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It was a hell of a year, kind of literally. You might have read in other places that musicians are struggling to find new ways to continue to be creative – this is absolutely true. Our musical economy requires musicians to perform in front of crowds, and to build relationships in physical space. In a pandemic, that reality just doesn’t exist. And for all the creative experimentation, musicians who rely on their music to pay bills are still at a loss.

This isn’t a society-crushing problem. The artists on this playlist probably all had warm beds to sleep in and food in their bellies this year. But one of the functions of art in a society is to build and reinforce that society. To show things in a new light – to tell stories that you might not otherwise hear. This is highfalutin stuff, for sure, but when I think back on things that really changed my way of thinking about the world, I can often credit an artist for helping me get there.

Messages just stick better with backing music. There’s a reason that music has been with us since our earliest days as humans – whistles and drums and shakers that almost certainly paired with voices and knit us together in the face of challenge and danger.

So, this playlist is enormous. It’s overwhelming, actually. Trust me, I’ve listened to every song on it multiple times, and have written about most of them. (Thanks, by the way, to new blurbers Dreams of Lasers, T. Rex Jones, AVDRAV, and Ayavaron, who contributed their own initimitable takes on these songs).

We, as the IMF community, celebrate every song. This is an immediate experience that I regularly have. Even when I know the thing I shared is flawed and broken, and is barely held together by the shoddy duct tape and baling wire I used to put it together, the IMF community celebrates it. And I do this for others. No one is faking it – this happens because every song deserves to be celebrated.

And it’s really hard to find that support in this faceless internetarian existence we’re all stuck in whether we want it or no. And the internet, being what it is, is overweighted in underqualified critics, trolls and complainers, which – fuck em. Fuck myself who from time to time has fallen / will fall into one or more of these terrible categories. The wires and screens can bring out the worst in us.

And IMF brings out the best.

Here’s the best of what over 120 IMF artists had to share with me, and with you, and with all of us. Almost all of these tracks were created in the mess and muck of 2020, and many represent the best of what that challenging year brought out for each of us. Celebrate the struggle and the turmoil, and the triumph of individual creativity. It’s the thing we’ll need in 2021 and beyond to survive and thrive.

Yours creatively,
-popijininsky


Falling Up (hes. feat Dreams of Lasers)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Indie House track about love

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The vocals on this track are reaching for something, but never quite get there. It does feel like falling up, like falling in love. The instrumental is one of those ‘throw up your lighter’ DJ set moments. I can’t stand the acoustic guitar – it’s like happy tears on a special day that you’ll never forget

-popijininsky

Wrong Things (nodotmad)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Wrong Things is about the intrusive, reoccurring negative thoughts that young adults with depression and anxiety often deal with when coming of age. The layered, analog synthesizer lead is a motif to reflect the persistence and flurry of these thoughts, coyly referred to as the “wrong things” that folks tend to dwell on. It’s a simple song written as an outlet to escape these frequent overloads in the brain.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The artist blurb says it all!

-popijininsky

Spirit (A False Dichotomy)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Dreamy, floaty. vocals sound like they’re recorded in a cathedral, both in terms of recording quality and melody. They’re supported by scandanavian style wall-of-sound distorted guitars and stringsy things. It’s pretty, haunting; dense and gauzy at the same time

-popijininsky

static rain (Solstice)

FROM THE ARTIST:
soft lofi track. somewhat relaxing.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Really minimal, with an off kilter beat. piano, and japanese spoken word vocal. Yeah, it’s relaxing.

-popijininsky

My Hobbies Suck (Worse in Person)

FROM THE ARTIST:
My Hobbies Suck is the title track to Worse in Person’s debut EP. It’s a garage rock song about how it feels to be defeated by our hobbies. It’s loud, it catchy, it’s repetitive.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Guitar-driven skate punk. It’s boppy. I could go outside and hurt myself doing stupid stuff while listening to this.

-popijininsky

Welcome (Fried Monk)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Sludgy mushroom funk. The vocal chops are so lazy – behind the beat. They add a layer of smudge and blur that creates more questions than answers. According to the artist, they’re sampled from a conversation in a remote mountain village in Peru, which is fitting.

-popijininsky

Bad Girl (Osay)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Sexy silky rap over a knocking beat. I see you, Osay.

