The Joy of Discovery
glamglare newsletter #5
The music industry has changed much in the last 10 years. So have Elke and I. So when we look back, is it us or everybody else who makes things look so different?
Much of both, obviously. In 2014, when glamglare started to take shape, a constant stream of domestic and international artists who were about to make it big came to New York for one-off shows at smaller venues. You could easily get tickets if you knew the dates long enough in advance and were fast enough at the digital checkout. Some of those artists indeed have made it big, like FKA twigs or Banks. Some haven’t, but it was always inspiring to see somebody who had an international buzz on a small stage.
Somehow this has changed. In the early days of glamglare, we had to make a considerable effort to scan the internet for new and exciting music. Later, we get much of it delivered into our mailbox by artists and their PR agencies. And frankly, we could not have sustained posting a song per day since 2015 otherwise.
But from the more than 2,000 daily song picks we have been posting, none of them reached nearly a level of popularity like FKA twigs. Maybe Mothica is on her way there. And Elke almost song-picked Billie Eilish in 2016.
So what happened? Is it we who focus – proudly – on new and not widely known artists? Or is the gap to star- and superstardom increasingly challenging to bridge? More music than ever is being published, so chances of becoming a household name naturally go down.
Does it even matter? From our perspective, having “discovered” a new superstar is only good for bragging rights. We instead want to make the case that listening to new, unknown artists is a rewarding pastime. In some ways, more rewarding than consuming the hits because you have a chance to find an actual human behind the music and not just a larger-than-life figure, who is often supported by a committee of songwriters.
An excellent place to start is our Song Picks of the Day. Read on and enjoy!
Song Picks of the Day
Rose Brokenshire - Dreamer
Canadian singer/songwriter Rose Brokenshire has some beautiful words for you in her new song "Dreamer."Listen to our Song Pick of the Day, "Dreamer," on your favorite streaming service or below on SoundCloud:
The Burma - Sleepers
Irish three-piece The Burma is named after The Burma Steps in Cobh, Ireland, where the band's frontman Tony O’Donovan and guitarist Peter Piggott are from, while the drummer Cian Doherty is from further north, Doolin. They say about their new single:
Sleepers is one of those rare songs that came together very quickly once we started writing it. The lyrics and melody seemed to flow as one and before we knew it, we had a single on our hands. It feels like a song that was just waiting to be written and we were just lucky to get it down when we did. It's probably our favourite track on the album.
I always love it when a band knows their fav track on an album. Confidence is sexy. And contagious! Listen to "Sleepers," our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with The Burma here.
Kadhja Bonet - JGS
"JGS" stands for "Just Getting Started," and with that, L.A.-based singer/songwriter Kadhja Bonet wants to inspire you to look forward to great things that indeed will happen to you. Add her bright, airy music and the silvery vocals, and this song can become a first-class mood booster for you.
My inspiration for JGS was my post partum depression. I often write what I need to hear and not what I want to say… this song is meant to remind you of the many opportunities for happiness you still have
"JGS" is out now on Ninja Tunes. Listen to our Song Pick of the Day below:
Julia D'Angelo - Point of View
Officially summer, the cool temperatures and the monochromatic grey sky in New York today tell a different story. Still, with a song as bright and beautiful as "Point of View," things don't look so dreary anymore. The Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based artist Julia D'Angelo/strong> releases her new single "Point of View" today, and we are excited to premiere the gorgeous track. D'Angelo doesn't want to get pressed into one art form only because, parallel to making music, she's also successfully pursuing a career in film as an actor and director.
There's something instantly fascinating about "Point of View" with its sparkling, jazzy elements and D'Angelo's smooth vocals. But there's more! Listen to the end when she breaks out into a soft rap, questioning why and how we fight in relationships. When asked about "Point of View," D'Angelo says:
The idea stemmed from the notion of fighting with someone for so long, or being in a tense situation with that person for so much time, that you eventually start to forget what you're fighting about, and it all starts to feel like a fever dream. My dad and I had never made anything this synth-based or electronic, and we wanted to experiment to see what we could come up with. Originally, there was no rap at the end. I showed it to my mom and she was like, ‘you should rap at the end.’ So I did, which was also a new thing.
