Tag Archives Indie Pop

Alt Pop Band Wild Story Return to Their Roots in New Single, “It’s Happening”


After the success of their sophomore single, “Different,” anthemic pop duo Wild Story is continuing their momentum with their latest single, It’s Happening.” The single represents an important milestone in the band’s career, as it was the first song that band members Kate Hargrove and Viv Parker have ever written together. Composed during the global pandemic, “It’s Happening” is the foundation of Wild Story, and its dark yet hopeful soundscape perfectly encapsulates the band’s sound and message. 


“This song is special to us for so many reasons, but it really embodies the way we want people to feel when they listen to our music: fearless, empowered and unstoppable.” — Wild Story

Wild Story is a duo originating from Los Angeles, California. This anthemic band combines Viv Parker’s cinematic, immersive production with the adventurous, dynamic and vulnerable melodies of Katie Hargrove. From their first writing session together, Katie and Viv knew they had something special. Building on their solo careers, the pair decided to plunge headfirst into the LA music scene together with Lyric House’s support along the way. Staying true to themselves and each other, they have found success creating music that reverberates with fans and listeners alike. In their own words, Wild Story is about embracing who you are, creating your own narrative and owning it wholeheartedly.


Stream It’s Happening on Spotify today!


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Images provided by Rupert Gruber

Sug Daniels Releases New Single “Heavy” Backed By New Record Label Weird Sister Records


What do you do when you fall in love with a friend after a tough breakup? Sug Daniels seeks to answer this question in her newest single,Heavy.” 

Heavy is the horrible awkwardness of having romantic desires for a friend but not being sure if the feeling is mutual. “This song is all the things I’m still too chicken shit to admit,” Daniels writes. “I think people, queer and otherwise, can relate to the fear of holding a torch for someone when they are in a sensitive place in their life.” 

The leading single serves as the first glimpse into Sug Daniels’ forthcoming EP Franklin Street, slated for release this fall through Weird Sister Records. The Franklin Street EP is also the first time Daniels is producing a body of work on her own. 

Sug Daniels is a singer, songwriter, and producer who is using the tools around her to capture the emotions of an era. Daniels’ work is as colorful, vulnerable, and charismatic as her personality. She thoughtfully combines elements of folk, R&B, and low-fi alternatives to create personal and tender music interlaced with messages of truth and positive change. 

Growing up in the rural town of Smyrna, Delaware, Daniels had felt first-hand both the extreme joy and the major isolation that many LGBTQ+ people experience in Southern Baptist-style churches. After coming out, she left the church but continued her journey armed with the love of powerful music and celebration of community. She currently resides in the city of Wilmington, Delaware, continuing to create music to share and inspire those around her.  After leading two successful musical projects, Hoochi Coochi and FlowCity, Sug Daniels has set out to create solo music that reflects her current views and personal stories. 

On top of dropping her new single, Daniels is also celebrating her signing with Weird Sister Records, becoming the first signed artist on the label’s roster. 

Sick and tired of the white dude music business machine, Deanna DiLandro and Madison Hetterly created Weird Sister Records, a label model that provides a safe space to women, trans and non binary people in creative industries. With a commitment to being an anti-racist organization that encourages equity, diversity and anti-racist actions in the music industry, DiLandro and Hetterly developed Weird Sister Records in order to amplify the voices of BIPOC artists and creators.

As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Daniels is excited to have Weird Sister Records backing her for the launch of Heavy.”

“I am so eager and excited to make history with Weird Sister Records. They encourage my creativity and support my desire to tell my stories the way I want them told. Collaborating with them has been an exciting cycle of ideas and mutual admiration. I see great things in all our futures.” – Sug Daniels

Be sure to stream Heavy on all streaming services and watch the official music video for “Heavy” on Sug Daniels’ YouTube channel.


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Image provided by Nathalie Antonov

Julia Rizik Pushes the Boundaries on New EP ‘Self Destructive’


Julia Rizik is no stranger to pushing the limits. After her successful debut as a country music star performing at festivals like Stagecoach and Country Thunder, she took time in 2020 to reflect on her artistry. Through this, Rizik decided it was time to push herself out of her comfort zone. Her desire for creative freedom drew her to find a home within the alternative, R&B pop sound. Her latest body of work showcases her passion for this genre and her transition as an artist. 

Julia, a multi-talented artist, used her time in quarantine to confront her feelings about her toxic relationship and the inevitable heartbreak. By writing in search of therapy and clarity, Julia culminated her debut indie-pop EP “Self Destructive.” The five-song EP highlights the typical emotions attached to heartbreak and self-reflection that we all face. The title track “Self Destructive” drops April 23rd followed by the music video release on April 28th. Ahead of these exciting releases, we caught up with Julia Rizik to discuss her evolution as an artist, her upcoming EP, and much more! 


