In a time when it’s easy to feel stagnant, the act of creation is a powerful force. In the past year, our mental health and well being have been under more stress than most of us have experienced in our entire lives. For me, this year has been a time of deep reflection and waking up to just how much healing I have to do, and how much we have left to heal together.

Creation can be a release, an escape, even therapy. It can channel these monumental emotions that go beyond simple conversation, and help us come to new revelations.

We humans have evolved into master creators. Most people have experienced the primal satisfaction of making something all their own, simply because it feels good. Our unique combination of anatomy and psychology lets us play with our world in a virtually infinite number of ways. In exploring our innate gifts, we interact with the world. We learn about our world – and about ourselves – in the process. We ignite loving bonds, with other humans who experience our creations, and with the art itself. The very medium can become a support system in times when others are distant.

The special beauty of music is how easily it can integrate into your life as a consistent, comforting friend. You can listen to it while you work, while you eat, while you exercise. You can enjoy it through movement, or in stillness. Sometimes, when I am really into a genre or an artist, I have a complex and loving relationship – something like a crush…or falling in love. I notice new things each time I experience the music again. My favorite things may shift over time – songs that were not that intriguing at first become fresh and interesting a year or two into my relationship with them. They hold space for me in difficult times, and help me process my own journey. The types of sounds I gravitate to reflect the kind of energy I desire and seek internally. And, just like there is a unique set of great friends and lovers for each unique person, each of us has a particular chemistry with music.

As creators, we each have a unique audio signature, a collection of sounds that define us. For me, deep house especially lights up this “romantic,” almost sensual energy. The four to the floor beat is like a heartbeat…like a human. The subtle shifts of melodies and textures are the tides of emotions and moods. That beat can be sad, uplifting, sexy, dark, primal, even goofy, but never loses the core of what it is: fundamentally human, with a beating heart. When people say deep house is boring, I say that’s like saying being married to the same person every day is boring. Yes, they are the same person, but they also change in infinite subtle ways, and you change together, by watching and listening.

For another creator, the magical genre that sings to the soul can be anything from the wildest reaches of experimentation, to screaming heavy walls of sound, to the sweet lilting of folk melodies.

In making and witnessing art, we tap into love. We are blessed to have access to virtual communities of fellow creators and listeners, exploring new frontiers of imagination, even when normal activities are cut away.

I hope you enjoy the March IMF playlist as a celebration of humanity and an anthem of flowing through hard times with passion. Happy listening!

-Francesca (mwah!)
check me out on SoundCloud

Badly Raised Boys (Hope Dodge)

FROM THE ARTIST:
While it sounds sweet and upbeat on the surface, the song deals with the darker side of what happens when boys will be boys.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Young popstar vocals without the overblown production. Raw lyrics about boys that are careless and worse at the expense of the women in their lives.

-popijininsky

Easier (Care Again)

FROM THE ARTIST:
It’s not that I’m obsessed with you, it’s just easier to think of you than all the responsibilities, burdens, and injustices in the world. Thanks for listening.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
An energetic Saturday night pub set closer – the one that really gets the crowd jumping – careful you don’t spill any beer on the synths.

-popijininsky

American Sun (Doqtr Shine, Nathan Fox)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is a synthwave inspired cover of “California Sun” by the Rivieras, golden 60s classic I grew up listening to and love.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The main DJ stage at the festival at sunset on the second day – a fitting adaptation of a classic song with a totally new energy.

-popijininsky

Call Her (Spegelns Vägar)

FROM THE ARTIST:
a lo fi indie pop and indie rock fun track

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The video for this song has the singer with an acoustic guitar sitting on the edge of a loading dock singing into the camera.

-popijininsky

Sugar Momma (Matt Dubrow & the Captives)

FROM THE ARTIST:
New Jersey’s favorite Country music band is back with a song that rings true for every broke musician out there. Whoever you are, wherever you are, I hope you find your Sugar Momma.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Singing for their supper, literally. Matt & the Captives rocking the heck out on this track that doesn’t care about your feminist bent – just set em up with a comfy couch and a ride to the gig.

