Norwegian musician, Thea Wang, enters the collective musical consciousness with the lead single “I Wrote You Letters” off her debut album While He Is Still Asleep.
Pulling from pop stars of old, it’s the kind of single that feels vintage in the vocals (in a 1950’s and 60’s jazz sort of way), while the melancholy strikes of an ethereal piano dance around in the background. Imagine if Billie Holiday’s vocals were featured on a musical track written Lorde and you’ll find the approximate mix of ideas that Wang is playing with.
Part of the vintage feel comes from the very notion of writing a letter, which has fallen out of common practice in our digital age, but it also gives the song a romantic feel yearns for a past moment. So, Wang hits the nail on the head when it comes to the cohesive construction of the song by merging the old with the new in a way that is warm and welcoming.
As part of the album, which was fully released on September 9, it acts as a reprise of the introductory track, which is more of a tease of what’s to come. In many ways, it feels like the through line or tether of the album which makes for a satisfying listening experience. It’s gentle and airy the whole way through as it gives off thoughtful glow through the melodic vocals which paves the way forward in this dream-like world Wang has made.
“I Wrote You Letters” is available now on major streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music. Find this and more great music on the Alchemical Records Multigenre Mixture playlist on Spotify.
Charlie Maybee is a dancer, musician, educator, and writer based in Charleston, South Carolina who currently teaches with the Dance Program at the College of Charleston. His primary work as an artist is with his performing collective, Polymath Performance Project, through which he makes interdisciplinary performance art that centers tap dance as the primary medium of expression and research. He also currently plays rhythm guitar for the Charleston-based punk band, Anergy, and releases music as a solo artist under the name Nox Eterna.
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Soft Punch, aka Rye Thomas, of Washington D.C. released his debut album, Above Water on September 15th, after years of working on it.
The album is a labor of love that Soft Punch, the stage name of Rye Thomas, has been working on for years since the diagnosis of his chronic illness. It takes you through the highs and lows, mourning the freedom lost, and celebrating the things that he is grateful for in his day to day life. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk to him about his process of writing the album.
The titles of albums are the first thing that an artist sees. That, and the artist’s name. When I first heard the name ‘Soft Punch’, I was intrigued. It was gentle but intentional. “I don’t know if I had a specific ‘A-ha, Lightbulb’ moment, but I was interested in words that sound good together and have multiple meanings,” Thomas said. “It’s a gentle hit, and a nonalcoholic punch. It’s the image of something harsh and something soft is interesting to me. I think I lucked out.”