Weeknight Wrap Up: Mayor’s House, Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Leah Tash, Aris & Edi, Pacific Avenue, Zhaklina, Sail Cassady, Annie Bartholomew, Colton Cerny, and Hera

Good evening, folks! It’s midweek, and while the weekend might still be a tantalizing two days away, we’re here to inject some auditory energy into your Wednesday night. Welcome back to our regular ‘Weeknight Wrap Up’, where we bring you a selection of the standout tracks that have been circulating our playlists today. Whether your Wednesday was filled with back-to-back Zoom meetings or a marathon study session, we’ve got the perfect sonic antidote for you. From heart-pounding beats to soul-soothing melodies, we’ve got something for every mood. So take a breather, slide into those comfy earphones, and let’s immerse ourselves in the vibrant soundscapes that have been delighting us today. Welcome to the ‘Weeknight Wrap Up!’

Mayor’s House – “Emma”

In their newest single “Emma,” Mayor’s House proves once again that their multifaceted musical skills and deep emotional resonance can conjure stirring alt-rock magic. The New York-based band paints a vivid, empathetic portrait of the titular Emma, merging her story of navigating queer identity in a conservative Canadian town with frontwoman Emily Morris’ own experiences. Morris’ songwriting is both deeply personal and expansively communal, celebrating the profound connections that can form in the unlikeliest of circumstances. The track itself is a powerful showcase of the band’s dynamic musicianship, weaving a tapestry of tender harmonies and lush guitar lines over a driving percussive backbone, creating an immersive sonic landscape that feels as expansive as it does intimate.

Beyond the lyrical poignancy, what makes “Emma” particularly compelling is the band’s chameleonic musical capabilities. From swapping between instruments to navigating diverse genres, Mayor’s House is a group of multi-instrumentalists whose expansive palette adds a unique layer to their sound. This band of lifelong friends, having honed their craft since high school, ensures that each track is a surprise package, not just in theme, but also in instrumentation and arrangement. The song is a testament to the band’s growing maturity and a worthy follow-up to their debut single “Poetry.” With “Emma,” Mayor’s House stands up as an alt-rock act of depth and daring, showcasing an adventurous approach to narrative songwriting and a willingness to explore the lesser-traversed territories of their musical landscape.

Brooklyn Funk Essentials – “Intuition”

With their 7th studio album “Intuition,” Brooklyn Funk Essentials (BFE) reaffirm their place as torchbearers of the modern funk movement. This masterfully assembled collection exhibits the band’s knack for intricately designed R&B, discofunk, and poly-riddims, tied together with contagious grooves and pop-inspired hooks. The title track, “Intuition,” serves as the album’s jewel with its catchy blend of Brubeck, Chaka Khan, and Nino Rota influences, embodying the spirit of the ensemble’s playful experimentation. Alison Limerick’s soulful vocals meld seamlessly with Desmond Foster’s guitar work, culminating in a layered sonic experience backed by Hux’s irresistible drumming, showcasing the band’s renewed vitality since their 2019 album ‘Stay Good.’

Diving deeper into ‘Intuition,’ we find BFE’s fusion of classic funk elements with contemporary sensibilities reaching its peak. Tracks like ‘Rollin’’ and ‘AA Side Single’ brim with ’70s soul nostalgia and brass-tinged riffs, with grooves that feel as though they’ve been carved from the heart of the funk tradition. The album also showcases poetic contributions from original member Everton Sylvester, whose profound tribute to single mothers in ‘Mama’ weaves together heartfelt sentiments with the enchanting trombone lines of Ebba Âsman. From the funk-heavy ‘Scream!’ to the introspective R&B reflection of ‘Unkissed,’ ‘Intuition’ encapsulates BFE’s unabashed diversity and musical prowess. With this release, Brooklyn Funk Essentials solidify their musical identity, continuing their legacy as creators of innovative, genre-bending soundscapes, ever true to the pulse of funk that drives their creative intuition.

Leah Tash – “Water in that Well”

With her latest single “Water in That Well,” Leah Tash encapsulates an elegant synergy between the vintage echoes of Americana and the grittiness of modern blues, revealing a profoundly rooted connection to her musical forebears like The Carter Family and Bessie Smith. Born in New York City in 1995, Tash’s sound evokes the timeless allure of bygone eras while retaining a vibrant resonance with the contemporary musical landscape. She threads together elements of folk, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, and country into a unique tapestry that stands as a testament to her versatile artistry.

