Categories
Playlists

Local Coffeeshop Soundtrack: Heirloom Coffeeshop

If there’s one thing I love doing around Raleigh, NC, it’s going to coffeeshops alone to drink good tea or coffee. Even if I usually wear my earphones to focus on what I’m reading or working on, if good music is playing, there’s a great chance my drink is going to taste better. I can’t help it. I’m just sensitive to the music playing around me. Since I’m that sensitive, I thought it’d be fun to make playlists inspired by the music I hear at every coffeeshop I go to just to recreate their atmosphere — starting with Heirloom.

Heirloom is a cute Taiwanese and Laotian café in Downtown Raleigh that serves amazing tea and vegan mochi donuts. Their playlist mostly revolves around new electronic music and indie stuff. I don’t really listen to electronic music anymore, though I used to dig this genre a lot on Soundcloud a few years ago. The thing is, every time I go to Heirloom, the music mesmerizes my brain and I can’t help Shazaming every song that comes on. The music always plays louder in the bathroom, so in case you want to Shazam a song while you’re there, you know where to go. Here are five songs that illustrate their playlist most accurately. You can listen to the full Heirloom playlist I made here.

“All In Me” by Jerry Folk

This is one of the first songs I ever Shazamed when I went to Heirloom. Jerry Folk is known for his hypnotizing and chill electronic songs, often accompanied by a female voice. The intro takes some time to build up the general atmosphere of the song, and once you get to the “chorus”, it gets addictive. I’m always so impressed by electronic music producers that can make you feel so many things with so little lyrics.

“No More Love Songs” by Harrison Brome and Pomo (FCC: explicit language)

I would describe this song as sweet, slow and electronic R&B. It’s the perfect balance between the amazing work of producer Pomo and Harrison Brome’s soothing voice. Just add to that romantic lyrics and you get your perfect indie-electronic love song (quite ironic, given the title).

“Winter In Tokyo” by Kazam

Speaking of artists who make you feel things without lyrics, Kazam is one of them. Each song by this young French lo-fi producer makes me feel like I’m floating on a cloud. The instruments he uses closely resemble traditional Japanese music. The mix between traditional Japanese instruments and his own is what makes his music so unique and I’m obsessed.

“Tied Up” by LEISURE

Another song I’ve Shazamed at Heirloom before. It’s indie, alternative, pop, a little R&B, a little electronic — genres are too confusing for me to put a label on LEISURE, because they truly do it all. All you need to know is that this song is both sensual and uplifting, and its enchanting aura is addictive.

“All Yours” by APRE

Soapy cheesy romantic lyrics are the best lyrics, but they’re even better when they’re written for good alternative indie songs. “All Yours” is one of them. The repetitive notes played on the synthesizer are in perfect harmony with the bass and the drums, and it really makes for a catchy 90’s inspired love song.

— Lise Nox

Categories
Classic Album Review

Album Review: “breathe” – Tiny Moving Parts

ALBUM: “breathe” by Tiny Moving Parts

RELEASE YEAR: 2019

LABEL: Hopeless Records

RATING /10: 8 

BEST TRACKS: “Medicine”, “Vertebrae” and “Soft Spot”

FCC: explicit language

Tiny Moving Parts’ album “breathe” was released in September 2019 and it has become a classic Midwest emo album in my eyes ever since. The band’s style is a blend of math rock, emo and pop-punk, and it’s moving further away from typical Midwest emo with each album. The cathartic release found in their previous albums “Swell” (2018) or “Pleasant Living” (2014) is still at the core of their song-writing, but this time with the “mindset to keep powering through”. Lead singer Dylan Mattheisen’s experimental screaming mixed with his emotional singing, the insanely good guitar riffs and the powerful drums rhythms: everything about this record makes for a refreshing dose of Midwest punk music. Dylan is scared of death, struggles with anxiety and heartbreak all at once — and each of his personal struggle is reflected in his lyrics. The title of this album couldn’t have been more on point. Sometimes, his breathlessness is a metaphor for drifting apart from his lover: “I tried to breathe in our love / Ended up coughing blood” (“Vertebrae”). When he’s not having his heart broken, he’s asking his lover to become one with him: “Let’s breathe each other in.” (“Soft Spot”)