-popijininsky

For the Love of God (The F-use)

FROM THE ARTIST:
The F-use is a one man band currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Shred. The F-use is/are some upbeat punk rock that tickle a specaial earbone for me. This sounds straight off a cassette release of some DC band from 1986,=

-popijininsky

Forty Hour Embrace (The Bearskins)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Canadian Indie Chill/Folk/Rock

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
These vocals are just so earnest and pretty – the song really sounds like falling in love. You’re making me miss a Canada I’ve never been to, and maybe doesn’t actually exist.

-popijininsky

Disco Fever (17 Letters)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A sunny little slap-bass-and-robot groove.

-popijininsky

Partner In Crime (Copperstone)

FROM THE ARTIST:
First track off our album, written in a “Bonnie & Clyde” style of the indecisions of young love

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This track brings me back to the golden-lit days of 1970-something, when men sung like men on AM radio. Saturated guitars and driving drums make this a real tap-on-the-wheel-on-the-way-to-the-party kinda jam.

-popijininsky

Waves of Gold (Fast Remix) (Max Oakland)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A faster, more upbeat take on the catchy dream pop Waves of Gold

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I liked the regular speed mix of this track. At this higher tempo, it takes on a sense of drive and urgency. It makes me a little afraid of Max’s urgency – like he might come crashing through the door to punch me, or kiss me…or both.

-popijininsky

There Is Beauty in Simplicity (Letters to a Younger Self)

FROM THE ARTIST:
There is Beauty In Simplicity is the contemplating act of our EP Color Theory. In this song we tried to picture Lydia and the music wisp (main characters) sitting at the edge of a lake contemplating a city sunset. We tried to create a song that feels like a warm hug.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Sometimes a song just creates a world that I fall into. This track is one of those. IT’S SO BIG! The quiet parts sketch out a quiet city downtown just as the sun is coming up…then crashing drums and guitars fill it with activity and light.

-popijininsky

Believe in me (Zodat)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Drawing huge influence from artists like Burial and Clams Casino, Zodat officially steps into the music scene after 5 years of tweaking and refining his sound. ‘Believe in me’ best displays his growth as an artist and as a person, and the message within represents a big contributing factor: The people around him.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
For those nights you just wanna curl up between the cavernous bloops and zorches of modern life, you put on a groove like this and you’re living that electric ennui hot chocolate jam.

-Ayavaron

The Backpacker (Bear Ley)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This was my first Spotify release, about how futile everything can sometimes seem. Its sad, acoustic, introspective vibes are very emblematic of my style.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
So delicate. Like cotton candy, or one of those lacy cookies that falls apart in your tea. Layered emotional vocals, acoustic guitar and swelling pads create an intimate space that we can relax into.

-popijininsky

Wake Up We’re Going to Muenchen 1987 (Banks Daniels)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Fitting name – it’s impossible to sleep through this track. Try it, you’ll see. You might get interesting dreams that way. Anyway, it’s hard, but strangely silly. It’s postchipprogmetalminimalrock.

-popijininsky

Nonspatial (C.T. Lee)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This will be the last track on my debut album (coming in 2021). The rest of the album will have some heavier themes and weird & wonky sounds, so I wanted to give the final track a light, peaceful and positive vibe. I hope you enjoy it!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
So few sounds and so much happening. This is the kind of skillful restraint that makes me jealous. So much is happening in the space between the notes

-popijininsky

NB’Triyu (Felknia)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is a chiptune-ish track part of a story in space. In this song, the protagonist is facing NB’Triyu, a big space monster.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This is the soundtrack to one of those games that got too hard before I beat it. There are lasers. g a m e o v e r. I rage quit.

-popijininsky

Nervio (UndaSkore)

FROM THE ARTIST:
An electronic track mixed with acoustic elements, telling a 3 part story about loving someone so much that you hurt them

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Moody, atmospheric instrumental trap. I don’t want to hurt anyone or get hurt, but I know that that’s how life and love go sometimes. There’s a real spookiness in this one, that resolves into pretty acoustic guitars sometimes so we can all be reminded that not everything is terrible.

