My apologies for the lack of a column last week. While I do love autumn, the change of temperature causes my entire body to rebel against me for about a week every year. I guess that’s just the price I have to pay for this lovely time of year, and I am willing to pay it. We’ve got a lot of exciting things planned for you this week, from beloved features returning to interviews with cool people and some new faces joining the Substream mix. I hope you take the time to check out each and every one of these things, because I can tell you everyone here puts their all into everything they do. We sincerely hope you enjoy all of it. Let’s get into this week’s Take 5.

Chandler Juliet – Take it or Leave it

Chandler Juliet has been somewhat of a musical chameleon to begin her career, moving between genres and sounds at will. On her latest release “Take it or Leave it,” she’s putting a little bit of bite into the mix. There are still many pop elements, the pulsing beat chief amongst them. And while Juliet has used guitars before, never have they carried such a heavy tone as they do here. That tone matches her energy, as she is fully fed up in the lyrics. It seems there’s been someone brushing her off and wasting her time, something she will not let stand. That frustration comes through in her voice and the music, but the track still retains a catchiness that makes it worthy of many repeat listens. Don’t waste Chandler Juliet’s time, but do give “Take it or Leave it” as many listens as you need to.

Never Loved – Down

Learning that someone you’ve given your time to doesn’t have your best interests at heart is tough. You give so much of yourself to them, but there’s no reciprocation. South Florida’s Never Loved are feeling that pain on recent release “Down.” Naturally, frontman Camm Knopp is not thrilled with this, and lets a bit of growl into his voice at times. Still, this is no grim and gritty song. The guitar hooks here are tinged by distortion, but they’re definitely designed to get your foot tapping. There’s a good sense of momentum here, with the band knowing when to pull back and let the instrumental breathe a little bit before crashing back into it with full might. Even if you are feeling low, “Down” and Never Loved will work to bring you back up.

J. Marco – Fool’s Game

I don’t need to tell you gluing yourself to social media 24/7 is bad for you. There are numerous studies to tell you that. Nashville’s J. Marco is also here to tell you about it on his new track “Fool’s Game.” The track is quite atmospheric, with a throwback guitar driven-sound that oozes coolness (especially the short guitar solo). At the same time, there’s a slightly darker tone to it, as this is a cautionary tale of sorts. The fool’s game here is getting too caught up in what we project online as opposed to what we’re really feeling, a problem J. Marco clearly feels strongly about. This track is his way of urging us to look up sometimes and reach out to the world around us, and the message is well received. Stream J. Marco’s “Fool’s Game,” but then think about putting down your phone for a bit.

Chelsea Cutler – You Are Losing Me

It seems the theme of this Take 5 up to this point is seeing and valuing your own worth, and that trend continues here. Chelsea Cutler has been wowing me recently with her blend of dreamy pop sound and good writing, and new track “You Are Losing Me” is no exception. The synths and vocal samples bob through the track, with just enough percussion to keep the track moving. Cutler’s voice is light and airy, which fits perfectly with the sound of the track. As you might be able to tell from the title, “You Are Losing Me” finds wishing she could salvage a love she’s feeling, but recognizing that it’s not going to work out. There’s regret there, but Cutler is firm in letting this person know they’ve missed out by messing up. It’s that acknowledgment of her own worth while still allowing herself to be sad is the kind of nuance and expertise that makes Cutler’s writing shine. She’s still going strong in 2019 with “You Are Losing Me.”

Noah Cyrus – Lonely

Miley has been in the music news recently for her star-studded team-up, but Noah Cyrus has plenty of vocal talent of her own. Her latest release “Lonely” is a vehicle for her to flex those talents, with the track putting a major focus on her voice. A piano ballad backs her, with plenty of room in between the chords to let Cyrus fill the silence with her song. That song is a frank, open discussion of her feelings of isolation and sadness. Being honest like that can be scary, and Cyrus doing it here is a good thing in that it could very well give others the strength to do it as well. The choir in the background on the hook is a nice touch that makes the song feel bigger, and the short runtime contributes to the direct nature of the message. Feeling alone can be scary, but Noah Cyrus reaches out and connects on “Lonely.”

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