Dec 22 2015

CMJ Music Marathon 2015 Day 5 (Motion City Soundtrack, The Wonder Years, Avid Dancer, BORNS)

CMJ2015_Announce_29Cymbals_ElenaRuyter

Cougar Microbes returned to CMJ this year for another mind blowing five days of musical extravaganza. We braved the cold but otherwise perfect weather through the streets of New York to catch the shows of some of music’s rising stars from around the world.

MOTION CITY SOUNDTRACK

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A name in music for over 9 years now, we headed to Webster Hall to check out Motion City Soundtrack at their 7pm show. The crowd was thick and the atmosphere light. Their sound reminded us of Jimmy Eats World, as they jumped around rocking it out on stage. The show wouldn’t have been complete without them playing their throw back “Everything is Alright”, which we sang along to.

THE WONDER YEARS

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If anything is to be said about Wonder Years is that they know how to work a crowd. Everyone, including us, was pulled in by their undeniable charisma. Thumping heavy alternative rock numbers, they left our necks sore from all the head swaying. Feeding off each others energy as we fed off theirs, they were by far our favorite rock based band performance of CMJ 2015.

AVID DANCER

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We headed to the Music Hall of Williamsburg to being the final hurrah of CMJ 2015. Avid Dancer hailing from California brought with them their cali indie vibes and mixed it with a little rock and roll and 60’s dance. They took us on musical roller coaster that made us want to the disco and grab a guitar at the same time. A little interactive with their stage jigging, these were some fun guys to watch.

BORNS

BORNS

BORNS  return to CMJ this year was like the return of a musical profit. Read our review of his CMJ 2014 performance if you have not yet! We simply could not have left CMJ without seeing how he’s progressed musically within the last year. Creatively stimulated is the best way to describe this man with long flowing hair and incredible vocals. BORNS performance was nothing short of spectacular, working the stage with grace and power that I am sure he picked up while on tour with Charlie XCX this summer. “Electric Love” is undoubtedly a hit and had the whole crowd swaying to the electro-pop funk and singing the hook in their head the whole ride home.

Thank you BORNS for closing out our CMJ experience, we hope to see you again next year!

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Post by Valya
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TRACKS:


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Dec 4 2015

CMJ Music Marathon 2015 Day 4 (Pom Poms, The Future Laureates, The Millenium, Marina City)

CMJ2015_Announce_29Cymbals_ElenaRuyter

Cougar Microbes returned to CMJ this year for another mind blowing five days of musical extravaganza. We braved the cold but otherwise perfect weather through the streets of New York to catch the shows of some of music’s rising stars from around the world.

POM POMS

pom poms

We kicked off Friday at Bowery Electric with the LA group the Pom Poms. Oozing sex appeal, they swayed before their mics as they strummed out their harmonious tunes. Their sound can only best be described at 60’s soda shop jams. Although lacking much original material for now, it is easy to see that there is more to come from this group.

THE FUTURE LAUREATES

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Feeling in the mood for a little alternative rock we headed to the Rock Shop to check out The Future Laureates. Not what we expected from a rock venue, but non the less an excellent act. The Laureates are a pop-folk-rock band featuring heartfelt music that makes you want to pull out your silver spoons and play along. They put a smile on our faces and were adored by the crowd.

THE MILLENIUM

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The Millenium (spelt with one n) followed the Laureates. A pop punk act, sounding eerily similar to young Panic at the Disco, they reminded us of our angst filled teenage years. Working the stage with childish glee, The Millenium was a pleasure to watch simply because they brought such simplicity to their performance.

MARINA CITY

marina city

Chicago natives Marina City rocked the Rock Shop stage at around midnight to close out the night. We instantly vibed with these guys. Deep alternative rock almost like an old school Fall Out Boy, they really brought the head banging to the crowd. After a few days of lacking some rock we finally out our fill with these guys. A little unenthusiastic on stage, but still full of passion in their sound they closed out the night with a bang!
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Post by Valya
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TRACKS:


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Dec 3 2015

CMJ Music Marathon 2015 Day 3 (Glass Animals, Alex Vargas, Howqua, Ewert and the Two Dragons, Young Empires)

CMJ2015_Announce_29Cymbals_ElenaRuyter

Cougar Microbes returned to CMJ this year for another mind blowing five days of musical extravaganza. We braved the cold but otherwise perfect weather through the streets of New York to catch the shows of some of music’s rising stars from around the world.

