Album Review: Ex-Directory EP By Spector

I’ve loved Spector for years. They’re a band that knows how to capture the discomfort and confusion and agony of being a young adult, and they do so without sugar-coating or idealizing any of it. Every single one of their tracks expresses emotion in a poignant and intelligent way, all of them with sharp lyrics like Heard he was your rock, does that make me your hard place? and If you weren’t on my mind, I’d have no mind to be on. Bands like Spector are good company to keep when you’re moving through awkward periods of change and growth, and maybe that’s why I’ve held onto their music for so long.

With the release of their newest effort, an EP titled Ex-Directory, Spector is following through with the themes they know and love. Clocking in at just over ten minutes of music, each track is short and to the point. The songs feel like paintings or short films or tableaux, four tiny glimpses into a big, chaotic life. Despite how quickly it’s over, the EP feels full. A quartet of tracks is more than enough for the band to get their point across.   

Ex-Directory’s first track, ‘Untitled in D,’ was released last December. Despite its late release, it became one of my favourite songs of the year. The song takes Spector past teenage angst and onto the verge of real adulthood, discussing the disappointments and setbacks and confusion of growing into a new form of existence.

Following ‘Untitled in D’ is ‘Fine Not Fine,’ which wins the prize of my favourite song from the release. The track is an anthem for those of us growing up and finding our footing in the age of the Internet, drawing inspiration from emotions and thoughts expressed on social media. From the outset, it’s clear that the song is as truthful and intelligent as every other Spector release. Opening with the line And I’ve never been myself, I just follow orders, it’s instantly relevant and relatable. Each verse expresses another conflict, and the chorus is built on a simple but impactful repetition of I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m not fine. 

The EP then moves into ‘Local International,’ a track that seems too smooth to be the vehicle for lyrics about navigating relationships in a world that feels like it’s falling apart. Like every other Spector song, it’s catchy, but it’s also pertinent and hard-hitting. The band has somehow managed to wrap human connection up in words about globalization and capitalism, a combination that seems to project the realities of a life that we’re all trying to adjust to.

‘Wild Guess’ rounds out the collection, leaving listeners on a melancholic but hopeful note. It’s the slowest track on the EP, and the one that feels the most like love. The lyrics are dripping with longing and hesitation, the kind that comes with meeting someone you’d probably like to have around for a while. It’s layered and intricate, and the repeated insistence of Don’t ask me who I’m trying to impress, just take a wild guess is enough to make me swoon.

I like when bands release new music that shows off how much they’re progressing, but also how much integrity and soul they’re retaining, and that’s what Spector has done with Ex-Directory. The tracks are impressive, the lyrics are honest, and the whole thing feels like a refuge for anyone struggling to navigate a world and a life and a body that seems to change with every passing second. The EP is proof that Spector is alive and well, and that maybe we’re all alive and well, too. Finding the life that lives inside your chest is hard, but it’s worth it, and I hope that one day soon we’ll all be standing on rooftops, filling our lungs with air and proclaiming how much we love what and who and where we are.


2/12: A February Playlist

If January seemed like it was going to drag on indefinitely into eternity, February went by in the blink of an eye. My first full month in Leeds was packed full of weekend trips to Oxford and Edinburgh, lots of afternoons spent at coffee shops drinking flat whites and inhaling caramel shortbread, yet another viewing of Call Me By Your Name (whoops), and spending time with a lot of new friends who are quickly becoming some of my favourite people. The month seemed to slip between my fingers, and although I am sad to see it go, there is so much good on the horizon, and I cannot wait to step into it all.

February’s playlist took a little while to construct. With weeks dissolving quickly into nothingness, I felt like I didn’t have time to collect a well-rounded list of tracks. I spent the first half of the month listening to the same four songs on loop, occasionally switching them off in favour of The National’s Sleep Well Beast, which I can’t seem to stop playing. Eventually I got up to eleven or twelve songs, and this playlist is one of my favourite ones to date.

