FRAUDS – “Silent”
-The beat on this track will make a believer out of anyone. Then when you combine the nostalgic elements with some hard hitting lyrics, you get this overall vibe that is pretty unparalleled. You might want to compare this to what makes Bruno Mars successful. This is similar, but spins of in an alt pop way that keeps us nodding along and chair dancing more than a little.
Isaac Dunbar – “Freshman Year”
-This song struck us when we were initially processing submissions because of the way that it builds. The lyrics address concerns of real people, especially students. Lines like “my friends do drugs while I’m home crying, they never take advice so I’m done tryin” is the kind of thing that makes us take notice. It’s so self aware with wisdom beyond the song’s purview. This is brilliant from Dunbar.
No Small Children – “Radio”
-This band hit me right between the eyes with a powerful pop punk sound an an unconventional lineup. One look around their website and you’ll see that they are legit. Working in LA with some top production folks, this group of school teachers (no, really) are making some incredible music. The song’s lyrics are simple in the way that punk often is, but the dream inferred in the message for a group of teachers to hear their music played on major radio is really inspiring and, frankly, a dream coming true.
Art’s Fishing Club – “Devil on my Shoulder”
-When lyrics really click, they have a way of pulling you out of a comfortable moment and into a different head space. The lyrics on this track from Art’s Fishing Club are existential and moving in a way that you might not expect from an up tempo rock jam. The chords and overall structure remind me a bit of one of my favorite bands, Relient K, and the lyricism is up there with some of Thiessen’s writing as well. I am impressed with this new direction from Art’s Fishing Club.
Camens – “Slept on the Sofa”
-We hear demos from rock bands literally every day, so for one to jump out from the crowd it takes something unique. Here with Camens we not only hear a really great guitar hook, but there’s also a powerful and distinctive vocal. This is a radio ready sound that we’d love to hear get picked up. It puts us in mind of some late 90s alt rock, but gives it a fresh veneer that is worthy of steady airplay.
Fjord – “Lay Down Your Veil”
-The sophistication in this song drips from each note. The production is outstanding, allowing for the vocal to settle right in the midst of the band. There’s a coolness to the sound, a reassurance that everything will be okay, that is echoed both in the lyrics and the sound. It’s rare to find music in this chill pop genre that can do all of this with such freshness and credibility. Fjord is a name to watch on the charts.
LACES – “someday is not tonight”
-LACES is not a conventional sound and we’re totally okay with that. There’s an energy in this song that will be relatable for a lot of people. You’re just not ready to go out, to be with people, to see friends, to confront your ex… whatever it is you just need to be alone. This is like an introvert’s anthem. The pop styling delivers this melancholy message like a well-sharpened knife.
Young Rising Sons – “Scatterbrain”
-Stop what you’re doing and turn up this song. This is what a hit rock song sounds like, honestly. Remember where you were the first time you heard Young Rising Sons because they are about to become a household name. This kind of 30 Seconds to Mars sound is absolutely infectiously good. The vocal, the guitar, the production… this is 100% a hit song. The very visceral interaction with mental health also much needed.
Mickey James – “New Heart”
-A dash of funk, some snazzy lyrics about reinventing yourself, and some sing-a-long lyrics… Mickey James has himself a fantastic enjoyable song. This is one that will make you dance. It’s probably about whatever you want it to be, but for me it’s definitely about rebounding after a broken heart to go about life with a new passion. This should be on like a million playlists right now!
Telepathic Teddy Bear – “Wait for You Here”
-We rarely cover music like this, but there was an honesty to Telepathic Teddy Bear’s style that I just… love. It’s got a sincerity to it that I don’t feel like I always hear in electronic music. The harmony, although having an electronic finish to it, still helps to convey the passion of waiting. The lyric is repeatedly assuring the intended audience that he’s not going anywhere. It’s profound in its simplicity and impactful in its unpredictable bips and beeps.