Rachel Urban

"sheknowsbutshedontknow" - Tove Lo

"sheknowsbutshedontknow" - Tove Lo

Sounds Like:

Ellie Goulding with a Swedish-pop edge

Why You Should Care:

There is no doubt that Swedish pop export Tove Lo loves to push buttons. With a directness unusual in the world of pop music, her new album BLUE LIPS (lady wood phase II) leaves no topic off the table. She thrives on pushing boundaries and BLUE LIPS opens a newly personal side of Tove Lo as she writes about constantly chasing a rush—be it from drugs, sex, or pushing boundaries.

Regardless of the topic, Tove Lo brings her signature strong electropop edge to the entire album. Her dark voice carries her throughout BLUE LIPS to express emotions that are well balanced with synth drum and bass lines. Split into two halves, LIGHT BEAMS and PITCH BLACK, the album is billed as a follow-up to her sophomore hit album Lady Wood.

In “shedontknowbutsheknows,” Tove Lo sings about a woman whose partner is doing things behind her back. The track is pure dance pop with an undercurrent of pain and darkness. The track feels self-reflective as Tove Lo encapsulates the feeling of denying something to yourself you know is likely true. While you will be bopping along to the rhythmic chorus, the track offers the undeniable sense of knowing that something is wrong, but struggling to convince yourself that it is not. Tove Lo seems poised to make you want to dance, while pushing you  to challenge yourself and get beyond your comfort zone.


“Doors” - The CooLots

“Doors” - The CooLots

Sounds Like:

An eclectic mix of Jimi Hendrix and rhythmic soul

Why You Should Care:

Listening to the CooLots reminds you of the diversity and talent of the Washington, DC music scene. Straddling genres from rock to soul to alternative, the CooLots bring together powerful vocals with such emotion and energy that each track they put out has a distinct personality. The only thing you expect from this band is that each track will surprise you with its ability to personify the intersection of many genres in a cohesive way.

The opening track to their new album Rebirth, “Doors” begins with a guitar riff reminiscent of a Foo Fighters or early Pearl Jam song, then opens up with the vocals and powerful rhythm section that harness the power of nearly every member of this incredibly diverse and talented band. “Doors” talks about the power of doors to lock you in, or unleash you to the world. The CooLots attempt to do the same thing with their music — tempting listeners to try a new genre or mix of styles they have not heard before.


"Riiich" - Grace Mitchell

"Riiich" - Grace Mitchell

Sounds Like:

A throwback to Joan Jett combined with the modern vibes of Lorde and Banks

Why You Should Care:

Grace Mitchell is not one to follow convention when it comes to either making music or releasing it. While she is quickly making a name for herself with her fiery lyrics and Joan Jett-like sound, she is known for her diverse vocal talents and unique approach to releasing music.

Instead of a conventional album, Mitchell released a new playlist entitled 21&Motley that features more than half a dozen singles she has released throughout 2017 and a new single, “RIIICH.” The range across 21&Motley is broad, and it is hard to find a common thread among the songs, which seems to encapsulate Grace’s approach to music.


"Get Right" - Weezer

"Get Right" - Weezer

Sounds Like:

A return to the Weezer of the early 2000s

Why You Should Care:

Weezer’s 11th studio album Pacific Daydream is an ode to the band’s California roots, full of exuberant pop-rock that fans of the band have come to expect from the band, and a return to the production from their 1990s heyday. While some of the other songs on the album feel overglossed and primed for radio play, “Get Right” is a pleasant departure that hits the right balance

Throughout “Get Right” Cuomo speaks to a feeling of being alone and thinking about what might have been. While the lyrics take a darker and more contemplative tone, the upbeat tambourine, strong bassline, and Beach Boys-style backup vocals give the song the impact of a classic Weezer tune.

One thing is for sure. Weezer has not lost its ability to get a strong hook stuck in your head —  “Get Right” is a song you will be bopping along to long after it has ended.


"Dream" - Bishop Briggs

"Dream" - Bishop Briggs

Sounds Like:

Phantogram mixed with the vocals of Florence + the Machine and the drum line of a Kaleo song

Why You Should Care:

It’s rare for a song to capture the feeling of being in a dream and waking up without being sure if it’s real or not. Bishop Briggs’ new single “Dream” captures this feeling perfectly. Beginning with an acoustic guitar, Briggs opens the song with airy vocals that quickly build to an almost gospel tune with a pulsing beat drop. It delivers the same evocative/moody indie-pop vibe that fans of her first hit “River” have come to expect from the 25-year-old musician. Bishop Briggs’ lyrics walk the listener through the challenge of dreaming you are brave enough to do or say something, but feeling unable to get the feelings out. "Dream" is focused on the inability to share feelings with someone you love, but the struggle to share your truth with others feels universal throughout the song.

“Dream” is closer to a ballad than Briggs’ previous singles that raised her profile in rock and alternative charts, but her 2017 self-titled EP showcases her ability to convey an equally soulful mood in hits such as “Wild Horses.”

Not only does Bishop Briggs bring an intensity to all of her recorded songs, but she is known for putting on an electrifying live performance. Her strong set overcame a difficult early morning time slot at last year’s All Things Go Fall Classic to kick off a memorable day of music. Bishop Briggs will return to DC on November 18, opening for Bleachers at a sold-out show at the 9:30 Club.