The Music-Searching Mermaid's 25 Finds From May 2019
May was a pretty brilliant month for brand new music (still bumping Halsey’s new track) but in between all the new releases, we’ve been scouring the internet for stuff we’ve missed over the years, been hounding our friends for recommendations, and been diving into the depths of Spotify for songs that aren’t necessarily new this month but new to us. On our newest installment of The Music-Searching Mermaid’s Finds, we bring you 25 tunes we found and fell in love with over these last few weeks.
1. “Pristine” by Snail Mail: The solo project of guitarist and songwriter Lindsey Jordan, Snail Mail works hard to deliver soul-deep crushers like “Pristine,” a song heavy in its high-powered instrumentation and lightened by its softer moments where things get tender. It’s all a heartache.
2. “Humming” by Turnover: Off Virginia rock band Turnover’s 2015 album, “Humming” hurts. It doesn’t try to be upfront about its skillful rhythmic treatment and it doesn’t necessarily work to burst forth with any gusto — instead it’s driven efficiently by emotive vocals swirling in the fog of their indie-rock prowess.
3. “Why Am I Like This?” by Orla Gartland: The title track off Irish singer-songwriter Orla Gartland’s brand new EP, “Why Am I Like This?” is a quiet gut-punch. Vulnerable and thoughtful, Orla confronts her anxiety head-on, assisted by tender guitar work and smacking drum pad beats.
4. “Sick In The Head” by Indigo De Souza: There’s not a single song by North Carolina artist Indigo De Souza that isn’t an in-your-face explosion of warped beauty, but “Sick In The Head” specifically is so far beyond special that it’s hard to come up with words to describe it. From its punk-y punches of percussion to Indigo’s all-over-the-map vocals to every detail that shapes its genius, it’s a labyrinth of sound we’re happy to get lost in.
5. “Peckham” by EXES: LA electro-pop duo EXES can definitely do it all, and do it all well, but one of their best moments has been “Peckham,” a mesmeric anthem that somehow rests between energetic electronica and atmospheric dream-pop, the perfect blend of fizzy beats and lush melody.
6. “Femme Fatale - RISE Recording” by King Princess: Last year, Brooklyn artist King Princess released a striking rendition of The Velvet Underground’s “Femme Fatale.” A sparkling slow-burn, it’s an utterly hypnotic effort with a heartbeat.
7. “Unfollow” by Mr Little Jeans: This 2018 single from Norwegian electro-pop artist Mr Little Jeans might be a miracle. The texture to it, the layers to it — it’s packed with these wild, neon details that clamor all over each other for attention. The only thing tying every click-clacking, clapping, blooming beat is a ghostly voice.
8. “You’ve Got Your Whole Life Ahead Of You Baby” by IDER: Nobody makes music like electronic duo IDER do. This track from last year is pure magic — it smacks and slaps and hums and buzzes, chockful of endless sonic details that catch the ear and get under the skin, not to mention it’s an almost unbearably relatable anthem for us 20-somethings.
9. “Be Seeing You” by Soccer Mommy: Lazy, steady drum beats and surf-flavored guitar riffs drive “Be Seeing You” by Nashville artist Soccer Mommy. The track mostly takes its time, but because it’s so dynamic and skilled in its composition, it feels like it’s gone far too soon, though we’re thankful for its four fuzzy minutes.
10. “The Riddle” by Maddie Ross: Earlier this month, LA popstar Maddie Ross released her debut full-length album, Never Have I Ever, designed to be the peppy, bursting soundtrack to the inclusive teen rom-com of our wildest dreams. On this track, she narrates big-hearted love and big-time confusion among chunky, twangy guitar and glitching, punchy remix details.
11. “Sleepwalking” by Hannah Grace: Welsh singer-songwriter Hannah Grace’s latest EP offers a stunning 13 minutes of her elegance, but “Sleepwalking” is on a whole different plane. A piano-based lullaby, it’s a remarkable example of wailing beauty.
