Jamie Sloan – “New Orleans Queen”
-This song has a wonderful core to it. The rasp on Sloan’s voice certainly gives it a distinctive sound. He reminds me a little of Matthew Mayfield, who we also really enjoy. The energy of the track crosses into an alt rock vibe most of the time. It’s cool to hear that people continue to be inventive and experimental within rock music today.
Awaken I Am – “Kin”
-We don’t often cover harder rock, so when we do there’s usually something exceptional. Awaken I Am remind me a bit of Breaking Benjamin. I appreciate the way the vocal is powerful yet you can still understand it. The intensity on the chorus really makes the song for me. It’s up tempo and will get you moving, but doesn’t have that oppressive darkness that so much harder rock has. I dig it.
Northern Gold – “The Hunt”
-The first time I spun this track, I thought I accidentally clicked on City and Colour. I mean that as an absolute compliment. It’s an amazing radical harmony at the core of the song that reminds me of “Mizzy C.” Then as the song unfolds it gives me more of an early 2000s alt rock vibe. The lyrics tell a complicated story about a puzzling relationship. Nevertheless the groove of the song wins the day and the harmonies are perfect for the style.
The Treetops – “What if we stayed”
-One of my favorite things about covering “rock” as a genre is all the different textures that fall under the same title. This track from The Treetops is fronted by a wonderful female lead vocal. It has an immediate tenderness to it that seems as much “folk” as anything. But the depth and crispness in the electric guitar make it feel like something a bit more grungy than what I typically call folk. It’s a genre blending track that resonates with my soul. I don’t know who it’s about, but the sentiment feels true.
The 5:55 – “Slow Down”
-If pop rock needed a poster child, I could nominate the 5:55 with a clear conscience. I love the way this upbeat track feels familiar yet is brand new. The lyrics bounce really easily. You can listen and remember experiences from your own life without much trouble. The major chords and easy going beat make it perfectly radio ready. It would be nice if this kind of fun loving rock would make it back to the radio waves.
Cuva – “Right Place”
-The layering of guitars and synths on this track goes places that I didn’t even know music could get to. It’s dynamic and moving. Then the vocal enters and you’re like… what on earth IS this? It’s soooo good. I am always a fan of music that can be so melodically lush while also providing articulate lyrics. A lot of us artsy types can understand what it’s like to be “dying to get my head in the right place.” This song could be an anthem for the majority of our readers and artists we cover. I don’t use “perfect” often, but this is a pretty perfect example of indie rock in a very effective form.
Matt Lally – “Oh Lord”
-There’s a kind of Cobain vibe to Matt Lally’s style of rock music. I appreciate the understated alt rock style here. Lally’s songwriting is far more dynamic than most singer songwriters in this space. I was struck by the quality in the opening, which creates a real sense of careful space between lines. As the track opens up a bit more, it becomes a bit more of a standard love song. Nevertheless, he’s a rising rock singer songwriter worth watching.