Nastasia - 'Unwound'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on over to a New Yorker creating some rather fascinating content. Nastasia is a pop artist and songwriter in the Big Apple who just dropped ‘Unwound,’ a four track studio EP produced by Verdoe (Pablo San Martin) alongside Jason Strong and Giulio Cercato. The EP, Nastasia describes,  “displays honest and universal lyrical themes blended with the sonic soundscape of strings, pad and subtle voice samples, to create an emotional and ambient feel.” Let’s get right into it.

Nastasia’s new album was immediately one of the most compelling pop efforts I’ve heard this year when I began to delve into it. It’s refreshingly performed, immensely well produced, and hauntingly beautiful. ‘Don’t Forget Me,’ the absolutely jaw-dropping opener of the record, combines Nastasia’s stunning vocals and lyrics with the rise and fall of electronic influence combined with dramatic, but subtle string sections. “Please don’t forget me,” she croons as some of the most intriguing beats I’ve heard this fall music season cascade over like waterfalls of eclectic sound.

'∞' is another interesting track. At first, I thought it was an infinity symbol. I believe it’s actually representative of a figure eight, which is what Nastasia articulates throughout its execution. “How can you leave me spiraling into the dark?” she questions over a soundscape worthy of a Phil Spector comparison. (It’s a wall of sound.) At times, Nastasia’s vocals remind me of Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries. Their wit and vocal presence are similar in execution.

‘Unwound’ is a masterful track, one that suavely navigates its soundscape in a ghostly fashion. The song, along with its counterparts, is the embodiment of what I like to call “intelligent pop music.” Yes, it’s pop music, but it isn’t spoon-feeding you tropes and themes that’ll create sales or hype. Rather, ‘Unwound,’ along with the rest of these songs, is as sharply written as it is performed and produced. The best pop music has a deep level of complexity to what sounds like a simplistic sound. Nastasia has mastered that, and these songs are deeply personal and worthy of massive accolades in regard to their sonic quality.

‘Heavyhearted’ closes out the EP with a definitive statement of Nastasia’s talent and potential relevance. The song is infectiously catchy, very personal and relatable, and equally as poignant as its three predecessors. In fact, this entire EP is a statement of Nastasia’s industry potential. She’s proving that pop music can be more than dull, small-minded Top 40 crap. ‘Unwound’ is a pop record with so much depth and insight. I absolutely adore it; check it out below.