After toiling in the digital ether of Soundcloud for a time, 21-year-old singer-songwriter Kayla Le has emerged as Sailor Goon. Le tastefully deploys her agile and powerful voice, hurdling over the mixes of 100-meter-dash-length joints like "Josephine" and "Just For Me."
For "Persian Rugs," Le enlisted multi-instrumentalists and producers Glenn Michael Van Dyke (Boytoy) and Lena Simon (La Luz); the trio intricately knits pop, R&B and psychedelia, as Le offers a thousand-plus thread count of blunted navel-gazing ("Maybe my mind's gone / but believe my heart's with you / I'm smokin' too much / tied it to my youth") over a relentless bass vamp, minimalist drum samples and restrained atmospherics.
When it came time to harvest their latest psych-pop crop under the moniker LANNDS, singer-guitarist Rania Woodard and multi-instrumentalist Brian Squillace decamped to the mountains of North Carolina — a decidedly rustic locale for such a seemingly modern project. Their latest, "In the Garden," highlights Woodard and Squillace's electronic umami, with atmospheric synths rooted by earthy samples foraged from nature (harmonies provided by birds, auxiliary percussion by tree branches). Buoyed by Woodard's reverb-drenched guitar melodies and tripped-out vocals, "In the Garden" is a richly textured meditation on death and rebirth, and a perfect microdose of LANNDS' euphonious (and increasingly potent) psilocybin.
If summers are made for stories of fleeting love, "When You Wake Up" — the delightfully languid debut of Jacksonville, Fla.-based indie artist Matilda Phan, aka Leo Sun — is a commentary on the resilience needed to soak it all in, the good and the bad. "I don't think I could have tried it any harder / It breaks my heart that we couldn't have gone any farther," Phan casually flutters over an onshore breeze of pedal steel guitar and a late-afternoon shower of auxiliary percussion. Rather than tackling evanescent romance, Phan gently embraces it with steely resolve, encouraging their love interest to "Check if your heart's had enough when you wake up." In so doing, they've reimagined the summer jam for the emotionally intelligent.