Dounia – UP 4 AIR
On the rise R&B songstress Dounia has released her third EP NOT GOOD FOR THE EGO today via all digital and streaming platforms. “TOXIC” is the EP’s first official single, and continues to display Dounia’s own unique take on pop, soul and R&B, delivering her signature brand of sharp, sassy and unapologetic lyrical content.
Continuing to propel Dounia into the national spotlight, NOT GOOD FOR THE EGO comes amidst a very productive year for the buzzing artist. This past March she released her highly acclaimed single “LOWKEY GIRL” which made its premiere on Complex, and has since zig-zagged the country playing a number of spring music festivals including BUKU Music + Arts Festival, SunFest and Soundset. Last November, she released her sophomore EP The Avant-Garden, which included the critically acclaimed single “Rich Girl Mood,” featuring R&B singer-songwriter Kehlani.
In late October, she joined French pop star Christine and the Queens on a series of tour dates across North America, which included sold-out shows in New York and Los Angeles. In a recent feature profile, Vogue dubbed Dounia as a “Modern day bombshell” who “hasn’t just arrived. She’s arrived.” In a 2019 V Magazine piece, she was dubbed as “New York’s very own princess,” who is “a lot more than a pretty face.” In January 2019, she was included on Refinery29’s coveted Z-List.
Queens-born and Moroccan raised, Dounia has been amassing an impressive following with her relatable songs and personality, using her platform to champion body positivity as much as her talent. Dounia made her debut in 2017 with the genre-bending “Intro To” EP, which produced the hits “East Coast Hiding” and “Shyne.” Since that release, Dounia has garnered the attention of Vogue, V Magazine, TIME Magazine, The FADER, Dazed, VICE, and Highsnobiety, among others.
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Arlo Parks – Cola
Arlo Parks‘ debut single ‘Cola‘ is breathtaking; a tender, poetic and confessional introduction to an artist who holds such promise. At just eighteen, the young London based singer demonstrates soul beyond her years, and with ‘Cola‘ the submissive tones of her powerful voice are laid atop slow guitar melodies that beckon you to stop what you’re doing and just listen. The track is written about bad love – in her words, “Cola is a reminder that betrayal is inevitable when it comes to pretty people that think flowers fix everything“.
On a personal level, Parks struggled with her identity growing up; a self-confessed tom boy who was super sensitive and “uncool”, she says it was like “I’m a black kid who can’t dance for shit, listens to emo music and currently has a crush on some girl in my Spanish class.” By the time she reached 17, she shaved her head, figured out she was bisexual and produced/wrote an album’s worth of material.
Growing up in South West London, half Nigerian, a quarter Chadian and a quarter French, Arlo Parks learned to speak French before English. A quiet child, she’d write short stories and create fantasy worlds, later journalling and then obsessing over spoken word poetry, reading American poets such as Ginsberg and Jim Morrison and watching old Chet Baker performances on YouTube. These days she references Nayyirah Waheed, Hanif Abdurraqib and Iain S. Thomas as her favourite modern poets, and it is clear that their works are as influential on her songwriting as any musician. Books too, such as The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath andNorwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. Parks says, “the way Murakami writes in that book is how I aspire to write my songs; gritty and sensitive and human.“
Fela Kuti’s ‘Water‘ and Otis Redding’s ‘Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay‘ soundtracked Arlo Parks’ childhood, but it was aged around 13 that she discovered King Krule; an artist who would heavily influence the music she writes today. Later listening to more hip-hop (from Kendrick Lamar and Earl Sweatshirt to the more confessional sounds of Loyle Carner) and rock (Jimi Hendrix, Shilpa Ray and David Bowie), as well as the subdued, pained sounds of Keaton Henson, Sufjan Stevens and Julien Baker, Parks explains, “I would write stories so detailed you could taste them, while maintaining the energy and life of the hip-hop I loved.” There’s a visual, almost cinematic quality to her writing too, which is born from her love of horror films, streetwear and abstract art.
‘Cola‘ is the first taster of the body of work she’s been working on over the past 12 months, but it won’t be the last. Arlo Parks has reached the point of self-discovery, and it’s only a matter of time before the world discovers her too.
Read the rest of this article at The Partae
Clairo – Bags
Clairo’s music is lackadaisical and charming, full of candid observations that feel plucked from a friend’s iPhone notes. Her viral hit “Pretty Girl” spread so quickly not because it is particularly obscure or bizarre, but because, accompanied by a lo-fi video filmed on her computer’s webcam, its sentiments are familiar to any woman who has sacrificed part of herself for a love interest. Since that song’s success, Clairo has released an EP, as well as a handful of hazy pop singles that reference the mundane—Pepto Bismol, accidentally swallowed gum, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos—while articulating the frustrations and euphoria of blossoming romance.
“Bags,” Clairo’s strongest song to date, ups the ante significantly. She delivers oblique, stream-of-consciousness lyricism about a deteriorating relationship, singing in a characteristic deadpan that seems to contradict the emotional weight of lines like, “Pardon my emotions, I should probably keep it all to myself,” and, “Can you see me using everything to hold back?” But the instrumentals tell a different story; unlike the gauzy, synth-heavy wash that usually cocoons her vocals, “Bags” is sonic splatter paint. Clairo and Rostam’s production is a mishmash of choppy helicopter synth, chugging electric guitar, Danielle Haim’s drums, and keys that sound as if they’re being banged by a kindergartener. Though it sounds busy on paper, it’s executed beautifully, each twinkling element bringing new vibrancy to the mix. With the dewy turbulence of a monsoon rain, “Bags” marks a new kind of Clairo energy.
Read the rest of this article at Pitchfork
Lou Rebecca – Waiting
Lou Rebecca has been ceremoniously building toward the release of her debut LP, Restless, due out via Holodeck Records this fall. The Austin-based, Parisian native has been laying the groundwork for the LP’s release with a serious of infectious singles and videos, showcasing her knack for both passionate synth-pop and whipsmart visual presentation. With that in mind, we’re honored to premiere the video for “Waiting,” conceived and directed by Lou.
The video depicts two central characters, both portrayed by Lou, in a synergy of motion and rhythm. One character is longingly lost among a series of vintage synthesizers while the other moves in a more controlled chaos on a dimly lit street and in a restaurant. These scenes are cut with live performances by Josh Mills, Lou’s creative partner, who co-composed the track.
Lou has graciously offered these words explaining her vision for the video:
It’s about that moment, when you realize you’ve become a shadow of yourself. You’ve let the routine make a ghost out of you, moving on autopilot. You open your eyes and understand that something within you has been withering. It seizes you with great urgency, brutality almost, that everything has to change, it has to change now, before it’s too late.
For the characters, though they have opposite personalities, they are going through the same emotion. The blonde being explosive fire, the brunette being a quiet storm. However different, they both understand the urgency of this moment. It’s their last chance to wake up and step back into their lives, or to become empty shells of themselves forever.
The track itself is a shimmering slice of synth-pop bliss, bright and energetic with a drop of longing, channeling the long-lost and deeply cherished Elli & Jacno. Lou’s half-English, half-French lyrics add to the song’s dream-like state.
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