Dec 30, 2023

best of 2023 • Samia • Honey

Embracing comparisons to melancholic “sad girls,” she puts on her Phoebe Bridgers Doc Martens (the deep Californian drawl in every “time” on “Charm You”) and Adrianne Lenker cowboy hat (the lyrics on “Pink Balloon” that recall “anything”), but her gestures toward intimacy land without emotional weight. The guttural scream at the end of “Breathing Song” is one of the rare moments when Samia’s delivery matches the vague devastation of her lyrics. Opening lines like “Your mom keeps threatening suicide on holidays” and “Screaming ‘Porn kills love’/Outside your window with the Adventists” might as well be items on a grocery list. PF

Dec 29, 2023

ifitbeyourwill Podcast Backtrack 2023

At the beginning of 2023, I was on the verge of retiring, my 14-year-old music journal that has evolved over time. I found maintaining it was becoming less beneficial for me, as curating music requires significant effort. As a last attempt to sustain this project, I decided to invite indie artists to chat on Zoom about their musical journeys and promote their music that we love, rather than just posting songs. I thought this idea was foolish - who would make time in their busy lives to talk with me? I'm happy to say that after 2 seasons, filled with heartwarming responses from many wonderful artists, this concept was a success! Starting in February 2024, I'll restart the machine for season 3. 
Thank you for listening, colleyc xo

best of 2023 • Metric • Who Would You Be For Me

“Who Would You Be For Me” is a characteristically hooky and shiny piece of alt-pop. The song is built on strummy acoustic guitars, but there’s nothing small about it. As it happens, the new song addresses the early days of the band. Here’s what Emily Haines has to say about it:

The song “Who Would You Be For Me” is a throwback lullaby set in NYC in 2002. All the action takes place in Tompkins Square Park, in a subway car, and at the café on St. Marks Place where I worked as a waitress when we were getting our start.

Automatic behaviors and patterns are often fairly easy to flag in others but can be a riddle to spot in yourself. In life and in love, all the emphasis in your mind can default to being what someone else wants until it dawns on you to consider your own desire. I could be the girl for you, but who would you be for me?

best of 2023 • Hayden • Miss Fort Erie

Speaking about the track, Hayden says: "’Miss Fort Erie’ has been in my back pocket for a while now. It  was written and recorded pretty quickly up in my attic in the summer of 2016. At the time, my mind was on balancing a young family and being out on the road. Something I’m weighing again now and in the coming months. I thought it a funny idea to describe a conversation between a couple, where the traveler always plays down their adventures so as to not make the one at home feel left out. As per usual, there’s a twist ending. Musically, I had a blast playing all the parts, and for an artist with a catalogue lacking in middle eight’s or bridges, I’m particularly proud of the changes throughout the song.”

Dec 27, 2023

best of 2023 • Postdata • Look to the Stars

The melody and chorus lyrics for this song started as a lullaby for my son. I still sing for him a lot but there were times where it was like 30 minutes of singing and he wouldn't be sleeping… you sing the same songs a lot but there are points where that's just boring or there's just a nice feeling in the room and you just venture into writing mode, I guess.

This one had a nice melody and a sort of easy melody to visualize "look to the stars…they tell you who are…look to the stars, yeah, you never know..they all burned out so many years ago…we only dance in the afterglow." I developed the rest of the lyrics from that point but that's the starting point of it and the song ended up actually being about a voyage, as well.

best of 2023 • Steve Adams • Living in the Local Void

‘I realised we needed some sort of video for this track, seeing as it’s the Modern Times… so I knocked this up using some stuff I filmed out of the window of the L train in Chicago and a sea plane leaving Salt Spring Island in early August. I think that the ‘local void’ can be a home or a neighbourhood or just wherever you are when you wake up and you don’t know what kind of a day it’s going to be, but I’m reluctant to try any real meaning to this now: it’s about whatever you want it to be’.

