returned this Friday with a new single, "Gold," a seductive, cinematic track that feels appropriate for a striptease, a James Bond-esque car-chase, or a montage of both. The singer's flawless vocals take center stage, flanked by elegant production and an extravagant chorus backed by a wall of thunderous, gritty basslines. Ultimately, it's a dramatic tribute to opulence and excess, packaged into a gleaming track that seems made for the climax of the next blockbuster.

3. Crimson Apple: Somebody

Hawaii-born, LA-based up-and-comers Crimson Apple just dropped a new single and video, "Somebody." It's a crystalline alt-pop earworm that takes notes from singers like Broods and MARINA, combining alternative edginess with the refined, polished pop sensibilities of LA's top producers. It's a tribute to all-encompassing love that combines the anthemic ecstasy of a hit song with the darkness of edgier influences, which come together to form something as inviting as a path of tall grasses leading towards the ocean.


4. Aisha Badru: Enough

Aisha Badru has steadily been crafting some of the best dream folk out there, and her acoustic rendition of "Enough" continues this tradition. Like most of her songs, it manages to be a complex bundle of emotions that doesn't shy away from the truth, but maintains a sense of hope and faith in something greater than the self. "We're made to rise above," she sings. "Don't be afraid to love." In another artist's hands these lyrics could sound trite, but Badru's mix of lamentation and quiet optimism manages to be believable and uplifting without veering into the territory of disingenuity. "Maybe loneliness brings us closer to ourselves," she muses. Starting from quiet introspectiveness, the song builds up to a luminous chorus; and combined with her soft, lush vocals, it's an easy-listening piece of sonic magic.

Aisha Badru - Enough (Acoustic)

5. Johnnyswim: Souvenir

On "Souvenir," the husband-and-wife duo mix genres into a balanced confection of alternative rock, pop, and folk, forming a buoyant medley of voices and sounds that's beachy and melancholic at the same time. This song, off their LP Moonlight, has the makings of a sleeper hit; quietly optimistic, light and unassuming but with enough drive to dance along to, it's a collage of instruments and textures that fits together like a puzzle. It helps that Amanda Sudano's voice sounds uncannily similar to Kimbra's, and combined with its bouncy synth motif, the duet evokes memories of "Somebody That I Used to Know," but with more ambient, atmospheric leanings.

Moonlight - Souvenir (Official Stream)

6. Lizzo: Lingerie

No list of the best new songs out this week would be complete without the gift of Lizzo's new album, Cuz I Love You. Mostly a collection of uncontainably joyful, electric hip hop, the final track, "Lingerie," has more of a laid-back, classic R&B feel, with Lizzo's incredible vocals soaring above a punchy guitar line. Beginning quietly, it quickly becomes a hybrid of soul, alternative, and pop; and when it all comes together, the whole thing kind of feels like lying down to paint your nails cherry red after you've cleaned your whole place, completed your self-care routine, and lit incense. The bittersweet chorus, with its growling guitars and dreamy violins, evokes the vague romance of a 50's standard, but the verses showcase Lizzo's mastery of hyper-modern rhythms. She's a master at conjuring sensation and evoking emotions through her tunes, and this one is no exception.

Lizzo - Lingerie (Official Audio)

Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow me on Twitter @edenarielmusic.

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RELEASE RADAR | Jenny March will have you California dreaming with her new single

PLUS-- GOLDHOUSE X CAPPA, I'm With Her, Dana Buoy, Wendyfix, Remy, Nina Nesbitt, and The Shacks.

This week on release radar we're shining the spotlight on several amazing indie artists that already have busted out some amazing music in 2018. From songstresses like Jenny March with her ultra-vivid song "California Daze" to the reissuing of music from Wendyfix, a popular indie rock band of the 90s, I can guarantee you haven't heard most of these songs yet. Check out my favorite new releases and check back with us every Friday for a new Release Radar every week showcasing our favorite new releases.

Jenny March | "California Daze"

This song is incredibly vivid. It really puts you in the room with her. With such rich lyrics, I wondered where the inspiration comes from. Jenny told me that it totally depends on the song. She told me sometimes she gets inspired at the gym listening to music, "I could be listening to music while running and hear a song that inspires me, and I'll stop and just start voice memoing melodies and writing lyrics in my notes on my phone." She says writing is also cathartic for her. When she moved to LA at age 15, she started songwriting because it was the best way for her to express what she was going through and how she felt about it. That continues to be a major inspiration for her.

"If I'm feeling emotional or stressed, I'll sit at my keyboard and start playing chords and just let all my emotions out. It's scary sometimes to open up, but I feel like I learn more about myself every time I write a song. I try to make sure I'm completely honest to myself in my music," she says.

Jenny has been working on her up and coming EP for a few years because it's changed and evolved with her as she's grown. Growing up listening to Britney and Madonna thanks to childhood dance classes and eventually getting hooked on artists like Usher and Outkast, Jenny says her music is a combination of dance pop inspired by the likes of Britney and Madonna but very "in your feels" like User. We're VERY into this song and super excited to hear the EP.

Best for: Singing in the shower
Perfect if you like: Halsey

Follow Jenny March on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Anie Delgado is a contributor to Popdust and is an actress and musician based in NYC. Follow her on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter and check out her music on Spotify. Press inquiries here.

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