Features

Songs We’re Vibing With (May and June 2021)

The year is just chugging along, don’t you think? We can’t believe this is our third post in this series that we started just this year. You can check out those posts below. Enjoy!

January and February 2021
March and April 2021

In chronological order:

“Harshest Critic” – Allison Ponthier
Release date – May 13, 2021

Kacey Musgraves: WATCH OUT! Country/pop newcomer Allison Ponthier’s third single, “Harshest Critic,” is an ode to self-criticism that feels all too poignant for the current world we live in. According to Dork, the song is about the moment when Ponthier started getting record label offers, and her coming to terms with the idea of big label executives judging her work. “Harshest Critic” comes after a collaboration with Lord Huron (“I Lied“) and a tour supporting the band. I hadn’t heard Ponthier’s music prior to this song, and it’s safe to say she’ll be on my radar moving forward. – Kristin

“Dancer in the Dark” – Current Joys
Release Date –  May 14, 2021

The opening thirty seconds of this song opens the door to a wistful experience, as Current Joys sets sail on his fourth studio album Voyager. The narrative sculpted in this album is given a breath of fresh air on this introductory track, as soft-ladden guitars ebb and flow with steady and reliable drums. Current Joys wants you to experience just that — joy — as he calmly extends his hand, asking for your company on this voyage. Other notable standouts from Voyager include the up-tempo “Money Making Machine” and duet-styled “Something Real.” The best way to enjoy this nearly hour-long project is just as Current Joys intended — from start to finish. Allow his creativity and imagination to take your breath away. – Sean

“My NRG” – V!V
Release Date – May 21

We featured midwest-based artist V!V last year after she released her debut single “Sun X Moon” and are happy to get V!V on the blog again with “My NRG” (my energy). This track is the ultimate self-love anthem and absolutely should be all over the radio, it’s honestly a shame that it’s not. Channeling the likes of Lizzo and inspired by artists like the Isley Brothers and Notorious BIG (the song samples “Big Poppa,”) V!V crowdsourced some lyrical inspiration from friends when she had some writer’s block. After asking friends “what makes you feel like a bad ass bitich?” this the result. – Kristin

“Picasso” – 1990nowhere, Lostboycrow, Olivver the Kid
Release Date – May 28, 2021

In need of a sunny and seventy-five, windows down banger? Then look no further. “Picasso”, from the A Fever Called Living EP satisfies this role ten-fold. You’ll be hollering along to Olivver the Kid’s chorus before the end of your first listen. Infectious and energetic, these three artists knocked this track out of the park. Their vocals blend effortlessly and instrumentation choices allow each artist to perform at their peak. You need to give this track a shot. – Sean

“American Dream” – Baby Queen, MAY-A
Release Date – June 3

If you haven’t heard me screaming from the rooftops about Baby Queen for over a year at this point, do you even know who I am?! Once I saw this collaboration was being announced I was super amped, and at first, BQ’s team was promoting the single with a surprise feature by an unnamed artist, eventually being revealed as Australian act MAY-A, who’s only 19-years-old and just TODAY announced their label deal with Atlantic Records: her debut EP drops on August 6. I love this track for many reasons, and one big one is because it reminds me so much of a 1975 song: a band that Baby Queen has referenced to as inspiration. – Kristin

“Slide Tackle” – Japanese Breakfast
Release Date – June 4, 2021

The “boots-and-cats” from the gun preemptively set “Slide Tackle” in a class of its own, but the moment this track broke out the brass had me losing my effing mind. There are two relatively quick brass solos scattered throughout this track, but man — they embody the feel good summer vibes. This track, and the entirety of Jubilee for that matter, is pure gold. Michelle Zauner struck all of the right chords during this thirty-five minute snapshot of true bliss. Jubilee is easily top five for the year, if not the top slot. – Sean

“Used To Be Scared of The Dark” – Overcoats, Middle Kids
Release Date – June 4

Overcoats already have some of my favorite harmonies out there right now, and they sound extra beautiful with lead singer of Middle Kids, Hannah Joy’s voice. I already wrote about their collaboration with Dizzy earlier this year. Each song is different in their unique way, but both tackle the feelings that come after a relationship ends and going through the stages of grief that come along with that relationship ending. It’s a beautifully sad and realistic song and definitely gets me in my feels. – Kristin

“Unfold You” – Rostam
Release Date – June 4, 2021

“Unfold You” holds the title of slowest tempo for my round of submissions. Rostam’s voice, which sounds similar to Troye Sivan’s if you listen closely, lofts effortlessly over soft piano keys and an eventual saxophone portion. It’s textbook chill vibes and almost sounds like a song you’d hear during a ballroom dance. I’m particularly impressed by the song’s ability to teeter between the real world and some far-off fantasy. It’s truly a treat, as is Changephobia. What can I say? June 4 was a good day for music! – Sean

