7 Flavors of Folk

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by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Old Nobodaddy

“Bury the Hatchet”

I like my folk music tall, brooding, and murderous which, thankfully, is waaay different from how I like my men. Well, all except the tall part, I guess.  Old Nobodaddy sounds like his roots run deep, down into the sludgy wetland woods of Louisiana, but it’s New Orleans he currently calls home. “Bury the Hatchet” offers listeners back-porch gospel subtly refined so as not to lose that salt-of-the-earth feel. This is gospel for the for the soulless and god-fearing alike. Give “Bury the Hatchet” from Old Nobodaddy a spin below…

Ola Sweet

“Strange Lately”

All you music fans who prefer your Americana mellow and bluesy, make sure you check out Ola Sweet. This Boise quartet has a retro rock vibe that calls to mind 70s dad-‘staches and snap-down shirts. And, I mean that in the best way possible. Ola Sweet isn’t just another Band of Horses/Black Keys revivalist act. There’s something earthy and authentic that comes through in their sound on “Strange Lately” that has me hooked. Take the single for a spin below…

Jessica Frech

“Already Won”

Jessica Frech comes to us from the indie-folk side of the spectrum with her new single “Already Won”. The song possesses an effervescence in its sound that will lift your spirits as the lyrics empower you to face the challenges of your everyday. Frech has a lissome voice that lends itself well to the uplifting charge of “Already Won”. This artist has already developed a bit of a following for her quirky folk-pop but you’ll hear a more serious, but never sullen, sound on this new single. Give “Already Won” a listen below…

John Timothy

“The Longest Line (Daniel)”

The SoCal songwriter has a straight-from-the-heartland sound that could easily be at home in Nashville or Amarillo, but it’s Los Angeles where John Timothy resides. Timothy’s alt-country style has a rusted edge that adds to the authenticity of his sound. This song “was recorded in conjunction with ‘Words Uncaged’, a graduate class that worked with inmates on Life Without Parole at Lancaster State Penitentiary,” so maybe that authenticity is also derived from the narrative recounted in the lyrics. Whatever the case may be, “The Longest Line (Daniel)” by John Timothy is a powerful number that will continue to resonate long after you listen.

Johnny Stimson

“I’ll Be Fine”

Songwriter and self-proclaimed time traveler, Johnny Stimson, will take you from anguish to acceptance on his new single, “I’ll Be Fine”. Stimson’s emotive voice drives this pop-infused indie-folk single with its heart-wrenching realness. The track is stripped down to just the vocalist and his guitar, but it suits the self-revealing lyricism quite nicely. Check out “I’ll Be Fine” by Johnny Stimson below, and if you like what you’re hearing, delve further into the online musical offerings of this Dallas artist here.

The Solars

“Potter’s Field/Dockery”

For those of you who feel you might have been born in the wrong era and would have been better suited to prancing through fields with the Flower Children of the 1960s, we have the band for you. The Solars from Boston (MA) craft a folk rock sound chalk full of nostalgic for the days of Jefferson Airplane and Jethro Tull (organs included). Their meandering single “Potter’s Field/Dockery” is a dynamic journey of sound and sight; of rich harmonies and oscillating energy. Hit play below to take the trip that is “Potter’s Field/Dockery” with The Solars.

The Four Corners Quartet

“I’ve Just Seen the Rock of Ages”

For those of us in Arizona (where we’re based), the “Four Corners” refers to the northeast region of our state and its surrounding areas that all meet in an intersecting, four-corner border. In the case of The Four Corners of Quartet, however, the moniker refers instead to the Four Corners of the Globe from whence the participating musicians originated: Jordan, the United States, Palestine, and the United Kingdom. The quartet is not just a meeting point for people of different cultural backgrounds, but a merging place for various musical traditions, including middle-eastern, jazz, western classical, and American-folk. Sink into the orchestral folk of The Four Corners Quartet and their song, “I’ve Just Seen the Rock of Ages”.

Grammy Winning La Santa Cecilia Takes Center Stage At Tempe Center for the Arts

la santa cecilia 03by Nicole Royse
Arts Editor

La Santa Cecilia’s new album is a unique contemporary blend of traditional Mexican and Latin American music titled Amar y Vivir.

Ditching the traditional recording studio, they decided to pay tribute to their musical heroes by recording the entire album over a 5 day period live on the streets, in the bars, and at the parks of Mexico City.

