Mr. Gabriel – “Help Me Out”
This hypnotic track has more than a few layers of outstanding sounds. At one point shoe gaze, and at another more electro croon, the Nashville artist has created something special. We especially enjoy the handclaps and thriving bass that properly frame the distorted vocals of the artist. His level of forward thinking could be likened to another Gabriel namesake as well. Bands like Sjowgren come to mind when we listen to the new track and are confident there will be more carefully layered tracks in the future for this futurist troubadour.
Cline – “Alive”
The musical project of Chase Cline is quintessential indie rock. Endearing vocals matched with early 2000’s guitar swell is his winning recipe for alt success. In fact, Mike Mains said of the project, “CLINE combines everything you love about Manchester Orchestra and Kevin Devine. A young wordsmith who will quickly carved out a name for himself in music.” We totally agree with Mains and feel like the bands named give listeners a starting point of his style. There is a lot to love about the artist and we think with one listen, you will agree.
Taji – “Becoming Me”
Kentucky singer-songwriter has a talent for drawing you in with limited elements. His acoustic guitar is on point, but it might be his quaveringly vulnerable vocals that hooked us immediately. He is influenced by acts like Ben Howard and Coldplay, but we found a little Ed Sheeran in his style as well (although we actually like Taji). “Becoming Me” is a track of self-discovery and the weight of loneliness in life. The track’s strength is its build. Stick around for the entire track and you will be rewarded greatly. The music of Taji is a perfect example of why we work so earnestly to find great music for our readers.
Cuzins The Band – “Nine Pound Hammer”
This is what raw blues rock sounds like before embraced by a larger audience. They produce a tight sound that has every element needed for a great sound. Vocally, it is raspy and punchy, while the drums explode and fade when needed. The guitars of course are what makes this style a hit or a miss, and let us tell you that it definitely hits. There is a definite Jack White and Black Keys influence here but don’t let that limit your approach to their sound. The NYC band are explosive, dynamic, and have the talent to crush the critics.
The Tates – “Water”
The strength of “Water” is the sound. Vocally we hear some definite Matt & Kim but that takes a backseat to the incredibly dynamic sound they produce. The guitar hook is catchy and will have you waiting for it to return throughout the track, while the electro style reminds us of another favorite act of ours, Island Apollo. Lyrically it is a complete pop track that will not leave you wanting. Guitarist Tom explains it this way: “Are the flaws that we share with our parents who we are, or have we learnt from them? Are we free to be the people we want to be or are we trapped by our genetic makeup and our immediate environment and society?”
Slenderbodies – “Amnesia”
We haven’t been this excited hearing a new act in awhile. The signature sound of the act reminds us of Glass Animals, but a little more approachable style wise. The vocals compliment the sound beautifully and are uttered with a gentle hush, while lyrically it is more poetically dynamic than much of the electro pop out there. They have re-worked their EP, which earned 5 million streams, and will look to release it on January 11th. “Amnesia” is fun and relevant of the times we live in. The artists build an atmosphere you have to experience to believe.
Chloe Foy – “Are We There Yet?”
The melodic style of this UK songstress will melt your heart while it breathes hope into your all too weary soul. The piano playing alone will crush whatever disposition you are a prisoner too, while the way she shapes her voice stops listeners dead in their tracks. She gains tons of comparisons of Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen, yet we hear a little more Regina Spektor on the new track. She shares the same wonder and playfulness as Spektor, while definitely revealing an earnestness that will continue to serve her well in the years to come. To say we are smitten with her sound is an understatement. She might just be our favorite songwriter of this, or any year.
Groves – “Faded Love”
The 1975, The Neighbourhood, Bad Suns, if you like acts like these then Groves are definitely worth a listen. Vocally it is intriguing while style wise it is on par with any of the popular acts that mix rock and electro elements. While we come across tons of music videos, we appreciate this one because of its straightforward, yet artistic approach. We see the band playing amidst colors and smoke that complement the act increasingly. The build is good, and the explosive climax is as dynamic as the act themselves.