By Amy Hanna, Production/Radio Promo Coordinator
With the Thanksgiving leftovers all but gone, and the Black Friday bustle wearing all of us thin, it’s going to be a tough Monday for a lot of us to get through. Hopefully, today’s installment of Mood Ring Music, 6/8 Records’ weekly new music feature, will offer some much needed respite. As always, we’ll be featuring five of our favorite new releases of the week, and assigning each song a color and a mood.
Let’s take a closer listen, shall we?
Björk is the first artist receiving a second feature on our Mood Ring blog series, and for good reason: her new album, Utopia, was just released in full this past Friday, and I could not let this release pass me by without exploring the colors and thematics of her latest work. Utopia is the heavenly, bright counterpart to the hellish, unapologetically dark Vulnicura. Where Vulnicura mourned, Utopia flies, angelic and pure and full of wonder, exploring lust and the rush of new love without complications (a utopian concept, right?). Utopia made headlines ahead of its release with Björk’s out-of-left-field descriptors of the new LP, calling it her “Tinder album”. Maybe it sounded ridiculous, but with songs like “courtship” taking center stage on this album, the likening makes complete sense. The song features layer upon layer of flute and deeply romantic lines sustaining over quick, fluttering instrumentation. Amidst exploration of rejection, “courtship” sounds like the promise of falling into a perfect love.
Björk’s “courtship” is white for innocent.
Last Wednesday, Pigeons & Planes featured brand new music from Texas-born college student and general jack-of-all-trades Ashley Koett. Her new song, “Call Me”, is cheerfully depressing in a way that only very, very smart songs can be. Koett’s voice drawls over bright sounds, and the longing she sings of rings utterly youthful. Looking deeper, the repetitive, almost droning “call me, call me, call me” refrain stings more and more as the song rolls on. Koett’s plea to her lover is far from cheerful, and so stark in contrast to the song’s sonics, as well as its thoughtful, tongue-in-cheek music video. “Call Me” feels like a brand new take on loneliness, capturing all its colors with brutal honesty.
Ashley Koett’s “Call Me” is blue-grey for gloomy.
Bdy_Prts are Jill O’Sullivan, Jenny Reeve, and Jonny Scott; more specifically, they are two singer-songwriters and one producer based out of Glasgow who specialize in out-of-this-world sounds and arresting songwriting. Bdy_Prts have been sitting on some hard-hitting bangers for a few years now that have only seen the light of day in live settings, but now those songs, plus a few more unheard tracks, have finally been released. Fly Invisible Hero, the band’s first full-length LP, includes the gritty, accusatory “Cold Shoulder”, led forward by airy synth and heavy guitar licks in a mismatched marriage that works surprisingly well. O’Sullivan and Reeve sing hooky, addictive melodies, but the song as a whole feels a bit more avant garde. Fly Invisible Hero‘s strength is in its overall cohesion: this band clearly knows their sound, and their hunger for that message to be heard is clear on every track.
Bdy_Prts’ “Cold Shoulder” is black for angry.
Two years after the release of his acclaimed album Carrie & Lowell, Sufjan Stevens has dropped The Greatest Gift, a mixtape of demos, remixes, and unreleased music from the Carrie & Lowell sessions. On the title track, Stevens croons softly about what matters, or rather, what should matter most to all of us. His reflections are simple here, untouched and straightforward as he sings, “But the greatest gift of all/And the law above all laws/Is to love your friends and lovers/And lay down your life for your brothers.” Sufjan Stevens consistently proves that beautiful, resonant music only needs a few ingredients sometimes: just guitar, vocals, and the truth.
Sufjan Stevens’ “The Greatest Gift” is deep green for calm.
Here at 6/8, we understand that not everyone enjoys Christmas music. The holidays are difficult and polarizing all around, and it’s perfectly understandable to want to avoid this particular genre at all costs. However, when artists breathe new life into music I’ve been subjected to all my life, I take notice. DRAM‘s presence in music headlines has been near constant this year, with a steady stream of new releases and even a light rebrand: he changed his stage name from from D.R.A.M. to DRAM earlier this year (which will surely be better for his SEO). DRAM has released his final installment of November releases with the warm holiday mixtape #1HappyHoliday. This tape features an inexplicably warm, comforting arrangement of “Silver Bells”, the syrupy, droning classic carol that is, scientifically, no one’s favorite Christmas carol. However, DRAM’s version features his mama (under the name Big Baby Mom, which is absolutely adorable), and as a whole the song bounces with much more life and energy than any other version I’ve heard before. The rest of #1HappyHoliday is equally warm and precious, an instant staple for all the holiday music lovers out there.
DRAM’s “Silver Bells” ft. Big Baby Mom is gold for sentimental.
Listen to all Mood Ring Music selections below or by clicking here.