Indie rock duo from Des Moines, Iowa. Listen to our latest single, ‘Fruit Flies,’ on all streaming services.

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Marissa Kephart

‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ Reviews

“Marissa Kephart and Scott Yoshimura AKA elison deliver a melodically vibrant sonnet in latest release ‘Hopes & Horoscopes‘. 

Sonically sweet, supple in its vocal tones and indelible in its performance, the pair propel me back to rich musical times with the likes of early Broken Social Scene and Camera Obscura. 

Sparkling subtle harmonies cast an atmospheric listen and you are left desperate to press play again. ”

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“Future can be written in some very weird lines, and Marissa Kephart can definitely say for her it has. After spending 20 years wishing to get some music out there, the pandemic allowed her some extra space to find “the courage to finally pick up the guitar and start singing”. Together with music teacher, multi-instrumentalist and producer Scott Yoshimura (The Envy Corps, Canby), Marissa has formed elison, who have released their second single at the start of 2022 – “Hopes & Horoscopes”.

Hopes & Horoscopes” is a playful, yet melancholy-filled track lived up from its Alvvays influenced dreamy guitar work and atmosphere and hooks sounding when Slow Pulp up their shoegaze influences. Marissas’s voice is perfect for the dream pop genre, and the songwriting here – highlighting a “collection of habits” the singer “can’t seem to shake” – just helps build a world filled with psychedelic soft colours. It’s warm, cosy and delightful pop music we just can’t shake off from our minds.”


“Following their debut single “Meet Me Halfway”, Iowan-based elison, the duo of Marissa Kephart and Scott Yoshimura have since returned with their equally charming follow-up, “Hopes & Horoscopes.”

Although the single tackles some of our bad habits and vices, it still radiates great positive energy and a mix of indie rock shimmer and some pop-friendly vocals. But the combination of these aspects is perfect and seamless, with a bit of a shine to it that feels made to blast out of the speakers during a warm summer day.”

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“Iowa based indie duo Elison recently released this track ‘Hopes & Horoscopes‘. It’s a light and airy track with a shoegazy, dream-pop vibe to it. ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ has a driving beat to it keeping it grounded amongst the hazier, whimsical feel the track has.”

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The 2nd single from the elison duo, ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’, is a fine example of sunshine, indie pop with eerie vocals and 90s vibes, that “highlights, singer, Marissa Kephart’s bad habits and vices”…

After 20 years of wishing, Marissa Kephart set out to make music for the first time. Using the extra space allotted to her during lockdown she found the courage to finally pick up the guitar and start singing. “Hopes & Horoscopes” is the second demo she took to music teacher, multi-instrumentalist and producer Scott Yoshimura (The Envy Corps, Canby) following the release of their first song “Meet Me Halfway” this fall. The two quickly understood their creative energies and influences aligned, and they formed Elison. Inspired by bands like Slow Pulp, My Bloody Valentine, Broken Social Scene, and Alvvays they’ve created a sound all their own.”

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“Elison “Hopes & Horoscopes” – Heavenly experience

Hopes & Horoscopes is a powerful track that digs inside: the refined and dreamlike melody gives the listener a sort of celestial experience in which a strange feeling of already lived is implicitly evoked, within an unknown and surreal context.

It is never too late to make dreams come true.

After twenty years of desires, Marissa Kephart started making music for the first time. Using the free time she had during the lockdown she found the courage to finally pick up the guitar and start singing.

Hopes & Horoscopes is the second demo he made with music teacher, multi-instrumentalist and producer Scott Yoshimura (The Envy Corps, Canby) after the release of his first song Meet Me Halfway.

The two quickly realized that their creative energies and influences were aligned and formed the Elison. Inspired by bands like Slow Pulp, My Bloody Valentine, Broken Social Scene and Alvvays, they created a sound of their own.

Another space-time level

The new year led to the creation of Hopes & Horoscopes, a decidedly singular song both vocally and instrumentally.

A short hallucinatory intro immediately leaves room for a harmonious blend of ethereal sounds that make up a dreamy soundscape. It is a powerful track that digs in: the refined and dreamlike melody returns to the listener a sort of celestial experience in which a strange feeling of already lived is implicitly evoked, within an unknown and surreal context.

To make the atmosphere even more suggestive is the reverberation on the inspired voice of the female singer, the vocal echoes recreate that claustrophobic effect that places the song on another space-time level.

Hopes & Horoscopes is therefore a unique track that of its kind recovers some nuances of the 80s-90s indie movement and recolors them with a completely new and absolutely original aesthetic.”

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“Second single from an Iowa based duo that claim the musical hinterland between Alvvays style jangle-pop spatial and the languid, sumptuous tones of Soccer Mommy.”

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“elison “Hopes & Horoscopes” is a dreamy indie track that has textures that will bring the listener in like a warm blanket out of the cold. The driving rhythms keep it rock but the use of the whammy bar and sustained vocal notes really makes for a soothing listen. If you’re into adventurous sounding indie rock then check out elison “Hopes & Horoscopes.”

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“Des Moines duo, elison just released their second single, “Hopes & Horoscopes.” The mid-tempo indie rock track is built around a strummed acoustic guitar backbone and singer, Marissa Kephart’s dynamic vocals. As she sings about bad habits and vices, her voice goes from the fairly monotone verses to a soaring chorus, showing her full range. It is wonderful and transformative.”

