When we started this series, we weren’t sure if anyone would even notice. After years of ticket giveaways and trying to get people to “enter” into all sorts of drawings, we never found a way to drive traffic to the site and to our writing. It was sad. We were sad. But with this series, we’ve seen a good deal of attention. We’re glad to see that bands are interested in winning a review on our site. Remember, folks, some of these bands may never see another full length review from a blog or mag, so take this seriously. It might be tempting to just vote for the one you’ve heard of, but please listen to them all and vote your conscience. Oh, and come back next week. There’ll be more where these came from!
Altar Eagles – “Skeletal”
-If you’re a fan of pop indie rock bands like Tame Impala, then Altar Eagles are right up your alley. They have an unconventional energy and rhythm, with a sound that includes some fascinating inflections. It’s not really the typical harmony-driven rock we often feature. There’s even a dose of Dr. Dog to what they’re up to, but it’s more anthemic. This track “Skeletal” has a direct message about knowing, doubting, and surviving. It’s a nice unique track to get us started.
Delafaye – “Time and Money”
-Readers of this site know my affinity for Water Liars and Delafaye reminds me of them. It’s a minimalist presentation and heartfelt lyrics. “I need you and I know you need me.” It doesn’t get much more direct than that. But the thing that makes Delafaye stand out is this cool, crude reality that drips through in the music. You can feel the venue has sticky floors and a mixture of types of smoke. The drinks are strong and the people are hard; that’s why we love them.
The Winter Gypsey – “People”
-If you’re a fan of Elliot Smith, you’ll find a lot to like with The Winter Gypsey. This is ambient, chill folk done right. Although the vocal is not as crisp as some we have featured, the rawness of the recording is worth your time. It’s the kind of thoughtful reflection you’d expect to contemplate in a coffee shop or book store, watching the world go by, observing the confusing simplicity of people.
Young Summer – “Old Chunk of Coal”
-Young Summer can SING. This is an incredible recording, building atmospheric piano-based music that really speaks to the listener. The song’s lyric, “I’m gonna be the world’s best friend” sets a tone for desiring to get out and make a difference. It feels like an epic style track, keeping a cathartic beat and crescendoing toward an ever-bigger finish. The sound is satisfying and the lead vocal is worth your time for sure.
Quiet the Pilot – “Stick Around Some”
-Quirky, maybe, but effective – that’s the way this Quiet the Pilot song comes across to me. It’s a rollicking track, like a B-side Rolling Stones track. It doesn’t sound like anything you’ve ever heard before, really, but you find yourself bobbing your head and… well, sticking around for the song. It’s a simple lyrical suggestion for someone you like to stick around and just chill. Put it on and shoot some pool or just chill with friends. It’s that kind of downtempo rock track.
Alice Merton – “No Roots”
-Are you ready to dance? Okay, press play. You feel that groove? If you’re not moving in your chair right now, you might need to get your blood pressure checked. This is a real jam, honestly. Merton’s vox are just the right kind of “on point” with a bit of character to them. She reminds me of Audra Mae, the badass songwriter of the hit song “Little Red Wagon.” Merton’s attitude drips from this proud wandering anthem about traveling when and where she wants. It’s a hit.
Sonya Kitchell – “Funeral”
-Fans of Joni Mitchell should just sit down slowly right now before you click play. Sonya Kitchell might become your new favorite artist. I’m not sure I’ve heard many artists who can sing this type of chill acoustic folk music quite like her. It’s a beautiful simplicity, delivering complicated lyrics with poetic precision. As I listen to the track repeatedly, I can’t help but dream of a better, more peaceful life. That’s the cry here, for something better. It’s stirring and beautiful.
Lucas Jack – “The Second Time Around”
-You won’t get past the first verse before thinking of Ben Folds on this one. Lucas Jack has a nice Elton John flavor to him too, but you get the point with both of those names that he can write a pop hook with a nice toe-tapping ballad. This is the quintessential, sing-along pop song. There are some cool electronic elements to the bridge that keep the song from feeling too repetitive and the lyrics are pretty intriguing, too. It’s a satisfying track that keeps me coming back for more.
Tobias Gebb – “Troubled Times”
-There’s so little pure rock being made these days, it’s nice to hear some from Tobias Gebb. The style is a bit dissonant at times, but it has an earnestness that reminds me of vintage Rolling Stones. He sings with an abandon that I can really appreciate. The cool concern of the song, too, is evocative and interesting to us here at ETTG. We must try, Gebb explains, to endure despite the insanity. It’s a great concept and the tension comes through in the writing and performance well. Sometimes our guitars weep for us.
Troup – “Rag and Bone Man”
-This is some high energy rock that will put you in mind of southern and/or classic rock music. One could imagine Troup opening for Guns n’ Roses or Lynrd Skynrd. They have that “it” factor of a good rock band, too. It’s a crowd pleasing sound that accompanies a message of being with a lover, with that highly blues influenced but still upbeat rock sound. Imagine a fifth of something tasty and a nice southern rock festival. That’s what this song was meant for.