“Kill Me” – Indigo De Souza
Release Date – June 15

If 2021 is not Indigo De Souza’s breakout year, then I will totally accept that I know nothing about anything. Last week, Asheville native Indigo De Souza announced her upcoming full length album, Any Shape You Take, is out on August 27, with “Kill Me” released as the first single. The song, co-produced by Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Waxahatchee), was written several years ago when De Souza was coming to terms with “the reality of living with mental illness.” The song was initially recorded as a stream-of-consciousness before being produced as a single. – Kristin

“Black Hole” – Griff
Release Date – June 18, 2021

I remember how excited I was after hearing Griff’s voice on Zedd’s “Inside Out.” Now, a year later, Griff has released her first EP, titled One Foot In Front Of The Other. While relatively short, with only seven songs and a playback time of 20 minutes, fans have rallied behind Griff’s emerging talent. This EP garnered her a monthly following of more than eight million listeners on Spotify! Headlined by the track “Black Hole,” Griff notes that the lyrics of this song are purposely dark and melodramatic, which is a steep contrast to the upbeat tempo. Griff explains that, “in being so dark and melodramatic, it helps you embrace the feelings of emptiness and encourage you to dance through that.” Very powerful message from the up-and-coming artist, and I cannot wait to see what Griff’s future holds. – Sean

“Empathy” (MUNA Remix) – Lauren Aquilina
Release Date – June 18 

I’m a little bummed I missed the original drop of this song a few weeks ago, but (and no shade intended) I think I prefer the remix more! What first gravitated me towards hearing this song was the fact that MUNA, one of our faves, remixed it, along with the realization that I hadn’t heard anything new from Lauren in awhile, an artist who I discovered when I covered Sasha Sloan’s show at Schubas a couple years ago (she was the opening act). The song’s theme struck a chord in me, with lyrics exploring the ideas of taking everyone else’s stress and anxiety on as if it’s our own. This is something I can deeply relate to. I loved the upbeat remix element of the song compared to the slowness of the original: a technique specific to songs with sad subject matters that I’ve discovered to be one I love, thanks to artists like Robyn and Jack Antonoff. – Kristin

“It’s A Good Thing I’m Not God” – Shungudzo
Release Date – June 18

Activist, producer, gymnast, singer, what more can you do and be good at it? 31-year-old Alexandra Shungudzo Govere is a 31-year-old Zimbabwean jack of all trades, who also happened to be the first Black female gymnast to represent Zimbabwe in the 1999 All-Africa Games. She ALSO was on The Real World: San Diego ten years ago. What?! Now she’s released a new album on top of having incredible writing credits for artists like Jessie Ware and The Chainsmokers. The album is incredibly political, diving into topics like racism, sexism, and more. “It’s A Good Thing I’m Not God,” is probably one of the less-political songs of the bunch (they’re all great), and it’s raging with resentment and revenge: the 2021 version of “Before He Cheats” (not really a song about cheating, but a song where you still want to slash some tires). – Kristin

“Cake” – Pom Pom Squad
Release Date – June 25 

You’ll see it in a moment, but the team at Staged Haze is REALLY into Pom Pom Squad’s Death of A Cheerleader. Particularly, I’ve been listening to “Cake” and “Lux” back to back to back to back for several days at this point. If you feel the need to rage and imagine punching your fist through a wall, I suggest you listen to this album. It’s full grunge, punk rock bangers that I think you’ll very much enjoy. – Kristin

“Shame Reactions” – Pom Pom Squad
Release Date – June 25, 2021

In need of a second sunny and seventy-five, windows down banger? Well, I have NO SHAME in throwing Pom Pom Squad’s “Shame Reactions” on this list. This track goes hard and I’m all for it. My only gripe with this track is that it is around 90 seconds long. Another minute of this would have been the perfect mark, but I’ll take what I can get and will put this track on perpetual repeat. The guitar, the lyrics — sheer energy and oozing personality. I would encourage you to give Pom Pom Squad’s latest release,  Death of A Cheerleader, a listen too. – Sean

“Shook” – Cautious Clay
Release Date – June 25, 2021

The chill vibes continue on Cautious Clay’s latest album Deadpan Love. “Shook” is the second track on this R&B release. The instrumentation and Clay’s vocals are A1 through and through, which beautifully and seamlessly sets the stage for the entirety of Deadpan Love. I’d never listened to much of Cautious Clay before this release, but this album burned its way into my heart — I simply cannot stop listening. This album, a bit longer than Clay’s previous drops, seems to be a bit more mellow than his previous releases. In sum, the good vibes collection: Jubilee, Changephobia, and Deadpan Love. – Sean

1 comment on “Songs We’re Vibing With (May and June 2021)

  1. Pingback: What We’re Vibing With (July and August Edition)

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