Secret Spade – “Over You”
-If you are here for our usual folk singer songwriters, click right on past Secret Spade. But if you’re looking for a lushious, introspective dance tune then spin this one from Secret Spade. It’s gritty, yet polished. It’s slick, yet will make you think about how you present yourself. It’s got you ready to bang on the dancefloor but also make you miss your ex. We’re okay with all of that because pop music does not have to be vacuous to be danceable.
BAD CHILD – “Payback”
-These cats will probably hate me for putting this on an article with “pop” anywhere near the title… but bear with me on this one. The major chords and intense transitions feel like a big time pop record. The raw, poetic and sometimes-dark lyrics give it that “indie” feel. The authenticity – the desire for retribution – drips with something that feels real. It’s like when your friend shares a home brewed (or home stilled) beverage with you; it’s not that it’s better than what you can get at the store, it just feels more REAL.
OWEL – “Weather Report”
-OWEL is one of those bands that I seem to always enjoy. They’re creeping into a list of “I really need to listen to them more” artists for good reason. There’s a glowing optimism in the instrumentation, even when the lyrics are supremely sad. The vocals on this track are all excellent, which really allows the listener to connect with the message. The big break around 3:30 legit gives me chills. This is a killer song that deserves wider recognition!
Freedom Fry – “Glory Days”
-There’s a fair bit of vintage flair in Freedom Fry’s “Glory Days.” I’m sure that’s intentional. The imagery will make you think of old friends and great moments. This is one of those songs that will just make you smile because no matter how hard you try you can’t avoid evoking memories. The phrases in the lyrics have this uncanny ability to make me shake my head. The melody is reminiscent of some of the classics from bands like the Mamas and the Papas, yet the modern polish puts me more in mind of someone like the Head and the Heart. Not bad company, Freedom Fry.
Melanie Jo – “The Water Song”
-The easy comparison for Melanie Jo is Billie Eilish. Yeah, her. Whew. And honestly it’s not far off. Melanie Jo has this cutting, incisive depth to her style that you won’t find many other places. It’s raw in that it makes you feel something deep on first listen. It’s also smooth, though, in a lead vocal that hits every intonation perfectly. It’s such a wonderful juxtaposition between the music itself, which is sweet and pleasing, and lyrics about rejection and a bit of self loathing. Girl – we feel ya.
Eric Lumiere – “Real Love”
-I can’t quite figure out how to describe Lumiere’s brand of pop music. “Indie pop” seems a bit too flat for what he’s doing, really. It’s more of a commercial pop sound, but not like top 40 pop either. It’s a bit like “easy listening” in a way, but I feel like some would read that as an insult. I’m in conflict. Here’s what I like it; Lumiere has a killer lead vocal. The instrumentation, especially the keys, are dynamic are bring the “desire” in the lyrics to life. To me, that makes a great track.
orla – “breathe”
-Maybe bedroom produced downtempo is not your thing, but this is absolutely a wrinkle in the pop landscape that we are happy to feature here. We just found this gem from orla this week and it is absolutely fascinating. The beat will make you move and the giggle sample makes you smile. The whole composition feels comfortably perfect, like a hug with someone you’ve really wanted a hug from but were a bit to shy to ask for. It’s a sweet good feeling for your soul.