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“elison are an indie rock duo from Des MoinesIowa consisting of Marissa Kephart and Scott Yoshimura. After decades dreaming of recording music, 2020/21 offered Kephart the time and space to finally realise the ambition. When Kephart took demos to Yoshimura, the pair discovered their influences and creative sensibilities were in harmony, and set to creating a sound inspired by the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Broken Social Scene and Slow Pulp.

Last autumn saw the release of the debut elison single, ‘Meet Me Halfway’, introducing the band’s distinctive balance between tender emotion and gauzy soundscapes. The new year sees them return with the follow-up single, ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’. Again self-reflective, the track sees Kephart confront bad habits and vices, from mourning unrealised dreams to becoming lost in superstition or introspection. But rather than become paralysed beneath these confessions, elison ramp up the energy and burn through with fleet-footed confidence, rediscovering agency in the act of owning one’s less desired behaviours.”

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“There are songs that you can understand immediately, songs that don’t need any lead time. ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ by elison is a good example. Marissa Kephart does everything right here. The song sets the pace straight away, changing pace after a while. A catchy melody and a beautiful voice. My song of the year so far.”

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“Last year everyone was raving about the Sharon/Angle single, and it definitely was a good jam; that same vibe of nostalgic radio pop comes into play when listening to Des Moines’ Elison…but with a twist. Elison, led by Marissa Kephart turn away from the expansive chorus and go for immediacy, dropping in a pure burst of pop rock, that takes the band closer towards a sound akin to Alvvays. So you get the best of both worlds by turning this one up; you can hold onto the broader brush strokes of indie rock and turn over to flirt with the indie pop side…and no matter what, you’ll be rewarded with this killer new single.”

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“Cleanse your senses & refresh your palate with the dreamy indie rock guitarscape of ‘Hopes & Horoscopes‘, by Des Moines, IA duo Elison. Whether you’re feeling the weight of winter, the heat of summer, or an ambiguous milieu, this is an enlivening & invigorating tonic for your heart & soul.

Featuring some truly fantastic movements & otherworldly melodies, there is a boundless world manifested via this 4-odd minutes of indie-pop. ‘I’ve been missing people I’ve never met‘, effuses vocalist/ guitarist Melissa, as multi-instrumentalist Scott enshrouds the landscape with glistening, shimmering guitar phrases & cautiously optimistic synthesizer jaunts. Multiple twists & turns draw enthusiastic attention, as the home base refrains of chorus offer respite along the greater escapade. Artfully crafted, unapologetically honest & approachable, & distinguishably unique, there is a direct-yet-mystical humanism within that coaxes even the most reluctant. 

A relatively new act, Elison has already created a masterpiece of composition & sonic texture with ‘Hopes & Horoscopes‘. Sure to have more wondrous ventures on the horizon, this is a band worthy of your further attention – stay tuned in for future artistic excursions.”

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“Elison is an American, Indie Rock duo based in Des Moines, Iowa. The duo formed when singer and songwriter, Marissa Kephart found the time to work on music during the 2020 lockdown. Kephart had then met multi-instrumentalist and producer, Scott Yoshimura, who had opened his studio up to friends. Having bonded over a mutual interest in music, the duo fleshed out the first Elison track, Meet Me Halfway.

Building on the success of Meet Me Halfway, the duo have now released Hopes & Horoscopes. This is a shoegaze-y, dreamy rock track that caught me by surprise, in the best way possible. Hopes & Horoscopes kind of makes me reminiscent of some great memories in high school. Moreover, I really enjoy the guitar work, it has this bendy, wah wah texture that I’ve heard in Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. I really enjoy how this track has such a brilliant atmosphere. It creates a most wholesome and enjoyable Indie Rock vibe. Much like Meet Me HalfwayHopes & Horoscopes fits into the Elison sound. It’s distinct and, honestly, something extremely refreshing to hear.

Elison has the ability to craft an atmosphere that keeps you warm and fuzzy, while at the same time introspecting. Hopes & Horoscopes, specifically, has this comforting notion of how no element is overwhelming. It sort of hits the right spot. Moreover, I really just enjoy how good the song makes me feel. However, don’t just take my word for it.

Be sure to stream Hopes & Horoscopes today!”

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“Elison‘s debut single “Meet Me Halfway” was one of the biggest releases of the year. A big breather for the alternative-rock scene in this decade that begins. After the great visibility that was established through the sound of the duo, the expectation for the next work was obviously the greatest possible! And we have here, the new firecracker, the great “Hopes & Horoscopes” , quite stimulating sensorially .

A song that shines atmospheric layers of the most incisive, dialoguing with ethereal probabilities attractive to the extreme , always adorned with a wall of guitars provided in great vigor! The pop archetype screams in a very vivid way , the chorus has a very high proportion synergetic character , which automatically abducts the listener in the proposed journey.

Marissa named the group based on the singer’s origins, as her maiden name was Cornelison and her father is a musician. As she herself emphasized, “My dad is a longtime jazz musician, so my love of this art form really stemmed from watching him perform my entire life. I pulled ‘elison’ to honor him and his influence in my life. I wanted to know if there was any meaning to the word and I quickly discovered that it meant ‘division’ or ‘separation’, which seemed like a fluke because that was the big effect of the pandemic.” In fact, it was during social isolation, after “holding” the desire to produce music for twenty years, that the project was formed and we have the most impactful contributions being provided to us! Elison, also formed by partner Scott, with “Hopes & Horoscopes”, has everything to expand its name to the most inhospitable regions of the planet.”

