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Looking forward to a blissful season
What I've always liked living in the U.S. is the sense of seasons. Not only the literal four seasons, winter, spring, summer, and fall but also seasons around specific festivals. Decorations, shops, food, and drinks change according to the calendar.
Today, we celebrate Labour Day, the "unofficial end of summer," and hence the start of fall, which has always been Elke’s and my favorite season for multiple reasons.
First of all, the weather in New York tends to be gorgeous around this time of year: pleasant temperatures, deep blue skies, and stunning, colorful sunsets. A nice chill is in the air, and the sultry humidity finally abates.
Fall is also a season of many new beginnings. Human life goes anti-cyclical to nature, at least here in the moderate climate of the Northern Hemisphere. After the summer break, you should return to work with fresh energy. Many businesses run slow during the hot season, but come to fall; there are no excuses anymore. Also, the corporate world likes to measure progress by the calendar year, so now is the time to move the needle toward success.
In music, autumn is undoubtedly super-busy for releases, and I expect our calendar to fill up quickly in the following weeks. Releases later in the year tend to be fresher in memory for the best-of lists. Also, people come back from the beach and go again to live shows.
Speaking of shows, we are kicking off the season with concerts by Warpaint, Dream Wife, and late 90s legends Kula Shaker. The first two we have seen many times before, so it is like reuniting with old friends. The latter will be a new experience. We will report on this here.
For us, autumn is also our main travel season. We have some trips planned, including an anniversary cruise that mirrors our honeymoon and short visits to Hamburg, Dublin, and London. That is, of course, much flying for a year, but we will be better again in 2024. In this newsletter's feel-good spirit, we hope to capture some good vibes from Europe for you.
Our goal is to get you in the mood to enjoy this season, and as always, the music goes on with seven fresh songs below.
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Song Pick of the Day
hemlocke springs is the moniker of Isimeme Naomi Udu, who came from South Carolina to dazzle everybody with music so straightforwardly infectious and fun that it is hard not to smile and dance along. Her latest track, "enknee1" – you need to pronounce it to get it – comes with an EP announcement for September 29.
It is a particular satisfaction when an act that we featured many years ago comes back with a gorgeous new song on a top-tier label like Bella Union. The new single by Coloring, "Lune," is about ticking together in a relationship. "It's a message of togetherness between two people during adversity and how you prop each other up when the other feels weak," singer, composer, and producer Jack Kenworthy says.
The German, London-based artist Sarah Neumann just started releasing music. She has been doing several things before, for example, getting her master's in philosophy, which profoundly informs her music. Her first single under the name Atka, "Desiring Machines," is a slow-building track that reflects the growth of a rhizome (I had to look it up, too). And is it only me who hears a faint echo of "I'm Still Having Found What I'm Looking For" in the song?
SOFTCRUSH is an indie-rock quartet from New York City, and "Lost Order" is an all-around feel-good, fun song. Fans of the band know the track as it has been a fixture in their live set for quite some time. "After getting the chance to really know this song and watch it grow as we performed it around New York City, we knew it was time to bring it to streaming services," singer Josh Brennan explains.
"Just because I regret it, it doesn't mean I do it again again." Daniela Weinmann, who records as Odd Beholder, has a super cool variant of the "Oops, I did it again" theme. "Just Because I Regret It" is a synth-pop gem that nods to various artists from the 80s – which was arguably the gilded age of the genre.
The next track, "Leash," stays in the same realm, albeit a few notches darker. Soft Vein is the project of LA musician Justin Chamberlain, who makes high-energy, nocturnal music reminiscent of Belgian industrial pioneers Front 242.
Haley Bonar changed her name to her mother's maiden name, McCallum, but records now simply as Haley. Name changes are tricky, not only because several other artists named Haley are out there. But the Minnesota-based artist has a lot of substance on her side. Hunca Munca will be her 11th studio album since 2001, and judging from the single "Walk Among the Dead," her creative juices are still flowing as strong as ever.
In August, Berlin-based singer, songwriter, and producer Anne Genberg, aka Anastave, released her second album, I Don’t Want You In The Light. We savored the singles of the record over the last one and a half years, so it is exciting to finally enjoy the whole thing. Anastave elegantly walks the line between cutting-edge electronics and pop music, and the nine songs have a compelling mix of eerie and warm moments.
Asked about the record, she says: “I created this album over a few years so it really means a lot to me as it’s seen me through different periods of my life. I wrote several of the songs during lockdown so there’s a claustrophobic feeling to them — a feeling of wanting to escape my thoughts but also being painfully connected with them at the same time.”
Read our Q&A with Anastave from March 2022.
Nine Photos from Ridgewood’s Highland Park
There’s an old, decommissioned 19th-century reservoir in Ridgewood, Queens, that now serves as a park for nature-hungry city dwellers. One of the original three basins still holds water, creating the necessary foundation for a thriving flora and fauna. If you’re into birdwatching and/or enjoy indigenous plants with beautiful vistas, then check out Highland Park.