Amar y Vivir is a brilliant 12-song album that truly captures the essence of Mexico, important musical collaborations, as well as its band members and their love for music. The band states that, “The visual album is an exploration of the bands roots and counts with the collaboration of the iconic Mexican singer Eugenia Leon, Chilean star Mon Laferte and the legendary Mariachi America amongst others.”

Kicking off the release of their new album is a brief tour this coming May including stops in California, Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. They will make their first stop however in Arizona at the beautiful Tempe Center for the Arts on Friday, April 14 at 7:30 PM.

la santa cecilia 01Featuring vocalist La Marisoul, accordionist/ requinto player Jose “Pepe” Carlos, bassist Alex Bendaña and percussionist Miguel “Oso” Ramirez and named after the patron saint of music, La Santa Cecilia seamlessly blend their Mexican and Latin influences with American Culture, creating a sound all their own and highlighting their tremendous pride and respect for Mexico and its culture.

Making powerful songs that are diverse, engaging, and vibrant showcasing captivating musical arrangements and commanding lyrics, this band understands the power and influence of music, not shying away from difficult topics such as immigration, migrant workers, environmental consciousness, and anti-violence. A beautiful example of this is their poignant rendition of “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

Their last album Buenaventura, showcased the band’s “gratitude for making music, traveling and performing throughout the world, and living a life filled with love and music” and went on to be nominated for a Latin Grammy in the Best Pop/Rock Album category. They also won a Grammy in 2014 in the “Best Latin Urban, Rock or Alternative” category for their full-length studio album Treinta Días.

Promising to be an unforgettable show, don’t miss an incredible evening with the talented band La Santa Cecilia this Friday, April 14 at Tempe Center for the Arts! Get your tickets here and check out a sneak peak of what to expect from La Santa Cecilia’s latest album Amar y Vivir and the creative process behind it with this recently released trailer below.

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Tempe Center for the Arts is Located at 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe 85251. All images are courtesy and copyright of La Santa Cecilia.

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7 Rad Indie Rock Singles

rad indie rock singles 00Hollow Coats

“Fold”

There seems to be a holy trinity of musicians that sits at the center of Austin’s Hollow Coats but additional players help flesh out the sound on the band’s new single, “Fold”. And the sound here is fleshy: opulently layered and packing a hefty punch on the production. But, what really sold me on “Fold” were the atmospheric vocals and the haunting beauty of the lyrics they delivered. This is the debut single from Hollow Coats so let’s hope more releases are in the works – and soon! Give “Fold” a spin below…

The Ricky Fitts

“Nightmare”

This indie/alt act from Phoenix is making some waves in our dry desert. Yes, The Ricky Fitts only launched their sound only last year and they’ve already scored some pretty notable gigs since their inception. That might have something to do with their slick, radio-ready sound. “Nightmare” comes to us from the band’s debut LP, The Great Beyond, which dropped at the end of January. Infusing electropop and alt-rock elements with a hefty splash of revivalist New Wave, The Ricky Fitts craft out a fun sound on “Nightmare” that has enough of a dark overtone for all you brooders that still want to dance. Take the single for a spin below or head here to check out The Great Beyond.

Soft Animal

“Stay with Me”

“Stay with Me” is the opening track from Soft Animal’s concisely titled EP1 which they released last month. This single has a lofi psych-rock sound with a little bit of garage grit that will come in more as you continue through the full EP. The sound descends into moments of intentional disarray before meandering back to a more structured, but never too structured, sound. Check out “Stay with Me” from Soft Animal below or head here for that digi-download of EP1.

Bryde

“Less”

I really loved the grrrls of the 90s alt-rock scene and Brixton’s Bryde just might fill that hole in my life. On “Less”, Bryde moves between breathy angst to full on fury over grungy guitars. All you PJ Harvey fans should definitely spend some time with Bryde. If you want to delve further into what this artist has to offer, I suggest moving on to “Back to Believing” – a new, and gentler, single that is really quite enamoring. Get your growl on with Bryde below…

Bucolic

“Cold Clean”

If you like your post-rock with an extra heap of melodious sorrow, Bucolic is for you.  “Cold Clean” sets a somber scene that reminds me of a street lined in freshly fallen snow on a morning you have to be at work before 5 AM. Sure, it’s beautiful, but one’s inability to pause and really take in that moment lends an existential anguish to the biting cold. “Cold Clean” is beautiful, but it kicks you when you’re down… and I, uh, mean that in the best way possible. Bucolic is the brainchild of NJ artist Seth Carpenter and this single is part of an impending release that is due out in April so get on that Bucolic bandwagon sooner rather than later. Start with “Cold Clean” below…