Dec 23, 2023

best of 2023 • Sarah Mary Chadwick • Some Else's Baby

The new song depicts hysteric desire at its finest – the ever-shifting goal post of wanting what you don’t have, always creating psychic debt. Chadwick shares, “Sometimes someone else’s baby is just better than your own. This feeling tends to correlate with having an absolutely chaotic life, so as an avoidance technique, it’s fantastic!” BW

But I'm just trying to move my life
Away from strife and into love
But I'm messed up, I want the painful stuff
Makes me feel alive, makes my veins hum

And if it's easy, I don't want it, baby
You'll never change me
And nothing's better than someone else's baby
And it drives me crazy

And just a junkyard full of things nobody wants
I give you the most extravagant of all the loves

We call it fine and call it good
And I'll run as fast as I can
But make it wrong and make it out of time
And I'll want it more than I can stand

So come on, please me, imagine how hot, baby
And so hot it burns me
And nothing's better than someone else's baby
And it drives me crazy

Well, I take my sadness everywhere I go
I can't put it out, can't leave it at home

'Cause I'm just a one-time wonder
A fickle lover
On close examination made of glass
Winter or summer
Clear skies or thunder
But I'm not really here, I'm in the past

And I'm just a star that never shined
A mountain no one wants to climb
But I don't know how to live under the light
But I'm thankful that I've had
The chance to touch the souls I have
And I'll take that any day in lieu of life

best of 2023 • Al Menne

At just under thirty minutes, Freak Accident is an inviting meditation on seeking protection from life’s chaotic thunderbolts in our relationships and connections. These nine songs, like smooth rocks pocketed for self-soothing, serve to shore us up against situations that are ultimately out of our control. On tracks that veer through canyons, careen across highways, and wend through the avenues of memory, Menne offers us a way through.

Dec 20, 2023

best of 2023 • GROUPLOVE • Hello, All!

The opening track of the album, “All,” features a passionate and intense vocal performance by lead vocalist/guitarist Christian as he expresses a series of unfulfilled desires, culminating in a powerful outburst of emotion. In contrast, “Hello” is a bright and energetic track that came together spontaneously on the band’s last day in the studio, ultimately expressing a desire for human connection and a feeling of being lost in the world. EM

best of 2023 • The National • First Two Pages of Frankenstein

First Two Pages of Frankenstein isn’t a portrait of triumph—that would be too easy. Instead, it’s a depiction of someone made unsteady from their time away, but nonetheless desperate to connect: less with an entire arena than someone in the passenger seat. PF

After two back-to-back albums and several busy years of touring, First Two Pages of Frankenstein was initially stalled while lead singer Matt Berninger navigated, “a very dark spot where I couldn’t come up with lyrics or melodies at all… Even though we’d always been anxious whenever we were working on a record, this was the first time it ever felt like maybe things really had come to an end.” Instead, The National “managed to come back together and approach everything from a different angle, and because of that we arrived at what feels like a new era for the band,” according to guitarist/pianist Bryce Dessner, whose bandmates also include his brother Aaron (guitar/piano/bass) as well as brothers Scott Devendorf (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums).

Dec 15, 2023

Mol Sullivan • Still Tryin’ • 2023

“The idea behind the ‘Still Tryin'’ video was to chronicle a day in my life at the time I wrote the song, during the dawning era of my sobriety from alcohol,” Sullivan says. “It's the first music video I've made thus far that is narrative-based and that doesn't rely on the support of campy themes and characters to deliver the punches. It's a vulnerable display of what it looked like when my life was a very one-day-at-a-time affair and when the power of music and community helped keep my chin above water.” Cinny

Dec 14, 2023

ZOON • Dodem • 2023

"On Zoon’s exquisite second album, Bekka Ma’iingan, Monkman frequently sidesteps conventional songcraft altogether and surrenders to the impressionistic power of sound. Bekka Ma’iingan is at once his most opaque and most open-hearted work, less interested in explicit storytelling than in making you feel the deep-seated ache and hard-won euphoria coursing through Monkman’s veins."
- Pitchfork

"The music arrives in dusty, amorphous gusts of sound — sometimes revealing a strummed acoustic guitar, sometimes swelling with tremolo strings, sometimes surrounding Monkman with high, delayed vocals — that make every perception sound fragile and precious."
- The New York Times

Zoon created Bleached Wavves with extremely limited, often broken gear. They worked through frustrating, lengthy delays and yet managed to reverse engineer a masterpiece of a debut. With sophomore album, Bekka Ma’iingan (Bay-ka Mo-Een-Gan) a broad spectrum of possibilities, lush orchestration, resources, collaborators and friends all supported the process. Bleached Wavves provoked us to face many difficult questions and reckon with a deeply uncomfortable and painful history. Bekka Ma’iingan continues to explore their Indigenous and life experience, and while still clutching to the unresolved, it moves us more softly and sweepingly towards acceptance. 

