Top Ten Thursday – Goblynne, IDA JANE, Anna O, Colorado & Company, Glass Mansions, BALTHVS, Ashcoustics, OKTOBER, pantology, and Rebel Kicks

Happy Thursday, everyone! As we continue to navigate through another bustling week, there’s nothing like a curated playlist to keep us in high spirits and bring that much-needed sonic sparkle into our lives. As is tradition, today marks the return of our beloved Top Ten Thursday – where we bring you the freshest tracks that have been lighting up our headphones, reverberating through our speakers, and stirring our souls.

From emerging artists making bold statements, to established acts returning with their classic sounds and innovative offerings – we’ve got a little bit of everything to cater to every taste and mood. So sit back, get your headphones ready, and let’s dive into this week’s eclectic collection of auditory gems! Ready for a journey through sound? Let’s get started!

Goblynne – “Where This Goes”

Goblynne’s “Where This Goes” is a poignant exploration of the exhilarating, all-consuming euphoria of love, rooted in the uniquely personal and intimate experiences of the nonbinary artist. Molly Kirschenbaum, known on stage as Goblynne, crafts a narrative that is both universally relatable in its raw emotion and powerfully personal in its reflection on their own relationship. The track oscillates between the delicate and the robust, mirroring the capriciousness of love itself. “I think every time anyone falls in love, we still think we’ve just discovered it for the first time. That’s what this song is supposed to feel like. Making that discovery,” Goblynne explains. This enchanting track captures that very essence – of standing on the precipice of the known and unknown, teetering between fear and longing, forever chasing the enigmatic allure of love’s promise.

“Where This Goes” is a prelude to Goblynne’s forthcoming album, Hot! : (. Kirschenbaum won the Hollywood Encore Producers’ Award for their one-person show of the same name in 2021, and it seems their musical trajectory has only continued to ascend since then. The upcoming album promises a deep dive into the complexities and nuances of performative femininity, drawing from Goblynne’s own experiences as a nonbinary individual navigating a world entrenched in traditional gender norms. The project is an ambitious endeavor to liberate the ‘blonde, blue-eyed’ epitome of Western beauty from its traditional shackles, casting it in a new, more nuanced light – a little tortured, a little haunted. If “Where This Goes” is any indication, we’re in for an insightful exploration of identity, beauty, and the human condition in its many hues.

IDA JANE – “Misery”

“Misery” by IDA JANE is a profound examination of an individual who had seemingly achieved all they had ever desired. The song recounts the life of a man, affluent and successful, who took pride in the animals he hunted, killed, and showcased as trophies on the walls of his lavish home. His mind was teeming with tales of his conquests, basking in the attention these afforded him. Yet, beneath this veneer of accomplishment and adulation, a deep sadness pervaded his existence. Despite his wealth and accolades, he felt an emptiness, a void that nothing seemed to fill. He often found himself alone in his mansion, surrounded by his trophies, haunted by the ghosts of his past.

The narrative takes a turn when the man meets a young woman, different from anyone he had encountered before, brimming with warmth and kindness. She sees his concealed sorrow and strives to reach out to him. But he rebuffs her, too fearful to face his own demons. Even as she continues her efforts to help him, he chooses to remain entrenched in his self-constructed world of affluence and prestige. Realizing she couldn’t change him, she eventually decides to move on, leaving him once again alone, enveloped by his trophies and the specters of his past. The man realizes too late that the sadness he feels was his own doing and that no amount of wealth or success could ever fill the emptiness within him. He has lost the only person who ever cared for him, and now, he is truly alone. As he sits in his mansion, he finally grasps the true meaning of the lyrics he once heard in a song: “The Misery is yours.” He had created his own misery and now must bear the consequences. He had missed his only chance at happiness, and all that remains is the void he has himself orchestrated.

Anna O – “Set It On Fire”

Anna O returns to the limelight with the fiery single, “Set It On Fire,” released on May 19. Hailing from Perth, Anna O continues to add fuel to Australia’s thriving electro-pop scene. Her newest track doesn’t deviate from her reputation for crafting emotive alt-pop music – it delivers a compelling fusion of pulsating beats, entrancing dreamlike production, and lyricism steeped in raw emotion. A standout feature of the song is the sawtooth synth bass, which provides an edgy undertone, harmonizing seamlessly with Anna O’s potent vocals. Each soaring chorus radiates an energy that’s both liberating and euphoric, igniting a sense of catharsis that’s impossible to ignore.

“Set It On Fire” is a candid exploration of self-discovery and resilience through life’s trials. Anna O channels her personal struggles—battles with post-natal depression, the overwhelming responsibilities of motherhood, and the fear of confronting a diagnosis—into her lyrics, serving up a poignant narrative that resonates on a deeply personal level. The song also marks her successful collaboration with producer Luke Minness, hinting at a promising array of forthcoming releases. Following her previous single, which saw rotations on Double J and support from various platforms, “Set It On Fire” reinforces Anna O’s commitment to her craft and her rising stature in the electro-pop landscape. This track offers an immersive sonic experience that demands attention and exemplifies why Anna O is one of Australia’s most captivating electro-pop artists.