Cliché: What inspired you to become a musician? How did you get your start?

Julia Rizik: I got my start in music at an open mic night when I was 11 years old. It was that night that I realized music was my calling. I was on stage, staring at the audience, and for the first time, I felt complete. 


Where do you draw inspiration from when you sit down to write a song?

I write about everything. I have such a crazy songwriter imagination that I could turn anything into a story to write about. Most often, though, I’m writing about my own experiences with love, heartbreak, anxiety, etc.


Julia Rizik

Is there a music genre that attracts you the most as a listener?

As a listener, I’m most drawn to Motown. I know that’s an old genre, but I truly think it’s the greatest of all time. I think Motown changed music forever, and we have so much to learn from its singers and songwriters.


Tell us about your upcoming EP, “Self Destruction.”

Self Destructive” is a 5 song project telling the story of my life over the last two and a half years. 2018-2020 was a transitional period for me, and I learned so much about myself during that time period, “Self Destructive” just follows that period of time. 


Who are some of your musical inspirations and idols?

Hmm, where to start! I really love the artistries of Lana Del Rey, Rihanna, The Weeknd, Post Malone, a few others. I feel so inspired by their voices and songwriting, especially. 


What can we expect next from you?

Well, my new EP is coming soon, and I’m so anxious for the release. I’m hoping at some point this year, it will be safe to get back on stage. I miss performing so much. My plan is to keep writing and releasing music & connecting with listeners & creating those bonds. I’m so grateful to be here doing what I love.



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Images Provided by Mikaela Rizik

Artist Leah Kate releases new single “bad idea”


LA-based artist Leah Kate releases new single “bad idea” along with a self-made lyric video. Amid stay at home orders and social distancing policies, Kate taught herself how to edit and create the lyric video to her single. Her honest, independent talent is clear as she captures the young female experience through music. 

The artist shared this about her new single:

“We all have imperfections, and can have distorted thinking caused by love or desire, and that’s okay. This internal conflict is real, it is normal, and it is something we all find ourselves needing to address at some point. Sometimes doing something that seems like a bad idea can be exhilarating and fun, and it ultimately helps us to learn about ourselves and grow. I want my listeners to feel a sense of comfort when they may be in a similar situation… to know that they’re not alone, and can bring a little light to the situation.”

She draws inspiration from her own life as she searches for confindence and self-identity. All the while sharing her journey with us through an IDGAF attitude that leaves us dancing to her songs. The artist shared, “I am a big advocate of following your gut and listening to your heart.” 


Follow Leah Kate on her socials:
Instagram – FacebookSoundcloudSpotify

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Images by WMA Agency


Natalie Shay Struggles With Temptation in New Single “Owe It To You”


Though she idolized Taylor Swift and dreamed of a life in music, Natalie Shay never thought of pursuing music as her full-time professional career – until she began attending The BRIT School. With raw and honest lyrics, Shay never shies away from sharing her personal life in her music. In her latest single, “Owe It To You,” she comes to terms with the obvious end of her relationship while struggling with thoughts of someone else. Natalie can’t wait for the release of her upcoming EP, NAKED. In the meantime, you might be able to run into her on Club Penguin. Stream “Owe It To You” HERE.

Cliché: Who were your musical idols growing up?

Natalie Shay: Taylor swift!! All the way. She was definitely one of the main reasons I started all this in the first place. 

What did you learn about yourself as an artist from your time at the BRIT School?

I learnt that this is something I could just go for after finishing school. without going to Brit I never would’ve had the confidence to just go for a music career full time at 18. I’ve also made friends for life that I continue to use in all of my projects

Talk about your new single, “Owe It To You.”

 This song is from personal experience. It’s about being in a dying relationship, finding yourself thinking about others and resisting temptation. The song is about the realisation that this might be time for you to walk away as these aren’t the best things to be feeling. I wrote it with my talented writer/ producer friend Kaity Rae.

How do you deal with the struggle to resist temptation in a relationship?

Write a song about it and hope for the best. 

What would you say is the biggest challenge of modern dating?

Time management and balancing life. Finding the time to spend quality time with someone away from busy, fast moving work / social life.

What advice would you have for someone who has maybe lost the spark in their current relationship or is struggling with attraction to someone else?

I’m no relationship guru, but I would always say make sure you’ve tried everything before you give up, then realise your self worth and accept and be grateful for any experiences. 

What is it about the 80s that you find so appealing in terms of musical inspiration?

I love how exciting and interestingly unique the production is. Anything that keeps the ear interested and gripped.

You recently promoted your new song with a clever homemade Club Penguin lyric video! Are you playing a lot of Club Penguin during quarantine?

