Three contemporary rock singer songwriters to make you feel undeniably cool

Will Knox – “Cigarettes”
-Remember being in high school and the cool kids smoked. It was such a weird aspect of that social scene watching people squirrel away to smoke without “getting caught” even though everyone could smell that they were smokers. Anyways, the understated vocal really works on this song along with some jarringly honest lyrics. This is an intimate conversation with someone shared with the rest of the world. It’s about a breakup, sure, but it’s also about how the pulling apart of two people in a relationship is such a seismic shift beyond those two individuals. It’s existential, thoughtful, philosophical, and meaningful. Give this one a serious listen and you’ll be glad you did.

Lawson Hull – “Cowboys”
-“Believe me when I say I’m a hard act to follow.” There’s something so inherently charming about the phrasing on this song that I just have to make note of it. These guys exude a sense of cool with every line. It’s clear that they have a grasp of what works in this sort of chill indie rock aesthetic. I have never been to one of their shows, but I feel like I want to chill with everyone there. Like if you are a fan of this song, we are already pre-disposed to be friends. The glowing guitars don’t shine out too much and the lead vocal isn’t over zealous. This song is the appropriate amount of zeal in every conceivable way. I dig it.

Ross Newhouse – “Girl on Great Jones”
-I really like the opening guitar and beat of this track. It commands attention like so many great pop rock songs from over the years. The opening line about making fun of midwest kids in the big city makes me smile a wry smile every time I hear it. The song is actually a love song, but it’s written with a resonate sincerity. In a world of so many cheesy love songs, it’s nice to hear one with a gloss of sophistication and understated romance. Something about it reminds me of artists like Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel; it doesn’t stylistically sound like what they write, but it seems like what they would make if they were coming of age in the 2020s rather than the 1960s. This is a whole vibe and I’m happy to have found Ross Newhouse’s arresting sound.

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