Review: With track titles such as "Death Up Close", "Something On Your Mind" and "Shuffling Stoned", it's not going to surprise anyone to learn that Shannon Lay's beautiful long form is a reflective, introverted and tender accomplishment. A place where acoustic guitars regularly lull us into dream-like states of consciousness, the fact you also get a truly stunning voice packing opiate qualities adds to the feeling of escaping into a fantasy. It's not all buttercups and rainbows, mind. And nor should it be. This, after all, is Lay, the guitarist from scuzz-loving LA garage punk quartet Feels, not to mention a solo artist whose last release arrived via a label someone set up especially for her. Those looking for grit will find themselves coming up short, as efforts like "November" prove, this one's vulnerable, thoughtful, heartfelt and comes with more than a wistful longing.
Review: By the time you reach the muffled, eccentric opening bars of "Tenderness", just past halfway on "Anak Ko", Jay Som's remit is clear. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter has left her shoes, or rather shoegaze, behind. This time she's walking barefoot through a lo-fi musical tapestry, baring soles and heartbreak while musing on the importance of self-value. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the head-noddingly agreeable "Nighttime Drive" to the jerking, grunge-y "Peace Out", it's equal parts gorgeous and effortlessly- not to mention breathily- cool, sexy and surprising. Perhaps what's most reassuring, though, is that there's every chance this could all come across as affected and a little too self-aware. Nothing could be further from the truth from what we can hear- an honest work representing the next step in the evolution of a truly exciting American indie talent.