Tired Hearts, the new album from rising indie-pop power trio, BAILEN, delivers a dazzling set of songs that navigates the space between the heart’s expectation and the head’s sober reality. New York based siblings, Daniel, David, and Julia’s second full-length album for Fantasy beats with empathy, vulnerability, and resolve.
At times intricate and playful, measured and elaborate, the 12 original songs on Tired Hearts wrestle with an uncertain future where ethics and morality—both communal and personal—seem to be constantly shifting. Locating one’s compass amidst the chaos—a world-wide pandemic, toxic social media culture, economic insecurity and political turbulence—is at the LP’s core.
Producer Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Waxahatchee, Snail Mail) who, along with the band, co-produced Tired Hearts, helped to expand BAILEN’s ambition beyond what they initially envisioned. “We’d played the last record live a hundred times before recording it, so we tracked a lot of it live,” Daniel explains. “With Brad, we took a collagist’s approach. It freed us up to explore and be sonically adventurous.”
In contrast to the road-tested songs on their accomplished debut LP, 2019’s Thrilled to Be Here produced by John Congleton, many of the songs on Tired Hearts were honed in the studio as opposed to live on tour – “the songs changed so much over the course of recording process,” Julia remarks.
Most noticeably, Cook encouraged the trio to experiment with how they sing. “We deliberately used the more vulnerable parts of our voices,” Julia says. “After not being in the studio for years, we were in vulnerable places, and this record reflects the frustration and tenderness of that time.” “We pushed ourselves lyrically, it’s the most exposed, intimate music we’ve written as a result,” David affirms.
Indeed, BAILEN’s radiant harmonies, spare, synth-driven tracks, and futuristic, ear-catching arrangements usher in Tired Heart’s exhilarating avant-pop evolution. “Shadows,” affectingly captures “the moment you see someone and realize you can spend the rest of your life with them.” “Nothing Left to Give” echoes of HAIM’s sparkling pop, while “These Bones,” contains a hint of Phoebe Bridgers’ hushed intimacy.
Perhaps no two songs embody that fresh ethos (and the band’s incredible range) more than the high-gloss, New Wave dance track “Call It Like It Is,” and the stunning “BRCA (Nothing Takes Me Down),” which takes its name from the hereditary breast cancer gene that Julia and her mother (who is a breast cancer survivor) share. Over the track’s slow building rhythmic pulse, Julia sings of hospital gowns and uncertainty, untying a complex knot of familial anxiety, guilt, and acceptance, while embracing the determination to move forward: I’ll still live like I’m dying/ But I won’t let it take me down, she insists. “It’s about finding ways to not be defined by these circumstances, and to move past them with resilience.”
Raised and rooted in New York City by classically trained musician parents and their wide-ranging, eclectic record collection, BAILEN has emerged as a favorite in indie circles by cultivating a passionate following via word of mouth, robust playlisting and a stream of steady touring and collaborating with artists such as Amos Lee, The Lone Bellow, Joseph, and Hozier to name a few.
On Tired Hearts, their exquisite and thought-provoking new album, BAILEN learns how to dream in the face of life’s uncertainty and in the process, moves forward aware, resilient, and hopeful. “This album is a breakthrough for us,” Daniel says. “It’s been a rocky road, but we’re really grateful that it’s led us here.”
Cece Coakley is hitting her stride. In the wake of her debut 2022 EP “Tender,” the 22-year old singer-songwriter is exploring a world beyond her native Knoxville, literally and metaphorically.
Fresh off touring with rising acts like Medium Build, Stephen Sanchez, Field Guide and Ella Jane, Coakley has no shortage of new experiences to draw from. “The first EP came out of living at my parents’ house,” she explains. “Now I’m writing new songs on the road and trying them out live the same night – I’ve grown up so much making this new music.” Splitting her time between Nashville and LA, Coakley partnered with new collaborators like Andy Seltzer (Maggie Rogers, Samia) and Jake Munk (Miley Cyrus, Ethan Tasch) to help her cultivate her ideas without “dimming their light.”
Throughout her new writing, Coakley examines life on a larger scale – from missing friends across time zones to the bittersweet feeling of returning home. The old version of Coakley is its own character in her writing, forcing her to look over her shoulder at the life she grew out of. In the lineage of other crossover artists like Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves, Coakley’s reflections on coming of age feel both universal and intimate, delivered in soaring pop hooks over beds of jangly acoustics, banjo and slide guitar. The influence of the country artists she grew up on shines through, delivering her narrative lyricism with an emotional, powerhouse voice.
Since her debut in 2021, Coakley has cemented herself in the indie landscape, amassing over 4.9 million Spotify streams to date and nabbing slots at festivals like Bonnaroo and Briston Maroney’s Paradise Festival. Her upcoming sophomore EP deepens Coakley’s journey of self-discovery, as she continues to strike a chord with her young audience. She may have found her footing, but this is only the beginning for Cece Coakley.