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 Awesome Americana Music Videos

Courtney Marie Andrews
“Put the Fire Out”

Bad Dad
“Sum Bunny Gun Love Me”

The Rayo Brothers
“Coronet”

Lydia Ramsey
“Ghosts”

Jill Brown
“Loaded Gun”

The Settlement
“Clean Trouble”

Bart Budwig
“So You’re Sick”

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 Flavors of Folk

folk 002

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Old Star

“Out Here Alone”

Old Star comes out swinging on their debut single, “Out Here Alone”. Seriously, this indie-folk number will kick you in the heart, but it does so with such beauty that you’ll want to go through the ache all over again as soon as the song ends. “Out Here Alone” erects a solitary atmosphere around the listener that feels a bit windswept and desolate, but there’s a warmth there too. Check out “Out Here Alone” from Phoenix’s Old Star below. Let’s hope there are more tracks to follow…

Bad Dad

“Some Bunny Gun Love Me”

This came across my desk labeled “Oklahoma City based country vapor wave-blues music” – so I was definitely interested. “Some Bunny Gun Love Me” might leave you feeling a little forlorn but that doesn’t mean you won’t be hitting that play button again and again. On this new single from Bad Dad, bourbon smooth vocals hover over dreamy Americana tinged with just the right amount of loneliness thrown in for authenticity’s sake. Give “Some Bunny Gun Love Me” a listen below…

The Fair Wells

“Where is Your Heart”

This duo might have the polish you’d expect of a Los Angeles-based band while holding to an earnest sound that one might expect to hear at a county fair in North Carolina or maybe Virginia (their home state). The Fair Wells craft a simple, sweet-tempered sound on “Where is Your Heart” that will hit you right in the sentimental side. Spirited harmonies meet earthy folk as The Fair Wells  pose the question, “Where is Your Heart”? This single comes to us from the band’s debut EP, Hurricanes, which is available for preview or purchase here. But, first, give “Where is Your Heart” a listen below…

Jordan Merrick

“Untitled #1”

The single comes to us all the way from Australia. Yes, what we would term “Americana” is considered just a good ol’fashioned Australian Bush Ballad down under. Folk knows no boundaries, geographic or otherwise, I suppose. Jordan Merrick’s “Untitled #1” sounds straight from the American Heartland from the anguished vocals to the rustic guitar. After you give the single a spin, it won’t surprise you learn that Merrick drew inspiration from Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. Both Merrick and Dylan share an unadorned candor in their music that I love. Check out “Untitled #1” by Jordan Merrick below…

Ryanhood

“Alright Tonight”

This Tucson folk-pop duo dropped their new LP, Yearbook, earlier this month. Ryanhood is the combined effort of Ryan Green and Cameron Hood. Together, the pair create indie folk with a bit of bounce, but don’t let the feel-good attitude in the music distract you from the seriously dexterous guitarwork on the album. “Alright Tonight” is the opening track from Yearbook and offers listeners a sampling of what’s in store as they progress through all nine songs. Give the single a spin below and, if you dig the Ryanhood brand of folk, delve into Yearbook here .

The Roads Below

“I Want Us”

This Nashville 3-Piece puts a country spin on folk-rock with “I Want Us”. Now, if I’m being totally honest here, I’m not particularly partial to Contemporary Country as a style in either music or fashion, but I find myself quite taken with all the syrupy feelings in “I Want Us”. The Roads Below managed to unearth the squishy center of my black punk heart. This is the first single from the band, but I’m hoping that more will follow. Check out “I Want Us” from The Roads Below, uh, below…

Sam Coppenger

“Between Your Heart and Mine”

Sometimes it’s good to get in touch with your inner innocence. I bet even the most cynical of you out there harbors a little lost love for Mayberry (or maybe this generation is more Stars Hollow). “Between Your Heart and Mine” will bring you back to a time when love was earnest, the streets unlittered, and life seemed a little less complicated. Coppenger comes to us from Nashville by way of Pensacola, FL and you can give his single a spin below. To hear the album from whence this track came, head here.