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“Elison are an indie-rock duo based in Iowa consisting of Marissa Kephart and Scott Yoshimura. Their name actually came from Marissa’s maiden name – ‘Cornelison’- as they found this linked to their relationship with music through her dad’s history as a musician. 

They have been releasing music since 2021, with their latest single – ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ – being their sophomore release. 

It is a self-reflective track that indulges in Marissa’s vices, with some being “more playful than others” but them being “ultimately a collection of bad habits she can’t seem to shake.”

It is also a great example of Scott and Marissa’s complimentary skills, with the song being primarily written and sung by Marissa whilst Scott performed other instruments, as well as engineering and producing the track. 

‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ begins with a very catchy-yet-mellow guitar hook that perfectly suits the song’s genre. Marissa’s vocals are soft in their delivery, but in an effective way that’s impactful and allow Marissa to showcase her distinct tone. 

Lyrically, the song references “bad habits” but in a playful-yet-melancholy manner.

Even the very first line – “I’ve been planning my life around horoscopes”–  is summative of this and see the tone for the rest of the track.

I really love the soundscape that Elison emulate in this track. There are catchy melodies throughout whilst also maintaining a very ‘indie’ sound. Scott’s production should also be commended here as he manages to nail capturing a new, ‘Elison-esque’ take on a classic, much-loved indie sonic aesthetic. 

When discussing ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’, Marissa has said “It’s been so exciting to see the song take shape from concept to completion and we’re so ready to share it with others. I’m also excited to start recording our next set of songs. I was fortunate enough to take a songwriting class with Ellen Kempner (Palehound & Bachelor) through School of Sound and through that experience wrote enough songs to release new music steadily in the months to come.”

Overall, ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ is a great sophomore track from Elison. With fantastic and relatable lyrics amongst flawless sonic landscapes, they are truly a great upcoming indie group and we cannot wait to hear what is next for them.”

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Coming right out of Des Moines, Iowa in the USA we’ve got Elison releases dreamy new single, “Hopes & Horoscopes”. The track is of course their first of the year and is their second ever release after 2021’s debut cut, Meet Me Halfway”. 

Much like their aforementioned debut single this track is also very dreamy with the vocals especially giving the soft guitars something to work beautifully with. There’s a real force with the drums, even though they seem mixed down to make way for the dream-pop vocals and guitars, they are certainly there giving you that beat to nod your head to in agreement with.In the latter half of the track, I had to finally admit that it’s a satisfying single that is almost going to certainly get this Midwest dream-pop duo more fans. If you’re a fan of Wolf Alice then I’m sure you’re going to love Elison. With a solid amount of plays on their debut single, getting playlisted from several curators and having the music to back it up, I’m sure they’re going to do well this coming year. So head on down below and sink your teeth into Elison’s new single “Hopes & Horoscopes”. Visit Site >> 

“Marissa Kephart has finally taken the lead in front of her own hopes, stepping out of her fears and comfort zone. While everyone reacts differently during the pandemic, she chooses to pursue her lifelong ambition of playing music. She and Scott formed the band “Elison,” which released their debut song “Meet Me Halfway” in 2021 and their second and most latest track “Hopes & Horoscopes” on January 7th, 2022, hoping for more of their magical music throughout the year.

Humans frequently choose to believe in a higher power to avoid feeling powerless, to avoid relying on their own abilities, and to cling to hope in something or someone else. One must believe in order to carry on, but first and foremost, one must have faith in oneself and what one can achieve from the inside. “Elison” gave us a single about horoscopes and their effects on people’s hopes and dreams, the hardships of taking the lead of one’s own life and hopes, and bad habits that are harder to shake. Marissa’s ability to write such personal and meaningful lyrics demonstrates her talent and sincerity as an artist.

The dreamy rhythms in the intro entice you to listen. The vocals are soothing and bright, as if breaking free from each bad habit and reclaiming control, and the music was composed to perfection, with drumbeats and guitar arrangements that create a dreamlike vibe with a blend of dream pop, indie pop, and indie rock.Stop being “Stuck living in your the past,” and take the lead of your own hopes, to get idea on how doing that, listen to the single below and know how “Elison” did it.”

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“Indie rock duo Elison from Des Moines, Iowa are back with their second release “Hopes & Horoscopes.” On lead vocals, Marissa wistfully sings of bad habits she can’t seem to shake, behind a synthy guitar-driven melody. A mixture of melancholic lyrics and playful indie drum beats see the duo touch on comparisons and missing people they’ve never met. 

The soft harmonies between Marissa and Scott blend seamlessly and sweetly. The addictive twangy riff that pops up continuously throughout the track is a great addition, lingering in your head long after the song has finished. With satisfying guitar flourishes and strong vocals that are equally delicate, this track is a great taster of what’s to come from Elison!”

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“The second release of indie rock duo Elison is a captivating array of dynamics and raw performances, laying the perfect foundations for Marissa Kephart’s emotive lyrics.

Elison was named by Marissa in honour of her origins; her maiden name Cornelison and her father’s musicianship. In her own words, “My dad’s a long time jazz musician so my love of this art form really stemmed from seeing him perform my entire life. I pulled “elison” out to honor him and his influence in my life, now that I’ve finally started pursuing music for myself. I wanted to know if there was any meaning in the word and quickly discovered it meant “division” or “separation,” which felt serendipitous because that was one huge effect of this pandemic and ultimately, the catalyst that led me to start playing. There was no other option. I had to use elison.”

