Sounding Board is a biweekly column where our staff picks a variety of new tracks to talk about with each other. Check back every other Friday to see what we’ve been listening to!
“Sauce (feat. Lil cherry)” — Bryn
PICKED BY: Andrew Kim
LISTEN IF YOU LIKE: “Bitchu” by Yunhway, “#ALL4MYSELF” by Lil cherry, Ash-B, QUEEN WA$ABII
INFO: Bryn is one of many rising stars that are highlighting the vibrant and youthful sound in modern South Korean music. She’s been running the underground hip-hop scene in South Korea with her rap collective Dickids that also houses rising rappers Young B and Luda. With her debut album SILKMOTH, Bryn harnesses her merits to produce one of the better Korean hip-hop records to come out this year. The track “Sauce,” featuring another vivacious female rapper Lil cherry, is one of the numerous highlights on the project with its guttural trap instrumental and lewd yet powerful vocal performances from both artists.
Andrew: The contrast in tone throughout the entire song (Lil cherry’s high and Bryn’s low) just scrapes at my ear in an unsettling yet satisfying way. The chemistry between both rappers is incredible, making me hope for more future collabs. Also, cherry’s verse is rapped entirely in English, yet I literally have no idea what she’s saying whatsoever. Her nonsensical mumbling, though, adds to the haziness of the track and she definitely has me rewinding to hear her verse again and again.
Ambrelyn: This song radiates so much confidence and power! Lil cherry’s part was my favorite because their voice and tone were so different from the sound of the song up until that point. This is the type of song I’d listen to to get hyped up before going out!
Laina: Bryn and Lil cherry really complement each other throughout this track. Lil cherry’s rap slices through the beat, offering up the perfect interruption to Bryn’s verses. The balance between both rappers’ contrasting voices combined with badass lyrics really makes for a great hype song.
Lydia: Lil cherry’s voice takes over the powerful simplicity of the beat; even if you aren’t always taking in what she’s saying word for word on this one, her commanding cadence is enough to make her feature standout. Put simply, this song is hard, and is definitely a perfect pump-up song fit for any getting ready playlist.
Stephy: I love the energy in this song, the lyrics exude a confident aura, that’s almost intimidating. It has a simple chorus but it’s catchy and makes me almost happy to hear her tell me off. Lil Cherry’s attitude brings the song to its peak.
“Space Song” — Rare Monk
PICKED BY: Stephanie Miranda
LISTEN IF YOU LIKE: “Dogologue” by Julien Chang
INFO: Released November 13, “Space Song” is a single off of Rare Monk’s upcoming sophomore album, Never Really Over. Rare Monk is a four-piece experimental indie rock band based in Portland, Ore.
Andrew: This song somehow takes me away to a damp, moonlit Floridian swamp with warm waters and hundreds of fireflies singing around my head. The instrumental is perfectly atmospheric and euphoric, and Rare Monk’s vocal performance is airy yet so full of emotion, a feat that is hard to find. If Shrek had a small-budget indie teenage live-action remake, this song would definitely be in its soundtrack.
Ambrelyn: The opening to this track is so mysterious and calming, which paired with the vocals also contributes to a surreal sound. This song is pretty sad, but I think most of us can relate to it, even when he says “I’ll never get over you”. I really like this track, but it’s probably best for sad boy hours.
Laina: If you feel like wallowing in your own heartbreak this is the perfect song for you. When I listen to this song, I am reminded of all the emotions I felt driving down the road in the middle of the night balling my eyes out after I just broke up with my ex, feeling like I would never be the same again. Good news is, you will probably be ok, but in the meantime, Rare Monk singing to you over and over again, “I’ll never be over you,” might make processing those emotions a little less lonely.
Lydia: With sensual lyrics like “All I want is a drink of you,” it feels like we’re indulging in sadness, and the melancholic comfort that can come when negative emotions sort of process. Although the song can feel a bit like it’s repeating the same part a few too many times, the winding, broken-hearted song is perfect for moody background listening anytime.
Stephy: The guitar picking pattern is trance inducing and dreamy. With lyrics like, “it’s never really over”, many can share the collective feeling of heartbreak. The way their music comes together helps you recover from the pain, making you feel like you’re on the path to something new.
