Music

Stop Light Observations - "Coyote" (audio) (premiere)

Photo: Jonathan Boncek

Underneath Stop Light Observations' utterly listenable electro-rock are heavy tales concerning the world around us.

"The tale of 'Coyote' is heavy," says John Keith Culbreth (Cubby) of Stop Light Observations.

Over the past four years, the indie rock group from Charleston has amassed over 100,000 collective followers across social media. They've come a long way since Cubby and Will Blackburn began their band before their 2013 debut release, Radiation.

Stop Light Observations' sound has often been described as both accessible and analytical, often peering into themes denser than one might expect from the genre that they inhabit.

Their latest, "Coyote", is a strong example of this. Throughout its nearly five minutes of total playtime, the song develops from a brooding piano ballad into an anthem accentuating soaring vocals and surreal synth. Throughout the song's clap-along pop vibe, however, something deeper lies underneath.

Cubby continues, saying of "Coyote":

"It's uncomfortable. It's hard. It's also true. But where I find the beauty in the tale is in the power that comes from the surrendering of pain that is gained when you connect with your pack. A lot of dramatic and terrifying situations and feelings are continuously arising in our society, and a lot of fingers are being pointed. When we stop pointing fingers and start to really listen, we can bring this darkness into the light and be able to howl into the night. Only then can we heal.

"When we recorded the bridge 'let's raise a cup to a good year and some good friends who are not here,' we invited all our best friends to the studio, turned off the lights and did a candle ceremony as we sang gang vocals. We passed around stories, prayers, and a peace pipe as we all held hands in a circle. We reminisced about good times with friends who couldn't make it, don't live in Charleston anymore, and the ones who left the earth all too soon. We laughed, we cried. It was a gorgeous experience."

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

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Alfred Hitchock and Janet Leigh on the set of Psycho (courtesy of Dogwoof)

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The Force, which details the Oakland Police Department's recent reform efforts, is best viewed as a complimentary work to prior Black Lives Matter documentaries, such 2017's Whose Streets? and The Blood Is at the Doorstep.

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