Last week in the intro to Take 5 I talked about going to Record Store Day, and I hope if you went as well you got all the releases you wanted. I’m happy to report I only spent a slightly irresponsible amount of money on records this weekend, so I’m counting it as a win. In other news, if you’re not a regular reader of all of the great features and interviews all the other writers do for Substream, now’s a good time to get on that. There have been a variety of amazing stories recently, from Arbela Capas’ Coachella recap to Molly Hudelson’s amazing talk with Cherry Pools. I work with some amazing people here, so I hope after reading Take 5 this week you poke around the site and check out their work!

Paul McDonald – Wildcard

There are a lot of things I love about Paul McDonald’s song “Wildcard.” The lyrical aspect, about a lover whose whims change from moment to moment are beautiful, capturing the admiration and the occasional bafflement that comes with loving a person like that. McDonald’s laid back guitar playing gives the song a buoyancy that matches the captivating tone of his singing voice. The video is gorgeous, with the filter and the predominately red background creating compelling visuals throughout. The track is an excellent primer for McDonald’s upcoming album Modern Hearts, an album I’m now eager to get my hands on.

Sasha Sloan – Fall

This song technically isn’t new this week. Sasha Sloan released “Fall” earlier this year. That being said, Sloan just signed to RCA and released all of her previous singles as the sad girl EP, so “Fall” received a new release this week and I do what I want so here it is on the list. “Fall” is everything I love about Sloan’s music in one song. It’s relatable and vulnerable at the same time, a tale of finding the strength to let someone into your life only to find out it’s just too late. Sloan plays the piano deftly, the sad notes underscoring this tale of bad timing. Sloan might be a “sad girl,” but with how much her songs resonate with myself and her other fans, there’s comfort in the fact that she and we are not alone in that.

Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry

I will never be able to get enough of Ariana Grande‘s music. I think we all have that one artist that no matter how much our tastes expand in a certain genre, said artist is who we always end up putting on repeat. Grande is that artist for me in the pop genre. To that end, I am already fully in on “No Tears Left To Cry.” Ariana Grande belting the intro to a chorus is always the best Ariana Grande, and the intro to this chorus is everything I could ever want in that aspect. The moments where the instrumental switches up after the first chorus is another highlight for me. While there are many artists out their with sizable vocal range, very few of them use it as well as Grande does on “No Tears Left To Cry.”

Molly Moore – No Stress

No stress is what I want out of my life, although I’m probably closer to 100% stress. Molly Moore’s “No Stress” is everything I want out of an indie-pop song, and I am 100% a fan. What I love about “No Stress” is how many different elements and surprises Moore weaves into the four minute track. The entire thing is built on a shiny electro-pop feel as Moore sings about unwinding. The chorus opens that instrumental up a bit, revealing even more depths. Then, as the video shifts to an old theater, you get a horn that harkens back to big bands of years gone by and adds in another layer to love. I might have a lot of stress, but it goes away when I listen to Molly Moore’s new track.

Courtney Barnett – City Looks Pretty

This is Courtney Barnett‘s second appearance on Take 5, although every track from her album Lotta Sea Lice with Kurt Vile and both previously released tracks from upcoming solo album Tell Me How You Really Feel all could have made the cut. “City Looks Pretty” more than lives up to that standard, as Barnett’s rough around the edges rock sound and storytelling are on full display. Our Arbela Capas pointed it out last week, but the unexpected tempo change that turns a compact and racing track into an extended instrumental breakdown is a wonderful surprise. It’s this kind of clever songwriting and sensible twists that makes Courtney Barnett one of the best at what she does in 2018.


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