Kephart used the extra time during lockdown to pick up the guitar and start taking voice lessons. Joining forces with Scott Yoshimura, the two began their journey as Elison, inspired bu bands like Dinosaur Jr., Snail Mail, The Beths, Sparklehorse and Cat Power. Despite approaching music in different ways and starting their musical journey at two different points in life, the chemistry between the duo is transparent through the mature and complex song writing visible in their latest release. “Hopes & Horoscopes” is an enthralling track that builds upon their uniqueness with elegance and style.

With a clear passion and dedication to the craft of song writing, Elison are abandoning industry norms to honour the heart and soul that drives their music. “Hopes & Horoscopes” is an engaging ballad that showcases Elison’s growing talent and natural brilliance in crafting songs. Only their second track, it’s unique brilliance will leave you excited for the duo’s promising future. Stream Elison’s new track here now!”

Reviewed by Ciarán Coleman

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“The new single from the American duo Elison was released on January 7 and is called ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’. The song turned out very melodic and harmonious. Indie that based on beautiful and unobtrusive sound.

Electronic beats and dreamy guitar arrangements catch atmospheric synthesizer melisms. The vocals lead the plan of the melody. The song reveals the theme of horoscopes and its effects on people’s hopes. One must believe in something because without hope for the better there is no meaning to life. 

Beauty and organicity in everything is provided and coordinated in this composition. ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ is just the band’s second single and we will hope that Elison will continue to give us their simple and clear music.  

Listen to the single ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ on Spotify below and enjoy the graceful new indie song from Elison.”

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Hopes & Horoscopes“, the latest single from Des Moines-based Indie Rock/Pop duo, Elison, is an infectiously catchy hit that any fan of the genre will enjoy. Airy and soothing vocals soar over a catchy and danceable instrumental. Add in unique transitions, big poppy hooks, and spot-on production and you’re left with an Indie hit!

This is only the second single released from the duo, which is crazy because it’s obvious that they’ve found “their sound”. We added “Hopes & Horoscopes” to our Underground Indie & Alternative playlist on Spotify.

You can check out the new single below. If you dig it, support the band and buy a download. Also, make sure to follow Elison to stay on top of new releases. This is not a band you’ll want to sleep on. Enjoy!”

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“Hailing from Des Moines, Iowa, Elison is an Indie Rock duo that captures a unique blend of calming and anthemic sounds. Their latest single, “Hopes & Horoscopes” recently caught our attention. We added the new tune to our Indie & Alternative Rock playlist on Spotify.

Check out the rest of their music below, and follow along if you want to see what else they have going on!”

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US indie duo, Elison have recently unveiled their dream of a single, Hopes & Horoscopes. It’s just over four minutes of pure cloud floating vibes and it’s sure to brighten your day.

Filled with summer time vibes, Hopes & Horoscopes takes you on through a daydream of emotion. Soft roaming bass lines, lush melodies and a hauntingly amazing vocal delivery make this track a perfect addition to your road trip playlists, it’s pure joy. Lyrically it takes a slightly different tone, it touches on lead singer Marissa Kephart’s inner reflection on her poor habits she can’t seem to break away from.

The track was recorded in band member Scott Yoshimura’s home studio and he produced and engineered it also. The final result is that of a song with an instant indie classic feel that you will have on repeat in these warmer months and beyond. We’re excited to hear what is next from the talented duo.”

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“North American duo, they are back on the site with ‘Hopes & Horoscopes, a track released on streaming platforms on the 7th.

Bringing a main dreampop sound, we can still identify elements of indie pop and shoegaze in the music with nostalgic, relaxing instrumentals and a harmonic vocal line throughout the entire length of the track.

About the creation of the band, they comment in an official release: “The assembly of the duo and the subsequent process was at least fortuitous. While still developing his guitar skills, as well as the vulnerability and courage necessary to share his gifts with others, Marissa was fortunate to be joined by Scott, who spent many of his adult years giving private music lessons. Scott’s gentle encouragement and patience created a safe space for the two to work collaboratively. Scott’s musicianship, choices production and recording know-how quickly preserved the raw, serious spirit of Marissa’s “Meet Me Halfway” demo, bringing it to its fullest expression.”

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“A dream made a reality, Elison release their sophomore single, ‘Hope & Horoscopes’.

Having never played an instrument before the pandemic, singer Marissa conquers the unknown with the help of producer Scott. A meeting that feels almost manifested, the duo unlock parts of themselves previously hidden.

With a second single breaking free from desperate melancholy, they ask you to free-fall in the hope of discovering something spectacular. Nodding to other incarnations of guitar-led indie, they add their own punch to the at-times crowded genre that you can’t help but fall deeply in love with.”

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“Elison is the relatively new indie-rock musical duo of Marissa Kephart and Scott Yoshimura who are based in Iowa in the United States. Near the end of last year, they released ‘Meet Me Halfway’ to much acclaim, and now they’ve returned with another cracking tune in the form of ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’. It was during the isolated and social distanced conditions the world was living under, that Kephart found the courage to finally pick up a guitar and take voice lessons. The rest, as they say, is history. ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ sees the vocalist looking inwards and reflecting on the bad habits, or vices, that she has struggled with over the years. “I’ve been missing people I’ve never met, I’ve been holding tight to my last regret,” sings Kephart. “I’ve been stuck here living in my past, never thinking anything will ever last.” It’s a truly beautiful tune and we at Indie Top 39 can’t wait to see what the future holds for this talented duo. ”

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“Indie rock duo from Iowa in the USA, Elison, is made up of vocalist and musician, Marissa Kephart and music teacher, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Scott Yoshimura.

