The Drives – “Rebel”
-The guitar is clear, the drums are moving, and the vocal takes center stage. The lyrics are thoughtful without being too deep. There’s a kind of celebratory accessibility to this song. It feels like you’ve heard this band before even though you haven’t. They seem like a really cool festival band, too.
Mavica – “Fire”
-This might feel a bit more like a chill rock track, but it still deserves a place on this list. Once it gets rolling after the first verse, it feels like an engaging full rock track. But what I love about this song and why we picked it up is definitely the lead vocal. As someone who listens to 40-50 tracks of new music every day, I can promise you this is a once-in-ten-thousand voice. Nice to hear it!
The Cannon Eyes – “The Right Thing”
-The sometimes-yelled vocal here shows off an aggressive spirit that undergirds the sincerity of this track. It’s like the breakup letter in a song form. But at the same time it’s a celebration of differences. Like look you’re going to do your thing and I’ll do mine and I’m going to be emotional about that, but still it kind of is what it is. But it’s hella fun to yell along with some of the lines on this song. It’s got so much FIRE to it.
OWEL – “I saw red”
-Every once in a while we get a submission that is so good and polished we don’t understand why we’re getting it. Shouldn’t this be going straight to the big name folks like Rolling Stone? You don’t need a little blog like ours to make this song take off. That said, we’re delighted to hear the layered artfulness of this song. Honestly it reminds me of some of the Owl City stuff that Matt Thiessen helped with some years back. The cinematic elements make the rock styling really pop and stand out. This absolutely should be on mainstream radio right now.
Vern Matz – “Systematically Gone”
-The way that indie rock sets itself apart from the crowd is with several intentional decisions. Matz makes music unlike anything I’ve ever heard and I love that about it. There are plenty of layers and big production elements, but the heart of the song is genuine. Part pop chords, part alt rock cynicism, and a sound that is rewardingly unique.