Special kudos to D'Angelo's mom, then, because the song's finale is the icing on a sweet, glittering layer cake. The track is written and performed by Julia D’Angelo, produced by Steve D’Angelo, mixed by Nick Name, and mastered by João Carvalho.
Listen to "Point of View," our Song Pick of the Day premiere now:
The official video will premiere later today on Julia D'Angelo's YouTube Channel.
Connect with Julia D'Angelo here.
Bar Pandora - Vice Vice Vice
Bar Pandora is the new project of the U.K.-based singer/songwriter Charlie Tophill. Her latest track, "Vice Vice Vice," is a break-up song, but with its swirling synths, it comes as such a pop anthem that it sounds as if she had much fun with it. And Charlie admits it:
"The song is a remonstrance to a neglectful lover. It's about that push and pull you feel when you're putting everything into a relationship and still being taken for granted. It's a crazy-making situation that I know too well, so it's fun to be able to sing it out loud along to a pop beat and shout a bit at the end."
"Vice Vice Vice" is on Bar Pandora's self-titled debut EP, out on July 5. Listen to our Song Pick of the Day, "Vice Vice Vice," on your favorite streaming platform or below on YouTube:
MARBLES - Heading Out
Norwegian dream-pop act MARBLES delight with irresistibly gorgeous "Heading Out," the first single from their upcoming album, later out this year. With "Heading Out" they are addressing the joyous anticipation that ensues when planning a trip or even just leaving a buzzing city for a little while. Ferdinand Widmer (vocals, bass, Marius Ringen (drums), Adrian Sandberg (synths), and Marcus Widmer (guitar) say about the song:
It’s not just about the luxury of being able to travel, it’s about finding your own little precious moment amidst your normal day to day situation. Maybe even just in your mind and with your imagination! Being aware of a contrast between your everyday life and what you feel can be - and what you can do. Defining it is up to you.
This feeling is beautifully captured in the joyous, calming flow of the song and lyric pieces like "fly me to the moon, Sunday afternoon" - relatable and oh-so laid-back! I know exactly what MARBLES are talking about and "Heading Out" is the perfect backdrop for a little daydreaming, calming down, and enjoying the moment.
The cover art picks up on the theme, as it is an old photograph of Marius Ringen's father. The drummer says that the shot “captur[es] a specific and beautiful moment in his life - taken in 1989. A frightening leap leading to a feeling of freedom and exhilarating reward.”
And just like that, let's head into the weekend by listening to "Heading Out," our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with MARBLES here.
Sandmoon - Wake Up
Sandmoon is the band around singer and songwriter Sandra Arslanian from Beirut, Lebanon. Their excellent second album "Put a Gun/Commotion" was one of my favorites in 2020. They are back now with a new reflective track, "Wake Up," carried by glittering synth arpeggios and Sandra's gentle vocals. It is a song about all that has happened in the last two years and the hope to leave everything eventually behind. While this is a message we all can appreciate, it is particularly an homage to the resilience of the Lebanese people. Sandra explains:
"Wake Up is a song about looking beyond superficiality, going to the essence of things and of yourself...' And then you heal.' The song was written during one of the COVID-lockdowns and after months of protests in Beirut. Wake Up reflects the intensity and the transformative power of everything the people in Beirut and in Lebanon have lived through in the past two years."
"Wake Up" will be on Sandmoon's third album, "While We Watch The Horizon Sink," out later this year. Listen to our Song Pick of the Day on your favorite streaming service and watch the beautifully filmed video, directed by Salim Mourad below:
Albums that stick: Placebo - Pure Morning
On our second visit in New York City in 1998, for the occasion of our honeymoon, we visited the Virgin Megastore on Times Square, which of course doesn’t exist anymore. I bought two records there: Hole’s Celebrity Skin and Placebo’s Without You I’m Nothing. Both bands I had no idea about, so I judged the CDs by their covers: they featured women, which made me assume that they were made by female artists. Celebrity Skin for sure is, but Placebo were an all-male three-piece (they are now a duo). It still became my favorite album for quite a long time.
Pure Morning is the opener and the album never lets you down from there. In 1999, we saw them live at the fabulous Southside Festival in Munich and their raw energy blew me away (curiously Hole played there as well). We saw Placebo a few times more after that and it was even one of our first shows after we moved to New York.
Placebo has just released their eighth album “Never Let Me Go,” which shows that the band still has much energy to dispense.