-popijininsky

backstreets (17 Letters)

FROM THE ARTIST:
n/a

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Lowkey hyperpop…is that a thing? – because that’s what this is, and I’m here for it.

-popijininsky

Dry Fork County (Barabbas T. Jones)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A simple story about lovers unable to agree they need one another.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Barrabas Jones is a foot stomping, tub thumping, guitar strumming multi instrumentalist. He writes lyrics straight from the heart, and sings them like he’s reading a letter on a special day. This track is a perfect example…Porch Punk lives!

-popijininsky

Go for a Drive (Simulated Youth)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This song is about making decisions in life and being responsible for your actions. Will probably need to make another goofy music video to better demonstrate the concept 😉

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Big ol synth stabs just never go out of style. This is a dance anthem with some garbled vocal samples that make it just that little extra bit special.

-popijininsky

Vicarage (bracelick)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A song about a holy home that’s far from holy…

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Oversaturated, warped, echoed, reverbed, and pitch modulated r&b. Feels like someone’s poking inside my actual brain with a cheap chopstick. I love the little jazzfunk breakdown.

-popijininsky

Fire and Manuever (PR)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Track from my Album “Parasympathetic.” The song meant to capture the feeling you get when you are doing something difficult that you have practiced so many times that it becomes effortless

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This track brings me back to music lessons in 5th grade – I feel like my teacher might come into the room any minute and tell me I’m doing it wrong. I guess I need more practice.

-popijininsky

Isle of Man (5pm to Nowhere)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is a more theatre-focused track that I wrote after a rough breakup last year. It’s the title track for my debut EP, released last November.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
It’s theatrical – belongs in a musical. What pipes!

-popijininsky

Breathe In Breathe Out (Moonglow)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Take a deep breath, it’s all going to work out

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Moonglow’s vocals are just good feels. The bouncy electro arrangement is perfect scaffolding. Yeah, it’s really something.

-popijininsky

Hospital Bracelet (mx-mr)

FROM THE ARTIST:
My goal as a songwriter is to find unique ways of expressing my own lived experiences. This song is about my complex relationship with my mother, who is an alcoholic with a number of related health issues. It can be difficult to communicate with her. The pulsing beats and ambiguously emotional harmonies combined with desperate vox are meant to communicate both the love and frustration that I experience through our relationship. The song features a bridge with distorted snippets of conversation.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Lilting flute lines and silky vocals. This song is about struggle, but it’s hopeful – I think it will be alright.

-popijininsky

Power Down (Ground Up To)

FROM THE ARTIST:
The closest thing this album has to a conventional song, and it’s dead last in the track order. Maybe not the best promotional tactic ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I wouldn’t call this conventional. It’s melodramatic, energetic, offbeat. The arrangement and melodies are angular – nerd rock minus the rock.

-popijininsky

Evil Woods (Longhairedjoe)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Even though the song is about hating the woods, I truly love and enjoy spending time there. It was just in the moment that I hated them.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Detuned vocals and dissonant guitars keep me on edge through the whole track. Maybe don’t blame the woods for being out in creepy places after dark and getting scared, tho?

-popijininsky

feel good lost (Bug)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Hot off the tails of releasing my first album as Bug in January 2019, I set out to write/record another full album entirely within the month of February. This led to a change in sound – entirely instrumental, more acoustic instrumentation, and softer, more somber sounds. I feel this is one of the standout tracks from that release.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Big wide beautiful strumminess and some other things that just make all the strumming that much more beautiful. Some of them are backwards.

-popijininsky

Voyage (Felknia)

FROM THE ARTIST:
The final track on my chiptune album. I started it two or three years ago as I was bored at work and wanted to write music on my shitty work laptop, this is how the chiptune album started. Eventually, I lost the project file and I had to rewrite the entire thing from scratch. I think it was a fortunate event as I’m very happy with this new version.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Felknia works magic in chiptune worlds – this is another sophisticated composition from a collection of many more. If you like the 8 bit universe, you need to spend some time in Felknialand.

