Music Monday – Graffiti Welfare, The Horn, Ryan Cassata, MBG, Bill Bingley, La Faute, Local Natives, Burgundee, Mike Leon, and Louie Rubio

Welcome to another exciting edition of Music Monday at! As always, we are thrilled to share our handpicked collection of fresh tunes that have caught our ears and hearts. From undiscovered indie gems to songs that have already started creating a buzz in the music scene, we’re dedicated to spotlighting artists who deserve a place on your playlist.

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on a range of diverse styles, from indie rock to electro-pop, folk, and beyond. We’re exploring new releases, revisiting some old favorites, and even taking a deep dive into some tunes that might have slipped under your radar. Each song on our list has a unique story, a captivating melody, and an undeniable passion that serves as the lifeblood of Music Monday.

So grab a pair of headphones, sit back, and get ready to embark on a musical journey that’s as eclectic as it is enthralling. Here’s to another week of remarkable music discovery at! Let’s get the tunes rolling!

Graffiti Welfare – “Missing The War”

Graffiti Welfare’s “Missing The War” carries a mournful but deeply reflective tone, with its inspiration rooted in a haunting image of a post-WWII soldier amidst the ruins of an Italian church. It is an ethereal concoction that mirrors the disoriented clarity that often follows immense chaos. Its narrative unfurls, recounting the sobering realization of survival and the strange vacuum that war’s end leaves in its wake, with lyrics like “You’re alive, you survived, the wars over” ringing out against the atmospheric instrumentals.

The influence of albums such as Animal Collective’s ‘Feels’ and Tame Impala’s ‘Lonerism’ is palpable in the song’s immersive sonic landscape. You can hear a bit of Beach House’s ‘Depression Cherry’ in the echo-laden synths and Radiohead’s ‘King of Limbs’ in the rhythmic complexity. The lyric “if you find you need time, let me wander” is delivered with a subdued yearning, evocative of MGMT’s melancholic introspection in ‘Congratulations’. Echoes of jazz greats like Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis intermingle with the innovative sounds of Aphex Twin and Brian Eno, creating a piece of music that feels both timeless and momentary, much like the paradoxical permanence of a photograph captured in war’s aftermath.

The Horn – “Too Many Moments”

Returning on the wave of their compelling anti-authoritarian hymn ‘Another Way,’ The Horn’s newest single, ‘Too Many Moments,’ encapsulates the fiercely potent sound that has rapidly catapulted them into the limelight. Jonny Taylor’s commanding vocals resonate with an undeniable impact, supported by the rhythmically adept bass lines from Nick True, Ed Cox’s haunting synth keys, Alex Moorse’s dynamic drumming, and the intricately woven guitar melodies by Danny Monk. ‘Too Many Moments’ is an intricate amalgam of indie, rock, synth, and psychedelic layers that seamlessly shuffle together, generating a timeless sonic tapestry that is both nostalgic and novel.

With their distinctive Britpop-infused indie-rock sound, The Horn harnessed a raw energy and angst that reverberates with a sense of rebellious exuberance. Their music, laden with tales of hedonism and cautionary tales of growing up in London, defies being confined by authority, rules, or self-doubt. Central to their narrative is the unlikely intergenerational bond between members Nick and Jonny. Born decades apart, their creative exchange challenges the pervasive ageism in the music industry, reinforcing the notion that age is just a number and emphasizing the universality of human experience. Danny Monk’s eclectic flair, coupled with his experiences in the US recording industry, brings an intriguing mid-Atlantic appeal to the group’s overall sound. This unique blend is perhaps best exemplified in the evocative guitar work on ‘Passion,’ which pays homage to influences like late ’70s New York No Wave art-rockers Television and the ever-persistent resonance of The Ramones. Meanwhile, the gritty tenacity of Jonny Taylor’s vocals, borne out of a life of unexpected trials and transformative experiences, brings an unmatched authenticity to the music, creating a compelling front for the group’s vehement sound.

By bringing together the divergent backgrounds and artistic talents of its members, The Horn has managed to create a sound that is as dynamic as it is defiant, offering listeners a raw and uncompromising reflection on life’s many moments.

Ryan Cassata – “Daughter”

Pioneering transgender singer-songwriter Ryan Cassata unveils a poignant remaster of his Greatest Hits, a collection that is both a testament to his musical prowess and a personal narrative of his transition journey. Standing as the crown jewel of this anthology is “Daughter,” a deeply intimate and universally resonant track that has already surpassed 5 million streams, echoing the collective human experience of identity and transformation across the globe.

“Daughter” articulates the intimate and profound journey of identity exploration and acceptance in Cassata’s life. The lyrics “10 years ago I cut my hair / And I changed my name as people stared / And I went on TV and I so did declare / That this is who I am, for anyone that cares” encapsulates the courageous endeavor of expressing his authentic self, regardless of societal scrutiny. The recurring refrain, “I didn’t change who I am / I’ve always been a man / Still, it changed your world / But dad, I’ll always stay your little girl,” offers a tender exploration of the dynamics of familial relationships amidst personal evolution.