With so many road trips over the past four weeks, I turned to some old favourites to keep me company along the journey. ‘Soundcheck’ by Catfish and the Bottlemen is essentially my dream come true, a catchy track about a band guy trying to make a relationship work with a girl he likes. ‘All We Got’ by Chance the Rapper is a rediscovery, something I haven’t really listened to since I saw him in concert last May. The horns in the intro get me every time, and I love how smoothly it starts before going into an all-out celebration of music and life.

Aside from those two, February involved a lot of new discoveries. I’ve already written about ‘Mistake’ by Middle Kids, which is punchy and honest. Another new favourite is ‘Rough Boy,’ one of the stand out tracks from Public Access T.V.’s newest album. It reminds me a lot of The Clash, simple and to the point and fed up with the world around them. I also hopped on the Rex Orange County bandwagon, listening to ‘Loving Is Easy’ as if my life depended on it. The song is effortless and lush, the kind of thing you want to play on repeat on a cold day. Finally, I have to mention Frank Ocean’s version of ‘Moon River’. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a movie that makes my heart feel at home, and his cover of the film’s classic track is spectacular. It feels like magic, and I adore it.

My favourite track from this month is ‘Twentytwo’ by Sunflower Bean. I liked their last album, Human Ceremony, but this newest release is something spectacular, the model for how a band should grow from one album to the next. The track starts off like a hymn, vocals standing like pillars against the beginnings of a glittery melody, before building into verses that tell stories and an oddly placed chorus that feels like a call to arms. The repetition of ‘I do not go quietly/Into the night that calls me’ is empowering, and I’ve been listening to it on repeat for the last few days.

February got me really excited about music. Not all of these songs are brand new, but the artists are relevant and the tracks hold something interesting and captivating that makes me wonder how many ears will listen to them in the years to come. These songs have the potential to carry themselves far into the future, and listening to them has reminded me that my art and my words have that power, too. Creativity is hard and I go through cycles of intense inspiration that are bordered by lags in output that make me feel defeated and unartistic. Despite those things, I keep going, because there are songs and films and books that have been monuments of our culture for decades, and we’ll never have more of them if we all hold back and refuse to give it a shot. In the coming months I hope we all embrace our artistry and have the courage to find ways to show the world our talents. I’m rooting for you.

Art Imitates Life: A Little Life

Things get broken, and sometimes they get repaired, and in most cases, you realize that no matter what gets damaged, life rearranges itself to compensate for your loss, sometimes wonderfully. –Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

Packing five months of my life into a couple suitcases was a daunting task. I spent a long time distilling who I am into my favourite band shirts and the pair of jeans that I wear as if they’re glued to my body and the notebooks that I carry around at all times. Worse than all that, though, was deciding which books to bring. I have shelves packed with novels and autobiographies, coffee table books and art history texts. I turn to them for companionship and inspiration and encouragement, and the idea of choosing only a few was a hard one to wrap my head around.

When it came down to it, I knew which ones I needed to have with me. I got the Patti Smith box checked off easily – Just Kids and Devotion and a copy of her 1978 poetry anthology titled Babel, which is something I still can’t believe I own. I piled on You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, a book that everyone who wants to live their best life needs to read. I was missing a novel, though, and although I could have brought my favourite Harry Potter book or Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch or The Secret History, I eventually decided on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara.

This is not an easy book. It’s over 700 pages long. It’s dense and heavy and it sits inside your stomach once you’ve finished it. The first time I read it, I put it down multiple times because the passages were too heartbreaking and the emotions were too strong. The author has said that she wanted to write a novel like ombré cloth, something that starts out light and is pitch black by the end, and that’s what she did.

I brought A Little Life with me because it feels human. It lives and breathes, the lives of Jude and Willem and JB and Malcom intertwining with your own. The lows are really, really low, and the highs, although somewhat mundane, shine through the darkness like jewels. It puts your own hardships into perspective while simultaneously making you realize the value of the tiny, shimmery moments, even when they’re as normal as making eye contact with your best friend across a crowded room or going out for dinner at the same place with the same group of people every week.