-popijininsky

Storm and Sky (Night Spyre)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is a more ambient electronic piece set to the scene of gazing out a window during a storm, internally contemplating. I made it when my keyboard broke, and I had to teach myself a new way to compose and produce.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Music to put in your headphones on the back of a motorcycle taxi somewhere smoggy and humid. Soothingly repetitive.

-popijininsky

Set Examples (Somewhat Incognito)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is a song about setting a good example in all things that you do, sometimes at your own expense. It is the first track I spent an extended production period on (4 weeks).

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Throbs and pulses interspersed with guitar licks and little snatches of vocal. It’s like one of those indie-electro bands went back to 1980-something, then came back to the present, better for the journey.

-popijininsky

Better Unknown (feat. Moonglow) (Dreams of Lasers, Moonglow)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is a track from Life’s Everyday Soundtrack. The chorus stems were created by Moonglow.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Two of my favorite IMF songwriters on the same track – what’s not to love? Moonglow and DoL’s vocals work surprisingly well together. This track is a mood – all space and time. Please more from these two!

-popijininsky

Glacier (Avdrav)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is a song about what it feels like to visit a magnificent melting glacier.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I like the subtler aspects of AVDRAV – this is an older track, and it’s subtle – a short exploration of electronica mood and soundscape.

-popijininsky

Active Imagination (C.T. Lee)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Drawing “Deep Listening” for this month’s Playlist Pitch game was a perfect excuse to make a song in a style I’ve been wanting to try out: more experimental, minimal, instrumental electronic. Influenced by Four Tet, Aphex Twin, Sigur Ros, etc. – it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I hope some enjoy it!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A soundscape – a busy plaza – planes, bells, hints of humans. Makes me homesick because COVID.

-popijininsky

For the Love of God (Lohm, The F-Use, Osay, PIX3LARMY)

FROM THE ARTIST:
808s, guitars, and bars

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The original F-Use song was really good – this remix is a wholesale renovation that brings it to an entirely different planet. I need to hear more Osay over some heavy rock. She belongs in a stadium just lighting up huge tracks like this one. This IMF super collab is my fave of 2021 so far.

-popijininsky

Good Morning Iowa (Quesadilla Cam)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Song about the road : )

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This has a unique sound that really gets under my skin. Plucked guitars and mandolin, and lowkey mournful vocals. Sounds like Iowa in the deep of winter. The corner of some weathered old place, and feelings.

-popijininsky

Eliphosys (Eliphosys)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This downtempo chillout track is designed to help the listener feel cozy and gently uplifted. A self-titled single to celebrate my Spotify debut.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Wow – I blinked and it was over. I was sad. This is a warm and rich sketch that I’d love to hear an extended exploration of.

-popijininsky

Stargazers (CalicoLoco)

FROM THE ARTIST:
happy valentines day cuties 💋

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Shoegazy, loping, hopeful, short and to the goddam point.

-popijininsky

If You Knew Me (Shasta Gilmore)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is the second single off my first-ever full length album, Jonesy Majestic. The cassette release sold out in preorder and so I was able to fund a vinyl pressing (waiting on those in the mail). This song and the album are the culmination of years of work on my musicianship and as a songwriter. I’d be so happy if you’d give it a listen! 🙂

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A pretty grunge ballad – Shasta’s vocals are a warm pillow that I want to sink down and rest into. Little electro decorations don’t get in the way of the essential rockness of the thing. This one’s on repeat for me.

-popijininsky

Brave New World (Dragan Kalinovic)

FROM THE ARTIST:
heavy metal, a personal look at the 2020

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Lots of screaming guitars and double kick drum fussildery – it’s golden age metal, the kind boomers like me grew up on.

-popijininsky

We Don’t Wander (BEES!)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Goofy riffy punky alternative rock.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Boppy pop-punk I could skate to if I could skate.Shred on with BEES!

-popijininsky

Bajir (Semaphora)

FROM THE ARTIST:
An alien invader scoffs at a human peace offering in this jazz-rock groove recorded on all live instruments

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This song brings me back to the yellow-orange sounds of the mid-1970s. The lyrics are toungue-in-cheek, but this is a serious folk rock / r&b banger.