Dec 12, 2023

best of 2023 • Wednesday • Quarry

The rain rotted house on the dead end of Baytree old bitter lady 
sits caddy corner to the aftershock from the Quarry 
She says "America's a spoiled child that's ignorant of grief”  
but then she gives out full sized candy bars on Halloween

best of 2023 • Stanley Brinks • THIS IS THE DAY

Stanley Brinks is renowned for his unique anti-folk style: both playful and suggestive, insightful and entertaining. 

best of 2023 • Jefferey Lewis • What I Love Most in England (Is the Food!)


I love green sheet fields with all edges
Bound by old stone walls and hedges
And the sticks, the vibes, the charming mix
Of farmer, punk, and druid
That mist's more mystic than where I'm from
But on this list the shock biggest to come
Is that one other thing I really love in England is the food

Dec 11, 2023

best of 2023 • Islands • Life's A Joke

And That’s Why Dolphins Lost Their Legs is Islands’ ninth album, following the 2021 comeback album Islomania. “[Islomania] was exuberant and hopeful, and Dolphins is like the grim rejoinder,” Thorburn said in a statement. “The songs attempt to tap into some of our darker impulses. The grim, unshakeable feeling that we live in hell, that there is no future, that all hope is lost. I wanted to explore those depths and see where it lead me.” PF

Dec 10, 2023

Hallelujah The Hills • Alone, In Love • 2023

Adrianne Lenker • Ruined • 2023

Dec 9, 2023

best of 2023 • Joanna Sternberg Live at Union Pool

Joanna Sternberg’s music often sounds as though they’re performing a one-person show to an audience of plushies and bedroom clutter. They possess a humble loneliness that is utterly without charm, which of course, somehow, makes their songs helplessly charming. On I’ve Got Me, their second album and their first as a drummer and string arranger, Sternberg balances unvarnished emotion with meticulous craftsmanship. They never offer advice, just a little space for emotion and self-reflection. PF

best of 2023 • Sweet Baboo • Good Luck

The single is written by fellow, brilliant Welsh singer-songwriter H Hawkline, with Black asking him to write some lyrics but coming back with what he considers to be one of the strongest tracks on the album. As with previous Sweet Baboo albums, not least 2013’s iconic indie ‘hit’ and Moshi Moshi debut, ‘Ships’, his new music is full of world-weary whimsy and feint hope, making for an effortlessly charming listen. The Wreckage will be the first, full-length solo Sweet Baboo release on his own Amazing Tapes From Canton label.

Dec 8, 2023

best of 2023 • Lower Plenty • The Great Pretender

In the corner of my mind  there's a little town 
Like a ghost it follows me around
 I go away, I lay awake
 I go so far away I see the face.
  Stop thinkin' it was all so easy 
Stop drinkin', well that's not so easy 
Layin' in bed you talk about behavioural theory 
I go to sleep underneath you janglin' jailer's keys

The songwriting on No Poets is steeped with the space intertwining acoustic guitars allow. By relying on these thin melodies to hold together the compositions, the potential for No Poets to run off the rails is real but Lower Plenty appear at their most concrete. Central to this cohesiveness is Sarah Heyward and Daniel Twomeys’ percussive dialogue which expands here. These sturdy rhythms float amongst Heyward’s uneasy sonic hazes. Get ready to spend aimless afternoons listening to this record.

best of 2023 • boygenius • The Record

MUSIC HISTORY IS full of supergroups, but there’s never been one like boygenius, which is why the label doesn’t do them justice. They’re simply a world-beatingly great band, with three of the most brilliant singer-songwriters in the game. Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus all came into boygenius with their own totally distinct styles, not to mention their own hardcore audiences, teaming up with a communal pass-the-mic spirit. They’ve finally dropped their long-awaited full-length debut with The Record — but it’s even better than everybody had hoped. RS

Dec 6, 2023

🎙️ ifitbeyourwill Ep. 23 Finale • Advance Base

 Ending season two on a true high with Advance Base. Founded by singer-songwriter Owen Ashworth, Advance Base emerged from the ashes of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, bringing a fresh perspective to the intersection of melancholy and catchy melodies. Advance Base's music is a sonic journey, weaving nostalgic narratives through Ashworth's poignant lyrics and innovative lo-fi production. The sound is a delicate balance between vulnerability and experimentation, drawing listeners into a world where raw emotions find solace in the embrace of unconventional soundscapes. Discover the haunting beauty of Advance Base as they redefine the boundaries of indie music. Catch Advance Base on its’ Holiday tour starting December 6th, 2023, and be sure to have a listen to Owen’s latest release "How you got your picture on the wall” at the end of our conversation. 🎙️ 

