Track Of The Day: Smoothboi Ezra – ‘Stuck’

A tender, lo-fi offering that explores the struggle of feeling emotionally stunted or unable to communicate in an unsteady relationship, Irish multi-instrumentalist & producer Smoothboi Ezra has shared their latest single ‘Stuck’. Taken from their upcoming EP of the same name, which is set for release on 11th June, the track is a poignant meditation on the reluctance we encounter when facing the end of our romantic involvement with someone.

“‘Stuck’ is a song about being in a relationship with someone you care a lot about but you know it’s not going to work out,” Ezra explains “It’s an unsaid mutual agreement that you can feel the relationship ending but you’re both waiting on the other person to end it.” Ezra balances these emotional tensions via soft vocals, raw lyricism and gently plucked guitar strings.

As a gender non-conforming artist who is also on the autism spectrum, Ezra offers a different perspective on heartbreak and emotional intelligence, creating captivating, bittersweet soundscapes to contemplate the struggles of everyday life to. At the age of just 19, their talent for writing charming songs about personal growth is humbling and highly impressive.

Watch the video for ‘Stuck’ below.

Follow Smoothboi Ezra on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Leon McCulloughl

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LISTEN: girlhouse – ‘loaded gun’

A lush, lo-fi bedroom-pop tune lamenting the painful realisation that you’ve become something you never wanted to be, Portland-born Nashville-based musician girlhouse has shared her latest single ‘loaded gun’. Lifted from her debut record the girlhouse ep, which is set for release on 14th May, the track reflects on a traumatic time in girlhouse aka Lauren Luiz’s life, but it rings out with an earnest charm.

“This song is about the moment when I recognized I inherited bad behavior and wanted to take control of my future,” Luiz explains. “It’s about inherited trauma and the bummer of becoming everything you said you never would. I feel like forgiving people from your past for abuse or neglect that happened to you when you were young and vulnerable is SO important to start forgiving yourself.” By contrasting the track’s tough context with her catchy riffs and tentative vocal delivery, Luiz sheds new light on a taboo subject in an accessible and refreshing way.

“This new EP follows my story of landing in LA and finding out exactly how ignorant I was to the real world,” Luiz continues. “Whether that be relationships, men in general, career, sex, friendships, or battling mental illness and dealing with trauma, it all felt new to me.” Pushing forward with her simultaneously modest and confident new outlook, Luiz’s intuitive indie-pop tunes provide a sweet moment of respite from the harsher elements of life.

Listen to ‘loaded gun’ below.

Follow girlhouse on Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: daze – ‘yourself’

According to daze, the writing of ‘yourself’ only began towards the end of last year. Mind you, even by the standards of most DIY artists, their recent output verges on the prolific, with this single following two self-released EPs and a single, all since July 2020. Having met in college in 2017, their later releases reflect a second stage for the pair; a shift into dreamy indie-pop, and away from singer-songwriter fare. It’s possible that this recent prolific spree is due in part to lockdown, which probably suits the creative process of a self-described “bedroom pop” act, and daze – who are comprised of duo Daisy and Scott – seem to have mastered the sub-genre even by this early stage of their career.

For starters, ‘yourself’ comes packaged in what, judging by their Bandcamp, is something of a signature style for the duo, with its kawaii-leanings in coloured pencil evoking ’90s tech and kids’ cartoons. That return into youth typifies the best of indie-pop, right back to the Sarah Records days, although the piano loop that whirls through ‘yourself’ arguably has more in common with a house record. Between the piano and the drum machine hits, there’s a little of the pop-dance that dominated the charts some fifteen years ago in the track, but intermixed here is dream-pop guitar that shimmers in layers and layers, gently building with emotion amidst flecks of picked out notes, and echoing around Daisy’s impressively honeyed voice.

With a neat line in richly emotional lyrics, ‘yourself’ tells the story of a friend of Daisy’s, and their struggles with their mental health. “Do you know what I’m on about?”, Daisy sings, “I haven’t seen your colour lately” – a neat nod to the near dayglo imagery of the single’s cover sleeve, with the percussive nature of each line dangled delicately around the lilt of the track’s melody. Loosely structured, the song’s lyrics repeat whilst building with subtle changes, drawing the listener in, before, at the song’s close, they drape over each other and then fade out.

Featuring the pair running in slo-mo towards the camera, in a colour-saturated version of the woods, the self-directed video is oddly reminiscent of Pixies’ ‘Velouria’, although with a somewhat less demented bent and slightly more vintage sportswear. That said, the video shows a couple of people who are creatively in-sync, and happy to deal in an aesthetic that prizes honesty and expression over cool, sleek production values.  And the truth is, that what the band lack in budget, they more than make up for in musical ability. ‘yourself’ belies both the duo’s age, and their origin story, and suggests that while they might soon make it out of the bedroom, staying in has helped them show their colours.

‘yourself’ is out now. Download via bandcamp and listen on Spotify.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

LISTEN: Mima Good – ‘Cool’

Buoyant guitar loops, creative percussion and smooth vocals combine on Mima Good‘s latest single, ‘Cool’. The track is a lo-fi exploration of what it means to be yourself in a world that often tries to tell you you’re either not enough, or not spending enough to be considered “cool”.

Based in Brooklyn, Mima Good creates her “anti-pop” tunes from her home studio, recording vocals in a closet covered in red velvet. She uses the surfaces and utensils in her kitchen as substitutes for a full drum kit too, making the polished yet simple sounds on new single ‘Cool’ feel even more anti-establishment.

“I’ve always had trouble fitting into one genre, one crowd, one look” admits Mima. “When I wrote ‘Cool’, I was sarcastically attempting to simplify myself into a neat little indie bubble. It started out as a joke, but as I layered on new instruments, I peeled back the onion to more sincere feelings about accessibility to community and image. When I wrote the second verse and the line: ‘their sneakers look just like yours / but from a different place’, I was thinking about how much capitalism controls coolness. At the time, everyone was wearing the same white sneakers. Some were hundreds of dollars and some were $40 rip offs, but everyone was attempting to belong to the same clean box.”

One thing’s for sure, we think Mima’s DIY approach to making music is pretty cool. Listen to ‘Cool’ below and follow Mima Good on Spotify & Facebook for more updates.

Photo credit: Michelle LoBianco

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut