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July's Rockin' Tunes

The Spotify code for the playlist
Graphic by Kaylee Haas

Summer In Tha Carolinas Artists:

The Meredith Herald got the chance to speak with Raleigh native Shegoat at the Summer In Tha Carolinas music festival. She says she has been making music for “bad bitches'' for about four years now. Her influences range from Doja Cat to Lauryn Hill, but she says she takes inspiration from everywhere and everyone and wants to take an out-of-the-box approach to her sound. As for her advice when it comes to growing as a person and an artist, she said, “Be confident in anything you want to do.”

Her new project “Pink & Yellow” was made with her friend Tesh and features tracks “606” and “Lakers.” Both tracks are easy favorites. The way Shegoat commands the stage has a quality that is intoxicating, so be on the lookout for what she’s doing next.

Other notable artists from the festival include:

Marco Luka

Song to listen to: “do me wrong”

I have been listening to this song religiously for the last few weeks. It’s even on my driving playlist. Luka’s dream-like voice attacks you in a way you aren’t expecting.

Kevin Powers

Song to listen to: “Punchline”

This song is just catchy and is definitely a great song for summer. I see the song’s vibe perfectly fitting a party scene in any movie.


Song to listen to: “Boyfriend”

Maasho has such a calming aura for having overwhelming artistry. The structure of “Boyfriend” has the perfect chemistry when it comes to vocals and tempo.

New This Month:

Death of a Cheerleader by Pom Pom Squad

I haven’t loved a work this much in a while. It makes me feel alive. This album is the perfect mix of the mysterious and the vulnerable. It’s hard to mesh those worlds, but Pom Pom Squad does it effortlessly. The angst mixed with love feeling is something that everyone experiences at one time or another and Pom Pom Squad captures that experience and brings it to life. My favorite tracks are “Head Cheerleader,” “Crying,” “Forever” and “Red with Love.”

Artists like Pom Pom Squad: Olivia Rodrigo and Melanie Martinez

Community Spirit EP by The Academic

I am in love with everything The Academic does. They have not made a single song that I dislike. This EP just proves their talent — for only having five songs, they all pack a punch. Each song is a totally different experience but somehow the band made that into a cohesive compilation. It’s almost like experiencing different parts of life all in one work: it’s outstanding. Every time I listen to their work I feel like I want to run away and live wildly and I think that is a great effect.

Artists like The Academic: Blossoms and Judah & the Lion

Who Hurt You EP by Jensen McRae

The first song I played on this EP was “Wolves” and all I could think of was that someone finally captured the female experience perfectly. I could replay every moment that it has happened to me and all I could think is that other women know it too. You never forget the times that men harass you. It doesn’t matter what age or when, but it changes you. You can’t forget because it happens too often. McRae goes on to explain life experiences perfectly with the rest of this EP. To be honest, McRae is an original — from vocals to storytelling, a beat is not missed. I can’t even begin to think of how to describe the feeling the EP gives me because I’ve never felt it like this. Each song is a living tale and it’s a story everyone needs to hear.

Artists like Jensen McRae: Tracy Chapman and Maggie Rogers

“Run Girl” by Payton Smith

I haven’t really listened to country in a while, but Payton Smith got my attention. I think I like this single because it reminds me of early 2000s country and that was a comforting time. Smith’s voice is smooth and has the perfect twang. Although it has a stereotypical country song narrative, its approach is respectable. It is reminiscent of country’s past but it’s also the future. I think that’s what makes this song attention-grabbing. I definitely would put Payton Smith on your country artist radar.

Artists like Payton Smith: Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean

Still On Repeat:

Happiness in Liquid Form by Alfie Templeman

Shout out to The Herald’s own Aminah Jenkins for showing me this gold. Although the EP came out in 2020, it feels new every time I listen to it. It’s so eclectic; each song is so different sonically and it keeps you wanting more. I’m actually scared to keep listening because I don’t want to get sick of it. It’s that kind of EP. My favorite tracks would have to be “My Best Friend,” “Obvious Guy” and “Things I Thought Were Mine.”

Other songs like these by Alfie Templeman: “Wait, I Lied” and “Forever Isn’t Long Enough”

Big Time Rush by Big Time Rush

BIG TIME RUSH IS BACK and I cannot contain my excitement. We are in the prime of our lives with this one. I’ve been listening to their self-titled album in celebration of the great news. It’s packed with all of their greatest hits. It’s a crowd-pleaser. Also, Jordan Sparks is on it and you can never go wrong with her. This album is overloaded with serotonin-making material. It is impossible to be sad while listening to it. My favorites include “Count On You,” “Boyfriend,” “Big Time Rush,” “Worldwide” and “Nothing Even Matters.” Also, I am team Kendall and Logan.

Other songs like these by Big Time Rush: “Windows Down” and “If I Ruled the World”

Four by One Direction

Since it’s been 11 years since One Direction became a band this month, it’s only right that I’ve listened to them. In my opinion, Four is their best album. There’s something irreplaceable about it and I feel like people skip over its value constantly. I think it is their most “real” album and best describes who they were as a band collectively. I think one day when they are finally treated like The Beatles, this will be the album that is recognized. Yes, in 10 years, I predict that One Direction will reach this level. My favorite songs are “Fireproof,” “Change Your Ticket,” “No Control,” “Illusion,” “Spaces,” “Fool’s Gold” and “Stockholm Syndrome.”

Other songs like these by One Direction: “What a Feeling” and “Strong”

Hey, Herald reader! Want to give these songs a listen? Scan the Spotify code at the top of this article! Also, have a song that you want to be reviewed? Email

By Kaylee Haas, Staff Writer


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