-popijininsky

P.S. (Aidanstotes, Jersee George)

FROM THE ARTIST:
n/a

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Aidanstotes singing is on par with his rap game, and the addition of Jersee George to this track make it such a smooth early night groove – turn it up in the car driving between the clubs on a saturday not-super-late night.

-popijininsky

Wanna Know (Girls With Depression)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Dystopian pop to help you process trauma! Good luck!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Super sparse arrangement and wildly pitched vocals saying soothing things. It’s a surprisingly good combination – three minutes of musical peanut butter and chocolate.

-popijininsky

The Spins (Worse in Person)

FROM THE ARTIST:
The Spins, is a sonically dense, hard hitting indie-rock song. It includes an energetic chorus, and a spacey, atmospheric spoken word bridge.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
I love the 6/8 feel of this song, especially when it goes doubletime and creates a totally unexpected syncopation. The breakdown in the middle is more skit than spoken word – obscured voicemail and inner struggle.

-popijininsky

Peregrine (Bear Ley)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Peregrine is a song about moving on from pain but carrying it with you as you walk.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Another rich folksong from Bear Ley – a guitar and two singers weaving an intimate emotional space. Shows us all that less can sometimes be a whole lot more.

-popijininsky

Natural Entropy (JMesa)

FROM THE ARTIST:
n/a

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Understated instrumental electro bop.

-popijininsky

Leaving the Party (Slowed and Reverb Remix) (Max Oakland)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A slower, slacker remix of Leaving the Party with a lot of spacey reverb

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The rhythm of this track just pulls me in. It lopes…bulges and breathes. Max chanting is your spirit guide to whatever trip we’re on. I like this one slower, Max.

-popijininsky

Blowing Out My Mind (Rielle)

FROM THE ARTIST:
A Smooth groovy pop jam to get you in the mood

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Yeah, I’m in the mood. Grind along to this luscious rnb gem.

-popijininsky

Intergalactic Reptilian Shredders (SoCal Halfpipe Remix) (Fuck Yeah, Dinosaurs!, Brian Sikes Howe)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Dinosaurs came from outer space to teach humans how to skate, play with Tech Decks, drink beer, and party. Our bud Brian remixed this banger and we sent it straight to mainstream ROCK RADIO. Hopefully it actually, you know gets played.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Punk goes crunk in this raucous remix as Brian Sikes Howe takes the skate-punk ferocity of “Intergalactic Reptile Shredders” by Fuck Yeah, Dinosaurs! and flips it on its head, channeling the upbeat and manic energy of the original into something more twisted and sinister. The rhythms are cut into heavy-hitting, almost hip-hop grooves, as the guitar twang and synth squelches provide a backdrop for the fierce vocals, seemingly edited to have more bite and snarl than ever.

-Bug

King of Hearts (Star Smash)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Where magic and dance combine.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Press play. Party in full effect. This is a straight ahead feel good, get that body moving kind of music.

-popijininsky

Clear Skies (Daphne Cerez)

FROM THE ARTIST:
My very first completely solo finished song. (Also my playlist pitch submission, I hope that’s ok!) Still getting the hang of it, hopefully it’s a steep learning curve 🙂

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
80s-sounding synthpop. Daphne’s singing is super unaffected, both in her execution and her production. Not many singers can get away with this. This song is all the better for it.

-popijininsky

Couscous (Demo) (Sanchez Goodjoin)

FROM THE ARTIST:
single from my upcoming debut Folk Rock album, all instruments recorded and produced my myself

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Claustrophobic and boomy instrumentation enveloping a sweet vocal. The whole thing is layered and delayed and psych/dreamy. Folk rock? not so much…a great track that sounds totally unique?…yep.

-popijininsky

Thunder (DHXP, Flora Lin)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Here’s a track about running away from your problems. Also this is Flora’s and my first collab! 🐸

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This mid-album track off DHXP’s recent release is a journey from jazzy pop to hard rock and sludgy growly metal. No big thing for the genre-flipper himself. Flora’s vocals are layered silk and power draped over the whole thing.