-popijininsky

Threaten Me (Girls With Depression)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is an IMF collaboration with LXXM I had already written the lyrics when they offered me the instrumental– they just fit. Anyway, I hope you like Frankenstein, Frankenstein and more Frankenstein.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
These lyrics are full of awe and admiration – for the metaphorical creation that exceeds our ability to define or control it. The instrumental is sparse and minimal – almost as much space as sound. Is it sad? hopeful? mournful? I’m not quite sure, and that ambiguity draws me in.

-popijininsky

OTOH (Sly Diablo)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Everything in this song is tremolo and vibrato – sounds like the entire band went though a tape loop delay from the 1970s that hasn’t had it’s heads cleaned in a couple decades. In a good way. Also the vocals are just big and round and intimate. This production.

-popijininsky

Phenomenon (No Place For Music)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Just a scary-ish Vocaloid synthpop song

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Hard-edged, driving. There’s a dark underground club that will be bumping this track after it’s safe to have people in clubs again. This song will help us celebrate what we’ve been missing.

-popijininsky

Dreaming About Max (CalicoLoco)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is a short love song inspired my addiction to the audio/visual programming language Max/MSP

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This song is about a particular kind of addiction that I can relate to – the pull of the creative process. It happens to be about a programming experience, but it’s no less powerful for its nerdiness. This song could be about any kind of love, really. Indie pop/rock with a floaty dreamwash over it.

-popijininsky

Kyoto (The 1)

FROM THE ARTIST:
It’s a happy and chill tropical track and inspired by kygo and Marshmello 🙂

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
It’s tropical…it even has waves. It’s a japanese beach on a sunny day in the summer.

-popijininsky

Neonslut (Hatebot)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
There just can never be too many songs about love. Even Hatebots can love, apparently. This is an actual bop – I’m having a hard time typing this because the beat has my head bobbing pretty hard.

-popijininsky

Bomb (Jodaki)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Layers of crispiness and softness, like a good order of Nachos. Rock and roll to the core with amazing guitar work.

-popijininsky

Coming Through the Darkness (Dragan Kalinovic)

FROM THE ARTIST:
metal/music activism/songwriter

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Psych rock, produced like its forebears in the 1970s. It’s all leer and sneer and whammy bars. I can imagine the stage show for this track – lots of smoke and fog and fringe. It’s a good show.

-popijininsky

Not One Will Come Back Untorn (Kahlil’s Razor)

FROM THE ARTIST:
From the new album “Parables and Patience”

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This is a demo to an unrealeased ELO song. The vocals have the kind of optimism that doesn’t make it into most digital recordings. The crisp rock instrumentation holds them up so we can properly examine and experience them. Also, it’s kind of language-nerdy, which is fun.

-popijininsky

(I Don’t Wanna Go)In the Museum (fuck yeah, dinosaurs!)

FROM THE ARTIST:
dino-themed skate punk about dinosaurs facing their inevitable doom

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
More low fidelity punk ass rock and effing roll from Pittsburg’s favorite dinosaur-loving band.

-popijininsky

Mutual Gathering (Kahika)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Mutual gathering explores the idea of people co-existing with and enjoying nature.In Maori mythology, some tribes tried to enhance their own Mana. One’s Mana could also be lost due to harmful deeds.If Mana is present in every living thing, then its our personal interpretation that respecting nature is a way to invite more Mana into your life, and a careless attitude towards our native flora is a sure way to lose it.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Smoky rubbery bendy butter…soul? Has just the right amount of sax to keep me wanting more.

-popijininsky

Pretend (Green Leather)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Smoo00OOTH

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Distorted guitars beat down in the hot sun while the acoustics blow from under the trees to keep us cool. And the vocals are the hammock and the shade and the clouds that drift by.

-popijininsky

Flames (Iman Kumar Mukherjee)

FROM THE ARTIST:
My second track. Old-school EDM track

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The production on this track is super clean and powerful. Drums pulse and crash, synths fill the space in between. I can see the steam rising from the crowd on the dancefloor, losing themselves in the flames.

-popijininsky

five.am (&seb)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is my second release; it’s about being a night-owl and not being able to fall asleep—something I have trouble with. It’s supposed to be a super chill track to almost emulate the drowsy feeling you have when you’re up at 5am. Hope you enjoy!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I have never thought about writing myself a lullaby. This track is sleepy and could actually lull me to sleep, as long as the subwoofer isn’t turned up too high.

