Casual Vice – Instead

Artist: Casual Vice

Song: Instead

Genres: #indierock #alternativerock

Location: California, USA

Release date: January, 2021.

Comment: Southern California-based duo Casual Vice is formed by two musicians who cut their teeth with other bands before forming this new act last year. Instead was released as a single back in January and then included in the EP Joie De Vivre in February. It is a great indie rock track with a chorus you won’t be able to get out of your head before December. Check it out!

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The Islas – The Absence Of You

Artist: The Islas

Song: The Absence Of You

Genres: #indierock #alternativerock

Location: Norwich, UK

Release date: July, 2021.

Comment: The press release for The Absence Of You mentions that the song is The Killers-esque, and quite often, when I see something like that, I immediately assume it’s hyperbole. In this case, however, I do see the similarities to some of the work from that famous band from Las Vegas, particularly during the infectious chorus and guitar-led bridge. That’s not to say that this four-piece band from Norwich sounds exactly the same though, because they don’t. The Islas know what they’re doing and we should pay attention.

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Nine Days – Absolutely (Story of a Girl)

Artist: Nine Days

Song: Absolutely (Story of a Girl)

Genres: #alternativerock

Location: Long Island, New York

Release date: May, 2000.

Comment: This song is a classic from 21 years ago. Even though they were never able to replicate the success of this hit, they do have quite a few good songs. They took a long hiatus but got back together in 2016. Maybe they’ll surprise us with another hit in the future. Meanwhile, enjoy this #ThrowbackThursday!

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Albert Eno – Broken Pocket Watch

Albert Eno used to sing for Italian rock band Kismet, but he’s been flying solo since 2018. This has led him to release his debut solo album, Dark’N’Stormy, back in May, receiving positive reviews so far. The key feature in the whole album are Albert’s soothing vocals, which grab your attention instantly without letting it go. The record includes a mellow rendition of Nirvana‘s Come As You Are, which plenty of people will consider a highlight of the album, but the track I kept coming back to was the hypnotic Broken Pocket Watch. Let me explain why.

Broken Pocket Watch is a quiet, unpretentious song. With a simple arrangement led by a semi-acoustic guitar, Eno’s effortless vocals are really what makes the track stand apart. He uses kind of a falsetto here but it’s soft enough to bring you calmness rather than agitation. The lyrics are profoundly nostalgic, reflecting on old memories and items from our past. All in all, it is nearly impossible to listen to this song without our minds drifting away into a state of relaxation. If you’re looking for an exciting track that keeps your heart pumping, keep looking, but if you want an enjoyable track you could listen to on a rainy afternoon, Broken Pocket Watch will be perfect for you.

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Michigander – Let Down

I’m at least a couple of months late to Michigander’s party. This song has been in my backlog for a good while now but for one reason or another, it didn’t make it here until now. That is a shame though because Let Down is an extremely catchy song that certainly deserved to be featured here. It even peaked at #8 on the Billboard Adult Alternative chart, which is something. The song, which talks about the dichotomy of feeling excited about meeting a potential love interest and the fear of being let down by it, is part of Everything Will Be OK Eventually, the band’s latest EP released earlier this year. I say band here but the truth is more complicated than that. Michigander is mainly the work of Jason Singer, but he does have a band helping him out, which includes Aaron Senor, who should be familiar to you now after being featured here twice (here and here).

This EP was reviewed back in March by our friend Jeff (Eclectic Music Lover), and as usual, it was a superb review. I’m well aware Michigander is pretty well known around the Michigan area, but I frankly don’t know how he isn’t a mainstream artist already. His songs are refreshingly good, the production is always top-notch and his band is full of outstanding musicians. The rest of the world might need to wait a bit longer before getting acquainted with Michigander‘s work, but you can start right here, right now.

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Superscum – Subtle

Superscum is a Danish #indiefolk band formed by five guys who used to play in metal bands. The band’s name is perhaps a bit odd but not their music, which they describe as “a mellow blend of warm melodies and melancholy.” They have released two EPs so far that have been critically acclaimed in their home country, and they are currently aiming to release their debut full-length this fall.

