Four silent releases that are too loud to ignore


It has been a big week for music.

Between my all-time favorite artist Taylor Swift dropping a surprise sister album to Folklore, and recently reviewed all-time favorite comfort band, The Neighbourhood, dropping four singles following their concept album, and all-time favorite sob-in-the-shower musician, Phoebe Bridgers, collaborating with Kid Cudi, my little music-obsessed brain was, honestly, a little overwhelmed yet insanely overjoyed. 

Aside from these huge releases, my long-time loves—Pinegrove, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Briston Maroney, and The Band CAMINO—silently swooped in amongst these other artists, and I certainly did not ignore their talented croons. 

Pinegrove, the quiet, green hills of New York in the shape of emotional cries and warm, rich twang, was one of my top artists of 2020 for a reason. Consistently drifting in and out of the walls of my room and the muscles of my heart, Pinegrove is one of my constants, and they are a group that tugs at the sleeves of my sweaters and pulls me back to the past in the best way possible. 

A nostalgic person in the worst way possible, every single one of my “favorite” songs pulls at every nostalgic nerve of my brain that constantly screams “don’t forget about all the times where life was somehow better yet still bad,” but Pinegrove simply reminds me of good times. No negative connotation, no twinge or cringe or flinch at the first few seconds of the song, Pinegrove always takes me back to my summer roaming the East Coast—specifically upstate New York. 

So when they released “Morningtime (Amperland, NY)” just a few days ago, a song that will be featured in lead singer Evan Stephens Hall’s upcoming feature-length film that he wrote (because, really, they are that talented), I just smiled at the title so reminiscent of my favorite areas of New York and at the thought of an entire movie and accompanying soundtrack that is coming so soon. 

Opening with their signature moody guitar and Hall’s perfectly twangy vocals harmonizing so gently with the background vocals, “Morningtime (Amperland, NY)” audibly illustrates quiet yet fast-paced mornings roaming through the sidestreets of a state that is so much more than just NYC. Pinegrove’s lyricism and the voices that deliver the true poetry never miss, and it’s the rich tones and vignette-esque stanzas that have kept me listening to them all these years. 

Briston Maroney, who I discovered just a few months before Pinegrove, has been steadily increasing monthly listeners on Spotify since, and the way his “About” tab simply says “love you” is a testament to the tender undertones that reside in every single song in his discography. He writes so passionately; his vocals and instrumentals convey that passion so intimately, too, and his latest release, “Freeway,” does not stray at all from that raw emotion I was originally drawn to. 

My long-time loves—Pinegrove, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Briston Maroney, and The Band CAMINO—silently swooped in amongst these other artists, and I certainly did not ignore their talented croons. 

Usually incorporating themes of driving, train stations, running away—transportation—in his songs, “Freeway” from the title alone is right with those ever-persistent motifs. The opening lyrics of “Sure I’d be happy if the best part of today was that I didn’t lose my mind when I drove home alone” really hit home for someone who has had her fair share of losing her mind on the way home. It’s those painfully relatable lyrics that I hate to love—painfully relatable lyrics that are made for screaming while losing my mind while driving home alone. 

A common theme in a lot of my “favorite” songs are, well, them being concerningly melancholic, but a lot of them are perfect for losing my voice as I scream them while driving. The Band CAMINO’s “Daphne Blue” and “See Through,” which my dear Sarah Wordhouse did introduce me to and then later scream-sang with me so that I didn’t have to do that alone, have always been at the top of my ever-changing driving playlists, and their recent release, “Roses,” is now right up there with them. 

With a bouncing beat and honest chorus of  “stop and smell the f***** roses,” The Band CAMINO outdid themselves with this one, honestly, and it’s a much-needed change of pace from my constant stream of melancholy in the form of playlist upon playlist of the saddest songs in the entire world. Clicking play on “Roses” means dancing, jumping, smiling, and smelling the roses, and it’s bands like The Band CAMINO and songs like “Roses” that shake every bone in my body in the best way. 

Rainbow Kitten Surprise defies genres as The Band CAMINO defies the speakers in my Subaru, and the introspective lyrics of their latest release “Our Song” that are seemingly hidden by the overbearing drum beats and guitar strums were not lost to me. 

Trading turns in the spotlight, the melodies and the lyrics bounced back and forth, creating a stop-and-go pattern—mimicking an on-and-off-again relationship. Begging, screaming, for the other person in this relationship to stay despite the toxicity of it all, “Our Song” is a surface-level call-and-response between two quarreling lovers, but below that, it rings more true of the internal conflict of one person in a one-sided relationship. 

The awkward yet fluid beat just kept moving in the same way that relationships like that somehow always do; “Our Song” conveyed conflict between both oneself and a partner, and that lyrical depth just added to the already insane beat. 

With a steady stream of constantly updating music, very rarely do I find myself in a music drought. Forever favorites Pinegrove, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Briston Maroney, and The Band CAMINO delivered this week, and dare I say that they quenched any thirst for new music that I had.