Today's Songs are "Maggie Gyllenhaal” by WRENN, "Ceremony" by Silver Girl, and "Cool"by Justy". Written by Jackie Bartholome.
WRENN - "Maggie Gyllenhaal”
WRENN is an L.A. musical project that singer/songwriter Zoe Mirkovich started as a teenager. I’ve seen their music described as many things: grunge/emo/alt/folk/dream/ retro-pop rock. Needless to say, WRENN’s sound is versatile and has a wide-range of appeal. You’ll hear anything from delicate, emotional slow-burns—with just Mirkovich’s voice and electric guitar—to loud, playful, full-band jams. Their music echoes some elements of the 90s grunge-rock music scene, but with a modern-pop twist. WRENN has been recognized by some big name publications, like Billboard and LADYGUNN, and has also been featured on some notable Spotify playlists, like “Fierce Femmes.” More recently though, Zoe has created quite an audience on TikTok, with over 1 million followers.
In fact, TikTok had a lot of influence on the making of her latest release, “Maggie Gyllenhaal.” Mirkovich explains, “I wrote this song after I got on TikTok for the first time & saw the resurgence of 90’s fashion that's been completely taking over. I've been so inspired by that community lately & wanted to create an anthem that feels the way this new aesthetic feels. A reflection of the old, with a passion for the new.” When thinking about how tough this year has been, it makes sense that the nostalgic feelings of the past have been amplified, and so has the nostalgia written into WRENN’s music. “Maggie Gyllenhaal” is layered with a simple pop beat, a driving bass line, distorted guitar, a soft synth line, and WRENN’s dulcet voice. The chorus is so catchy, you’ll find yourself singing the tune long after listening. There’s a lot of hype and anticipation surrounding WRENN’s future work, and I have the feeling it’s going to be epic. Listen to “Maggie Gyllenhaal” here.
Silver Girl - “Ceremony"
Silver Girl is a KC-based collaboration with singer/songwriter Chloe Jacobson and producer Jared Logan. The two met when Jacobson was in high school, and enrolled in Logan’s music production class. Together, their music blends elements of lofi hip-hop (rooted in Logan’s bass-heavy percussion) and indie-pop (evident in airy, synth progressions and Jacobson’s lilt vocals). In 2018, Jacobson released her first solo, folk album, “Frozen Fruit,” but her work in Silver Girl showcases a different musicianship. When I reached out to Jacobson and asked how she has developed musically within this collaboration, she says, “…it has definitely not been in a linear way. The things I have written and recorded in the last few years have been all over the board… I still really do not know what kind of artist I am or am supposed to be.” Nonetheless, she hopes to continue challenging herself and trying new sounds. Silver Girl’s self-titled EP was released last month and features 7 tracks, seemingly about Jacobson’s personal experiences and emotions: a somber love letter to her hometown of San Jose, feeling utterly low and yearning to feel better—the latter experience referring to my favorite song, “Ceremony.”
‘“Ceremony” is the last track off the EP and there’s a reason for that. It’s the crescendo of skill, energy, and emotion that’s been laid out and built up in each prior song. There’s a beautiful blend of sounds: a heavy bass beat, ambient synthesizers, the piano almost playing in it’s own time. Jacobson’s rising and falling melodies are dizzying and her lyrics are ethereal: “Wake up my darling. The sky is blushing in ceremony to visions of glory.” Jacobson said she wrote the song during a low point and “an absolutely desperate desire for bliss. And for relief.” I think that’s exactly what listeners will feel when listening to the track—a sense of bliss, warmth, and freedom. As for what’s next, Jacobson says definitely more Silver Girl to come, and more of her solo work. You can bet you’ll hear something unexpected. Check out to “Ceremony” here.
Justy - “Cool”
I could play Justy’s music no matter what mood I’m in. Her low-key, easygoing vibe invites you to listen, and requires no auditory stretching to enjoy. Justy was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Staten Island, where she started writing music at 12 years-old. Her work combines elements of R&B, hip-hop, and jazz, and is influenced by artists like Lauryn Hill, J Dilla, and Noname. This past year, Justy has certainly established strong roots as an independent artist, with the release of her debut EP, “Soul Food, the Precede,” followed by a string of singles, including one of my favorites, “Expectations.”
Her latest single, titled “Cool,” dropping on September 10th, definitely lives up to its name. In it, you’ll hear an old school boom-bap beat, soft sax, and simple jazz guitar riffs that all fuse together perfectly with her soft, breathy vocals and harmonies. Lyrically, “Cool” is about staying true to who you are and being uncompromising when it means diminishing yourself. This message speaks volumes in today’s climate, where so many of our social interactions occur online, and it’s easy to portray a one-dimensional version of ourselves, to stay quiet about what we think is right, or question information. “Cool” is a refreshing reminder of that. This track will also be featured on her next album, due out next year. I’ll anxiously await to hear what ideas and sounds Justy will deliver, but until then, listen to “Cool” here.