Channelling Kings Of Leon at their very best, indie trio The Mason District – hailing from Cleveland, Ohio – have hit it out of the park with their infectious new single. ‘Lose Your Mind’, taken from their new EP The Blue Room pt.1 out now, is packed to the rafters with positive energy. A real understated highlight for me occurs in the breakdown around the two-minute mark, as each member is given their time to shine. Tom Tobias shares a simply sublime guitar lick, Colin Nutter offers a great little drum flourish, and Maria Petti rounds it out with a fantastic bass run. It shows that they adhere to the age-old law of musical trios; each member needs to carry their weight or it all collapses. There’s no danger of that happening here, The Mason District have worked in perfect harmony to create a track that would be the perfect addition to any feel-good indie playlist.
After a few years of running a music blog, you begin to pick up on trends and take note of what genres and styles most frequently appear in your inbox. Much to my delight a plethora of great Americana and dream pop tracks end up being sent my way, but it is rare indeed to find a song that so perfectly balances both styles. Inspired by the likes of Sufjan Stevens and The War On Drugs, the new single from Sam Valdez ‘Farther Away’ boasts blissful shimmering soundscapes paired with honest heartland folk vibes. Sam’s dreamy vocals are the kind that you can just get lost in. Having grown up on the edge of the Nevada desert, it’s not hard to see the effect it had on Sam’s songwriting. ‘Father Away’ radiates warmth like the desert sun itself, all the while dancing like a mirage on the horizon and luring you deeper under its spell.
This fantastically frenetic new track from LA based alt rock band The New Pacific is the perfect song to get you all fired up. The intro does its best to ease you in, but it only prolongs the inevitable as you’re soon consumed by the unrelenting opening guitar. The more subdued chorus lures you into a false sense of security with its hypnotic drums and mesmeric melodic vocals, but those high-octane riffs soon jump back into action to pull you in to an adrenaline fuelled thrill ride. A track all about spiralling out of control, both on a personal level and looking out at the state of the world, ‘Get Away’ fits the theme well by imbuing a sense of barely restrained chaos in the song’s more tempestuous moments. It’s the kind of song that makes you feel invincible, like you can weather whatever the world throws at you.
Sometimes the best way to get a little perspective on your problems and escape the monotony of the daily grind is to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Ditch the hustle and bustle of the city and take a moment to feel the breeze, listen to the birds singing, and remind yourself that we’re all a part of this magnificent living thing we call Earth. It’s can be such a humbling and revitalising experience, and that sensation is portrayed brilliantly in the title track from Luke Sital-Singh’s latest EP Weight Of Love. It boasts rich lyrical imagery, and Luke’s voice contains such heartfelt passion that it sounds as though he’s pleading to the heavens from atop a cliff edge. It’s such a real and honest performance, one of those rare songs recorded to capture its subtle imperfections, giving it character in such a way that you could never replicate the magic of the moment.
Music is a wonderful means of expression, but it often seems like that potential goes to waste. There are millions of songs out there about love, or heartbreak, or just having a crazy night out, but there are so many other feelings and situations that affect countless people that don’t make anywhere near as many song appearances as they should. Take the new single from Canada’s own Honest Heart Collective. Channelling The Gaslight Anthem with their Americana inspired indie hit ‘Separate Ways’, the band discuss the sadness, confusion, and misplaced guilt of living in a broken home. This impassioned track deals with seeing the two people you love most drift apart, and battling the thought that something you did had a part to play in driving a wedge between them. It’s a powerful and heartfelt performance whose message is sure to be profoundly important for so many people. Maybe you don’t need lots of songs on a subject after all, when one song can get it all as spot on as this.
One of the greatest wonders of the modern day is in how the world can share thoughts and ideas far and wide with the greatest of ease. Not only can small bands find new audiences for their music thousands of miles away, but all the music in the world is readily available as a source of inspiration. These days you have Scandinavian bands embracing Americana, Japanese acts experimenting with European metal styles, and even have immensely talented duos from Michigan producing songs like ‘Company I Keep’ that perfectly capture the spirit of Irish folk. In this refreshing new track from Westrin & Mowry they so acutely nail the iconic sound and energy as though it were as simple as breathing. I can just imagine a cosy pub; beer flowing, laughter sounding, a smile on every face, and this song being bellowed out with enough enthusiasm to make the very rafters creak… and there’s no surer sign of great songwriting than that.
Right from the off – from the opening riff, enticing beat and that classic organ sound – singer/songwriter Luke James Shaffer makes it abundantly clear that you’re in for a good time. With vocals that remind me of James Bay, albeit with a whole lot of added soul and some of that old school rhythm and blues energy, ‘Pressure’ is just a glowing beacon of joy and positivity to light the way through whatever murky waters are troubling you. All about not sweating the small stuff and not letting the daily grind wear you down, the slick, stylish instrumentation and addictive chorus is enough to drag anyone out of the dreary day-to-day and into the warm embrace of this sublime new single. Luke’s latest effort has got ‘hit’ written all over it and is one of the most memorable and noteworthy tracks of the year thus far.
Australian band The Glorious really live up to their name with this new single. As soon as those vocals kicked in, reminding me of the likes of Glen Hansard and Simone Felice, I was hooked from the first listen. ‘Last Game Of The Season’, taken from their forthcoming album Kings, embraces a wistful Americana sound that just warms your heart from the first note to the last. Steeped in nostalgia, the track looks back on better days, more innocent times when both joy and sorrow burned their brightest, and laments on how they can’t last and we all have to move forward into a new chapter of our lives. We all get told when we’re young “these are the best days of your life” but none of us believe it until it’s too late. This is the kind of track that reminds you to take a moment to cherish today, as each day is a once in a lifetime experience.
While it is always best to believe in one’s self, a little help from others can be a great blessing. We need help, guidance and support if we ever hope to reach our full potential; this is the lesson singer/songwriter and West End star Alexis Gerred learned from his parents, and hopes to pass on to his own children in turn. The reassuring single ‘Sweet Angel’, taken from his forthcoming crowdfunded debut album, starts as an airy and uplifting ballad before kicking it up a notch with driving guitar and bass lines and expressive drum work. It’s Alexis’ powerful vocals however, and the heartwarming message that they share, that remain squarely in the spotlight where they belong. It’s a solid first step into this new stage of his career as he settles into the part he was born to play: himself.
Songs that explode out of the blocks at full speed certainly have their moments, but they miss out on one of music’s greatest delights: the build. There’s something special about songs that change and grow, from a tiny fragile source into something majestic and imposing. This new track from Canadian indie band BamBoo is a fine example. It’s a fitting name; in nature bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world, and here we experience such magnificent sounds arise from humble origins in just a few short minutes. ‘Never Look Back’, taken from their new EP Cheers, starts with simple guitar lines and shimmering synths, then delves into bright indie pop with a driving beat, before concluding with a cathartic climax. By the end, the sublime expressive drum work and soaring dream pop guitar lines feel all-encompassing, and the build up to that incredible feeling just makes it all the more potent and rewarding.