St. Tropez

“Democracy”

The band known as St. Tropez is not actually from St. Tropez but Amsterdam. Their lively new single, “Democracy”, clocks in at under two minutes but there’s a lot of energy crammed into that time. The texturing gets heavy, but not in a full-on post-rock way. No, the vibe on “Democracy” stays more NYC scene rock than secret warehouse show. This single opens Debate, band’s 2017 EP, which (btw) does go full-on post-rock at moments. St. Tropez has enough of an experimental edge to keep things really interesting without ever totally abandoning form entirely. And, there’s a bit of a political slant that those of us in present-day Amerika can really appreciate. Give “Democracy” by St. Tropez a listen below…

MYFEVER

“Golden”

The alt-rockers from the ATL known as MYFEVER are gearing up for a new recording effort with the release of their latest single, “Golden”. Though the trio calls Georgia home, you might get a bit of a L.A. or Long Beach vibe from “Golden”. And, when I say Long Beach,  I’m talking in the alt-indie vein of Cold War Kids… not Sublime. MYFEVER will hopefully be hitting the studio soon to lay down Born for Spaces, their next album. Until then, spend some time with “Golden”.

7 Singer-Songwriters for an Easygoing Afternoon

7 singer-songwriters 004Ben Zaidi

“Irene”

Ben Zaidi certainly has as promising a start as any artist could hope for. After growing up in Seattle, Zaidi moved to New York City before attending Harvard University to study music and creative writing. The new single from the artist, “Irene”, is soulful and soft-spoken. The minimal texturing keeps the track’s focus where it belongs: on Zaidi’s subtly emotive voice and the poetic narrative within his lyrics. This is definitely a songwriter to watch. Give “Irene” a spin below and, if you like what you’re hearing, delve further into Ben Zaidi’s online musical offerings through Soundcloud here.

Julia Lucille

“Eternally”

Singer-songwriter Julia Lucille might be a California native, but she spent time in Portland studying music at Lewis and Clark College before moving to Austin, where she currently resides. I can definitely see Lucille’s ambient-folk sound doing well in any one of the aforementioned locations. There is a desolation that can be heard on “Eternally” that denotes a Western sensibility – something a little mystical yet still a little hopeless. “Eternally” comes to us from Julia Lucille’s forthcoming album, Chthonic, which comes out on April 7th so mark your calendar. Before that happens, sink down into “Eternally” below…

Jordan Prince

“Woman (One of These Days)”

Jordan Prince made the jump over the Big Pond, bringing his Louisiana folk all the way to Munich, Germany. His new single, “Woman (One of These Days)”, comes to us from Prince’s upcoming ep, No Manual. I love the simple, earthy sound and easygoing attitude. The lyrics don’t really describe your typical romantic sentiments, as the title might suggest. Instead, the author suggests the subject delves even further into “man’s perverted obsessions, and how he can’t control or forgive his own guilt as he becomes self aware of his action.” Despite the weighty topic, Jordan Prince keeps his melody lithe. Listen to “Woman (One of These Days)” below…

Stevie Talks

“Pollyanna”

This Costa Mesa artist has a distinctly coastal vibe in his indie-folk sound. Stevie Talks claims “Pollyanna” is about “a girl [he] cannot stand” but I think the songwriter might be a little conflicted on that particular point. In the same breath, “Pollyanna” comes across as anguished and wistful, but with enough bounce to keep the mood light. Give the single a spin below and, if you like the summery sound of Stevie Talks, you can move on to his previous single “LYM (Leave Your Man)” which came out a few months back. Let’s hope more songs are on the way.