Colorado & Company – “Still”

Sydney-based Indie Rock band Colorado & Company present a powerful journey through emotions and self-reflection in their Americana-themed track, “Still.” The band, consisting of Heath Jensen, Daniele Montarulo, Sam Zanelli, Andy Collingwood, and Matthew Ciao, navigate an introspective terrain, harnessing the poetic potency of their lyrics to tell a moving story of internal struggle and eventual tranquility.

“Still” plays out like a heartfelt prayer, a meditation on the power of internal forces echoed in natural metaphors. The recurring motif of fire, whether on lips or within a heart, paints a picture of intense passion and longing. Meanwhile, images of mountains, oceans, and crumbling earth lend a sense of grandeur to the emotions experienced. The refrain, “Be still my heart and sing my soul,” is an impassioned plea for calm amidst the tumult, suggesting a desire for inner peace and a release from the chaos. Through the earthy imagery and introspective plea, “Still” invites listeners on a journey of personal awakening and introspection, echoing the Americana spirit of vast landscapes and profound personal journeys. By channeling their own emotional landscapes into a rich tapestry of song, Colorado & Company have crafted an evocative piece that resonates deeply with the listener.

Glass Mansions – “Nearsighted”

Straight from the vibrant music scene of Austin, Texas, Glass Mansions makes a triumphant return with their latest offering, “Nearsighted.” The song is a fervid exploration of the tantalizing seduction of surrender, and the pain and longing that often accompanies an elusive desire. Confronting the ’emotional purgatory’ of being caught between fulfillment and yearning, the track serves as a mirror to the relentless struggle with the self.

“Nearsighted” features an intoxicating blend of provocative lyricism and potent melody. The chorus, “Let the bullet come for me / I’ll go down with both hands up / If a hit’s what I need / What I need… Tell me what I need” is particularly emblematic of the song’s motif. It hammers home the visceral frustration and the raw allure of desire, cloaked in the intricate blanket of synths and pounding rhythms that are synonymous with Glass Mansion’s signature sound. The band’s grounding in Austin’s thriving indie music scene is clearly reflected in the track’s robust production and the group’s relentless push at the boundaries of their sound. The vivid imagery of being “dragged through life reluctantly,” and the constant oscillation between color and black-and-white scenes in their music video, adds a layer of artistic depth that embodies their unique blend of visual and auditory storytelling.

As Glass Mansions straddle the line between dark introspection and the explosive release of pent-up emotion, “Nearsighted” promises to be another stepping stone in their evolving musical journey, adding more layers to their multifaceted discography. We eagerly anticipate what the band will bring to the table in their upcoming releases.

BALTHVS – “Ojos Verdes”

From the vibrant musical scene of Colombia comes BALTHVS with their newest track, “Ojos Verdes”. The trio, known for their masterful blend of styles from Middle Eastern Music to Disco, House, and Funk to Psychedelia, and Dub Reggae, offers yet another gem, painting an intricate soundscape that explores the dichotomy of pleasure and destruction. The group’s propensity for live improvisation and energy is evident in the vibrant arrangement, the song undulating like a mirage between the heat of a carnal desire and the chill of potential loss.

“Ojos Verdes” invokes the intense allure of green eyes, repeating the phrase “Ojos Ojos Verdes” as a haunting mantra, a call to an insatiable desire. The chorus, “Ojos Ojos Verdes que llaman / Prenden / Prenden el Alma” captures this seduction, igniting the soul with a fire that’s both destructive and elevating. This consuming desire is reinforced by the lines “Ojos Ojos Verdes que queman / Me consumen pero me elevan,” hinting at the tantalizing pleasure of that which is inherently destructive. However, there’s an undercurrent of inevitability in the repeated “Ya no van a estar,” a stark reminder of the transient nature of such desires. The pulsating beat and captivating rhythmic structure add to the song’s psychedelic aura, mirroring the volatile emotions the lyrics convey.

In “Ojos Verdes,” BALTHVS continues their successful foray into psychedelic fusion, providing an experience that’s both sonically adventurous and emotionally resonant. This, coupled with their relentless creative output and growing international recognition, makes them a band to keep an eye on, as they continue to elevate their unique blend of sounds and stories in the global music scene.

Ashcoustics – “It’s Your Turn”

Ashcoustics, the South African Canadian artist known for her deeply personal and emotive songwriting, returns with “It’s Your Turn”, a poignant exploration of unrequited love. In her unique indie style that melds pop, rock, alternative, country, and folk, she paints a heart-wrenching narrative that is as relatable as it is raw. This track serves as a testament to Ashcoustics’ skill in weaving her own experiences and lessons into songs, creating sonic vignettes that resonate deeply with listeners.

At the heart of “It’s Your Turn” is the deeply affecting hook, “Maybe I broke my own heart, wanting to be loved by you.” This introspective line encapsulates the struggle of navigating a one-sided love, filled with longing, pain, and the bittersweet acknowledgment of self-inflicted hurt. Through these words, Ashcoustics communicates the stark reality of desiring someone who does not reciprocate the feeling, and the toll it can take on one’s self-esteem and self-perception. Her voice, imbued with a raw honesty, further emphasizes this theme, ensuring that every listener feels the impact of her words.

