It’s our Bandcamp Picks of the Week, featuring the soft rock sounds of Sylvie’s latest self-titled EP, and the lush debut from Los Angeles singer-songwriter Daisy Abrams!
Daisy Abrams – EVERYWHERE I’M NOT
Favorite Tracks: “Early Riser,” “Moment by Moment,” “Sail Away,” “Unmarked Grave”
In a world infatuated with the idea of all a computer can do (i.e. synths and vocal distortion), is there something to be said for the analog? Not that either option is wrong, per se, or that the two can’t work in conjunction, but one can easily find themself begging for the stripped audio of an encompassing guitar or piano. If someone were hypothetically craving this sound, they would need to look no further than Daisy Abrams.
On her debut, EVERYWHERE I’M NOT, Abrams has concentrated the feeling of a home-cooked meal from your parents after days of take out with only a placating piano and a panged voice ringing out. If your mom had a voice as resonant as that of Annie Lennox, Snail Mail, and Waxahatchee, it might sound a bit like this. Abrams follows suit in a long line of master players utilizing their instruments with solos and saturated composition—think Thundercat and St. Vincent. But Abrams and producer John Fox aren’t averse to the idea of heavy production (look no further than single and opening track “The Early Riser”). Abrams puts denser tracks in like easter eggs amongst quiet but impactful cuts like “Moment by Moment” and “Sail Away.” Her songwriting is slow, but not subdued, as her voice raises up and sits just below the surface of the songs. The content of these lyrics might feel familiar, but there’s a refreshing sweetness to the loneliness she feels, as if the simple mention of its existence makes the feelings easier to cope with.
On “Unmarked Grave,” the album’s last track, she sings, “…So self aware / I could think and talk and care / While the room spinning squares and sinking.” Abrams understands that disassociating is commonplace—not healthy, but necessary—and finds solace in describing the tumultuous nature of her feelings. EVERYWHERE I’M NOT holds the integrity of an artist’s sound while describing the elusive feeling of wanting to be anywhere but here as anyone but you, yet realizing life is about making different versions of yourself and coming to be content with past selves no matter how hard that may be. But it over on Bandcamp. [Jesse Herb]
Sylvie – S/T
Genre: Folk, Soft Rock, Pop
Favorite Tracks: “Falls on me,” “Rosaline”
The October release of Los Angeles folk band Sylvie’s self-titled debut EP oozes a deep nostalgia. Comprised of Drugdealer’s Benjamin Schwab and musicians Marina Allen and Sam Burton, the band’s history predates their more formal formation in 2021; Schwab happened to come across some old tapes and recordings of his father John’s ‘70s band, Mad Anthony, which helped to kickstart and fuel Sylvie’s musical vision. The final track even includes a recording of Schwab Sr., referencing his old recordings, revived from the floppy disc format for our current day streaming pleasure.
The EP begins gently with the song “Falls On Me,” a tribute to that feeling of autumnal melancholy, when everything seems to be dying and coming back to life at once. This may be the strongest song on the EP, albeit one that is still sleepy and wistful, with lyrics that relate to the cyclical nature of love. In revisiting his father’s garage recordings, Schwab managed to find something new that was missing in a lot of today’s predictable folk rock. Tracks “Sylvie” and “Rosaline” offer a distinct and modern take at what many may see as dated Californian soft rock. Although there is modern instrumentation, the melodies and sincerity to the slower tempo feel refreshed and dreamy. None of the artists attempted to overcomplicate what they were inspired by, preserving a good thing to make it even better. It goes without saying that these autumnal lullabies are worthy of your cold weather December playlist. Listen to Sylvie over on Bandcamp here. [Allison Lapinski]