New Release Friday (On A Monday): Rainlights, VC Pines, Thomas Jay, Izzie Derry, Tristan Armstrong, Alan Chang

Welcome to this special edition of “New Release Friday” – on a Monday! We know we’re a few days late, but trust us when we say that the wait was worth it. Last week was brimming with incredible new music, and we couldn’t wait any longer to share these gems with you. From captivating indie anthems to infectious pop bangers, and from soaring ballads to gritty rock tunes, this delayed edition of “New Release Friday” promises to deliver an exciting mix of fresh sounds and talented artists that you won’t want to miss. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this belated but exceptional collection of new releases that are sure to kickstart your week with a bang!

Rainlights – “Brand New Sneakers”

Rainlights’ latest offering, “Brand New Sneakers,” is a testament to the Brooklyn-based artist’s ability to blend introspective lyricism with captivating sonic landscapes. Drawing from a wide range of influences like James Blake, Léon, and Sufjan Stevens, Rainlights creates a cinematic atmosphere with shimmering beats and delicate key-focused melodies that weave a tapestry of sound around the listener. The song’s evolution from a simple concept about breaking in new shoes to a meditation on accepting change and embracing new beginnings is a testament to her skill as a songwriter.

The masterful contrast in production between the verses and chorus lends an engaging dynamic to the track, as Rainlights showcases her prowess not only as a singer and songwriter, but also as a producer and engineer. Having honed her skills in London while earning her Master’s degree in Audio Production, her ability to craft a polished and cohesive sound is evident throughout “Brand New Sneakers.” The song serves as a powerful addition to her growing discography, which already includes standout tracks such as “When My Phone Dies,” “Mazzy Star Reminds Me of You,” and “how does it feel?”

With “Brand New Sneakers,” Rainlights further solidifies her place in the world of dreamy folk-pop, weaving her synesthetic experiences into the fabric of her music. This track, like the rest of her work, invites listeners into a world of vivid colors and emotions, creating a sense of belonging that is at once comforting and exhilarating. As she continues to develop her unique voice and expand her musical horizons, Rainlights is undoubtedly an artist to watch in the coming years.

VC Pines – “Colours”

VC Pines, also known as Jack Mercer, dives into the complex landscape of human emotions and mental health with his latest single “Colours,” a track that showcases his unique blend of alt-soul, indie, and R&B. Drawing on his personal experiences and synesthetic perspective, the song tells a story of longing, vulnerability, and the search for connection through vividly painted lyrical imagery.

“Colours” captures the essence of VC Pines’ introspective storytelling, with lyrics such as “Now I’m lost outside alone / I wish I had known better than to call / And to leave you alone” and “Why don’t you wanna wake up? / Tell me that I can come through / Why don’t you wanna find out? / Colours I can paint in your room.” Mercer’s evocative wordplay is further enhanced by the synesthetic associations that he has with his epilepsy, giving the track a unique sensory depth. With lines like “Mellow yellow shade in front of me / That brings me to my knees,” listeners are drawn into the colorful world that Mercer inhabits.

As part of his upcoming debut album, “MRI,” “Colours” represents a significant milestone for VC Pines, showcasing his growth as an artist and his determination to forge his own path in the alternative music scene. The single resonates with listeners seeking authenticity, emotional depth, and a fresh perspective on life’s challenges. With his ability to convey complex emotions through vibrant and nuanced storytelling, VC Pines has crafted a captivating track that leaves a lasting impression.

Thomas Jay – “Comfortable”

With his second single “Comfortable,” Thomas Jay offers a soulful exploration of the complexities that arise when friends cross the line into romance. Produced in collaboration with Peter Anderson (Beach For Tiger) and Joe White (Youth Club/J Hustl3), the track delves into the emotional turmoil that follows an intimate encounter between friends. Drawing from the rich musical influences of his childhood, including icons like Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder, Thomas Jay’s soulful voice and R&B-pop sensibilities shine through in this captivating song.

“Comfortable” is characterized by its raw and honest portrayal of the doubts and regrets that come with blurring the lines between friendship and romance. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of the late-night confusion, as Thomas Jay croons, “Am I feeling feelings when I’m feeling you / Cause it’s been a while since I have felt this comfortable / My mind can’t decide what I’m supposed to do / If we regret this, can we heal the damage?” Listeners are taken on an emotional journey as the artist grapples with the aftermath of a moment that could change everything.

