Virginia Man – “King and I”
-I’m a total sucker for the kind of optimistic, open sound that Virginia Man create on this track. There’s so much sad, sullen, dingy rock out there. I am looking for this type of raw emotion that still feels like you want to be listening to it. The chorus soars really well. The metaphor in the lyrics takes a few listens, but comes across as an inspiring lesson on perseverance.
Grey Watson – “Love is good, it’s #1”
-The lyrics on this song are pretty simple, but I’ll tell you what the opening harmonies make it worth it. I would imagine this is some creative studio work, but even still the layering is fun to listen to. I put this in “alternative” because it isn’t something I could see on modern rock stations, but I still love it. If you were a fan of the Wonders a while back, you’ll get a kick out of this. Once the spoken vocal enters, it changes the style a bit but we still appreciate it.
Tatiana DeMaria – “What It Is About You”
-Okay let’s just be clear on this track; this probably isn’t one to play around your parents and grandparents. Get my drift? It’s… well it’s pretty hot all around. DeMaria’s vocal is scorching with a Grace Potter intensity. The beat moves the track along quickly. The energy is palpable and the lyrics are full of vitriol. When you take it together, it’s really a repackaged blues song and it’s absolutely going to scorch you.
Basement Bout – “Played”
-This might be my favorite pure rock submission I’ve heard this year. It’s just… simple rock n’ roll. The harmonies are good and quite fun. I would venture to guess they’ve spent some time with some Beatles records. That kind of meaningful lyricism paired with good-time rock chord progressions makes a really enjoyable track. I am really looking forward to hearing more from these Swedish alt rockers.
The Caracals – “City Girl”
-When I think indie rock, the sound in my head is pretty much what the Caracals sound like. The moving kickdrum and understated lead vocal are almost stereotypically good. But what makes the song pop for me is the easy going chorus work. The vocal on it is smooth and the harmonies are intricate. It begs for you to sing along and bob your head, just like indie rock is supposed to do. Love it.
Ripley – “Balance”
-The steady beat of this Ripley tune will get your motor running. Then lead vocal does not waver and the harmonies are just enough to highlight key elements of the song. I don’t know that I’ve heard a band quite like these guys, which is what’s great. It’s nice to hear some early 90s alt rock elements, but the recording quality and production feels quite modern.
Wake Child – “Don’t Fall in Love”
-This is a blues rock burner that’s going to make a lot of fans for Wake Child. I’ll tell you what the lyrical sentiment and melody match nearly perfectly. When the drums break down for the chorus and the gang vocal joins, you’re going to make that “mmhmm” face you make when you hear real soul in action. This is an absolutely bangin track.
Welshly Arms – “Indestructible”
-We’ve covered Welshly Arms before, so we were thrilled to get another submission from them. This is authentic rock music. The moving beat and raw swagger here is fantastic. The way the lyrics describe the object of his affection is really cool. It reminds me of the halcyon days of my youth… and I’ll leave it at that.
Wesley Jensen – “Everything”
-This is truly alternative rock, as this song feels like a kind of mashup of a variety of distinctive rock sounds. You’ll hear some optimistic Billy Joel vibes in some places, but some bear down Rolling Stones rock in other places. It’s a nice mix, complete with some unpredictable flourishes from the guitars and keys. The jangliness of it puts me in mind of an old band some might remember called the Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Good stuff.
GRDNS – “Roulette Love Gun”
-Grungy guitars and crystalline vocals define this incredible, summer-ready pop rock track from GRDNS. We found these guys a few months ago and continue to be stunned by their original artistry and remarkable songwriting. The style blends together savants like Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison with something with pop sensibility. The lyrics are more complex than meets the eye, talking about how hard it is to find exactly the right match.