Thursday, August 29, 2013

Listen: The Debauchees - "I've Got Energy"

Louisville trio The Debauchees are young - let's get that bit out of the way right now. It's a point that'll be brought up time and time again and like similar young adult bands Avi Buffalo, Balkans, and Out Go the Lights, it might begin to obscure the very nature of the music they're making. Consisting of three sprightly twenty year olds, The Debauchees are a band of considerable talent and precision.

The biggest counterpoint to their youth might very well be in the sultry purr of vocalist/guitarist Sydney Chadwick. Well at least it starts out that way before rising to a tuneful punky wail at the most climactic moments. It's a delivery that requires a lot more confidence and self awareness than your standard twenty something and yet comes off without the slightest bit of insincerity. And the same can be said of the band as a whole invoking the sort of rebellious rock n' roll spirit you usually don't encounter at all in indie rock. It's far from trying to invoke records they grew up listening to and decided they wanted to incorporate, it's raw influence emblazoned on their sleeves and galvanizing their every musical decision. They don't need much more to spice up their music than that. "I've Got Energy", the lead single from their upcoming Big Machines and Peculiar Beings seems like it could very well have been a live take sort of a thing.

It may be too soon to say but The Debauchees are a band of contradictions: young in actual age but old in spirit and influence, polished but not wholly without grit, "I've Got Energy" is insanely catchy without relying the least bit on pop conventions. They're not reinventing the wheel but they don't have to - they're setting the whole damn thing on fire.

The Debauchees' Big Machines and Peculiar Beings is out November 12th on sonaBLAST! Records.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Listen: The Lost Cavalry - "Telescope"

Considering "Stars Are Ripe" has technically been available for a month or so before releasing the stream, British chamber poppers The Lost Cavalry decided they owed us another single and I for one am not complaining. While I mentioned "Stars Are Ripe" is more of a continuation of the The Lost Cavalry we've come to know, "Telescope" isn't quite so familiar sounding. Sure, it features Mark West's sleepy vocals but other than that it doesn't feature The Lost Cavalry's infectious, moving folk pop sound.

That's not to say "Telescope" is stagnant but there's considerably a lot less going on it in than songs past. Where you could listen to any previous Lost Cavalry song and point out any of its multitude of members (there's six), "Telescope" sounds very much like ringleader Mark West could perform it solo. There's little ornamental flourishes but other than it's a rather straight forward, blossoming simple vocal showcasing folk tune.

The Lost Cavalry's debut full length Three Cheers for the Undertaker is out September 16th on Folkroom Records.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Listen: Chris Holm - "H.A.A.R.P"

If you follow the actions of Norwegian orchestral pop sextet Young Dreams, you might've heard guitarist/vocalist Chris Holm's "H.A.A.R.P" before. Awhile back they created a mix for Under the Radar's artist mixtape series and they slipped this little gem on there. And hopefully you've heard of Chris Holm before - besides being Young Dreams gritty rock guy, he's been a member of Sondre Lerche's backing band and even had the first single for his upcoming solo debut record Kilos directed by Sondre Leche's wife Mona.

And while the first single "When I Die" was every bit of a gritty rock jam, opening track "H.A.A.R.P" shows you really can pin Chris Holm down. Featuring hip hop samples almost extensively about halfway through that all changes and the sort of tropical leaning sound reminiscent to Young Dreams shine through. It makes  a strange sort of sense and even Holm's pillowy soft vocals carry a message befitting of the rap selection that preceded them.

It's enough to make me just kind of shrug when attempting to figure out what sort of record Kilos is going to be. Luckily that won't be too long as Kilos will be out everywhere digitally on September 20th.

Listen: Lucius - "Tempest"

It kind of goes without saying but Brooklyn indie pop quintet Lucius' upcoming debut full length album is without a doubt one of my most anticipated albums of this year. Since discovering them last year, it's been a marvel to watch them only get better and better and "Tempest", the next single from the forthcoming Wildewoman just shows more of that.

Unlike the playful narrative flavor of "Hey, Doreen", "Tempest" plunks Lucius right back in the emotional hot seat of the songs from the self-titled EP. Only instead of the questing, pondering  "Don't Just Sit There" or the sassy and rebellious "Go Home", "Tempest" recalls the most violent conflicts in a relationship. But rather than pointing fingers, they willfully acknowledge their own culpability in surprisingly calmly delivered lines. It's a piece of delicately plotted beauty that runs the gamut of heartfelt appeal and soothing rationalization filled with those powerhouse vocals that are every bit of Lucius' signature.