The duo began after Marissa took the leap, during the pandemic, to fulfil a twenty year dream of playing the guitar and begin vocal lessons. After realising that influences and creativity aligned, she paired up with teacher, Scott to bring the demos she created to life.

Influenced by the likes of Sparklehorse, Dinosaur Jr., Yo La Tengo, Snail Mail, Slow Pulp, The Beths, Cat Power and Broken Social Scene, Elison have released their second single, ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’, which is a self reflective and vulnerable song that highlights the bad habits that Marissa struggles to shake.

Recorded and produced in Scott’s home studio, the indie rock track, ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ features the contrasting soothingly emotional feel of Marissa’s vocals, combined with the driving rock beats and rhythm.

“It’s been so exciting to see the song take shape from concept to completion and we’re so ready to share it with others. I’m also excited to start recording our next set of songs.” Marissa Kephart”

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“elison follow their promising debut single Meet Me Halfway with the even catchier Hopes And Horoscopes. While the first single was originally their first demo, this sophomore effort was actually demo #2. It was a track Marissa Kephart wrote the basics of, which she brought to multi-instrumentalist and producer Scott Yoshimura for further polishing. Once again, the American duo did a wonderful job.

When they decided to start a band, less than a year ago, Kephart introduced the name elison. This is a part of her maiden name Cornelison. Also, it’s an ode to her father, a musician himself who influenced her a lot.

In Hopes And Horoscopes, Kephart sings of various bad habits she can’t seem to shake. Her words are backed by a driving beat, playful synths and simple but effective guitar melodies. Don’t expect the duo to play their songs from a stage near you anytime soon. though. “Maybe one day this answer will change, but for now we’re content writing, recording and releasing songs from the comfort of our homes.”

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“Duo Elison has just released their second single of their career, before they released the spectacular Meet me Halfway, now it’s Hopes & Horoscopes’ turn to shine.

Remember Duo Elison? They waited many years to release their first song and now they continue the delicious work that started in 2021, it was a real gift for music lovers that they started this fantastic and admirable career.

Hopes & Horoscopes continues the great work that the Duo has been doing, showing even more evolution, the music is light, easy to identify, has a fresh narrative that creates bonds with the listener, is based on indie rock bringing elements of drums and perfectly distorted guitar, mixing nostalgia with innovations.

The track is addictive and Marissa’s voice is in tune and powerful, letting us realize that she has talent and dedication to keep evolving.

We love the new sound, we’ve been listening non-stop

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“We all have bad habits with some being much worse than others. This range of habits has been picked up by Elison for their single ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ which highlights some of the bad habits and vices we all face. Introspective and self-reflective, the single was inspired by their own bad habits and the struggles they faced trying to overcome them.

Focusing mostly on singer Marrisa Kephart’s vices, the single captures the universal struggles that accompany them making it extremely relatable. Together with Scott Yoshimura, she brings a playfulness to the reflection of the track. The duo has been working together since lockdown and have been merging their creative energies to form the sound of this musical project.

‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ draws you in with a warbling electronic line that slowly rises into the moving beats. There is a twang to the guitar when it enters that reaches out to the rather playful synths. There are a few layers to the music that come together for a nostalgic flourish of sound. While the beats push you down the soundscape, there is a softness to the synths that catch you in an embrace as pop and rock sounds intertwine. The melody creates a space where you can float forward while reflecting on what the vocals have to say.

The softness of the melody is picked up by Kephart’s vocals that flow with a cottony dream-pop edge. There is a pastel colour to her performance that soothes the soundscape as the lyrics reflect on habits and vices. There is an acknowledgement of the bad habits which is met by the knowledge that you need to try and move on from them. The driving beat propels the dreamy vocals into a playful mood at times while retaining the reflective edge. There is a thoughtful flow to the chorus as Kephart and Yoshimura’s vocals merge for a rich movement. Through all of this, there is a dream of a time without any bad habits but there is an understanding that this is somewhere in the far nebulous future.

Elison drives you into a hazy and dreamy vocal performance as they consider bad habits and the struggle of breaking them in ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’. There is a playful edge to the music through the synths while the guitars bring a nostalgic flourish. Kephart’s vocals float through you with a dream-pop vibe as she reflects and acknowledges the vices and struggles we all face.”

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“Coming from a creative family, it was only natural that singer-songwriter Marissa Kephart embraced a career in the arts. As a graphic designer, Marissa emerged herself in visual arts but always had a dream of playing music – this dream came true in 2021. Using the Covid-19 pandemic as a catalyst for her musical career, US-based Marissa began learning to play the guitar and write music. After meeting up with producer and multi-instrumentalist Scott Yoshimura, the duo soon began releasing music as Elison.

Following the well-received single ‘Meet Me Halfway’, ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ adopts an indie-rock sound with integrated dream-pop synths throughout. The flowing arrangement sets off a wistful, flowing and slightly whimsical feeling within a hazy ambience. As if travelling through a forest filled with perfumed mist, listening to ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ ensnares your senses from the first chord. While the track has a typical indie-rock style, Marissa and Scott present obscurity and eclecticism with the refreshing ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’.

