Single Reviews: 28 July 2023: Teen Mortgage, Requiem, Samuel Blaney, Mike Goodspeed, Lightphaser

Photo by Saxon White

Teen Mortgage - Oligarchy


Irresistibly immediate and simple rock riffs are counter played against sneering vocals and pugnacious drums on "Oligarchy," the blistering new single from Washington DC duo Teen Mortgage. The track is a high-octane assault on capitalist powers ("because corporate flaws they make all the laws"), which would come off a tad juvenile were it not justified in a world where overpriced coffee fuels the hamster wheels and is completely sincere and full of the enthusiastic energy which feels relevant and vital. In less than two minutes, Teen Mortgage delivers a trim and sonically electrifying blast of dissent-laden audaciousness.

Requiem - Suddenly I Have A Dreadful Urge To Be Happy


From their upcoming album POPulist Agendas, "Suddenly I Have A Dreadful Urge To Be Happy" is the epic new single from the Washington DC collective Requiem. This instrumental rock song stretches out with sustained ambiences, gentle guitar lines, and persistently thoughtful drums that amalgamate in a balanced cocktail of retrospection. While the track is by all means intense, it is never less than a balm for the soul and appears to operate to induce a trance-like state in the listener with arrangements that don't go anywhere but onwards and upwards, inspiring deep contemplation and appreciation of transiently static moments of existence. Comprising core members Doug Kallmeyer, Monica Stroik, and Tristan Welch, Requiem came together during the pandemic to iron out the psychological creases of that turbulent time with smooth and focused music, and they are continuing their mission with this single that inspires excitement for the album to come.

Samuel Blaney - Ember

indie folk

Samuel Blaney is an indie folk artist from the West of Ireland who, alongside a career in horticulture, delivers delightfully sentimental and ambitiously experimental tracks that straddle the line between commercial viability and artistic expression. His recent single "Embers" showcases an artist with eyes on either side of the musical spectrum, placing sonic anomalies and psychedelically bending guitar lines around placement-ready moments of folk-pop accessibility. Blaney's deep voice doesn't vie for attention but demands it with strong and earthy tones that feel like they are being sung directly to you in this spacious track that makes an indelible impression and signals a new artist who is likely to find an audience for his thoughtful and emotive songs.

Mike Goodspeed - Spelunking


Massachusetts-based composer Mike Goodspeed arranges guitar harmonics, mournful cello, sombre electronics, and twinkling piano keys in an inventive way on his recent "Spelunking," a track that isn't afraid to explore the deeper corners of the musical landscape, nor is it shy of tessellating its disparate elements with reckless abandon, abruptly transitioning between phrases that come and go on a whim, sometimes hitting piquant minor keys before injecting a sense of hope with sounds that combine in rich harmony. Eschewing an identifiable structure, Goodspeed seems more intent on world-building than composing something with a narrative, and the world he has built here is one of intrigue and curious beauty.

Lightphaser - Dream (Extended)


Slovakian sonic wizard Joseph Gogh, AKA Lightphaser, has been on the go since 1998, and his experience is evident in the carefully balanced remix of "Dream," a sprawling seven-minute journey of colourful sounds and atmospheric tones that descend and ascend with vigorous originality. Taken from the recent remix album "Recollected," Gogh has employed the Vocaloid software voicebank Hatsune Miku to add a new dimension to this already multiversesque track, resulting in a mind-bending cut that may require some concessions for its throwback sound but provides an escape from the humdrum for those willing to accept the invitation.