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 Chill Music Videos

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Chymes
“Oracle”

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“Under My Skin”

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“Cosmic Dance”

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DYAN
“Reality”

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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 Singles for a Mellow Morning

mellow 000Daniel Trakell

“Paradise”

Hey Melbourne, I think someone needs to hug Daniel Trakell. Or maybe several someones. “Paradise” is the most beautifully depressing, elusively suicidal thing I’ve heard since Elliott Smith’s posthumously released New Moon – I can’t stop listening and it breaks my heart every single time I hear it. There is a sublime peace at the core of “Paradise” that is carried in Trakell’s voice. The artist sought a “deliberately funereal feel” and I guess it was a success. I want this song played at my funeral. The complete EP, which shares its name with this single, comes out on March 24th. Before that happens, listen to “Paradise” below so you can share in the anticipation.

Candy Cigarettes

“Stockholm”

The Portland indie act known as Candy Cigarettes released this single earlier this year and I’ve amassed quite a few listens since then. “Stockholm” kicks of with an indie-folk sound before moving into more dream pop terrain and back again. The song presents a strange sense of isolation or, maybe not so strange, considering Candy Cigarettes is the solo effort of singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, Lane Mueller. As you move through “Stockholm” it will probably surprise you when you remember that this track is the creation of only one artist. This song isn’t quite as brooding as others, but it is no less meditative. Check out “Stockholm” from Candy Cigarettes below…

Willetta

“Books”

Willetta released a collection songs earlier this month, and if you haven’t already taken a swim through the cool, murky waters of Frisson, you should. “Books”, the middle child of this three-track, proved my favorite, and for more than just the personal obvious affinity for its title and narrative. On this single, Anna shares both a gravitas weight and gossamer lightness which her voice is capable of in full splendor. Implementing both aspects helps give to shape the emotionally complex soundscapes that define Willetta’s drone-folk sound. This song, like others from Willetta, present more of a thinkpiece rather than a traditional “single” so plan on repeat listens. Sink into “Books” below and then check out Frisson (available here). 

Timid, the Brave

“Alice”

I don’t know what I found most compelling about this new single from Ontario’s Timid, the Brave: the understated beauty of the music or the emotional depth of the lyrics. Tim Selles, the musician behind Timid, the Brave, wrote the song “Alice” after his grandmother passed away. According to the artist, “Alice” is “a song about love and life and death, and finding a way to fight through the varying levels of devastation that we all experience.” That seems like a hefty order to fill, but Timid, the Brave does just that with such grace you won’t even notice the sorrow that’s carved out a chink in your chest. At least, not immediately. This track comes to us from the album Firesale which Timid, the Brave released on Feb. 24th through Other Songs, an independent label based out of Ontario.

 Jesse Jo Stark

“Driftwood”

L.A. lass Jesse Jo Stark might be a relative newcomer on the scene, but she’s been locking down new fans fast with her single, “Driftwood”. Stark’s voice clambers from brooding depths to uplifting heights with the easy grace of a mountain goat. There is something earthy and authentic that one might not expect from the likes of a longtime La La Land resident. Rather than going for the glitz, Stark keeps it simple and honest as she delves the seemingly aimless intentions of love. Stark co-wrote “Driftwood” with Jonathan Rice who you might know from his work with Jenny Lewis. Rice also produced the single. I’m certainly hoping this song only marks the beginning for Jesse Jo Stark and more tracks follow soon. Until then, give “Driftwood” a spin below…

The Elephants

“I Can Feel You”

This indie-rock duo from the Ukraine crafts out a dreamy but melancholy sound on “I Can Feel You”. The instrumentation on this single has an ethereal air that is met with muted vocals. Nothing grating or jarring will abscond your sense of inner peace as you float on the gentle waters of “I Can Feel You”. This single comes to us from The Elephants’ 10-track LP, Colors, which is available here. Give “I Can Feel You” a spin below and  follow up the full release.

Skin & Bones

“Lightless Star”

We dig the roots rock music of Skin & Bones and first featured them back in November last year. And now, the Cali-duo is back with a new number. “Lightless Star” still has that blues-rock feel that drives the band’s sound, but this single is a little more mellow and a little more passionate. I guess one should expect as much from a song somewhat inspired by the poem “For the Anniversary of My Death” by W.S. Merwin [see here]. Give “Lightless Star” a listen below…

7 Eclectic Indie Music Videos

Billy Moon
“I W K”

moonweather
“Burn Me”

Livingmore
“Dead Fruit”

Phantom Party
“Tunnel of Love”

Bad Flamingo
“Valley of Fire”

Black Lime
“Fight or Flight”

Folly Tree
“My Emptiness”

Crystal Cities: Who’s Gonna Save Us Now

crystal cities 01by Joe Golfen
Staff Writer

The debut EP from Sydney trio Crystal Cities is a dreamy affair, even if some of those dreams turn pretty dark.

The great lead single, “Who’s Gonna Save Us Now”, is one of those troubled dreams, built on dark synths and minor key guitar lines. But it also has a sense of the majestic to it, with insistent drums and breathy vocals from Geoff Rana.

Despite this dark opening salvo, the Australian group’s EP is actually a pretty sunny affair. Musically anyways.

“Cut Me Loose” takes the album in that direction, with the noodly guitar twinkle and soft falsetto of a Real Estate record. The sense of worry always permeates all that sunshine however, like when Rana sings “Words come out wrong/when I’m with you,” dropping the falsetto into his real voice for that second line, adding a great sense of menace.

