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Honest Intentions

Edition #53 features honest tunes by Moonpools, Alex the Astronaut, benzii, Pet Owner, and Royal Republic.

Moonpools. Photo: Colette Meyer

In today's Weekly5, a diverse bouquet awaits you—stretching from violent techno beats to yearning indie melancholia and mindless rock'n'roll vibes. But despite all the pain, optimism, and irony these five featured tracks throw your way, all of them are also radically honest with you.

So, you will find acceptance and empowerment with the Moonpools, benzii, or Alex the Astronaut. You might reflect on Pet Owner's message. Or simply don't care about anything but mindless fun with the Royal Republic's latest explosion.

I wish you an inspiring day,

Moonpools – Damaged Goods

Founded in 2016 by Marcie Nyffeler (voice, guitar), Jasper Nyffeler (drums) and Francesco Vona (synths) and completed a year later with Matthias Gusset (guitar) and  David Blum (bass), the Swiss band Moonpools still resides in relative obscurity. Still, the signs are there that this is about to change.

In August, Moonpools will release a new EP, Damaged Goods. The namesake single demonstrates promising potential. The song flows between the vast synthesizer lines and the roughness of the guitars, contrasted by Marcie Nyffeler's dreamy and intimate voice. She explains the song's roots:

The song was written at a time in my life when I felt like I was wandering around without any goals or ambitions. That feeling hasn't necessarily gone away, but I try not to judge myself for it anymore. Every person is kind of lost in one way or another, and that's ok.

Damaged Goods makes lostness and confusion sound astonishingly energetic and hopeful.

benzii – Skip a Beat

The 20-year-old artist from Berlin is a frequent flyer in Weekly5. Last year, benzii convinced me with Commodity and Butterflies. She followed up with Tsunami in April, a track dominated by flickering electronic playfulness rather than stomping beats.

However, with her latest single, Skip a Beat, benzii again ups the game of her exuberant sound. Maybe more apparent than ever, benzii stretches out an ample space between techno and pop music. The contrast between earthquake beats and the yearning for harmonic melodies tells the story of anxiety, depression, and the impending flight into ecstasy.

Almost lost in this sonic void, benzii pleads, suffers, and encourages herself and maybe also those who listen. As already demonstrated in the previous singles, Skip a Beat is an explosive, somewhat overwhelming fusion of sounds. But the intimacy, despite the sonic violence, remains repeating amazement.

Alex the Astronaut – Haircut

Quirky and slightly punkish—that's the essence of Haircut, the latest single release by Australian Alex the Astronaut. A radical haircut inspired the 27-year-old singer-songwriter for a charitable purpose.

Driven by a whirling acoustic guitar, supplemented by epic strings, Haircut is a song that grows from simplicity to orchestral dimensions. It's a hymn to personal growth despite the obstacles needed to overcome in our harsh reality. Haircut is erupting in positivity and hope like a volcano of euphoria.

Cause since I cut my hair I've been feeling so much better
It was more than that
Now the mirror looks back
And I feel like who I am supposed to
Do you know that feeling?
Like the lights are up and you're the best thing they've seen ever

It almost hurts physically to withdraw from the song's cheerful power. The sound's optimism is rounded up by Alex the Astronaut's empathetic songwriting and her ability to find inspiration and larger meaning in everyday moments.

Pet Owner – Hysterical

Lea Mathis, aka Pet Owner, has released her debut track, Hysterical. The Swiss singer-songwriter displays her skills: a velvety voice accompanies urging artificial drum beats, jangly guitars, drifting synthesizers, and odd soundbites. Together, they create a dense composition that feels like bathing in cotton candy.

However, Hysterical may mislead you with its shimmering and colourful dream world. In fact, Pet Owner hides criticism in her poetic-cryptic lyrics. In the song, Mathis thinks about our treatment of nature.

But Hysterical isn't your usual moralistic manifest. Instead, Pet Owner debates the ongoing climate crisis with self-irony. The song's last line: "I didn't have time / to put it nicely", – it's a confession and the usual excuse.

Royal Republic – Diggin' It

Pop music has a bad reputation for being superficial. But what's wrong with simplicity for the sake of it? And the Swedish garage rock band Royal Republic successfully made a career out of it. Their sparkling, breathless rock is a guarantee for sweating bodies and flying hair.

Their latest track, Diggin' It, is a wild rollercoaster ride about the beautiful triviality called sex. Obviously. It all starts with a cool and straightforward groove in the verses, but as soon as the chorus hits, they escalate drastically. However, nothing prepares you for the insanity that is the keyboard solos.

In the end, there's no way around the fact that Royal Republic's Diggin' It is a perfect example of party rock. A thing that in itself could be pretty cringeworthy. But Diggin' It is also hilariously self-aware, and Royal Republic do not take themselves too seriously. They don't care; they just want to have a good time and take you along. Sometimes, you just need this effortless fun.

Check out the recommended songs in the playlists on Spotify or Apple Music. Also, follow Weekly5 on Bandcamp and buy the tracks if available.