Recorded and produced by Scott Yoshimura in his home studio, and this time we don’t mean the living room acting as a studio, ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’ is a whirlwind of intimate emotions. A self-reflective song, Marissa highlights her bad habits “that she can’t seem to shake” and really bares her soul. It is this introspection in a sentimental song that connects with listeners showcasing Elison’s innovativeness as a band. What I find even more interesting is how invested Marissa is in ‘Hopes & Horoscopes’. It isn’t merely a tale about human fragility, but a true soul-searching grapple to come to terms with her own fragility.

A true perfectionist, Marissa aims for the exceptional in all situations. Yet, she explains that the pandemic “gave her permission to be bad at something”, that something being Elison. I don’t know about you but when I listen to these tracks, I can’t believe anyone would question their perfection. It’s just, well, sublimely perfect.”

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After 20 years of wishing, Iowan, Marissa Kephart set out to make music for the first time. Using the extra space allotted to her during lockdown she found the courage to finally pick up the guitar. She took her first demo ‘Meet Me Halfway’ to teacher, multi-instrumentalist and producer Scott Yoshimura (The Envy Corps, Canby) in the summer of 2021 and the two quickly understood their creative energies and influences aligned so they formed Elison.Sculpting dreamy immersive synths, layered with airy smooth vocals, punctuated with thoughtful guitar flourishes and driving drum beats, Elison has proven to find a home within the indie rock genre while flirting with dream pop, indie pop and shoegaze with ease.

“Meet me halfway”, the previous track at the same time their debut, still sounds to my ears and of course set the bar very high for the successor. Elison are back, back with their next release. “Hopes & Horoscopes” is the name of the good piece that has to compete with their successful pre-release.

Inspired by her bad habits, the singer embarked on a journey of self-reflection to shed light on the vices we and she face. Questioning and maybe even overcoming the eternal struggles that come with it as a theme. Staying true to the genre, this time they move a little more in the direction of Indie Rock, the sound of the guitar, alongside the vocals, certainly sets the tone. The atmosphere created sounds fantastic and is signed with an everlasting melody. The vocals are even able to top the predecessor and perform in top form again. Equipping the song with more rocking nuances, arranging it, a successful musical move that raises the bar a little for the next track. “Hopes & Horoscopes” by Elison, I guess the Horoscope predicts a bright future for this year.”

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‘Meet Me Halfway’ Reviews

“There’s so many people out there, people who adore music, that wish they could learn an instrument or dust off that microphone they bought on a whim and have an earnest go at making music. The same old excuse that we turn to is that we don’t have enough time. Until the American covid lockdown of 2020, Iowa resident Marissa Kephart would have counted herself in this group, but suddenly with so much time on her hands, she started a 20-year goal of learning the guitar and taking voice lessons.

Around the same time, multi-instrumentalist and producer Scott Yoshimura opened up his home studio to friends and colleagues, one of whom was Kephart. When she arrived with a demo version of ‘Meet Me Halfway’, the pair discovered a mutual interest in the same bands and an enjoyment for working together. And thus, ELISON was born!

As it turns out, ‘Meet Me Halfway’ has become the debut single from this newly formed midwest indie-rock duo. Below Kephart reflects on the journey that brought the project this far:

“To watch this song grow into the track that it is from a seed of an idea while I fumbled over chords on my acoustic guitar to this full, forward driving, at times powerful, song feels very much like a metaphor of myself and my first year journey into music. No longer holding onto the things that held me back, I’m exploring new creative outlets that I always wished I had earlier in my life, but was never brave enough to do.”

The track itself centers around another courageous leap, that is leaving an unhealthy relationship. From the opening, ‘Meet Me Halfway’ quite literally propels the listening into a driving motion, moving us as far away from the toxic situation as possible. These marching guitar chords and drums persist throughout, while the delicate synth keys indicate hope on the horizon. It’s the chorus though where things really pick up; shoegazey strings and an incredibly catchy hook that’ll having you singing “I don’t wanna be in love if you can’t meet me halfway” at the top of your liberated lungs.

We seriously love ELISON‘s sound and we’ll be listening out for more.”

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“I promise, the chorus of the following title is guaranteed to go through your head for a while after listening to it. ‘Meet Me Halfway’ is not only a catchy tune, but also one of those tracks that stylistically reminds us of some fantastic 90s productions. It’s the latest single by the US American duo Elison, whose incredibly well-done indie pop / rock sound we don’t want to withhold from you. 

It is especially the truly warm and balanced lead voice of the singer that shapes the song, especially in the verses with her delicate vein and in the chorus, on the other hand, with full expression. This is accompanied by a very pleasant and rhythmic guitar arrangement, which is enriched by subtle synthesizer sounds. Lyrically, ‘Meet Me Halfway’ tells, among other things, of a failed love relationship, which, however, gives us as listeners a hopeful and motivating energy on the way. A clear recommendation on our part, be sure to stop by Elison on Spotify yourself and stay up to date with other new releases.”

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“In 2020, and after twenty years of hesitation, Kephart finally decided to pick up a guitar in her newfound free time. ‘Meet Me Halfway’ was the first demo to make it to Yoshimura’s studio, where he contributed his production wisdom to Kephart’s extraordinary songwriting skills, resulting in a debut that is set to take over the indie-rock universe.

