VIDEO PREMIERE: Spritzer - psycho (i love you)

Getting locked in a maniac's basement has never been more fun than it is on Spritzer's new video, "psycho (i love you)," directed by Catherine Deangelis. After opening on a spoken-word repetition of the title in various rhythmic patterns, the song kicks in with an unexpectedly upbeat indie-pop riff.

We watch as a man wearing a mask fished from deep in the uncanny valley (played by Sam Swanton) dances around a slasher-flick basement, complete with unnerving shrines and a stage where he rocks out with a broken guitar. It alternates between comical and a bit disturbing, and the psycho in question switches between a number of different personalities throughout.

The song itself is an earworm, putting Spritzer's effortless pop on brilliant display. Our hopes are squarely raised for their forthcoming EP, Getaway.

PREMIERE: A. Sarr - Dyllan's Intro

Kelly Kirwan

"Dyllan’s Intro" feels like an epiphany I’ve come to know from sweeping, cinematic scenes—when moments of self-realization cue rays of light, forcing out the shadows of our past and leaving the world weightless and new. There’s a sense of healing laced between the gentle coos of its introduction and the lofty, if slightly filtered, sopranos that guide the melody forward.

It’s the sort of spine-tingling sensation that comes with an inkling of hope and the relief of letting go. And luckily, this new addition to A. Sarr’s namesake is without any kind of cheesy subtext I’ve been peddling. The point is; it’s good, and after a bitter few months, it's exactly what most people need.

For such a light, wispy piece of music, "Dyllan’s Intro" is surprisingly textured. It pulses off a subdued, skittering electronica, as feathery female vocals swell in choir-like undulations. Based in New York City, the artist has tacked DJ/Producer/Performer onto his resume, with a genre that is perhaps best described as a latticework of electronic and hip-hop. His self-written tagline elevates “flowers and vibes over everything,” and his latest single follows suit.

The cover art of "Dyllan’s Intro" fits perfectly with the track’s aesthetic; a vase of flowers in a dimly-lit room, with a vague silhouette barely discernible against the wall. There’s a sense of light being letting in and washing away a subtle, lingering loneliness. So if you've been feeling down, we've got the antidote.

VIDEO PREMIERE: The Due Diligence - Suzanne (Leonard Cohen Cover)

Laura Kerry

One of Leonard Cohen’s greatest songs is his 1967 “Suzanne,” and in the past few weeks since the artist’s death, I’ve been alternating between binges of the song and complete boycotts of it. If ever there was a time for Leonard Cohen covers, it is now. The Due Diligence has excellent timing.

Of course, trusting other musicians to renew the life of a beloved song is scary, but the band picks up the mantle well. Rhythmic and snappy where Cohen is smooth and slow, Isaac Gillespie and his band capture the languid beauty of the song while reimagining it in their signature folk- and garage-infused rock.

The Due Diligence also captures that beauty in their new video. Cohen was a poet, so his lyrics deal in images as much or more than they do in narrative, and the video respects that balance. Beginning in the colorful but contained ecosystem of a fish tank, the video follows a goldfish as it travels in a plastic bag around New York with its new owner, shopping for sunglasses, sitting in a park, and riding the subway over the river as the sun goes down. The story is simple, but the message is more complex: Is it a love story between two creatures? A commentary on freedom and self-knowledge in the vein of “This Is Water,” which also begins with fish? Either way, the video is gorgeously shot and strangely moving—exactly the kind of warm, quiet meditation that “Suzanne” and we, its fans, need right now.

REVIEW: L'Enfant - fear of...

Kelly Kirwan

The cover of L’Enfant’s latest EP is unnerving and kitschy, as if a ritual in black magic had the visual direction of Wes Anderson. It veers from nondescript items—a hard-boiled egg, a lit candle—to the more attention-grabbing offerings—a pink condom, dentures, a rubber finger run through with a red-threaded needle. It’s strange, but not off-putting, as if we’re browsing the shelves of an odd emporium of props from old horror films. It fits with album’s title and theme, fear of…, an ellipsis that’s resolved across the EP’s seven tracks.

fear of... is an album centered on the everyday anxieties that follow us into adulthood, and its sound signals a shift in L’Enfant’s style. The two brothers, Thomas and Oscar Peters, returned to their label Boogie Angst with an urge to use more pronounced elements of synth-pop. Or, as they’ve described it, “a left-field pop vibe in particular.”

