alexdgoldberg - Stay the Same

By Charley Ruddell

In our darkest hours, hitting a low isn’t what defines us; it’s how we handle the low that does. When Alex Goldberg hit a low, he asked life’s most stoic questions in search of answers, despite how evasive and impossible they might be.

On the Brooklyn-based composer’s new single “Stay the Same,” from his forthcoming debut album Loste, Goldberg addresses his own existential struggles through the variegated lense of jagged baroque pop; think Sufjan’s 50 States-era, arranged by Andrew Bird at his most-menacing. From the song’s anxious introduction—a fleet of hurried cellos and Sgt. Pepper’s-era schizophrenic voices—Goldberg brings to light the sensational rush of an oncoming panic attack; just when the dissonant strings approach tunnel vision, they resolve in a simple breath. It’s a theme that fluctuates in the song, and one that sheds light on his own empirical perspective. 

Goldberg hit his low during his 20s when a streak of anxiety left him sleep deprived, isolated, and starving. After passing out on the job and a subsequent ER trip, he was left to reassemble his pieces by asking the hardest questions to answer. “Will I go on?” he spouts in a cavernous falsetto (Caribou’s Dan Snaith, anyone?). “Will I ever change?” follows, his voice floating in tandem with the strings. A glimpse of speculative acceptance reveals itself in his final question: “Or will I stay the same?” In these cynical, unsettled moments, Goldberg shows shows his earnest, yet profound sense of character, sharing a likeness to John Cale, cunningly operatic and deranged all the same. 


Field Guides - Lucky Star in the A.M.

By Abigail Clyne

Brooklyn collective Field Guides’ newest single “Lucky Star in the A.M.” is a sparkling musical meditation. The folk pop track is the band’s second single in the lead up to the release of their album, This Is Just A Place, out September 27. Written in the wake of a breakup, singer/songwriter Benedict Kupstas uses percussive rhythm and powerful vocals to paint a picture of a relationship on the rocks, singing “We were all waiting for some change in the season.” Kupstas’ invocation of Nabokov’s novel, Pale Fire, paired with his reference of the Chinatown bus to Boston, the title and chorus of the track, artfully invokes high culture against the pedestrian. The closing line “all the happenstances have been adding up apocalyptic” relays the need to filter our experiences through the lens of the world, the turmoil of our current times.

Alena Spanger, of Tiny Hazard, provides a beautiful female counter to Kupstas’ baritone in the chorus. The expansive instrumentation and the tempo of the single feels like watching the world world go by while aboard mass transit–the track, like a good bus ride, is a trip well spent.


Bichkraft - Desire

WCR 093 - Bichkraft - Desire - Cover Image w_ Words.jpg

By Phillipe Roberts

Long before “dystopia” lost its edge in a buzzword death spiral, Urkanian four-piece Bichkraft were conjuring up squalls of noise-forward post-punk that gleefully bit back at the rise of global authoritarianism. Their first three Wharf Cat releases culminated in last year’s liberating 800, which saw the band take a sonic leap towards a tighter, more refined sound. Back in the studio yet again, Bichkraft fashion a subversive new sound on “Desire,” a bombshell in their discography that downshifts on the nervous energy towards a swaggering dance rock track that takes a brutal government to task. 

Lounge-style keys and bouncing percussion cover for lyrics indicting the repressive Ukranian regime for raiding dance clubs to forcibly conscript young men into the military, a relatively common occurrence in Bichkraft’s native Kiev. Vocalist Jenia Bichowski’s anguished delivery of the haunting hook - “Baby, baby it's true / There's no safe place for you” - speaks to the depth of dread churning beneath the surface of their collective minds, poisoning romance with fear. Guitars gleam like knives in the background, shifting between angular melodicism and frayed noise as they stumble, seasick, over each other. With the track careening to a close, Bichowski sings “I’m just hanging on” in a stupor, wounded by the violence he’s seen and anticipating the violence that’s sure to come as men are ripped off the streets. As both reportage and rock n’ roll, “Desire” hits the mark, dead center.

You can pre-order a 7” of “Desire” over on Wharf Cat’s site here.


0 Stars - Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

blowing on a marshmallow album cover (1).jpg

Gerard Marcus

Mikey Buishas is a Brooklyn-based artist who has the amazing ability of depicting the emotional energy of passing thoughts. His new single from his project 0 Stars, “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York,” is a one-minute melancholic tale of fear, self-analysis, and love. Buishas says his inspiration for the song was “an immediate response to Leica [his dog] barking herself awake after a baby in the adjacent apartment screamed.” In this short minute, he explains his reasoning for not reprimanding Leica, choosing instead to sympathize with her, understanding that barking in this situation is just her way of expressing fear. And everyone should be allowed to express fear without judgement. The attention of the song then shifts and Buishas turns the lens on himself, using Leica’s fear to analyze his own sadness at driving away someone he loves. But if he’s the reason for them not being there, is it fair for him to depend on them to make him feel better? It’s beautiful, simple songwriting about a complex idea, presenting its emotional weight in a tight package, allowing it to linger long after its short running time is over. “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” is the first single off of 0 Stars debut album, ‘Blowing on a Marshmallow in Perpetuity,’ coming out August 30th on Babe City Records. Pre-order the album HERE.


Slow Dakota - Creation of the World


By Abigail Clyne

Don’t let the joyful nature of the track fool you–Slow Dakota’s new single, “Creation of the World,” is asking the big questions. The title alone hints to this track being more than meets the eye. PJ Sauerteig (Slow Dakota) is joined by Margaux Bouchegnies on vocals and Corey Dansereau on trumpet. Throughout the song, the duo ponders where their urge for expression comes from. “I can’t decide if I write from some Great hole inside,” they sing, and compare their way of creation to that of Christ, “If Christ spoke Mountain Ice all because His Life was flat and dry.”

Later, the pair wonders if their inspiration perhaps comes from a more positive place, “Or do I sing from some Great abundance, bubbling high.” In the end, much like the different expressions of God shown in the Old and New Testaments, it seems a balance has been struck. Creation, and therefore expression, comes out of both desperation and love. The constant plucking of the guitar and later addition of the trumpet allows for this self analysis to never become dour. We all need a helping hand to guide us through the weighty questions, and Slow Dakota makes it both easy and profound all at once.