Nikita Afonso – “Good morning, sunshine”
-I appreciate the understated vocal style in the opening here. But what I really enjoy about the song is the tangible sense of dynamics. You can feel it open up on the lyric “good morning, sunshine.” It reminds me of literally getting up early and driving to work as the sun rose. As upset as I was initially being awake in the dark, the sunshine always seemed to put a smile on my face. While I think this is about a person, not the literal sun, the image works well for me. Afonso’s voice is great, so that makes it all the better.
Voye – “Hummingbird”
-I appreciate the easy going style here. The harmonies on this track make it move from good to great. There’s a heartfelt lyricism to this song, too, that makes it particularly good. I love the seasonal brightness of the image of the hummingbird. It’s poetic and meaningful.
Nine Year Sister – “Something Beautiful”
-If you’re a fan of chills, give this track a spin. Nothing gets me quite like sibling harmonies… and when it’s two sisters, that makes it even better. Nine Year Sister bring that Staves-like crystal clear harmony that gives me legit chills on every listen. This song seriously can contend with Simon and Garfunkel when it comes to developing that timeless harmony-driven folk sound. I really hope that some people more important than our little site can discover these talented ladies. I think this sound could be very successful in the 21st century. I’ll be following them closely.
Sarah Kays – “Down Low”
-This is a narrative pop song that is worth paying attention. At first you might think the “girl and her guitar” trope is a Taylor Swift copy… but trust me when I say this is much more than that. Kays brings an articulate lyricism here that is more reminiscent of Willie Nelson or Kris Kristofferson. This is a fantastic little track and is definitely not targeted for the teenage girl audience. Give Kays some credit; this is a much deeper track about deception and lost love.
Julia Church – “Square 1 (acoustic)”
-So Julia Church is new to us, but she’ll be back. I can tell that already. The complexity of the vocal here is impressive. The production on this acoustic track “Square 1” is really exciting. When those elements come together, the song feels like it could have come off of an Alicia Keys album. The quality pop-jazz fusion here is really inspiring. It’s also about falling in love, so if you get that… you can really feel something with this track.