“I’m a bit of an optimist and I often find myself staying in relationships far longer than they deserve. The realization to move on takes time but when it does there’s a sense of empowerment in the awareness…”

Emotional maturity meets a youthful sound inspired by Big Thief and My Bloody Valentine in this powerhouse of a track. Guitars chug along with unparalleled resolve next to Kephart’s assured vocal, making for a unique sound that may well skyrocket Elison to the top of their game. This duo is certainly one to watch.”

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“After spending the last few months building and cultivating their sound, Midwest indie-rock duo Elison have now introduced themselves to the world with their spectacular debut single ‘Meet Me Halfway’.

Channelling a smooth and tranquil aesthetic from start to finish, ‘Meet Me Halfway’ makes for a wonderfully warm introduction to their sound. With its driven guitar direction, soaring hooks, and some truly uplifting vocals layered throughout, these two look set for big things in the months ahead.

So with the new single available now, we sat down with them to find out more about their background and influences over the years.”


“The first single of Midwest indie rock duo, elison, is a great indie rock gem, driving down a desolate highway at night, blasting your favorite song after leaving an unhealthy relationship. 90s vibes in this one!”

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“Iowan Marissa Kephart says this release has been 20 years in the making, and it wasn’t until the global pandemic that she was afforded the time and headspace to finally release some music. She came together with multi-instrumentalist and producer Scott Yoshimura to form the group Elison. What has been produced is a fusion of varying musical influences from the likes of Cat Power and My Bloody Valentine to name a few. However, they have managed to fuse the sounds of their influences into an entirely unique offering that provides a joyous singalong chorus to accompany the steady, driving feel of the verses. It has an atmospheric, immersive feel about it that allows you to really enter the headspace of Marissa and not just hear the lyrics, but feel them too. A really strong debut release.”

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“With a Cat Power sense of lived in vocals and a Soccer Mommy sense of lo-fi, laconic cool, this Marissa Kephart led project joins the Palehound, Snail Mail, Girl in Red style legions of brilliant female, jangly lo-fi / bedroom-pop acts.”

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During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns, many people started to pursue interests they did not have time for previously. One of these people is US-based singer-songwriter, Marissa Kephart. Add established multi-instrumentalist Scott Yoshimura and you have indie-pop duo Elison. While Yoshimura has over two decades of experience in the music industry, Elison was formed in 2020/2021 making the pair relative newbies in the music scene. Yet, despite their newbie status, they have featured in notable blogs like Music For The Misfits, Sinusoidal Music, Talk About Pop Music, Clout and Less Than 1000 Followers attaining global recognition. The latest single is ‘Meet Me Halfway’.

Inspired by the likes of Dinosaur Jr, My Bloody Valentine, Sparklehorse and Slow Pulp, one would imagine a rather innovative sound from the duo, and that is exactly what you get. Their debut single ‘Meet Me Halfway’ is upbeat, buoyant and jovial but with a sense of melancholy about the track. Recorded and produced in Yoshimura’s home studio, ‘Meet Me Halfway’ fuses dynamic guitars with steady drums and keyboards throughout the sonic tapestry. While the producer has many years of skill, it is the polished execution of Kephart’s rich inexperienced vocals that is astounding.

The flowing melody is attention-grabbing in itself, but it is the underlying meaning that shows true depth. As I mentioned, the song has a melancholic quality, however, the personal narrative leans toward an empowering tune. Elison shares that ‘Meet Me Halfway is “…about leaving unhealthy relationships behind. The track pulls you in with its immersive atmospheric mood, then propels you forward with its consistent driving motion. It’s both powerful and hopeful in messaging.”

Kaleidoscopic in many ways, Elison has created a track filled with tenderness, insightfulness and nostalgic reflection. Kephart’s vocals enhance the poignancy of ‘Meet Me Halfway’ adding a sense of sincerity to the honest track. My favourite part has to be the ending with Kephart singing the catchy last lines of the song, “meet me halfway” without instrumentation. It has a forcefulness in its soft tone that resonates and leaves you spellbound. I cannot wait for more from this talented duo.

In addition to the single, Elison released an official music video for ‘Meet Me Halfway’. Please note: this video uses strobe-like lighting effects and can trigger seizures in people with photosensitive epilepsy. Viewer discretion is advised.

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“Des Moines duo, elison just released their debut single, “Meet Me Halfway.” Mixing a mid-tempo strumming acoustic guitar backbone with synth flourish, the track is reminiscent of artists like Rilo Kiley. When the electric guitar kicks in for the arena-sized chorus, you can see why the band described the song as “driving down a desolate highway at night, blasting your favorite song after leaving an unhealthy relationship.”

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“Meet Me Halfway” is the first single by the American duo elison, composed by Marissa Kephart and Scott Yoshimura. Their sound is indie rock with layers of shoegaze and dream pop bringing out the best of the sound already explored by names like Yo La Tengo. Elison makes the classic look original and interesting again, “Meet Me Halfway” is his debut single and already hits the world completely ready and looking like a veteran band. It really is a memorable, dynamic and completely enchanting song. Mixing heavy, distorted guitars with light keyboard touches and Marissa’s mature voice, it’s hard to wait for new material from these two after this start here.”

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“With hard electronic guitar riffs that counter with calm, soft female vocals, elison’s “Meet Me Halfway” is the perfect song to chill with this weekend! Check out elison and maybe “Meet Me Halfway” will be your new favorite!”