Lucius' debut full length Wildewoman is out October 15th on Mom + Pop.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Listen: Sondre Lerche - "The Plague" (Scott Walker cover)

If you're anything like me, you're probably eagerly awaiting news of another record from Norwegian wunderkind turned wunder mann Sondre Lerche. I mean, he's released a new record almost every two years since his debut so we're about due. While he's been off charting the globe working on a new more experimental album, we've finally got a little something to tide us over - "The Plague".

Sondre Lerche's contribution to a Scott Walker tribute album entitled Songs from Montague Terrace is a darker Lerche than you're probably used to and yet surprisingly not even the slightest bit of a misstep. Lerche has a method actor like ability to take up any role for a cover while still imbuing a bit of himself in it. That's what we get here in "The Plague" which is more than your paint by the numbers cover - there's a bit of new with the old like clattering drums which give Lerche's vocals a sort of spoken word feel and a sea of reverb effected vocals that aid in the mysterious aura.

So while it may still be a while yet until new original Sondre Lerche material reveals itself, I'll be happy to take this sort of thing - a fresh new look and interesting bit of experimentation from a pop songsmith.


Songs from Montague Terrace is out on All Souls Music on September 16th.

Laura Veirs - Warp & Weft (2013)

For longevity as a singer/songwriter so much emphasis seems to be placed on reinvention - elevating previously existing songwriting forms to new heights, tonal shifts and the like but fortunately for Portland's Laura Veirs and her latest offering - ninth studio record Warp & Weft, all that's required to offer up a truly special record is a little bit of imagination (which luckily Veirs has in spades) and help from a few of her talented musicians friends (like guest vocals/harmonies from Neko Case on "Sun Song").

Warp & Weft is an intimately felt record filled with intriguing songwriting concepts from orphans to origami cranes are all given their due without it seeming at all unrelated or unrelateable. Each of Laura Veirs' albums features a truly roaring indie rock jam from "Black Gold Blues" to "July Flame" and Warp & Weft's takes the form as another feat of homage akin to July Flame's "Carol Kaye" in "That Alice" - a musical tribute to Alice Coltrane. Perhaps more so than other releases, Veirs indulges not only in the more fast-paced, forward-moving rock element but in pure ambiance-setting tracks ("Ghosts of Louisville", "Ikaria"), the result is a more balanced pairing of indie rock and twangy introspective folk. 

Veirs' latest is an album of endearing worth, full of truly enjoying musical moments and a strong batch of songs that really flows with an album feel. Warp & Weft may be less obviously tonally cohesive than say Year of Meteors, Saltbreakers, or July Flame but it's far from a disjointed or aimless effort. It's an album where you favorite track depends on the day as almost all of them (the two instrumental/vocalise tracks aside) are full of thoughtful, compelling lyricism, dynamic, masterful arrangements and even by album number nine are anything but predictable. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Pitstop: Canon Blue

If there's one thing I've learned from paying close attention to Efterklang from about the time I discovered them back in 2010, it's that the trio contains some of the most top shelf taste both in terms of collaborators and in general music likes. Their touring members have consisted of absolutely amazing musicians in their own right: Budgie, Heather Woods Broderick, Peter Broderick, and now you can add Nashville singer/songwriter Daniel James aka Canon Blue to that list. 

Touring with Efterklang in support of  their excellent Magic Chairs afforded Canon Blue's sophomore album Rumspringa with an absolutely amazing production team that not only included Efterklang but Sigur Ros' go to string section Amiina. The result - an orchestral pop album of stately beauty that certainly doesn't skimp on the pop element. So intrinsically intertwined, Rumspringa combines the majestic grandeur of a fully flushed out string section with undeniable danceability or just good old fashioned ear-catching infectiousness.

Even stripped of Rumspringa's legion of masterful musicians, Daniel James has an abundant wealth of musical ideas and skilled effective delivery. Just take the Chris Taylor (of Grizzly Bear) assisted debut Colonies which contrasts stark textures and introspective lyricism with the telltale signs of poppiness that would flourish into Rumspringa. The leap from arty to accessibility is not unlike Efterklang's occurring at a slightly quicker pace. It's enough to make me positively giddy to see what he'll do on the next Canon Blue album. Hopefully it's not too long before then.