“to be alone” — Talkie
PICKED BY: Stephanie Miranda
LISTEN IF YOU LIKE: Empire of the Sun, Beach Fossils, “Moonsea” by Frankie Cosmos
INFO: Based in San Francisco, four-piece indie dreampop band Talkie released “to be alone” on November 13. While the band is know for its lush, sunny, California-esque soundscape, they take on a darker direction with their latest single.
Andrew: Wow, what a downer—in the best way possible. Another soundtrack-esque song, it definitely shouldn’t be played leisurely due to its heavy angst and gravity. However, if you’re already feeling blue, this song would definitely assert a sort of shared pain experience. 10/10 should be placed in your sad-as-fuck playlist.
Ambrelyn: The opening instrumentals of this track are more upbeat than the lyrics would have suggested, but I like it. This song really seems like a COVID mood since he mentions being afraid to be alone, drinking during the day, having a hard time getting out of bed, and being a ghost. The song is sort of mysterious and definitely very emotional. It feels personal to how the artist is coping with existence.
Laina: Talkie really makes the most depressing of lyrics sound so dainty with the upbeat instrumentals that accompany this track. But don’t be fooled, because this song is anything but happy. Yet I am such sucker for sad songs because when you hear other people be able to put into words exactly what your feeling it’s almost therapeutic and that’s exactly what Talkie is doing— at first the song appears happy and carefree but when you really listen to the lyrics it’s so dark, and I think that really captures what sadness can look like at times. Sounds happy on the outside, but in reality you’re not; you get the analogy.
Lydia: This is a song for that post-breakdown cry (even better if there’s some bad weather to match). It’s definitely a low-energy song, but in the most satisfying sort of way — for those times when you’re sad and only can (want?) to listen to equally sad music.
Stephy: The beginning to me is reminiscent of a mellowed out Empire of the Sun song. The acoustic elements coupled with melancholy lyrics like, “I can’t get my mind straight”, and “I don’t know how it feels always had a shadow on my heel”, remind me of times where we feel stuck and lost. When you’re struggling, feeling lost, without anyone to talk to, pop this song on and remember that you’re not alone. Sad songs with lovely guitar like this cradle you in their comforting chords and remind you that you’ll be okay, and you aren’t the only one.
“Superstar” — Pretty Sick
PICKED BY: Lydia Rivers
LISTEN IF YOU LIKE: “Blue Coupe” by Twin Peaks, Sports, Inner Wave
INFO: Day-dreaming alt-rock band Pretty Sick put out “Superstar” as a track off their latest EP Deep Divine. Vocalist Sabrina Fuentes said that she wanted the EP to represent exactly who the band is and sounds like in an interview with Vice. The New York -based band has been together since their members were in their early teens, with the songs on Deep Divine written throughout the years of their late teens.
Lydia: The instrumentals on this song go down so smooth, complemented by the soft vocals to make for a really relaxing track. I really enjoyed the ending solo, and appreciated that it had a softer edge than the other songs we listened to.
Andrew: The beginning of the track reminded me of Radiohead’s creep for some reason. Gives me marmalade tea vibes, that warm citrus aura definitely wafts throughout the song. Also, the guitar solo is amazing and adds to the light-headedness(?) of the song. Personally, the ending was a bit anticlimactic, but in a good way. It sort of fades away like lake fog after the sun comes out again.
Ambrelyn: The opening instrumentals go so hard, and immediately grab my full attention. I love that the vocals take over most of the song until the middle/end, which is only instrumentals. The strong solo vocals are really my favorite part of this track, I think it’s something I’d listen to when I’m driving alone in the car.
Laina: Overall this song was really relaxing to listen to. The beginning guitar riffs were quite intriguing but the track kind of mellows out as you continue listening. The vocals, while slightly monotonous, really work well with the instrumentals; and the guitar solo toward the end was “pretty sick.”
Stephy: I know I’ve said it about the last few songs, but I’m always enamored but the guitar. The slow riff in this song really calls me, it’s executed so well with the steady drum beats. Their song reminds me of keeping up appearances, going through the daily motions with such monotony, wanting to go in another direction. My favorite line, “why do i put up a fight, I could be a superstar”, puts it all in perspective.