The world that this book lives in seems attached to so many other things, and that’s why I’m writing this. There are no other books like it – and believe me, I’ve searched – but it comes up in art pieces and movies and songs. I like when one form of art bleeds into a million other forms of art, and A Little Life does that beautifully.

Visual Art

What drew me to this book in the first place was the cover. It’s a black and white photo by Peter Hujar, and when you relate it to the novel itself, it displays so much pain, reflecting the content of the book back at the reader.  It reminds me a lot of a photography series by Maud Fernhout called What Real Men Cry Like, which is a really beautiful depiction of boys being vulnerable and transparent about their emotions. Another similar piece is Robert Tait Mackenzie’s Four Masks of Facial Expressions, which are plaster casts depicting violent effort, breathlessness, fatigue, and exhaustion. It’s another work of art that depicts emotion exceptionally, just as the cover of the book does.


This connection may be because the film is fresh in my mind or because I am mildly obsessed with it, but I think Call Me By Your Name mirrors A Little Life in more ways than one. Both show the nuances and breadth of human emotion. Both are about connection and vulnerability and how hard it is to put your guard down. Both are not frivolous, but real, when it comes to describing relationships. It’s the last scene of Call Me By Your Name that reminds me of this book. Elio cries in front of the fireplace for nearly four minutes, letting the dam break and his sadness run through him. It’s glorious, and the parallels that can be drawn between he and Jude are numerous.


The very first song that reminded me of A Little Life was ‘All The Sad Young Men’ by Spector. The band does a really good job of communicating both connection and disconnection, and we see a lot of that in Yanagihara’s masterpiece. I eventually added ‘St. Jude’ by Florence + the Machine to the list. In the novel, Jude is named after the patron saint of lost causes, and that is exactly what Florence sings about in the track. Another notable one is ‘I’ll Still Destroy You’ by The National, as Jude spends much of the book distancing himself from others because he believes this will keep them safe. The tracks I’ve included in this playlist are overflowing and emotive and they hold nothing back, much like A Little Life.

Reading this book all over again is proving to be difficult. I pick it up each morning and feel a bit of my heart fall out of my chest and into its pages. I feel for every single character, I understand some of the hardships (though definitely not the biggest ones), and I am so drawn to the lives of these friends that I feel as though I am one of them. Although it’s painful and heart wrenching, it also feels hopeful, and a tiny glimmer of hope is really all that we can ever ask for. That’s what keeps me going.

Side note: I checked my Goodreads page, and I was reading A Little Life at exactly the same time last year as I am this year. Life is cyclical and amazing and I love that my life now is connected to my life then, even in such a small way.

All The Love: A Valentine’s Day Playlist

There are moments that stick out in my mind when I think about the love I’ve seen and heard and experienced. When I saw Patti Smith play in Central Park in September, she looked to the sky each time she played a song for her late husband, and the love and adoration she still has for him was displayed blatantly across her face. My mom and my step-mom and my sister snuck letters into my backpack or handed me cards on the day I left for Leeds, and although I cried reading each one of them, they all made me feel so full. I’m learning that loving myself is rather important, too, and I spend mornings reading and nights journaling and I often find time to fit a yoga practice somewhere in between, because tending to myself means that I can tend better to others. Love is not always romantic, and it is not always extravagant, but it exists and it’s all around and that is perhaps the most reassuring thought there is. Musicians often have the best ways of expressing love, and this playlist collects all my favourite ways that they’ve done so.

The first love song I remember adoring is ‘I Always Knew’ by The Vaccines. It’s not just my favourite love song, it’s my favourite song, period. I love how nostalgic it feels, I love how the rhythm gallops and roars, I love the lyrics and the simultaneous hesitation and urgency. That album, Come of Age, also boasts ‘Lonely World,’ a much slower track with lines like “I feel like I have always known you” that make me swoon every time I listen to it. I had to include both of them here, because I am weak in the knees for The Vaccines, but also because they paint two different portraits of love, and I like the juxtaposition.