Is it Summer Yet? 6 Singles for Warming Weather

Garrett Hazen

“Some Brutal Love”

The L.A. vibe on this track matches up with the very L.A. story of the man behind the music. Garrett Hazen (along with his twin brother Kent) were child actors in the 90s (ever see Roseanne?) but Garrett devotes himself to the musical arts these days. There’s a beachy brightness to “Some Brutal Love” as it blurs the line between indie rock and garage pop. Hazen nails that right amount of careless-cool that feels like hanging out at the gas station and smoking cigarettes, before you’re old enough to buy them, all while drinking an inhumanly sized serving of soda pop. You know, that teenage summertime feeling. “Some Brutal Love” marks the first solo single from Garrett Hazen. Let’s hope more tracks are to follow. Give the single a spin below or head here to add the track to your personal collection.

Ryon’s World

“Grandma’s Car”

Man, this is one of those singles we can’t cover fast enough to fit with our unwritten motto: find ’em first. Between the time we added this single to the schedule before it dropped and now, “Grandma’s Car” was a Spotify pick for New Music Friday and landed the track on Spotify’s Viral 50. Although the Ryon of Ryon’s World is a D.C. native, this pop hit has an island atmosphere that will have you reaching for sunblock and a frozen fruity cocktail before you hit the first reprise. Ryon’s World is a summer anthem for those kids too broke for vacation, but no less deserving of love. Chill out in Ryon’s World with “Grandma’s Car”. Head to iTunes to get your own digi-download for those poolside playlist.

Miseryslims

“The Machine Stops”

A surf rock band from Manitoba? Maybe all that chilly weather has the Miseryslims dreaming of warming climates and that longing comes through in their music. “The Machine Stops” doesn’t really have that California surf sound, but seems like it might come from a different coastline. Miseryslims mix in some Britpop hues into their indie palette. And, frankly, I’m loving this combination. Give “The Machine Stops” a listen below and head here to check out the EP from whence it came.

Matadors

“Trumpet of Conscience”

After you listen to “Trumpet of Conscience”, it will probably surprise you to learn that the Matadors are a DIY, one-man-band who records tracks in his bedroom. The British act definitely sounds like he’s working from a studio setting with a full band at his back. On this new single, crunchy guitars drive the buoyant summertime melody that hearkens back to an earlier era of rocknroll. Matadors are definitely an act to keep an eye (or ear) on. This single was released as part of the RIP Records Introduces Series which was created to introduce little-known acts to the larger world. So far, so good, RIP Records, because without the series I might never have found Manchester’s Matadors. Listen to “Trumpet of Conscience” below…

The Starter Wives

“How Weird is Now”

The sunny energy of The Starter Wives’ new single feels like that summer breeze when you’re out skateboarding in a pair of homemade cuts offs on a listless afternoon or like drinking cold keg beer from a plastic cup in some stranger’s backyard while sweat dribbles down your back. “How Weird is Now” is luminous garage rock for those days you want to put the top down and sing-along. This Vancouver three-piece definitely sound like they’re from further south along that Western Coast; a place of perpetual sunshine, surfboards, and slender blondes. Basically, this might be your new summertime jam. Check out “How Weird is Now” by The Starter Wives below or head here for that digital download.

The Arcadian Wild

“Envy Green”

Maybe you’re not about tearing up the city in a convertible or backyard keggers. Maybe you’re summer is more about hammock naps, lemonade, and hiking along streams to the perfect picnic spot. If that’s the case, The Arcadian Wild just might be for you. The latest single from the band, “Envy Green”, paints a lush landscape with its orchestral indie folk. This Nashville trio seems like they’d feel equally at home playing barefoot on your grandmother’s front porch or for a crowd of bearded hipsters. Check out “Envy Green” by The Arcadian Wild below or head here to add the single to your personal collection.

7 Stellar Singer Songwriters

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Alexander Wolfe

“I Can’t Get to Sleep”

Uh, wow. This new single from London folkster Alexander Wolfe really hits hard on an emotional level. That is partially the result of the subject matter which explores “the stigma and struggle surrounding mental illness today.” But it’s the songwriter’s confessional approach that gives “I Can’t Get to Sleep” its life and force. I can tell this is going to be one of those songs I listen to on “bad days” over and over until my boyfriend threatens to leave and take the dog with him. There is comfort in understanding and Wolfe’s got it in spades. “I Can’t Get to Sleep” is a powerful number that transcends indie-folk. Listen below or head to iTunes to add the single to your Rainy Day playlists.