Sasha

“Gracious”

The North London singer-songwriter who goes simply by the moniker Sasha creates ambient dreamscapes of sound. On her new single, “Gracious”, Sasha sets her nimble voice afloat the gentle current of a stark yet beautiful arrangement. “Gracious” is the perfect song for a mellow and meditative morning. Or perhaps you can find four minutes to zen out with the single before launching into your litany of tasks for the day. I can almost guarantee a calmer sense of being will stay with you throughout the rest of the day. Listen to “Gracious” below…

Alessandra

“Your River”

The Swedish musician known as Alessandra not only wrote and performed her new single, but she also produced the track. That’s rather ambitious for any young artist, but Alessandra pulls off the feat with great success. On “The River”, powerful vocals are met with equal energy from the underlying soundscape. “Your River” marks the first single from Alessandra’s soon-to-be-released debut EP.  This emotive number centers on an experience of bittersweet summer love. And, for anyone who’s been there, you feel the sudden return of those heart-wrenching highs and lows as you listen to “Your River”. Which you should do. Right now.

Carmen Rosa

“Wild One”

London singer-songwriter Carmen Rosa is gearing up to release her debut EP with this new single. “Wild One” combines smokey vocals with an aural landscape that has a cinematic feel. I can easily imagine this song playing as a dramatic scene carries out on the silver screen with slinky satin dresses and plenty cigarette smoke. This is a promising start for the EP to come from Carmen Rosa which should be available next week (March 31) through Hometown Records. Until then, enjoy “Wild One” below…

7 Radio-Ready Pop Jams

Passerbye

“Karaoke Knife Fight”

The Houston-based quintet known as Passerbye dropped their EP – Apathy, TX – earlier this year, just in time for the Superbowl. Now that may not seem like an important connection to draw but the band was picked up to play the Superbowl Festival sooo one might expect big things to come from Passerbye. “Karoake Knife Fight” comes to us from that release and you can tell from the punchy hooks and crisp delivery that it was predestined to captivate contemporary audiences. Give the single a spin below and you’ll hear what I mean. “Karoake Knife Fight” just might be radio gold. For the complete release, head to iTunes here.

Calvillo Sisters

“Come Through”

The Calvillo Sisters throw some vintage style into the musical mix on their new single “Come Through”; the first single from their forthcoming album, Ziklag. Emma, Angelique, and Dominique Calvillo – yes, who are actually sisters – grew up in L.A. so they were in just the right place to launch their fresh revivalist sound that might best be described as “pop gumbo” for its melting pot combination of pop, R&B, gospel, and jazz into one funky fluid sound. Give “Come Through” a listen below and join us in the wait for Ziklag by the Calvillo Sisters.

Evalyn

“Filthy Rich”

Evalyn was introduced on Louis the Child’s “Fire” and now she’s ready to branch out on her own with “Filthy Rich”. Whether the songwriter assumed a persona for this song or Evalyn really is as filthy rich as the track describes, I can’t really say, but I’m a poor writer and I’m still kicking the track around. Maybe that’s because of the slick hook and brooding “California noir” style. “Filthy Rich” by Evalyn just might be the next chill club kid jam. You can hear it for yourself below or head here to add the single to your personal playlist.

William Bolton

“NO”

William Bolton give shape to this lively number with a chillax feel and his easygoing vocal style. There’s a casual air to the song’s delivery that seems to contradict the firmness of the title. But, seems to me, like this track might have been penned at the point when one really is finished – finally finished – with that relationship that’s not working out. “NO” was produced by the artist with Mischief Boy on the assist. The two worked on another track recently (“Be My Bae”) which is also available through Bolton’s Soundcloud page. Before you check out the new single, make sure you give “NO” a spin below or get your own copy from iTunes.

filous ft. Mat Kearny

“Goodbye”

This addition to our list is an cross-Pacific undertaking. The Australian-based producer known as filous joined forces with Nashville-via-Eugene singer-songwriter Mat Kearney to create “Goodbye”. What I perhaps like most about this track is the subtly shifting soundscape that supports Kearney’s stirring voice. The production is vibrant yet unobtrusive and it keeps the track compelling without upstaging the vocals. Give “Goodbye” from filous, and featuring Mat Kearny, a listen below or head to iTunes for your own copy of the single.

KNGDAVD

“Medicine” 

This high-energy track comes to us from the indie/electro side of the pop pool. KNGDAVD combines the efforts of two NYC artists: one a producer/multi-instrumentalist and the other a vocalist. “Medicine” packs a pop punch and an infectious hook so be warned that this song could get stuck on your head in repeat. The subject matter addresses the hot button issue of toxic relationships that rely on sex to avoid the dysfunction. The steamy single dropped in January so you can score your digital download of the single here or give it a spin below…

Biscaine Bay

“We Don’t Talk Anymore”

Man, why are so many pop songs about troubled relationships? Is romantic love really the driving force of our lives? Or are we just suffering for our entanglements? This chill electro pop single has a pensive air felt in both the lyrics and the underlying musicality, but there is also a sense of calm resignation that keeps things on an even keel. Retro-style synths are used to add some vibrant texturing, but their presence does not overwhelm the track, leaving it feel dated and artificial. Other fans of similar synth sounds would be wise to take note. Give “We Don’t Talk Anymore” a listen below or head here for the download.