Cassata’s delivery is deeply emotional yet composed, and the melodic lines echo the sonic universe of contemporaries like NOAHFINNCE and Cavetown, but with a uniqueness that is solely his. Cassata’s activist spirit, undying resilience, and potent artistic expression make “Daughter” a resonant anthem of personal truth and resilience. His open-hearted storytelling and unwavering authenticity have secured his position as a beacon of representation in the music industry. Whether through his music or his tireless advocacy for transgender rights, Cassata continues to strike a chord of unity and acceptance in a world that often seems divided and dismissive.

MBG – “Rum and Hide”

Leena, under her musical alias MBG, provides a raw, confessional foray into alternative rock with her track “Rum and Hide”. Using her multi-instrumental skills to shape her sound, MBG navigates through the landscape of classic/punk rock and blues to folk and jazz, with a touch reminiscent of artists like Momma, Lauran Hibberd, The Beaches, and Goodbye Honolulu. Yet, she has a sound distinctly her own, shaped in the crucible of her bedroom studio, which is vividly evident in “Rum and Hide”.

“Rum and Hide” reads like an intimate diary entry, unveiling the struggle of social interaction and the crippling insecurity that tags along. Lyrics like “I gotta reach it / Cus I can’t seem to hold a conversation without it / A character counterfeit” hint at a need for artificial courage, possibly in the form of alcohol, to navigate social settings. The chorus, “Rum and hide / I’m about to commit social suicide / Message me when it’s all over / I don’t know why / It gets harder every time,” further deepens this narrative, capturing the essence of social anxiety and the desire to escape from it all. The track is both a testament to her lyrical dexterity and her ability to create compelling, resonant narratives in her music.

MBG’s “Rum and Hide” stands out for its frank examination of the human experience, adorned with a textured musical arrangement that serves to heighten the emotional intensity of the track. Her raw honesty paired with her distinctive musical style solidifies her potential as a rising talent in the alternative rock scene.

Bill Bingley – “Foxhole”

Bill Bingley’s latest single, “Foxhole,” represents a sonic departure from the indie band scene in which he cut his teeth. Markedly shoegaze in its inspiration, the Australian singer-songwriter channels influences reminiscent of Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, and My Bloody Valentine, blending distorted guitars, driving drums, and starry-eyed vocals into an abstract stream of consciousness. A testament to Bingley’s artistry is the psychedelic break mid-track, where listeners are plunged into an audacious soundscape, spiraling down until the stark recapitulation of the opening riff — a daring move that pays off.

Lyrically, “Foxhole” paints a vivid picture of the wonder and confusion of incipient adulthood. Verses like “Down another way / Down a path of overgrowth and cobblestones / Dissolving in the snow” express a sense of wandering and uncertainty. Bingley perfectly encapsulates the shifting feeling of time and the vague delineation between days with the lines, “Another sun / Could be the same one, I don’t know.” This existential musing coupled with the wistful phrase, “So I’ll rest my head on its side / Last time / I grow old / I’ll fly away,” captures the expansive and seemingly endless possibilities of early adulthood. With “Foxhole,” Bingley has created a testament to the liminality of youth, and the result is a shimmering, introspective piece that will undoubtedly resonate with many.

La Faute – “Sorry I Can’t Stay”

Avidly exploring the intersection of indie dream-pop and alternative folk, La Faute, the brainchild of Toronto-based artist Peggy Messing, unveils a mesmerizing musical journey with her debut album, ‘Blue Girl Nice Day,’ and its focus single ‘Sorry I Can’t Stay.’ Co-written with French neo-classical composer Villemin, the song emanates a hypnotic blend of evocative melancholy and captivating melodies, a testament to Messing’s multifarious influences ranging from Lana Del Rey and Mitski to Chet Baker and Massive Attack.

‘Sorry I Can’t Stay’ is a deeply personal and affecting sonic exploration of love, loss, and transient beauty. Messing channels her experiences into the song, creating a farewell note to loved ones past and present. This blend of intimate lyrics and ethereal dream-pop creates an immersive experience for the listener. The accompanying lighthearted video, featuring Messing blowing bubbles in the sun, serves as a symbolic commentary on ephemeral beauty. Her insistence on the bright side, even amidst deep emotional resonance, presents a fascinating dichotomy. With ‘Blue Girl Nice Day’ and ‘Sorry I Can’t Stay,’ La Faute continues to carve out a unique and arresting niche in the indie music scene.

Local Natives – “NYE”

Local Natives, one of my favorite bands of the last 10 years or so, has never been shy about creating rich, nuanced soundscapes that engage the heart and mind. Their latest offering, “NYE,” continues this trend, providing a deeply atmospheric exploration of the push and pull between transience and permanence. Their unique blend of indie rock – at times bearing the melancholic grit of Cold War Kids and the ethereal depth of Grizzly Bear – is on full display here.

