Maro – Carsick

Today’s song lies in the gray area between alternative/bedroom pop and groovy, mainstream music, the kind you can find in any popular radio station. In this case, that is not a bad thing. Carsick is so catchy and Maro‘s vocals are so good, that you simply won’t be able to help enjoy this tune. The impressive thing is that this talented Lebanese artist is just 19 years old.

As is commonplace nowadays, Maro started with a Youtube channel, uploading covers of popular tracks. Before long, he started to get noticed to the point that last year alone, he got over 28 million views. Carsick is his first original track and I wouldn’t be even remotely surprised if it became a big hit. It depends on a bit of luck as well, but I like his chances.

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The Smashing Pumpkins – 1979

In case you missed it, The Smashing Pumpkins dropped two new singles this week. They are okay, I guess, but don’t expect anything close to the band’s legendary hits from the times when MTV used to broadcast music. This made the decision about which artist to feature on this week’s Throwback Thursday entry very easy. It was choosing which song that was incredibly hard. I knew they had a lot of hits but I think I hadn’t really processed how strong Smashing‘s back catalogue was.

I recently finished watching all 3 seasons of Netflix’s great sci-fi show, Dark (I loved it), in which the phrase, “The beginning is the end and the end is the beginning”, was repeated ad infinitum by some characters. Each time that phrase was mentioned, I couldn’t help but think about one of the few positive things 1997’s film Batman & Robin left us: The Smashing Pumpkins‘s single, The End is The Beginning Is The End. Naturally, that was my first choice for this entry, only to discover that its original version wasn’t available on any of the major streaming platforms. There’s only a remix version that doesn’t do it any justice.

That took me back to square one, deciding between featuring my favorite song from Billy Corgan & Co, even though it is very popular; other famous songs such as Disarm or Tonight, Tonight; or a lesser known gem suck as Stand Inside Your Love or Untitled. In the end, 1979 won. I simply had to have that song, which was the second single off Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, in my mixtapes. It is that good. The music video, which you can watch below, is pretty great too.

There’s nothing else I can say about this #musicalcrush. Just enjoy this stroll down memory lane.

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Jacko Hooper – Beg, Steal or Borrow

Not all artists are able to transmit their raw emotions when they sing, but those who can make the whole listening experience a thousand times better. Jacko Hooper is one of them and Beg, Steal or Borrow, which is one of the singles he has released so far in 2020, a great example of that. You can almost feel the sense of despair Jacko would go through if anything bad happened to the person he wrote this beautiful indie folk song for.

This musician from Brighton, UK, started out in 2012 when he released his debut EP and started a Youtube channel, which today has close to 7k subscribers. After more EPs and tours, including performances with the likes of James Blunt and James Bay, Jacko got successful enough to even run one of the leading independent promotions companies and boutique record labels of Southern England, Folklore Sessions.

If you like artist like Damien Rice or Glen Hansard, please do check Jacko Hooper out. It will be right up your alley.

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Coopertheband – Stuck

Some bands can’t hide how much fun they have playing music and Coopertheband is one of them. Made up of 5 self-proclaimed “music nerds”, this indie rock band from Tennessee has released two full-length albums, two EPs, and a bunch of singles already, with Stuck being the most recent one, released a couple of weeks ago.

This great song got top-notch production and a stunning bridge that elevates it to a whole new level. With a blend of indie rock and some electronic elements, the tune got the right ingredients to make you want to put it on repeat. The band wrote Stuck inspired by the current climate and it talks about that feeling we might get sometimes when we really want to do something but we get trapped by our own thoughts. Luckily for us, that wasn’t the feeling Coopertheband experienced when working on this magnetic track.

Stuck may very well be your next musical crush.

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Lachlan – Lax

Indie songs produced and recorded pretty much on your own are not supposed to sound this good. There’s usually something that would give it away, but that’s not the case with Lax, the second single of singer/songwriter Lachlan, released last Friday. The song is a radio-friendly tune with nice guitar riffs and an infectious chorus. Lachlan’s voice is a perfect fit as well.

After being part of several Edinburgh-based bands such as Lost In Vancouver, Lachlan decided to try a career solo. Earlier this year he put his debut single, Too Bad, out. Now with Lax, a song about overcoming your own insecurities, he is letting us know that he’s here to stay. Give this song a listen on the mixtapes below and keep him on your radar. He absolutely deserves it.

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Stan iB – The Sky Above You

The Internet and Social media may have a lot of issues, but we cannot deny the fact that that they help us connect with people from all around the world. This is specially true for musicians. How else could we have been aware of, for instance, Bulgarian pianists if you didn’t live there unless they became worldwide famous? Stan iB is a good example of that. Not the worldwide famous part –not yet– but the one about being a talented pianist and composer from Bulgaria. Influenced by both classical music and Jazz, he focuses on the latter with his project Stan iB trio, and on the former as a solo artist, having released several albums so far.

The Sky Above You is the first track from Stan’s latest album, Dedication, and it is a sublime piece that lifts your spirit on a chilled day. If you’re looking for a calming piano-based song, head over to the mixtape with relaxing melodies or just play the video below. You won’t regret it.

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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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