Alt Bloom – “West Coast”
-You don’t have to be from the West Coast to vibe out to this chill track. It feels all kinds of positive. The sunshine almost comes through the headphones on this exquisite jam from Alt Bloom. I appreciate that it could work cruising down the coastline but it also hits this Rust Belt guy with equal inspiration. It just feels so good.
James Walker – “Wild World” feat. Judy Blank
-If you’re a fan of the type of folk music we tend to feature on this site, sit down and take in this track. James Walker has created a powerful, cinematic type of folk that you won’t hear anywhere else. The duo vocal from Judy Blank blows this one out of the water. It’s about getting out there to see the world and being changed forever. It’s adventurous and engaging.
The Criticals – “Kansas City”
-If you’re looking for an indie rock sound that really stands out, spin the Criticals. It feels like an amalgamation of different bands from over the years, but somehow manages to cut its own niche. I appreciate the soaring vocal on the chorus mixed in with a raw guitar core to the track across the board. It feels like pop rock in a club where the floors are still a bit sticky.
Approachable Members of Your Local Community – “Small Change”
-So this is what indie pop is all about. It’s a clever band name with some feel good chords that convey a meaningful message. You don’t have to personally change the world, but we could all make some small changes. I really dig the beat on the chorus and the “feel good sing along” hook. Sweet enough to sing in an elementary school play, powerful enough to change the world.
The Frampton Sisters – “Let me hold your hand”
-Sibling harmonies are the best. Full stop. But then when you add in this message of going through life together, the song becomes even more meaningful. That “keep flyin’ by” harmony gets me every time. If folk duo love songs are your thing, add the Frampton Sisters right now.
Mighty Oaks – “Tell me what you’re thinking”
-We’ve been covering Mighty Oaks for a while now, so when I heard this latest track I was excite. It opens with a pretty straightforward folk pop style, but once the chorus hits the track moves from ordinary to extraordinary. The lyrics are a bit dark considering the energy of the song, but if you’ve ever had your heart broken this song will speak to you. Give it a spin and enjoy the emotion of this well-written, well-delivered message.
Of Sea and Stone – “I love you, goodbye”
-If you are a fan of folk duos like the Civil Wars, take some time to listen to Of Sea and Stone. I’m not saying anyone will ever be like John Paul and Joy, but these two can certainly perform with a similar tenderness. “I don’t know how to say I love and goodbye at the same time.” Ouch. This one can really get deep into your soul if you’ve felt what they’re singing about. The genre-bending instrumentation works to give a solid basis to two vocalists who show they can slow it down and blend or soar in a solo when needed. Good work across the board.
The Sweeplings – “In Between”
-This is a breathtaking song. That’s about all I have to say, really. The male-female folk duo style works perfectly on this track. I really appreciate the phrasing on this track. It’s as if the two really are communicating as one person. “Here between the night and day…” There’s an intimacy and delicateness to this song that is absolutely stunning. The Sweeplings have always been good, but this track shows another level.
Dua Lipa – “Don’t stop now” Ghost of Venice Remix
-We rarely cover disco and we rarely feature covers. So why is this song here? Well, it’s the exception to our rules! It’s such a gosh darn banger! Get on out there with your fabulous self. I shared this to my personal social media with the caption “Saturday night is still alive.” My peeps didn’t think I was very funny. Whatever. I’m putting on my Studio 54 pants and enjoying the heck out of this incredible dance tune!
Hearth – “January”
-This is the first song we’ve heard from Hearth. We hope it won’t be the last. There’s so much talent represented here. We’re fans of the vocal blending, the Jackson Browne style piano composition, and the overall folk spirit of the piece. We’re also living through the longest January in human history (not confirmed), so this song feels absolutely perfect for dealing with what feels like an extraordinarily long year (especially in the US and UK for… reasons).