Lynette Williams

“Au Revoir”

I don’t know what hit me first: the haunting beauty of Lynette Williams’ voice or the stark beauty of her compositions. “Au Revoir” gives the listener both. Terse lyrics flourish when delivered in Williams’ emotive voice against a minimal backdrop. The New York songbird switches between French and English on “Au Revoir” which might add to the sense of intimacy that emerges from this single’s intentionally raw sound. This track comes to us from Lynette Williams’ recently released EP – Love Thee, Not Chaos – which came out a couple months back. Give “Au Revoir” a listen below…

Danny Starr 

“Ease My Mind”

This 18-year-old singer-songwriter from Britain is already making waves with his brooding, noir-tinged modgepodge of folk, rock, and pop. Danny Starr might not be old enough to drink in the States, but this song belongs in a dark, smokey barroom where lipsticked women sway while their drink glasses collect condensation. “Ease My Mind” is a promising start for this young songwriter. Check out the single below &/or head here for the complete EP, Elixir.

Mama Ghost

“So Close”

The singer/songwriter known as Mama Ghost “grew up watching her Mother preform all over the Irish country side in bands surrounded by Musicians, Hippies, Buddhists and Gypsies.” Now, she’s in the U.S. but those unusual roots stretch out in the  earthen sound of her music. Mama Ghost has a unique style of strange folk that will echo with all you Joanna Newsom fans and the like. Her latest single, “So Close”, has a sweet simplicity that is made a little more complex by its slightly melancholy air. If you enjoy “So Close” from Mama Ghost, you can find her EP of the same title on Spotify/iTunes/Soundcloud/etc. through the thoughtfully provide link hub here.

S. Grant Parker

“I’m Fine”

This singer-songwriter based out of Nashville starts off his new single, “I’m Fine”, which a bit of a West Coast stoner-folk vibe, but don’t let that throw you off. “I’m Fine” has some real emotional push in its mellow indie rock groove. You’ll find smart lyrics sauntering beneath the slightly depressed slouch of “I’m Fine”. S. Grant Parker only has two singles to his name by out count, but we’re hoping for more soon. Start with “I’m Fine” below…

https://www.submithub.com/campaign/3mMZ9Ekq8tbew64HG

George Ogilvie

“Foreign Hands”

Canterbury’s George Ogilvie might only be twenty-two, but his voice and lyrics both echo with greater depth than his age might imply. Ogilvie worked with Mercury Prize Winning producer Jonathan Quarmby on “Foreign Hands” to craft a rich emotional landscape with a sound that is both intricate and totally fluid from start to finish. Listen to the “Foreign Hands” by George Ogilvie below or head here to score your own digi-download of the track.

Sara Ontaneda

“Aprovechar (Sencillo)”

Sara Ontaneda is a NYC-based songwriter, but the Ecuadorian-American artist mixes R&B and folk with a little South-American flare in shaping her own unique, and richly layered, sound. “Aprovechar (Sencillo)” is the first single from Ontaneda’s forthcoming LP, Entre Espacios y Colores. The single creates a dreamy atmosphere enhanced by Ontaneda’s airy vocals. You don’t even need to understand the words to understand the feel of this song. Listen for yourself below or head here to download the single from Sara Ontaneda.

7 Mellow Singles

mellow featureCAT

“You Belong to Me”

L.A.’s Cat Pierce, formerly of The Pierces, has ditched the surname and embarked upon a solo, and single-syllable, project. CAT penned the track while, and I quote, “micro-dosing with mushrooms,” but don’t expect some tripped out, SoCal stoner jam sess. The artist’s journey is ultimately a spiritual one, not just some played-out party grrl antics. Her music gets a little bit darker and goes a whole lot deeper. “You Belong to Me” has a modern noir sense of style and CAT possesses the sultry vocal prowess to fully embody that aesthetic. Give the single a spin below or head here for your own digital copy of “You Belong to Me” by CAT.

Rosie Carney

“Awake Me”

Rosie Carney might still be shy of twenty, but she encapsulates both a sound and wisdom well beyond the limitations of mere lifespan. The introspective lyrics and simple folk sound shape out the listener’s path, but it is Carney’s hauntingly tender voice defines the song. Rosie Carney’s voice has a delicate expressiveness that, at only 19, sets her apart as a bit of a phenom. I’m definitely excited to see what’s to come from this Irish songbird. Give “Awake Me” a spin below or head to iTunes for your own copy of the single.

