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Singles, January 2021, pt 2

1. “The Trembling of Glass” – Rachika Nayar. Experimental without becoming overly abstract, Nayar’s track keeps the listeners on their toes: there’s punchy muted synths, layered pad synths, staggered starts and stops, and (suddenly) a beautiful guitar line that caps it all off. This is some evocative worldbuilding, in the vein of Julianna Barwick (although not vocal like Barwick) and the Antlers. Highly recommended.

2. “Dust to Dust” – Frances Luke Accord. According to the press release, this lovely acoustic pop tune “combines children’s nursery rhymes, Sufi poetry and personal reflection to form a meditation on loneliness and a changing planet ravaged by catastrophe.” I hear a beautiful, contemplative, relaxing take on acoustic folk that has a lot Simon and Garfunkel running through its veins. Either way, this is definitely worth your time. Highly recommended.

3. “Summoner” – AJ Rosales. Instrumental folk-rock is not a common thing to pass through the IC inbox, but Rosales’ opener to his recent album Manifestations has windows-down-highway-driving rhythms, Laurel Canyon wistfulness, and an overall upbeat vibe. It’s a lovely cut.

4. “Start Over” – Kris Orlowski. Peppy, smooth vocals mesh with synthesizers in Orlowski’s latest single. The track oozes optimism, but it’s wrapped in uncertainty.–Lisa Whealy

5. “Alternatives to Despair (Part Three)” – Neil March. A pastiche of delicate synth textures, church bells, tape hiss, ocean sounds, and digital background noise that works to evoke deep nostalgia very quickly. A compelling concept and arrangement.

6. “Nebula” – Josh Green. A wispy, breezy bit of electronica that floats somewhere between Teen Daze’s precise landscapes and Four Tet’s hazy worldmaking. The percussion gives the piece lift, and the vocals float along atop the synths. A compelling piece of artsy, low-key electro-pop.

7. “Chilly” – Jeremiah Fraites. A relaxing, melodically comforting piano-driven piece that had me all ready to cozy up to a warm fire until the sonic estimation of the cold wind came in. Thankfully the piercing wind subsides and is replaced by solemn, peaceful work (with sweeping background synth!).

8. “Infinite Mirror (The Vinny Club 8-Bit Version)” – LITE. This remix takes a math-rock track from 2008 and recasts literally every part of the arrangement with 8-bit synths. This approach transforms the track into a dark, grimy, glitchy, intense electro cut. It’s like Sonic the Hedgehog on the darkest timeline.

9. “Don’t Overthink It” – Aaron Lee Tasjan. This new incarnation of Tasjan’s work puts his folky persona aside and turns out a midtempo pop track with space-psych overtones and Lou Reed undertones.

10. “Leaf On the Wind” – Seasoned troubadour Brian Smalley offers up this excerpt of his unique folk-rock opera CHOSEN. –Lisa Whealy