Chris Klafford – “What Happened to Us”
-This track has a ton of unique pop energy to it. You’ll hear elements of folk and pop singer songwriter here, but really it’s the massive energy that hits on the break at about :50. The emotion in the lead singer’s voice is really incredible. You haven’t heard anything like this in a while, so give it a spin.
The Shifts – “Is it snowing today?”
-Sometimes rock just hits you right and this song from the Shifts does that for me. It’s got just the right kind of saltiness to make it good. The vocals aren’t big and soaring, but they work for the understated Weezer-like vibe. It’s a throwback sound that will have you wondering where you left your hacky-sack. We’re not even mad, though, because the song is really chill.
The Hunter Express – “Cool”
-For those of us entering into summer time, this song does a really good job of summarizing the desire to be cool. Of course the metaphor is strong with this one, about so much more than temperature. The chilled out – almost lofi – aesthetic of the track really appealed to me on this one. This message has to be like this. It’s a nice match of music and words.
Loren Cole – “Often”
-Loren Cole is absolutely an artist to watch in the coming months. Her style is unique, her vocal crystal clear, and her songwriting is hopeful in the best way. The optimism in this song is wonderful, capturing a kind of bluesy sentiment with a lilt of hope at the end. The instrumentation is complex enough to pique your interest, but manages not to steal away from the sincere lyricism. This could be a hit in the right markets.
Night Traveller – “How the Hell”
-We’ve covered Night Traveller before, so we were excited to get another track from them. The 80s vibe is outstanding on this one. Instead of sounding derivative, though, there’s a freshness to this track. I think it comes from the vibrancy of the lead vocal. There’s a strong beat and groovin guitars that keep the song moving, allowing for the synth work to fill the big open spaces between verses. It’s great.
Curtis Roush – “Real Love”
-Whether you call it indie rock or more specifically psych rock, Curtis Roush brings a nice groove and cool guitars to the center of the stage with “Real Love.” The chilled out vocal harmonies and understated lyrics are perfect for this tune. It feels like a cool evening right after sunset, where you take a blanket with you even though you might not need it. There’s an energy to the song that feels familiar and… in a way… a little sultry.
Serena Ryder – “Famous”
-This is a powerful pop song that continues to impress me with every listen. The vocal has a bit of a country sense to it, but overall the song does not have a specific genre. It reminds me of those duos with Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers where they were so much bigger than genre or culture. The optimism in the gang vocal chorus here is really exciting. This is one of those “windows down, sing your lungs out” kind of songs.
Lemats – “Bill Paxton (Miles Away)”
-Lemats have a really cool vibe that keep us coming back to this song for more. It’s what you probably think when your friend tells you he “likes indie rock.” The effect on the guitar is just right, not too much. The licks are there, but again not over stated. The vocal is even just right, without going over the top with a bunch of theatrics. It’s a balanced and interesting song about moving on and finding yourself again. For fans of Wilco style rock and Americana music.
The New Respects – “Freedom”
-When we first heard The New Respects we said good curse words. You know the ones. We were like impressed at the drop. But then with every listen after it’s just gotten worse. There’s a ton of pure attitude in this song. The aggressive guitars are perfect without overstepping their purpose. The vocals take center stage on this attitude-laden anthem about declaring your own independence in life. Gender and race play a role in this declaration of personhood. We love it.
Gilligan Moss – “Want U So Bad”
-This is a pure, raw, exceptional song about desire and lust. But you know why we like it so much? Dat BASS LINE. Oh my word. The lyrics and melody are good too. If you’re looking for something a bit hedonistic… a bit lusty… then this is the song for you. We’re not sure, but we’re pretty sure the reference to putting the heat on is about adjusting the thermostat. I mean… what else could it be about?