Top New Releases: NAOM!, Derde Verde, Luciano Antonino, Felicia Lu, GENTLE, Hillary Capps, Ethan Artiga, Freyr, Ethan MacKay, and Ian McFarland

We are proud to present a curated selection of newly released music that not only excites our ears but also challenges our perceptions of what music can be. These are songs that weave complex narratives, elicit profound emotions, and showcase innovative production techniques. They come from artists who are not afraid to push boundaries and disrupt norms, promising to take you on an exhilarating sonic journey.

Whether you’re in the mood for an upbeat dance track, a heartfelt ballad, or a thrillingly unpredictable experimental piece, this collection of new releases has something for you. So, plug in your headphones or crank up your speakers, and get ready for an auditory adventure you won’t forget. Let’s dive in and discover what these fantastic artists have in store for us.

NAOM! – “Fantasy”

NAOM!’s newest single, “Fantasy,” is a vivid and cathartic plunge into a personal narrative that unfolds with a pulsating electronic alt-pop background. The 22-year-old independent artist from Salt Lake City masterfully demonstrates her affinity for crafting music that strikes a balance between emotional potency and commercial appeal, the soul of which lies in her queer identity. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Alvvays, BENEE, Bjork, and Lady Gaga, NAOM! successfully maintains an appealing dark alternative aesthetic while serving an upbeat sound that has the potential to resonate with mainstream audiences.

The heart of “Fantasy” is its lyrics—a powerful testament to self-worth and love’s transformative power. The verses unflinchingly chronicle her struggles with self-esteem and feelings of isolation, and in the choruses, NAOM! experiences a profound shift, with a lover’s embrace melting her “heart [that] was colder than a stone.” There is a sense of cinematic surrealism in the line “love me, love me, love me like the movies,” painting the image of love as a scene from a fantasy film. NAOM!’s unique ability to evoke strong emotions while tapping into the collective experience of her predominantly young, LGBT fanbase cements “Fantasy” as not only a testament to her individual journey but also a mirror for those who find their stories and struggles reflected in her music.

Derde Verde – “Timelapse”

Los Angeles-based indie rock band Derde Verde marks their sonic return with their latest single “Timelapse,” a profound exploration of time, change, and longing from their forthcoming album ‘Tug of War’. Established for their emotive soundscapes and driving rhythms, the band intricately weaves a musical tale that begins in the realm of gentle indie folk before escalating to powerful indie rock terrains. The song serves as a dialog between past and present selves, embodying a sense of nostalgia that yearns for a time of belonging, culminating in the poignant plea—”take me back again.”

Since their formation in 2008, Derde Verde, consisting of Dylan McKenzie (vocals/guitar), Jonathan Schwarz (bass), and Colin Woodford (drums), have made waves in the music scene with their compelling EPs, live performances, and their acclaimed 2019 debut album ‘Slow Light’. The band’s ability to capture the human experience in their songwriting has earned them praise from the likes of KCRW and various other outlets. With the release of “Timelapse,” Derde Verde reaffirms their position as skilled storytellers, evoking a sense of nostalgic yearning that resonates with listeners. The band’s eagerly anticipated sophomore album, ‘Tug Of War’, is due this June, marking another milestone in their burgeoning musical journey.

Luciano Antonino & The Summit – “You’re Mine”

Emerging from the vibrant scene of Hollywood, Florida, Luciano Antonino and The Summit introduce a compelling fusion of genres with their debut single, “You’re Mine.” Inspired by the soulful stylings of industry legends like Stevie Wonder, Amy Winehouse, and James Brown, the track exhibits a seamless melding of soul, hip hop, funk, and rock influences, rendered in a modern light. The vivid horn arrangements, groovy rhythm section, and Luciano Antonino’s raw and emotive vocals coalesce into an infectious sonic voyage that pays homage to the golden era of soul music while innovatively infusing contemporary vibes.

At the heart of “You’re Mine” lies a clear and unabashed declaration of affection, where Antonino’s soulful voice delivers lines of steadfast love and unwavering commitment—”You’re mine, you’re mine, you’re mine/ And you can’t say a single thing/ That could dull the twinkling/ Of my eyes in which that shine.” The simple yet profound lyricism parallels the beauty of classic soul music, tapping into a sense of nostalgia while ensuring its resonance with listeners of various musical backgrounds. As The Summit skillfully backs Antonino’s potent vocals with a lively, rhythmically-rich sonic tapestry, the track unfolds as a delightful auditory feast, paving the way for their promising musical journey.