In “It’s Your Turn”, Ashcoustics channels her experiences into a universal sentiment of heartbreak and resilience, demonstrating her gift for empathetic storytelling. It is in such moments of authenticity that she truly shines, reminding listeners that even in the midst of pain, the power to overcome and move forward lies within. Her rich blend of indie and other genres, alongside her emotive lyricism, mark her as an artist to watch in the indie music scene.

OKTOBER – “Father”

OKTOBER, the mysterious witch and self-proclaimed recipient of songs from autumn elves, graces the music world with her debut EP “Everyone’s Sorry.” The focus track of this release, “Father,” beautifully closes out the deeply emotional exploration of love and its absence in various interpersonal relationships. Released fittingly on Father’s Day, this song and its folky harmonies, intimate acoustic guitar, and tear-inducing lyrics offer a poignant dive into familial complexities and the search for identity. With a flair for the dramatic and an unyielding authenticity, OKTOBER engages listeners in a captivating musical journey.

“Father,” is an exemplar of OKTOBER’s striking lyrical prowess and emotional transparency. Her folk-inspired sound, full of lush harmonies and finely crafted acoustic melodies, serves as the perfect backdrop for her heartrending narrative. In its vulnerability, “Father” resonates profoundly, shedding light on the often-avoided discussion of ‘dead daddy issues.’ As a queer artist who relocated from Kaiserslautern to Berlin in 2017, OKTOBER incorporates her own experiences and challenges into her music, ultimately resulting in a hauntingly beautiful, deeply personal piece of art. Her raw expression and touching authenticity are palpable throughout the song, firmly establishing her place in the music world.

pantology – “Dear”

A product of multi-year introspection and a masterful blend of genres, pantology’s latest track, “Dear,” pulls you into a space of deep gratitude and reverence. This Brooklyn-based artist, renowned for his fusion of classical piano training, jazz undertones, and hip-hop influences, has crafted an instrumental gem that is as layered as it is emotive. The track combines self-produced, multi-instrumental layers with a profound piano solo recorded on a family Steinway, creating an auditory journey that pays homage to those who have supported him. The first single off his upcoming EP, “Tours,” “Dear” is a testament to pantology’s ability to mold music into a complex, deeply personal narrative.

As an artist who effortlessly integrates funk, soul, and hip-hop with his classical and jazz training, pantology delivers a unique sound that is simultaneously rooted in tradition and authentically fresh. “Dear” exemplifies this style, with its steady groove, warm vocal textures, and deeply introspective tones, making it a standout track in the world of post-lo-fi and electronic beat productions. It is no surprise that pantology’s music has found its place among genre leaders such as Rob Araujo, Slowyaroll, and The Kount, in compilations, editorial playlists, and millions of streams. “Dear” further solidifies pantology’s position as a rising star in the contemporary music scene, while his previous singles, “Dragonfly 44” and “Circadian,” have already earned accolades, including features on NPR’s All-New Jazz and Spotify’s Best Jazz Songs of 2022.

Rebel Kicks – “Electrophoria”

New York City’s indie-rock powerhouse Rebel Kicks grapples with the intricate dance between humanity and artificial intelligence in their new single, “Electrophoria”. A genre-bending exploration, the track pairs the band’s indie-rock roots with a pulsating electronic soundscape that is both mesmerizing and deeply danceable. This offering comes as a contemplation on accepting or denying the inevitable, manifesting an aural sense of entrapment and the dawning realization that escape might not be desirable.

Rebel Kicks, the brainchild of brothers Anthony and Steven Babino, has seen a remarkable evolution since their humble beginnings when the only certainty was their shared passion for music. Today, they stand as an indie-pop band with a rock foundation and an electronic infusion, a sound that came into its own after the duo began releasing their own material in 2018. Their distinctive sonic identity, which encompasses bold electronic soundscapes, melodic basslines, powerful guitar riffs, and emotive lead vocals, has often been compared to modern alt-rock luminaries such as Grouplove, Portugal. The Man, The Killers, and Kings of Leon.

This fearless sonic exploration is further amplified by their multi-instrumental prowess and an openness to collaborate with industry stalwarts. They have worked with renowned producers and songwriters such as Abe Dertner, Jeff Blue, Jason Pennock, Russ DeSalvo, and Jimmy Greco, showcasing their versatility and commitment to innovative music-making. Their discography is a rich tapestry of striking tracks, including the defiant “Fall of the American Dream,” the futuristic stadium-rocker “It’s You,” and the electric riff-soaked anthem “Hamartia.”

Rebel Kicks is more than just a band for the Babino brothers – it’s a deeply personal journey. Their narrative is woven with the bonds of family, friendship, and a shared love for music that propels them forward. As they look towards their upcoming performance at The Cutting Room in New York in November, the release of “Electrophoria” marks another milestone in their continually unfolding musical odyssey. With each new release, Rebel Kicks continues to redefine what it means to be a genre-defying indie rock band in today’s musical landscape.

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