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Emily Rockarts – LITTLE FLOWER
Genre: Cinematic Pop, Indie Rock
Favorite Tracks: “Get It All Back,” “Stay,” “Vistas,” “Golden Hour”
Emily Rockarts’ LITTLE FLOWER is something of a puzzle box, and I’d dare you to find a more misleading pair of opening tracks than “Get It All Back” and “Stay.” “Get It All Back” is basically as close as I’ve heard a modern indie rocker get to matching Sigur Rós’ otherworldly hum without devolving into cheap, two-bit-movie-score interlude territory in some time, the floating-in-space alien beacons ringing out amidst flurries of strings with an unprecedented amount of eye-opening beauty. And then “Stay” kicks in, the opening of the song essentially a Two Door Cinema Club circa-TOURIST HISTORY riff that is unrelenting in its delightful commitment to uptempo, cloudy day indie rock. From there she covers the dreary listlessness of modern bedroom pop (“Little Flower”), Feist and Regina Spektor-esque, pop-adjacent folk jags (“Right Now,” “Without You”), and chugging, cinematic ballads that would make Bon Iver tip a cap (“Vistas”). LITTLE FLOWER ends up covering a lot of ground, and a lot of sonic territory that shouldn’t fit together remotely as well as it does, but that the beats between “Get It All Back” and “Stay” feel like a genuine revelation gives Rockarts amble leeway through the rest of the record to steady herself sonically. By the time we hit closer “Golden Hour,” it’s been a true sonic journey that really does make you want to see the puzzle come together once again. Rockarts’ name is going to be everywhere soon enough—it’s a “when,” not an “if,” that the right label finds her and makes her a big deal in this industry—and LITTLE FLOWER is a pretty fully realized, exciting debut. Give it a listen over on Bandcamp. [CJ Simonson]
Tami T – HIGH PITCHED AND MOIST
Favorite Tracks: “Birthday,” “Princess,” “Fourteen,” “Stay Where You Are,” “Disgusted,” “Till Skogen”
In a time when AG Cook and PC Music are rapidly and unexpectedly approaching the status of household names due to the wave of bright, shiny, and hyperemotional dance-pop completely commandeering internet discourse, it is genuinely shocking that last year didn’t see more of a scrum either way over Tami T’s HIGH PITCHED AND MOIST. Another record luxuriating in EDM-leaning electronic and European trance and house styles joyously and unironically, all of the formerly unpopular sounds you’re now growing to know and love are perfectly joined with T’s frank and uncompromising lyrics, a crystalline, candy-coated hammer driving emotional nails deep into your heart.
While the record is consistent across the board, there’s really no greater example than the absolutely devastating opener, “Birthday,” which features the simply unfair chorus of: “Not the best birthday ever / But worse are yet to come / Another year wasted on attempts at having fun / Another year of making mistakes you can’t undo / A sad birthday fit for a sad person like you.” How can you not love it? But even if the festival rave breaks of tracks such as “Princess” and “Face Riding” offer more transcendentally enjoyable highs, HIGH PITCHED AND MOIST is at its best when it manages to evoke an almost Kraftwerkian ability to have you crying and grooving at the same time, many of its more reserved jams the more emotionally resonant pieces (“Fourteen,” “Stay Where You Are”).
But what truly does deserve its time in the spotlight is Tami T’s courage and self-assurance in saying exactly what she’s thinking and how she’s feeling, entirely owning the earnestness of her treatises on love and sex and heartbreak. While the bald-faced horniness of “Deep digging into the inside of my lips / Thick black ropes holding me in place / You’re dislodged by the grinding of your hips / I’m happy suffocating when you’re riding my face” speaks for itself, it’s the devastating directness of a lines such as “Lucky you / I’m in this state / Low standards / Because of self-hate / I wouldn’t be here if I was ok / But I am not ok” that sticks with you. Topped off with some fun, Daft Punk-reminiscent house loops on “Single Right Now,” whatever magic is happening on the Arctic, dreamy synthpop of “Disgusted,” and the more understated deep house pedigree of “Till Skogen,” HIGH PITCHED AND MOIST is well worth your time. You can check it out on Bandcamp here. [Thomas Seraydarian]