X-Stylez – “Caffeine”
-I am appropriately enjoying a cup of coffee as I write this piece. I am going to go ahead and say that this song is not *only* about a cup of coffee, but you know it’s still pretty darn fun. It’s got a nice up beat danceable groove. It’s one of those high production tracks that makes you wonder why it’s not banging at every club. Heck, I could even rock this for that morning cardio workout. It’s a good time.
Emily Brimlow – “Hope”
-I really like the snappy pop style of this track. There’s a really powerful inspirational core to this song. You don’t have to be a particularly spiritual person to enjoy the track, but if you are the lyrics take on additional relevance. The overall energy is empowering, reminding the listener of how hard it is for common people to survive. The texture on Brimlow’s vocal gives a raw, gritty, believable quality to her commentary.
Shoulders of Giants – “I wonder who destroyed you”
-This thoughtful song smacks of a mashup between folk and alt rock. There’s a bit of a Darlingside mood to the song and I really like that. When the tight harmonies take off for the chorus, I am immediately drawn into this track. It’s one of those tracks that makes you wonder, “who ARE these people?” I love the empathy inherent in the lyrical style and can’t wait to listen to more from this band.
Jon Bryant – “Ya ya ya”
-There’s a smooth vibe to this track from Jon Bryant that puts a smile on my face. It’s the embodiment of the neosoul movement. I am so glad there are still people making music like this. Seriously Bryant’s music would be right at home in Motown or Stax about sixty years ago. I love the mix of smart lyrics and earthy, real energy in the tight band work here. The combination is truly a work of art.
Arms Akimbo – “Cruel lovers”
-The first time we covered Arms Akimbo was a few years ago. The name stuck with me. The lead vocal stuck with me. It’s so hard to find indie rock with a quality lead vocal like this one, but man can these guys rock. It’s probably appropriately called alt rock, but when the chorus takes off and the power chords lead into some exceptional harmonies… man I love this sound. This song is lyrically about one of those embattled love-hate relationships where both people know it’s a bad idea but you just can’t quit it. Come for the harmonies, stay for the thoughtful relationship commentary.
Desure – “Los Angeles”
-We’ve been hearing a lot about the LA music scene for the last year or so. For a blog that covers mostly folk and Americana music, the pop-heavy LA scene may not seem like a place for us. Turns out, it’s actually pretty great for Americana too. Desure brings a nice, easy going folk rock take on reflecting on a relationship. There’s some really interesting old instruments mixed with more modern electronic vibes. But what works best, to my ear, is the honest Taylor Goldsmith style lead vocal. It’s just right.
Northern National – “Not all family is blood”
-Much like Arms Akimbo mentioned earlier, Northern National are a band that we’ve covered in the past. Every time we across their music, there’s a quality to it. The intensity in the lead vocal is just enough to make it stand out in a crowded indie rock scene. The dynamic work from the guitars will pull the listener in, while the synths create a space that is part 80s texture and part modern energy. When it all comes together, you’ll find yourself reflecting on time, distance, and meaning with “Not all family is blood.”
Tokyo Tea Room – “Forever Out of Time”
-If you like the blending of sounds into something lush and unique, then Tokyo Tea Room have something special for you. Genre wise I’m not even sure what to call this. Is it shoegaze? I guess. Is it indie rock? Probably. Is it good rock? Absolutely. I think it’s a good track for the moment we’re in historically and musically. It takes a bit of personal disembodiment to survive in our moment, no matter which side of the proverbial “pond” you’re on. This song resonates with that unsettled place.
Baerensprung – “Foaling”
-I know what you’re thinking… gah this song doesn’t even have words. It’s ok, though, honestly. The beautiful acoustic work on this track is sure to calm your spirit and bring you peace. This is typically the kind of thing I would save for an instrumental write up, but the snow is slowly falling here in Ohio on this last day of March. Something feels blissfully perfect about the rhythmic acoustic work, repeating these simple and satisfying melody lines. It’s a perfect piece for a reading and relaxing playlist. I plan to revisit this one often as I watch this early spring snow turn into the hopeful buds and flowers of the rest of the season.
Rene Le Feuvre – “Here for you”
-I love the mood of this song, at once a relaxing folk rock vibe and yet also an almost timeless relaxed rock style. I think of country folk artists like John Denver when I focus on the guitar line here. Yet the vocal and phrasing feels like something a bit more modern, perhaps even from the vein of U2’s popular Bono. I can’t quite put my finger on that connection, but it’s in the pallatable, engaging precision in the vocal. This whole composition strikes me as greater than the sum of its parts (in the best way possible). I like it.