Artist: Abram Shook
Album: Sun Marquee
"'Distance is song about separating pieces of yourself as a means to gain perspective," Abram Shook tells Rolling Stone. "I had the bass groove kicking around for a bit, and just wanted to create some playful melodies, and synthy leads."
Artist: Wild Adriatic
Album: Big Suspicious
"The song is about giving all of yourself to somebody, even though you know you're not going to get anything in return, and eventually realizing that you'd rather be alone," Travis Gray tells Rolling Stone. Mateo Vosganian adds, "While writing the record we gave the song a working title, 'Whoa,' and while we were finalizing lyrics and song titles it dawned on me. 'Woe' sums up the sentiment of this song perfectly."
Artist: Painted Palms
Song: "Here It Comes"
"This song reminds me how sometimes it's possible to focus on anything, and how nice it can be not to feel the need to," Reese Donohue tells Rolling Stone. "When you lose control of your surroundings it can quickly turn into a frenzied nightmare, but sometimes it can be refreshing to remember that no one really knows anything, and it doesn't matter anyway."
Artist: Peter Moren
Song: "Say My Name"
Album: Broken Swenglish Vol. 1 (EP)
"'Say My Name' is a song that has been lying around for ages without finding the right form and shape," Peter Moren tells Rolling Stone. "But when I finally got the idea [of] how to record it, it was really quick. I call it my hip-hop number. And there's a harp! That's the best thing about doing solo records. If you want to have harp, you don't have to discuss the pros and cons, you just get a number to a harpist. The lyric is about self-disintegrating as a way of pissing people off. So it's both proud and sad."
"I co-wrote this song with my friend, Mary Hooper, who is like a sister," Amy Stroup tells Rolling Stone. "It's written after a great start, followed by a great fall, in a relationship, and the waves of emotions thereafter. I was going to call the song 'Stages of Grief' but I didn't think anyone would listen to a song with such a mellow title. It's one of the only songs I've written on electric guitar."
Artist: Lord Echo Song: "Digital Haircut Dub" Album: Curiosities
"The future promised us moving sidewalks and hoverboards, and while I'm still angry this hasn't eventuated, 'Digital Haircuts' is a step in the right direction," Lord Echo tells Rolling Stone. "I've yet to have one myself, but I imagine this involves choosing your desired hairstyle from some form of brochure, which is then precision cut into your head by lasers. I truly did see a sign advertising digital haircuts in Auckland, New Zealand, and the thought of it became the inspiration behind this jam."
Artist: Merz and Julian Satorius
Song: The Hunting Owl
Album: No Compass Will Find Home (Julian Satorius Drum & Vocal Renditions)
"It's a pretty heavy story, but I wrote this song after watching my brother-in-law barely survive a week in a coma," Conrad Lambert tells Rolling Stone. "During this whole week, his life was hanging by a thread. He's a youngish guy and this experience gave me a perspective on the arbitrary nature of death. Death, like an owl that swoops down and snatches away the tiny shrew. Death is such a massive presence in our lives and yet we somehow manage to ignore it for most of the time. Until it comes and snatches someone close to us away."
Artist: Bing Ji Ling
Song: Every1's a Winner
Album: Por Cada Nube
"When given the opportunity to raid the RAK vaults for tracks to cover, Hot Chocolate's material was our first port of call," Quinn Luke tells Rolling Stone. 'Every1's a Winner' has always been one of my favorites by them, with incredible synthy-guitar textures. Trying to capture those sounds was made easier virture of the fact that we were able to record in the same exact studios at RAK where the original was done, using the same gear, right down to the actual pedal used - The Synthi Hi-FLI!"
Artist: Clara Moto
Song: Hedonic Treadmill
Album: Blue Distance
"'Hedonic Treadmill' describes the tendancy of people to adapt to good events - or bad - and then return to the same level of happiness," Clara Moto tells Rolling Stone. "In other words, we don't gain more happiness with, example, more money, as our expectations rise proportionately. So better jump off as it is ultimately unsatisfying."
"'Drag Bones' speaks to the age-old truth that change is always coming, for better or for worse," Robert Brinkerhoff tells Rolling Stone. "As with a lot of our tunes, there's always an awareness of a potentially dismal situation, but we always err on the side of optimism."
Artist: Leif Vollebekk
Song: "When the Subway Comes Above the Ground"
Album: North Americana
"The song is about a lot of things - from driving by the place where Jeff Buckley drowned, to forgetting some wonderful, late-night conversations I once had," Leif Vollebekk tells Rolling Stone. "It was supposed to end with a fade-out, but the violin just kept playing and sounded so good, we let it go."
Artist: The Whistles and the Bells Song: Mercy Please Album: The Nashville Indie Spotlight
"I'd like it carved it on my gravestone. But I won't hold the chisel on that day so I scratched it out on a napkin one Monday morning," Bryan Simpson tells Rolling Stone. "Upon further review, I don't want everything I deserve. Thought I did but I don't. 'Mercy Please' is my request and my hope."
"'Speed Reader' is abou the paralyzing notion that with each decision you make, an infinity of alternate possibilities has been closed forever," Marley Carroll tells Rolling Stone. "When faced with this hard truth, one can either draw the blinds and shut the world out, or make the leap forward. Putting a pop spin on such a debilitating idea felt freeing."
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