New Releases

Chiropractor Turned Country Star Eric Ethridge Releases "Dream Girl"

The singer from the great white north shares his latest offering, written by Dan + Shay.

Canadian country artist Eric Ethridge is at it again.

The former chiropractor-turned-country-music-star has been pleasing fans across North America since 2014. With his EP tearing up the Canadian iTunes country chart, a spot opening up for Florida Georgia Line, and his recent 24 weeks on SiriusXM's tastemaker program "On the Horizon," Ethridge is turning heads. To keep that momentum going, he just released a fresh single, written by Dan + Shay, and it deserves a listen right now.

A synth swell brings us into the song, quickly giving way to the more traditional country trappings of reverb-heavy plucked banjo and slide guitar. It builds rapidly to a full on pop chorus with distorted power chord punches. Ethridge sings in quick snatches about losing his "Dream Girl." Through clever wordplay, we hear this dream girl turn from personified perfection into a make-believe character that only exists in dreams. The track steadily expands with emotion, while the soundscape turns the echoes of the past into instrumental delay and volume swells. The song, like its subject, eventually fades away into memory.

Eric Ethridge has produced a solid piece here. While it doesn't break the mold or redefine the genre, it plays exceptionally well with the pop country toolkit, and a track like this is likely to be an easy crowd-pleaser. It's not difficult to picture this being played at a festival, with couples hugging and dancing to it as the sun sinks below the horizon. It's fun and flirty, with just the right amount of melancholy, enough pop for the mainstream crowd and enough twang for country fans. Listen up and sing along, because these lyrics are about to find a permanent home in your brain.

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New Releases

PREMIERE: Olivia Castriota Drops "Can't Wait to See You"

The NYC RnB heroine has just dropped her latest single, the wonderfully conflicted "Can't Wait to See You"

Olivia Castriota is one of those names that just keeps cropping up in good places.

Whether she's turning up at another hip underground gig, leading a new Spotify playlist, or featuring in articles just like this one, she's got a knack for shining wherever you find her. New York's own R&B rising star charmed us with " Weekend Lover," knocked us flat with "Kills Me," and gave us pause with "What Do You Stand For." Today Popdust premieres her latest drop, "Can't Wait to See You", which shows us yet another side of a multifaceted artist.

The blunt notes of the rhythm run in stark contrast to Castriota's sharp vocal line, giving the song an oil-and-water feel. So whilst yielding in one measure, the track also gives you a sense of building unease throughout.

This is confirmed in the verses of the song, where Castriota muses about a strained relationship with a lover and their difficulty finding time to enjoy one another. Late stage electric guitar notes give the song a new texture as it progresses, exacerbating the turmoil at its core. Castriota sings words of care over the musical storm. These dissonant tones rubbing up against one another blend the track's chilled out lo-fi experience with the powder keg sitting underneath it.

Photographer: Elaine Aquino, Retouched by Dylan Perlot

Castriota has always had a fantastic grasp of song shape and form. Each offering feels like its own particular world. Listening to her tracks back to back, you never feel like you've been conned into listening to the same song twice, as you do with some other artists. She's always diving into something new, exploring her sound, and finding new ways for the listener to experience her. She never creates a dull moment.

"Can't Wait to See You" is another great piece of work and heralds great things for the singer's upcoming EP "I Need A Minute". Olivia Castriota is, as ever, a rising star to keep a close eye on.

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MUSIC

Get in to Lena Stone's 'Personal Space'

The pop-country singer is beginning her year by opening up.

Photo by Logen Christopher

Lena Stone is a singer-songwriter who knows how to let you in.

Her production style is fun and unpretentious, her vocal quality is easy and welcoming, and her lyrics make you feel like you're old friends catching up. Over the last few years, she's been steadily releasing quality material and courting favor in the pop-country community. Her past offerings have been strong, setting her up for a 2020 where the wider world will celebrate her the way she deserves. That celebration is geared to begin with her latest single, "Personal Space."

As a lightly fuzzed guitar is plucked in a staccato rhythm, layered against scattered drums and claps, Stone starts to share details of her life; uncomfortable truths, odd quirks, and intimate secrets. Then the chorus hits, and the meter changes, moving to a soothing new plane. Lyrically, Stone invites the subject of her song into her personal space, letting them witness the tapestry of who she is.

As the song progresses, we see a picture of closeness unfold that's fun and relatable, all cuddling on the couch in baggy sweatshirts. It's the kind of love that most of us can reasonably aspire to, free from the glitzed up glamor of Hollywood romance.

"Personal Space" is joyous and comforting, like a warm blanket on a chilly day. Ultimately, the song is about intimacy, and most importantly, it expresses the wonderful feeling of finding someone who you don't mind letting in—the kind of person who you want to see you without makeup, defense, or pretense. It's about the power of vulnerability between two people who value each other. Add it to your Valentine's Day playlist, play it for your special person, and watch the sparks start to fly.

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