Bywater Call – “Walk on by”
-If you’re a fan of the blues (and really, who isn’t in this day and age?), you have to give Bywater Call a chance. The vocal style on this lead is absolutely stunning. Bywater Call feels like the cry of a deeply scarred heart. It’s about having a calloused attitude toward people who come calling. It’s a “stand your ground” anthem and empowers with a soaring Grace Potter-like vocal. Give it a spin!
Baseball Game – “Baseball Game”
-If you’ve been around my rock columns for a long time, you know that I am a fan of pretty standard melodic rock; so this alt rock anthem might come as a bit of a surprise. But it’s so polished, I have to support this sound. The driving rhythm reminds me of something that early Dawes might have done. The lead vocal cuts through the mix perfectly, making a balance of guitar, rhythm, and lead that fills the track. I appreciate the way the song feels both unconventional and familiar at the same time. This is a band that stands out from the crowd.
Sophie and the Giants – “Runaway”
-I don’t even know what “kind” of rock this is, but it is oozing with energy. There’s something about the driving beat that makes you want to actually run with the lead character. It’s the perfect song for a workout playlist that both encourages and inspires. But can we just talk about this lead vocal??? Oh my word! It’s so incredibly difficult to nail a power pop vocal like this. I am an instant fan!
Jagwar Twin – “Loser”
-This song is listed as “alternative” and I think that works perfectly. Something about the lead vocal feels a bit like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But the overall composition mixes elements of pop music (especially that glowing chorus), even though some of the raw vocals on the verses feel rather genre-bending. The lyrical message seems a bit like a double edged sword, but if you’ve ever been in a relationship with mixed feelings, this will resonate deeply. The chorus is infinitely enjoyable to sing along. My goodness.
Hether – “Shy”
-I appreciate the understated vocal here with the energizing chromatic chord changes. The overall vibe seems rather timeless. It could have emerged in the late 60s, but something about the lyrics makes me pick up an early 90s alt rock vibe. The full combination feels like a natural progression of rock music’s introverted Cobain-esque personality, showing its true colors with some vibey psych-influenced guitar work. I dig it.
Midnight Vesta – “Complicated Pony”
-If you’re a fan of the fusion of rock and folk and… maybe… even… country? I don’t know what all is in this pot of deliciousness, but Midnight Vesta seem quite confident in this vibe. I’ll tell you what I like most – this hot dang chorus feels really delightful to me. The folk rock soul of the song comes through in those harmonies. The guitar work rolls right along, highlighting the backdrop for the stellar Eagles-like vocal harmonies. I’m clapping along, are you?
Midcentury – “Sinking State”
-I made up a new Spotify playlist just for this song called “When the groove is right, it’s right.” That’s honestly how I feel about this track. I’ll let you (adults only) decide what, precisely, this groove is right for. (Dancing, ok, dancing is the right answer.) But holy hot damn this is a groove that I can get into. The cool jazz rock fusion here is undeniably dance inducing. I appreciate the guitar, organ, and vocal balance that produces an electrifying and engaging overall sound.
Image courtesy: Midcentury IG