Katie Pruitt Doesn’t Need to Be “Jealous of the Boys”

Who dresses up in a fabulous costume to step into a fearless alter ego capable of extraordinary feats? Whose hidden, secret self is maybe more true than the face they present to the workaday world? Drag queens. Also, Superman. “When I was younger, I wanted to be Superman,” sings Katie Pruitt on her new song, […]

Hovvdy Embrace the Power of Singing on “Make Ya Proud”

How do you harness the power of song? Hovvdy, the quirkily spelt duo from Austin, Texas, do it by jumping right in with a cymbal splash and luscious piano chords over a bare drum beat, somehow managing to get those chords to pull out all sorts of powerful emotions from me as they start to […]

Feel the Free Fall with Briston Maroney’s “Skydiver”

Transformation, like birth, is disorienting and scary. You think you’re in one place with everything all sorted out, and then suddenly you’re at square one, or square negative-a-million as it sometimes feels, with no idea where you are or what the heck you’re supposed to do. Briston Maroney’s “Skydiver” is a musical tribute to this […]

Stephanie Lambring is “Being Real About Fakeness” on “Cover Girl”

Who publishes an album cover that’s a picture of herself with the word “Hypocrite” after her name? A brave soul; her name is Stephanie Lambring. Before getting into her song, “Cover Girl,” I want to talk about the album cover. She’s mostly in shadow, but light reaches out to her face (and one lace-covered elbow). […]

“When You Know Someone” by Valley is an Energetic, Musical Freight Train

Valley’s “When You Know Someone” opens with a distantly chugging guitar, some ambient synth, and a soft-yet-epic piano line. This is followed by drums and a count-off—“1, 2, 3, 4!”—before the bass and distorted electric guitar announce the song’s full arrival. An unexpected but welcome harmonica riff floats atop this very rock ’n’ roll liftoff, […]

talker Captures the Zeitgeist on “Everything is Something (I Never Saw Coming)”

On rare occasions, a song brilliantly captures a shared societal moment. LA artist talker’s new song “Everything is Something (I Never Saw Coming)” is an emotional distillation of what 2024 actually feels like (for the artist and for the rest of us, too). The song’s hook, sonic texture, and powerful lyrics add up to Song […]

Friendship Re-defined in Hiatus Kaiyote’s “Make Friends”

What does it mean to be recognized? Say you’ve moved to a new neighborhood. You’ve noticed a few neighbors mowing their lawns, walking their dogs, rushing to work. You’ve found your go-to spots: grocery store, bar, café, park. You start to recognize the people who populate your little corner of the universe, and they start […]

The Ecstatic Catharsis of “Staring Into Heaven/Shining” by Sour Widows

Sour Widows is one of my favorite bands. When I first heard them on my local college radio station several years ago, I was immediately captivated by their mix of delicate harmonies, lush guitars, and deft and driving rhythms. Grunge, folk, shoegaze, indie rock – they seamlessly integrate these different elements into a coherent whole […]

The Energy of Uncertainty in “When the Lights Go Out” by Sarah Jarosz

Sarah Jarosz is one of those names I’ve heard for a decade but never investigated. After listening to one of her new songs, “When the Lights Go Out,” from her latest album “Polaroid Lovers,” I find her to be a wonderful singer-songwriter, making danceable, contemporary folk-pop. The arrangement of “When the Lights Go Out,” the […]

Hailaker’s “M3” is a Breakup at the Pace of a Summer Drive

As I was zipping along in the pop ride that is Hailaker’s “M3,” the song’s title hardly occurred to me. I must confess, I had no idea what “M3” was supposed to mean, and I possibly still don’t. But I investigated. The all-knowing Interwebs showed me photos of a slick 2024 BMW “M3”—silver, green, red, […]

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