On April 23rd, 2021, Sub Pop will digitally release What Is Going On? the five-song debut EP of bedroom pop from singer, songwriter, and producer Hannah Jadagu (pron. juh-dah-goo). Today, she is sharing the official video for the EP’s title track, directed by Cameron Livesey (who directed her video for the single “Think Too Much”).
Hannah says of the video, “For the ‘Think Too Much’ video I collaborated with my friends to create a juxtaposition between the message of the song, in which I sing about anxieties and societal pressures, and the music video, which depicts my friends and I just enjoying New York. When thinking of ideas for the ‘What Is Going On?’ video, I was certain that I wanted to take a different approach. Originally, I just had a loose vision of a rooftop band scene and worked hard to make that happen. However, during the editing process, Cameron and I felt we were missing something. That something was a storyline. So, I decided to bring in actors Sarah Tie and Joseph McCain. Through their work, we were able to really bring the lyrics to life.”
Last month, Hannah released her single “Think Too Much,” which was warmly received by outlets like Jezebel who raved, “An immediate charmer—dreamy melodies emboldened by a neurotic interiority—and maybe the greatest song about fearing turning 23 since Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?” Meanwhile, Alternative Press noted it for “dreamy synths and beats” and Brooklyn Vegan called it “A catchy dose of indie/dream pop that makes good on the promise of Hannah’s Soundcloud singles.”
Hailing from Mesquite, Texas and now residing in New York, the incredibly resourceful 18 year-old records and produces her music all through her iPhone 7. Using Garageband iOS, an iRig, microphone, and guitar, Hannah has found a process that has served her well so far in her young recording career. The songs on What Is Going On? encapsulate the thoughts, hopes, and fears of growing up as a young Black woman in the U.S. with themes of empowerment and a wise-beyond-her-years worldview weaved throughout.
“My Bones,” the powerful opening statement from What Is Going On?, holds great meaning for Hannah. “With the influx of media coverage of Black women going missing, being murdered, and the lack of care there is for Black women in general, both within this country and the world, I wanted to dedicate a song to it,” she says. “I kept the lyric brief, writing ‘You could take my bones and place them home, they won’t find out’ because I felt those words spoke enough to the situation.”
“Sundown” was the first song that helped Hannah realize that music could be a way to express what she was otherwise unable to articulate.“‘Sundown’ takes place when I was a junior in high school and I decided to write a song about how I was feeling at the time,” she says. “I was exhausted from schoolwork, extracurricular activities, college-prep, and overall life of being a pre-college teen. ‘Sundown’ was a way for me to express thoughts I’d kept to myself.” She continues, “Sonically, this song is layered with many different background vocals, uses of reverb, chorus and pitch shift. It’s very telling of the music I was consuming at the moment.”
“‘Think Too Much’ is the only song that I’d written with the intent of putting it on an EP,” Hannah says. “I was challenging myself to make a song that was high energy, fun, and a ‘bop.’ At the time, I remember listening to a lot of Dayglow, Jean Dawson, and Winnetka Bowling League, and thinking to myself, ‘These people are making such catchy and fun songs without even trying.’ Then I thought to myself, ‘You’re overthinking this.’ I asked all my friends what they thought about ‘too much,’ compiled their responses, chose some fun chords and rhythms inspired by Snail Mail and Phoenix, and went to work.”
The title track “What Is Going On?” was a rewrite of a past demo she had originally posted to Soundcloud. The song talks about the sort of confusion that comes with the infatuation you can have for someone. “It’s very much my only attempt at an anthem for teenage love,’’ laughs Hannah. “When I had originally posted the demo, people really loved it. However, there wasn’t much of a story to tell. So eventually I took it down until I had an experience that inspired me. I FaceTimed my sister about it, and she encouraged me to practically rewrite the whole song. In terms of the production side, I wanted to tap into the rockstar in me, heavily influenced by Clairo/Rostam, Deb Never, and Beabadoobee. This song was definitely my favorite to produce.”
“Bleep Bloop” was written during Hannah’s first semester of senior year. “I couldn’t seem to sleep one night, so I just grabbed my guitar and started singing/playing what came to mind. Most of the lyrics blossomed out of a singular freestyle without much premeditation,” she says. “The song both acknowledges and battles with the idea that we as young people are often expected to just ‘deal with it,’ and the lack of awareness for our mental health. While I feel that I am very privileged, I still think it’s okay to not feel good, and be able to talk about it. The production on this track is sort of an homage to Dijon’s ‘Nico’s Red Truck,’ a song I was super obsessed with at the time. I was also listening to a lot of SZA’s ‘20 Something’ and Frank Ocean.”
Hannah concludes, “What Is Going On? will always be special to me. It represents my first project, and it’s full of my thoughts and emotions during my own personal experiences, and also what was happening in the world. It truly is like seeing through my exterior, and getting to know me over the past few years, in just a matter of 30 minutes.”
