If you’re anything like me, you rarely are just listening to one artist or even genre. That’s why a couple of times per week I put together a mix of some of my favorite songs at the moment regardless of genre for you to sample and enjoy.
Jen Awad – “Break A Man”
A full band playing in matching outfits in a seedy alleyway along with a cop interaction cutaway that features Jen telling the officer to “watch your fucking head?” I guess that’s a music video Yahtzee for Jen Awad and her 2018 single “Break A Man.” Those band mates aren’t just there for looks either, this full brass section and back up singers really create an impressively full sound, and of course, Jen herself carries this song with strong full-throated vocals that make you feel like she’s laid out the perfect blue print for “how to break a man,” though some of us without that level of swag could struggle a bit more.
Despite its August 2018 release date, “Break A Man” has far too many views, likes, and comments, and I’m hoping my readers can do something about that. This song is simply too fun for you folks to miss, and if you like this one, you have to check out the rest of Awad’s discography because she’s just getting started.
Press release: This half Egyptian, half Peruvian powerhouse delivers the kneecap melting soul and sass of Sharon Jones combined with an in-your-face swagger reminiscent of Tina Turner. Self taught on vocals, piano, guitar and bass, Jen also pens the lyrics to all of her material.
Timmy Tortuga – “Pace”
Sometimes music is meant to be purely melodic, an easy listen to play in the background. “Pace” by Timmy Tortuga is not that. Instead, it’s a song meant to be experienced as an experience. From the very beginning, we find ourselves in the mind of a speaker stuck in traffic, suffering from a bit of road rage. The dissonant and speed-shifting synth in the background staccatos perfectly in line with that feeling of being late, and amping up emotionally as more and more tiny straws begin to stack upon the camel’s back.
The track itself feels almost as much skit as music, and yet once the ethereal vocoder kicks in after the frantic anxiety of the first half of the song, it’s impossible not to empathize with the speaker when he says “That’s the first deep breath I’ve taken in 5 years.” Something about the moody atmosphere created gives the listener just as much peace as Tortuga’s character at that moment, and allows us to ride it out with him through the end of the song, at least until the anxiety returns. Don’t miss your train.
Press release: Timmy Tortuga is an evolving artist from a small town called Sayreville in New Jersey. The motto is “K.I.S.S.” Keep It Simple Stupid! Currently, he is creating out of the Lower East Side of NYC and producing and recording his projects on a lake front studio in North Jersey!
Schaefer Llana – “Angel”
Anyone that knows me knows that I am way too into sad girl music for a 32-year-old man. Luckily, there are no rules, so I’m shamelessly listening to “Angel” by Schaefer Llana on repeat every single time I go for a winter walk lately. Schaefer grew up in Mississippi and cut her teeth musically in school plays and church productions, but the twenty-something has carved a niche all her own at this point. While her voice and punk-ish aesthetic certainly shine in this song, my favorite part is undoubtedly the angsty lyricism.
Don’t act like you’re innocent, don’t be offended when I call you outSchaefer Llana – “Angel”
As a liar and you know it
You wanted to be alone, well how’s that go when everybody knows
You went back to her the next minute
I don’t understand but I don’t want to
And I am not surprised because I know you
I am not okay but I will be
I forgive you but I won’t forget how you hurt me
I think the simplicity of “I don’t understand, but I don’t want to,” just hits on that depressive malaise better than almost any line I’ve heard in a long time.
Press Release: The first demo for 49 Ceiling Tiles was recorded for her friend Starlin Browning’s college production class. The results were so good they decided to make a whole record together, holing up with fellow musicians at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, Mississippi, exemplifying the house show ethos of “playing music with your friends, for your friends.”
Zach Kleisinger – “Darling, Just Breathe”
Zach Kleisinger’s Symposium was one of the most overlooked albums of 2018 in my opinion. With a unique voice that is perfectly scratchy, a sound that’s perfectly folky, and lyrics that stand up to repeat listens, “Darling, Just Breathe” is just one of many great tracks from the release. Kleisinger perhaps sums it up best when he calls the album, “a gathering of entities aiming to share their thoughts on a particular subject—me. And yet, it is me who is revisited through these entities, for as much as I may recognize ‘them,’ at all times I know ‘they are me.’ If this sounds needlessly self-absorbed, it’s because it is.”
I would disagree with Kleisinger’s assessment that the songs are too self-absorbed, all the best art is somehow a reflection of the artist, and there’s no shame in recognizing your own shapes in what you’ve created.
Show it all,Zach Kleisinger – “Darling Just Breathe”
Show it all to me.
‘cause i was alone when i met you,
And you saw that sadness in my eye,
Now i see it in yours;
But darling, just breathe,
Darling, just breathe.
Owlbiter – “Roof of the World”
Let’s keep the easy listening vibe going with Owlbiter’s “Roof Of The World,” which combines folk-style vocals with beautiful musical arrangements built around piano and horns. The track comes off of Owlbiter’s 2018 EP Stud Farm which features 5 beautiful songs just like this one. Perhaps my favorite part of “Roof of the World” comes in the final minute when the music takes over the entire mood of the song, and the horns and vocalizations build up to a peak before fading out in the final seconds. This captures the imagery of the subject of the song being “on the roof of the world” as the instruments almost coax out the stars and dreams themselves in that moment.
After the 2018 album, Owlbiter’s Matt Cascella hasn’t updated his SoundCloud or Spotify any further, but we hope he’s still making music, and we’d love to hear any new projects one day should they arise.