GLASS ANIMALS

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We kicked off our Thursday late with Glass Animals at 8pm at Terminal 5. At this point we were well rested and ready to jam. Glass Animals was not a show to miss. This ensemble from England brought the heat combining instrumentals with dreamy soundscapes they transported us to a fantasy world where sound melted around us. Frontman Dave Bailey commanded the room with lazer focus on his sound which took the crowd with him to whatever twisted land his mind goes to when he performs. The whole group created an atmosphere of acid sound that was infectious and inescapable.

ALEX VARGAS

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Following Glass Animals we jetted across Manhattan to Rockwood Music Hall to catch Alex Vargas (who, thankfully for us, started late through no fault of his own). Alex and his support Tommy Sheen captured the crowd with their humble attitudes. If an angel had its heart broken and then wrote a song about it that was the only way to describe Alex‘s encore performance of his hit song “Solid Ground“. A tear jerker for the whole crowd, except Microbes because we’re a tough bunch. A future Sam Smith, we were all so glad we made it in time for his show.

HOWQUA

HOWQUA

The first solo performer we’ve seen since our arrival to CMJ, Howqua took the stage with just his guitar, his soul, and his voice. The purity of his sound bounded through the hall as we all refrained from our conversations to tune into his raw sound and many existing fans even sang along. He titled one of his songs “Fishing for Gold“, yet he is absolutely acoustic gold. This winter you will find us curled up with a cup of tea blasting Howqua on the stereo and reminiscing of our intimate night with him on the Rockwood stage.

EWERT AND THE TWO DRAGONS

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We mingled our way to stage 2 of the Rockwood to check out Ewert and the Two Dragons. A beautiful mix of country twang, folk, and acoustic pop harmony they kept our hands clapping. Their song “Circles” made our heads spin round from the beautiful execution and “Good Man Down” knocked us down. Their music tells a story, and when front-man and vocalist Ewert Sundja sings you can see him closing his eyes as if he’s replaying in his mind the events that inspired his music.

YOUNG EMPIRES

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To top off our night we stuck around the Rockwood to catch Young Empires who followed Ewert. Young Empires name sounds like the title a new school clothing line, and much like new clothes their sound is fresh and clean. Reminiscent of X Ambassadors and Imagine Dragons they bring a light and airy electric feel with lyrics that make u want to put your arms up and sing along, as we did for a few songs. Conquering the stage, the crowd cheered with glee as they strummed through their tunes. We had “Uncover Your Eyes” stuck in our head the rest of the night.

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Post by Valya
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TRACKS:

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Dec 2 2015

CMJ Music Marathon 2015 Day 2 (Starbenders, Sleepers Reign, Tetish, Lara Snow, Tesha)

CMJ2015_Announce_29Cymbals_ElenaRuyter

Cougar Microbes returned to CMJ this year for another mind blowing five days of musical extravaganza. We braved the cold but otherwise perfect weather through the streets of New York to catch the shows of some of music’s rising stars from around the world.

STARBENDERS
starbenders

We began our night at Left Field on the Lower East Side. Female lead glamorous punk band Starbenders was admittedly underwhelming. We were ready to rock with them, but instead were left with what can only be described as loud talking into a microphone as music plays in the background. A few hits did stand out, such as “Touch“, but overall we hope to see improvement in their live performances in the future because the material is there if only they fine tune it.

SLEEPERS REIGN
sleepers-reign

We headed upstairs to check out the noise from Sleepers Reign. Their moody melody captured our attention and our hearts, along with their unconventional yet catchy beats. Singing about love, life, loss and everything in between we found ourselves tapping along to the rhythm of their soulful tunes. Elegant on stage both in sound and manner, they’re a fearsome four.

TETISH
Tetish press shot

Tetish‘ CMJ debut was nothing short of spectacular. Playing at Fat Baby in lower Manhattan, Tetish awed their audience with their powerful vocals and indisputably powerful stage presence. Despite the noise of many people packed into the smaller Manhattan venue Etan‘s voice carried strongly through everyone’s ears so much so that all eye’s were on her for the entire show. Listening with eyes and ears, layers of indie percussion and soulful groovy beats threw the listener back to reminiscent days of an earlier slightly edgier Cardigans. Tetish left the entire room hungering for more! Definitely an artist to keep an eye on.

