Top Tracks: Colour Picture Book – This Time Around

I honestly don’t know where to start with this one. Do I talk about the funky bass that’s simply begging you to dance, or the unerring and steadfast drums that navigate complex rhythms with ease. How about the warm vintage organ glow that permeates the entire track, the soaring yet gritty vocals that come from somewhere deep within, or the incredible guitar solo plucked straight from another time that feels as though the instrument is an extension of the player. All of these elements require at least a full post on their own to do them justice. How much soul can you pack into just one song? – an awful lot it seems. To say this Canadian power trio are on fire with their latest single would be a massive understatement, on ‘This Time Around’ they are a raging inferno.


Top Tracks: Tom Leeb – Are We Too Late

Any song whose video opens with a gorgeous car cruising through serene countryside gets an enthusiastic thumbs up from me, but there’s a lot more to the latest single from French folk artist Tom Leeb than just its wanderlust inducing visuals. Tom’s striking gritty vocals work wonderfully with the elegant swell of strings to make a song that is raw and passionate, whilst also carrying a quiet air of thoughtfulness. Detailing the struggles of a long distance relationship, of being loved but still feeling isolated, that feeling of sand slipping through your fingers no matter how hard you cling on, it is a masterclass in heartfelt songwriting. Though the love regaled in the song may end in heartbreak, the song itself is a long distance love built to last, as with ‘Are We Too Late’ Tom will assuredly make people the world over fall in love with his music.

Top Tracks: Vulgarians – Dead People Are Easier To Love

This latest track from Hull’s up and coming post-punk powerhouse is just the song you need to get you feeling fired up. ‘Dead People Are Easier To Love’ feels as though ‘Eric’s Trip’ by Sonic Youth has been pushed to absolute breaking point. The fact that it was written a mere matter of hours before being recorded only goes part way in explaining the sense of spontaneity and urgency found here. The tortured guitar tones and wild frantic vocals create just the most glorious chaos you could ask for. The rock solid bass line keeps the whole thing grounded, and the polished and stylish synths that weave their way through the song contrast wonderfully with all the anarchic elements in the foreground all vying for your attention. Post-punk has seen a real resurgence in recent years, and Vulgarians have provided us with one of the finer examples with their unbridled new single.

Top Tracks: Hamish Anderson – No Good

With such a tried and tested style as blues rock, forming the backbone of rock music as we know it for generations, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. You need to bring something new to the table, or be very good at what you do. Australian artist Hamish Anderson dabbles in a little of both with his new track ‘No Good’. Channelling the likes of Tom Petty and Ryan Adams, this Americana tinged track offers a warm and welcoming sound with its melodic hooks and the golden glow of the vintage organ sound. ‘No Good’ has plenty of contemporary pop panache to ensure that it grabs your attention right from the start, and ensures that the song stays with you long after in a way that very few modern blues acts manage to pull off. ‘No Good’ is wonderfully accessible and memorable, but the slick and stylish guitar work shows that Hamish can still hold his own against the blues’ heavy-hitters from days gone by.

Top Tracks: Sarah MacDougall – We Are Fire

What starts as just the soft repeating hum of retro 80s synths soon transforms into something else entirely. This new track from Canada based singer/songwriter Sarah MacDougall launches from gentle synthpop into a full-blown anthemic fight song. ‘We Are Fire’, taken from her forthcoming album All The Hours I Have Left To Tell You Anything out 2nd November, is a song to unite and inspire those who dare to be different. Celebrating those who abandon labels and seek to forge their own path in life, the bombastic drums resonate within you like some primal call to arms. Seeking to embrace our differences and encourage those who defy the norm, ‘We Are Fire’ is the kind of song to ignite change and ensure people start seeing others, and themselves, a little differently.

Top Tracks: Emma’s Lounge – Gimme Yer Love

It takes a mere few seconds for it to register that you’re in for a fun ride with ‘Gimme Yer Love’. With opening keys that sound like something straight out of a carnival, this latest track from North Carolina natives Emma’s Lounge appeals to your sense of childlike innocence and encourages you to lose your inhibitions and enjoy the moment. Taken from their new album Confluence out 12th October, this funky number boasts an irresistible chorus, glowing melodies and an unwavering whirl of positive energy. The band have truly thrown everything they’ve got at this track, and the end result sounds like Haim operating on overdrive. A song this exuberant and infectious must be the product of a secret lab dedicated to creating the most danceable groove imaginable, it’s the only logical explanation for a song so full of life and unreservedly joyous.

Top Tracks: Will Bowes – Mad at the World

What with the current state of the world, with all its fear, hatred and division, I envisioned that there would be a rise in angry protest music. While that has been the case in some circles, others have chosen to follow a different path. Despite its name, ‘Mad at the World’ is not an angry song, instead it follows the wise words of Marvin Gaye: “only love can conquer hate”. To that end, Canadian artist and actor Will Bowes shares a moving and heartfelt message with this stunningly soulful piano ballad. Inspired by the recent attacks in Toronto, ‘Mad at the World’ is a song about being the change you want to see in the world. Promoting love and togetherness, remaining optimistic in the face of unrest and uncertainty and standing up for what really matters in life.

Top Tracks: The Lavender Scare – Buried Behind Monet

It’s not all that long since that I was admiring the vaudevillian theatricality of The Lavender Scare’s previous single, and now they are back to show a whole other side to their sound. This LA based band formed from a shared love of Radiohead, and that influence is clear and present throughout as ‘Buried Behind Monet’ would sound right at home on Hail To The Thief. The downcast soaring guitar tone, blaring out like an air-raid siren, creates an ever-present tension that sets the scene for the foreboding world the song depicts. The unrelenting march of the rhythm section and piano sounds determined and defiant against the bleak backdrop, particularly when paired with the bittersweet riffs ringing out. This darker side to The Lavender Scare sounds like a different band entirely, and any band that can change their colours so convincingly is one to pay close attention to, as you never know what else they may have up their sleeve.

Top Tracks: SAHARAS – Shake My Fever

There’s power in names, sometimes names can reveal more than you think. Take the latest single from Windsor based band SAHARAS, which shimmers like a mirage in the desert, calling out to some something deep within to lure you in closer. Reminiscent of Foals at their very best, ‘Shake My Fever’ immediately grabs you with its danceable groove and bright inviting melodies. The psychedelic air that pervades this track makes it feel like the soundtrack to some vibrant fever dream. Mixing enticing indie vibes with a dash of surreal dream pop, SAHARAS are on to a winning formula here. Much like the simply stunning single artwork, the song is for the most part real and grounded, but is aglow with a fantastical haze that makes the whole thing that bit more magical.

Top Tracks: Kane Miller – All We Need

Sometimes the simplest songs can be the most moving, and this latest track from Canadian singer/songwriter Kane Miller is a prime example. There’s no need for big flashy production as the song’s powerful message speaks for itself: “all we are is all we need”. When times are tough, such as when going through a breakup, sometimes all we can do is scrape together enough inner strength to see a new day. This is reflected beautifully in the stripped back video of Kane and his guitar in a worn down old room, with just a single lamp to fend off the darkness. It’s not pretty to struggle on when everything feels like it’s crashing down, but it’s still important to cling on to what small joys and little victories you can to keep going, so that you can see brighter days further down the line.