Oh my god every single day, my username is igalpigel which is literally the same username I had when I was 9, maybe you’ll catch me waddling about, say hi, keep an eye out.

 What can you tell us about your upcoming EP, NAKED?

Really proud of it, it’s exactly what I wanted my debut EP to be like. All of the songs lyrically are very real, some deeper than others, I hope it works as a good introduction to me and the music I have to come 🙂 

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Natalie Shay Struggles With Temptation in New Single “Owe It To You.” Photo Credit: Caili Shea.

Singer-Songwriter Tom Odell Releases “Half as Good as You” Duet with Alice Merton


One of the latest duets released in the indie singer-songwriter scene is a catchy new single, “Half as Good as You” by Tom Odell and Alice Merton. The song is irresistibly relatable, and not in a bad way. This song isn’t just a shameless guilty pleasure, it’s a legitimately good tune. Odell initially intended the song to be a solo work for his third album, but soon came to realize that the song could be stronger as a duet. And boy, was the decision the right one to make. The finished product is one that could become every hopeless romantic’s new favorite, merely because of the raw emotion behind the subject matter of the song.

“Half as Good as You” is Heartbreaking, Hopeful and Terribly Relatable

Have you ever experienced a relationship that just couldn’t work out no matter how hard you tried? Most of us have. Even if you haven’t, it’s hard to deny that “Half as Good as You,” is a song that parallels closely to the complex relationships in today’s busy atmosphere. Clearly, Tom Odell had this in mind when penning “Half as Good as You.” The song focuses on a relationship that will undoubtedly never work out. But what makes this a refreshing tune is the realization that no other person will quite compare to the one of the past.

While the lyrics are rather fatalistic, they’re also painfully honest. Odell and Merton voice separate verses and eventually come together in the conclusion that if they “ever find anybody half as good” then they guess “maybe that will do.” It’s sad, but also somewhat hopeful, without neglecting the truth. 

Odell and Merton Met at a Musical Festival Before Collaborating on “Half as Good as You”

"Half as Good as You"

Photo Credit: Tim Bruening, Billboard

Tom Odell is a singer-songwriter out of London, while Alice Merton is an up-and-comer out of Germany. So how did these two come to do a collaboration? The singers met each other in Munich at a music festival last year. Merton confessed that she was a fan of Odell’s since he released his first EP. “I loved his music. So when I found out he wanted me to be on a song I couldn’t really believe it.” Merton isn’t too well-known in the U.S. yet, but her pop-rock tune, “No Roots,” has held a number one spot in France and number two in Germany. If you’re already a fan of Odell, chances are you’ll love this collaboration. It’ll be easy to find yourself falling in love with Merton’s honest, powerful voice. The two singers mesh so well in “Half as Good as You” that you just may find yourself wishing for an entire album of Odell and Merton duets.


Listen to the song via Tom Odell’s Official YouTube page:


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Singer-Songwriter Tom Odell Releases “Half as Good as You” Duet with Alice Merton. Featured Photo Credit: RCA Records

CHVRCHES Find Their Remedy In ‘Love Is Dead’


Love Is Dead is the third studio album from the Glasgow-based synth-pop trio CHVRCHES, and the group’s latest project since 2016’s Every Open Eye. It’s also one of their sharpest releases to date. Featuring the refined and glittering production of Grammy award winning Greg Kurstin (whose previous credits include Adele, Sia, and Beck, among many others) on 9 out of 13 tracks — marking the first time CHVRCHES has worked with an outside producer on an album — Love Is Dead is a step in a different, remarkably self-assured direction for a group that has been consistently delivering infectious and wry pop since their 2013 debut, The Bones Of What You Believe.

Despite the fact that the process of creating this album was unlike any other, one constant that any CHVRCHES fan can count on from any track is a catchy chorus. From opening track “Graffiti,” which chronicles a distant but intense young love, to the introspective closer “Wonderland,” Lauren Mayberry’s vocals soar effortlessly and unconditionally. Repetition has always been the trio’s best friend when it comes to writing their memorable and sing-a-long-friendly choruses, and the simple lyrics are always bolstered by lush and electrifying beats. While this has remained true for all their releases, on Love Is Dead they’ve truly found the sweet spot — evidenced by leading single “Get Out,” an arena-ready, certified banger with a chorus made up mostly of just a repetition of the title.

Another first (and highlight) of the album is the unexpected, but completely welcome collaboration with The National’s Matt Berninger, who alternates singing verses with Mayberry on “My Enemy.” Berninger’s signature croon cools down Mayberry’s hyper-intense soprano, blending beautifully into a one-of-a-kind pop anthem.

