“Awkward” isn’t the first song about a dork scared to paralysis by a girl he puts on a pedestal. But the new single from Sleep State — and its larger theme of keeping it real in general — is as good a re-introduction as any to the L.A. trio. The band, comprised of singer-guitarist Troy Ritchie, keyboardist Michael Haua and drummer Parker Jackson, emerged in 2015 with a self-titled EP that included the earworms “Make a Move” and “Tether,” the latter of which you might have heard over the whir of blenders at Starbucks. “Awkward,” the band’s first new music since a single in the summer 2016, is a light-hearted pep talk from someone who’s “an expert at discomfort.” Says Ritchie: “I hope listeners take the song as an invitation to liberate themselves from the shackles of self-consciousness and the unhealthy focus our society puts on the individual to be popular or likeable.” Or, at least, feel better about that big streak of yellow mustard that ended up on your T-shirt.
||| Stream: “Awkward”
||| Previously: Ears Wide Open