Dark Horses – “XIII”
This one is a heavy gripping burner of a track. The electro dark wave beats of this UK group are crafted with layers of incredible talent. The underlying rock vibe woven throughout is incredible and expands past the limits of genre. Touring with such diverse acts like Beck, The Dandy Warhols, and Sigur Ros, they are prepping to hit the road again with vintage rock darlings Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Their sound is pulsating, dark, and visceral in all the best ways. They have already won over some major publications in the UK, and we feel they will continue to do so with their latest release that is sure to find itself on an album – we hope sooner than later.
Someone – “Forget Forgive”
Equal parts dark and warm, this track from the Dutch songstress is rather incredible. With a continuing bassline and a fuzzed out sound, it sheds the unnecessary layers of an over produced sound in favor of something more minimal and delicate. The result is something personal and incredibly engaging. Many have taken notice of her sounds including here in the States with commercials and New Girl picking up various tracks. Though her first album was more pop sweetness, her second album appears to be more mature and battle tested. She has always had a talent for catchy hooks, and that undoubtedly comes through her new style, yet there is a more nuanced and creative approach on this new track.
Jagara – “Twice”
This one is a retro tune for sure. Think Phil Collins meets Paula Abdul. The artistic vehicle of three sisters from London, they craft a soulful sound peppered with funk and electro pop. The result is incredibly catchy and endearing. The video captures a man’s struggle with doubt and masculinity and is soundtracked well by the group’s brand of vintage pop stylings. We mean it when we say; this track will stay with you long after its three and a half minute exploration of style and sound. If you want a modern comparison, I’m sure Haim will be a good direction to explore, yet these sisters have blazed their own creative trail.
Before the Woods Burned – “Spires”
If you dig post-rock or the instrumental styling of acts like Explosions in the Sky, then look no further than this Austin duo for you new favorite act. We don’t cover many instrumental tracks because it is incredibly difficult to craft a track without lyrics to keep you tuned in. The great acts that do are able to make you feel a depth of emotion you might have not recognized before. Before the Woods Burned are such an act. “Spires” is carefully layered before exploding into a wall of sound that might be one of our favorite builds of the year. Intense, nostalgic, dreamy, and fragile are all adequate descriptions of the band’s single. We highly recommend you zone out to this one and take stock of the feels it is sure to supply you with.
Ailbhe Reddy – “The Tube”
This dark tale of romantic frustration is something special. The Dublin songwriter plays in a similar field of sound as Jessica Lea Mayfield and Angel Olsen yet is unmistakably her own sound. She bounces between folk and indie rock with style and grace. The world is beginning to take notice too. Accumulating over 1 million streams already, she has been labeled a ‘New Artist to Love in 2017’ by various tastemakers as well as earning coverage in some impressive publications. We think her dreamy and vulnerable style is a perfect fit for our site as well as your ears. If you dig straightforward singer songwriters with an incredible talent for keeping your earbuds guessing, then look no further than this exceptional artist.
Richard Jahn – “Heavy Shark”
This is what we think of when we want to describe near perfect electro pop. The croon of the UK Jahn, is set to an incredible blend of soul and funk vibes. It bobs and weaves in and out of various genres, and the result is something exciting and expansive. It is almost dizzying to keep up with the sounds and layers of this track. I guess one could compare him to James Blake with a little more layers of sound, but we are not sure we have an exact comparison to him. He might just be in a league all his own, which is fun to hear, especially if you cover tons of artists.
Bliss Nova – “Say It”
This two-piece has drawn much deserved comparisons to Washed Out and Neon Indian, yet we think they have their own style building as they continue to grow as artists. Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, their former EP has already found it’s place on year end lists from various tastemakers, and deservingly so. Their 80’s style synth pop mixes nicely with psych pop elements. With tracks mastered by TW Walsh, who has helped acts like Sufjan Stevens, The Shins, and Cold War Kids craft their sound, the duo are prepping a much anticipated LP to drop sometime in 2018. Keep an ear out for more tracks from this intriguing act.
Stereo Honey – “Angel”
We cover this act a lot. They have a knack for releasing quality singles seemingly weekly. Their four-track debut EP Monuments has got us crazy excited for the year to come. The London quartet reminds us of Glass Animals with some rock elements similar to FOALS. They are able to build a slow burning rock track that will keep you hooked to the next build. Lyrically it is not to be missed either. “Angel” tells the heartbreak tale of a drunken driver and is beautifully crooned in a dynamic way. These are one of those acts you need to pay attention to now before your friend tells you about them. They are a classic example of an undiscovered act.
Anadel – “Cosmic Creatures”
One of our favorite bands, and one of the first I covered as a writer for Ear to the Ground, are back with an existential exploration of sound and melody. The San Francisco alt rockers have been teasing new music ever since their exceptional 2015 release Well and the Wild. With the new single, we find the band exploring a deeper sound but musically as well as lyrically. “Cosmic Creatures” mixes spiritual themes with a swelling rock sound similar to a Muse cut as vocalist JT Bailey repeats cries for escape as his own hymnal. Ending with a spoken word by Alan Watts, ties the track together with a simple beauty that the band are so talented at creating.
Shy Kids – “The Middle”
This is a cheeky sort of track illustrating the current division in American politics. The Canadian rockers croon out and turn up the catchy lyrics like a male version of Haim. “Some like it hot / some like it cold / I like it right in the middle” describes the band’s apathy toward the current climate on the exciting track. The band has created a slew of viral videos that have amassed an impressive 10 million views and gained the attention from the likes of Netflix, Spotify, and Snapchat. They have a multimedia approach to their craft that is indicative of the stage of musical artistry we currently live in. Sometimes you simply need a straightforward rock tune to escape the stress of this modern life. Shy Kids have you covered.