7 Rowdy Singles From Around the Globe

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Dead Pretties

“Social Experiment”

The London-based trio known as Dead Pretties just launched their debut single and, I must say, it’s pretty fucking stellar. “Social Experiment” is a rowdy and hip garage rock number that is (of course) set for release on slick 7″ vinyl because how cool is that? Pretties’ frontman Jacob Slater has a voice that oscillates from a Lou Reed-esque supercool monotone to sandpapered power on this single. Give “Social Experiment” a spin below and then head here to secure your pre-order from Nice Swan Records here.

The Jacks

“Hot Reaction”

SoCal rockers The Jacks just formed last summer and they just dropped their debut single, “Hot Reaction”, on the 27th of January. So you’re getting this one freshy fresh. The Jacks’ own rocknroll style fuses elements of blues and pop with a little California surf thrown in for good measure. There’s a vintage hue to the band’s style that I really dig, but the sound is very much modern. Give “Hot Reaction” a listen below and keep your ears open for more tracks to follow from The Jacks.

Deaf Radio

“Flowerhead”

This brooding number derives its central force from “existential and dystopian thoughts” which drives the single’s lyricism and overall sound. Basically, what’s not to love? “Flowerhead” sets out a bleak landscape; one full of pensive energy and grainy textures. Deaf Radio is a four-piece from Athens (Greece, not Georgia) and their latest LP, Alarm (which features the single “Flowerhead”),  is available on vinyl through Bandcamp. So, if dark and moody rock is your thing, make sure you check out “Flowerhead” below and then head here for the complete LP.

Hüggemarmelade

“Evil Beaver”

The garage/punk outfit out of Copenhagen known as Hüggemarmelade dropped this intensely catchy number last month and it’s been stuck in my head every since. Consider that your only warning. “Evil Beaver” is basically a song about, and I quote,”a goddamn evil beaver” and, one could only assume, drug abuse in some form. No matter the underlying message, the music must have some sort of devil magic on it because I can’t get enough of Hüggemarmelade and, unfortunately, this is their debut track so I have no where else to send you after you wear out “Evil Beaver” after uncounted repeat listens, if such a thing is possible. Listen below…

Black Pistol Fire

“Hard Luck”

Austin duo Black Pistol Fire have a fiery roots-rock sound that reminds me a little of another bluesy garage rock duo that begins with a “B” and rhymes with “Lack Bees”. That being said, Black Pistol Fire can totally hold their own in terms of power and grit. “Hard Luck” came out through Modern Outsider Records last year and packs a punch that could shakedown a stadium or bar full of roughnecks. Check out “Hard Luck” from Black Pistol Fire below or head over to iTunes for your own digi-download of the full LP, Don’t Wake the Riot.

Tramp

“Somber Thoughts”

Wow. This song gets drepressing. But, if you’re anything like me, there can be something comforting in the darkness or, at least, the reflections of other artists upon said darkness. Kentucky’s Tramp has a lo-fi post-rock sound that perfectly fits with the ruminating air on this single. “Somber Thoughts” provides the opening track for Torn Up, a 5-track demo released by the band last October. If you dig the single, make sure you stick around for the complete EP. Torn Up is richly textured and has just the right amount of angst for a really good sulk session. First, check out “Somber Thoughts” by Tramp below…

The Black Line

“Gemini”

The hard rock sound of The Black Line, a band out of Toronto, has elements of punk and metal throw in for some added oomph. “Gemini” was released through Crock Records from the band’s forthcoming album, Line Up. If you find yourself in want of some old skool punk energy in this current political nightmare we find ourselves collectively unable to awaken from, I suggest listening to “Gemini” by The Black Line loud and repeatedly. This north-of-the-border 7-piece act will help you unleash all that pent up rage. Check out “Gemini” below…**

** We apparently mixed up The Black Line from Toronto with The Black Line from Hermosillo and we just feel terrible about it. This write-up has been corrected.

