Weekly New Releases: Sleepy Pearls, Evelyn Cools, Digging for Kanky, Luke Sital-Singh, Olivia Grace, Brook Sause, Henri-Julien

As we head into another exciting New Release Friday, we find ourselves with an array of fresh tracks, each boasting unique flavors and styles. This week’s lineup showcases a broad spectrum of talent, from seasoned veterans making their triumphant returns, to rising stars ready to leave their indelible marks on the music scene. Let’s dive in and explore what this week has to offer. Whether you’re a fan of indie rock, conscious hip-hop, or soulful electronic pop, there’s something for everyone in this diverse mix of new releases. So tune in, turn up the volume, and immerse yourself in the vibrant soundscapes of these freshly-minted tunes.

Sleepy Pearls – “Pardon Me”

With “Pardon Me,” Sleepy Pearls gracefully navigates the timeless conundrum of unvoiced affection, in a song that’s as delicate as the emotions it depicts. The track, draped in a vintage glow, echoes with the warmth of analog home recording, heightening the intimacy of the lyrical journey. From the opening chords, there’s a sense of nostalgia, a longing for the past that the song’s sonic landscape elegantly mirrors.

The lyrics’ narrative is a tender exploration of infatuation, the protagonist’s wonderment at the beauty and allure of their beloved. It’s an achingly relatable portrayal of love, a snapshot of the exact moment when admiration teeters on the precipice of deeper feelings. The desire for understanding, for connection, for reciprocity, is conveyed with a vulnerable honesty that’s as endearing as it is poignant.

The true strength of “Pardon Me” lies in its simplicity, with the rawness of the emotion taking center stage. There’s a sense of yearning, a plea for reciprocation, but equally an acceptance of the uncertainty inherent in love. Sleepy Pearls has crafted a song that isn’t just a display of unspoken affection, but an invitation into the tender intricacies of their heart. It’s a testament to the beauty of vulnerability and the power of a song to encapsulate the complexity of human emotion. And in this case, it’s a love letter, neatly folded and slipped under the door, waiting to be discovered.

Evelyn Cools – “Control”

With “Control,” Evelyn Cools taps into the universal experience of wrestling with our inner demons, transmuting it into a powerful narrative about mental health and addiction. The song feels intimate, like a diary entry whispered into the listener’s ear, an exploration of the paradox of comfort and detriment cohabiting in the human psyche. Her emotional vulnerability is palpable as she sings about the fear of losing our best selves to the vices we hold onto for comfort. The enchanting harmonies that permeate the track provide a soothing counterbalance, a testament to the resilience of the human spirit even in its most fragile state.

Cools’ multicultural background and nomadic lifestyle have undoubtedly informed her unique sound. This track, in particular, seems to carry an undercurrent of her travels, a narrative of self-transformation shaped by the various corners of the world she’s called home. The Laurel Canyon-inspired sound, paired with her vivid storytelling, transports listeners into a realm that feels simultaneously familiar and novel. Her distinct musical voice seems to be the product of an intricate tapestry woven from the threads of her diverse influences, from Stevie Nicks and Simon & Garfunkel to Lana Del Rey and Angus & Julia Stone.

“Control” is a testament to Cools’ growth as an artist since her beginnings in the vibrant London music scene. Her songwriting skills have evidently matured over time, and her capacity to create emotive landscapes through music has only become more profound. With the anticipation of her forthcoming collection, Wilder Mind, her fans are undoubtedly eager to see where her musical journey will take her next. If “Control” is any indication, Cools continues to solidify her place in the music industry as a powerful voice echoing the human experience in all its complex beauty.

Digging for Kanky – “Criminals and Heroes (feat. Kaiden Nolan)”

“Criminals and Heroes,” the latest offering from Northern trip-hop duo Digging for Kanky, sees them collaborating with indie rock sensation Kaiden Nolan, resulting in a track that is as intriguing as it is thematically rich. The song notably adopts a brighter tone, although it doesn’t entirely forsake the band’s trademark dark undertones. This delicate balance between light and dark is fitting for a song that engages with the duality of society, embodied in its title: ‘Criminals and Heroes.’

The lyrics, loaded with vibrant metaphors and evocative imagery, render a stark portrayal of the contradictions that define our existence. The refrain “The essence of forever, Is to know that light and dark exist together” is a profound meditation on the complexity of life, reinforcing the song’s central theme. Lines like “Life is a simple fortune and it’s rarely kept by the brave” and “There’s a light in the dark that we’re drawn to, like a Moth to the flame” provide a nuanced exploration of courage, sacrifice, and the human proclivity towards self-destruction.

Digging for Kanky and Nolan prove to be an excellent pairing on this track, their contrasting styles serving to underscore the theme of duality. This song is not only a noteworthy departure from their previous work but also a tantalizing preview of what the duo might have in store for 2023. If “Criminals and Heroes” is a sign of things to come, listeners have much to look forward to from this innovative act. Their willingness to experiment with their sound while maintaining a firm grasp on their thematic roots makes them a standout act in the trip-hop genre.

Luke Sital-Singh – “Hallelujah Anyway”

“Hallelujah Anyway,” the arresting new single from UK singer-songwriter and producer Luke Sital-Singh, marks a poignant entry in his upcoming Strange Weather EP, set to release on June 9 via Nettwerk. The song, a potent blend of intimate lyrics and sparse instrumentation, invites listeners into a deeply personal narrative. The verses, driven by the melancholic timbre of a sixties-era electric piano, set a stage for a chorus that shines with an uplifting affirmation in the face of long days and fading nights.

