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Donna Blue - 1 2 3

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Gerard Marcus

Passion is a strange emotion-it hits fast and can disappear even faster. Yes, there can be transient waves of lust to buoy that initial spark, but what do you do when it disappears and you want more? How do you resurrect the look they gave you the first time you met? Can you recreate that initial lust, or are you doomed to hook up in its shadow. Dripping with 60’s yé-yé nostalgia, Donna Blue’s new single ‘1 2 3’ is a saucy examination from someone wanting more.

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Dances - Never Sexier Than When I'm Alone

Gerard Marcus

You meet someone and immediately hit it off. It quickly becomes almost shocking to think of a time before or after them. You start spending more and more time together, growing more and more connected, bringing an ease to life you’ve been looking for for a while. The only problem is that they now have to go. Far away. It’s a weird feeling, wanting to be near someone when you can’t. That rawness of a recent lover lost to distance is the central theme of Dances new single, “Never Sexier Than When I’m Alone.”

The video, directed by Alec MacDonald, is an intimate portrait of longing. Dances' lead singer and songwriter Trevor Vaz sits alone in local Bushwick dance spot Mood Ring contemplating moments that he wishes to share with a distant lover. As the night progresses and the alcohol flows, he finds himself wandering towards the back room alone, thrashing around while draped in silver and gold ribbons. Production choices like having Vaz function as his own bartender, or the subtle realty vs. fantasy element of watching himself on security footage, drive home the track's deep longing. The video beautifully portrays the solitude of yearning to be somewhere else, anywhere else, with the person you love. 

Venus Figurine comes out 10/12 via the new label Jubilee Gang with a release show on 10/13 at Trans-Pecos with Zenizen and Realworld

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Sivan Silver-Swartz - Sometimes and Sometimes Not

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By Gerard Marcus

Patience is a virtue. I heard this a lot as a child, and have learned to appreciate it more and more the older I get. There are a lot of things that can be gained from not being too hasty. Clarity, focus, wisdom–pretty much anything that requires more than a minor glance to perceive. Sivan Silver-Swartz’s new release Sometimes and Sometimes Not is an album that rewards patience.

Silver-Swartz's five track debut consists of four highly creative “indie rock” tracks sandwiching a beautifully simple song featuring piano and cello. The intricacy of the compositions, rich layering of sounds, and hard panning of percussion, guitar, and vocal elements is the first thing that captures your attention when diving into this record. But what fascinates me most is how Silver-Swartz utilizes time. Sometimes and Sometimes Not is about 42 minutes long with only five tracks. The shortest song is 7 min and 37 seconds. In case you’re wondering, most songs, especially those that fall into the world of rock, are between 3 - 5 minutes long. So what is Silver-Swartz doing with all that extra time?

Silver-Swartz is a composer. He currently is getting his MFA at Cal Arts and previously studied (along with myself) at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. Please take this with a grain of salt since I am not the songwriter, but having studied with him and knowing a bit about process of composition, I will say that one of the things you learn to appreciate in composition is sculpting sonic experience over time. And that’s what Sivan does so well over these 5 tracks. He introduces you to a sonic space and leaves you time to fully soak it in before moving onto the next one. This space not only encourages you pay attention to the details of the compositions, but also enhances other elements of the songs like their lyrics, giving them a weight that can only come from attentive listening. It’s a beautiful study on the usage of time in rock music, and a great example of the power of not doing things in haste. 



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Moonheart - Breaking/Broken

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Gerard Marcus

Have you ever loved someone-a mother, a friend, a life partner-who’s emotionally sporadic? It has a way of making you lose yourself in anxieties that aren’t your own. Finding your way out of the maze of another person’s emotions is hard, and it can force you to learn how to emotionally separate yourself from aspects of their life. It’s not easy, not being hugged when that’s all you want, not seeing a smile after you told what you know is the funniest joke ever. But love keeps you there.

Moonheart’s new single “Breaking/Broken” reminds me of this space. The track is simple-lush synths layered over cavernous percussion and flickering electronics, with singer Kim Iman’s voice ping-ponging in stereo like rippling water running over it all. This simplicity is all in service of my favorite aspect of this track: its structure. The song opts-out of a familiar verse-chorus pattern, and instead floats through a lyrical stream of consciousness. It evokes the contemplation one has after yet another failure to connect with someone they love, remembering all the good and the bad in the relationship, while trying to figure out what comes next. This emotional middle ground is hard to grasp, but Moonheart has captured it perfectly.

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Bobey - Foothills

Gerard Marcus

I first heard Bobey on Golden Brown’s Perfectly Toasted Vol. 1 two years ago, and quickly fell for his minimal production style featuring looping guitar and almost mundane lyrics. His new single, “Foothills,” is a wonderful example of an artist honing his skills and bringing them to a new level.

“Foothills” begins with syncopated guitars, hypnotically layered in signature Bobey style. This immediately soothing atmosphere draws listeners into his meditative world, a perfect backdrop for the subtle and nuanced lyrics. They evoke wisps of memory, beautifully conveying a hazy recollection of everyday life. “I’m overworked / But I’m not sure / Called my old boss ‘You don’t work here anymore’.” Bobey’s lyrics depict time as a confusing, fractured thing. When combined with his repetitive and hypnotic production, they create a sense of timelessness that leaves the listener contemplating the space between relaxation and madness. Off his upcoming EP Siblings (out August 24th), “Foothills” is a magical exploration of the prosaic nature of memory and the stillness of time.