Now and for a limited time you can snag a free download of Rumspringa with some extra goodies (b-sides, sketches, remixes, etc.) from Noisetrade. Do it.

Listen: Gracie - "Jackson II"

Any day Brooklyn syth popper Gracie releases a new tune is a good day. The latest tune comes as part of a collaborative transmedia project surrounding Kai Flanders upcoming novella The Red Bicycle which also includes a graphic novel by Kat Glasheen and soundtrack. Considering I'm almost always listening to music when reading, it's really only fitting that The Red Bicycle comes with music and the new Gracie tune selected to go with the novella's previewed first chapter couldn't be more perfect.

Regarding a red bicycle inspired by a crashing plane, Gracie's "Jackson II" makes appropriate use of bicycle bells, playing children, and zooming jet sounds alongside his consistent grade A beat production. Featuring obscured vocals that actually work really well not to overwhelmi the accompanying text, "Jackson II" is marvelously catchy gem. And while that's not really all that out of the ordinary for Gracie, the fact that the same level of songsmithery translates well into this new project with notable outside direction is a commendable feat that should be acknowledged. Consider me properly amped for the rest of the multimedia project as well as the soundtrack which will be out Small Smile Records on August 28th.

You can read Chapter 1 of Kai Flanders' The Red Bicycle over at Impose. Which I strongly recommend and make sure you stream the new Gracie track while you do so.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Listen: The Lost Cavalry - "Stars Are Ripe"

After quite a bit of time away presumably working on their upcoming debut album, London chamber pop sextet The Lost Cavalry are back with new single "Stars Are Ripe". Released originally as part of a limited edition split 7" with Keston Cobblers' Club, now us foreigners can get a taste without having to pay those shipping fees.

"Stars Are Ripe" continues where 2011's Snow City Radio EP seemed to leave off making use of similar rhythms and melodies. Where "Stars Are Ripe" really establishes itself occurs around the halfway point during a climactic swell that shifts from the calmly flowering folk The Lost Cavalry usually purvey into a bristling rock scorcher - it's short lived but it's enough to make you sit up and you pay attention. Other than that, "Stars Are Ripe" is your standard The Lost Cavalry track, not that there's anything wrong with that.

But "Stars Are Ripe" isn't just an example of The Lost Cavalry being one-trick ponies, there's all sorts of new tricks being subtly employed like the inclusion of female vocals for harmonies and the aforementioned rock moment. Even without these things, The Lost Cavalry are still capable of delivering a solid folk pop tune and it clearly shows.

The Lost Cavalry's debut album Three Cheers For The Undertaker is out September 16th on Folkroom Records.  

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pitstop: Art Decade

                                                            (photo by Hadley Brooks)
Back when I interviewed Young Man's Colin Caulfield about his latest album Beyond Was All Around Me, he mentioned the assistance of Boston based composer/arranger Ben Talmi. While I had kind of naturally assumed that was merely all there was to Talmi - a go-to arranger for artist's looking to have the string arrangements on their album really sparkle, I discovered however that Talmi had a project of his own: an orchestral pop rock band by the name of Art Decade.

It's no secret with my love of bands like Friend Roulette and Young Dreams that the way to my heart is with artful utilized strings and that's exactly what Art Decade does so well. Instead of your standard chamber pop bands that seem to rely on certain instruments as mere ornamental fodder, the strings of Art Decade are very much a part of its DNA, at least in terms of their recorded output. 

You see, Art Decade is composed of your standard rock foursome of instruments: Guitar, bass, drums,  a multi-instrumentalist every-man and sometimes that's exactly what you get like in the case of "Weapon" or "Steam Punk Sticker War". It's an interesting juxtaposition to say the least. That Art Decade can go from roaring dance-rock to delicate orchestral pop in the course of a single album. The transitions are less jarring than you'd expect due to Talmi and company blending the rock and orchestral elements so effortlessly, able to strip them back or color them in without it seemingly like anything is really missing. 

What sets Art Decade apart from all the other orchestral pop bands I have heretofore pledged my allegiance to is just how much they lean into a notable rock influence at times. It not all pristine artfully detailed musical moments; there's moments of high intensity grooves and true rock grit. Basically there's a little something for everyone as Art Decade hits every gradation of symphonic rock. 

