Song Spotlights: Local tunes to feed your ears | Pittsburgh City Paper

Song Spotlights: Local tunes to feed your ears

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Photo: Shervin Lainez
Brooke Annibale

Fall (pun very much intended) in love with these new-ish local music releases.

Brooke Annibale — "Be Around"

Ahead of her new album Better By Now, set to drop Fri., Sept. 30, local folk singer Brooke Annibale recently shared the LP’s final single “Be Around,” a hazy indie-pop tune that follows “What if You,” “5 AM,” and the title track, “Better By Now.” The four songs preview the new sonic direction Annibale is heading, one that’s more pop-leaning than ever before, and one which she describes as a “spectrum of emotions.”

“The album is basically half about falling in love and half about mental health,” she says. 

“Be Around,” for example, uses a simpler thematic approach and pop sensibilities to create a swelling, captivating tune. Annibale adds more layers of sound that swirl together as the song progresses and carries you away on its cloud of synths, keys, guitar, and airy vocals.

Zack Keim — “Canyon”

Fall may be right around the corner, but “Canyon” by Zack Keim is a tune that will have you rolling down the windows, turning the volume all the way up, and reveling in bright, light-filled days. Apparently, the ear-worm-inducing hook where Keim sings “Cannn-yooon” was born while he was making food deliveries in Washington, D.C.

“I was delivering Uber Eats, and I wrote that on my phone — just a voice memo,” Keim says.

The bubbly pop tune is sunshine in a bottle, as infectious as it is upbeat. If an impromptu road trip happens after listening to “Canyon,” I don’t blame you …

Jack Swing — “Into the Sun”

“I’m tired / The kid inside me is getting old,” lead vocalist Isaiah Ross sings in Jack Swing’s latest release. The buoyant rock song reminds us to find pleasure in the little things in life, and try, if we can, to become less jaded and bogged down by unnecessary pressures.

“‘Into the Sun’ is set within the parameters of the harsh realities that we have imposed upon ourselves, those which we all face the consequences of, whether or not choose to believe in them,” Ross told Afro Punk when the single premiered earlier this year. “As we all collectively fall ‘Into the Sun,’ the song serves to remind us to shrug off the trivial and find moments to enjoy the beauty around us. And in such times looking towards and learning from elements around us that have stood the test of time.”

Recommended Throwback:

Notorious Bastards — “Get Loose II”

OK, throwback might not be the right word. “Get Loose II” is from Notorious Bastards’ 2020 LP Trifecta. But the track feels like it time hopped out of the ’90s hip-hop era and made a baby with Run the Jewels.