What we’re listening to: Friday, May 22

May 22 2020
Top row left to right: High Waisted, Den-Mate, Park Hye Jin; bottom row: Lindsay Munroe, Sarah Walk, Carly Rae Jepsen

Normally I wait until the end of the month to share what new music I’ve been loving, but lately there have been so many stellar new releases that I needed to give you a quick update.

I’ve lost track of how many weeks I’ve been working from home, and I can image that by this point we’re all getting a bit stir crazy. In this time I’ve been leaning on music more than ever to boost my mood and keep my emotions in check. So today I have a mix to keep you grounded, help you reflect, or turn your apartment into a dance party for one.

Den-Mate, “It’ll All Come Back”

For her upcoming EP, Den-Mate is taking inspiration from hypnagogia: the transitional period between wakefulness and sleep. Den-Mate is the solo project of Washington, D.C. based Jules Hale, who produces dreamy and texturally intricate electro-pop.

This week, Den-Mate released the first single from Hypnagogia, titled “It’ll All Come Back.” According to Hale, the song is about “overcoming something painful that you have experienced in your life.”

The song begins with a drone of synthesizers and bells, creating a calm wash of sound that Hale’s voice sinks into. “It’ll All Come Back” includes what Hale calls the EP’s mantra: “You’re not a victim if you choose not to be” — a gentle reminder that we are each in control of our own path, despite difficult setbacks.

“Growth is not an easy thing, especially if you are coming from the depths of a wounded mindset,” Hale said about the song. “During these difficult times it’s important that we focus on what we can do to make ourselves a home for peace alongside being kind to others. I hope someone who is struggling can listen and feel empowered.”

Hypnagogia comes out June 26 via Babe City Records & Substitute Scene Records.

Sarah Walk, “What Do I Want?”

“Will you tell me — what do I want?” Sarah Walk asks this question in the lead single from her upcoming sophomore album, Another Me. The song explores paralyzing anxiety, indecision, and the self-doubt that many of us — especially women — struggle with.

Writing this song was a way of holding myself accountable so I can transcend societal structures and avoid falling into the same patterns of paralysed anxiety,” Walk said. 

Walk co-produced her sophomore album with Leo Abrahams (Regina Spektor, Belle and Sebastian, David Byrne), and “What Do I Want?” gives us a glimpse at its emotionally unfiltered pop, in which Walk explores the challenges of living as a queer woman.

Another Me is out August 28 on One Little Indian Records.

Lindsay Munroe, “River”

After releasing two songs from her upcoming debut EP Our Heaviness (and getting a shout-out from one of her idols, Sharon van Etten), Manchester’s Lindsay Munroe is back with a new song, “River.”

Munroe’s previous two singles, “Mirror” and “Split” explore her complicated relationships with body image and religion. “River,” a slinky song driven by reverb-soaked guitar delves into Munroe’s struggle to fulfill her own needs amidst a messy relationship.

“I was in a long-term relationship that ended very suddenly and with a lot of heartbreak, but we were back together within 48 hours”, Munroe said about the song. “Months later I found myself still experiencing heartbreak and broken trust but not knowing what to do with it.”

The song’s delivery is gentle, and its message is relatable: in many situations it’s easy to get lost in the multitude of paths that our lives could take, but sometimes we just need to slow down and reflect.

Our Heaviness is out June 19.

Carly Rae Jepsen, Dedicated Side B

Practically since the 2019 release of Carly Rae Jepsen’s fourth studio album Dedicated, fans have been begging for B-sides. After all, CRJ wrote nearly 200 songs for Dedicated, only 15 of which ended up on the album.

One year later, our prayers have finally been answered. Dedicated Side B includes 12 previously unreleased bops, which feature collaborations from Jack Antonoff, Dev Hynes, and more.

Personally, Carly Rae Jepsen has been one of my lifelines in the past few months. Dancing around my apartment to the chill disco pop of Dedicated or euphoric love songs on Emotion has been getting me through the daily drudge of working from home.

“I hope it makes yah dance your pants off,” Carly wrote to fans about Dedicated Side B. Thank you Carly, it already has.

Park Hye Jin, “Like This”

I have to admit, although I run a blog, my knowledge of technology — especially the latest social media trends — is extremely limited. I still don’t entirely understand TikTok and its viral videos, but I imagine it to be something like the latest music video from Park Hye Jin: playful, slightly dissociative, and full of adorable dance moves.

박 Park (surname) 혜진 Hye Jin (first name) is a rapper, singer, and DJ originally from Seoul and now based in LA. She caught listeners’ and publications’ attention in 2018 with her debut EP IF U WANT IT and now she’s back with the single “Like This” from her upcoming EP How Can I.

“Like This” is built around a repetitive house beat. The song’s lyrics, drum beats, and synthesizers swirl together in a trance-like haze. While we can’t return to clubs and venues just yet and are all probably craving a night out, “Like This” is the perfect soundtrack to a dance party of one.

How Can I releases on June 26 via Ninja Turtle.

High Waisted, Sick of Saying Sorry

“I’ve been stuck inside my own head,” Jessica Louise Dye sings early on High Waisted’s sophomore album Sick of Saying Sorry. But throughout the album, the NYC-based duo find catharsis and release through their upbeat and joyous rock.

As the album title suggests, Sick of Saying Sorry is an unapologetic record that finds hope in unfiltered vocals and catchy guitar hooks. Jessica Louise Dye and Jono Bernstein are known for their raucous live shows, and while live performances may be put on hold for the moment, no one’s going to stop you from blasting the record at home.

Sick of Saying Sorry is out today, May 22.

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