Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
Gemma and Kiah have joined forces to give us their take on this week’s single releases.
Happen To Me – BENEE (Kiah):
Following her sudden rise to fame, BENEE announced her debut album, ‘Hey u x’, with Happen To Me being the first song on the album. The Kiwi singer gained popularity when her song Supalonely with Gus Dapperton went viral on TikTok after a dance routine was created for the song. This has led to BENEE receiving recognition globally for her music, even becoming the first New Zealand artist to be on Apple’s Up Next Artist list.
The new single Happen To Me contrasts the upbeat tempo of previous releases, through having a more mellow and soft, sound but still holding the indie pop sound she is associated with. The song was debuted on her 2020 New Zealand tour in October before officially being released through Republic Records. Happen To Me’s lyrics centre around the fears of the artist and anxieties surrounding death, having a slight existential tone throughout.
This song sees BENEE break from the high energy indie pop songs she rose to fame with
BENEE’s vocals are undoubtedly distinct and on Happen To Me – her voice is particularly calming and melodic, giving the track the more calm and relaxed tone. Contrasting this is the fast tempo of the backing drum track, that prevents the song from being too melancholy. Overall, this song sees BENEE break from the high energy indie pop songs she rose to fame with, allowing us to see a new side of the singer’s capabilities.
Antidote to Being Bored – Oscar Lang (Kiah):
Dirty Hit’s indie rock singer Oscar Lang has recently announced a new EP, ‘Antidote to Being Bored’, the title track being the first single to be released. The five track EP will be Lang’s third release this year, with him impressively creating a new sound with each new EP. ‘Antidote to Being Bored’ is set for release in December, with Lang stating ‘I wanted to get a little darker with this EP but continue with the sound of the previous one’ and the new single certainly reflects this sentiment.
The track has a slightly more grunge style than reflected in his previous EPs, with multiple layered distorted guitars and a heavy bassline. Lyrically the song also follows the conventions of typical 90’s grunge, by describing a relationship which has become toxic because of the girl’s drug addiction. Despite this, he is still in love with her and describes her as his ‘antidote for being bored’, potentially the theme this EP might follow.
Lyrically the song also follows the conventions of typical 90’s grunge
Reminiscent of a song you would hear loud at an indie festival, Lang’s vocals definitely fit this style of music and see him head in a heavier direction than his previously released EP, ‘Hand Over Your Head’, earlier this year. Antidote to Being Bored undoubtedly sees Lang incorporate more musical styles within his music than ever before, leaving fans excited for his next steps.
FOOL’S GOLD – Aries (Gemma):
American singer, songwriter, rapper, and YouTuber Aries gained popularity through posting songs on his YouTube channel. He is an enthralling, genre-bending up-and-coming artist, effectively blending emo-rap elements with tropes from the alternative music genre, echoing artists such as Juice WRLD and most particularly Post Malone.
As his first release since 2019 debut album ‘WELCOME HOME’, FOOL’S GOLD is the lead single of his forthcoming sophomore record, and it shares all of the strengths of his debut, including effortless flows complimented by a fusion of acoustic and electronic instrumentation and a laidback, relaxed summer vibe.
He is an enthralling, genre-bending up-and-coming artist, effectively blending emo-rap elements with tropes from the alternative music genre
His sound has not notably progressed or evolved since his debut; FOOL’S GOLD sounds as if it could be a B-side from ‘WELCOME HOME’, but the single essentially captures Aries doing what Aries does best. It fits naturally with his pre-established sound – mellow, chilled, laidback, summer tones – so fans of his previous work are guaranteed to love it.
I Know I’ll Find it – APRE (Gemma):
Inspired by the socially-conscious, observational lyricism of Pet Shop Boys and Foals, in which darker truths are masked behind massive-sounding songs, this week saw London-based alternative pop-rock duo APRE release a mini-album, titled ‘Always In My Head’. They have refined and established their eclectic, experimental sound, striking a balance between sonically uplifting tracks with emotionally honest lyrics.
A stand-out track is the single I Know I’ll Find it, primarily due to the unique and experimental instrumentation of the track. The duo enlisted the assistance of a full orchestra to remotely perform on the track at the start of lockdown, which they admitted was a “weird experience”.
They have refined and established their eclectic, experimental sound,
The track has a slow, mellow and relaxed tone, whilst also succeeding in being simultaneously blissful and dreamy, courtesy of the orchestra. It effectively captures the true essence of the duo, and their overarching aim: to be an outlet for escapism from the negativity of reality.
SLO – VUKOVI (Gemma):
Scottish experimental pop-rock, noise-pop duo VUKOVI release stand-alone single SLO, their first release since January’s sophomore record ‘Fall Better’. Mixing heavy-rock riffs and explosive drums with melodic, catchy, choruses and pop-leaning vocals, they have established a sound that balances the intensity of rock with the fun, dance-along and sing-along energy of pop. However, defining them as pop-rock seems insulting and limiting, as they are much more than this.
Vocalist Janine Shilstone explains the lyrical content of the song; “SLO is comparing my OCD to an abusive relationship. You have a warped outlook on what healthy behaviour is. You forget what it’s like living a normal life. It has this god like status that makes you believe you wouldn’t survive if it was ever to leave you. You have a toxic reliance on it and in your eyes that condones reckless behaviour”.
They have established a sound that balances the intensity of rock with the fun, dance-along and sing-along energy of pop
SLO is a blend of dirty guitar-riffs, melodic and powerful vocals, and electronic synths, resulting in a product which is chaotic, raging, energetic, experimental and fierce. The song commences with an immediate explosion of sound; it is a burst of non-stop energy in its entirety – there is no build up to this crescendo, resulting in an ear-catching track from the get-go. This track proves that VUKOVI have well and truly mastered their unique sound.
Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
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