Nisa—Brooklyn’s Nisa Lumaj—knows exactly how to light a song on fire, fanning it from something small and restrained into something swelling and cathartic. She performs this feat on “St. James Gate,” my favorite track from her 2021 EP Time to Plant Tears, and she achieves a similar feat on “Exaggerate,” the slick lead single of her forthcoming EP of the same name. But while Time to Plant Tears saw Nisa pairing pensive indie rock with plucky power pop, “Exaggerate” finds the singer and guitarist translating those same impulses into a beats- and bass-driven groove courtesy of producer Nate Amos.
“It takes a while for me to internalize things, and usually that means I have to make sense of my thoughts on my own before I can open up to others,” says Lumaj. “‘Exaggerate’ is about recognizing the intensity of a really special, fast-moving thing, and desperately wanting to speed that process up in myself.”
For Lumaj, that process of opening up isn’t always easy. “You can leave the plates / I clean better when I get anxious,” she sings in the opening verse. Later she dreams of a way to “delete the pain,” but Lumaj doesn’t really seem intent on feeling nothing—she seems intent on feeling everything.
Exaggerate is out September 30 via Hit the North Records. You can pre-order the EP here.