Vök - Central Heat Exchange (feat. Stephanie Smith) - Lexie Roth (feat. Willy Mason)
Icelandic trio Vök have shared the stunning video for their enchanting and reflective new single Skin, which is out now through Nettwerk Records.
New single Skin follows recently released single and video Lost in the Weekend, which gave an early taste of their new material recorded last year in their Reykjavík studios. The single was the follow-up to their acclaimed 2019 album In the Dark, which was written and recorded by the band in collaboration with producer James Earp (Bipolar Sunshine, Fickle Friends, Lewis Capaldi).
With every track, Vök continue to develop their progressive alt-pop sound and Skin cements just how intricately captivating the band can be. Opening emotively and delicately, the song builds to an ethereal and pensive chorus that lyrically conveys someone not knowing who they are and being stuck in their own ‘skin’. The expansive video, directed by Arnar Helgi, shows the band performing in a stunning location at Rauðhólar outside of Reykjavík amidst a backdrop of mountains and neon lights as the sun sets.
Lead singer Margrét says; “Our character has been living by the standards of her community but feels like she is betraying herself. She is afraid of who she is becoming, as that person is someone that she doesn’t relate to, and she feels trapped and doesn’t know who or what she is – she is stuck in her own skin.”
Through their unique and lushly layered sound that blends electro and indie with forward-thinking pop and a self-assured aesthetic, that is just as striking as their sound, Vök continue to cement their position as one of the most exciting alternative bands right now. Following two critically acclaimed albums, Lost in the Weekend and Skin are just the first musical moments in an exciting year for Vök, with further new music announced soon.
Central Heat Exchange (C.H.E.) is a collaborative project by musicians spread throughout the US & Canada, primarily in the Central Time Zone. Split across Austin, Chicago, & Winnipeg, its core members are Adam Soloway of Living Hour, Santiago RD of Daphne Tunes and Jacob and Paul Stoltz of Varsity and Pool Holograph, though their forthcoming recorded output involves a broad network of collaborators that include members of Broken Social Scene, Lala Lala, Fran, The Weakerthans, Sun June, Do Make Say Think and many others. Today they are formally announcing their self-titled debut album (due out September 10th on Birthday Cake, Citrus City and Sunroom Records) and sharing the single "Directly Down," which features lead vocals from Stephanie Smith of Varsity and drums from Lala Lala's Abby Black.
"'Directly Down' started as a demo for another project, Discus," says Paul Stoltz. "It was initially tracked in March at the beginning of quarantine while Jake and I were planning to record the second Discus LP. As it became apparent that we were not going to be able to record in person for quite some time (still haven’t), I added this song to the mix for CHE."
The drum machine, rhythm guitar, bass, and post-chorus ambient sounds were all tracked by Paul on a Tascam 4-track tape machine. Jake tracked some loose vocal melodies for the song in addition to his lead guitar, but was unsatisfied with the way they turned out. That's when we turned to Stephanie Smith from Varsity, an amazing singer and frequent collaborator or ours. The whole track has a stumbling, spiraling vibe that Stef highlights in her lyrics beautifully, taking Jake's initial lyrics about a depressive spiral and morphing it into a song about humans destroying the earth."
"It's a song about humans destroying the earth," Smith continues. "We’ve destroyed it so much by now that maybe we're past the point of no return but maybe we’re not."
Lexie Roth - Western Skies feat. Willy Mason.
Like many artists, acclaimed pop-folk singer/songwriter, Lexie Roth, found inspiration in the world shutting down and then slowly coming back to life. Roth is dropping a poignant new single, “Western Skies,” set for release on July 9, via American Songwriter. Roth plans to release the official video for “Western Skies” later this month.
"I wrote Western Skies after spending a significant time on the west coast and on the road driving across the country, over six times now,” shares Roth.
“There is a certain innate grief that comes over me when driving through small desolate towns. I wanted to imagine what my personal pain would feel like through the lens of a husband being widowed by his beloved wife and being left to raise their children without her. I wanted to depict how moving it is for him to see her."
Produced by Roth, “Western Skies” features vocal contributions from Willy Mason, as well as ethereal slide guitar riffs from Roth’s father, Arlen, a virtuosic guitarist who has performed and recorded with the best artists of his generation, including Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel, The Bee-Gees and Phoebe Snow. The soon-to-be-released video for “Western Skies” was directed by David Henry Gerson, whose work has won prizes from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Sundance Film Festival, and has been acquired into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NY.
Raised between Westchester, New York and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, Roth released her eponymous, bluesy debut album in 2012, which included the song ‘Call You My Hon,’ featured in the award-winning film Maria My Love. Roth, who is often compared to artists like Lucy Dacus and Jenny Lewis, has a way of creating music that is soul-inflected, with the wisdom and weight of American music history in an eminently listenable contemporary package.