Chase McBride

“Control”

Chase McBride is another artist from the Cali Coast, but he comes to us from San Francisco. I would contend that there’s a bit of that easygoing NorCal attitude that comes through on his single “Control” with its stripped-down folk and breezy melody. This is a track to chill out with in a hammock built for two. “Control” is the opening track from McBride’s 2017 release, Cold Water, which can be previewed through Soundcloud or purchased through iTunes.

Louis Vivet

“Pulse (Acoustic)”

The duo known together as Louis Vivet decided to revisit their hit single for what I’m going to refer to henceforth as an un-remixing. That is, they took their dance hit and stripped it down its acoustic bones. Usually, it seems to be the other way around. Both renditions of “Pulse” have a mellow vibe and feature the vocal stylings of Kirsten Collins, but the new acoustic version brings new emotional layers to my attention that might have slipped past me on the original. Decide for yourself. You can check out the new acoustic version of “Pulse” from Louis Vivet below or head here to peruse the music video for the original version.

Allston Horses

“Every Last Breath”

This indie folk artist out of Boston might be best avoided if you’re currently making adjustments to your anti-depressants. Save Allston Horses for a stable week. However, while the lyrics might be dark, clinically so, the music is entrancing; somber, thoughtful, and paced to match the deeply confessional lyrics. Tyler Lavoie, the man behind Allston Horses, throws in some post-rock electronic texturing to bring “Every Last Breath” into its fully fleshed form. This single is the closing track from Allston Horses’ debut EP1 which is available for preview/purchase through Bandcamp. I suggest you delve into “Every Last Breath” below…

un:ted states

“Silent Spring”

This single is an early offering from the forthcoming LP by the Tucson quartet known as un:ted states. “Silent Spring” has a dreamy feel, but that of a daydream, when the warmth of the sun still lingers on your skin and pinks the back of your eyelids.  The psych-tinged indie rock of un:ted states combines ethereal vocals with a shoegaze sense of structure as it takes its time meandering through “Silent Spring”. The band’s LP, The Earth and The Sea and The Stars, is available for pre-order (or direct purchase after Saturday) through Bandcamp.

Arpeggi

“Never Meant 2”

If you enjoy some bedroom indie, I suggest checking out the music of Gav McIsaac who records under the moniker Arpeggi. “Never Meant 2” is the opposite of the overproduced singles we usually see churned out of L.A. Arpeggi might share the area code, but he opts for a simpler style, something more honest.  This December release carries a bit of winter chill in its tale which seems to place the narrator at the unfortunate point in a love triangle. “Never Meant 2” offers listeners a lofi expression of loneliness, but there’s beauty in it. Give the single from Arpeggi a spin below…

7 Rad New Singles

radCocoRosie

“Smoke ’em Out”

CocoRosie is hard at work on a new album, but they unleashed this single in January to combat the cultural malaise that seems to be the marker of 2017. I’ve been a fan of this Paris-based duo ever since La maison de mon rêve came out back in ’04 so I was super excited to hear a new album is on the horizon. “Smoke ’em Out” features guest vocalist, and fellow “Future Feminist”, ANOHNI. If future freak folk is your thing, I definitely suggest checking out the new single from CocoRosie below. Or, if you’re like me, you’re going to want to add this to your personal library (available here).

Draa

“Even in My Dreams (All My Life)”

All you Draa fans should start getting excited now. The PHX 4-piece are gearing up for the release of a 7″ which features this brand-spanking-new single, “Even in My Dreams (All My Life)”. This dreamy post-pop number addresses the feelings of uncertainty that can arise in these unmapped lives of ours, but it does so in soothing way so as not to give rise to any additional anxiety. The 7″ will be released on March 10th through Funeral Party Records. The Deluxe Edition comes with a cassette of Draa’s Part Time Punks Sessions (previously unreleased) but that bonus is limited so get on that pre-order now.

Tashaki Miyaki

“Girls on T.V.”

This is another musical duo, but this time out of Los Angeles. Tashaki Miyaki has a dreamy lofi sound that has me totally enamored. “Girls on T.V.” came out in January as a little sample of the duo’s recently released album, The Dream. As you drift along on the lithe vocals, the garage-tinged indie sound will begin to dissolve into some heavy texturing before returning to its prior permutations, just to keep things interesting. This is a great single for summertime with its casual, cool kid attitude and easygoing melody. Sink into “Girls on T.V.” from Tashaki Miyaki below or head here to peruse the complete LP.

