Daisy the Great and the Illuminati Hotties – “Time Machine 2”
-The harmonies on this song steal my heart all over again with every listen. The music construct builds and builds at the opening, unleashing a beautiful expressive melody. The lyrics have a touch of the absurd in the best way possible. While I don’t always like the use of distortion in music, this is about as perfect a use of punk influences because the sound ends up resolving with some glorious harmonies. To be honest, it’s like a late 20th century music primer all in one song. There’s straight harmony rock, punk, grunge, alt, and so many other little wrinkles along the way. This one is wild!
Elias Becker – “we can’t be friends”
-If you’ve ever had a rough breakup, you’ll relate to the lyrics on this song. Sometimes at the end of a relationship you just can’t be friends. You have fear, anxiety, and frustration about that person. The song does a nice job of using modern rock forms to process the intense emotions of a bad breakup. The main character is spending a lot of time trying to make it all better, but it’s not possible. The animosity is too great. The soaring chorus allows for early 2000s pop rock power chords to propel a quality lead vocal and relatable set of lyrics.
PJ Aviles – “Crazy for you”
-I can’t help but think of the great Adam Melchor when I hear PJ Aviles sing. It’s the approachable, accessible “like talking to a good friend” vibe of the music that makes it work for me. The romantic message seems relatable too. It’s not some wild or grandiose claim; he just wants to be with the partner he’s writing about. It’s cute. The poppy energy on the chord choices and melodic structure all make the song have that relatable style in the vein of Melchor, Dodie Clark, and Tessa Violet. It’s a lovely style.