Joseph Wayne Miller – “I Wish I Was Wrong”
-Miller’s vocal feels about as tried and true as the amber waves of grain. His lyrical choices are particularly interesting, too. It reads like a diary entry but lays over some really nice chill rock music. Altogether I’ll call this Americana in the folk rock vein with plenty of texture and depth when you get to the chorus, especially. I could rock out to this one for sure.
Paintbox – “Honey”
-My note on these guys calls them “Dr Dog folk rock” and within a minute or so you’ll hear why. It’s a really fantastic production quality with some evocative elements. If you’ve never heard a convincing indie folk outfit, give Paintbox a spin. The lyrics are rooted in deep personal conviction. It’s a fun, slightly saucy track with blues and rock inflections.
Night Cap – “All You Have is Now”
-This track is about as pure an indie rock tune as you’ll find. I love the layers and textures here. It makes me feel the way I felt when I got my first John Mayer record; hip, cool, trendy, like I’m in an upscale urban apartment (which, of course, I could never afford). The lyrics urge the listener to embrace the moment, make the best of it, and “seize the day” in a way. It works.
A Step Ahead – “In It to Win It”
-We rarely cover rock quite like this, but A Step Ahead hit me with a kind of Jimmy Eat World vibe. They remind me of a lot of bands my friends really liked back in the day (Yellowcard, anyone?) so I thought it was worth putting them out there for others to enjoy. I understand everyone won’t love the yelled/growled vocal, but the lead vocal and chord work here are work consideration.
Dominique – “Dissonance”
-It’s kind of ironic that a song titled “Dissonance” doesn’t have actual dissonant sounds, but many other submissions we get to have them. Dominique’s songwriting has introspection and passion. Fans of timeless piano singer songwriters like Elton John and Alicia Keys should give Dominique a listen.
Delafaye – “Go Away Just to Stay”
-Delafaye is one of those acts we just keep covering. Every time we get a sub from them we find a reason to like it. It’s just this rich Americana sound that feels like a confession and a cry for attention all at once. There’s both a subtlety and a boldness to the acoustic grittiness that keeps me coming back to this song. If you’ve ever been in a complicated relationship that was too good and too bad for you, this song will resonate.
More Giraffes – “Basement”
-We don’t always cover electro music, but this track is incredible. The lead vocal is ON FIRE! Seriously if this doesn’t make you move you need to get your pulse checked or something. There’s a certain sauciness to the track that is both funny and fascinating. The band seems like they’re having the time of their lives and are really good at what they do. Such a privilege to support this sound.
Wild Pines – “Sunrise”
-If sound were displayed as a color, this song would be brilliant to the eye. That said, the contemplative style here is enjoyable in its own right. The lead vocal shines through and the cool instrumentation makes it feel unconventionally satisfying. The whole track has no analogues, but the casting light of a sunrise is perfect for the emotion and message of the track.
Kirk Ross – “Don’t Close Your Eyes”
-Ross compared himself to Peter Gabriel and I thought that comp was spot on, honestly. There’s a gorgeous rising vibe to this track that I find really enjoyable. It’s a kind of orchestral pop that feels old fashioned, but is quite welcome here. When the chorus hits, there’s a powerful gospel texture (or is it more of a “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down” style?) that takes off. I will listen to this one over and over.
Lauren O’Connell – “Out of Focus”
-O’Connell is one of the most honest songwriters we’ve found in 2018. There’s a performance sure, but it’s not a “performance.” She’s expressing these thoughtful, sweet lines as if she’s just telling a friend. I am totally drawn to O’Connell’s artistic style. Everything from the song’s structure to the intimate lyrics appeal to the indie singer songwriter in all of us.