Felicia Lu – “Manifest”

Felicia Lu, the multi-talented artist and rising star from Germany, brings to life her conviction in manifestation in her newest dark pop offering, “Manifest”. With the depth of her personal beliefs echoing through the powerful lyrics and immersive sound, the song serves as a testament to her faith in the universe’s alignment with individual desires. It remains true to her trademark sound, seamlessly interweaving ethereal pop aesthetics with a touch of the sublime, hinting at the sonic diversity she’s set to unveil in her upcoming album.

“Manifest” unrolls as a rhythmic affirmation of the power of the mind and the potency of positive energy. Lu’s compelling lyrics create an empowering narrative of self-assuredness and determination—”I am healthy, I’m divine, Everything I want comes in the perfect time”. Her confident vocals, backed by the pulsating beats and chilling melodies, enrich the track with an air of resilience and optimism, leading listeners through a sonic journey of self-realization and manifestation. This artistic interpretation of a deeply personal belief system makes “Manifest” an engaging listen, offering a unique window into Felicia Lu’s introspective world while cementing her place as a compelling voice in the contemporary pop landscape.

GENTLE – “Introvert Anthem”

Emerging from the pandemic-induced isolation, Toronto shoegaze/dream-pop band GENTLE returns with their introspective new single, “Introvert Anthem.” The track sees Oliver O’Brien and Matt Fasullo, the creative minds behind GENTLE, delve into the challenging complexities of social anxiety. Blending a DIY ethos with a distinctive approach to their craft, the duo creates a space where intimate revelations and sonic expansion coexist, resulting in a deeply emotive piece that is as relatable as it is sonically enveloping.

“Introvert Anthem” immerses the listener into the anxious mind of an introvert, brilliantly depicted through O’Brien’s self-aware lyrics and the track’s expansive sound. Lines like “wanna keep my shirt on at your pool party,” and “I’m having a great conversation with the wall, so please don’t bother me” strike a delicate balance between humor and honesty, laying bare the inner conflict of someone navigating social spaces. As the track unfolds, the duo combines dense shoegaze soundscapes with a dream-pop sensibility, embodying the loneliness and turmoil of an introverted mindset. Its candid narrative and enveloping sonics make “Introvert Anthem” a potent release that resonates deeply, affirming GENTLE’s talent for capturing the human condition in a beautifully authentic and empathetic way.

Hillary Capps – “Montage”

In the swirling vortex of uncertainty and introspection emerges “Montage,” a deeply resonant offering from New York-based alt-pop singer-songwriter Hillary Capps. Serving as a precursor to her forthcoming EP, ‘from the quiet of the underworld,’ the track is a deeply cinematic experience imbued with intimate emotional charge. The arrangement merges lush orchestration and synths with Capps’ evocative lyricism and engaging vocal delivery, weaving a rich tapestry of sound that perfectly echoes the song’s central theme – the discomforting sensation of stagnation amid the swift current of life’s changes.

With “Montage,” Capps translates her introspective lens into a haunting yet captivating sonic journey. Her lyrics, such as “I’ve been waiting for the tiger lilies to bloom / I’ve been staring at a sliver of a daylight moon,” paint vivid images of a world in flux, while she remains stuck in a loop of hesitations and self-doubt. She questions, “If angels are real just tell me where to fly / Do they get stuck in the same motions just like you and I?” hinting at the universal struggle against fear and indecision. The repeated line, “Director’s cut, just write me a montage scene,” is a compelling refrain, encapsulating the song’s cinematic aspirations while also highlighting the desire for a swift passage through life’s challenges. With “Montage,” Capps masterfully captures the essence of human introspection, uncertainty, and resilience, leaving listeners eager for the full unveiling of her upcoming EP.

Ethan Artiga – “ihy”

Chicago-based singer-songwriter Ethan Artiga marries influences from early 2000s rock and contemporary indie soundscapes in his single “ihy” (I Hate You), a candid and emotive exploration of relationship-based insecurity. Drawing inspiration from artists such as Dominic Fike, The Strokes, and The Cure, Artiga continues his journey of raw, heartfelt storytelling. The track provides an intimate and visceral look into Artiga’s personal battles, showcasing his prowess as a songwriter and the universality of his experiences.

“ihy” delves into the turbulent emotional landscape that emerges from a challenging past relationship. Artiga’s expressive lyricism resonates as he oscillates between feelings of self-doubt, anger, and eventual acceptance. Lines like “You tell me that you hate me / Well I’d hate me too” and “Cause in my mind everybody here hates me / Like you do / And I hate you” illustrate a raw depiction of internalized negativity. However, the cathartic chorus towards the end, “I needed you to break free / And now you’re free too / I won’t shame me… / Cause I don’t care if everybody here hates me / Like you do / Oh I hate you,” encapsulates a poignant moment of self-realization and release. Layered with infectious hooks and memorable guitar riffs, “ihy” is a testament to Artiga’s ability to craft anthems of authentic and relatable experiences, leaving listeners eagerly anticipating his future work.