-popijininsky

Lazy Bones (feat. Dreams of Lasers) (Popijininsky, Dreams of Lasers)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Dreams of Lasers has a particular songwriting sense that transcends genre. This is my second collab with DoL, and basically was just me turning up my big DIRT knob to 11.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
The result of two genre-bending artists, each at the top of their game, as they continue to push the boundaries of their sonic palettes. Popijininsky’s trademark percussion provides a tense backdrop – dark, brooding, and ever-shifting as it builds throughout the duration of the track – for Dreams of Lasers’ vocal croons, edited here to be more mangled and tortured than ever. “Lazy Bones” is as detailed as it is dynamic, and each repeated listen reveals further intricacies in both production and performance.

-Bug

Panda (Bamboo Leaves)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This song was created by experimenting with a mbira performance creatively using panning and sample splicing techniques. This sound combined with latin drum hits and a driving electronic beat brought this track into a fusion of multiple cultures and genres. Deep and powerful sub bass adds a modern electronic context to the track while playing off the MPC-style claps to create an interesting combination.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Jangly, chopped, flipped, sampled and resampled groove. Electronica lives!

-popijininsky

Fuming (James Marton)

FROM THE ARTIST:
My song is about pushing the low gas indicator light on your vehicle to its limit.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A groovy rock jam tinged in psychedelia, in the words of “Fuming” songwriter and vocalist James Marton, “it sure ain’t boring.” A strong, plodding bassline keeps the track grounded as soaring guitar leads carve their own twists and turns, crafting a fascinating and hypnotic soundscape which lures the listener in and begs them to be bathed by its endless undulating waves.

-Bug

Hear Me Scream (The F-Use)

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

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Each new track from The F-Use shows us the diversity and range of this extraordinary one-man rock band, which this latest pulling more from Foo Fighters than Queens of the Stone Age (see: “For the Love of God”). The roaring guitars and thunderous drums of “Hear Me Scream” are guided by well-crafted vocal and lead melodies, culminating in a massive and cathartic crescendo to close the track. Loud and clear, F-Use, and we can’t wait to hear more.

-Bug

Autumn (Blue Mango)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This is my first single from back in December, made by me from start to finish–playing, recording, mixing, and mastering. More to come!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
This track is exactly the right sultry tempo for the dreampop world it wants us to inhabit. Go live there for a too-short, just-over-two-minutes. It’s more than worth the journey.

-popijininsky

Authentic (Feat. A Sad Little Cloud) (Striped McCoy, A Sad Little Cloud)

FROM THE ARTIST:
This was made over christmas. We wanted to aim for the gut and think it delivered. Stick around for the violin solo near the end.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Striped McCoy and A Sad Little Cloud join forces to deliver an exchange of tender vocals, in both English and French, amidst delicate piano and somber violin. The combination of languages lends the track a feeling of distance, and for mono-linguists, the lack of understanding, or what’s lost in translation, can perhaps been seen as a metaphor for romance gone awry. The track is devastatingly emotional – by the end, it will feel as if the rain, which otherwise provides an atmospheric foley throughout the track, is now falling heavy upon your own heart.

-Bug

Feel (Han)

FROM THE ARTIST:
The lead single off of my upcoming album!

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
A heartfelt pop banger which continues to build as the track progresses, eventually exploding into beautiful falsetto vocals and soulful guitar licks. Han’s pop sensibililty is blended with a smooth RnB approach which lends this track the same earworm qualities of early ’00s radio hits.

-Bug

Cash Grab (KiNG RiZZ)

FROM THE ARTIST:
Cash Grab is a song about a couple who aren’t compatible and partake in activities unhealthy for their mental and physical health. I leave it up to you to decide what you think of them.

REVIEWER SOUNDBITE:
Maybe it’s KiNG RiZZ’s accent, but this brings me right back to the best of late 80’s pop-ska crossover. Energetic, crashing, and hooky. Go RiZZ!

-popijininsky

Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *