Today we present our “Top Ten” tracks we have heard in the last few weeks. Honestly, this is some outstanding stuff. We have bigger as well as up and coming acts you need to know about on this list that we believe has a little something for everybody. We originally thought we should rate them from 1-10 but then realized that was a ridiculously hard task. So grab your headphones and enjoy some of the finest music being made at this present moment!
Pussy Riot – “Police State”
So we owe this act a sincere apology. For years, we have absolutely loved what they have stood for as voices against authoritarianism and hatred, yet we haven’t looked past their spot on message to the music they create. Honestly, we hurt ourselves. “Police State” might be our favorite pop song of the year, and maybe our favorite punk driven message. It takes a true artist to be able to communicate something of substance in an incredible catchy medium. The talented group of rebel artists does just this on the track. They will only gain listeners with their stubborn freedom, and tread ground similar to Phantogram and Sleigh Bells on this one. They are one of the few artists whose message matches the quality of their sound. Provocative and incredible; we are not sleeping on this act again.
Conversing With Oceans – “Action (Part 3)”
This was a favorite of ours this week for sure. It’s rising vocals and swelling sound reminds us of a more accessible Death Cab For Cutie. Gaining the attention of some industry veterans, like Randy Jackson, the band has garnered nothing but excitement for their highly anticipated EP Trilogy, which was produced by Tim O’Sullivan (Childish Gambino, Karen O), who has seemed to unlock a more layered sound that will draw a large audience to their melodic indie goodness. Their sound is something that brings together different genres and audiences in a way that bonds listeners to their vision of the medium. They are sure to unite many as they continue to rise to prominence in the field of indie rock.
Ten Fé – “Single, No Return”
So this track starts off as a classic Smiths track before blending a more Phil Collins vibe. After this, it launches into Americana territory, with psych elements. Intrigued? You should be. The UK act have gained exposure from all the big outlets, including NPR and Rolling Stone, for their explorative but accessible debut album. We love them, but it is difficult to classify due to their incredible ability to turn genres into boundless explorations of what is possible. If you are looking for an act that is creatively testing the limits of sound and song structure, than this is your artistic outlet. Since expanding to a five-piece, this ability has only increased into some of the best sounds we have heard this year.
Joe Hicks – “Burning”
This is quintessential indie pop with a swing. The UK singer songwriter has the sound of a perennial hitmaker for sure. The influences are plenty on this single. Easily jumping between pop, funk, and even a little jazz, the track highlights his ability to craft catchy and thoughtful tracks for the masses. His falsetto vocals are enough to make listeners swoon, but then the brief guitar parts bring instant credibility to a burgeoning sound on its way to greatness. I dare you to listen and not sing along at one of the many dynamic moments.
Fred Nicolas – “Help”
Speaking of falsetto-pop goodness, Nicolas is the standard. The 23-year-old songwriter and producer from Stockholm is branching out on his own after being a sort of songwriting mercenary for others. The young songwriter is able to craft intimate vocals with swelling walls of pop punches in a way that will be both familiar and refreshing. “Help’ is about taking pride in the fact that even when I’m at my worst self, there’ll be people around who’ll put up with me,” explains Nicolas. The track has garnered buzz for his debut EP that is slated for a spring ’18 release. We are sure you will hear more from the giant sound of the exceptional artist, and when we do, we are sure to share with you. Only the soulless will scoff at this track.
Arlie – “Didya Think”
We often come across young songwriters who have the gull to compare their music to the Beatles. While this is rarely true, in the case of Nashville artist Arlie, it is completely true. While the seminal act comes in many shades, Arlie is able to capture their fun and guitar rich sound that is both parts pop and dynamic fun. The classic sound of the artist is a breath of fresh air in many ways. After pursuing music full time, he was frustrated like many artists trying to find his sound. This track came as a act of grace and he knew it was something worth listening too. “Didya Think” is equal parts ‘60’s rock and new folk revival. Sometimes you just hear a track and know it is damn good. This is such a track.
WYO – “Running Wild”
Born out of Wyoming, the sounds of WYO flow like an untamed wild of the west. It breaks and bends with an uninhibited freedom in a way similar to The War on Drugs but with a little more folk grit. We loved “Running Wild” because the band are able to add significant layers to each section of the track in a way that keeps your attention, and forces you to sing along. By the end, the steady burner sounds like a Head and the Heart track. The have a firm grasp on imaginative folk art that is both authentic and vibrant. The band are still working on a full-length, but if this track is any indication of their talent, then we are sure as the hone their sound, the by-product will be a continued artful sound.
Watch for Horses – “San Junipero”
So when we heard this band’s name, it made us think of the many folk bands we cover. We can usually peg these things after years of making unfair assumptions, we have gotten pretty good at such trivial things. Yet, we were refreshingly wrong on this one. The California act are experts at keeping you guessing in the most dynamic of ways. Bouncing between beach rock and So-Cal pop, they have shades of The Smiths and The Strokes in their sound, while still being very much in their own space. Their playful sound won over KROQ as well as earned them a spot on the Vans Warped Tour lineup. The straightforward sound of Watch for Horses is fun and unpretentious, and completely the sound that this year needs. After a successful launch of their first EP The Evil Kid, the band are working on new material with this track taking the lead.
Bradley Stone – “Fly”
This one is a traditional acoustic burner of a track. Taking cues from the great Jeff Buckley, Stone is able to paint a broad vocal range that will melt hearts. As it builds, the Aussie songwriter adds another layer of talent and style. Many should take notice of how he never tries to do too much. In many ways, his sound is basic – a great voice, catchy lyric, and a subtle but solid guitar part. All of these elements work in perfect harmony and showcase just how gifted the young songwriter is. There are definite shades of Ed Sheeran here, yet it doesn’t suck. His tracks will continue to reach a larger crowd, and deservingly so. He has already been nominated for the Australian equivalent of the Grammys, the Aria Award. You’re going to want to start paying attention to this multi-talented artist immediately.
The Jacks – “She’s A Mystery”
Sometimes we need some straightforward guitar heavy rock and roll. Surprisingly, this has become harder to find recently, yet great rock never goes will ever die. We were incredibly thankful to come across the music of The Jacks recently and we found their sound compelling enough for us to push to the front of our coverage cycle. They are just that good. Influenced by the British rock of the ‘60’s, the four-piece have everything great rock should – scorching guitar, thumping drums, an expert rock bass and lyrics about a girl. Pretty common maybe, but when they are done well and with a certain Jagger like rock swagger, then listeners will come by the masses. If there is to be a rock revolution, bands like The Jacks will be at the head of the pack, crushing eardrums and hearts.