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New Music Radar

New Music Radar for November 15th, 2023

She Returns From War – Ruthless

She Returns From War unveiled her highly anticipated new full-length album, Ruthless, last week, much to our delight. The songs show Park bringing her Amerciana troubadour sound into its full strength, often playing with production choices like assertive drum beats and more atmosphere while maintaining girl-and-her-guitar realness. Listen to any track and it’s clear (if it wasn’t already) that Park is a poet, crafting verses with tender, quick-witted cleverness. “Somebody’s Making It,” an acoustic guitar ballad midway through the album, presents such flares of lyrical brilliance as “You only love me when the snow is cold / Too many winters to forget your coat,” “I’m superstitious of the mess in / At least somebody’s making it,” and the simple yet gut-wrenching “Don’t think too much / Take your friend to lunch / It could maybe save their life. Park writes songs that will stand the test of time, like family heirlooms to be treasured and revisited often.

On this playlist: “Somebody’s Making It”

Contributed by Kate Bryan

Mantra – “Waiting”

The Charleston homegrown group Mantra, known for their easygoing indie-rock sound, released a new single, “Waiting” this past weekend. The single marks the band’s second release of the year with an emphasis on folky-Americana guitars, dreamy keys, and delicate vocals. The airy-esque melody nestles adequately into the layered and charismatic instrumentals that Mantra is notorious for spotlighting in their music. The group celebrated the new release at Rec Room last night with the help of the local emo group, Haunters

Contributed by Sarah Grace Sherbondy

Charleston indie outfit Mantra dropped a new single, “Waiting,” last week. The track unfolds with pleasant texture: jazz, blues, and psych rock instrumentation mingle happily against vocals that have an easy, melting quality. A guitar riff serves almost as a voice of its own, offering a solo response to many verses. Vocals loop and fold around each other in a psychic daze, repeating “Baby the night’s almost over / Give up.”

Contributed by Kate Bryan

Niecy Blues – Exit Simulation

Last week, vocalist Niecy Blues released Exit Simulation, an experimental body of work that demands focused contemplation and repeat listens. Alongside her vocals (which borrow from elements of R&B and soul to become something ethereal and all her own), the songs are slow, but with intention – rather than meandering, they lead you with purpose along a shadowy path. The title track, “Exit Simulation,” begins with an acoustic guitar. “Relinquish your things / You’ve got somewhere to be,” she tells us, like she knows something we don’t, like she’s seen through to the other side. Echoes and ambient noise add a celestial film over the surface of the song.

On this playlist: “Exit Simulation”

Contributed by Kate Bryan

RaSean Parks – “Soul Food Sundae Vol 1”

RaSean Parks’ latest EP release, “Soul Food Sundae Vol. 1,” is a remarkable sonic journey that exudes excitement and creativity. Parks skillfully incorporates funky vocal harmonies, soulful vocal runs, and rich choral compositions, creating an auditory landscape reminiscent of Earthgang, OutKast, Musiq Soulchild, and a sprinkle of Kendrick Lamar. The live instrumentals, raw and jazzy, intertwine with pristine mixes, resulting in a perfectly balanced palate of sonic goodness.

However, it’s not just the captivating sound that makes this EP shine. RaSean Parks showcases his lyrical prowess, coating each beat with fluent lyricism and poetic rhapsodic structures that soothe the ear and nourish the soul. Moreover, the inclusion of talented singers like Ki Jhane, JVS, and Amber Cassidy adds an elegant touch to Parks’ vulnerable and “open book” style.

While the entire EP is overwhelmingly #GxldApproved, stand-out tracks like “Run For Your Money” and “Moon Song” featuring Ambar Cassidy truly exemplify the EP’s brilliance.