“Water in That Well” unfurls a narrative of caution and contemplation. The lyrics revolve around a dichotomy of self-doubt and cautious optimism, probing themes of love, trust, and self-realization. Tash’s lyrical prowess is demonstrated as she explores the dynamics of personal vulnerability — “I’ve got a lot of love/lovin, I’ve got a lot of love / And if I give it all to you what will you do?” — leading into deeper questions of trust, “What if one day I trust you? / Will there be water in that well?”. The song is a journey through her mind’s introspections, evoking imagery of a seeker on a quest for authenticity. Throughout, Tash’s expressive vocal delivery amplifies the emotional depth of the track, painting a vivid picture of personal discovery and resilience. “Water in That Well” stands as a clear embodiment of Leah Tash’s distinctive Americana sound, threaded with powerful sentiments and grounded in a rich musical lineage.

Aris & Edi – “Day By Day”

In “Day By Day,” the burgeoning Romanian duo Aris & Edi chronicle their journey to artistic prominence, weaving together strands of ambition, resilience, and nostalgia in a dynamic sonic tapestry. Aris, who turns past traumas into compelling lyrical narratives, delivers his verses with a masterful flow that harmonizes with Edi’s meticulously crafted beats. The track is a paean to perseverance, designed to energize those engaged in their own grinds and perfect for playlists centered around hip-hop, urban, old school, and underground music.

Aris & Edi are the embodiment of a fresh breeze blowing through the Romanian urban music scene. Aris’s lyrical prowess, forged in the crucible of personal challenges, is complemented by Edi’s deep-seated love for production. Their collaborative efforts result in music that is raw, real, and relentlessly captivating. Despite being in the early stages of their career, their versatility defies categorization, and their enormous potential signals an exciting future. “Day By Day” encapsulates Aris & Edi’s creative vigor and vision, serving as an anthem for their artistic ascent and a testament to their promising future.

Pacific Avenue – “Strawberry Daydream”

From the sun-kissed shores of Australia comes Pacific Avenue’s debut album ‘Flowers,’ whose leading track ‘Strawberry Daydream’ offers a delicious taste of the band’s unique blend of alt-rock. The song is an evocative fusion of the breezy, feel-good melodies that are quintessentially Australian with elements of UK rock – think a cocktail of The Stone Roses, Primal Scream, and modern influences like Stereophonics and Blossoms. This seamless blend delivers an auditory experience that’s both nostalgically familiar and refreshingly progressive. The foursome’s expanding global footprint is clear, as they’ve shared the stage with names like DMA’s, Louis Tomlinson, and 5 Seconds of Summer, and their impending appearance at The Great Escape festival only further underscores their potential.

Drawing inspiration from rock & roll legends such as The Beatles and Rolling Stones, as well as Australian trailblazers Jet and Silverchair, Pacific Avenue infuse their music with an energy that’s uniquely their own. Emerging from Gerringong in 2017, the band has enjoyed a rapid ascent, producing hit tracks like ‘Something Good’ and ‘Easy Love.’ As triple j Unearthed Feature Artists, they’ve garnered high praise, with a slew of successful tours, festival appearances, and chart-topping singles under their belts. With the release of ‘Spin Me Like Your Records’ and the unveiling of their debut album ‘Flowers,’ Pacific Avenue is set to make 2023 a milestone year in their burgeoning career. ‘Strawberry Daydream’ encapsulates the band’s infectious alt-rock vibes and is a surefire reason to keep an ear out for Pacific Avenue.

Zhaklina – “Game Over”

Zhaklina, the unique alt-pop artist, makes an emphatic return with her latest single, “Game Over.” Balancing powerful lyrics such as “loved you more than you deserved, loved me less than I am worth” with her compelling vocals, Zhaklina weaves a tale of battling shame and finding empowerment amidst emotional wounds. The song, produced in collaboration with Nashville-based band Hollow Wake, resounds with a powerful message of strength and resilience. It tells listeners that when they realize that the power to overcome shame comes from within, that’s when the game is over.

Born in New York and of Albanian, Irish, and Greek heritage, Zhaklina is no stranger to the music scene. Her talent led her to tie for first place in the 2015 singing competition “The Audition,” and ever since, she’s been relentlessly pursuing her dream. Her music, characterized by soulful power, edgy approach, and emotive lyricism, insists on authentic connection and meaningful experiences. As someone whose faith is the driving force behind her music, Zhaklina strives to encourage her listeners to live from a place of feeling deeply loved. With the release of “Game Over,” Zhaklina continues to create a space for her audience to feel seen and heard while delivering a deeply empowering message. Her commitment to mental health awareness is evident not only in her music but also in her philanthropy, making her an artist worth following closely.

