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Indie Newcomer Blvck Hippie Leading The Charge With New Single “Streetlights”; Album Out In June

Dreamy; hazy; enigmatic; insightful. Terms to describe the single “Streetlights” by indie pop-rock ensemble Blvck Hippie. Blvck Hippie is the creative mind of Josh Shaw (they/them) and “Streetlights” is the lead single from their upcoming June album Basketball Camp. Combining elements of lo-fi, indie pop, punk and other sub-genres, Shaw manages to yank on the heartstrings of “the weird kids.”

Photo by Vivian Cheslack

Blvck Hippie is the brain child of Memphis TN’s Josh Shaw (they/them). Shaw sites the key message of this track as a beacon of inclusiveness for teens who feel alone or odd, as they did when they were younger. Shaw says, “‘Streetlights’ is 2017 me, driving home from my local dive, P&H, after an open mic night. I’m spiraling in my own head, feeling crushingly alone and lost, and unsure of my future.” This is a sentiment I believe we can all atone to. Growing up is hard enough, but being a POC and having abstract or alternative tastes can for sure inspire some not so nice experiences. That feeling of just wanting to belong, but not wanting to be like everyone else, is indeed a strange juxtaposition. I believe Shaw eloquently illustrates this concept.

The song begins with an echo-y, almost beachy vibe. The opening vocals pull you in with ghostly tones that shift suddenly to a post hardcore-esk scream that reminds me of bands like Story of the Year or Modern Baseball. This pattern continues through out the song until about the two minute mark; then things get very psychedelic. This part of the song feels like floating, relaxing in a pool, and suddenly having a friend flip you over to be funny. It catches you off guard, but you’re immediately glad it happened.

Rapper Kid Cudi was a staple for Shaw in the conception of this track, as well as their upcoming album. “Cudi was the first black person who I ever saw be open about their mental health.” It goes without saying that black people of past generations were often told not to express their mental health needs, as if it was a sign of weakness or attention seeking. So seeing more artists such as Blvck Hippie punch back at these sentiments gives me hope and joy for the future generations to come.

“Streetlights” firmly cements itself as an emo and indie anthem of inspiration to the youth. It is the exploration of self. With no chorus and a winding bridge that states:

“Oh how I wish things could have been different / (Why) can’t I be what you need”

It expresses the basic desire of most people in the world; to cared for in a pure and genuine way.

Be sure to check out Basketball Camp when it releases on June 14!

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