The Magic Epic – Sally

Sally is a gorgeous song on its own but its music video (which you can watch below) is so beautiful that it makes you like the song even more. It becomes impossible to separate one from the other. The video follows a ballerina dancing through empty streets in a way that matches the delicate piano notes from the track. This ballerina is a tribute to a friend of British singer-songwriter The Magic Epic , who was also the inspiration for Sally. This friend was a professional dancer frequenting clubs and parties until she got pregnant and drastically changed her lifestyle without ever looking back. The Magic Epic is that child’s godfather.

This artist based out of Brighton is a longtime busker and wedding singer who has lived an interesting life doing a bit of everything. This has allowed him to become a seasoned songwriter people can relate to. Influenced by modern and old-school artists, and you can certainly perceive that on Sally, he has released three singles so far and is getting ready to drop a debut album too. If it’s full of songs like Sally, it will be quite a treat.

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Sum 41 – With Me

To me, there are two sides to Sum 41: a lighter, punk-rock embracing one and a darker, guitar-heavy, metal-flirting side. They used to oscillate from one side to another with each album but after switching to the darker side on the album that followed 2009’s excellent Underclass Hero, they seem to have decided to stay there. This coincides with the return of lead guitarist and founding member Dave Baksh to the band in 2013, after a 9-year break. They have released a handful of songs that I like during this time, but the above mentioned Underclass Hero was their last album I truly loved. What can I say? I don’t enjoy metal that much.

That record includes several standout tracks but I’ve decided to feature today one that I didn’t love right away. I don’t know why though, because With Me is truly a great song. As with a few other tracks from Underclass Hero, it’s likely based on frontman’s Deryck Whibley failing relationship with Avril Lavigne, his wife at the time. Besides Deryck’s ability to transmit his raw emotions, what sets this song apart is the great drum part from former band member Steve Jocz. It’s really hard to get those drums out of your head.

Anyway, here’s this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry: With Me by Sum 41.

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Palma Louca – Stationary Life

Stationary Life, one of two singles released in 2021 by Newcastle-based #indierock band Palma Louca, is a song that critiques the way modern society is constructed. Most people repeat the same routine day in and day out without any hope for breaking that cycle. Despite alluding to such a deep and somber theme, musically the song is actually far from depressing. It’s very atmospheric, with layer after layer of different sounds, including some great drums, cool guitar riffs and spot-on vocals. That being said, it doesn’t feel overproduced at all. Stationary Life should sound just as great live.

With regards to Palma Louca, the British band recently signed with their local label Pillar Artists and continue releasing singles at a steady pace. I hope there is a debut EP or full-length album coming soon because I’m sure it will deserve our attention. The band is formed by Cameron Snow (Drums), Daniel Bailey (Keys/Synth & Backing Vocals), Joe Norton (Guitar & Vocals), Richard Norton (Guitar), and Andrew Thompson (Bass). Please do check them out!

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Maggie Lindemann – Knife Under My Pillow

Being a young woman dangling with alternative rock and pop-punk, it is inevitable that Maggie Lindemann gets compared to the likes of Avril Lavigne and Hayley Williams (Paramore). However, in this case, that comparison actually makes sense because her tone of voice is not far from Avril‘s and some of her songs do have a Paramore vibe. There is nothing wrong with that, though. Those two are really talented and successful musicians and, on top of that, Maggie is also able to stand on her own. She could become just as big pretty soon.

She’s not a complete unknown either. In 2016, her breakout single Pretty Girl reached the top ten in several countries including Sweeden, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. I didn’t know her by name back then but that song does sound familiar to me. Early this year, this artist from Dallas, Texas, released her debut EP, Paranoia, which features Knife Under My Pillow as its lead single. This pop-rock banger is a song about fear and paranoia inspired by early 2000s horror movies (which also explains the music video, see below).

With grungy guitars, resounding drums, and a catchy chorus, this tune announces us that Maggie Lindemann has arrived and is here to stay.

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Louis & The Shakes – How Badly Do You Want It?

Jack White meets The Killers meets Queens of the Stone Age. That’s what I think How Badly Do You Want It? sounds like and, somehow, it still works. This fast-paced indie/Americana tune from British quartet Louis & The Shakes is the first single off their forthcoming album of the same name. Lead singer Louis Antoniou wrote this song with the purpose of encouraging the listener to keep going no matter what and with such an infectious rhythm, no one will be able to keep still. A problem I usually have with this type of music is that often the artists seem to care more about being noisy than having a good melody, but that’s not the case at all here. Don’t get me wrong, this track rocks hard but in a way that lets you appreciate the nice vocals and the craftsmanship of every band member.

