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SOBBRS’ Fortunato sets a higher bar for Austin pop


Prolific singer/songwriter Jesus Acosta, aka SOBBRS, released his first full length LP Fortunato on October 7th. Compounding catchy hooks, detailed grooves, and savory synths the record crafts an original pop sound with one foot planted in 80’s throwback and the other stepping forward into the world of modern production. Rewarding repeated listens, Fortunato uses pop music tropes in a very controlled fashion, the key change for the last chorus of “Monsoon” for instance, while having the foresight to subvert those same tropes later. Consistent quality is prevalent but “Cameo”, “Motherlode”, and “Bones” are stand-outs. 


    Finding balance is Fortunato’s biggest accomplishment. The instrumentals forge an energy that finds balance in equal parts kinetic spectacle and melancholic meditation, leaving the listener the choice to either dance or cry. Lyrically drawing from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, the reflective words strike equilibrium between adverse themes of isolation and belonging. Even Acosta’s vocal delivery is balanced between rhythmic certainty and an emotive, quivering vibrato. This overall balance displays the benefits in both active and passive listening. 


    Upon the record’s release, SOBBRS packed Mohawk, seamlessly guiding the tracks into a live setting. His backing band consists of Springful’s Jim Hampton on guitar and Flora & Fawna’s Mason Ables, who is also responsible for the record’s intricate production, on keys and beats. Although playing the same songs, the group infused new life into them through the performance, teetering the scale towards dance and elation. With a St. Vincent cover, the premiere of a music video for “Crossfire”, and a celebratory onstage cake, it was a wonderful night.


-Hayden Steckel


Sargasso debuts retro-escapist self-titled record

Connecticut, and New England, for that matter, never stops surprising with its rich crop of talented artists. New Haven’s Sargasso is a collective that dips its indie rock in sugary electro-R&B for a sound so dreamy-seductive sweet. The group’s self-titled EP opens with brilliantly soft electric guitar strings and a stout bassline that transport one to a world desired, one of serene indie rock. “One Enemy” with its sustained synth notes and relaxed vocals, is more than an opener, it is a solid statement by a group defining its signature sound. The record’s second track, “Secret Compartment,” expands on the band’s strengths as it delivers rich vocal harmonies that melt to a hot groove, irresistible and soothing. Songs like “Lifetime” surrender to both Strokes-y guitar riffs and blossoming synth melodies with a retro glaze. The record flirts with escapist themes, and it is that tease with complete dreaminess that makes the album such a treat. Listen to the ‘70s space flick intro of “Secret Compartment” from the new record streaming below. - Rene Cobar, photo by Xinyuan Chen  


Band name: 
Alien Bay
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
Venue name: 
Mercury Lounge
Band email: 

J.Soliday "Music for Speech Synthesis"

J.Soliday released a new collection of computer music last month called Music for Speech Synthesis. This is "real time manual and generative manipulation of digital speech synthesizers” and a truly unique approach to sound and music.


Harrison Lipton lays down soft disses on “2 Good 4 Me,” plays Mercury Lounge 12.12

New York alternative-R&B crooner Harrison Lipton returns with his latest slow jam, “2 Good 4 Me,” a song billed as the “world’s softest diss track.” Inspired by a less-than-positive public critique of Lipton’s 2018 single “Pool," Lipton, rather than going on the offensive, finds himself cooly turning inwards, examining facets of his persona, his personal journey with queerness, and his life as an artist in NYC. While the song’s primary narrative is rife with self-doubt and anger, its surface level vibe is as nonchalant as ever; easygoing 80s keyboards, Lipton’s distant vocal performance, and an Act 5 surprise sax solo layed down by Zach Berro exude radiant coolness. This combination of components both introspective and confident make “2 Good 4 Me” a resonating effort, a relatable tune for anyone who’s struggled to keep their composure in a world of constant criticism. Listen below, and catch Harrison Lipton at Mercury Lounge on December 12th. —Connor Beckett McInerney


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