Features | January 2023 (4)

The Mars McClanes

The Mars McClanes
Photo credits: Russ Chapman & Brian Corley

Portland-based The Mars McClanes are an indie rock band that mixes acoustic and alternative rock. Growing up as a band in Dallas, the band says the Old 97s primarily influenced them. When first starting, they got booked at country bars and had to figure out how to shift from an alternative pop band to something they could play at honky tonk bars. Today, they do whatever they like with their sound. They have written a batch of songs, and whatever genre emerges the best, they go with it.

On January 13th, The Mars McClanes came out with their newest single, “Be Still.” The ballad showcases the band’s passionate lyrics and dreamy soundscapes, and the electronic and acoustic elements showcase their ability to blend genres to create a unique sonic experience. The track is a haunting and introspective look at the struggles of finding peace within a fast-paced world.

This song has a relaxed alternative acoustic rock vibe, and zen feels to it too. I like the experimental feel of the sound, and it is an excellent track overall. I urge them to push themselves into writing more lyrics because they could add more lines and make the way a more story-like song. I say this because the music is overall really short.

I would compare Be Still to any bedroom pop and soft rock musicians. I would love to hear your thoughts on the track, so please comment below. If you like the song, please leave a like and follow down to support their music.


Florida native Nilka is a bedroom pop artist who transcends the soul-pop genre with her fluid vocals and bedroom production. She fell in love with creating songs as a young girl fusing thoughts to a string of notes with lyrics originating back to the early age of nine. Five years later, she taught herself how to play the guitar, cementing her melody-lyric combinations and her pensive songs like her journal entries.

Fast-forward to 2023, and she has now been releasing music since 2017. She has had multiple TV placements during this time, including HULU’s “Light as a Feather” and “Love Island Australia” series. She has also released songs on NoCopyrightSounds and Magic Records.

On January 12th, Nilka released her song “Luna.” The fifth song from her upcoming album, “Sacred.” Nilka was inspired to write the bilingual song after struggling with impatience. She longed for control over her life and grew frustrated with the lack thereof.

I enjoy this track’s progression and production and listen to it daily. Bilingual music is a growing trend, and I hope it continues in today’s music industry because it shows the actual creative talent we have in the world.

If you enjoy, She is Jules and other talented musicians, and you will also enjoy Nilka! I would love to hear what you like about Nilka, so please comment below. If you want her music, please like and follow the links below.

Antonia Vai

Swedish-based Antonia Vai is a singer-songwriter, music producer, and activist. Fascinated with the intersection of story and reality, earth and unearthliness, her songs carry poetic mysticism that goes from highly personal to universally political. Antonia has been playing instruments and writing songs since early childhood. The poems of Leonard Cohen, the Swedish folk songs of Cornelis Vreeswijk, the yearning melodies of Lhasa de Sela, and the soulful voice of Lauryn Hill raised her.

Antonia and her band have been kept busy playing at countless European festivals, including the Eurosonic Noorderslag in the Netherlands, Elbjazz Festival in Denmark, and many more. She has also toured in Asia, playing gigs at Zandari Festa in Korea and Japan.

On January 27th, Antonia Vai came out with her newest single, “Where the Bluebirds Fly.” The single is a beguiling, electronic pop song with a melancholy, pulsating beat and a chorus hook that sticks. Antonia’s music is about surrendering and dancing on the thin line between clarity and illusion, pleasure and self-annihilation. She wanted a video that lets viewers wander off into their imagination.

Antonia’s voice is very old-fashioned; it reminds me of Ella Fitzgerald. I like how there are multiple scenes in the music video, and it makes you imagine each scene. I enjoy this song. It’s different, and the video is fun and diverse.

I can’t put my finger on a particular musician Antonia’s similar to, but I would love to hear your opinion. Please leave a comment with who this musician reminds you of. If you enjoy the song, please leave a like and follow below to support Antonia’s music!

Nightly Gatherings

Returning to Features, Nightly Gatherings is Connor Johnson’s project. He has been making music for seven years but has been making music under the name for two years. He takes inspiration from Porter Robinson, ODESZA, and many more.

Nightly Gatherings has opened for artists for Whethan, Gorgon City, Slow Magic, Forester, and many others. He has recently played EYEHEARTNYE in San Francisco in support of Alesso.

On January 27th, Nightly Gatherings recently came out with their newest single, “Still Friends.” The single is the last before his sophomore album, “Don’t Worry,” will come out on March 27th. The single has generated attention from Madeon, Ryan Nevis, and many more.

DAMN, THIS IS GOOD, CONNOR! I love this song, Connor is a funny guy, and I like where this project is going. The song is catchy and sometimes a little too catchy. In other words, it could use more catchy lines. I’m excited to review his next album coming out in March!

If you enjoy musicians like San Holo, Porter Robinson, and other trip-hop musicians, you will vibe with this song too. I would also love to hear what you think of the single, so please leave a comment below. If you like what you hear, please leave a like and follow below!


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