“NYE” unfurls with a hazy sense of nostalgia and introspection, encapsulating the ephemeral nature of time and the longing for moments passed. “Tell me, tell me, tell me, she hung on every word/In the Saturn return under mushrooming clouds,” they sing, painting an image that is both poignant and evocative. The lyrics weave a tapestry of fleeting moments, underscored by a persistent sense of awareness of the present: “But so what? I never noticed/I was in the moment/I wish that I could stay.” This tension between the fleeting and the enduring, the past and the present, the conscious and the subliminal forms the emotional crux of the song. Accompanied by their characteristic layered harmonies and a subtle, captivating instrumentation, “NYE” is a beautiful addition to Local Natives’ already impressive discography.

Burgundee – “Eleanor Rigby – Live at the Heat” (The Beatles Cover)

With a name like Burgundee, one immediately expects a lush richness, and their live rendition of the Beatles’ classic “Eleanor Rigby” delivers just that. Drawing inspiration from luminaries such as Robert Glasper and Erykah Badu, they lend a vibrant Neo-Soul, R&B, and Jazz twist to the original, layered with expressive harmonies and rhythms that are both haunting and heart-rending. Miami-based Burgundee’s creative reinterpretation, recorded live at the Heat, captures the raw and visceral energy of their performance, giving a new depth to the well-loved classic.

Lead vocalist Beatriz Guzman’s emotive voice carries the poignant lyrics, encapsulating the loneliness and despair of Eleanor Rigby with an intensity that grips the listener. The intricate play between Victor Sanchez’s drums, Juan Moreno’s bass, Sergio Zavala’s guitar, and Andrew Amengor’s keys and trumpet creates a rich sonic tapestry that swirls around Guzman’s vocals, weaving an immersive narrative. Every note is a testament to their collective musicianship, embodying their unique fusion of Neo-Soul, R&B, Funk, Jazz, & Lofi. Like the expansive works of Hiatus Kaiyote and Robert Glasper, Burgundee’s cover of “Eleanor Rigby” transcends boundaries, showcasing the limitless potential of their musicality while touching the hearts of their audience.

Mike Leon – “The Little Things”

“The Little Things” by Canadian singer-songwriter Mike Leon is a testament to the potent and heartfelt sincerity that characterizes the very best of acoustic folk music. A love song in the truest sense, it assures a significant other of their continued importance and cherished presence, a comforting balm in an often unpredictable world. Leon’s songwriting adeptly captures these subtleties, with lines like “But it’s the little things you do, that make me want to follow you” offering an intimate peek into the quiet dedication and resolute love inherent in long-term relationships.

Mike Leon, previously known for his instrumental prowess as a drummer alongside his brother Mattie Leon, steps confidently into the spotlight as a singer-songwriter in his own right. The expertise he honed as a drummer is evident in his meticulous composition, with every note and lyric thoughtfully placed to craft a profound narrative of love and reassurance. His debut EP ‘Ticket Home’ promises more of this compelling, foot-stomping indie/folk blend, grounding its listeners with an earthy authenticity that resonates long after the song ends. ‘The Little Things’ is a poignant preview of what is to come from this promising artist, highlighting his unique musical perspective and genuine storytelling ability.

Louie Rubio – “Mar y Sol”

“Mar y Sol,” the latest single from LA-based indie artist Louie Rubio, is a sultry confession set to an enchanting melody. The track brilliantly intertwines the rhythmic heartbeat of a Fender Bass VI, an instrument popularized by The Beatles, and the ethereal soundscape of a vintage Prophet 10 synth, thus creating a groove that’s hard to resist. Rubio’s hushed vocals, reminiscent of whispered secrets in dimly lit rooms, add a touch of sensuality that blurs the boundaries of indie and alternative genres. Following his #1 hits on Submithub, “Mar y Sol” and “Heart of Gold”, Rubio continues to craft “bangers,” as Vice magazine and Complex would say, that transport listeners into a state of blissful weightlessness.

Despite collaborations with industry heavyweights such as Ty Dolla $ign, Nile Rodgers, and Nicky Jam, Rubio’s true strength shines when he adopts a DIY approach in his music. His thematic exploration of disenchantment and desire for authenticity is starkly evident in his new single “Find Your Light”. The track weaves a rich tapestry of sounds from different eras, starting with a stripped-down 60s Fender Bass and drum groove, before plunging into an 80s-inspired pre-chorus and lifting off with a hook played on a West African Crelicam acoustic guitar. Throughout his musical journey, Rubio maintains a balance between complexity and simplicity, wrapping up his songs with finesse and leaving the listener yearning for more. “Mar y Sol” already seems to be another stunning addition to Rubio’s already impressive discography, reflecting his individualistic approach to music creation.

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