In addition to Louis, the band is made up of Jamie Lawson on lead guitar, Manny O’Donnell as drummer and Will Finnerty on bass. Louis & The Shakes started in 2019 with a bluesy 60s influenced debut EP that got support from BBC Introducing and some radio stations in the United Kingdom. Fresh off a new distribution deal, this new single represents the start of the quartet’s exciting new chapter. Hopefully, the new album will help them expand their audience on time for the return of rock concerts. Their music is perfect for live gigs.

I mentioned above that no one will be able to keep still while listening to this track. I dare you to prove me wrong.

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Mokita & Stand Atlantic – I’m Sorry

To say that I’m Sorry was a catchy song would be a massive understatement. It’s hard not to get hooked with it after just a couple of seconds in. Nashville-based chill-pop singer and producer Mokita wrote it after a conversation with his brother about past relationships and how regretful they felt about mistakes they made. Trying to make it sound even more nostalgic, he decided to make it a duet and managed to convince Bonnie from Stand Atlantic (remember them?) to join forces with him. I’m glad this happened because her voice gives the tune a really nice touch that makes it even more haunting.

Don’t miss this great tune out. It’s really good.

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Ashland – In Your Head

If you enjoyed recently featured bands such as Rivals, Monowhales and Fireflight, then you’re in for a treat because Ashland is right there in the same league as those bands, delivering guitar-led tracks with powerful choruses. After flirting with pop in their last full-length album, the extra spare time caused by the pandemic made them go back to their rock roots and return with a new EP, I, that leans more towards rock. In Your Head is exhibit A of that.

A song about how we often make things worse than they are in our own heads, In Your Head is filled with all the repressed energy from a year without proper live gigs. As it must be evident by now, Ashland is a band fully deserving of our attention. Led by such a talented vocalist as Asia Marie Dupuy, they got what it takes to reach new highs after each release.

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The Wallflowers – Three Marlenas

You might have heard this week’s news on The Wallflowers releasing their first album in 9 years next month. They even released its lead single already, which is okay, I guess, but nothing to write home about. While I’m not a die-hard fan of Jakob Dylan‘s band (I wasn’t even aware they had made an album in the last decade), they do have some really great songs that were very popular during the The Wallflower‘s heyday. Their most famous –and probably best– song is One Headlight, which won two Grammys and became the first song to top all three of Billboard‘s rock charts: modern rock, mainstream and adult alternative.

All that being said, I do have a soft spot for a far more modest single from the same Bringing Down The Horse album: Three Marlenas. It peaked at number 51 on the Hot 100 chart and is not the song most people immediately think about when they hear this band’s name, but it is that song for me. Take a walk with me down memory lane with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday song.

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Lewca – Back From The Dead

Back From The Dead is one of those genre-defying eclectic songs that you just like. Think Parklife from Blur with a catchier chorus and you will have a pretty good idea of how this tune sounds. As an artist, Lewca just wants to do what he feels like doing while having fun as well, not worrying about conventions or what people think they like. I mean, this song mentions going to the barber and having eggs with bacon for breakfast, not your typical lyrics stuff, yet it still works. It does so because the contrast between the chorus (did I mention that it was extremely catchy?) and the verses is high enough to highlight how infectious the former is, and also because the production, in charge of Lewca himself, is top-notch.

With regards to the artist, Lewca is quite a funny character, as evidenced by the bio on his website. Originally from London but living in France since he was 19, he now has 3 Kids & a Mortgage, which is also how he decided to call his debut EP (whose cover art is a drawing his kids made). He has always been involved with arts, studying Fine Arts and working on films, but got as well a passion for making music that he wanted to explore before he was “too old to die young“. Here we hope he achieves his mission of conquering the world.

Check this artist out. Maybe he will be your cup of tea or maybe not, but I guarantee you will have fun.

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Rotten Kings – Old Town

Mallorca, in case you’re not familiar with it, is one of Spain‘s Balearic islands in the Mediterranean. It’s very beautiful, with sandy beaches and perhaps the warmest water you are likely to find in the Mediterranean Sea. Mallorca is also the home of Rotten Kings, a young alternative rock band that just released their debut EP, Raindrops, last month. The fact that they found the time to write, practice, and record songs pretty much in the middle of paradise is testament of the passion they have for music.

Old Town was released as a single ahead of the EP and it showcases very well how promising this band is. A guitar-driven song about a relationship going cold, it will remind you of late 90s/early 2000s alternative rock tracks. Do not expect to find something groundbreaking here, just a really good rock tune that should establish this young Spanish band firmly on your radar. They are just getting started.

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