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Arts & Culture

5 songs for September

Mexico-based artist Silvana Estrada is shown in an undated photo.
Thaís Varela
Mexico-based artist Silvana Estrada is shown in an undated photo.

We're listening to new music from San Diego locals Nite Lapse, Thee Sacred Souls and Julianna Zachariou, plus touring artists Silvana Estrada and Sudan Archives.

Our periodic "5 songs" series showcases recent tracks from regional musicians as well as new releases from touring acts coming through town this month. Listen to each song using the embedded players below, or you can also find a playlist of these tracks on Spotify here.

Nite Lapse: 'Nonchalant'

Hailing from Chula Vista and Tijuana, Nite Lapse has a new album due out this Friday, "Nonchalant." Their record release show is Friday, Sept. 2 at Soda Bar, with Jara, Lee Wires and The Fazes supporting.

The titular track, "Nonchalant," is as chill as it is danceable, with layered vocals, a driving bass line and unexpected percussion. Their 2018 EP "Ride With You" has a synthy groove and is solidly cohesive end-to-end, so I look forward to the rest of this new album.


Silvana Estrada: 'Brindo'

The daughter of two luthiers from Veracruz, Mexico, singer-songwriter Silvana Estrada is inspired by jazz and Latin American folk. Her latest single is "Brindo," which translates from Spanish into a toast, a little like saying "here's to" something. The songwriting is downright enchanting — swirling with a folk-style narrative as our character toasts to a stunningly vast, borderline ethereal set of blessings and suggestions of connections and loves.

"Brindo por la simple idea del viento / Luchando contra un viejo temporal / Brindo por la gente que nos salva / En cada beso lento y de verdad."

"Here's to the simple idea of ​​the wind / Fighting an old storm / Here's to the people who save us / In each slow and true kiss."

Estrada's voice is flawless — somehow both piercing and soft — and her only musical accompaniment is her Venezuelan cuatro, a small, guitar-style instrument with four strings instead of six, but still carrying a full-bodied sound.

She performs at the Magnolia in El Cajon on Sept. 22, opening for Iron & Wine and Andrew Bird— part of their co-headlining tour, "Outside Problems." For a little taste of what you might get after Estrada's set, watch Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) and Bird perform "Upward Over the Mountain" in Yosemite National Park. Or check out their NPR Tiny Desk Concert from a few weeks ago.


Thee Sacred Souls: 'Lady Love'

Local "soul-dies" act Thee Sacred Souls just released their long-awaited self-titled debut album last week on Daptone Records. The album's second track (after the relatively familiar "Can I Call You Rose?") is "Lady Love," something new. It's wistful and sad — after a lover's departure, the narrator declares "If ever I was given a second shot of true love, girl I'd take it (you, only you)."

As with most everything from Thee Sacred Souls, the tune feels timeless — even down to the classic key change halfway through. They're heading out on a U.S. and European tour this fall, so tell your friends in other cities all about these San Diego stars (though chances are they probably already know).

Julianna Zachariou: 'California Fire'

San Diego folk-rocker Julianna Zachariou just released her full-length album, "Hero of Your Heart" in August. The album is packed with Zachariou's indie, pop, rock, Americana and folk style. It's a brew of relatable tracks that speak to what it means to be human — troubled, heady and heartfelt stories wrapped up in songs.

A standout track is "California Fire" — maybe because it's September and fire season looms heavily above us in the west, but it's also a beautiful, pensive tune with a rocking edge. Zacchariou is also set to depart on a U.S. tour soon, supporting Jordy Searcy.

Sudan Archives: 'Selfish Soul'

The incomparable violinist, indie-pop singer, performer, songwriter and producer Sudan Archives will release a new album, "Natural Brown Prom Queen," on Sept. 9.

Otherwise known as Brittney Parks, the multi-talented, Los Angeles-based artist has spent her relatively young career so far creating interesting, poetic, boundary-pushing music and the singles released so far from "Natural Brown Prom Queen" are exquisitely-produced, dance-tinged bangers.

"Selfish Soul" is one of the recent singles from the forthcoming album, and it's a complex, powerful song about her hair, Black hair, diverse beauty, womanhood and self-acceptance. The track is equal parts struggle and uncertainty alongside absolute triumphant joy.

I also love her latest single, "NBPQ (Topless)" — though be prepared for a mildly risque repeated phrase.

Sudan Archives will play the Belly Up Sept. 24.

Find a Spotify playlist of these tracks here. For more playlists, follow KPBS on Spotify.