I am one hundred percent convinced that Talking Heads’ ‘This Must Be The Place’ is the best love song to ever exist. It’s glittery and romantic, the lyrics are enough to make my heart jump out of my chest, and every time I listen to it I imagine David Byrne prancing around a stage in a ridiculous oversized suit. I could pick out a lot of lines that I love – “I come home, she lifted up her wings,” or “Sing into my mouth” or “Never for money, always for love” – but really, the whole thing is magic.

When it comes to love songs, it’s often the lyrics that get me. ‘Cars Not Leaving’ by Gabriel Bruce has the singer professing a sincere but almost comical form of love, insisting that “This car’s not leaving if you’re not in it.” On ‘Dark Side of the Gym,’ The National’s Matt Berninger croons “I’m gonna keep you in love with me for a while.” Each verse in Wintersleep’s ‘More Than’ provides beautiful imagery of infatuation, but my favourite description is “I read your letter, printed it up, crumpled up the paragraphs so I could fit it in my mouth.” I express myself through the written word, and something about hearing others do the same always feels incredible, especially when it all comes across so beautifully.

It’s difficult to pick out only a few songs to talk about. If I were to discuss all twelve, we’d be here all day, but there are a few more I want to point out. Alvvays crafts an incredible ode to partnership in ‘Forget About Life.’ Spector’s ‘Lately It’s You’ feels like a shot straight to the heart, honest and vulnerable. ‘Heroes’ by David Bowie is, at this point, required listening at any time, but especially at a time when we’re all so focused on love.

I absolutely do not have the authority to be making a Valentine’s Day playlist. I’ve never been in love and I’m not in love now, but I know how it feels to love a city before you’ve even been there, or to love a band so much it hurts, or to love the feeling of sharing space with someone, even if you’re just listening to records or reading books or driving in silence. This playlist is full of romantic love songs, just because I love them, but I think it’s important to recognize the breadth and depth of love, the forms it takes and the ways it presents itself. Love is staying in bed on a rainy Sunday, doing nothing but drinking French press coffee and watching Netflix. Love is texting someone you care about out of the blue, just because you have something to say and you need to get it out of your mouth before you stop yourself. Love is standing next to someone at a concert, saying nothing and everything in the space that exists between you and them and the person onstage. We express love in a multitude of ways, and even the tiniest moments deserve the biggest celebrations. This is my own way of celebrating it all.

Three Days in Music No. 1

Fact: England has spectacular taste in music. I learned this within my first couple weeks in Leeds, when it seemed that a multitude of great songs were following me wherever I went. I walked into Next and heard Alvvays’ ‘Dreams Tonite’ playing over the speakers, I perused HMV while they blared Noel Gallagher’s ‘Holy Mountain,’ and a trip to Oliver Bonas meant singing ‘Heart of Glass’ to myself in the back corner of the store.  I like that I can find bits of who I am even in a foreign city, and I like that a lot of those bits have to do with music.

Charlotte came to visit me for a couple days this week, and we somehow managed to hear more than a dozen of our favourite songs over the course of a forty-eight-hour period. The coincidences became difficult to ignore, and she made a Spotify playlist of all the tracks while I scrawled the most memorable ones into a new notebook. Hearing music you know and love in new places is comforting and makes everything feel like it’s in alignment, and that feeling deserved a blogpost.

February 6th, 3:45 PM. Millennium Square. ‘Sign of the Times’ by Harry Styles.

For reasons unbeknownst to me, Leeds is currently staging a Valentine’s Fair in Millennium Square. Charlotte and I walked past it while making our way from the train station to my dorm room, and it took about a millisecond for the two of us to register the fact that they were blasting Harry Styles from the midway. Last year, when we drove home from seeing Patti Smith in New York City, Charlotte woke up from a nap to me playing his debut album as softly as I could, mumbling the lyrics to myself. She promptly turned it up, and we listened to the rest of the record while singing along loudly. The fact that we have listened to him in Toronto and New York and now Leeds makes me particularly happy, and hearing ‘Sign of the Times’ less than half an hour after she arrived in my new city was most definitely a good sign.