-popijininsky

June (Pacing)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Don’t get too sentimental

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I think I use the word ‘gauzy’ too much. So this isn’t gauzy – it’s diaphanous, delicate, and infused with a warm glow. These vocals feel like home and family, and the open and spare acoustic guitar-and-piano arrangement gives them space to live and breathe.

-popijininsky

Cartoon Network – Lohm Remix (ft Striped McCoy, Porkboii, & Oshua) (Lohm)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Porkboii and Oshua both joined Striped McCoy on this remix of his classic track “Cartoon Network”. This remix flips the guitars from the original into a swirling, moody, and bass-heavy hip hop song.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
So many bass. the lyrics are just bubblegum and gauzy window-coverings on a bright day. this is a boardwalk-walking bop.actual IMF gumbo – layers of layers

-popijininsky

It Doesn’t Make You Happier (Striped McCoy)

FROM THE ARTIST:
I like vocal chops and the big drum

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This sound is bigger than stadiums. It’s big as countries, big as continents. Striped McCoy creates huge soundstages that his songs inhabit, and this one is no exception. This song makes me happier.

-popijininsky

Tune Out, Tap Out, Fade out (Stronger Than Ever) (Tomer Krail)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Turns out Americana can come from the Brexit lands. Tomer Krail can talk about Friends in a blues track better than any American I’ve ever heard try to do the same thing.

-popijininsky

basement transit gateway (Jeff Zaroyko)

FROM THE ARTIST:
electronic ambient track that pivots around a sample

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Hypnotic – it edges toward randomness, but there’s just enough structure to make it feel more like a ‘song’ than a soundscape for me. It’s got a beat. I can sort of dance to it. But maybe I’ll just nod gently. It’s bloopy, and bleepy, and vaguely martial sounding – a parade ground in a futuristic fever dream.

-popijininsky

Sorta Pretending (Ashton Dyson)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Lofi goodness mixed with a groove on the synths. I guess I was sort of pretending.

-AVDRAV

Help Needed (RXM)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Bouncy beat, and a rap-sung story of infatuation that maybe comes and goes – it’s strong today, not sure about tomorrow.

-popijininsky

It’s Been Something (The Cardboard Man)

FROM THE ARTIST:
My attempt at a completely falsetto main vocal on a chill soul-esque track. Writtin about all the wonderful people you meet, have a moment with and then never see again.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I love The Cardboard Man’s distinctive falsetto / rap, and boppy beats. This sound is actual ear candy, and my ear’s got a sweet tooth for The Cardboard Man.

-popijininsky

Last Leaf (MindHotel)

FROM THE ARTIST:
With his First Single “Last Leaf”, Mindhotel is starting out with a March hit. Combining Classical Instruments with Modern Synthesizer and New Sounds.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A rich arrangement of big dancey drums, warm synths and buttery vocals. This is a 4am club track – one that keeps the crowd moving, but not forcing them to work so hard.

-popijininsky

What I Want (Longhairedjoe)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This song came together very quickly, in one day actually, and I had a gut feeling that I wanted to release it. It’s pretty different from my usual indie punk stuff and I’m proud of that. I like having multiple sounds to make the artist page varied. Hopefully more people will hear it through this playlist!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Opens with a yacht-rock bassline and unfolds into a detuned take on vocal synthpop. It took me a couple listens to ‘get’ this one – I’m glad I gave it the time it needed.

-popijininsky

Element (Otselot)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A chillhop track i made with influences from tiphop and downtempo!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Straight outta 1990-something – this is OG breakbeat-style instrumental trip hop.

-popijininsky

Millions (el Woah, Williedoit)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Tis time for a little song about money and lack thereof. I don’t like the construct of moeny in our society, so I am constanly trying to find a happy medium for my relationship with money. This song is a chill track about making millions one day, even though that’s not why we do music. Its more about feeling secure, and being able to repay those who helped us along the way. It’s a down to earth flex called Millions, and I hope you guys feel this one!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The hook in ‘Millions’ is real. And the rest of the track is also just radio-ready trap-trip-hop. Super clean laid back flow and a big knocking beat.