CHVRCHES Find Their Remedy In ‘Love Is Dead’: Photo courtesy of Headline Planet/Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

CHVRCHES Find Their Remedy In ‘Love Is Dead’: Photo courtesy of Headline Planet/Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

Not to say that Mayberry needs any help on vocals, though. This she has proven time and time again to be unnecessary. On “Graves,” her recitation of the lines “I will stop at nothing” becomes more and more powerful each time, as if they are a prayer she is physically willing into existence. It’s only a few tracks later, on “Really Gone,” that she slips into a breathy falsetto, ushering the listener into an airy and ephemeral world of realization. A world that looks vaguely like a room full of mirrors, reflecting all the insecurities and uncertainties that usually stay hidden. And, to quote Robert Frost, “the best way out is always through.”

From top to bottom, Love Is Dead is one band’s exercise in facing reality and working through it. It’s a solution to the ever-looming question of how to create authentic art that stays true to an artist’s integrity, while also creating something relevant to the cultural climate. In short, it’s a lesson in not selling out. With the lofty production of Kurstin by their side, CHVRCHES have stepped into a new realm of artistry — one that couldn’t have been possible without a proper period of self-reflection, followed by a few creative risks.


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CHVRCHES Find Their Remedy In ‘Love Is Dead’: Featured image courtesy of CHVRCHES

Shanee Pink Interview

Shanee Pink never stayed too long in one place. She grew up in Tel Aviv, Israel, went to school in New York, and now spends most of her time in California. Even now, she never really stops traveling while looking for a new project. Her Instagram is a capsule of those travels from sprawling urban settings playing guitar in the middle of the street or in a subway to yoga on the beach, naked mornings in Laurel Canyon California, and camping in the desert.
Yet, “hippie” and “hipster” are labels she rejects, or at least feels uncomfortable with. That’s in part because, as a musician, there’s a certain connotation of hippie music associated with The Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell, and the whole flower generation. Shanee Pink’s music certainly wouldn’t fit that description.
Her latest EP, Twin Flame, dropped August 28, and it’s a shift back to some of the electronic sounds she was playing with on her 2012 release of Our United Hearts. However, fans of her 2014 effort Spreading in the Light will notice a fairly stark difference, both in the kind of music as well as the tone.
That emotional shift in her music comes from the same source as most great music—a broken relationship.
“I was writing this music and it had to do with the relationship I was in. It was a peculiar relationship that was pushing on all of my buttons,” Pink said.
The title of Twin Flame sets the stage for the album’s theme.
“A twin flame is when somebody comes into your life and ignites a certain fire in you or pushes your buttons in certain ways,” she said. “It may not always be pleasant, but it makes you grow as a human being and you learn a lot about yourself.”
5Q5A5488One of those relationships was a very public one with Nev Schulman, host of the popular MTV show Catfish. For those living under a rock, on Catfish, Schulman helps people in online relationships find out if they are being duped by someone pretending to be someone they are not—also known as catfishing. Schulman himself was catfished and filmed it all in a movie (“documentary” might be too generous a title) that launched his career. Therefore, to this day his relationships tend to be a rather public event.
Although the couple were able to keep the majority of their relationship out of the public eye, it still left a mark on Pink.
“He was a big part of my life in the last two years; not to say this album is about him, but it’s about a lot of lessons I learned (in that time),” she said.
Talking on relationships more generally, Pink said she’s learned a lot from her past romantic entanglements and it comes out on this album.
“In every relationship you meet a person and they are kind of embarrassed of you, or you see your insecurities come up in your interaction with them. Or you kind of compare each other or learn something from the way they conduct themselves and learn that you’re not conducting yourself in a certain way,” Pink said. “In that way, I felt like it made me grow. I felt like I wasn’t owning my own artistry and I wasn’t working hard enough on my own career.”
Part of working more on her career meant discovering what her sound is as a musician. She enlisted some new help on Twin Flame to make it more poppy and electronic.
“I think, before, I was writing everything on my own and half producing it on my own, so I was more a little more limited with the tools I had to express myself,” Pink said. “This time, I was working with people who really helped me take what I was doing to the next level. They gave me more tools to express myself. I think that’s why this album is a little more produced and a little more vibrant.”
The switch to a more electronic sound, she said, was a conscious decision on her part.
“I really loved LCD Soundsystem because they weren’t just electronic dance music; they were great songs that were written to an electronic scale… I wanted to be part of the party.”
Electronic pop music isn’t exactly what we think of when describing hippies, and yet Pink is a leader in one such movement in the Laurel Canyon. She books artists for the Laurel Canyon Music Revival, a monthly gathering of artists that started in her home but has since moved to The Kibitz Room in West Hollywood.
“I think I started it because I feel like people don’t hang out with each other in a casual manner and meet people in real life,” Pink said. “I really wanted to encourage other people to do that too, to host a place where people can meet each other, but also just to have a place where live music can happen.”

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Shanee Pink Interview: Photos by Thom Shelton