Single Reviews: 25 April 2023: mal sounds, Magz, ODOCOIL, Hana McCartney


Photo by Jill Evans

mal sounds - SAY WHAT YOU NEED 

bedroom pop

The music of New York guitarist, singer, and performer mal sounds is terrifically sweet on the outside, quietly nourishing on the inside. Straightforward drums, twinkling emo guitars, elusive textures, and richly soulful vocals collide on "SAY WHAT YOU NEED", a song about the unnecessary complications of verbal communication. This less-than-two-minute slice of Big Apple chic is the first single from mal sounds' upcoming EP, STILL IN NEW YORK, which is due for release later this year.

Magz - Quicksand

alternative pop

New Yorker Magz appears to be singing from the depths of the subway on her recent single "Quicksand". Her confessional lyrics and vocal pleas play out over urban-tinged production with precision and present an artist who uses music as a salve for their complicated emotions, reframing anxiety and the sinking feeling of depression through the metaphor of quicksand. The track takes just two-and-a-half-minutes to make its impression; one that is ultra-moody and liberal with its use of profanity, but also wonderfully dark, never commercial-leaning, and built with the purpose of communicating with others who feel "too proud to ever ask for help" through song.

ODOCOIL - Strike Up


Chicagoan electronic enchanter ODOCOIL spews out a mish-mash of math-rock inspired electronic production, incorporating glitch, soft synths, and pensive vocals; the lyrics of which are a mile-a-minute stream of consciousness that touches on the frightening absurdity of astrophysics. This sense of frenzy is likewise found in the intensity of the musical notation, which often sounds like what it would like if exploding popcorn kernels were musical notes; multi-layered but disparate elements explode in directionless chaos. Somehow, it works.

Hana McCartney - Dope

alternative pop

Floridian pop-star-in-the-making Hana McCartney isn't afraid of dropping drug references into her sweetly melodic pop hooks. In fact, her upcoming EP uses drug abuse as a theme for each of the tracks. While the word 'dope' is variably used to describe cannabis and heroin, it's obvious the singer is talking about the green herb here on ("Baby says that he likes my dope, but he doesn't know how to smoke it"). A buoyant lo-fi electric guitar riff starts the track off with a coolly detached feeling before McCartney connects emotionally with the listener through focused vocals sung with purpose and rocking vibe that never feels forced.