-popijininsky

I Just Wanna Be Your Boyfriend (Caleb Scott Evans)

FROM THE ARTIST:
psychedelic sounds meets hip hop

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I didn’t know West Virginia ever sounded like this. Loping music, and slightly numbed out vocals, but a surprisingly straightforward and sentimental song. I don’t know whose boyfriend you want to be Caleb, but I hope they noticed.

-popijininsky

Florist (Ilithios)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Indiepop anthem for terrible dancers

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This is layers deep, and somehow manages to stay fragile – it’s a lovingly crafted sweet song with restrained but emotional vocals and dreamy guitars. I don’t care that you’re a terrible dancer, Ililthios…I’ll hold up the wall with you anytime.

-popijininsky

Birds of A Feather (Henry Cron)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A smooth, rnb chill wave track about realizing you’re becoming toxic to the person you love

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The vocals on this are so washed out sounding that the words lose their literal meaning and become just more layers in this sonic cake.

-popijininsky

Canary in a Coal Mine (Yeti Tears)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Yeti Tears latest project Canary in a Coal Mine EP is dedicated to the work of Dr. Brian Keating, Sam Harris and Eric Weinstein. The record is a melodic progressive house blend of spacey arps and pianos to bring the listener to another dimension.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
New age-inflected house music. For staring out the window at the stream in your rock garden on a fall afternoon.

-AVDRAV

Honolulu (James Marton)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This song derived from last month’s genre smash game, when I rolled blues/hard rock. The lyrics will hopefully provide helpful tips for anyone who finds themself in the same unfortunate sleepwalking situation I experienced during a family vacation in Honolulu.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Melodramatic rock supporting prosaic storytelling, reminescent of Mothers-era Zappa, or maybe King Missile.

-popijininsky

Found Someone (The U Club)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Guitar-driven indie rock from London. We try to not sound like we recorded it in a bedroom, even though we did. Aiming for more releases soon!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I know this isn’t a punk rock song, but it’s the prettiest punk rock I’ve ever heard. Uptempo, jumping around kinda backbeat with some really lovely vocals, and guitars that haven’t been distorted beyond recognition. It’s a hooky little pop-rock number that I’d love to hear on a drive to a picnic with my girl. It’s punk rock by people that comb their hair.

-popijininsky

Lymph (Empty State)

FROM THE ARTIST:
The third song from Empty State’s first album, Electric Miracle

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Not lofi, but low fidelity. The world through a haze of downers – the Pixies gone soft. It just keeps going, like a dirt mover on a muddy job site.

-popijininsky

Mundane Things (Wynclf)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A song about growing up that we tend to take for granted when it is in us, and regret the time that has lost when it is gone.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I love the upfront and intimate vocal over this sparse rock instrumentation. Drenched in nostalgia, tinged with regret, but not without hope.

-popijininsky

A Waste (HALAN)

FROM THE ARTIST:
There are some things you can fight for as hard as you want, but can’t change the outcome of. “A Waste,” is a requiem about loneliness, isolation and personal strife. I wrote, recorded and produced this song in my bedroom studio reflecting on earlier this year which were some of the roughest times I’ve had. I drew inspiration from doom metal, darkwave and avant-pop artists like FKA Twigs.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The emotion in this vocal is clear, and strong, and allows us to share Hasan’s frustration and depression – it feels like the emotion is filtered through a heavy blanket. It resonates because I’m in 2020 with you, Hasan.

-popijininsky

We Are All The Same (Collin In Kind)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Feel good indie rap rock song genre blending thing.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Jello Biafra went to Euro Pop. It’s over-the-top – Pop with a capital ‘P’.

-popijininsky

Becoming clouds (Barabbas t jones)

FROM THE ARTIST:
High volume folk punk jam with it’s heart on its sleeve

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Holy poop it’s so loud and jangly. Jones brings us into his interior frustration and earnestness with an arrangement that sounds like it was recorded live in an empty grain solo after a half-bottle of jack daniels. I can’t imagine loading so much emotion into a song, or anything.

-popijininsky

Games (Good Stuff)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is a song about a toxic relationship I no longer wanted to be apart of. Written from the depths of past emotional turmoil, all aspects of this composition reflect those raw feelings.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This is a straight-up new wave-style track, and a sneering vocal that evokes a certain brat-pack sensibility. Pure 80s, top to bottom.