7 Stellar (and Eclectic) Singles

7 stellar featArt Pop

“Hey Hey!!”

This duo out of Austin fuses grungy rock and retro synths for a feisty garage pop sound I can really get behind. “Hey Hey!!” might have you questioning my powers of evaluation during those first 45 seconds, but I promise you good things if you hold strong. As soon as the “Heys” kick in, you’ll be sold. There’s a fullness of sound that one might not expect from a two-person act, but it’s there. Grimy, layered pop that’s totally modern in its breath. Art Pop is looking to build some momentum before they head out on tour so toss some local love their way and maybe we’ll see a Phoenix stop (Phx/Flag/Tucson, maybe?). Listen to “Hey Hey!!” here…

Femny

“Duck Jesus”

This single comes to us from Femny’s forthcoming release, due out later this month. “Duck Jesus” has a slinky vibe that calls to mind 70s lounge acts, but Femny incorporates that vibe into a modern indie pop style. And the almost sulky vocals really make the single stand out with its contemporary touch of antipathy. Check out “Duck Jesus” below and join us in the wait for the rest of Instant Star which is set for release on Jan. 27th.

Quiet the Pilot

“Bikes”

This mellow indie single sneaks up on you. It begins with a stripped down sound before amping up the orchestral pop for stunning effects. The track continues to oscillate between these two modes for the remainder of the song. Quiet the Pilot out of Los Angeles craft a quiet (and I’m not talking volume) indie pop that will sweep you up in its shifting sea of sounds. Listen to “Bikes” below…

Twin Ponies

“Name Tag”

Twin Ponies dropped a 4-song split release with another Valley favorite, Dent, on December 30th. “Name Tag” comes to us from that release. The single starts with an extended dream sequence that carries the listener along gently through shoegaze-y sounds. And, just when you think you know how this story is going to end, the sound erupts after three and half minutes into total turbulence. And I mean that in the best way possible. Listen to “Name Tag” below and don’t forget to check out the full Dent // Twin Ponies split (available here).

Psychic Love

“Red Sun”

The smokey-sweet vocals of Pyschic Love frontwoman Laura Peters really shine through on “Red Sun”, a single from the band’s 2016 LP, The Hive Mind. Dark but dreamy, “Red Sun” fits well with the band’s self-proclaimed “dream grunge” style. This three-piece from Echo Park is definitely a band to keep an eye (or ear) on this year. Listen to “Red Sun” by Psychic Love and, if you dig what you’re hearing, head here to add the complete LP to your collection.

The Redemptions

“Call It”

The Redemptions released two new tracks under the portentous titled, The Worst. Summer. Ever (Side A). That implies a Side B is coming, right? “Call It” is the first single from the aforementioned Side A and features the trademark vocals and retro rock that first put The Redemptions on the map with their 2016 debut, Broken Hearts and Shattered Glass. Listen to “Call It” below and then make sure you stick around to check out “But Anyway”, the second single from The Worst. Summer. Ever (Side A).

Captain Baby

“On the Path”

This single comes to us from a three-track release Captain Baby dropped on New Year’s Day through Sunset Alliance Records. “On the Path” combines layered vocals and staccato rhythms for a unique indie rock sound. Check out “On the Path” by Captain Baby below or head here for the full three-track release.

7 Earthy Americana Singles

americana singles 00Jared & The Mill

“Keep Me Going” 

These hometown boys are back with a new EP, Orme Dugas, and they released this single a while back in prelude to the full release. “Keep Me Going” presents the Western folk rock that first put Jared & The Mill on the national radar with enough energy to get a club or bar moving. “Keep Me Moving” is more than a promising start for Orme Dugas. Check out the single below or head for the full EP here.

Michigan Rattlers

“Last Week”

This folk-rock single from the Michigan Rattlers will have you tapping your feet and ordering a round of domestic beers. This duo out of Petoskey (MI, of course), now based in L.A., has a rustic sound that will tug at your heartstrings with their lyrics and slide guitar. “Last Week” comes to us from the band’s s/t debut release which came out last month. Sink into the single below and then delve the complete release here.

The Breathing Room

“Man on Fire”

Mike Fullarton, the Scottish singer-songwriter who performs as The Breathing Room, released this gem of an indie-folk track a few months back. “Man on Fire” provides listeners a lithe energy and homey comfort wrapped up in a charming melody. Listen to “Man on Fire” from The Breathing Room below and, if you dig what you’re hearing, consider moving on to the other tracks Fullarton shared through his Soundcloud page here.

