We thought about putting the NMF series on hiatus for the holidays, but what the heck! Let’s keep it going! We have some exceptional music coming through our submissions every single day, so there’s no time to rest. Let’s be of good cheer, though, and enjoy these songs. I know you’re busy decking halls and jingling bells, but if you could find it in your heart to share this post with 25 of your closest friends (one for each day in December until Christmas), that would be Santa-stic. Okay I’m done. Here’s some music:
Crywolf – “Windswept”
-The first time I heard about Crywolf was from a former student of mine. I was skeptical about an EDM act as a good fit for a folk blog, but I definitely heard something there. This more recent iteration of Crywolf’s artful style is definitely a fit for us. This is now the second track we’ve featured from this highly talented, truly unique artist. You’ll hear falsetto vocals and unconventional melodies in a song that twists and turns with complicated, modern musical stylings. This is not a club banger; it’s an emotional, sonic journey.
Calli Grace – “New Places”
-The easy comparison for Calli Grace might be Taylor Swift, but I actually think more of Kelly Clarkson with her. She has a quaint style about her, with some solid pop chord progressions. But what impresses me the most about the song is Grace’s clarity in her vocal. There’s a definitive soulful connection between the lyrics and the performance. This is what makes an original artist successful. I look forward to following Grace’s promising young music career.
The Drives – “Who cares? I do”
-If you grew up listening to Hootie and the Blowfish (like all the cool kids did) then you’ll really love The Drives. There’s a really fun ethic to this song. The lyrics are great, the beat is infectious, and the overall song reminds me of a bygone era of hackysacks and drinking too much iced tea. Oh and hemp necklaces. I mean, seriously how were those ever popular? But this band has the kind of sound that a lot of people will enjoy. They should open for Dave Matthews and win like a bajillion fans.
Bruno Major – “Easily”
-If you like Allen Stone or Room for Squares era John Mayer, you’ll love this track. It’s stripped down and soulful. It’s an excellent example of new school soul. I love that the track isn’t full of all sorts of bells and whistles. The guitar and the rhythm section, with a voice that conveys soul with authenticity. I love when soul music sounds like this. I plan on watching Major’s career closely.
Masha Maria – “Heavy Heart”
-This song moves me and I don’t totally know why. There’s something familiar about Masha Maria that I find captivating. She comes across like someone you’ve been listening to for many years, even though she’s an emerging artist. The layered sounds are equal parts pop and Americana. As it all blends together, I find myself being drawn into a story that I just want to know more about. I squint. I lean in. I concentrate. Who is this mysterious subject? I want to hear more. I still do as the song fades out…
Phinisey – “Winter”
-If you’re a fan of cool soul music, Phinisey is a great fit. His chill soul vibe is absolutely addictive. There’s something clear about the way he is able to express deep emotion. He reminds me a little of John Legend, but with some other influences mixed in. The metaphor of the winter works perfectly for a relationship that’s not quite working out; it’s a relatable concept and really well delivered on this track.
Paul Cook and the Chronicles – “Until I Fall Asleep”
-This is a lovely little ditty of a folk song. There’s a wonderful resonance on the acoustic guitar and the vocals. Heck, even the percussion feels comfortable and just right. For whatever reason, I picture a bunch of friends standing around a cabin or something, just enjoying life and making music. There’s a richness and depth the harmonies here that keep me wanting to listen to Paul Cook and the Chronicles for much more… until… well, you know… doze off…
Yes Babez – “Round around”
-Indie pop is a really fun genre when it’s done right. Mostly, for me at least, that means there shouldn’t be a synthesizer. It should be near acoustic and have lots of hand claps. Maybe a tambourine. There should definitely be dancing! This fun song almost begs that you dance and sing along. There’s a bit of Belle Brigade to this sound. Fans of one of my favorites, Good Old War, will really love Yes Babez. Seriously get up off your feet and love your friends with this track!
Lucas Laufen – “Boulders”
-Lucas Laufen reminds me of a few singer songwriters, but I just enjoy him for him. He has a performance affect that comes through in the track beautifully. He can sing with this soft whisper that works well. Beyond that, his guitar work is on point as well. But of course the exceptional artists are more than the sum of their parts. Laufen certainly fits that bill, expressing something that feels like pure heart and soul. This is a song that I love.
Katrin á Borg – “Fading Lovehearts”
-This is a big pop song. There’s a great crescendo style to the entire song. It is full of raw emotion and intrigue. It might be easy to compare Borg to people like Natasha Bedingfield or Vanessa Carlton, but she really stands on her own with a unique pop style. I’d love to hear this track on the top 40 rather than some of the annoying club bangers that seem to dominate that chart. There’s plenty of heart to this song that are certainly not fading away.”
Seafret – “Blank You Out”
-I really appreciate the pop energy of this track from Seafret. It’s an interesting lyric concept of trying to forget someone. But the vocals are really captivating in the vein of Vance Joy, with a bit of indie rock energy behind them. The overall sound seems like a hit, though, a should get its fair share of airplay on global outlets. If you’re a fan of energetic indie rock, this is definitely a song for you.