LARA SNOW
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The night was getting dark and we stuck around Fat Baby for some beast music from the Middle East. The first artist was a girl by the name of Lara Snow. A sweet and shy girl, she greeted everyone in the audience that walked in for the performance. That stood out to us possibly more than her music, which was the opposite of sweet and shy. Accompanied by her drummer, she sang powerful harsh electro jams into the mike with her hands raised above her head. Perhaps next time she will work the stage as much as she works her arms.

TESHA
Tesha

Tesha was an unexpected sound. Deep, soulful, with a little rock and a lot of middle eastern influences Tesha killed the performance. The entire crowd stopped their loud drunken talking to give undivided attention to this girl singing unbelievable tunes and looking like an early Gaga before the wild costumes. A voice like silken gold it flowed perfectly with the harmonies created by her supporting band. A perfect late night go-to now forever embedded in the music catalog of our minds.

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Post by Valya
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TRACKS:

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Dec 1 2015

CMJ Music Marathon 2015 Day 1 (Alex Winston, Femme, French Horn Rebellion, Mansions on the Moon)

CMJ2015_Announce_29Cymbals_ElenaRuyter

Cougar Microbes returned to CMJ this year for another mind blowing five days of musical extravaganza. We braved the cold but otherwise perfect weather through the streets of New York to catch the shows of some of music’s rising stars from around the world.

ALEX WINSTONalex_winston

Born in Michigan but now living in New York, Alex Winston is nothing short of a vocal spectacle. We headed over to Webster Hall to check out kick off CMJ 2015 with her 8:45 show. Trained as an opera singer, her vocal range is immaculate. Reminiscent of Amy Winehouse mixed with Paramore‘s Haley Williams and Lana Del Rey. A brilliant spin, she provided us with gentle smoothing notes mixed with a rock electropop undertone. The show completely blew us and the crowd away. Attending her show was actually a suggestion by a close friend of ours and a hardcore fan of hers, but after this performance we can say we’re fans of hers as well.

FEMMEfemme-750x500

Femme is a British singer and songwriter whose dance pop sound will keep you on your feet throughout her entire performance. We caught her at Webster Hall following Alex Winston. Talented and bubbly, Femme’s voice burst out of her as she commanded the crowd in a black sequin romper like a melodically better Miley Cyrus. Organic drum beats mixed with a deep electronic groove has us saying s.o.s ( literally, as that is the title of one of her hit tracks, make sure to check it out). Bold yet distorted, Femme was a crowd pleaser with amazing potential.

FRENCH HORN REBELLIONFrench_Horn_Rebellion
Deciding to remain at Marlin Room for the night, Femme was followed up by French Horn Rebellion. Two talented brothers hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For coming from such a cold place, their show was nothing short of fire. Bringing an electric spin to some oldies, they had us dancing into the night. These guys threw us back into another decade and left our heads spinning. Shout out to them supporting their fellow artists ad bringing in an assortment of acts to support vocals.

Mansions on the MoonMansions-on-the-Moon-by-Mark-Peaced

We topped our first night of CMJ 2015 off with Mansions on the Moon. This incredible group draws influence from all music genera and them spit them out with an electric synth flair. Bringing in several keyboards they really build up the crowd with their organic sound that left us with a feeling of longing to go home to some loved one we didn’t even know we had. One of their numbers, ‘Leaves Fall‘, summarized exactly how we feel when autumn comes and we know it’s time for CMJ. “I’ll think of you when the leaves fall, ill remember what is it I lack.” We are no longer lacking the sounds of fresh new music in our ears!
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Post by Valya
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TRACKS:


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Dec 12 2014

CMJ Music Marathon 2014: Day 5 (AM Aesthetic, George Maple, VÉRITÉ, BØRNS & Jamaican Queens)

CMJ2014

This year’s CMJ was nothing short of spectacular for Cougar Microbes.  Braving the cold weather and the rain, we meandered through the downtown Manhattan and East Brooklyn areas to see as many of the new up and coming artists as possible.  From the coveted SoFar Sounds showcases and The Kills, to the late night dance parties with Made In Heights and Saint Pepsi, to catching the promising performances by BORNS, we covered it all.  As always, we were left tired, happy, and wanting more, thanks again CMJ!

am aesthetic cmj 2014

AM Aesthetic

Fresh off the release of their latest album, Future Tense, AM Aesthetic was building the heat with their single, “I Can Tell.” The standout element in this indierock trio was the percussionist, whose vigorous drumming was clearly the driving force behind the performance. Despite the dark, poignant nature of their music, lead singer Rob Sucheki’s boyish charm kept their stage presence lighthearted, and their fans begging for more.