Subtle is one their new tracks released earlier this year and it shows why Superscum is such a promising band. They have enough creativity to sound unique even without doing anything particularly outlandish. This song algo got a positive message about believing in yourself and having no regrets for trying, and that makes the listening experience even more pleasant. If there’s one thing you can be certain you won’t regret at all is giving Subtle a chance. Check it out below.

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Julia Michaels – All Your Exes

Julia Cavazos, better known as Julia Michaels, made a name for herself writing hits for other pop artists such as Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and Shawn Mendes, just to name a few. Then, in 2017, she wrote a song that she liked so much that she kept it for herself. That tune, Issues, became a hit and even earned her some Grammy nominations (whatever that’s worth). Julia is a established solo artist now and earlier this year released her debut studio album: Not In Chronological Order, which features the single being featured here today.

I hadn’t paid that much attention to Julia before because most of her songs tend to be mainstream pop tunes that are not typically my cup of tea. That being said, I happened to listen to All Your Exes and found it so good that I had to write about it here. It starts as a decent pop track led by an acoustic guitar and Julia Michaels‘ great vocals. So far so good but nothing to write home about. Then the chorus starts and it becomes a very different song, swapping out the acoustic guitar with a gritty electric one. The end result is one of the best #poprock tunes of the year, which comes accompanied by a fun music video that nods to a few psychological thrillers. Well worth your time.

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Rebel Kicks – Floating

Brothers Anthony and Steven Babino have been surrounded by music all their lives. When at least one of your parents is a musician, I guess that’s inevitable. And after growing up watching their father perform live in front of a big band day in and day out, it is completely natural that the two brothers born and raised in New York City decided to explore a career in music as well. Enter Rebel Kicks, their musical outlet with influences ranging from The Beatles and Sinatra to modern indie rock acts such as Young The Giant and Grouplove.

Rebel Kicks started releasing singles in 2018 and even managed to place a few of them in tv shows and festivals but then, of course, the pandemic slowed things down. The silver lining is that this situation also inspired them to write Floating, a song about achieving mental peace that is perhaps their best song yet. It reminds me a bit of the early work of fellow New Yorkers American Authors. It’s a catchy and uplifting tune that will lighten up your mood right away. I hope Anthony and Steven keep up exploring this style of music (which they claim differs from their previous releases), because it suits them extremely well. Check them out below.

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The Rising – So Alive

So Alive came up a few days ago while I was working and it immediately made me look at what other music this little known #alternativerock band called The Rising had released since then. I didn’t know much about them and So Alive was their only song in my library. Sadly, my research revealed bad news only.

The Rising was formed by Australian singer Michael Johns, and if that name rings a bell to you is probably because he finished in eighth place on the seventh season of American Idol (2008). The Rising’s first and only album, Future Unknown, was released in 2003 and then again in 2008 after Johns’ appearance on the aforementioned TV show. It never really sold much but Michael was then able to release a solo album in 2009 that sold 20,000 copies. The really sad news was that Michael passed away in 2014, aged just 35, of dilated cardiomyopathy. Way too young.

So Alive might be a little known song but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of your attention. There are plenty of little gems out there that never received a fair chance. As a tribute to Michael Johns, I thought of sharing one of his best songs with you in this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry in case you weren’t aware of it. I really hope you can enjoy it!

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TROUBLESHOOT – Inside My Head

I’ve been sick for the past few days, which is the reason why I wasn’t able to post anything since Saturday. Inside My Head is the song I was planning to write about on Monday but things didn’t go as planned. Anyway, that’s life.

I wrote about British artist Troubleshoot four months ago when he released his song Worst Bad Habit and now he’s back with a new track that sounds even better while maintaining a similar musical style. He got help from sound engineer Alex Edge for recording, mixing and mastering Inside My Head, which will be part of Troubleshoot‘s forthcoming debut album and one of his favorite tracks. The song talks about the ideal work Ben has created in his head, which contrasts with the toxic place he perceives the real world to be nowadays. The end result is a powerful and catchy alternative rock song like those that were popular 20 years ago.

Check it out below and support this up-and-coming music artist.

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