February 7th, 12:45 PM. Village Bookshop & Gallery. ‘Shut Up Kiss Me’ by Angel Olsen.  

On our first full day together, we spent a few hours wandering into shop after shop, hunting down records and books and vintage clothing. Village is a tiny gem stocking magazines and art prints and countless other trinkets, and just as we walked in, the clerk put on Angel Olsen. We made it partway through My Woman before we exited the shop, Charlotte and I and the guy behind the counter singing softly to ourselves.

February 7th, 2:00 PM. Blue Rinse Vintage. ‘Because the Night’ by Patti Smith.

 Shuffling through vintage clothing shops is one of life’s simple pleasures, partly because it’s exciting to find a treasure amidst the racks, and partly because they tend to come with good soundtracks. While standing in line waiting to buy vintage denim, Charlotte and I and at least a couple other patrons hummed along to Dusty Springfield’s ‘Son of a Preacher Man,’ which promptly gave way to ‘Because the Night’ by Patti Smith. I turned to look at Charlotte from where I was combing through a box of bandanas, both of us wide-eyed and excited. Patti makes everything better, even when it’s already good in the first place.

February 7th, 2:45 PM. SingleShot Vinyl Records & Coffee House. ‘Lust for Life’ by Iggy Pop.  

A solid playlist is usually guaranteed when entering a record shop, and this was no exception. We stopped in SingleShot on a whim, keen on looking through stacks of vintage vinyl. Iggy Pop was an added bonus, and we stayed until the song played out before going off in search of coffee.

February 7th, 4 PM. Layne’s Espresso. ‘Dark Days’ by Local Natives.

Layne’s Espresso is close to the train station and boasts big, bright windows that feel almost nonexistent, making it the perfect place for both coffee drinking and people watching. Charlotte and I stopped here for an hour or so in the afternoon, pulling out notebooks and novels to pass the time. I wrote poems and doodled the scenes in front of me, enjoying the unmediated experience of sitting in a coffee shop without my laptop or a pair of headphones. They were playing good music, and I perked up when ‘Dark Days’ started playing, the layered vocals only adding to the atmosphere. 

February 7th, 5:45 PM. Friends of Ham. ‘Go Your Own Way’ by Fleetwood Mac.

At this point charcuterie seemed like the only option for dinner, and we walked two doors down from Layne’s Espresso to Friends of Ham, proceeding to spend an hour eating cheese and prosciutto and sourdough dipped in olive oil. Fleetwood Mac has my heart forever, and hearing ‘Go Your Own Way’ in the middle of a packed restaurant was the perfect way to end the day. 

February 8th, 9:30 AM. Greasy Pig. ‘I Can’t Quit’ by The Vaccines.

The next morning, we made the trek to Hyde Park for breakfast. The radio show they were playing in the restaurant was particularly awful, but it eventually redeemed itself when the DJ put on ‘I Can’t Quit.’ I was wearing my denim jacket, the arm embroidered with the song’s title, and I had a Vaccines concert shirt on underneath my sweater, and the whole thing felt perfect. Hearing my favourite band on the radio will never get old, especially not when I’m two months away from seeing them play to ten thousand people at Alexandra Palace.

February 8th, 12:30 PM. Mrs. Atha’s. ‘Money’ by Peace.  

Mrs. Atha’s makes the best flat white in probably the whole world, but aside from that, they play a constant stream of great songs. David Bowie’s ‘Life on Mars’ was floating through the speakers when we walked in, and that melted into ‘Girlfriend in a Coma’ by The Smiths, which turned into ‘Money’ by Peace. When I first bought my turntable, I scoured the internet for a copy of Peace’s debut album, In Love, eventually finding a copy on red translucent vinyl on eBay. It’s still one of my most played albums, and listening to the band while drinking coffee and eating salted caramel shortbread is my idea of the perfect afternoon.