So if Art Decade's orchestral rock pop sounds like your forte you can stream/buy/download their debut album Western Sunrise here.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Listen: Anna Calvi - "Eliza"

One of the best bits of new news to drop recently happened to be that UK guitarist Anna Calvi's follow up to her 2011 self-titled debut was not only done being recorded but also set to come out later this year. Considering the strength of her debut, the news of a sophomore record was every bit as thrilling as it should well be.

On "Eliza", the first single from Anna Calvi's forthcoming One Last Breath, the sultry sensuality of the debut is burned off in favor of a far more energetic tale. "Eliza" also features Calvi's band in a far more dynamic role, shelving a bit of Calvi's incendiary guitar chops and cultivated sense of dramatic performance for what's arguably the most pop-leaning tune. That's not to say the Anna Calvi of their debut is gone or the guitar is featured any less prominently but where her debut made use of experimental guitar tones and sense of every song functioning together, "Eliza" seems very much like it could be a standalone track and relies far more of it's catchy melodies and the magnetism of Calvi's booming vocals than any extra-musical sources. It's refreshing but also not too shocking of a change.

Anna Calvi's sophomore effort One Last Breath will be out October 8th on Domino Records.


Listen: Hop Along - "Sister Cities"

My introduction to Philadelphia trio Hop Along came from none of other than fellow Shaking Through Session alum Jeff Silverstein of Secret Mountains fame. Despite knowing that Jeff really liked Hop Along for several months it took until he threw "Sister Cities" on a really great mix for MTV Hive that I actually got around to listening to them.

There seems to be some sort of unspoken rule of modern indie rock that if you're a lady singer/songwriter, your vocals have to be coquette-ish, siren-like, or just beautiful as hell. Well Hop Along's singer Frances Quinlan refuses to play that game. Her vocals alternate between a sort of dusky rasp that would lend itself towards pristine folk reveries and a punky growl both perfectly fitting for Hop Along's angular rock purr.

All the more, Hop Along bring a refreshing unconventionalness toward their songs - Quinlan's lyrics elongated, held, or hit empathetic for effect, all the while the track surges forward and gains in intensity and Quinlan's raw emotive power instantly raise the emotional stakes. "Secret Cities" pairs tight-knit grooves with an almost poetic narrative lyricism effectively delivered to create a charging little number elevated by Frances Quinlan's emphatic roar.  Here's hoping there's more to come from the Philly threesome and soon because "Secret Cities" is good old fashioned rock & roll gold

Friday, August 16, 2013

Watch: The Dodos - "The Ocean" (with The Magik*Magik Orchestra)

One of my absolute favorite things about The Dodos last record No Color was the inclusion of a bonus track where the San Francisco duo teamed up with the Magik*Magik Orchestra for a reworking of standout album track "Black Night". It added an additional layer to their already pretty impressive song composition powers while not completely transforming the track into a new one. The perfect balance was achieved between The Dodos themselves being present and handling their own melodies and percussion and the Magik*Magik Orchestra being involved and not just added little unnecessary string flourishes.

So when I learned that recently The Dodos and the Magik*Magik Orchestra teamed up again, this time for a track from The Dodos new album Carrier, out in mere days, I was pretty excited. Not only was it a chance to hear another new song from what has thus far been shaping up to be a pretty dynamite record but I was fairly certain it'd be easy to distinguish what was The Dodos' original composition from the Magik*Magik Orchestra's wonderful inclusion.

"The Ocean" or rather this arrangement of it, is probably hands down the most down tempo Dodos song of their entire four album career. Normally featuring balls-to-the-wall energy alongside a strategic layering. That said, it doesn't drag. True to form, Logan Kroeber's role isn't just reduce to metronome and before long he's pushing the track forward while Meric Long continues his rare almost purely vocal showcase. Among the track's casual ebb and flow, Long also adds a sort of tension-building pseudo-dissonant guitar riff which the Magik*Magik Orchestra compliment both in their smooth call-and-response and their tiny barbs. It's a pretty winning combination as each piece fits perfectly together into The Dodos unexpectedly soothing track.

