“I just want to leave to say that I did.”

“Portland” by Andrea von Kampen | Consider this a remnant of what could have been. I was planning at least two essays in the blog’s final weeks, but none of them will be published now, at least not here; I got really busy the past couple of weeks, and today what’s left of my strength is gone because I’m sick. But soldier on we must. I’m writing about Nebraskan folkie Andrea von Kampen because she appears on that Spotify playlist Shalla made that was going to be the subject of one of those essays. It’s her song “Desdemona”, which we’ve somehow transformed into a reaction to anything. Inside jokes aside, there’s something about her voice that pulls you in: it’s clear but it’s broken, if you could call it that; and not at all boring. “Portland” is part of her new album Old Country, which dropped a couple of months back. I hope to have time to listen to that, but this song is a beaut, simply said. No punchlines about that. [NB]


“I am so blissfully unaware of everything.”

“Hypersonic Missiles” by Sam Fender | All right, so I have heard of Sam Fender before. When you win the Critics’ Award at the Brits – the one award they announce early on – you get my curiosity, because likely you’re coming from slightly out of nowhere, and also, you really do tend to be prominent. I’ve listened to “That Sound” and “Play God”, both songs with an intense sound behind it. And then you listen to his third single, which leans more heavily on the sociopolitical commentary. That’s never a bad thing. We always will need someone who’s more willing to speak (or sing, in this case) about bigger things than lost love. And then the saxophone kicks in and everything clicks together, about how he’s clearly taking his cues from Bruce Springsteen. Man, the saxophone. Well, I am a fan of the instrument deployed well, and that last bit was a rush, alongside everything building up to what clearly is the end of hope, or the end of hopelessness. [NB]

“…then again, it might just be me.”

“Everyday” by Weyes Blood | It’s starting to pop up, those albums from artists I’d just discovered and would be interested in reviewing, if not for the fact that I’m likely to forget them, or in this case, I won’t be around to review them anymore. And yes, I know that I am, once again, late to Weyes Blood; the artist otherwise known as Natalie Mering has released three albums, and this Friday she’ll release her fourth, Titanic Rising, her first under Sub Pop. But, yes, I’ll focus on this one song I heard on the radio yesterday, and particularly how it lets its whole 70s vibe just creep in, how it ultimately feels like a sing-along shorn of chronological context. In other words, it’s a pretty timeless tune. Already? Yes, sure, why not? [NB]

“I worked too hard for this chance to not be biting the hand that feeds the hate.”

“Old Man” by Stella Donnelly | I’ve been wondering this lately: what’s it with me and female Australian artists lately, and why am I slightly gravitating towards them? Like, I’ve just written about Julia Jacklin, and I had an Alex Lahey phase, and now here’s Stella Donnelly. She is from Perth, and just last week she released her debut album, Beware of the Dogs. I actually got wind of her the week of the release, but didn’t have the time to squeeze her into the reviews queue; in fact, I have yet to fully listen to her album. It’s one of those moments when both Shalla and I stumble upon her, separately, at the exact same time. And here I am, writing about “Old Man” (as it’s the first song of hers I heard) and I am just realizing how this is about sexual harassment. [NB]

“그래 내가 많이 늦었지?”

“Dear Diary” by Yeri | Out of a general sense of disconnection, meaning I haven’t got any idea what to write about today, Shalla suggested I write about this, a solo release from Red Velvet’s Yeri from last week. (It actually came out the same day as Mamamoo’s latest album, so I marginally know about it, but I haven’t been in the loop in weeks.) The angle, supposedly, is how Yeri did pretty much everything: wrote the lyrics, co-wrote the melodies, directed the music video. And then I’m reminded that she’s the last-minute recruit to the group – she was with SM’s rookies line-up before joining Red Velvet before the release of “Ice Cream Cake” – which makes this all the more impressive. (She isn’t the first from the group to co-wrote her own song; Joy did something for her stint on We Got Married.) This sounds quite nice: it is a little throwaway song, but it is reminiscent of old times, very much as the lyrics sort of do. Okay, Niko, welcome back to the loop. What else is there? [NB]