Music takes up a prominent place in my life, but it becomes even better when the world around you speaks in songs and artists that you love. Leeds felt good almost as soon as I got here, and these constant sonic encounters keep reminding me how glad I am to be in this city.

Charlotte’s playlist goes well with this blogpost, and it can be listened to here.  

Paint Sounds: Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz

Visual art and music are numbers one and two on the list of things I love most in the world. The order changes depending on the day, but the power of a trip to an art gallery or a dance party to my favourite record is undeniable, and both can lift my mood or turn my day around in the blink of an eye. I’m lucky to be able to study both things, and although I deeply understand how they fit together, it is sometimes difficult to put that connection into words that make sense to others. I always want to bring art and music as close together as possible, so I’m drawing parallels between some of my favourite artworks and my favourite songs.

I have been enamoured by creative partnership since the very moment I picked Patti Smith’s Just Kids off a shelf in Indigo, obsessed with her relationship with Robert Mappelthorpe. That duo will certainly be featured in this series, but I’m starting off with Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. The Art Gallery of Ontario staged an O’Keeffe exhibit last summer, and I visited it multiple times, always captivated by the mirror images that can be picked out of her work and his. Their relationship was symbiotic but also spacious, and the pieces created over the course of two distinct careers are magnificent. I’ve narrowed it down to a few of my favourite works, and there’s a song to go along with each one, all of them wrapped up in a playlist called Paint Sounds, which is my feeble attempt at referencing The Beach Boys. As far as I’m concerned, music and art are inextricably intertwined, and I will explore that bond until the day I die.

Alfred Stieglitz, Snapshot – From My Window, New York, 1902 and ‘Step’ by Vampire Weekend

Alfred Stieglitz - Snapshot, From My Window, New York, 1902

While Vampire Weekend is taking a million years to release new music, I’ve resorted to listening to their previous albums quite often. ‘Step’ is one of my favourite tracks, and my brain seems to associate it with grey days spent tucked away in an apartment overlooking the city, much like Stieglitz depicts in this photo. Both are moody and nostalgic, straightforward yet layered, and they complement one another well.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Music: Pink and Blue No. 2, 1918 and ‘Dreams Tonite’ by Alvvays

Georgia O'Keefe - Music- Pink and Blue No. 2, 1918

I adored this song from the very first second I heard it, enchanted by the floaty tempo and the way the instruments seem to swirl around the lyrics. Everything about Alvvays is vivid, and O’Keeffe’s billowing forms match the colour palette evoked by this track. O’Keeffe was intrigued by the idea of transforming aural sensations into visual ones, and although I doubt she was listening to Alvvays when this piece was created, they make a good pair nonetheless.

Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe – Hands, 1919 and ‘Dancing Barefoot’ by Patti Smith

Georgia O'Keefe - Hands, Alfred Stieglitz

I had to pull Patti in here somehow, didn’t I? This track gives power to a female force, but also discusses her roots in a male equivalent in a way that represents the connection between O’Keeffe and Stieglitz extremely well. Throughout their partnership they both retained their individual identities, but Stieglitz was let into a part of O’Keeffe not often seen by the rest of the world. He captured photos of her at her most vulnerable, hinting at the intimate entanglement of the two artists. O’Keeffe’s hands were her most important tool, and I love how they are depicted here. On a side note, Patti has also written a poem about O’Keeffe, which can be read here.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Ladder to the Moon, 1958 and ‘Gravity Don’t Pull Me’ By Rostam

Georgia O'Keefe - Ladder to the Moon, 1958

O’Keeffe’s pieces retain elements of the natural world while also opening portals to the mystical, and this painting is a beautiful representation of that. Rostam’s track evokes the weightlessness of O’Keeffe’s work, his use of sound transporting the listener into another realm. Listening to the song while viewing the painting causes them to form a single entity, two different forms of expression merging in time and space.

