Monkey Safari – Safe

I must warn you, this track from German producers and DJs: Monkey Safari is extremely addictive. It became a musical crush of mine as soon as I heard the first beat. Deceptively simple, this tune consists of layers of sweeping sounds and beats that get perfectly matched with an enthralling sample of spoken words. It’s really difficult to describe in writing. You will have to listen to this track to see what I mean.

I can’t say I’m an expert on Monkey Safari‘s discography, all I know is that the outfit is formed by a couple of brothers who have been producing successful tracks since 2016. With Safe, they wanted to transmit emotions in a time when the world feels empty. I think it’s safe to say that they succeeded.

Enjoy this wonderful track!

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Henry And The Waiter – Don’t Wanna Die Alone

This upbeat, extremely radio-friendly tune could be the perfect song for the end of summer and the start of this weekend (which is a long one in some countries). With a catchy chorus and a sticky rhythm that camouflages very well the deep lyrics the song has, Don’t Wanna Die Alone is an indie pop song that allows you to forget about everyday problems and simply have fun.

This German artist, Henrik Steigerwald, goes by the moniker of Henry And The Waiter because it represents two different sides of his personality: the waiter, who is more impulsive and gets ideas for new songs all the time, and Henry, more introspective and the one who finishes the songs by adding his voice to the mix. Henry and his alter ego have achieved considerable success in his home country with over 12 million streams on Spotify, but it is time now to reach a wider audience. With his knack for hook-ridden songs, the odds are clearly in his favour.

Listen to this enjoyable tune below.

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Sister Hazel – Come Around

When it comes to the Throwback Thursday entries, I’m playing it by ear. It’s not easy to pick one relatively old good song amongst hundreds or thousands of them. For that reason, I’m letting random coincidences to choose one for me. For instance, in yesterday’s post I mentioned Sister Hazel and that was all it took for me to write today about that act from Gainesville, Florida. The band, named after a local missionary who took care of homeless people, formed in 1993 and besides being extremely productive with over 10 studio albums (plus EPs, live albums and compilations) over that span, they have also been shockingly stable, maintaining the same line-up throughout all these years. That’s pretty unusual to say the least.

Sister Hazel has had several minor hits and some loyal followers, but if there’s only one song you know from them, then it’s probably All For You. This track was part of the band’s debut album from 1994 but it was re-recorded for the follow-up from 1997and it was then when the song became a hit, peaking at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It remains Sister Hazel’s most successful single to date.

However, the song that I want to highlight today is one of those minor hits Sister Hazel had, Come Around, from their excellent 2003 album: Chasing Daylight. This great tune is just as good as All For You but far less popular. It’s also a good example of the band’s trademark blend of alternative touch with southern rhythms.

Let’s remember this classic song today. Enjoy Come Around.

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Kristian Montgomery and the Winterkill Band – Razor Wire Heart

After two days of grunge pop and indie punk, it’s time to slow things down a bit with this mellower track from Kristian Montogomery and the Winterkill Band. The first thing that jumps out at you when listening to Razor Wire Heart is, besides the chords from his guitar, Kristian’s husky and pleasant voice, especially in such an emotional and personal track for him. He’s had quite a tumultuous life, going from singing in heavy rock bands to travelling around the world, getting married and divorced, and even spending six months in jail. Only somebody who has lived through all of those experiences could have written lyrics like these.

This song is part of Gravel Church, an album that Kristian wrote upon his release from prison and his first as Kristian Montogomery and the Winterkill Band. It is a varied album with some alternative rock songs as well as alternative country and other genres. In terms of style, it reminds me a bit of Sister Hazel. If you like that style, you definitely should check this band out, and you can start by listening to Razor Wire Heart here.

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Grow Rich – Bounce Back

Music is universal and it can come from the most unexpected places. Maybe Indonesia is not the first country that comes to mind when you think about indie punk bands but that’s exactly where Grow Rich comes from. The project from multi-instrumentalist Abdur Rahim Latada is influenced by bands like Veruca Salt, Joy Division, and My Bloody Valentine. Abdur has released two self-financed EPs already as Grow Rich, and he also markets them himself. Frantic Semantic is the latest EP, which includes Bounce Back, a really good track.

Lyrically, to be honest, Bounce Back is nothing to write home about, but musically, it is a completely different story. It got great hooks and guitar riffs and nice soundscapes that make it really hard to believe it was all done by one person (except for drums, as he got help for that). Even the vocals are really good as well. This really sounds as good as any song produced by heavyweights. If you are into this type of music, I beg you to give this song a chance. You won’t regret it.

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Pony – WebMD

I found it hilarious that Sam Bielanski, the lead singer and mastermind behind Toronto-based band Pony, tweeted –when the band released their latest single– that she had written a song about her favorite website, WebMD. She obviously can make fun of herself and that’s a good quality to have. The song is a great alternative rock jam with an infectious melody and, despite its title, a good message about being independent and not wanting to depend on anyone else in order to feel complete.

