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Connecticut Alt-Indie Artist’s Music Feels like Drifting into Daydream: Review of "queen of hearts"

by Gordon Henry

You may have noticed the birds singing early in the morning, or perhaps a violent onset of seasonal allergies. You can feel it in the air when you step outside on a calm, rainy afternoon—spring is in full swing in New England. Certain flavors of music always seem to hit differently depending on the season, and Connecticut-based artist smudgeouts new single, “queen of hearts” embodies this beautifully; it’s the perfect tune for sitting outside with a cold drink on a relaxing spring day. The track’s mellow chords elegantly blend with smudgeouts lush vocals, easing listeners into a state of pensive serenity.

“queen of hearts” is the latest release from 18 year-old singer, songwriter, multi- instrumentalist, producer, and audio-engineer extraordinaire smudgeout. As an all- around skilled musician studying music and sound recording at the University of New Haven, smudgeout is typically involved in all aspects of the songwriting process. However, for this track, smudgeout teamed up with another talented producer, Roger Lopez, who produced, mixed and mastered the track. This allowed smudgeout to just focus on singing freely, maintaining that creative spark that can sometimes be lost during the often tedious mixing process.

While the soundscape and lyrics of smudgeouts “queen of hearts” aren’t too complex, the track’s simplicity works in its favor to make it a true earworm. After just one listen, I already found myself humming the hook melody while doing the dishes. With the song’s dreamy atmosphere, hypnotic vocals, and swinging drums, we can certainly hear influence from the lo-fi pop genre as with most of the other tracks in smudgeouts discography. However, unlike many of the one-trick ponies within the saturated lo-fi pop genre, smudgeout takes from a wide range of musical influences including Lucy Dacus, Girl in Red, and Soccer Mommy. This, along with her extensive musical experience, produces a dynamism within her sound that is apparent in tracks like her 2020 single, “caffeine”. So what’s next for smudgeout? She’s currently working on an EP, which will include her single “caffeine", that will lean more towards alternative rock rather than the lo-fi sound of “queen of hearts” and much of her previous work. We’re stoked to hear smudgeout pursue this new sound and let her inner rock-star shine. We highly recommend that you to dive into her discography if you are looking for something fresh to listen to this spring.

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