Alfred Stieglitz, Equivalent, 1930 and ‘Sky Musings’ by Wolf Alice  

Alfred Stieglitz - Equivalent, 1930

This photo is one in a series of works in which Stieglitz focused on the sky, freeing the viewer from defined meaning and creating a sense of abstraction. ‘Sky Musings’ stands in contrast to it, and the hurried, claustrophobic track initially seems to be the antithesis of an expansive sky, although the two are perhaps connected by more than what is seen on the surface. Gazing up at the atmosphere can sometimes evoke feelings of smallness and overwhelm, and Wolf Alice’s lyrics discuss these exact sensations, as well as a desire to disappear into the ether. Stieglitz’s photos are transporting, providing a momentary escape from the bombarding thoughts that come along with life.

Georgia O’Keeffe, Horse’s Skull with White Rose, 1931 and ‘White Light/White Heat’ by The Velvet Underground

Georgia O'Keefe - Horse's Skull with White Rose, 1931

What strikes me about this piece is the duality of its components and the delicate balance that O’Keeffe has managed to strike. The skull, a sure sign of death and decay, is juxtaposed by the roses at its peak, and the white of the main subject contrasts the deep black background. The only song that felt appropriate to pair with it was The Velvet Underground’s ‘White Light/White Heat,’ and although the subject matter doesn’t match, the feelings are there. The track is chaotic but measured, the lyrics demanding deep thought and unwavering attention, just as O’Keeffe’s painting does.

It doesn’t take much to realize how intertwined we are with the world and the life that exists within it. Both art and music are products of a human need to express emotion and experience, as well as a deep desire to leave a mark that will remain long after our physical bodies have gone. O’Keefe and Stieglitz have clearly achieved both those things, as have many of the musicians mentioned. Products of human creation are eternal and often unmissable, but it is sometimes worth training our eyes on them for as long as we can, just to see what secret connections we can find.


Track Review: ‘Mistake’ by Middle Kids

I am a creature of habit. I love music with every fibre of my being, but I don’t always (read: rarely) deviate from the genres and bands and songs that I know I like. I listen to The Vaccines and Patti Smith and The National as if they’re my lifeblood, and although I would happily do so for the rest of my life, I figured I should start making the effort to get to know something that’s a bit out of my wheelhouse. This promise happily coincided with the release of Middle Kids’ newest single, ‘Mistake,’ and I happened to see an article about it just as I was searching for new listening material. Needless to say, it took one listen for me to be hooked, and I’m not planning on playing anything else anytime soon.

Middle Kids are a three-piece band based out of Sydney, Australia. Last year they dropped an EP overflowing with great tracks, and their debut album is set to be released in May. If ‘Mistake’ is any indication, I’m sure it’ll be full of songs that tug at your heartstrings and make you want to scream life’s praises all at once. I am really looking forward to it.

‘Mistake’ is the kind of track you can’t really ignore. It’s strong, rhythmic indie-pop, glorious and demanding. Lead singer Hannah Joy sings with drama and emotion that can’t be duplicated, evoking a sense of urgency and need in the listener. The lyrics are truthful and bittersweet, speaking of faults and errors that can’t be erased once they’ve been made. The chorus is a spectacular expression of feeling, and if I ever saw the band live, I’m sure I’d be standing in the middle of the crowd with my hands in the air and my head thrown back, singing along with all my might.

This is a song that my heart feels drawn to without any explanation, one that I want to share just because it is undeniably good. Teenage me likely would have scrawled the lyrics – “It was charming/the way we danced around the truth,” or “You’re standing out in the rain tonight/Like you’ve got something to say to God” – into notebook margins or inked them into my forearm in an act of identity creation. It’s addictive and magnetic and human, and I can’t wait to see what else Middle Kids have to offer.

Middle Kids’ debut LP, ‘Lost Friends,’ is set to be released on May 4th.