What can be gleaned from "The Ocean" if not all of the singles released thus far is The Dodos are doing things a little bit differently on Carrier and it's both refreshing and still very in character. It's enough to give me very high hopes for Carrier and luckily we won't have to wait very long to see what else The Dodos have up their sleeves.

The Dodos' fourth full length album Carrier is out August 20th on Polyvinyl Records.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Watch: Plume Giant BreakThruRadio Live Session

When I was introduced to folk pop trio Plume Giant earlier this year when they opened for Kishi Bashi, one of the highlights of their set was when they unveiled a newly written song which was rather unlike the rest of their of vibrant, energetic tunes. It was down tempo, melancholic, highlighted just how well the three could harmonize with it each other, and was really one of those moments where you knew they were onto something special. Fun and good times are great but this was Plume Giant revealing their songwriting chops in remarkably intimate way.

Lo and behold that same song is the main featured track in Plume Giant's BreakThruRadio session. The track titled "Castalia" is simply stunning. A piano-heavy ballad with small violin flourishes, the instruments are all secondary to utterly captivating vocals. It's a wave of raw emotive force that manages to overwhelm in the best way possible. You can't be unaffected by it, nor should you want to.

And that's one of the most exciting things about Plume Giant. They're gifted instrumentalists and certainly have their pick of them to play but they never lose sight of the importance of vocals and seem to build their songs around the inclusion of the most arresting use of them. That's what we get in Plume Giant's BTR Live session: a series of new songs similar but not congruent in sound that all seem to rest a large portion of their accessibility on just how beautiful their vocals can be - whether together or alone.

The instruments they use might change but their power they grant their vocals only grows stronger.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Pitstop: Emily Reo

(photo by Charlotte Zoller)

Considering I've known about her for almost a year to the day, I probably should've mentioned dream pop chanteuse Emily Reo far sooner. After getting caught in her undeniable wave of feel good melodic haze at  DelinquencyNYC last August and reliving the magic a couple months ago at FMLY Fest Brooklyn, not immediately sharing Emily Reo with the uninitiated is probably one of the biggest flubs I could make.

Normally the stuff of plentiful, intricately lain layers and unfathomable depths of beauty, Emily Reo sets herself apart from your standard dream-pop artists/bands with a rather brazen but enjoyable simplicity. Relying almost resolutely on infectious melodies, Reo may set them aloft on undulating seas of sounds of her own design but they are always the focus - percolating above creamy synth counter melodies  or toe-tapping, song-leading beats. The beauty of Reo's songs come from this and the fact that she uses her voice as another instrument for her to play with and alter like in "Coast" when she effects her vocals. Never quite becoming robotic, they shift between organic and digitized.  

It's a trope employed rather frequently that never quite loses it's appeal due to the fact that Emily Reo places such high importance on melodies - often having songs composed almost entirely of musical interludes with the vocals playing an important but more diminished, less featured role. Calm, lilting, and silky smooth, Reo really leans into the dream-invoking part of her dream-pop, crafting sleepy gently unfurling little numbers that even at their poppiest and most catchy, never manage to agitate and that's just the way I like it.

Emily Reo will finally be releasing her debut album Olive Juice on September 3rd via Elestial Sound. It's sure to be an absolute gem. Until then you can listen to the Emily Reo's wide berth of tunes via Bandcamp

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Listen: Kishi Bashi - "Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!"

It seems like bands/artists are always showing Japan a very specific type of love. There's usually specific release dates just for Japan bundled with tons of extras and musicians feel a very real sense of accomplishment when they finally get a Japan show date or even tour. As a Japanese man, Kishi Bashi has made it a point to imbue his very music with his culture and plays Japan far more than your standard musican. One of the results of this was a very cool tour batch of songs only available in Japan via EP, tour promo, and jingles that thankfullly K. has decided to let us Americans in on.

"Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!", the a-side to the two song 7" out on Joyful Noise Recordings this September, has Kishi Bashi once again inhabiting the fantastical technicolor textural landscapes of his own creation. It's a realm where K.'s talent for infectious poppy love songs grant him supernatural abilities, narratively speaking. Less figuratively, K.'s able to provide fresh takes on a time-honored songwriting tradition. Instead of reinventing the wheel, K's splatters in vibrant high-definition spectrum of colors and propels it forward with a sense of inescapable cheer.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Watch: Young Dreams - "Footprints"

When it was announced that the next single from Norwegian orchestral pop sextet Young Dreams would be "Footprints", I was elated. In addition to being one of my absolute favorite tracks on the pretty immaculately spun Between Places, I was excited to see what frequent collaborator Kristoffer Borgli would do with the jubilant track.