As a follow-up to his successful debut single “Ease My Mind,” Thomas Jay continues to make a name for himself in the world of Neo-Soul and R&B-Pop with “Comfortable.” The song showcases not only his powerful vocals but also his vulnerability as a songwriter. With more singles, an EP, and a headline show planned for later in the year, 2023 is shaping up to be a breakthrough year for Thomas Jay. “Comfortable” solidifies his reputation as a dynamic and captivating artist who isn’t afraid to delve into the emotional complexities of human relationships.

Izzie Derry – “Wasted Love”

Izzie Derry’s latest single, “Wasted Love,” is a raw and powerful exploration of the anger and pain following a heart-wrenching breakup. This emotionally charged track, influenced by artists like Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette, and Tori Amos, showcases Izzie’s ability to delve into the complexities of post-relationship emotions. The lyrics pull no punches, with lines like “I wish I never met you / Or maybe just that I never let you close enough to regret you,” illustrating the depth of her emotional turmoil.

“Wasted Love” is a testament to Izzie Derry’s growth as an artist, both lyrically and musically. The chorus, “What wasted love / What wasted time / What wasted affection / Of mine,” reveals a bitterness that many can relate to when dealing with the fallout of a broken relationship. Throughout the track, Izzie’s vocal performance is full of raw emotion, matching the intensity of the song’s theme.

As part of her upcoming debut album, “Wasted Love” is a promising preview of what fans can expect from this talented singer-songwriter. With her unique blend of heartfelt lyrics and engaging melodies, Izzie Derry is poised to make a lasting impact on the music scene. As she continues to mature as an artist and explore new genres and arrangements, it’s clear that her music will continue to resonate with listeners who have experienced the emotional turmoil of love and loss.

Tristan Armstrong – “The Lender”

Tristan Armstrong’s “The Lender” offers a captivating glimpse into the challenges and beauty of city life, highlighting the resilience of the human spirit amidst the struggles that come with urban living. With an opening line inspired by an overheard conversation in Toronto’s Kensington Market, Armstrong sets the stage for a vivid portrayal of life in the city, using evocative lyrics to tell the story of a person just trying to get by.

Armstrong’s knack for transforming everyday moments into poetic narratives is evident throughout the song, with lines such as “I was breaking bread on the hood of this broke down wagon / There was just enough wind up my back to keep my sails from dragging.” These lyrics emphasize the constant battle for survival in the urban landscape, while also alluding to the fleeting beauty found in life’s simple moments. The chorus, “Deals gone wrong with friends far gone / That left me on my own / And tie me to the beauty of / A life of the unknown,” speaks to the resilience and adaptability required to navigate the uncertainty of city life.

As a seasoned musician with a decade of experience in the Toronto music scene, Tristan Armstrong has honed his craft as a composer, instrumentalist, and lyricist. “The Lender” showcases his ability to create deeply engaging music with a strong sense of place, drawing on his roots and experiences to craft songs that resonate with listeners. With a rich history of collaborations and performances, Armstrong’s unique blend of grand romanticism and introspection makes “The Lender” a powerful addition to his growing body of work.

Alan Chang – “Love As A Weapon”

Alan Chang’s latest single “Love As A Weapon” explores the complexities of relationships, particularly those involving both personal and professional connections. Drawing from his own experience, Chang delves into the emotional turmoil that arises when a long-standing friendship is tested by conflicts of interest. As the musical director for Michael Bublé for 19 years, Chang’s decision to part ways with the singer served as the catalyst for this heartfelt and introspective anthem.

The lyrics in “Love As A Weapon” capture the emotional tension and frustration that had been building over time, with lines such as “my quiet’s turned to anger” and the powerful chorus “don’t let me use your love as a weapon…now I put your trust into question.” These lines reveal Chang’s internal struggle as both a friend and coworker to Bublé, emphasizing the difficulty of navigating personal and professional boundaries.

Sonically, the track offers a throwback to 2000s pop music, infused with a jazzy flair that sets it apart. The infectious piano motif, the steady rhythm of the drums, and the layered vocals in the chorus create an earworm that belies the song’s serious subject matter. With production by Ryan Lerman and mixing by Russell Elevado, “Love As A Weapon” is a testament to Chang’s artistic versatility and the talent he has assembled for his anticipated album.

As an emerging solo artist, Alan Chang brings an impressive backstory as Michael Bublé’s musical director and pianist. With his forthcoming album, Check Please, Chang showcases his skills as a singer-songwriter and jazz pianist, creating a collection of superbly crafted pop songs steeped in jazz influences. Fans of buoyant melodies and engaging storytelling will eagerly anticipate Chang’s solo debut and the opportunity to experience his music in a live setting.

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