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PREMIERE: Bandits on the Run soundtrack modern love in new short film "Love in the Underground"

The baroque-pop sensibilities of New York trio Bandits on the Run well make for cinematic music — with vivacious cello lines intertwining with acoustic guitar, and three part harmonies as a centerpiece, there’s a goosebumps-inducing element to their tunes, a plethora of hair-raising moments wherein the band’s distinct parts emerge from quietude into a full, sunny sound. It’s fitting then that their newest single, “Love in the Underground,” was released alongside a nine minute short film for which the track serves as score (and in which the band serves as background players), enabling listeners and viewers to become swept up by the band’s dynamic, driving performance. Visually charting two strangers (actors Jason Gotay and Michael Hartung, themselves a couple IRL) falling in love on the subway, their dialogue is told primarily through choreography and music, a conversation which spans several station stops along the L and the East Williamsburg streets, before settling in at an atmospheric speakeasy — where the film visually enters its second act. Transitioning from an upbeat, primarily string-forward approach to the tone of a piano-driven ballad, Bandits on the Run re-emerge in the bar to perform a slower, more somber rendition of the track, creating a visual and sonic B-side to the entire production that builds to this featurette’s heartfelt climax. An impressive endeavor by any metric, aided by production from veteran companies Chucklehead and Must B Nice and choreography from co-director Lane Halperin, it’s required, sweetly succinct viewing in a time where love might seem far away — though it could just be one train car over. Watch it below. Photo by Fletcher Wolfe

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From the submissions: jake or luca's "friends and a half, summer forever and ever"

From 2016 to 2019, Jacob Levine toiled away at his new EP friends and a half, summer forever and ever on his iPhone, creating a loose conceptual record about a summer spent indoors — “because of depression and all,” in Levine’s own words. The end result is a crushing, intimate lofi release under the moniker jake or luca that’s filled with entrancing songwriting and melodious vocal performances, one that captures the dulling nature of mental illness in terms lush and bright. Charting the experience of untethered day-to-day living (“dreaming”) or the creeping feeling you’re letting someone else down (“bet you would”) through primarily acoustic guitar and the human voice, Levine’s craft is nuanced and meticulous, able to render malaise in a manner that’s both deeply personal and universal; snapshots of binging television and imagining the ghost of Zelda Fitzgerald find themselves situated within an ongoing internal monologue detailing an abiding hope things will get better, and the corollary fear that they won’t. Moreover, the record’s production, which features Levine’s layered vox front and center with occasional ambient synth, furthers its confessional qualities while lending a reassuring warmth to each of its six tracks. Recommended listening for fans of (Sandy) Alex G or Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell, give it a thoughtful listen below. —Connor Beckett McInerney

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Thurlowood quietly soundtracks the end on “Shells”

Conventional wisdom dictating the world will end not with a bang, but with a whimper, seems to be playing out famously, but at the very least we’ll get some good music out of it. New video “Shells” by New York “pre-apocalyptic electro indie rock” project Thurlowood is the latest to cover Armageddon in a quiet, dignified, and incredibly catchy manner. With the cool keys of a Nord Electro 6 and a rudimentary drum machine backing, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Thurlow Wood sings Cold War-era instructions to schoolchildren on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. Against a music video incorporating archive footage of a 1951 educational film, Wood’s haunting vocal delivery simultaneously emphasizes the futility of such directions were an actual tactical strike ordered on the United States, in addition to the fragility of our continued existence as a human species. Reminiscent of the Postal Service’s similarly depressive earworms and Ra Ra Riot circa 2013’s Beta Love, it’s a beautiful, harrowing single that’s a perfect soundtrack for our increasingly precarious times — give it a watch below, and stream new LP Discontinue Normal Program, out now. Photo by David Yang

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Bottler's sunny electronic blossoms on "Nobody Likes Me," new EP out 5.8

Synthpop outfit Bottler describe their sound as music “full of electronic vitamin C,” an apt description of their uplifting new track “Nobody Likes Me.” Bolstered by a chilled downtempo beat and a healthy mix of piano keys and speaker-shaking bass, the Brooklyn-based duo employ a repeating sample of a children’s choir as the song’s centerpiece, creating a joyful, bright atmosphere over its succinct three minute run time. Moreover, Bottler’s approach to production, which incorporates maximalist, shimmering synth arpeggios alongside analogue components, evokes the late 00s / early 10s indietronic sound of groups like Passion Pit and Discovery sans vocals. Stream this sunny listen below, and keep an eye out for their upcoming EP Clementine, out May 8th.

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PREMIERE: Onesie get crafty in quarantine for new video "Unsolved Mysteries"

Self-isolation-bred productivity can come in many forms, and whether it’s reading a good book or posting on Instagram about your sourdough starter, there’s really no wrong way to do it. Erring on the side of the creative is Brooklyn indie outfit Onesie’s new video for “Unsolved Mysteries,” which, through iMovie magic and a photo scanner, lovingly displays the mid-80s childhood drawings of bandleader Ben Haberland. Scoring these high resolution scans of Mortal Kombat (or G.I. Joe?) inspired illustrations is Onesie’s power pop inclined sound, albeit on the scuzzier side; Haberland’s winding vocal delivery modulates between the bright melodic quality heard on the band’s 2019 effort Umpteenth, breaking on the chorus to deliver some frothy sing-speak disharmony. Bolstered by driving, interlocking guitar work and lyricism drawing parallels between mental subjugation and sheltering-in-place, it’s a progressive bop for fans of 90s / early 00s alternative, or those seeking to enliven the feeling of being trapped — either way, watch and listen below.

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