WFNM Roundup #8 – MyKey, NGHTMRE & Pell, Gabrielle Marlena, XLVR

MyKey just released his upbeat new single “Runaway”. Starting full of energy, an acoustic guitar and kick drives the verse full-speed as MyKey’s smooth vocals float above it all. The chorus is infectiously catchy with awesome vocal layers and clever lyrics. It’s great that the post-chorus drops into half-time to change up the overall vibe and add a fresh rhythmic energy to the song. A solid new single from an artist you should certainly keep an eye on!

NGHTMRE & Pell have just released a couplet EP called “Magic Hour”. Comprised of “Swiss” & “Lights Low”, this EP highlights the skills & distinct stylistic abilities of these two versatile artists. “Swiss” has a heavy beat, awesome atmospheric sound design, and tight rhythmic verses delivered perfectly. It grooves energetically in a way that feels fresh in its overall vibe. “Lights Low” slows things down a bit, starting cinematically (the intro reminded me of old detective films), before dropping into a beat that feels like a mellow jam. The chorus is impossibly smooth with a tongue-in-cheek kind of confidence. Again the verses are tightly written with clever wordplay and expertly executed internal rhymes. It’s an impressive collaboration and awesome EP from two masters of their craft!

“Mississippi” by Gabrielle Marlena gripped me with its patience & kept me hooked with its candid lyricism. Gabrielle’s voice is unique, both in her soulful performance and the unaffected (dry) vocal production. The lyrics and performance are both incredibly candid to the point where it feels like she’s there in the room with you telling a story that meant a lot to her. “Mississippi” comes off her recently released EP “Easier Love” and I recommend the EP for anyone who feels personally affected by this song.

“She” by XLVR is an awesome summer jam that immediately gets you grooving. With a clear 80’s influence (or influenced by bands born of 2010’s-80’s-re-emergence), this song has a beat full of motion, complete with wailing guitar lines, synth leads, and huge electronic toms. The vocals are dynamic with writing that’s clever, rhythmic, and full of hooks. Also, there’s a modulation in the last chorus that’s just awesome (I genuinely miss modulations in pop music as a whole). This is a song that belongs on your summer playlist!

Nathan Irving
Nathan Irving (aka Nate Flaks) is a writer for WFNM & 1/2 of the electronic indie-pop duo Sleeping Lion.