On the playlist: “Run For Your Money”

Contributed by Thaddeus Adams

Outerloop – “huracán”

DC’s powerhouse post-punk rock group Outerloop released the genre-shattering single “huracán” last week. The single’s non-linear structure is striking in a way that makes the listener use their third ear, with especially impressive drum sections that hold a consistent vitality with lead singer Taisha Estrada’s admirable zigzag songwriting. With agile instrumentals and unsparing vocal delivery Outerloop serves bilingual lyrics on a platter to show “Spanish lyrics being the voice of the people, and English lyrics being the voice of the uncaring oppressor”. With a similar prog-alternative energy to the early 2000s rock outfit The Mars Volta, I predict Outerloop will continue to make unpredictable dents in the punk realm. 

Contributed by Sarah Grace Sherbondy

JxShamar – “Bestie”

As I was exploring the latest November releases for this weeks radar, I came across JxShamar’s new single “Bestie,” produced by KJ-Wol. Instantly, I found myself captivated by the relatable concept of unrequited love and the desire to transcend mere friendship. JxShamar’s flow in this track reminds me of Kendrick Lamar’s Section.80 era, effortlessly expressing the emotions and uncertainties that accompany such longing. The simplicity of KJ-Wol’s production perfectly complements JxShamar’s intimate commentary, as he articulately embraces the notion of settling as a “Bestie” while yearning for something more with someone. This is the first song that’s caught my attention by JxShamar and I highly anticipate hearing more #GxldApproved jams from this artist.

Contributed by Thaddeus Adams

The Aubreys – “Running”

The Aubreys is made up of Canadians Finn Wolfhard and Malcolm Craig and is their latest project since the dissolution of Calpurnia in 2019. The youthful Vancouver duo released their newest single “Running” last week and their longstanding intertwined chemistry is magnetically raw in this psych-pop nonchalant track. There is a certain maturity and wisdom eluding from the intermittent lyrics that still remain intentionally immersive in delivery. With Wolfhard having more free time since becoming globally renowned for his role in Stranger Things I hope to expect more experimental work from The Aubreys as they evolve their sound. 

Contributed by Sarah Grace Sherbondy

Madi Diaz & Kacey Musgraves – “Don’t Do Me Good”

Madi Diaz has had a big Fall that’s included opening dates for My Morning Jacket and now a collaboration with Americana star Kacey Musgraves. And what a collaboration it is. Diaz brings the emotionally-honest songwriting (something that Kacey is also known for), and both artists bring dreamy vocal performances. The lyrics depict an unhealthy relationship where one person knows the relationship is not healthy for them, yet they still can’t bring themselves to leave. The song is not only a big career move for Diaz, but it’s also great to hear Kacey on a collab track with another female artist.

Contributed by Chris Huber

P!lot – “Balloon”

Charleston, SC-based eclectic indie pop artist P!lot released her newest single “Balloon” on Friday. “I wrote this song over 10 years ago, musing on being a balloon, feeling light, being free, yet staying tethered,” P!lot’s Erel Pilo says on Instagram. The track has a lightweight, whimsical feel, with lyrics that imagine a grounded freedom. “Balloon” was produced by Wolfgang Zimmerman, mastered by Corey Campbell, and mastered by Matt Garber. Adam Barley, Brett Nash, ands Clay White, all play on the track.

Contributed by Chris Huber

Big Something & SUSTO – “Clouds Unplugged”

Big Something’s newest single, “Clouds Unplugged” features a both a co-write and a guest recording spot from Justin Osborne of SUSTO. A re-imagining of the group’s previous single, “Clouds,” which features Andy Frasco, this version of the track strips things back and subs in Justin on vocals in place of Frasco. The result reminds me of a SUSTO song from the Ever Since I Lost My Mind era, dark and focused on struggles with addiction and the desire to escape. Big Something’s new album Headspace arrives this Friday, November 17th.

Contributed by Chris Huber

Chris Stapleton – Higher

Country mainstay Chris Stapleton released his fifth studio album, Higher last week. The album brings a variety of sonic landscapes, from the smoky, outlaw country feel and thick guitar jams of “South Dakota,” to the funky “Think I’m In Love With You,” to the heartfelt acoustic musings of “Mountains Of My Mind.” There is a lot to like here for longtime Stapleton fans, and although I’m just one quick listen through this album right now, my first impression is that it rules.

On the playlist: “South Dakota”

Contributed by Chris Huber