-popijininsky

Highjump (Antediluvian Projekt, Flora Lin)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A collaboration between one-man solo project Antediluvian Projekt and vocalist Flora Lin, the original instrumental version of this track first debut as part of the self titled Antediluvian Projekt album by John Heckathorn earlier this year. This track combines elements of progressive metal with jazz/classical trumpet.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This track is packed with more musical ideas than a candy stand has gumdrops. Delicious, delicious ideas. Djent with trumpet and Flora Lin’s powerful vocals is a new sound, and one that I’d like to hear more of.

-popijininsky

Fool on the Hill (Beatles Cover) ft. Nathan Fox (Doqtr Shine)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Dark electronic cover of The Fool on the Hill by the Beatles, exploring themes of being the everyman in our modern age.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This is a total reinterpretation of this Beatles song. It’s dark, and oppressive, and electronic. If you think you know this song, you don’t. Listen to this version and you’ll think about it differently.

-popijininsky

Summer Fling (Laminar Flow)

FROM THE ARTIST:
One of my favorite tracks and most important. took me 6 months to get it made. It got into the SoundCloud playlist last month but have to remove it in a few days because of a competition we are in. Btw i absolutely love this community and playlists. Such a brilliant way for artists to get together

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This is a well-crafted popsong, rock-flavored. It’s got a 1990’s production style that evokes The Strokes or The Killers. It’s got a subtlety that’s missing from so many songs that try to do what it does.

-popijininsky

Last Christmas (Somewhat Incognito)

FROM THE ARTIST:
I did this cover as part of the IMF december / holiday album thing. It was fun an I like how it came out

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A mostly note-for-note loving update of the classic Wham song – bringing it solidly into the 1990s from the 1980s, and adding a trademark Somewhat Incognito bass solo. I don’t really like holiday music, but I nominate this one to be added to the canon.

-popijininsky

Alone (KK Love & Mekter)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Alone is a fan favorite track from our album Sad Love. It is about feeling disconnected from your partner.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
These vocals are ridiculously amazing. The mixture of melody and rythym are just excellent. Call this fusion, call this crossover — either way it works!!

-AVDRAV

Blue (DHXP)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Here’s a song for a sad day 🙂

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I feel the blue in this song. It’s not the whiplash genre-hopping I’ve come to expext from DHXP, but it’s clearly a DHXP track. It’s slow, not-quite-mournful, just…defeated. Listen yourself, but maybe stay away from sharp things for a bit after.

-popijininsky

Ageless (Hurling Pixels)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Reminiscent musings of youthful angst.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Human vocals backed by a robot bar band – chrome and black plastic space with sunglasses.

-popijininsky

Originality (remix) (Oliver New)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This tune blends the genres of indie rock and dance in a bid to be completely original, which is what the track strives to be!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This is a cool mashup. Brit-accented indie pop which emerges into dancefloor-bending beats, interleaved with really pretty and open EDM breaks. I wish it were longer. This is a catalog-teaser…I’m in Oliver New’s follows now.

-popijininsky

Refraction (John Koch-Northrup)

FROM THE ARTIST:
atmospheric ambient techno

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The humming of the ion drive set to a music-box drum beat. Would be at home in the Blade Runner soundtrack – it’s eerie and bleak.

-popijininsky

One More Minute (Atlantic Canyons)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Female-fronted electro-rock pop.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Atlantic Canyons is a songwriter who hasn’t fully come to grips with her power. This song is so hooky and warm feeling. I have to admit jumping back to the beginning of this one more than once, to let it just soak into me.

-popijininsky

Country Music (You Don’t Like My) (Matt Dubrow & the Captives)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Matt Dubrow & the Captives are the most prolific Outlaw Country Music band in the state of New Jersey, #BIGTIMEDUB

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Tongue in cheek lyrics make this one a real fun hayride. Matt & the Captives would be right at home in Nashville or some other part of Tenessee. We won’t hold NJ against them.

-popijininsky

Dreams of Spring (Bug)

FROM THE ARTIST:
The first lo-fi single I’ve released as part of the High Peaks Music Collective.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
It’s a great little loop, but over far too son. It’s cruelly ripped away just as it gets started. Distinctively, and beautifully Bug – rich and warm.

