June is around the corner which means summer, sunshine, holidays and all things good in life. After a whirlwind year like the one that has pestered us this time around, we can enjoy all the positiveness that is coming our way. And to revel in this happiness and the celebration of our lives getting back on track GEM is here again with another New Music Friday – this time including tracks from indie sweethearts Half Alive, Eurovision winners Måneskin, newcomer Ayra and many more.
half•alive – TIME 2
Known and loved as a band that makes their music breathe, evolve, grow, and change alongside their own lives, the Long Beach trio half•alive – comprised of Josh Taylor (vocals), Brett Kramer (drums), and J Tyler Johnson (bass) – have returned with their latest cinematic release ‘TIME 2’. Finished right before the pandemic put the world on hold, the magical, electro-tinged track revolves around the theme of waking up in the chaos of life and remembering and craving an innocent, child-like state of mind.
With singer Taylor humming “I’m fleeing to the wonder I lost when I was younger, the simple child state of mind / It’s comin’ like the sunshine, rising in the morning. I’m waking up it’s time”, the musical rollercoaster ride, packed with mystic synth sounds and layered vocals trailing the song, instantly turns into an immersive experience that speaks to everyone feeling stuck in the midst between going back to normality and the global time-out we’ve come accustomed to. And highlighted with a filmic, choreography-heavy music video that was self-directed by the band and long-time collaborators JA Collective, we are more than ready to jump into this new era for the American wonder-group.
Written by: Laura Weingrill
AYRA – Hold Tight
Mystic beats, harrowing tales of longing and seduction create the undertone of AYRA’s latest single ‘Hold Tight’. The Belgian based artist delves back into her psyche and alludes to a tale full of overpowering emotions. The rapidness of a love stuck in time becomes apparent through the variety of backing vocals that become more haunting as the track progresses.
‘Hold Tight’ creates an eerie yet angelic sound and captures the listeners by its mesmerising instrumentals and hypnotising virtuous vocals. Throughout the 3 minutes and 21 seconds, the music becomes subdued and replaces it for a nearly religious epiphany. As with AYRA’s previous single ‘Fool’ she has proven to be placed in the wonderful world of mystique bedroom pop and tops it by using her silky smooth features in music – proving to be adventurous and comfortable. The young artist might be in her starting blocks but with ‘Hold Tight’ she yet again confirms that she has the talent and excellence of a seasoned professional.
Written by: Lauren Dehollogne
Måneskin – Zitti E Buoni
The Italian rock band Måneskin have been around since 2017, but only recently started to get international recognition when they won the Eurovision Song Contest last Saturday with their hit track ‘Zitti E Buoni’, orginally released on March 3rd 2021.
It is also the lead single to their third album ‘Teatro dira – Vol. 1’. The title ‘Zitti E Buoni’ is a typical Italian phrase, translated to “quiet and good”, which is often used by parents telling their children to behave. In the song, the phrase is used in a more ironic manner, as the rest of the lyrics are about standing against social norms and expectations. Sonically, the song is heavy on Bass and Drums, reminding of the British rock band Arctic Monkeys, who Måneskin credited as one of their biggest influences. Their sound and look is loud, aggressive and badass, making sure their message comes across and they stick out of the crowd, no matter what language their audience speaks – which is clearly the reason as to why they not only appeal to the European masses but will certainly continue to gain getting worldwide listeners. And to quote Måneskin’s leadsinger Damiano David: “Rock’n roll will never die”.
Written by: Vicky Madzak
Sigrid – Mirror
Norwegian pop icon Sigrid is set to take over the charts with her latest single ‘Mirror’. After the release of her debut album ‘Sucker Punch’ in 2019, Sigrid stayed off the radar for a while and now it’s safe to say she’s back – and better than ever. ‘Mirror’ is a textbook example of a good pop song that, at the same time, stays true to Sigrid’s signature sound.This self-love anthem is both empowering and danceable.
After teasing the song on TikTok, she later said that it’s about, “accepting your personality and the positive sides, [but also] the negative sides you have. It sounds really cheesy but just being ok with being human and living with it.”
Along with the release of her single, Sigrid also shared a music video with the world where you see her hanging out with herself and having fun on her own. This ties in perfectly with the pre-chorus and chorus, where she sings, “It had to break, I had to go / ‘Cause it took me walkin’ away to really know / I love who I see lookin’ at me / In the mirror.” She shows that spending time by yourself can help you accept who you are and that it can also be empowering and fun. With ‘Mirror’, Sigrid has shown how much fun it is to just be yourself.
Written by: Ine Vanvuchelen
Tom Rosenthal – Now You Know
The wait is finally over. After what has felt like an eternity, London-based singer-songwriter Tom Rosenthal has emerged from the chaos that has been the past year and a half with not only a new single but also an upcoming album titled “Denis Was a Bird” (out August 20) in tow. Emotionally raw and as personal as ever, Rosenthal’s latest release “Now You Know” is sure to make even the strongest of our hearts shed one tear or another, with Tom’s hauntingly beautiful vocals and a slow, quiet piano and string section weaving themselves through the song in the background. Opening with the lyrics “It’s ok dad you can go”, it’s clear very early on that the touching masterpiece is dedicated to Rosenthal’s dad Denis, who passed away in 2019. Revolving around his father’s life and death, the whole upcoming record is set to reflect on the process of grief, with all its many dark and grey, but also euphoric and uplifting moments.
Those who have been fans of Rosenthal and his angelic, musical pieces for the past years, have come to love and know the singer for his openness and lyrical intimacy, but with the grandness of the inspiration for this forthcoming album, we are certain that even the most experienced admirers will have their hearts skip a beat or two.
Written by: Laura Weingrill
Bleachers – Stop Making This Hurt
Jack Antonoff’s band Bleachers release their first single of 2021 and announce third album ‘Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night’ (30 July). The popstar-producer steps into his own on ‘Stop Making This Hurt’ and creates yet again another danceable ‘80s reminiscent track that will have you up on your feet.
The heavily synth induced song, brings out all of the best elements Bleachers have to offer. With its brassy tunes and gleeful atmosphere, making ‘Stop Making This Hurt’ the sonically perfect opener to a light and breezy summer. The lyrics counteract the illusion of a soft spoken sunny feature of happiness and instead utilise the overarching theme of existential dread.
“But if we take the sadness out of Saturday night – I wonder what we’ll be left with, anything worth the fight?”, links the record’s third single with the title ‘Take The Sadness Out of Saturday Night’ therefore illuminating a facet of interconnection. ‘Stop Making This Hurt’ fits in perfectly with previously released tracks ‘45’ and ‘Chinatown ft Bruce Springsteen’, as Bleachers are proving once again to be able to concoct the perfect combination between the excessive bigness of the ‘80s and slyly hidden modern backtracks.
Written by: Lauren Dehollogne