The sibling duo, and beating heart of L’Enfant, have crafted intricate indie-electronica with their varied backgrounds. Thomas studied as a jazz guitarist, while Oscar focused on sound design particularly for electronic music. And now they’ve grown. L’Enfant has expanded to a seven-piece band when they take the stage, with fear of… democratically designating vocals to each member throughout. For L’Enfant, live performances and visuals are integral to their work. This is a group that thrives off the immersive experience, the reverberations of their synths and bass throbbing on the floor where we stand. Their music is visceral and multi-sensory, and luckily their new frontier on fear of... is as enrapturing as it is spine-tingling. 

Their single, "Change," has a moody and atmospheric opening, as if an evening fog were settling in. It’s a melody that feels vaguely inspired by '80s sci-fi, as the chorus dips into the repetitive chant, “Don’t change, don’t change,” an incantation against life’s guaranteed metamorphoses. Despite the underlying frenzy of this message—a last-ditch effort to grasp the past—the song itself is mesmerizing and easy in its delivery.

Then there’s "Adult Men," which follows a steady percussion punctuated by hand-claps and sounds of a lighter flicking into flame. Spirals of synth unravel as the track progresses, adding a higher decibel to heavily rhythmic landscape. A deep, masculine timbre acts as the song’s mouthpiece, ruminating, “Can’t control you,” before a chorus of more subdued, electronically-filtered vocals weave in, their line nearly inaudible but hazily made out as, “What’s he gonna get?”

Like all seven tracks on the list, it’s multi-faceted, and punctures the constraints of a two-dimensional space to take physical shape in our reality. And when that happens, our advice is to embrace it.

REVIEW: Pavo Pavo - Young Narrator in the Breakers

Laura Kerry

In the style of the band in question, let’s launch right into it: Pavo Pavo’s new album is exciting from its very first notes. Young Narrator in the Breakers opens with two strong, lush synth chords that give way to a deep ascending bassline, joined soon by other shimmering accents of synth and a female-led melody that sounds distant but completely clear. “Ran Ran Run” is a sign of things to come on the young band’s astounding debut—an album that is dreamy but laser-focused, steeped in nostalgic sounds but forward-looking, starry-eyed but sophisticated.

A quintet that met in college at Yale (from which they recently graduated), Pavo Pavo exhibits a finely-tuned chemistry. Comprised of Eliza Bagg (violin, synth, and voice), Oliver Hill (guitar, synth, and voice), Nolan Green (guitars and voice), Austin Vaughn (drums), and Ian Romer (bass), they move gracefully between sounds and genres, sometimes leading with bouncing bass lines for disco-infused pop, other times wandering through the complex reveries of art rock or psych-pop. Maybe because of the melding voices and influences of its five members, Pavo Pavo occasionally resembles Grizzly Bear (“Annie Hall,” “2020, We’ll Have Nothing Going On”), Fleet Foxes or M. Ward (“Somewhere in Iowa”), and St. Vincent at her softest (“The Aquarium”), but they always sound lush, warm, and colored by the sepia haze of ‘70s rock the sunny tones of Beach Boys pop.

In addition to blending influences, Young Narrator in the Breakers also merges themes and allusions. In the tradition of other bands with elite college origins (think Vampire Weekend), Pavo Pavo embeds their music with cultural references, real and imagined. None of them are exclusionary, though; the band uses literary language not as a musical crossword puzzle, but as evocative imagery. The album title, calling to mind the name of a collection of lyrical poetry, evokes a lone figure facing the expansive sea; “A Quiet Time with Spaceman Putz,” the name of the spacey all-instrumental interlude, brings to mind a character in a David Bowie song or Stanley Kubrick movie, but is fictional as far as my Google search revealed; and “Annie Hall,” of course, is as iconic as they come. But far from a casual namedrop, Pavo Pavo is self-aware about its aspirations to mimic the Woody Allen film (“Kick it to the right / Like Annie Hall / In 1975”). Most people who move to New York have those same daydreams.

Through Young Narrator in the Breakers, Pavo Pavo makes gorgeous musical landscapes out of similar daydreams, capturing the post-college fear and hopefulness that comes from facing a new city, particularly one as unconquerable as New York. It’s a gorgeous, elegant debut—and proof that it’s possible to carve out some space, even there.