The fun thing about curating these lists is seeing how they play out. Sometimes the tracks I think are the best end up getting a handful of votes, while others bring in dozens. I hope that you’ll share this post with your music loving friends. We’d love to see this be a place where bands really can “break” and spread to new fans.
Tyler Gummersall – “Love Me When I’m Down”
-If you like a Garth Brooks era style of country music, Tyler Gummersall is a perfect fit. He does not have the “bro country” ethos going on (thank goodness) but he also isn’t the Jason Isbell type either. You’ll hear more George Strait than anything in Gummersall, both in the syntax and the vocal quality. This is just a wonderful country song, befitting the honkytonk or the 21st century playlist.
Amber Hall – “Private School”
-When it comes to electro music, it’s all about creating an atmosphere that draws in the listener. Amber Hall has the ability to create an atmosphere that is contemplative yet organically interesting. The imagery of a school is unique, with layers of meaning. Although romantic at its core, the overall ethos of the school is unconventional and pulls the listener into the storyline.
Cold Weather Company – “Deep Breaths”
-This track is classified as “alternative folk” and that works pretty well for the sound. It reminds me a bit of Bears of Legend, a band that I fell in love with a few years ago. There are some really unique sonic elements to this sound. It moves rapidly, captivating the listener. Some of the guitar and piano work on this track is just phenomenal. The unique melodic developments show that this is not just another jangly folk band; these artists are pushing the genre into both jazzy and cinematic directions. I can’t wait to hear more from them.
The Drives – “Whatever”
-Nearly every indie rock band I accept comes up as “like The 1975,” but the funny thing is, I don’t actually listen to The 1975. But these guys, the Drives, apparently really do sound like The 1975. There a sort of post punk ethereal rock feel to the music. I can just picture these guys standing at the edge of a stage, singing out over their adoring fans. They have a naturally danceable style and lyrics all warm blooded humans can connect with. The vocals are tailor made for this punk-influenced indie rock sound. Heck, even the bridge has a really infectious hook. I dig it.
Unbloom – “Household Goods” Unbloom Flip
-This is a cool downtempo electro track along the lines of Passion Pit. The lyrics are about the feeling of infatuation and thinking about someone. At the same time, the song’s steady movement keeps the listener wondering and pondering about its direction. There are some interesting artistic choices with the pacing and overall style. While it’s not something we often cover, this type of electro music can be artistically fascinating. Hang on for the synth style that’s sort of a “drop” later in the song.
Hume – “Somewhere Out There”
-Imagine if Relient K and Death Cab for Cutie had a cowrite. You’d probably get a sound something like Hume. It’s thoughtful and engaging, not too many power chords, but also not too sad either. It’s philosophical and intriguing, dabbling between pop and rock sounds. There’s a touch of atmospheric sound that bounces around between the melody lines that might even remind me of Phil Collins and some classic pop, too. The contemplative lyrics, though, about theology and human existence, are really what make me love this entire production.
Beau and Luci – “Deeper Well”
-This track is an Emmylou Harris cover of “Deeper Well.” Stop what you’re doing, even if you’re here to support another band, and click play on this. If these harmonies do not make chills shoot up your spine… you might need to check if you’re alive. This is an incredible song with outstanding performance all around. These two artists are exceptional. This is a next level performance, on the fast track to big success. You can hear the intricate nuances in the arrangement and the flawless vocal performance. Great stuff.
R S Y – “For Now”
-RSY is a contemplative singer songwriter that you’ll really enjoy. Fans of artists like William Fitzsimmons or James Vincent McMorrow will really like this performance. The song itself is thoughtful, but it’s also emblematic of a subtle, artistic sound. The lyrics are articulate and meaningful. It reminds me more of a poem recited over acoustic guitar than a song in the purest sense, but it really works well. The lofi production works for this one, too.
Tyler Edwards – “Dancing Light”
-We have a running joke that Matt gets every submission that sounds like Ryan Adams. But truth be told, we get a lot of artists who claim to sound like Ryan Adams, but really don’t at all. Tyler Edwards, on the other hand, really does. The style is absolutely 100% folk rock. Like if someone said what is folk rock, I could play them this track. Edwards’s style is great, the song is solid, and the performance itself holds up really well. The phrasing and structure even sounds like it’s out of Adams’ discography. Consequently, we really enjoyed this track and look forward to more Tyler Edwards.
Mac Ayres – “Easy”
-Mac Ayres is an exceptionally talented blue eyed soul singer. This song, though, is full of so much soul that I actually get chills listening to it. I mean, we often tell people we like “Sam Cooke style soul” and my goodness does Mac Ayres have it in spades. He can deliver a perfectly written line with eloquent soulful precision. It’s about singing the song and not OVER singing it. The man has music running through his veins, you can hear it. The song is romantic, of course, but this young man is ahead of his time in grasping the heart of this incredible style of music.