Dylan feeling powerless in his own body is another recurring theme through the album. In “Medicine”, the most famous single off the album, he sings: “I swear my legs, they function / But I’m assembled to crawl”, which is similar to the lyrics in “Vertebrae”: “My trembling vertebrae is bound to snap / Never helped me stand up straight”. In “Bloody Nose”, he describes a scene where his nose starts bleeding in the shower, and he thinks he’s about to die. I know, not the happiest song you could ever think of, but I promise the album is not as dark as it seems. “All I could think, my insides gave up, they’re ready to go / I’m not ready to go I wanna live forever, I’m not ready to go”. You’d have to be very scared of your own mortality and fragility as a human being to jump directly to the conclusion that a bloody nose means imminent death, but I’m absolutely not here to judge. As powerless as Dylan feels most of the time, he wishes to be saved as much as he wishes to be loved. When he sings “I can’t do this alone / Someone please open the door” in “Icicles (Morning Glow)”, or “I want to exist in your heart just a little bit” in “The Midwest Sky”, you can tell that his screams perfectly mirror his hurt and confused internal state. What I like about this album is that it recounts very accurately the duality of mental health struggles, which affect equally both the mind and the body.

The only breath of fresh air that Dylan can truly hope to access is through nature: “I want to seek some unforeseen color / Please get me outside with sunlight / Reflecting off a waterfall” (“Medicine“), but sometimes even nature won’t cooperate: “I want to jump off of this bridge / Headfirst into the water and swim / But this lake is clearly frozen” (“Vertebrae”). There are many references to the tundra and to Midwest on the album — the first song on the album is literally called “The Midwest Sky” — and they seem to be at the core of Dylan’s inspirations. I like that the band is taking their Midwest origins so seriously and turning them into poetic metaphors that make for very inspiring lyrics.

Dylan’s vulnerability when it comes to his mental health struggles is just another example of why I’ve always found comfort in emo and punk music in general, because the song-writing is often so raw, vulnerable and dark, no matter the exact genre or melody. As someone who used to struggle with mental illness a lot, I relate to this album on a very deep emotional level. “breathe” is already a classic in my eyes, and I’m glad the band was able to sign to Hopeless Records (one of my favorite pop-punk labels) in 2019 to make this album. Tiny Moving Parts were supposed to play at Cat’s Cradle on Mar. 25, 2021 in Raleigh — needless to say that I can’t wait for venues to reopen, so I can see them play the album live.

— Lise Nox

Categories
Playlists

5 French indie songs for Spring 2021

As I was looking for indie French bops to bump on those hot, sunny Spring days ahead of us, I realized there are so many indie French artists who are not getting enough international recognition. So there you go: here’s a list of French artists you should be listening to this Spring and keeping an eye out for in the coming months! You can find them all in this Spotify playlist I’ve made recently.

“Bleu ou vert” by BARON.E

The French duet “BARON.E” released their EP “Jeunesse Dorée” (“Golden Youth”) in 2020 and it’s one of the best musical discoveries I’ve made in the last few months. “Bleu ou vert” literally fits so well the happy mood that sunny days get me in, so I couldn’t resist sharing this song with you. It’s just too good.

“Été 90” by Thérapie Taxi

Bad news: Thérapie Taxi broke up a few months ago. Good news: the duet just released an EP to say goodbye to their fans before they continue their careers separately, and they have a tour planned post-COVID to say goodbye to their fans. “Été 90” (“Summer 90”) is going to be my official Spring and Summer 2021 anthem, in their memory. Long live Adélaïde and Raphaël.

“Feux ” by Poupie Feat. Jul

I am addicted to the chorus of this song and I’m listening to it so much it’s becoming alarming. That’s it. That’s the review. In all seriousness, the song was first released by Poupie singing alone, and Jul collaborated on a new version with her when it was time to work on her EP. I never thought I’d like Jul’s voice that much — he heavily relies on autotune and I usually HATE it — but I guess I do now.

“Étrange Mélange” by Claire Laffut

Claire Laffut’s voice is really sensual in this one. This song is perfect for relaxing sunny days. The lyrics are somewhat dark and mysterious but the overall mood really screams “sunny summer vibes” and I love it. 10/10 recommend to listen to while you’re soaking up the sun.

“Le temps est bon” by Bon Entendeur

This song has become so famous and mainstream in France that I feel weird recommending it to anyone, but I don’t think it’s well-known in the US, so I thought I’d include it just to make sure no one’s missing out on this absolute hit. It’s a remix of Isabelle Pierre’s song “Le temps est bon” from 1972. Bold move, but the result honors the original version perfectly.

— Lise Nox