Kyle Mont Cunningham

“Ibuprofen”

Kyle Mont Cunningham has a roughed-up, road worn feel to his music. Pair that with such depressing lyrics as, “I don’t need you to love me because I hate myself,” and you have the makings for the perfect evening spent binge-drinking. Cunningham will break your heart and resign you to the fact that such feelings might never go away. If you are bedridden with anxiety by the end of “Ibuprofen”, consider delving into Kyle Mont Cunningham’s full release, Nostalgia Blues EP, here.

Matt Rouch

“Adelaide”

Virgina-raised, Denver-based musician Matt Rouch released this sweet-tempered track a few months back. “Adelaide” has a gentle country hue brought out by the stellar stringwork and Rouch’s smooth, single malt whiskey voice. If you enjoy this single, I suggest checking out Rouch’s LP, The Beautiful and The Damned, which came out earlier this year.  But, first, check out “Adelaide” below…

Kyle Sturrock

“A Little Less of You” 

Dallas-based musician Kyle Sturrock has a touch of down-home twange and a warm, alt-country sound; both of which can be heard on his new single. “A Little Less of You” comes to us from Sturrock’s recent EP and captures that moment when you ready to be done with a relationship. You’ve decided it’s over and you’re good with that. Now, if you could only stop running into that person… Despite the loss implied by the lyrics, the overarching sound has a coffeehouse indie-pop lightheartedness. Give “A Little Less of You” by Kyle Sturrock a listen below…

Levi Robin

“Days of Our Youth”

This slow moving number from Levi Robin speaks straight to the core of your being, unearthing long-hidden emotions. “Days of Our Youth” adds a homespun texture to the indie folk sound that supports Robin’s distinctively versatile voice. This also marks Levi Robin’s debut music video so make sure you hit play below. And then, head here to secure your own copy.

7 Emerging Singer Songwriters

singersongwriter

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Lucas Laufen

“Boulders”

Australian artist Lucas Laufen pairs a stripped down sound with an emotive lyricism; both of which can be heard on his new single, “Boulders”. Laufen spent much of this past year out on tour, but he returned to his home nation to perform and gather inspiration for his forthcoming release, due out next year, before heading to Berlin where the artist will be living for the foreseeable future while working on his second EP. “Boulders” is peaceful and pensive – my favorite combo. Give the single a listen below and then head here for the complete EP.

Nicole Boggs

“Something New”

Nashville-based artist Nicole Boggs has a smoldering voice and a soulful sound on her new single – the aptly titled, “Something New”. After releasing her debut album three years ago, Boggs decided to take her sound in a new direction. This single is the transitory process between what was and what she will become. And, I must say, I’m intrigued. Fusing blues and soul, “Something New” provides a stellar introduction to the sultry vocal stylings of Nicole Boggs. Give the single a spin below or head here to get your own digi-download of the new EP, also titled Something New.

Cody Crump

“Seventeen”

The mellow folk music of L.A.’s Cody Crump heard on “Seventeen” envelopes the listener in sweet and somber sounds. This single comes to us from Crump’s ambitious 2016 album, Good Luck, which clocks in at 19-tracks. Pairing a straightforward lyricism with an orchestral layering of vocals and guitars, Crump crafts an uplifting musicality on “Seventeen” that carries through to his other songs. You can check out the complete LP right here, but first give “Seventeen” a listen below…

Amy Gillespie

“Wintertime (For Blue)”

This dreamy number by Amy Gillespie immediately reminded me of Joni Mitchell. Only then did I realize that the “For Blue” part of the title of this track was actually a dedication to Mitchell’s quintessential album, Blue. Gillespie shares many qualities with Mitchell including a penchant for introspective lyrics and gentle shifting soundscapes. Give “Wintertime (For Blue)” a listen below or score your own copy of the single here.