BEATOWLS • All I See Is Trouble • 2023

“Nocturnal melancholy, drawing from influences in trip-hop and electro.” 
– Far Out Magazine
“A gorgeously bleak portrayal of modern loneliness” 
- Uncut

“It starts with one word, one line, one note, one phrase at a time. No considerations as to where it will go or who will hear it. No timeframe. Read over it, play over it, revise, tweak. Steal? Remove and redo. Record. Make it personal, make it universal. Get better. Happy accidents. Small victories. The idea is everything. Keep going. The idea reveals itself more. Revise, tweak and refine. Steal a bit more. Record again. Make connections, play with its fire. Make it the best you can. Rewrite and record again.”

best of 2023 • Slaughter Beach, Dog • Summer Windows

Summer Windows Live at Foster Bowl in Ojai, California.

Filmed by Dustin Hayes with assistance from Alexandra Dolan-Mescal & Amanda Fotes. 

Dec 5, 2023

Newmoon • Eternal Fall • 2023

Today Antwerp shoegaze heroes Newmoon share the opening track of their brand-new album ‘Temporary Light’, set for release on March 22nd, 2024 through [PIAS] Recordings (EU) and Manifesto Records (US).
‘Eternal Fall’ sets the tone of the new album with dreamlike vocals and a stunning patchwork of hazy layers of guitars creation this gargantuan cloud of blissful noise. A song that feels like getting lost in a smoke-filled hall of mirrors.
“While writing we knew we wanted to incorporate some new elements”, singer-guitarist Bert Cannaerts explains, “We all have a love for less traditional music and have always looked at ways to introduce some of the elements into our own songs. “Eternal Fall” is the result of that. Working on this song was very refreshing for us. I remember referencing stuff like Massive Attack and loads of ambient music while writing it. A song that feels very different yet familiar at the same time.

Dec 4, 2023

Hollow Coves • Milk & Honey • 2023

A flickering feel-good folk anthem that stitches together wistful vocals and fluttering guitars to create a soundscape that is as soothing as it is sentimental, “Milk and Honey” is a nod from Hollow Coves to “remember the things that matter most.”

best of 2023 • Girl and Girl - Divorce 2 (Fight Night)

Comprising of Kai James, his Aunty Liss on drums, longtime friend Jayden Williams on guitar and bassist Fraser Bell, Girl and Girl have a special kinship that shines through in their music and on stage. The band also share extensive experience in the music scene both together and separately, with Aunty Liss bringing 37 years of drumming chops to the table. Not to mention the time that Girl and Girl competed against none other than Tones and I at a local band competition, and won (no biggie!).

Dec 3, 2023

best of 2023 • Nicholas Krgovich • Cup Full

The little light left in the sky goes soft and slow,

As I fill up the house with depressing music “hi ho”.

What do I know?...

The running list of things I try to get to today,

Now leaning the kitchen wall,

The garden dark, the windows dark,

Have I had enough?

What do I know?

Have I been making do,

Trying to keep this cup full,

Been trying to keep this cup full but for who?

Dec 2, 2023

🎙️ ifitbeyourwill Ep. 22 • Pony Girl

Pony Girl weaves an ethereal tapestry of sound, blending indie rock and dreamy electronica into a sonic journey that transcends genres. Hailing from diverse musical backgrounds, this Ottawa-based band creates lush atmospheres and haunting melodies, inviting listeners into a captivating world where every note tells a story of introspection and wonder. Enjoy 🎙️ 

best of 2023 • Worriers • Warm Blanket

The band’s fourth full length record has the feel of an exciting debut and there’s a reason: it marks the first time that Denitzio accepted that the group they had been trying to treat as a band is actually a solo project. After a pace of touring and recording that would be breakneck for most, but de rigueur in the underground scene which forged them, Denitzio found themselves in the summer of 2022 with a chance to finally catch their breath. “I realized I could write whatever I wanted.”

What do you want fans to know about your latest album, Warm Blanket?

I started Warm Blanket with the simple intention of it being a fun project: an album for me to write music that I don’t typically write and to collaborate with my bandmates in a new way. I wanted to treat it like a blank slate for Worriers.

Illustration by Rae Dukes

If you have to explain what's about to happen
Just point at the rising seas
Throw your things in a 95 Outback
Grab your dogs and you're ready to flee - Doom Scrolling