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Good morning and welcome back to The Study Lounge. It is finally Friday and we have been welcomed with a bit of rainy weather this morning here in Michigan. We hope that wherever you are, rain or shine, you are ready for a lovely Friday filled with bright, positive energy. Today we plan on showcasing a few artists and songs that we felt were perfect for a lovely Friday such as today. To get the ball rolling we are going to be checking out the debut single of an up and coming Dream Pop duo that really caught our attention this week. So if you all are ready, let’s jump in and learn about Elison and their debut release, ‘Meet Me Halfway’.

Elison is the name of the up an coming musical duo made up of, Marissa Kekphard and Scott Yoshimura. Marissa plays guitar and performs vocals while Scott is a multi-instrumentalist and producer. The duo began in 2020 after Marissa finally decided to pursue her dream of making music after waiting 20 years. Using her newfound courage and free time gained during the lockdown, Marissa began taking vocal lessons and playing the guitar. She recorded her first demo and took it to her music teacher Scott. The two quickly found out that their styles and musical ambitions aligned perfectly. Since then Elison was formed and the demo we spoke of earlier would end up being their debut release and the track that we are going to shine a light on today. Let’s take a look at ‘Meet Me Halfway’.

‘Meet Me Halfway’ opens with slightly distorted guitar chords and an uplifting percussion pattern that set the tone for the song going forward. Shortly after, you are greeted with dreamy, atmospheric vocals that immediately grab your attention and hook you in. We asked the duo on what the meaning behind the track was and they explained that, “Meet Me Halfway is about leaving unhealthy relationships behind.” The overall soundscape is lovely and spacious. You can tell the attention to detail in every chord and every melody. Marissa really shines through with her vocal performance on this song. ‘Meet Me Halfway’ displays the dynamic nature of Elison and sets the tone for the rest of their projects going forwards.

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Elison are a brand-new American indie-rock duo, comprised of Marissa Kephart (vocals, guitar) and Scott Yoshimura (multi-instrumentalist, producer). After 20 years of wishing, the lockdown finally gave Kephart the time (and courage) to pick up playing guitar and start taking voice lessons. Meet Me Halfway was her first demo, which she brought to Yoshimura to help with her song-writing. Quickly, they discovered they were both inspired by bands such as SparklehorseDinosaur Jr.My Bloody Valentine and Soccer Mommy. This led to the formation of their two-piece band, elison.

Meet Me Halfway is the duo’s debut single. Dealing with leaving unhealthy relationships behind, it’s both powerful and hopeful in messaging. The track has an immersive atmospheric mood, powered by a driving groove.

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“Meet Me Halfway” is the first single by the American duo elison, composed by Marissa Kephart and Scott Yoshimura. Their sound is indie rock with layers of shoegaze and dream pop bringing out the best of the sound already explored by names like Yo La Tengo. Elison makes the classic look original and interesting again, “Meet Me Halfway” is his debut single and already hits the world completely ready and looking like a veteran band. It really is a memorable, dynamic and completely enchanting song. Mixing heavy, distorted guitars with light keyboard touches and Marissa’s mature voice, it’s hard to wait for new material from these two after this start here.

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After 20 years of wanting to make her own music, Marissa Kephart, from the duo Elison, succeeds and better late than never. In all her glory, alongside her counterpart Scott Yoshimura, Elison manages to create on her debut single ‘Meet Me Halfway’, in my opinion, an instrumental hybrid of The Killers with the voice of Phoebe Bridgers or Big Thief.

This unique sound that we find here talks about the act of leaving a toxic relationship in the past. It takes elements of an atmospheric rock that leads to a powerful marching beat with a strong message. Perfect song also for fans of Dinosaur Jr, Yo La Tengo and My Bloody Valentine.

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After 20 years of desiring to release a song, Marissa Kephart teamed up with multi-instrumentalist product Scott Yoshimura to form the talented duo, Elison and compose their wonderful first single Meet Me Halfway.

Indie folk rock delicious is Meet Me Halfway, high quality music made by talented people, lyrics made with the soul and sung with a voice that sounds like an angel, it was worth the wait, Marissa comes with the perfect vocalization, at the ideal pace.

An emotional, beautiful single that easily floats between pop, alternative and folk rock, Yoshimura comes with a lot of talent also in producing the single that was divine.

We love knowing this track and hope they release a new single soon, as the Elison project is very good and deserves to grow worldwide.

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Elison share their spellbinding debut single ‘Meet Me Halfway’.
A lockdown success story, Elison came into being when Marissa Kephart fulfilled her lifetime dream and began to take voice and guitar lessons from Scott Yoshimura. The duo quickly formed a creative partnership, blending together Marissa’s vulnerability and early song-writing prowess with Scott’s experience and technical know-how. ‘Meet Me Halfway’ is their debut track, but it already feels like a product of a seasoned collaborative effort. With such a glorious beginning, it is exciting to see what Elison have next in store.

Opening with a few playful synth chords, ‘Meet Me Halfway’ launches into a blanket of textured, shoegazey guitars, crunching gently like autumn leaves. Marissa’s vocals fluctuate between indulgent depth and girlish lightness, growing progressively more urgent with each new wave of the chorus. Detailing the moment of letting go from an unhappy relationship, this track is a hopeful ode to personal strength and resilience, vividly capturing relatable feelings and scenarios with unaffected ease.

Melodic and delightfully catchy, ‘Meet Me Halfway’ has the sound of a classic – the kind of track you can come back to over and over again.

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