According to Pony‘s website, the band’s style is grunge pop, which in a way makes perfect sense. Whatever it is, we need more bands like Pony. Luckily, they recently announced the signing of a deal with an indie label and will release a debut full-length album soon. That being said, the band had been publishing songs and EPs regularly since 2015, so they got plenty of material out already.

Sam even starred, directed, choreographed , shot, and edited the music video for WebMD (the link is below but you might have to go to Youtube in order to watch it due to restrictions from the music label). Or you can also enjoy this tune on the mixtapes below. Whatever you choose, have fun!

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Max Richter – All Human Beings

According to Wikipedia, Max Richter “works within postminimalism and in the meeting of contemporary classical and alternative popular musical styles”, and I totally agree with that description. This German-born British musician is one of my favorite composers out there today. He’s not an unknown artist, with over one billion (yes, with a b) streams and after having worked on the soundtrack of popular movies such as Ad Astra, but just in case this is the first time you hear about him, let me tell you that you have probably heard Spring 1 from his album Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi – The Four Seasons (2012), as it’s been used in plenty of TV ads, like this one from LinkedIn.

This month, Richter returned with a conceptual album, Voices, which is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This peculiar records consists of 2 discs: the first one features recordings of people in over 70 countries reading articles from that document, perfectly intertwined with Richter’s mesmerizing compositions played by his orchestra (which has an unusually high number of cellists). The second disc got the voiceless versions of the same compositions. Both versions are beautiful and interesting. The piece I liked the most is the one called All Humans Beings, and in the video below you can listen to the original version with the “voices” in it. However, the version I added to the mixtapes listed after the video was the “voiceless mix“. I highly recommend you try both versions. Enjoy!

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Toys In The Attic – Where Giants Sleep

There’s no much background info I can give you on Toys in the Attic. All I know is that this project consists of one person, based in Rhode Island and that he is pretty active on Twitter. According to his songs’ writing credits on Spotify, his name seems to be Alexander, but the fact that really matters here is that this artist is really passionate about making music of all genres, but mostly alternative and synth-based tunes. His catalogue is small but varied, with some songs flirting closely with dance music while others, like Where Giants Sleep, are mellower.

Where Giants Sleep is a catchy track that takes you on an auditive journey. It’s easy to imagine that you are driving through a scenic route when listening to this tune, and the destination is your happy place. By all means, check Toys in the Attic out and you can start right here, right now with this addictive track.

Update: Due to legal reasons, Alexander has had to change his stage name. While old songs will remain under the Toys in the Attic moniker on streaming platforms, new music will be released as Dreddbeat.

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London Grammar – Baby It’s You

Out of the blue and without any indication of a new album coming out soon, London Grammar simply dropped a new single yesterday, Baby It’s You, after posting a tease on Instagram on Monday. The young band from Nottingham, UK, had last released an album, their sophomore record, in 2017. Both of the band’s studio albums were massive successes in the UK and if this new track is an indication of what’s coming next, their third full-length will hit the jackpot too, and deservedly so.

As it was the case with all of London Grammar‘s previous songs, Baby It’s You is driven by the stunning and powerful vocals of Hannah Reid. In a way, it’s fitting that this entry comes right after the one about Mazzy Star, because not unlike Hope Sandoval, Hannah is an introvert who suffers from stage fright. And just like Hope. she got an angelic voice capable of leaving any audience absolutely mesmerised.

On this new track, the ethereal vocals are surrounded by the band’s trademark atmospheric sounds. What is new this time around is a certain balearic vibe: just the right amount to make things interesting without overpowering the tune. All in all, Baby It’s You is a nice new song from London Grammar and you can enjoy it in the mixtapes below.

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Mazzy Star – Fade Into You

Earlier this week, I mentioned that Teen Idle was going to get compared to Mazzy Star. Now, depending on your age, you might not be aware of who they were (I love ’90s music and I wasn’t aware of them until the late ’00s!), which is why I thought it fitting to feature Fade Into You as this week’s Throwback Thursday entry. A song that is widely considered one of the best tracks of that decade.

This song was a huge hit for the band in 1994, reaching number 3 on Billboard‘s Modern Rock chart (back when that chart meant something) and peaking at #44 on the Hot 100 chart. No other song from the band appeared on that Hot 100 chart and only two other tracks charted on the Modern Rock Top 40 (Halah and Blue Flower), which in part explains why people who were not active music listeners at the time might not know about this band. That and the fact that the band broke up in 1997 and didn’t regroup until 2012.

Mazzy Star consisted of Hope Sandoval, as lead singer and lyricist; and David Roback, as composer and main producer, who also played most of the instruments. Hope has a reputation for being shy, which made her focus on her singing while on stage instead of interacting with the audience. When you have a voice as angelic and beautiful as hers, I don’t see the problem in that. Sure, having a charismatic singer is nice, but we don’t need every single lead singer to be like that. Anyway, I guess that was another reason preventing the band from achieving super stardom.

Unfortunately, David Roback died earlier this year but he and Hope (who’s still active) left behind a legacy of great music that won’t be forgotten. Isn’t that the ultimate goal for any artist?

Watch a live performance of this iconic song here, or find it in the mixtapes below.

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