“Dear Sarah” — awfultune
PICKED BY: Ambrelyn Rodriguez
LISTEN IF YOU LIKE: Crumb, “Gondry” by HYUKOH, “Tinder Song” by Victor Internet
INFO: “Dear Sarah” is a new single from indie-pop artist awfultune, detailing how Sarah broke her heart over a soft melody and through powerful vocals. The song was put out on Nov 13, and follows a up their most popular song, “I Met Sarah In the Bathroom.”
Ambrelyn: I love listening to this song in the morning because the strong vocals and smooth “oooooo”s really draw my attention. The lyrics are very angsty in a way that reminds me of my highschool days. I can’t help but think that Sarah really did a number on this man! I like the variety in the speed and pitch of the vocals and the sound of this track overall!
Andrew: Empty ballroom vibes, almost even singing-under-a-streetlight vibes. It sounds like a modern teenage diary entry in the form of a song. The repetition of Sarah’s name shows the vulnerability amongst the anger and resentment. The song’s a bit too angsty for me to be honest, but it can be appreciated by others!
Laina: The lyrics of this song are all too relatable, checking up on someone’s socials, seeing their active yet not responding to you. Yikes. Embarrassing to admit but we’ve all been there, or at least that’s what I like to tell myself. Lyrics aside, what really strikes me about this track is Awfultune’s vocals, there’s just something so soothing about the way each word is sung.
Lydia: This song is an entire story! It’s a bittersweet, almooost self-reflective sad, with vocals that bounce between spoken-word and impressive high notes. The “ooo” on the bathroom really brings the whole thing together, for me at least. At the end, I’m left wondering who Sarah is. Was she really all that bad?
Stephy: What gets me the most about this song is the unexpectedly high note, it’s such a pleasant surprise. This song really has me picturing someone torn between two people, unable to make a choice, and losing them both. A song reminiscent of puppy love, it actually reminds me of “Tinder Song” by Victor Internet!
“te pongo mal (prendelo)” — Kali Uchis, Jowell & Randy
PICKED BY: Staff
LISTEN IF YOU LIKE: Omar Apollo, “Basement Jack” by Steve Lacy, Rico Nasty
INFO: Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios) is the second studio album from Kali Uchis, and her first album that’s almost entirely in Spanish. It’s the first project she’s released since her hit album Isolation, and shows her embracing her Colombian roots.
Andrew: Interesting tempo switch in the beginning: the track starts off fast, then reveals the slower, true tempo of the song. The classic reggaeton drum pattern thumps away in the background, revealing the song’s more cultural genre. This sounds like Kali’s putting her Latina heritage to the forefront like never before, showcasing her true artistry and colors. She kinda did it on Por Vida and Isolation, but this album seems to be on some other level. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the project!
Ambrelyn: I am already a huge Kali fan, but I think I may have fallen in love with her music all over again with this track and her new album Sin Miedo. This whole song radiates such bad b!tch energy!!! I would be a great party/dance song but totally worth vibing to on your own too. Kali is such a dominant and confident person, I love when she said “Hablame con respecto!!!”
Laina: Kali completely embodied this song. As it plays through, each verse just exudes more and more confidence and makes you feel like such a bad bitch. My favorite line from the song has to be “Bitch, don’t talk to me, sabes que me caes mal” (you know I don’t like you).
Lydia: Wow, I’m in love. The old school reggaeton sound, slower tempo, and catchy chorus build on each other to make this an amazing track to move to. As a surprise single off her first Latin album, this song shows how she isn’t afraid of a newer direction — just like the album title tells you! It seems like she’s looking more inward then outward, and her confidence seems to be greater than ever. I’m definitely going to be listening to this album for a while!
Stephy: Kali Uchis consistently puts out amazing songs and this one is no exception! The confident and demanding lyrics, “se que me quieres comer, no te enamores”/”I know you want to eat me/ don’t fall in love” and “Hablame con respeto/ speak to me with respect”, have me falling in love. I’ve grown up listening to reggaeton and hearing the influence in this song really throws me back. I know I’m going to have this song on repeat for a while.