What Is Going On? strikes us as pretty special, too. Same with Hannah. And all that is plainly obvious in just a matter of 30 minutes.
What people are saying about Hannah Jadagu: “She does a great job of expressing a sense of being trapped in a loop of negative thoughts (“why does it feel like I’m digging a hole?”) while keeping the music light and breezy.” [“Think Too Much” / “20 Best Rock Songs Right Now”] - The FADER
“Jadagu’s songs have an inherently chill quality that feel almost effortless.” - Dallas Observer
“A colorful dose of sweet, soaring psych and folk seems to coalesce into its own new genre… “Think Too Much” is intimate, but feels like it was always meant to be shared not with a diary, but a full audience: Jadagu’s dazzling performance is underscored by haunting lyrics that delve into one’s inner demons, uncertainties, and self-doubts – and an ethereal, catchy chorus all about overcoming these obstacles.” - Atwood Magazine
“Will delight your ears and …will warm your heart.” [“Think Too Much”] - Closed Captioned
“The track spans just under 3 minutes long and it captures a rosy, youthful wonder. Jadagu’s dreamy vocals paired with the lo-fi instrumentation gives “Think Too Much” a light bedroom pop haze. There’s a feelgood nature to the track, especially with its jangly guitars and upbeat bounce.” [“Think Too Much”] - Abduction Radiation
“Invitingly-vernal and open-hearted…” [“Think Too Much”] - The Autumn Roses
“The near 3-minute track begins with melodic guitar strumming before light drums kick in and give the song the feeling of a great summer pop tune. As Jadagu’s soft, gorgeous voice swears “It’s all in your head,” backing vocals from a group falsetto choir bring the song’s energy to life even more. The video for “Think Too Much” was directed Cameron Livesey and features Jadagu and a group of friends wander through a city-scape of bridges, trains and streets, singing along to the positive tune.” [“Think Too Much”] - MXDWN
“[A] brilliant letter of introduction…” [“Think Too Much”] - Binaural
Hannah Jadagu What Is Going On?
Tracklisting: 1. My Bones 2. Sundown 3. Think Too Much 4. What Is Going On? 5. Bleep Bloop
Today, Flock of Dimes (aka Jenn Wasner) is sharing the official video for “Hard Way,” directedby Lachlan Turczan. “Hard Way” is another standout from Wasner’s second solo LP, Head of Roses, an album that showcases her ability to embrace new levels of vulnerability, honesty and openness, combined with the self-assuredness that comes with a decade-plus career as a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and prolific collaborator.
In the video – which was shot in Joshua Tree, CA, outside in the freezing dark on a windy winter’s night – Wasner’s face acts as a canvas for an array of pulsing patterns of light. It turns something as straightforward as a first-person delivery into something deeper and more disorienting than it first appears.
Wasner says of the song, “Although I didn’t fully understand when I wrote it, this song is an example of the power of the subconscious mind to hide truths from ourselves that we’re not yet ready to see. When I wrote this song I was still in the throes of new love, and I thought I was writing a straightforward, earnest love song. But when I tried to record it, something about the tone of it was eerie, strange, a bit darker than I would have expected. It wasn’t until long after I wrote it that I became aware of its odd foreshadowing of what was to come—that something I intended to be bright and hopeful in the moment was floating on top of a deep current of unease.”
Head of Roses, and singles “Two” and “Price of Blue,” have seen praise from outlets like The Guardian, who say, “Her solo album out in April is superb. This sweetly shuffling [“Two”] is so rich in charm.” The New York Times had this to say, ‘Can I be one? Can we be two?’ Jenn Wasner asks on her stirring new single…‘Two’ is driven by an irregular beat, as if to mirror the hesitant questioning of its lyrics. Even when she’s being somber or ruminative, Wasner has a touch of gallows humor, as when she muses memorably, ‘We’re all just wearing bodies like a costume til we die.’” Stereogum offers this, “Between the restrained LIke So Much Desire EP last year and the bubbly, infectious ‘Two,’ the lead single from her forthcoming album Head of Roses, it’s become clear that Flock Of Dimes has room for whatever songs Wasner wants to write and whatever stories she wants to tell. So that brings us to “Price of Blue,” a breakup reckoning that finds Wasner tapping into the autumnal, reflective rock sound that’s always been such a mesmerizing side of her songwriting.” Meanwhile, PASTE calls “Price of Blue” a “six-minute masterpiece of psychedelic guitar riffs and haunting vocal…,” and Guitar World raves, “Jenn Wasner is a bewitching guitarist… Head of Roses will find Wasner elevating her already otherworldly playing to new heights.”