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George Maple
Mostly a well known name because of her collaboration with Flume, it was exciting to see George Maple as a solo act. Wearing some gold beading in her dark brown hair and perfect bangs to match, she graced the stage looking like Cleopatra, and lowered the energy for some laid back indie R&B. With a thumping bass under her sultry vocals, she lured her audience in with fresh new tracks and her popular single, “Fixed.”

VÉRITÉ

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Plenty of acts at CMJ fall under the title of “internet sensation,” and with a couple of Hype Machine charting electro-pop tunes under her belt such as “Weekend,” and “Strange Enough,” VÉRITÉ of course fit the bill. Unfortunately, she gave a very generic performance. There’s nothing more boring to me than a band that never goes off-script. Not to say this was a bad performance, I just wanted more from this clearly rising star.

borns cmj 2014

BØRNS

Easily the best band I saw throughout all of CMJ would have to be BØRNS. With California indierock vibes emanating out of their music already, their look and general aura matched their sound impeccably. Lead singer Gregory Borns dons long curly hair with the relaxed vibe of the 70s and a pair of skinny jeans painted onto his body. Second in command was very clearly the chick on keyboards handling the shimmering synths while also providing dulcet vocal harmonies. This band has solidified their sound, while still maintaining unique tracks, playing with a cappella intros, just as much as synthpop beats – I cannot wait to hear more.

jamaican queens

Jamaican Queens

Detroit trio Jamaican Queens are a band that bases a lot of what it does both lyrically and melodically on shifting highs and lows. Backed by synthesizer fed beats frontman Ryan Spencer multitasks while singing in his own unique style. The results tonight are often quite beautiful.

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Words by Amanda Jabes and Boaz.

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Dec 11 2014

CMJ Music Marathon 2014: Day 4 (Gossling, Frances Cone, Skyes, Single Mothers, Dorine Levy & Twin Peaks

CMJ2014

This year’s CMJ was nothing short of spectacular for Cougar Microbes.  Braving the cold weather and the rain, we meandered through the downtown Manhattan and East Brooklyn areas to see as many of the new up and coming artists as possible.  From the coveted SoFar Sounds showcases and The Kills, to the late night dance parties with Made In Heights and Saint Pepsi, to catching the promising performances by BORNS, we covered it all.  As always, we were left tired, happy, and wanting more, thanks again CMJ!

Gossling-Delancey-1

Gossling

Watching Gossling, AKA Australia’s Helen Croome, is always a welcome change of pace. Hot on the wave of last year’s ‘Harvest Of Gold’ debut Croome has had plenty of time to get these tracks road ready and her display today was remarkably composed . Expertly switching between guitar and keyboard the singer/songwriter shone throughout with “Challenger” being a particular highlight.

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Frances Cone

Frances Cone‘s lead singer though small in stature, had powerful vocals with a touch of sweetness, and eyeliner as heavy as her lyrics. Armed with simplistic melodies and two male guitarists who can sing, the gorgeous 3-part harmonies on “85” were simply delicious. Indie rock with twangs of country that shine brighter on certain tracks, this band was a nice divergence from the typical CMJ sound.

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Skyes

Fronted by a girl on vocals, who intermittently tossed her blonde mane during musical breaks while dominating the keyboards. From the haunting “Burden” to the more dance-worthy “A Girl Named Jake,” this four-piece band kept their level of intrigue high with such a genre-bending sound. Born from Brooklyn indierock, with an experimental dash of metal and synth, and a touch of Stevie Nicks prowess, Skyes kept their listeners at Rockwood on their toes.

single mothers cmj

Single Mothers

Canadian punk-rockers Single Mothers hit the stage for what is supposed to be their sole CMJ performance this year (they step of stage inviting the audience to see them later in the night which puts that claim to shame) and for a day show they have a boatload of adrenaline to burn. Crammed on the tiny stage there is an explosion of facial hair and sweat on display with frontman Drew Thomson screaming like a man possessed throughout. With the brilliant and underrated Murder City Devils no longer performing this was as close as anyone has come to replicate that incredible explosive live set.

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Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks offer an endearing youthful and exuberant performance on stage not least because the band are all 21 years of age or younger. Clearly enjoying playing their repertoire the 4-piece literally bounce off of eachother banging guitars and limbs seemingly without missing a note. On a personal note it was refreshing to see a band with actual guitars and drums playing CMJ. Their fuzzy indie pop is the perfect antidote to the numerous “man + computer” artists showcasing this year.