-popijininsky

The New Pledge of Allegiance (Dead Letterman)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This song was my take on the current sociopolitical climate in the United States.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This is a Neil Young song that Neil Young never wrote.

-popijininsky

Journal (Grizzzly Panda)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A journey to creating new soundscapes

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I’m inside the drum booth for this recording. Reminds me of my days behind the drum kit, keeping the pocket for the band. The ‘band’ in this case being a bunch of samples and synthy sorts of things. It’s amazing that this is a standalone instrumental. It shows me that interesting instrumnetation doesn’t necessarily require a lot of complexity. The deftness of this arrangement is deceiving.

-popijininsky

Fireworks (Sir Bear)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The piano work on this track is stellar, not to mention the percussion. Reminiscent of those 90s you loved, but didn’t hear enough of.

-AVDRAV

Tippy Tap (StarSMASH (ft. Flora Lin))

FROM THE ARTIST:
Tippy Tippy Tap 🙂

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A rubbery rap track about overcoming the pull of inertia and finding ways to be happy and creative. It’s an affirmation.

-popijininsky

Taken My Heart (Frances Gein)

FROM THE ARTIST:
I wrote Taken My Heart after relaxing to the Beatles and I wanted to recreate that feeling with intimate lyrics, with a slightly psychedelic vibe. Is it a love song for a girl, or my favourite plant? Whatever you want it to be.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Frances has a way of wringing pure emotion from the air she breathes – her lyrics are so vulnerable in a way that I can’t even imagine being in my own music. This song is about love with an edge of self-destructiveness, and it’s somehow fine when she sings it.

-popijininsky

Forevermore (HD)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This song is from my album- Mood Swings EP. It is the opening track on the album. It gives a glimpse into my childhood, and why I am the way I am.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Wordcraft, storytelling, delivery. Check all the boxes for Hunter. This track wears its Slim Shady-era Eminem influence on its sleeve, and holds up.

-popijininsky

The Bend (Pultixima)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Single for an upcoming short EP about a small town murder

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Hey, Netflix, or HBO Max, or whatever – your next fake/true crime series theme song is right here. Pultixima creates a bleak and slightly menacing environment. Lyrics are the flyblown cherry on top.

-popijininsky

Lysergic (Jenico)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Wubby and tilted – we’re looking out from the inside of this song into a cartoon world.

-popijininsky

Intro (Goodbye, Elena) (Baaz)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Opening track on my latest EP.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I want to know who Elena is – this track paints melancholy in a sub 90-second instrumental, which is no small feat. This is the intro to an EP that’s worth every second of a listen.

-popijininsky

Widowmaker (PR)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Last track off of my EP “Parasympathetic”

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Syncopated beats, crowds of humans, and stabby synthy synths. This is a place of cold anonymity – fitting for this modern world.

-T. Rex Jones

Playing My Phone Games (Neko Vader)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This is quirky. Not sure if Neko is Japanese, but this song sure like it…kawaii lyrics and happy chiptuney bleepy melodies. It’s a minor bop.

-popijininsky

Choke It Down (Hope Dodge)

FROM THE ARTIST:
I wrote Choke It Down about rage that can’t be expressed. It was inspired by the times when you are unspeakably angry but due to one reason or another you have to bite your tongue. Choke It Down was my way of letting out some of that anger.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Cathartic lyrics as self-care is the sad story of 2020. Luckily, we get songs like this as a result – indie rock fronted by a strong woman.

-popijininsky

Selling Out (Teun Segers)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This is an 80s pop/rock song with a distinct euro flavor – not just the accented english vocals, but also the synth tones and melodies, and the earnest melodrama. The flangey guitars are a nice sunny touch that keep it actually rocking.

-popijininsky

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel (Magic Jones)

FROM THE ARTIST:
My symphonic rock rendition of the traditional hymn

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This choral arrangement opening is a real mood switch up from the surrounding tracks on this playlist. It opens up into a huge rock opera arrangement – this could be the overture for the Magic Jones broadway experience. I would go for opening night. Maybe Magic would hook me up with some good seats.

-popijininsky

Stuck in My Mind (bracelick)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Lofi atmospheric RnB? Yes please! This track has such a laid back feel you can’t help but sway along as the lyrics take you to a different place and time. Perfect track for a late night drive.