Flock of Dimes’ Head of Roses, which features “Two,” “Price of Blue,” “Hard Way,” and “One More Hour,” will be available on CD/CS/DSPs on April 2nd, 2021, and on LP April 30th, 2021. The album was produced by Nick Sanborn (Sylvan Esso) and Wasner at Betty’s in Chapel Hill, NC, engineered by Bella Blasko with additional engineering by Sanborn, mixed by Ari Picker and Blasko, and mastered by Huntley Miller. The album features appearances from guitarist Meg Duffy, Bon Iver’s Matt McCaughan, Wye Oak’s Andy Stack, and Landlady’s Adam Schatz. Head of Roses follows the release of Like So Much Desire, her acclaimed digital EP released June 2020 on Sub Pop.
“Wasner sounds stunning here as she sways between swaths of keys and bursts of tone.” [‘Two”] - Closed Captioned
“A bright, gauzy song awash in clarity and the desire for connection” [‘Two”] - Indy Week
“…Her robust delivery is accompanied by lush meadows of harmonies.” [“Price of Blue”] - Consequence of Sound
“She digs deep and takes you on the journey through a sound as immense as it is engaging.” [“Price of Blue”] - Closed Captioned
“‘Price of Blue’ sees Wasner’s dreamy vocals on a pivot toward a more rock-oriented sound compared to “Two”. This six-minute composition sees Flock of Dimes at her most vulnerable, over a distorted guitar, including an impressive guitar solo.” [“Price of Blue”] - MXDWN
“‘…Be ready to keep this one on repeat as you absorb its intensity and brilliance.” [“Price of Blue”] - The Revue
Flock of Dimes Head of Roses Tracklisting: 1. 2 Heads 2. Price of Blue 3. Two 4. Hard Way 5. Walking 6. Lightning 7. One More Hour 8. No Question 9. Awake for the Sunrise 10. Head of Roses
Written and recorded during the 2017 Strange Peace sessions with Steve Albini, these two beloved offerings, initially left on the cutting room floor, were revisited, reworked, and ultimately reinvigorated during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. With “Acid” and “Slow Decay” the Canadian trio continue to break new ground while honing their ever-evolving, nuanced approach to pummeling rhythms and off-kilter melodies. The band describes “Acid” as, “…a song about having a fresh perspective, a newly widened outlook on the world and one’s life. Being shaken awake from a malaise and realizing there is no time for petty bullshit. Love what you love, love who you love! Embrace it and don’t wait.” Indeed, a fresh perspective and a sense of urgency is something METZ always manages to offer. These two songs are available physically on a 7” from Three One G, limited to 1,000 copies, with one side of the vinyl custom printed by The Black Moon Design, and featuring cover art by Jonathan Bauerle. Both songs are also now available for streaming and download from Sub Pop.
On April 30th, 2021, Sub Pop will release Indian Yard, the debut record from Sitka, Alaska project Ya Tseen.
Indian Yard is an intense illumination of feeling and interconnectedness. Following the group’s debut offering, “Close the Distance”, comes the new single and stop-motion animated official video for “Knives.” Directed by Carlos Cruz at Dos Dios productions, the song features guest vocals from Portugal. The Man frontman, John Baldwin Gourley. As described by the group’s frontman, Nicholas Galanin “Knives is a love song about softening a calloused heart and experiencing the edge of magnetic desire, romantic connection, vulnerability, and risk that love opens us up to.”
There will also be a North American deluxe edition on clear vinyl available for preorder in the coming weeks. The deluxe packaging will include a 24-page hardcover LP-sized book with covers featuring a sci-fi landscape populated by a toddler-wearing artist Merritt Johnson’s sculpture Mindset, a VR headset woven from sweetgrass. The interior art was designed by Galanin. This deluxe edition will be available while supplies last.
Ya Tseen Indian Yard
Tracklisting: 1. Knives (feat. Portugal. The Man) 2. Light the Torch 3. Born into Rain (feat. rum.gold and tunia) 4. At Tugáni 5. Get Yourself Together 6. Close the Distance 7. We Just Sit and Smile Here in Silence 8. A Feeling Undefined (feat. Nick Hakim and Iska Dhaaf) 9. Synthetic Gods (feat. Shabazz Palaces and Stas THEE Boss) 10. Gently to the Sun (feat. Tay Sean) 11. Back in That Time (feat. Qacung)
The famed Jeff Tweedy, Nairobi techno-punk-metallers Duma, and the Pacific NW’s own BNH Deluxe will join John Waters, LIDS, Sheltered Workshop Singers, and more TBA in releasing singles as part of the Sub Pop Singles Club Vol. 6. The Singles Club Vol. 6 continues Sub Pop’s habit of sporadically releasing series of limited-edition, subscription-only 7” singles by artists that we, and hopefully you, like. Subscribe now because these 7”s will be limited to a mere 1,000 copies, and once they are gone, they are gone forever!