Slow Dakota's latest LP is eerily timely.
Slow Dakota's Tornado Mass for Synthesizer & Voice is not a conventional album, but because of that, it might be especially well-suited to this current moment in time.
During this pandemic, the vast dissonances between our respective experiences as humans are being cast into stark relief. As some linger at home, others wait for unemployment or loan checks that have actually been cast straight into the arms of big businesses. Some insist that this is a time of rebirth and collective unity, others politicize and pontificate, others know only devastation or return to its front lines over and over.
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The global reach of the Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd's death uplift the fight for racial equality in all nations.
Protests over the unlawful death of George Floyd haven't disrupted just American cities, as demonstrations all over the world have taken place this week.
In London's Hyde Park, Star Wars actor John Boyega gave an impassioned speech to the protesters. "I need you to understand how painful this sh*t is. I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing and that isn't the case anymore, that was never the case anymore." He continued, "We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd. We are a physical representation of our support for Sandra Bland. We are a physical representation of our support for Trayvon Martin. We are a physical representation of our support for Stephen Lawrence," he said, referencing the infamous 1993 murder of a Black UK teen. Lawrence was just 18-years-old when he was stabbed to death by a two white men who were known to spout racist, anti-Black, rhetoric.
New songs from Lizzo, Weyes Blood, Jai Wolf and more. Made for falling in love, dancing the night away, and welcoming spring at last.
Spring is finally here, and this week's selection of new music is all about fresh starts. Whether they're celebrating newfound freedom after the end of a confining relationship or relishing early sparks of new love, these songs are made for dancing and free-falling into the bright blankness of the future.
"Gardener in Rain" compares music-making to gardening, while Lizzo wants you to celebrate no matter your size; but all of these songs radiate the kind of light and energy that's sure to propel you through the home stretch of winter, straight into whatever's coming next.
1. Slow Dakota — "Gardener in Rain"
Slow Dakota - "Canticle 69" www.youtube.com
Indiana native P.J. Saurteig has been releasing some of the best baroque-pop around for years now. His newest music—starting with "Canticle 69," the earworm about pornography ruining sex and/or how we're all living in the simulation—has been leaning more towards pop, but it never sacrifices Slow Dakota's characteristic lyrical integrity and existential rigor. "Gardener in Rain" shimmers with plucked keys and playful rhythms, which rise up with all the color and life of a garden in the heart of an April shower. It's a beautiful and triumphant composition about how making music or art of any kind may seem like shots in the dark, but just like a gardener knows he can't kill every weed, still, the daily process of crafting and creating soothes some of life's tribulations.
2. Lizzo feat. Missy Elliot— "Tempo"
Lizzo - Tempo (feat. Missy Elliott) [Official Audio] www.youtube.com
Lizzo deserves every bit of press and praise she's ever gotten, so here's another mention—this time about her newest single, "Tempo," an exuberant and uncontainable ode to limitless self-love. If you haven't heard it yet, turn the volume up, put the disco ball on, forget every bit of insecurity you've ever felt, and embrace your extraordinary ability to move. Lizzo and Elliot speak and belt their truths over an intoxicating beat, intricate synthesizers, and electric sirens, making this a track that's both intense and effervescent, perfect for dancing yourself into a sweat, leaving you uplifted and ready to plunge fearlessly into the future.
3. Weyes Blood — "Something to Believe"
Weyes Blood | “Something to Believe" | Midwinter 2019 www.youtube.com
NPR just premiered Weyes Blood's new album, Titanic Rising, and it's an impressive follow-up to 2016's Front Row Seat to Earth. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter takes inspiration from everything from climate change to Jim Carrey, winding it all together to craft a musically innovative tribute to toughing it out in a world that seems to make less and less sense. On "Something to Believe," she continues her tradition of delivering songs that walk the line between humor and elegance, eloquence and sarcasm, abstract poetry and cultural commentary. A driving beat and euphoric, almost 1980s-power-ballad-esque guitar motif guide the song to its ecstatic chorus, making this the perfect track to blast on a long car ride or to listen to on your best headphones, drinking in the cacophony of sounds and lyrics that blend together to form an anthem for our modern era.
4. August Eve — "You Already Know"
August Eve - You Already Know (Official Visuals) www.youtube.com
An LA native like Weyes Blood, August Eve's rich, velvety vocals set her apart from the bevy of other artists creating similar dream-pop dirges. This song is a dizzying ode to words unsaid, to the secret little signs of love that weave their way between people like smoke through an underground club. "It's better in my mind / somewhere in my dreams / felt you look at me," she sings—lines that encapsulate a longing all-too-relatable to anyone who's ever temporarily fallen for a stranger, or who's experienced the brief, electric friction of new, unspoken affection. Near the end, the song rises out of its hazy gloom as lightly plucked violins escalate along with Eve's voice, evoking images of sunrises, open roads, and the possibilities of a new day.
5. Mathew V — "Catching Feelings"
Catching Feelings www.youtube.com
London-grown and Vancouver-based artist, Mathew V, just released his shamelessly danceable single "Catching Feelings," and it's the perfect song to get you tapping your feet at any time of day or night. This saccharine track glitters with life and vibrancy. The beat is just the right speed to match the rhythm of strutting down New York City streets, feeling the soft rays of early spring light, heading towards new possibilities. It's a bit formulaic, but in the best way; it feels simultaneously familiar and fresh, and marks the emergence of a formidable new talent in the dance-pop realm. Where the artist's previous releases have stayed more in the folk-pop sphere, this is an earnest, refreshing celebration of love, that most tumultuous, wonderful, and chaotic of emotions.
6. Jai Wolf — "Better Apart" (feat. Dresage)
Jai Wolf - "Better Apart" [feat. Dresage] (Official Audio) www.youtube.com
Jai Wolf's newest release may be one of the most exuberant songs about a breakup ever written. It's expansive enough to fill stadiums, catchy and easy enough on the ears to make it suitable for everything from lying around on a summer afternoon to smiling wryly in the last frame of a movie as your jet plane sails away from everyone and everything that's been holding you back. Jai Wolf's honeyed voice soars above the uncontainable beat and windswept synths, winding together to form a pop song that feels like the best kind of liberation—a promise that every ending is just a beginning.
Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.
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