“Phoenix”, the latest song by New York City-based songwriter Kat Quinn, is very clearly about a relationship gone wrong. Yet rather than opt for straightforward declarations for her former beloved, Quinn opts for the language of simile, crafting some droll and striking comparisons that both underscore and euphemize the harm done by the relationship. “Your love saved me like a broken raft / And I clung steady like I wanted to sink fast,” she sings in one of the song’s funnier couplets. There are also some dark observations: “Your eyes are cozy like a kitchen knife / And I wish I hadn’t cut myself so many times.” These lyrics form a distinctive take on the breakup song; Quinn’s unique perspective reveals her to be a songwriter with a perceptive pen.
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Following PopMatters’ July premiere of New York City singer/songwriter Mackenzie Shivers’ ballad “4th of July”, you can stream her new album, Neverland, in its entirety below. Like “4th of July”, Neverland showcases Shiver’s vocal and piano skills. The gospel flourishes in Shivers’ piano playing heighten the record’s emotional range; this music is ideal to listen to while walking through paths and roads lined with the orange leaves of fall.
This has been a busy year for the first family of the New Zealand underground: In addition to re-forming the Clean for a crowd-pleasing U.S. jaunt, the brothers Kilgour released albums with their own acts, David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights with End Times Undone (Merge) and Hamish Kilgour’s first solo outing, All of It and Nothing (Ba Da Bing!). Here, PopMatters premieres videos from each effort, “Smile” from Hamish Kilgour and “Lose Myself in Sound” from David Kilgour and the Heavy Eights. Together, they convey what’s enduring and endearing about Kiwi indie-pop, with the rough-hewn jangle of the introspective “Smile” and the glimmering guitar-rock drive of “Lose Myself in Sound”.
Ugly Kids Club may not be the most flattering of band names, but make no mistake: there is little ugly in the music by this up-and-coming Nashville duo. Comprised of Aliegh Shields and rock producer Steve Wilson (no relation to the prog musician of the same name), Ugly Kids Club is an ultra-catchy conglomeration of synth-pop and electro influences, very much a product of its synth-obsessed times. The duo’s new EP, Head Games, can be streamed below.
PopMatters’ Zachary Houle hailed Horse Feathers’ 2012 album Cynic’s New Year as “a starkly gorgeous album dripping with stringed instrumentation… one that will leave the listener feeling utterly winded for all of its ragged glory.” Something of the same might be said for the vibrant Americana stylings of “Violently Wild”, a track from the Portland outfit’s upcoming album So It Is With Us. So It Is With Us releases on October 21 via Kill Rock Stars.