The essence of “Hallelujah Anyway” lies in its exploration of life’s contradictions and the struggle to find joy amidst adversity. The song touches on themes of mental health and the challenges of maintaining optimism in the face of relentless worry. It serves as a heartfelt anthem not only for Luke, but also for his relationship with his wife, a testament to their shared worldview and enduring partnership. It’s a song about resilience, about singing ‘hallelujah’ even when the world seems intent on drowning out the melody.

The anticipation for this song has been palpable since its debut in the ABC drama Station 19, and it’s easy to see why it landed at #2 on Tunefind’s 2022 year-end “Best Unreleased Songs” list. Accompanied by a captivating video featuring the “Hearts Afire Community Choir Singers,” directed by Grammy-nominated Arnae Batson, “Hallelujah Anyway” is a worthy addition to Luke’s growing discography. As we await the release of the Strange Weather EP, this single stands as a testament to Luke Sital-Singh’s talent for creating music that is as introspective as it is universally resonant.

Olivia Grace – “Sundays”

“Sundays,” the latest offering from alt-pop singer-songwriter Olivia Grace, is a poignant musical journal entry, a testament to her resilience and determination. The track was penned during a period of severe personal trial, when Grace was undergoing dialysis three times a week. The song’s introspective lyrics encapsulate a universal longing for simpler times and the solace of familiar experiences – a sentiment that resonates deeply given the backdrop of her personal journey.

The production of “Sundays” exhibits an impressive synergy between Grace and the Paris-based production duo Her Demons. Despite the geographical distance, the collaborative effort is seamless, resulting in a striking balance between the song’s raw emotionality and the intricate electronic soundscapes. This track, born in the intimacy of Grace’s bedroom, manages to convey a sense of vulnerability that is both touching and relatable, echoing the longing for the comfort and tranquility of a typical Sunday.

Grace’s journey as an artist has been marked by both remarkable achievements and personal challenges. From her debut EP in 2018, which featured the successful single “Higher Ground,” to her collaboration with notable artists like CANNONS and Coeur de Pirate, her growth as an artist has been a testament to her talent and resilience. Yet, it is her personal story of overcoming life-threatening illness that has added an extra layer of depth to her music. “Sundays” is not just a song—it’s a reflection of Grace’s personal journey, a symbol of her determination to create compelling music even in the face of adversity. As she continues to use her platform to raise awareness and empower others, Olivia Grace is an artist who resonates on and off the stage.

Brooke Sause – “How Long”

The latest single “How Long” by Brooke Sause is a masterclass in evoking raw emotion through music. The song is a haunting ballad that delves deep into the aftermath of heartbreak, exploring the painful quest for clarity and closure. Sause and her sister and collaborator, Breana, have crafted a poignant narrative that not only stirs the heart but also lingers in the mind. The fusion of pop-tinged melodies and the gentle strum of acoustic instrumentation creates a musical canvas that allows the song’s deep-seated pain and reflection to shine through.

Sause’s talent for creating emotionally charged music is not new. Since her debut single “ex that’s not my ex” in 2021, she has been steadily gaining momentum, with follow-up hits like “More” and “fallin for you,” reaching impressive streaming milestones. However, “How Long” signifies a new depth and maturity in Sause’s songwriting. The lyrics carry the weight of introspection, as she dissects past memories and overlooked red flags, a process many listeners will find relatable. The universality of the song’s theme, coupled with Sause’s ability to vocalize the intimate intricacies of heartbreak, makes “How Long” an experience akin to a cathartic conversation with a close friend.

Yet, what makes Brooke Sause a standout talent is not just her knack for creating captivating music but also her tenacity. As a 22-year-old law student balancing a burgeoning music career, Sause is emblematic of the contemporary artist, balancing her passion with practicality. The anticipation is palpable for her debut EP, expected later this year, and if “How Long” is any indication, it promises to be a collection of songs that, like Sause herself, are unafraid to delve into the complexities of the human experience.

Henri-Julien – “St. James Bay”

Henri Julien’s latest single, “St. James Bay,” is a gentle yet evocative reflection of his nostalgic ties to his Canadian roots. The track, rich with indie-folk sensibilities, is a beautiful embodiment of the singer’s storytelling prowess. Julien’s lyrics, which draw heavily from imagery and emotion, offer listeners a nostalgic journey into the artist’s childhood spent in rural Ontario. In “St. James Bay,” the crashing waters, crumbling towers of clay, and shallow waters leading astray serve as potent metaphors for the passage of time and the elusive nature of memory.

The song’s lyrics, “light of summer on your newborn face / winds of winter, the warmth of your embrace,” wonderfully capture the essence of Julien’s thematic focus in his forthcoming album, “Fonder with Time.” The juxtaposition of different seasons – summer and winter – may symbolize the cyclical nature of life, and the fleeting moments that become more cherished as time goes by. The lyrics also evoke a sense of longing for simpler times, underpinning the overarching theme of the album – that the present moment can never be fully understood and appreciated until it has passed.

Julien’s decision to launch “Fonder with Time” from his current home in Barcelona, Spain, adds an interesting layer to the context of “St. James Bay.” It speaks to the universality of nostalgia and the human yearning for familiar places and times, regardless of where one might find themselves in the present. As Julien continues to experiment with his music and film in this vibrant city, listeners can eagerly anticipate more moving narratives that blend his Canadian heritage with his newfound Spanish influences. “St. James Bay” is an assured promise of more introspective and evocative work to come from this talented artist.

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