Eli & The Itches

“At Least Not Yet”

Eli Pearl is the man behind the music of Eli & The Itches. A native on the L.A. scene, Pearl grew up in Venice Beach and put in his time honing his chops in the city’s venues before he decided to focus on his own sound. Eli & The Itches is the result of that effort. Pearl assumes a gender-bending persona in the glamrock ballad “At Least Not Yet”. There is an air of drama on this track that Pearl really pulls off without sounding trite. And the music has a supercool swagger to it. Check out “At Least Not Yet” from Eli & The Itches below…

Superorganism

“something for your M.I.N.D.”

So, stay with me on this, Superorganism is a DIY musical project made up of a Japanese teenager living in Maine and seven of her London-based friends. This super chill single marks the band’s recording debut and I’m guessing we’re going to have to wait a minute for the live experience given the ocean that divides the players. “something for your M.I.N.D.” takes mellow electropop to a whole new level of zen with its trippy but unobtrusive instrumental layers. Let’s hope there are more singles in the works from Superorganism. One just isn’t enough. Give “something for your M.I.N.D.” a spin below…

Eli Raybon

“Unsymmetrical”

L.A. transplant Eli Raybon is gearing up for the April release of his LP, Greenwith this catchy new single. “Unsymmetrical” hooks listeners with its rapid fire lyrics while the stripped down production proves you can do a whole lot with just a little. The single has an alt-rock/pop fusion feel with some NYC rock club fuzz thrown in for good measure.  Check out “Unsymmetrical” by Eli Raybon below, then head here to add the track to your personal playlists.

 Christmas Pets

“Glow”

The rocknroll 4-piece out of Cleveland known as Christmas Pets crafted this catchy lofi single set for release on sweet 7″ vinyl on March 15th. “Glow” keeps things simple but nuanced with its unpolished sound and gang vocals. There is a raw energy on “Glow” that feels both intentional and authentic – a rare combination, indeed. I’m definitely interested to see what comes next from Christmas Pets and, thankfully, I won’t have to wait too long because March is just around the corner. Until then, enjoy “Glow” below…

 

3 Rad New Releases

3 rad new releases 00

by Carly Schorman
Senior Editor

Gorky

The Gork​.​.​.​And How To Get It!

This four-piece out of Northern Arizona has been playing together a whopping 15 years and to celebrate their years of blissful band union, Gorky released, The Gork… And How To Get It!, in January.

This monster collection of tracks was recorded over the better part of a decade (2009-2016) and packs a retro-indie punch… You know, back in the days when Indie Rock still sounded like garage rock because it was still being made by kids in garages. Now, it feels like all that indie is coming straight from the bedroom with its stripped down sound and sedate energy. Gorky turns the energy back up and adds some Pavement bounce to the musicality for The Gork.

The album opens with “Roll with Me” which was recorded live at Last Exit Live right here in sunny Phoenix along with “AM Radio” and “The Cosmonaut” (which you’ll hear in about 19 more songs). What I love most about Gorky is that bright, summertime sound that glazes over every song on this album. There’s something mirthful about their brand of rocknroll that comes through every time, not just on the obvious tracks like “Super Drunk” or “#Datass”. Get into The Gork below…

Devil Grass

Dog + Cross

Devil Grass fuses together alt-country, dark folk, and some good ol’fashioned rocknroll to create their rowdy desert sound.

The Phoenix quartet just unleashed their debut EP, Dog + Cross, earlier this week – just in time for Valentine’s Day. I would definitely say these tracks are more Romantic (big R) than romantic (little r). The songs are brooding and introspective, meandering through fields dusted with prog rock permutations.

The EP opens with “Hundred-Year Woods”; submerging the listener in the rough-edged folk-rock of Devil Grass. “In the Cut” follows. Now, this track was originally released a year ago as Devil Grass’s recording debut and its earthy/edgy sound makes for, in my opinion, a solid introduction to the Devil Grass sound.

The energy gets turned up for “Pioneers” before “St. Joe’s Spitting Image” closes out the EP. The closer just might be my favorite track from the collection. There’s something slinky and also a little lonely about this number; like a hopeless crooner singing in a roadhouse bar for sad sweethearts.

Give Dog + Cross by Devil Grass a perusal below…

The Real FITS

Drown in Gold

The smokey smooth vocals of Raquel Willand adds a noir touch to the alt-rock sound of The Real FITS. The Tempe 4-piece dropped Drown in Gold, a 5-song EP, back on December 30th to close out the year.