Justy

“Can’t Explain It”

Staten Island’s Justy has a unique, smokey-sweet voice reminiscent of Macy Gray. On her latest single, “Can’t Explain”, Justy meanders through the enchantment of love against a mellow, jazz-tinged musicality. The single incorporates HipHop elements for a completely modern take on the love song. At only 21-years-old, Justy is quickly establishing herself as an artist to watch. Give “Can’t Explain It” a listen below…

Bethany Becker 

“I Want Love”

The music of Bethany Becker might come along with the tag “country” but you shouldn’t go in expecting Loretta Lynn. Instead, think early Taylor Swift: pop-tinged country. “I Want Love” offers an innocent, earthy, upbeat anthem for those transitioning into adolescence. Hailing from Austin, the 18-year-old Becker proves she’s got promise on “I Want Love” which was written with a little assistance from Grammy-nominated songwriter and producer, Jeff Pardo. This single is the title track from her 2016 debut LP (available here). Check out “I Want Love” by Bethany Becker below…

Madi Earl

“Walls”

Madi Earl might not be old enough to vote, but she’s already garnishing attention for her songwriting skills. “Walls” has an electropop vibe and smooth vocal style. Earl’s not just a singer-songwriter, but also a pianist and violinist. Madi Earl plans to release her debut EP next year so this is definitely a young artist to keep an ear turned toward. Give “Walls” a listen below or head here for your very own copy. If you dig “Walls”, I also suggest looking into other her previous singles (also available through iTunes and Soundcloud).

 

7 Chill R&B Singles

chill 00Tameca Jones

“Hot and Bothered”

The soulful, sultry vocal stylings of Tameca Jones will awaken the disco queen that lives inside every one of us. The Austin-based songbird released “Hot and Bothered” from her debut EP, Naked, which came out earlier this year. Jones’s voice smolders then soars while the stellar musicianship will have you busting out your best John Travolta moves whether in your kitchen or at a club. Give “Hot and Bothered” a listen below and then head here for our very copy of Naked by Tameca Jones.

Unlike Pluto

“Someone New”

Unlike Pluto is the musical moniker of Armond Arabshahi, an Atlanta-raised/L.A.-based producer. This new single from Unlike Pluto starts off with a slinky, somewhat sludgy beat, but jazzier permutations kick in and it all comes together into one slick sound. “Someone New” features the vocal styles of Desi Valentine and some sick samples from 1950s jazz records. The single was released as part of a Monstercat compilation (available here). For more tracks from Unlike Pluto, head here.

 Emma Cole

“He Will”

Philadelphia’s Emma Cole packs a serious Motown punch on her new single, “He Will”. The retro-style backing vocals in no way diminish the soaring power of Cole’s own pipes and the vintage soul feel of the music will have you dancing before the first refrain kicks off. Fans of Old School R&B need look no further than Emma Cole. Take “He Will” for a spin below…

JPV

“S.O.S.”

Jean-Paul Viteri (or JPV, as he’s known to his friends) dropped this new single in hopes of seducing you in two languages. And it just might work. “S.O.S.” (produced by RDY Beats) offers listeners a contemporary R&B number, velvety and emotive, that speaks to the power of love in both English and Spanish and, of course, the universal language of music. Give “S.O.S.” by JPV a listen below and then get your own digi-download of the single for your personal nighttime collection here.

Meghan Gibbs

“How Do You Know?”

Brooklyn’s Meghan Gibbs has a breezy voice and a vintage charm, both of which you can hear on her single, “How Do You Know?” Stylistically, Gibbs goes for a throwback sound that harkens back to the early days of R&B. “How Do You Know?” is a dreamy number I can imagine listening to on a Zyon Wooden Retro Turntable back in the day when 45s were still a regular thing. Chill out with the mellow single “How Do You Know?” by Meghan Gibbs below, then score your own copy here.

Morgan St. Jean

“Out of Love”

The emotive power of Morgan St. Jean immediately captured my attention when “Out of Love” first crossed my path. By the end of that first listen, I was one shot of tequila away from total emotional collapse. The L.A.-based songstress takes sentiment and elevates it to desperate heights with the authenticity of her performance. Let “Out of Love” by Morgan St. Jean break your heart. Listen below and then add the track to your breakup playlist (available for purchase here).

Queen Novah

“Lies”

Ever feel let down when you get drawn into a relationship with someone who isn’t ready for a relationship? Then this song is for you. Queen Novah lays out her romantic disappointments with a smooth and sultry voice. My only complaint is the strange squeaky noise that is incorporated to the beat. It sorta sounds like the illicit confessions of a bedframe, but I’ll forgive the squeak because of the mellow vibe and stellar vocals. This is a promising start for Queen Novah. Give “Lies” a listen below…