-popijininsky

Impermanence (Monkeys Can’t Fly)

FROM THE ARTIST:
none submitted

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
OVER TIME LIMIT – msged the user

-popijininsky

The Jilter’s Dance (Cole Steef)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Alternative, Dance, Pop, Rock, Experimental

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Light prog, like early Genesis or later Yes, but updated with 21st century sound design. It’s even got a bit of that prog-rock sneer for good measure.

-popijininsky

Another Day (Slackerman)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A simple upbeat song to hopefully brighten up your day.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The syncopated electric piano in the intro immediately sets the tone for this track – a propulsive piece that does actually brighten my day. It’s a head-nodder that just takes me on a little ride and leaves me at the curb with a touch of sunburn and the lasting feeling of wind in my hair.

-popijininsky

Put It Out / The Dark Ages (Negative Players)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Acoustic based alternative rock song about 2020 and the people who made it worse

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Familiar sounds used in adventurous ways! From the opening notes the guitar seems to invite you on a journey that each new element wonderfully delivers! Progressive but accessible, catchy but lively, well produced but organic in a splendid balance! For fans of alternative rock with a touch of mathy instincts!

-T. Rex Jones

When I Close My Eyes (feat. Flora Lin) (popijininsky)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Flora Lin decided to challenge me by turning one of my denser instrumentals into a vocal song. This is the result – a really different song. It’s glitch and noise, and beautiful intimate lyrics about creative block and the power of dreams.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A collaboration between producer, popijininsky, and vocalist, Flora Lin, this track highlights their diverse talents and offers a sonically rich experience that is as artistic as it is catchy!

-T. Rex Jones

Lens (B. Disco)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A retropop song which heavily lends from 1980s new wave. The song is based on the sordid narrative in which the protagonist commits a violent act against humanity to finally achieve his dream of popularity in a world ruled by social media. I wrote this somewhat jokingly in response to my failed attempts at promoting my music online.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This is a loving take on 80s new wave. Sounds like it’s played back from a cassette that was recorded off the radio and has been overdubbed too many times, which does a lot to support that authentic mood.

-popijininsky

San Fransisco Dead Star 🙂 (Puppylove)

FROM THE ARTIST:
first song on my upcoming album, a more fully produced version will be there but this is currently my most listened to song and was inspired by Conor Oberst from Bright Eyes

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Actual crooning over acoustic guitar accompaniment – I can hear the Bright Eyes influence, and something older, closer to the earth.

-popijininsky

Rain (Starcry)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A track about nature and its connection to the human spirit.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Haunting electronica with evocative lyrics that put me in a wam light rain in a green and loamy woods somewhere where I can’t hear the cars.

-popijininsky

Spaceman (Spaghetti Rodeo)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Indie-rock/indie-pop banger that slaps.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I’m a spaceman. This is feel-good, just-for-fun rock and roll. The kind that can really get your backyard party jumping, especially in low gravity.

-popijininsky

cozy thoughts (feat. lil pharma) (Frank Vapor)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is my latest track, I wanted to give it a cozy-relaxed feel, enhanced by the cover art being this plane going above clouds!Also the vocal delivery has this lazy-kinda annoyed flow but it is because of the aesthetic. Also I’m pretty proud of my chorus!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Featuring a smooth beat and smoother bars this track simultaniously reminds me of old school talent and highlights a fresh modern style! For fans of wordsmiths and solid beats.

-T. Rex Jones

Tyrannical Animal (avdrav)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Avdrav is a musician based in New Jersey. He focuses on electronic production and synthesis. This song is about the protests that occured in Washington DC during Trump’s presidency.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The power of an industrial metal song and the clear cutting message of a punk rock anthem, this track will make you dance with your fist in the air! The perfect song to say good by to 2020, and let 2021 know who it is messing with.

-T. Rex Jones

Can’t Compare (Ground Up To)

FROM THE ARTIST:
I had a lot of fun experimenting to create all the different industrial-esque sounds and textures with this one, as well as hopping in and out of different genres throughout, sometimes for only just one bar.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Dissonant and unsettling – this makes me uncomfortable from the first few seconds and holds that tension through it’s full four minutes. Great soundtrack for upset.

-popijininsky

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