Put your feet up and enjoy this list of engaging music. There’s no particular theme this week, but we’re sure you’ll find a lot to jam to here. There are so many talented musicians out there these days. Please vote for your favorite. We’d also be stoked if you shared this on social media with your friends. You can chat about what track you like best!
Aaron Taos – “Off My Mind”
-This is a cool groove. Matt called it “indie pop with bite” and I totally agree with that description. There’s a nicely produced electro vibe that feels fresh and clean, without feeling like you need to bang your head too hard. It’s just a nice chill track about the way you can’t stop thinking about someone special to you. Simple, but satisfying.
Mating Ritual – “American Muscle”
-This is a hard hitting rock song. There are definitely some big rock sounds here, but mostly the song is best defined by the word ANTHEM. It reminds me a little of 30 Seconds to Mars, a rock sound that I’m totally a sucker for. We hear lots of indie rock come through here, but it’s rarely this infectious and enjoyable. The distortion of the guitar matches the timber of the voice and the mood of the song. This is what it means to produce a sound, not just a song.
Rees Finley – “Dear Abby”
-Combine the phrasing and style of Ben Folds and combine it with the syntax of Green Day. Do you hear it? Yeah, you do. Because this is an interesting, clever songwriting style that is just about as “timeless” as alt rock can get. The intricate songwriting elements even sometimes feel like Queen. Enough with the name dropping, this is just a really unique song. The lyrics are cryptic and entertaining. The whole song is a wonder.
Keaton Conrad – “Biscayne”
-There’s something about this style – whether you call it singer songwriter or pop – that is addictively interesting. It has elements of pop rock, certainly, but also a placid fascination. The song really reels the listener in, making you wonder what it’s all about. There are elements of U2 and even some of Chet Faker, but all told, it’s a song with twists and turns that are interesting to the ear. The lyrical elements rise and fall, too, keeping the song murky to discern and therefore perfectly mysterious.
Wonggoys – “Weekend”
-I really like the raw emotion of this song. The vocal is not strained and the guitars aren’t overly aggressive, but the track drips with emotion for me. There’s an inherent love story to the song, although it implies it more than anything. The vocals are really solid and the overall melody is satisfying. I really would love to hear this song on the top 40. There are shades of early 2000s alt rock, but to my ears this is a fresh sound worthy of some serious airplay.
Jesse Konrad – “Cruise Ctrl”
-This is a building piece of folk rock music that rises to a satisfying sonic moment. You might hear a range of folk bands in the sound, but the one that stands out for me most is Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It’s a sound that I find deeply satisfying. I look forward to hearing more from Konrad and his band, for sure.
Bikini Islands – “Chasing Your Tail”
-I am not a music tech guru, so I’m not sure what the sound is on the electric guitars that makes them sound the way they do here, but I really dig the sound of Bikini Islands. Whether it’s the resonating guitars or the really solid vocal, the whole composition really works well. The chromatic chord progression does my ears good, while the background harmonies give it a bit of a timeless element. The cliche image of a dog chasing its tail compared with a human is also pretty timeless. It works and for a comp band, we’ll go with Arctic Monkeys.
Cameron Floyd – “Miss Popular”
-I really like this song. I mean, maybe that’s not editorially prudent for me to say in a contest, but I just really like it. It reminds me of Ben Rector and/or Jason Mraz. Talk about a great songwriting compliment! Honestly, Floyd is an immensely talented singer songwriter. This isn’t the first time we’ve covered him and I imagine we’ll run across his work again. He can sing a hook, for sure.
Smith and Thell – “Row”
-This might be one of the most “smash hit” potential tracks we’ve included on a NMF. The song itself has that dynamic power that you might hear in a band like 30 Seconds to Mars. Beyond that, though, it’s packaged with a genuine folk rock ethos that reminds me of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I love the sound of this track, though, and feel like it’s totally made for a massive stage at a festival. The lead vocal melts me every listen.
Joel Ansett – “Give Our Hearts Some Weight”
-If you read ETTG because you love folk singer songwriters, Joel Ansett is the one for you on this list. If you are here because you Googled The Oh Hellos and our site was the first result, Ansett is still for you. But enough silliness, this is a seriously beautiful song. The composition is everything I look for in good folk, sounding as much like Gregory Alan Isakov as anyone. The lyric is contemplative and perfectly delivered. The whole composition is worth your serious consideration.