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Vlad Holiday croons well-past midnight in new video "Phonograph"

“Phonograph,” the latest single by New York mutli-instrumentalist and songwriter Vlad Holiday, has all the trappings of neo-noir soundtrack — compressed vox, dreamy telecasters, and a visual component that sets the scene for any variety of seedy midnight capers. Betwixt shots of the M train’s exterior as it snakes through Brooklyn, we catch solitary scenes of Vlad Holiday solitarily crooning in the studio, his echoing vocals seemingly dissipating into the room amidst the hissing of vinyl, creating a brief hush before a full brash fanfare dramatically accents the song’s chorus. Such stirring visuals encapsulate Holiday’s lonely, longing lyrics, and creates the perfect aesthetic for this tune's backdrop. Reminiscent of equal parts Can and early Phantogram, it’s recommended viewing for those seeking an atmospheric nocture trip — watch it below. Photo by Chaunte Vaughn

   

Arlo Indigo's blue pop goes Bowie on new "Heroes" cover

It was 1977 when David Bowie, drawing inspiration from the sight of his producer embracing his lover by the Berlin Wall, released “Heroes,” ostensibly one of his best singles (and probably one of the greatest rock tracks of all time). While the politics of the period undoubtedly underscore the song’s lyrics, the track’s core theme is distance, the varying uncontrollable factors that keep us from the people we long most to see. Though this is may be an ahistorical reading of Ziggy Stardust’s intentions, it’s hard not to listen to Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist Jeremiah Brunnhoetzl’s (d.b.a. Arlo Indigo) cover without considering the context of our contemporary malaise-ridden daydream — in the age of social distancing, it’s likely many of us find ourselves fantasizing about how things would be, how great things could be, if the odds could be overcome, albeit briefly. Thankfully, Brunnhoetzl’s “blue pop” instrumentation, his pulsing synth-driven, 80s-tinged approach to Bowie’s work, masterfully captures the original’s dispirited energy with a contemporary spin. Give it a listen below.

   

Strange Majik recall classic rock with perfect hindsight on "20/20"

David Pattillo is something of a blues rock cult hero in New York City, but you could likely tell that from looking at him. Replete with hair well-below the shoulders and a flare for late 60s / early 70s fashion, his music under the moniker Strange Majik conjures up classic influences, which when channeled through a contemporary filter, become something else entirely that's wholly (and delightfully) weird. His latest offering 20/20 excels in this mishmash of past and present sounds, a psych-y, funky odyssey that reads like an alternate history Summer of Love wherein the public found out every batshit conspiracy theory of the time turned out to be true (as opposed to being declassified years later). And while Pattillo’s craft is in a five decade long tradition, his songwriting is very much of-the-times, which makes for an engaging cognitive dissonance — hearing Strange Majik groove under lyrics describing the breakbeat pace of modern living (“World On Fire”) and the surveillance state (“Whistleblower”) feels inherently anachronistic, a prediction of things yet to come hidden in dusty forgotten vinyl. Moreover, this combination of a modern worldview, a carefully curated mix of genera, and Pattillo's strange bent succeeds in making a rock and roll record that feels truly contemporary, a task that's no small feat these days. Play it loud, below. —Connor Beckett McInerney, photo by Ky DiGregorio 

   

Weak Signal rock introspectively on new single "Rolex"

If you’ve suddenly found yourself spending a lot of time indoors, the introspective rock of Weak Signal is prime listening in the age of social distancing, and new single “Rolex” cuts right through the bullshit of all “necessary" social gatherings we’re thankfully avoiding this month (and likely next month [and the month after that probably]). The detached vocals of frontman Mike Bones parse a late night scene unflinchingly, an interior monologue detailing coked-out conversations and polite laughter, his hushed vox complimentary to a shuffling percussive line, sparse guitars and a walking bass line. This isn’t to say the band can’t make space for noisier segues, specifically during the track’s chorus, but even as electric power chords and budding snares enter the scene, the foggy, unfocused mindset remains, with Bones and bassist Sasha Vine crooning in unison, “yeah I know, without knowing.” Such quiet instrumental qualities and loose-form narratives may remind listeners of Stephen Malkmus’ word-association approach lyricism, or the understated indie of Yo La Tengo — give it a listen below.

   

Adeline Hotel explores intimacy through soft folk on "Solid Love," plays C'mon Everybody 5.9

Dan Knishkowy set off on the audacious task of treating the concepts of love and friendship ”with the gravity and wonder [they] deserve” on new LP Solid Love, doing so in his consummate early 70s folk fashion that feels ever patient and kind. Under the project name Adeline Hotel, Knishkowy brings in a slew of collaborators (including Winston Cook-Wilson of Office Culture, Ben Seretan, and Brigid Mae Power), succeeding in rendering the indescribable as emotional visceral. On the album’s title track, listeners are greeted with melting slide guitars and inviting acoustic arpeggios, which seamlessly segues to a rich tapestry of warm piano improvisation, shuffling brush drum-work, and occasional woodwind accents — though despite full accompaniment, the song remains evenhanded, never overwhelming even as each component becomes invariably more complex and rich. It immediately evokes Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter, and is recommended for those seeking a sensitive, plainspoken effort. Stream it below, and catch Adeline Hotel at C’mon Everybody on May 9th for their record release show. Photo by Chris Bernabeo