New Music Friday – Episode 20 – Vote in the Poll to decide who wins a full album review

New Music Friday has been a highly successful series for us, allowing many different bands to get new fans and tons of new listens. Thank you for that! We ask that rather than come here just to vote for the band or artist who sent you, please listen to a few others as well. Ideally, you’d spend some time listening to all of the tracks to make an honest vote. Consider giving all of the artists a fair shot. Vote for who you love and share so your friends can do the same!

Mansell – “A Love So Immodest”
-The sound from Mansell is addictive, full of sonically fulfilling harmonies and guitar licks. The sound is a creative blend of the 90s punk movement with more of a modern rock sound. I like how the lead vocal feels a little like Red Hot Chili Peppers, but then with a different pop inflection to it. All told, the song seems to reflect on a complicated relationship that didn’t quite work out. It’s more artful than it might seem at first blush.

Royal Nature – “My Moon”
-The cool confidence of Royal Nature seems to permeate from each note. The vocal sounds like it emanates from a person who would make music whether or not anyone listened. The overall sound is what I’d call chill rock, but it comes across in a really satisfying way. I could imagine throwing this track on a number of different playlists for studying or reading, especially. If I understand the lyrics correctly, it’s a spiritual song about finding purpose and meaning.

Low Hum – “Strange Love”
-It’s not always easy to find words for music. At the end of the day Low Hum’s great work with guitars cannot really be described so much as experienced. The vocal harmonies are also really satisfying, but the dissonant sounds really work on this track. It’s darker than most everything we cover here, but it does a really nice job of sonically expressing the complications of a difficult relationship. This is not the chill rock to just put on in the background; this stuff will grip you.

Small Town Glow – “Devil Yellow Sun”
-I know that not every pop punk band sounds like Blink182, but honestly Small Town Glow really do sound like Blink. It’s got some adult themes in the lyrics referring to drugs, but seriously if you’re playing punk for your kids this is a mild influence. It’s a cleverly written song with characteristic, engaging and sometimes silly lyrics. The power chords and harmonies are as advertised for the genre, but what sets the song apart for me is the production that really makes it feel like it came out in about 1999. Nostalgia and freshness colliding in my ears.

The Great Escape – “I Can’t Resist”
-The lead singer of the Great Escape has that “it” factor. It’s what Grace Potter has and so very few singers seem to have. It’s not just that she sings with heart or spirit or enthusiasm. There’s just an unmistakable crack and nuance to her voice that really transcends. The song itself is a raucous pop blues style rock jam that shows off great vocals and some killer guitar licks. It probably falls under indie rock, but it is absolutely a festival jam track that will get the people moving. They won’t be able to resist.

Tipling Rock – “Campus Fashion”
-This track is quintessential college rock and not just because the word “campus” is in the song title. It’s just such a snazzy tune about checking out a girl who wears trendy clothes. It’s written from the kind of perspective that seems indicative of the 21st century college student. The guitars and the mix are really solid, creating a vibe that I’m sure would sound great at a late night gig in places like Athens, College Station, or Berkeley.

Kick the Robot – “I Got the Beat”
-This is a really jammin’ rock song. I know that probably sounds like a lame “review” sentiment, but there’s a context of high school with the cool polish of trained musicians. The lead vocal has exactly the kind of vocal you want in an indie rock band. The whole production really blends well, so that by the time the “la las” begin on the chorus, the listener really feels a part of the performance. It’s dance-able… and maybe even a drinkable jam.

Troup – “Always on Fire”
-The band Troup sounds like someone I know but I can’t quite put my finger on who it is. This is relevant to you because I bet you feel the same way, too. There’s definitely a mid-90s alt rock vibe to the song, but it also feels so comfortable and familiar that you just want to keep listening. The lyrics tell a story of a complicated relationship (aren’t they all), but it’s the kind of song that gives you the sense that this band has layers. They don’t just sing about the same old happy topics; this is serious art in the form of rock.

MOON – “We’re So Close”
-MOON have the ability to create a powerful, epic rock sound. I picture them filling arenas with rowdy fans screaming for them. In fact, my note says Paramore combined with 30 Seconds to Mars. That’s pretty much it, too. The strong female lead combined with epic guitars and layered harmonies really works well. My ears are like “whoa dude, yummy.” The lyrics are written out of desperation for a relationship to work. Been there.

Danny Starr – “Cupid’s Drunk”
-Aside from having the creepiest album art of the year, Danny Starr’s “Cupid’s Drunk” might be one of my favorite chill rock songs I’ve heard in months. There’s a real chill delivery to the vocal that fits perfectly with the instrumentation. Instead of being about actually finding the person to love, it’s about finding cupid to do the work. It’s really well done. I hate to make the obvious British comparison, but I definitely hear some elements of Oasis to the sound. I mean that as freaking high praise.

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