12. “Light On” by John Shakespear: Nashville singer-songwriter John Shakespear released his debut album, Spend Your Youth, a few weeks ago, and while it’s a gorgeous collection, its standout track for us is “Light On.” In all its languishing beauty, it meanders through twangy acoustic strums and warbling reverb all while John’s voice remains a wispy dream.
13. “Good Help Is Hard To Find” by Emily Soon: The newest single from Australian singer-songwriter Emily Soon is utterly mesmeric. It works like a salve, parting the shadows and soothing the senses. Lush string swells, sweet keys, and dreamy harmony let the song roll on, but soon, things come crashing down in the most delicious of ways.
14. “said” by Hunjiya: Young DIY artist Hunjiya is a force — it’s insane how much she’s able to pack into this trance of a song. It packs a punch itself, in fact, swollen with sound, so it shimmers but also pounds, a dizzying blend of R&B meets indie meets something that, frankly, doesn’t even exist yet.
15. “Post Paris Blues” by Reminders: On the new single from UK beach-punk outfit Reminders, the guys deliver a high-speed, super fun rock romp. There’s a charisma to it, powered by heavy percussion and drunken vocals lost in a crush of skillful instrumentation.
16. “I Love You So” by The Walters: Back in 2014, Chicago indie-rock outfit The Walters released their debut EP that found “I Love You So,” a drowsy, lazing tune lush in its dreamy drawl and insane instrumental camarederie.
17. “Terrified” by Satellite Mode: Sexy and creeping, this 2018 single from NYC indie band Satellite Mode is practically dripping in shadows, dragging its claws on the ground before brightening up with percussive claps, sweeter harmony, and electronic trills.
18. “I DONT WANT 2 B UR FRIEND” by Devon: The new single from music mastermind Devon wastes no time. Right from the start, it explodes into this massive wall of sound, an arrangement thrumming and bursting with indie-rock rhythms and sugary electro-pop beats.
19. “Shy” by The Big Takeover: Every single song from New York reggae band The Big Takeover is a dream, but their newest single hearkens back to the days of 60s fun and sunshine. It’s a quick-swinging retro romp pulsing and pounding with percussion, aided by cool vocals and a zippy brass section.
20. “Nothing Has To Be True” by First Aid Kit: Off their 2018 album, “Nothing Has To Be True” is a heartbreaking work of genius from Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit. It takes its time growing from a minimalist base to an emotional gut-punch, but both sides of the spectrum here are a masterclass in infusing meaning and feeling into music.
21. “Dream On My Baby” by Dom Louis: Elusive new singer-songwriter Dom Louis is writing us lullabies. On his debut single, he offers a lovely and loving ballad built on acoustic strumming, distant string swells, and his hazy vocals.
22. “Lita’s Place” by Exiled: Roaring from the get-go, the new single from UK alt-rockers Exiled is a killer example of indie-rock. It’s the kind of song that’ll have you drumming on your thighs, banging your head, and belting at the top of your lungs, but there are gentler moments too where things turn tender before the arrangement is sent yelling once again.
23. “Bitter Winter” by Erin Anne: LA rocker Erin Anne has mastered her art. She knows exactly what she wants to do with her work, so each release, including “Bitter Winter,” is a dynamic smash of fuzzy lo-fi production propelled forward by Erin’s searing rock skill and sugary-sweet rebellion.
24. “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here And Drink” by Merle Haggard: One of the most prolific country crooners, Merle could have had any tune on this list, but we’ve been stuck on this one. It’s got the goods — those wailing keys, his gritty vocals, and a whole lot of flavorful country twang.
25. “Flowerdust” by Hajk: If you’re not listening closely enough, you might think “Flowerdust” was one of Lake Street Dive’s softer songs, but it’s not — it’s a stunning effort from Norwegian indie band Hajk. The whole composition is lush, led by shimmering percussion and dreamy vocals, each element joining to deliver something supremely special.