Dorine Levy live CMJ

Dorine Levy

Exactly one year on from when we last caught Dorine Levy in New York she back for another CMJ performance. This time her showcase was at the slightly out of the way Coco 66 and perhaps the low turnout was a result of this. Still Dorine gave one hell of a show clearly picking up a trick or two over the past 12 months. Flanked by her trusted drummer her set was cherry picked with all the highlights from last year’s ‘Underwater album and even had time to drop in a couple of new numbers including the euphoric “Wasted”!

the world is a beautiful place

 

It’s fitting that the epically named The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die are spearheading some sort of emo comeback. Having heard some good feedback about their live shows we got ourselves to the late night show at Cameo Gallery just in time to see the band storm off stage. The audience can’t quite believe what’s going on as it transpires that there has been some sort of altercation with security. This was either the most petulant or most rock n roll moment of the festival.

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Words by Amanda Jabes and Boaz.

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Dec 10 2014

CMJ Music Marathon 2014: Day 3 (Fractures, Snir Yamin, The Kills, Cathedrals, Made In Heights & Seinabo Sey)

CMJ2014

This year’s CMJ was nothing short of spectacular for Cougar Microbes.  Braving the cold weather and the rain, we meandered through the downtown Manhattan and East Brooklyn areas to see as many of the new up and coming artists as possible.  From the coveted SoFar Sounds showcases and The Kills, to the late night dance parties with Made In Heights and Saint Pepsi, to catching the promising performances by BORNS, we covered it all.  As always, we were left tired, happy, and wanting more, thanks again CMJ!

fractures-soundsaustralia-santospartyhaus-22Oct14-cmj-emilytan_2-2xs8j6f5ijd0e5gukr45j4

Fractures

We kicked off our thursday over Bloody Mary’s at Pianos watching Mark Zito’s ever expanding project Fractures. Offering layers upon layers of atmospheric music the small stage is a perfect fit for this performance to take flight. There is a subtle intelligence to these tracks that made us human the melodies long after Mark and co left the stage.

snir yamin cmj 2014

Snir Yamin

Israeli troubadour Snir Yamin made his CMJ debut in the, admittedly underwhelming, surroundings of Carol’s Place. Armed with just his acoustic guitar there is a charming innocence to Yamin which makes him instantly likeable. This was a throwback to a time when this city was home to some of the best singer songwriters in history and the young crooner even found time for a crowd singalong

the kills cmj

The Kills

Of all the “big” acts playing CMJ The Kills were the one I most wanted to see and boy was it worth it. Whereas most bands are content with having one extrovert on stage both Allison Mosshart and Jamie Hince are genuine prima donnas, in the best sense of the word, battling for the spotlight and feeding of each other’s energy. Tracks like “DNA” and “Black Balloon” are instant live classic and the capacity audience made sure to show all their appreciation.

cathedral cmj 2014

Cathedrals

Kicking off their set by live looping the harmonies of the intro to “Harlem,” Brodie Jenkins silenced a packed Santos Party House with her resonant voice. Baring her soul (and her midriff,) Jenkins delivered an unforgettable performance alongside the other-half of Cathedrals, Johnny Hwin on guitar. Backed by one drummer, the two defined how easily less can be more. The seductive “Want My Love” easily at the forefront of their minimalistic tracks, and also one of their best. This was clearly one of CMJ‘s breakout bands of 2014.

made in heights cmj

Made In Heights

Conquering the stage a full hour later than their scheduled set time, by no fault of their own, Made In Heights delighted their fans with a brief taste of the Sufjan infused “Skylark Interbang?!” and quickly skyrocketed the energy with their latest track “Ghosts.” The indietronica duo complemented each other with Sabzi dropping beats alongside Kelsey Bulkin‘s resonating sweet vocals. After cheers for an encore from the sublimely happy crowd, they closed the night out with “All The Places.”

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Seinabo Sey

Further proving that the next wave of artists is coming over from Sweden, Stockholm-based Seinabo Sey gave a phenomenal performance. Meandering through afro-centric beats, and darker bass-heavy pieces, with her soulful voice, her music was mesmerizing to hear. As if she didn’t have enough of a stage presence, she continuously held her arms outstretched to show off the sleeves of her bright red kimono. Closing her set with “Younger,” reminded everyone to keep living it up for CMJ, because “you know you ain’t gettin’ any younger.”

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Words by Amanda Jabes and Boaz.

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