New Songs to Help Get You Through These Rough Times

Record Review

New Songs to Help Get You Through These Rough Times

It puts the Pink Lotion on its skin. (art courtesy Pink Lotion/Bandcamp)

The words, “We’re in this together,” have never, in any of our lives, held more meaning than they do now. Please, everyone, wash your hands, take care of yourself and your loved ones, and stay safe.

To further the spirit of sharing the catharsis and joy that music can give us all, Jake Uitti and I have found some new songs by PNW and PNW-adjacent artists that we’re both incredibly fond of. We hope that sharing these tracks will provide something to inspire and enchant you. Heaven knows we could all use a bit of both of those things right now.–Ed.

Tony’s Picks:

The Spider Ferns, “Who Stands Alone”

I’ll be honest: I had prepared a very different review of “Who Stands Alone,” The Spider Ferns‘ new single and first release since their 2016 EP, Safety, before the pandemic hit. But now that the bottom of the world appears to be close to dropping out, the song’s hold on me has intensified and morphed.

Not that I wasn’t captivated by this epic, beautiful pop song beforehand, what with its glittering synth hook, sensual groove, and guitarist/keyboardist Alton Fleek’s six-string segueing from warm strumming to larger-than-life power chords. It’s ostensibly an affecting emotional snapshot of lead singer Kelly Fleek coping with with her recently-passed mother’s terminal illness, and she and her family’s struggle to rally amidst the adversity. But in this particular long, languid now, Kelly’s soaring, gorgeous voice and lyrics have captured something even more universal; namely, the storminess at the precipice of uncertainty, and the Rock-of-Gibraltar resolve to weather it. And that strength is delivered with so much clarity it’s giving me chills and inspiration, in equal turns.

Pink Lotion, “Find Me Two”

For me, there’s something magical about being in a club or venue, moving your ass like you just don’t care alongside a bunch of other joyous people, all of you electrified by the same lean and sinewy dance groove.

The current adversity we’re all enduring threatens to make such abandon a distant memory, light years removed from the present. And in that context Pink Lotion, the new project from LA-by-way-of-Seattle producer/musician Erik Blood and powerhouse singer Rachel Ferguson, isn’t just a sublime purveyor of grooves for me: It’s incredibly powerful medicine.

Lusters, the band’s debut EP, serves up a six-pack of booty-shaking, baby-making, playful, gleefully lascivious alien funk engineered with beats and atmosphere you want to live in. All killer, no filler is in full play here, but “Find Me Two,” with its heady boudoir vibe, has an enveloping sense of intimacy that makes it a great, soul-warming listen—health-mandated solitude and all. Turn on, tune in, and move like your dance partner’s the sexy robot pilot of George Clinton’s mothership.

Jake’s Picks:

In these troubling times, we look to music for healing. And perhaps there is no better place to do that than in the Northwest, where we cherish music and the sharing of it amongst our family and friends in our creative community to the utmost. As such, we here at Artist Home have compiled some of our favorite new tracks. Because when you’re stuck at home, why not fill your ears with bliss? 

Mark Diamond, “Rita” 

Mark Diamond is a new artist, but his voice is timeless. On this empathetic, forlorn track, Diamond laments of a life lost and lonesome. Rita, he sings, has lost her bets and seen abandonment. Yet, she has someone like Diamond to sing of her. And, in that way, is there anything better? Like some long forgotten Les Miserables song, “Rita” is one that speaks to souls lacking in a time of opulance. Get used to putting this one on repeat. 

Stereo Embers, “Tom the Longboarder” 

Fronted by elastic-voiced singer Robb Benson, Stereo Embers specialize in filling a room with sound while telling the stories of folks who may otherwise go unseen. Take, for example, their new single, which introduces fans to Tom and his community of outcasts. Amidst Benson’s soaring voice, the band’s guitars rumble and drums sweep. For when you need your heart to start pumping at extra pace, its Stereo Embers you call. 

Head Hurt, “CNI” 

Head Hurt are a new duo on the Emerald City scene and if their first two singles are any indication, their musical sensibilities are wise beyond their years. A mix of Iggy Pop and Rage Against The Machine, the band is the rearview mirror of all the established rock groups out there. Not in some menacing way, mind you. But those running the sonic highways have a new musical automobile to cruise with. Let’s all turn up the car stereos. 

Vanna Oh!, “Chaperone” 

Queen of the shrieks, Vanna Oh! can add master blues guitar to her resume, as exemplified by this, her latest track. The blond-bobbed front woman is as compelling as any. She also landed on the inaugural episode of Video Bebop. The musician has a knack for grabbing eyeballs and eardrums. In a way, it’s too facile to compare her to Jack White. But in another way, it’s also not unfair in any respect. 

Thunderpussy, “Powerhouse” 

One of the best videos of the year so far comes to us from one of the Emerald City’s favorite bands, Thunderpussy. The video, which came out on Super Tuesday (when life seemed so much simpler, am I right?), points a red-hot light on the difficulty of life as a single mother. Written in reverence of her own mother, Thunderpussy front woman Molly Sides says she was also inspired by the heroism of all women – especially those raising children in an all-too-unforgiving place. 

Renee Holiday, “Temptation”

The artist formally known as Shaprece recently underwent a name re-brand. She is now Renee Holiday. But, when it comes to terrific art, what’s really in a name anyway? Whatever her moniker, Holiday dropped a honey-sticky-catchy new track that’s worth talking about here. The song, “Temptation,” is about all that’s around us that steels our eye, that takes our attention. Holiday, often hard at work, warns us about getting lost in all that glimmers in our too-often-weak minds. And, of course, the track itself allures.

Tony Kay

Tony Kay