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Jeremy Davis
Maintaining mixed origins or adapting to a new culture is widely a daunting task to execute, an uphill battle to overcome. For a South Asian American, the level of difficulties can be even greater. Barely any character in the American TV shows, movies, or books portrays the desi appearance or culture. This predicament, invoking fear of becoming estranged, would ultimately influence the South Asian American minors to believe what they see on TV or read in books is the only “accepted” way to present themselves.
On The Last American, Brooklyn-based Ali Aslam reflects a similar collage of tales of his early years when he discovered himself in the middle of his family’s Pakistani upbringing and his peers’ American lifestyles. The indie folk-rocker’s self-released debut came on October 30.

Listen in here!

Throughout the 12 tracks, Aslam has assured his profound insights into indie folk, rock, and even American pop music. “Supersonic folk,” the tag he uses, aptly plants the sonic image of his bucolic mixture of soothing melodies, soft guitars, and calm vocals. The Last American is somewhat a guitar-driven album, mostly acoustic, but often harmoniously jangly. The record does not see the New Yorker geeking out about instruments and experimenting with unusual tones, but the indie singer-songwriter knows how to captivate the listeners with his guitars by sounding celestially gentle and grippingly substantial. His simplistic rhythms on low strings and atmospheric melodies on high supply the album with refined fuel.

The intertwining of thematical and diverse musical dynamisms adorn the album with a compelling aura that is genuinely novelistic in its own essence. In fact, the instilled emotional vibrancies of the album transmit the feeling that the child of an immigrant upholds after not belonging to the culture of the American peers. Aslam, however, has never lacked scope and ambition. He optimistically believes that we are ultimately responsible for the world we create. Thus, he challenges the children of the immigrants to dream bigger by representing themselves the way they are.
The Last American is the result of Aslam’s creative virtue, personal struggles, and harvested dreams. His pared-down approach gradually evolved into something impressive enough, and this will surely appease the indie folk enthusiasts.
For anyone whose relationship is struggling to withstand the confines of quarantine, Red Flower Lake understands. The indie-pop duo comprised of real-life husband and wife Abel and Rahimah Wright makes lush, romantic ambient-pop in the style of Mazzy Star or Cigarettes After Sex, and their new Three Truths EP is all about the struggle to keep love alive in a long-term commitment. The EP (which was released on all streaming platforms in September 2020) opens with "Heart is Breaking", a song Rahimah says is about feeling wrecked by how hard it is to be a partnership in parenting, wrecked by trying our very best and falling short, over and over again. Sounds like the definitive experience of being a family (even a chosen family) in quarantine to me. Not many songs speak to how often we can feel heartbroken even while in love - this one offered a refreshing truth.

Musically, "Heart is Breaking" opens with an expansive, late 80's-inspired series of chords that suggested Cyndi Lauper might be on the way. Instead, Rahimah's sultry vocals stretch across the lower register in the dreamlike yet powerful manner of Cat Power; they're supported by an accumulating kaleidoscope of electronic sounds, layering to a climax as the song progresses.

Red Flower Lake is based out of their home studio in Virginia, where they turn the agony and ecstasy of love and partnership into art. Maybe their romantic songs will be just what you and yours need to rekindle the spark at home.

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Honeypot’s new single, “Over The Line,” rolls in perfectly on the heels of the election. The band’s lead singer and guitarist, Frank Hartman, blends grunge rock of the 60s and 70s with modern day political commentary, calling for compromise between political parties and standing up to the system. 

“Over The Line” is a socially conscious version of progressive rock reminiscent of Rush or Pink Floyd. Frank explains that the inspiration for the song was “the deep divide we have as a country. There is a feeling of ‘us vs. them’ that should not be.” The single calls for listeners to put America over this division, and this message is perfectly backed by Honeypot’s striking music video. 

The video features imagery relating to so many of the issues highlighted in 2020, especially police violence and Black Lives Matter protests. The video demonstrates that, while these issues divide our nation, Americans are coming together to combat injustice, caring and supporting one another rather than succumbing to the system. It’s a well timed message accompanied by an amazing track from this accomplished rock group.

Watch the video here! more
Keeping the spirit of rock n’ roll alive, The R Train’s explosive new single “Take a Ride” makes you want to stomp your feet, clap your hands, and take a much-needed break from the craziness of the world around us. The Brooklyn-based band made up of vocalist/guitarist Jeffrey Black, drummer/vocalist Mike Annese, and bassist Denny Lee is truly taking the new wave rock world by storm with their tracks that just keep coming.


Powerful electric guitar riffs drive this song with pounding drums that make all listeners want to stop what they’re doing and dance. “It is intended to make the listener feel as if they are having an adrenaline rush. We are trying to lift people's spirits by taking them on an exciting, fun, fulfilling musical ride,” says Annese. The song definitely delivers its promise, so put away your worrying and “Take a Ride” with The R Train!

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