Considering the previous videos for "Fog of War" and "First Days of Something" seemed to both disregard and utilize the tracks' lighter moods for dramatic effect - creating interesting dark narratives soundtracked by Young Dreams' mirth, I was intrigued how to Borgli would proceed here. Instead of spin an entirely new tale, "Footprints" revisits Young Dreams' rather brief past. Using cuts from their Modular Studio sessions as well as bits and pieces from their previous music videos (even going as far back as "Young Dreams"), it's a nice little retrospective of just how much the band has achieved in a rather short time-frame. Not all the selected scenes are happy ones but the lightning-in-a-bottle joyfulness of "Footprints" is inescapable.

Borgli's video for "Footprints" is a well-deserved celebration of  a rather young band that's enjoying a bit of success. A success I hope continues for as long as Young Dreams continues to make good music. Here's hoping that's a long, long time.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Watch: Left With Pictures - "Bloody Mess"

British chamber pop troupe Left With Pictures certainly earned themselves a bit of time off after the marathon that was their song-a-month In Time project and subsequent album release but after about a year and change off working on their third album, there's a peak at fresh new music in the form of "Bloody Mess", the last in their previously ongoing Miles End live video series.

Featuring fingerstyle as well as slide guitar, "Bloody Mess" doesn't transition Left With Pictures into the realm of folk pop. No instead, they adopt these into another of their feats of thrilling timbre experimentation. As if the differences between Stuart Barter and Toby Knowles wasn't enough disparity, they pair electric and acoustic guitars as well as sparingly utilized violin and piano for a real wealth of textures despite their stripped down numbers. 

A melancholic little dirge with simple but instantly memorable melodies, "Bloody Mess" is a proper return for the British five-piece (appearing as a threesome in this video) and a sign of good things to come on their upcoming third album. Here's hoping it's not too long of a wait until then. 


Monday, August 5, 2013

Listen: The Head and The Heart - "Shake"

Earlier this summer, Seattle folk rockers The Head and the Heart hinted at their return to bustling joyful  folk pop with the announcement of their eagerly awaited sophomore record Let's Be Still and tour dates.

Finally, about two weeks after that announcement we get a taste of what that sophomore record will sound like in first single "Shake". Featuring those incredible three-part harmonies, The Head and the Heart aren't reinventing the wheel BUT they're far from doling out the same old songs with new lyrics like some folk bands are wont to do. There's buoyant bopping bass lines, and restrained full band involvement, and that effervescent sense of awe-inspiring freedom the band manages to impart oh so easily.

There's also the band's relentlessly arresting songwriting chops fully on display here as the energy hangs back just enough to leave Jonathan Russell firmly in the spotlight. It's a fun track full of wonderful bubbly pop moment but The Head and the Heart still remain capable of galvanizing their meaningful lyrics with infectious music moments that have you hitting replay again and again.  

It's going to be a long wait until October. Until then, I'll be playing "Shake" at least 5 times a day.

The Head and the Heart's sophomore full length record Let's Be Still is out October 15th on Sub Pop Records.

Listen: North Highlands - "Halo"

About two weeks ago North Highlands signaled the end of their self-imposed hibernation with the a-side "I'll Do My Best" from their two song 7" EP out on July 30th. The b-side "Halo" only solidifies that the Brooklyn quintet is back in a big way.  Unlike the jangly rock-pop of "I'll Do My Best", "Halo" asserts its summery vibes in a different way much more inline with dance-y pop rock of North Highlands' Wild One.

Managing to be bright and sunny without steeping itself in beach rock, "Halo" is strong contender for my favorite North Highlands track and perhaps the strongest of the two new tracks. Nearly twice the length of "I'll Do My Best", "Halo" takes a bunch of unexpected twists and deviations allowing for a plethora of enjoyable musical moments that don't shirk on the toe-tapping body-rocking vibes. Instead of containing its instrumental jam to the last 30 seconds of the song, the whole last minute and change and well as several moments intermittently throughout are devoted toward releasing the beast; unshackled from Brenda Malvini's plush vocal plodding.