“Good Life” keeps the mellow vibe going, this time adding a great fuzz guitar and the kind of chorus that lasts for days. “Talking To Myself” keeps the trend going, maybe one song too many like that in a row.

“Tell Me Know” is a welcome change of pace, a slick, driving britpop number that sounds a bit like The Kooks, and Rana going back to that breathy register. The chorus finds the return of that noodly guitar work, but in this different context, it turns out to be an interesting twist.

Closer “Binary Eyes” sounds like classic U2, though where you’d expect a world-conquering chorus, Crystal Cities takes things in a mellow, dreamy direction. Though the chiming build up in the last minute of the song would definitely make The Edge proud.

With their first EP, this Aussie three-piece has set themselves up for success, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised that they end up being huge sometime soon.

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joe golfen 100Joe Golfen has been writing about music since 2007, appearing in the Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times and Tone Audio Magazine. He also plays guitar and sings for desert psych band The Lonesome Wilderness, and plays the organ in power-poppers The Breakup Society.

6 Mellow Music Videos

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“Sweet to Me”

Marc Scibilia
“Summer Clothes”

fb: marcscibilia // tw: marcscibilia

Headphone Hair
“Bleeding Game”

Sea Offs
“Unfound”

V O I D
“Chapter II”

Tom Tukker
“Rain is Gone”

7 Rad Music Videos: Singer-Songwriter Edition

Tom Woodward
“Beautiful Shadows”

Gabe Kubanda
“Sugar”

Valerio Lysander
“Cotton”

Candice Gordon
“The Laws of Nature”

Scotty Hills
“Won’t Be Back”

Leslie Clio
“Darkness is a Filler”

Project Tom Buffalo
“Kill it All & Grow Some More”

7 Soulful Singles

soulful 333Em & The Fates

“Beautiful Life”

NYC’s Em & The Fates go for an old school soul sound on their new single “Beautiful Life”. Grrrl group vocal harmonies lock down that vintage vibe with a nod to Motown. Add to that the radiantly positive message and you have the making a Nu Gospel number that will bring a shoulder shimmy to the dreariest of Mondays. Give “Beautiful Life” by Em & The Fates a listen below…

Memoir

“We Used to Make Music”

Let’s jump coasts from NYC to Los Angeles for another soulful sound. The indie-soul band known as Memoir has a sound that is as powerful as it is slinky. “We Used to Make Music” incorporates some real dramatic flair in its <5 minutes. I could easily see this number playing out on the big screen as Character 1 learns Character 2 been involved in an affair with Character 7 since that week she went to Boston on business so it wasn’t surprising to learn that Memoir’s music has been featured on shows like Vanderpump Rules, Empire, and a whole lot more. Check out “We Used to Make Music” by Memoir below…

PhaRii

“No Makeup”

First of all, I’m actually getting pretty sick about dudes talking about makeup. Fellas, unless you’re asking to borrow my highlighter, you really shouldn’t bring it up. Now, I get it. You want your grrrl to know she looks good whether she’s donning glitter for a night on the town or rocking a scrunchie and period zits. That’s cool. But, if you plan on bringing it up around me, you better come with some bounce. Thankfully, PhaRii  does just that. “No Makeup” has a kickback contemporary R&B vibe that will make you want to throw on an oversized t-shirt, and probably wash your makeup off, before you Netflix and chill. Give the single a spin below…

Fat Night

“Honest Man”

There are some jazzy tendrils that swirl around in the music of Fat Night. “Honest Man” has a nightclub feel that I can really get behind. And, not a shitty nightclub either, I’m talking classy: red leather seats and drinks in the right glass and no gimmicky cocktails named after celebrities. Maybe that’s why Fat Night matriculated from their Florida hometown to Chicago. I could definitely see their jazz-tinged soul sound being a perfect pair with the Chi-Town club circuit. Check out “Honest Man” by Fat Night below or head here to add the track to your dinner party playlist.

Emily McCormick

“Spellbinding”

The most spellbinding element of “Spellbinding” [I couldn’t stop myself] is undoubtedly the smokey vocals of Emily McCormick. This Irish-born, London-based singer-songwriter could easily enchant an audience with that voice of hers: deep enough to be mysterious, vibrant enough to be engaging. “Spellbinding” marks the first official single from McCormick. Let’s hope more are soon to follow. Listen below…

Ruth Koléva

“Basil”

Bulgarian-born songbird Ruth Koléva has a stellar set of pipes that earned her accolades well beyond her country’s borders. Koléva’s sinuous voice moves from ethereal heights to sultry depths on her new single. “Basil” lays out a smooth sound that will have you bobbing your head before you hit the reprise. Koléva offers listeners Contemporary R&B with some retro flair. Give “Basil” a listen below or head here for that digi-download.

Liquid Monk

“On the Rocks”

Detroit’s Liquid Monk approaches soul from an acid jazz perspective and, I must say, I dig it. Their new single, “On the Rocks”, fuses chill vocals with some squishy keys for a sound that will leave you feeling relaxed, if maybe a little hazy, and there are even some HipHop permutations thrown into the mix to keep the flavor fresh.  Let the soulful sound of Liquid Monk soothe your weary spirit. Give “On the Rocks” a listen below…

7 Rad Indie Rock Music Videos

Fairy Bones
“Pink Plastic Cups”

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“Black”

The Happy Few
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Curse of Lono
“Pick Up the Pieces”

Bat House
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