The release opens with “Feels Like Mine” and sets a kickback feel that continues through Drown in Gold. “Sideways” – the second track – has the same sultry vibe and retro synths that gives shape to the FITS’ sinuous sound before “Wild Wild West”. The latter track has a measure of listlessness that off-sets the lithe vocals.

“Sundown”, the penultimate track on both the album and amongst my personal favorites, has a bit of an L.A. sound. Listeners can slip into a West Coast vision of driving down a palm-tree lined street in a convertible toward the ocean; top down and sunglasses on as the sun slips down the sky. “Tides” – my personal favorite and the longest track from the release – closes the EP with a dreamy, meandering number. Give Drown in Gold a listen below or head here for your own digi-download.

7 Earthy Singles from Alt-Folk to Americana

earthy singles 00

Old Nobodaddy

“Gun is Coming”

Yesssss. “Gun is Coming” is the stellar single from the New Orleans-based songwriter known as Old Nobodaddy. The track combines a stripped down lyricism with a compelling “swamp gospel” sound that goes straight for the center of your being.  This track comes to us from Nobodaddy’s forthcoming release, The Pretty Plea’s EP. I’ll definitely be keeping an ear to the ground for the release. You should too. Listen to “Gun is Coming” below…

The Show Ponies

“Sweetly”

This single is just as pleasantly affectionate as its title implies and arrives just in time for Valentine’s Day for all you lovers of love out there. The Show Ponies, out of Los Angeles, craft their own brand of Americana-tinged indie rock, or “indie-grass”, if you will. Everything about “Sweetly” is amiable and endearing, from the sweet-tempered vocals to the homey folk feel of the instrumentation. “Sweetly” comes to us from the band’s new LP, How It All Goes Down, which came out last month. Listen to the single below, and if you dig what you’re hearing, get your digi-download of the album here.

Anne Hall

“Goin’ Back Home”

This alt-folk single from Anne Hall fuses R&B with bit of American Heartland for an earthy, stripped-down sound I just love. In addition to these elements, Hall adds an easygoing West Coast breeze to “Goin’ Back Home” just to keep things nice and mellow. Or maybe that’s just an unintended consequence of the artist’s Santa Barbara residence. The single comes to us from Hall’s 2016 release, Wonderful, so if you dig the track, make sure you check out the complete LP (available here).

Jake Levine

“Lovestruck”

Jake Levine might be from New Jersey, but he sounds like he could be kicking dust in any Western bar of the Sonoran. The Americana sound heard on “Lovestruck” has a bit of a forlorn hue that is complimented by Levine’s own anguished voice. This song will tear at your heartstrings. Well, I guess, New Jersey as a history of producing artists that just get that Heart of America sound. Give “Lovestruck” a listen below and then head here to check out the album from whence it came.

Dearling

“Wild Blue”

This Denver-based four-piece indie act has a touch of that Western sensibility rolled into their genial twange. Dearling possesses all the country charm their names implies and you can experience it for yourself on their new single, “Wild Blue”. Lead singer Rachel James’ voice is both airy and earthy; and Dearling’s instrumentation matches her perfectly in balancing this dichotomy. “Wild Blue” comes to us from the band’s 2016 release, Inheritance, which is available here for preview and purchase. But first, give “Wild Blue” a listen below…

Ziegler Co.

“What A Life”

The London-based act known as Ziegler Co. brings us this indie-folk gem from all the way across The Big Pond. “What A Life” has a  carefree feel that will charm you on that very first spin. Unless, of course, you’re just a hateful, bitter person in the very core of your being. This single comes to us from the band’s EP, Soap + Water, just a couple months back. “What A Life” feels like a sunny stroll down a cobbled street just after a light morning rain. Give the single a spin below then head here for to check out the full EP from Ziegler Co.

Luke Hogan

“Who Else”

Now I really don’t say this very often, but Luke Hogan has a touch of Dylan in his voice which is weathered beyond his years… also like Dylan, I suppose. “Who Else” is the closing track to Hogan’s 2016 release, Nomad, which was record at Downtown Rehearsal in Los Angeles where the artist also resides. What might have been just called folk in 1964 is generally shuffled to the Americana side of the line these days, but we like it all the same. Give “Who Else” a listen below…