Sail Cassady – “Lefty”

Sail Cassady’s “Lefty” provides an intimate lens into the realm of perception, revealing how it shapes our understanding of the world despite its flaws and imperfections. The song’s lyrics act as a profound exploration of mental illness, echoing sentiments that range from the affirming “Please hold on to your worth so you’ll never forget your name” to the more troubled “you will smoke in your bed, hide away from the world.” The juxtaposition of these states of mind adds depth and nuance to the narrative, creating a vividly authentic portrayal of the mental health struggle.

“Lefty” serves as a guided tour through the human psyche, unveiling its many layers, from darkness to light, providing listeners with a space for healing and empathy. As the track progresses, it unfolds like a journey, leaving a deep impression on the listener’s mind. Sail Cassady exhibits an uncanny knack for translating complex emotional landscapes into sound, making “Lefty” a poignant and moving experience. This song is a testament to Sail Cassady’s ability to navigate challenging topics with sensitivity, making it a piece that should be appreciated for both its lyrical prowess and emotional depth.

Annie Bartholomew – “All For The Klondike’s Gold”

Annie Bartholomew’s “All For the Klondike’s Gold” captures a haunting narrative about loss, survival, and the harsh economic realities that drove women to take desperate measures in the past. Adapted from a 1901 miner’s poem, the song sheds light on the painful experiences of women left behind in the harsh Northland due to the deaths of their male companions. Bartholomew’s artistic approach aligns with her belief in utilizing the archive as a vital resource, bringing forgotten works back into the light.

Bartholomew, a songwriter and multimedia storyteller from Alaska, infuses her music with themes of survival, resilience, and revelry. “All For the Klondike’s Gold” is a testament to this, echoing with the ghosts of Alaska’s mining past. As an Alaskan, Bartholomew’s portrayal of the local narrative feels remarkably authentic and poignant. The repetitive lines “You lost your husband, you my son / And I my brother bold / Then let us weep our griefs are one / All for the Klondike’s gold” echo the shared sorrow of these women, bound together by a collective tragedy. This song is not just an ode to the forgotten, but a reminder of the resilience embedded in their narratives, making it a powerful piece that is a true reflection of Bartholomew’s artistry and commitment to her craft.

Colton Cerny – “Starlite Theatre”

Colton Cerny’s “Starlite Theatre” is a stirring exploration of a toxic relationship’s aftermath, delivered with a potent fusion of rock, roll, and country soul. The Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter and founding member of Shinglers, Cerny taps into his influences of old-time rock and roll to craft a narrative that is as relatable as it is evocative. The lyricism, deeply reflective and poignant, hits home with its raw portrayal of the emotional fallout of a damaged relationship.

“Starlite Theatre” stands as a testament to Cerny’s mastery over his craft, his ability to weave vivid stories with engaging lyrics and impactful melodies. The metaphor of a rusty nail awaiting the force of a train perfectly captures the feelings of despair and powerlessness that often accompany the end of a toxic relationship. Yet, there’s an underlying thread of resilience and the promise of a fresh start that adds an inspiring dimension to the narrative. This balance of hurt, betrayal, and hope defines “Starlite Theatre” as a cathartic anthem for anyone yearning for emotional closure and the strength to move forward.

Hera – “Radio Silence”

Hera’s new single, “Radio Silence,” is a hauntingly beautiful elegy to a relationship’s end, deeply imbued with an undercurrent of poignant heartbreak and personal introspection. Drawing from a wide spectrum of influences, from the folk-pop lyricism of Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell to ancient Icelandic lullabies, Hera’s songwriting on “Radio Silence” is both captivating and uniquely her own. Collaborating with renowned producer Barði Jóhansson, and recorded in Iceland and New Zealand, the song’s dynamic soundscape evokes a dreamlike world that offers an immersive space for listeners to navigate the aftermath of love lost.

The intimate pain of letting go echoes in the lines “Upping and leaving, as hard as the falling / You never expected me to. / Had to let go, c’os it hurt me like hell / To be hanging onto you.” The thematic core of “Radio Silence” is complemented by the raw emotional landscape crafted by Hera’s voice—its delicacy and power expertly layered over the resonant instrumentals. The song’s lyrical structure reflects the singer-songwriter’s astute sense for crafting impactful narratives. Building upon the success of her eponymous album and her chart-topping single ‘Process,’ Hera’s “Radio Silence” further solidifies her standing as a luminary in the music world, and a captivating storyteller capable of crafting deeply personal, resonant musical experiences.

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