Freyr – “Night and Day”

Scandinavian alternative folk artist Freyr continues to demonstrate his distinct sonic exploration of natural dichotomies with the release of his newest single, “Night and Day.” Known for his evocative lyrics and compelling melodies, as showcased in his 2021 debut album “Nicotine Bunker,” Freyr’s latest track is a sublime articulation of the delicate balance between day and night, effectively drawing listeners into his journey through transient emotional landscapes.

“Night and Day” unfolds as a deeply intimate ballad characterized by its emotional and physical dichotomies. The lyrics, “Oh night is young / The moon is shining on your pale face / Our freedom’s full of all the winds caught in our sail / In the night my lips are sealed / I want your body coming in close to me / I wanna be caught in the moment,” illustrate a yearning for connection, while simultaneously expressing the silence and secrecy inherent to the night. As the song transitions to day, Freyr’s lyrics reflect a sense of liberation and tranquility, “I want your day / I’ve been lifted from the ground up / So filled with time / There’s no stress when you’re around.” The repeated refrain, “Let us stay here in this moment,” resonates as a plea to preserve the transient beauty of their shared experience. Coupled with the song’s atmospheric instrumentation and Freyr’s enchanting vocals, “Night and Day” captures the ephemeral beauty of moments suspended between two extremes, further establishing Freyr’s prowess in crafting timeless folk ballads.

Ethan MacKay – “If I Dream”

Independent musician Ethan MacKay steps into the limelight with “If I Dream,” a deeply introspective single that serves as an open letter to solitude and second chances. Having cut his teeth performing in New York City subway stations, MacKay’s unique brand of introspective songwriting and DIY ethos is imprinted on this track. Recorded alone in a one-bedroom house in Los Angeles, “If I Dream” showcases MacKay’s ability to mold experiences and emotions into a poignant narrative, his potent lyricism paired with his resonating guitar melodies stirring listeners’ introspection.

MacKay’s lyrical narrative in “If I Dream” winds through midnight contemplations and solitudinous reflections. The opening lines, “I hope that I can sleep / The whole night through / I always wake at five / And think of you,” exude a poignant longing that’s offset by the refrain of self-imposed solitude in “Maybe I got too good / At living alone.” As the track progresses, MacKay explores the duality of longing and fear with lines such as, “You didn’t show me all your self / You hide like me / To see all of you I would burn these epiphanies.” Yet, despite the undercurrent of melancholy, there’s a soft, persistent glimmer of hope. The repeated line, “Would I like to try again / I would like to try again,” weaves a thread of resilience through the fabric of the song, suggesting an unwavering desire to reconnect despite past pains. “If I Dream” is a testament to MacKay’s ability to encapsulate the universal human experience of longing, regret, and resilience, ultimately delivering an emotive and relatable indie anthem.

Ian McFarland – “Cheddar”

In the spirit of International Cheese Day (June 4th), Ian McFarland serves up his latest single, “Cheddar”, a track that fuses tongue-in-cheek lyricism with catchy rock rhythms to create a sonic delicacy as irresistible as its namesake. McFarland, whose previous release “House Party” enjoyed recognition on Apple’s “New in Rock” and “New in Punk” playlists, showcases his knack for crafting earworms in this new offering. The song’s unorthodox blend of break-up narrative and playful cheese references presents a refreshing departure from traditional rock themes, further solidifying McFarland’s distinct sound in the industry.

The lyrics of “Cheddar” are both humorous and poignant, offering insights into the complexities of a faltering relationship through the medium of cheese metaphors. From the melancholic opener “Picking up scattered pieces off the floor / Swore I wouldn’t do the picking up any more,” to the surprisingly lighthearted chorus “What’s your favorite kind of cheese / Mine is cheddar,” McFarland deftly balances heartbreak with levity. His affirmation of self-worth in the face of rejection, highlighted in lines such as “At least I have my dignity / At least my friends still say they like me,” is paired with the recurring motif of cheddar cheese—a symbol of the small yet significant joys that life continues to offer amidst hardship. Throughout “Cheddar,” McFarland harnesses his distinctive lyrical prowess to craft a track that, much like its namesake, is rich, savory, and memorable—a testament to his enduring ten-year musical partnership with Ryan.

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