Joe Dolman – “Happy for you”
-Dolman has been one of the biggest surprises of 2019 for me. His songwriting feels really fresh. There’s a crisp pop energy to the music at times, yet I don’t feel like it’s derivative or mocking any previous singer songwriters. This song, for example, is about looking back on a relationship and being happy for the other person. It’s delightful and infinitely relatable. Musically it is soothing.
Vervex – “Towns and Mountains”
-If it was possible to mashup about ten tracks that “define” my taste in music, it would probably sound like this. There’s the happy go lucky acoustic style, a quality lead vocal, creative lyrics, and of course the interesting harmonics on the chorus. Even the unique mix on the production makes it stand out from a crowded folk scene. I am perplexed by Vervex and hope to listen to this one many more times. How did someone manage to write a song that I could like so much???
SYML – “Meant to stay hid”
-I am sure anyone who writes about this track will compare SYML to Coldplay. It’s uncanny how much this sounds like Coldplay (who I adore, by the way). But at the same time, there’s something about the poetic energy of this track that deserves to stand on its own. If you’ve ever had an exposed secret because of a relationship, you will feel this song on a deep level. I now adore SYML as well.
School of X – “I’ll never be ready to die”
-We rarely feature live videos, so you know if there’s one here it has something special to it. There’s an energy between these performers that is really rare. I also can’t believe how note-perfect the lead singer is here. This is truly a remarkable piece of art. I love how the production feels so minimal, yet allows the song to stand out as something truly unique.
Talbott Brothers – “Run no more”
-If you’ve been around this site for a bit, you’ve undoubtedly heard the Talbott Brothers. They have new music coming out right now that shows a maturity in their songwriting that is quite promising. I love the vocal blending, of course, but there’s also a texture here that I haven’t heard from them to date. It feels a bit more weathered, yet at the same time has a production polish on it that is really solid. It’s a sound I’m happy to keep exploring. Lyrically, if you’ve ever run from a fault or a failure, this song will hit close to home.
Reno Royale – “The moment I go”
-The tag line for this track on SC is “This song is basically about quitting my job.” Every. Single. Creative. Person. can relate to this sentiment. Oh my glory. I love everything about this composition. The mandolin rolls around the track beautifully. The lead vocal feels genuine and the lyrics resonate with this old humanities professor like you wouldn’t believe. Find some meaningful work and sink your soul into it. I am stunned by this one.
The Como Brothers – “Take me home”
-If you’re looking for the kind of pop music that your parents and grandparents would like too, listen to the Como Brothers. It’s a multigenerational sound that doesn’t have layers of autotune or electronic tricks. The band is a band, the lyrics are genuine, and these guys are talented enough to open for Bruce Springsteen. I like the real rock n’ roll feel of the band and the timeless, almost Americana style of the lyrics. Get on in there, fellas!
Belle Mt. – “Origins (Live)”
-This is an incredible recording. I can’t really say much to add to what these artists have created. The lead vocal is at a really high level, combining complexity and stunning execution. If there wasn’t a live recording, I would think it had a bit of studio magic here. The overall composition is unbelievably rare when it comes to quality. When the keys and backup vocals enter, you’ll get chills right up your spine. Phenomenal.
Modern Crusoe – “Wedding Bells”
-This is a feel good song with a whistling solo. Need I say more? Seriously there’s some folk magic going on with this song. It reminds me a bit of a subdued Mumford and Sons sound. The overall composition fits perfectly. This is what it means to have the mood of a song fit with the lyrics and music. It all clicks for something deeply satisfying to the soul.
Peach Tree Rascals – “Mariposa”
-I was not expecting to like this song when I clicked play. We rarely cover neosoul music unless it sounds like Sam Cooke, but I’ll tell you there’s something special about this track. It kind of reminds me of the Jackson 5 for some reason. The major chords feel really good. The alternative lyrical styles that crop up in the song help it feel more modern than those old Jackson albums, but the full composition is a lot of fun. I’d be more than happy to have this one on a collection of modern pop music.