Comment: “Athene” by The Velveteins is a laid-back track that was inspired by Homer’s Iliad. The track emits an easy and relaxed tone with warm, effortless vocals, breezy guitars and a steady beat, creating an overall comforting atmosphere. The song also reminds me a bit of Augustana (songs like “Meet You There”, for example), which is never a bad thing. It’s easy to get lost in the mesmeric sounds of The Velveteins, where you’ll find yourself hitting repeat and staying along for the journey.
Nestled at the crossroads of past and present, The Velveteins emerged onto the scene in 2014, anchored by the creative partnership of frontman Spencer Morphy and co-songwriter Addison Hiller. “Athene” emerges as the third jewel from their forthcoming sophomore album, and it comes accompanied by a cool music video that features an excellent choreography and performance by Anya Allegra Saugstad. You can watch it below!
Comment: Beneath the sun-kissed melodies of summer, Grace & Moji‘s latest release, “Monster,” the second single from their forthcoming debut album, delves into the heart of our complexities, shining light on the shadows that coexist within us. As the dynamic husband-wife indie duo serenades us with their infectious indie pop duet, they unravel a universal truth – the duality of our beings.
In this enchanting anthem, Grace & Moji‘s harmonious voices dance harmoniously, a true testament to their musical unity. Grace Hong’s words echo in every note, reminding us that acknowledging our “Monsters” is an essential step toward understanding the nuances that make us human. Also, the vibrant instrumentation and infectious beats create a whirlwind of emotions, carrying us through the highs and lows of their melodic narrative.
In short, this groovy track is an indie pop gem. Its easygoing tone, well-executed vocals, and captivating storytelling make it a standout piece that leaves a lasting impression. Check it out!
Comment: Some songs are truly special. From the moment you hear them for the first time, you know that they will become a fixture of your daily soundtrack for months to come. That was the case when I listened to “Egyptian Summer” by Good Strangers. The mind-blowing thing is that this is the band’s first ever single, released ahead of their forthcoming debut EP, ‘Adult Teenage Novels’, coming out this fall.
Good Strangers came into existence as a collaboration of Irish musician friends, united by their shared passion for music and a history of playing together in various bands and projects. The band’s two lead singers, Niamh Kirby and Conor Quinn, who are best friends since they were 3, formed the group in 2022 after returning from Berlin, where they were inspired by the vibrant indie folk scene in the German capital. They chose the act’s name as a celebration of community and the many good strangers the band has met throughout their time touring, travelling and attending festivals.
In “Egyptian Summer,” the Irish band paints a raw and poetic portrayal of the moment when a beautiful relationship begins to unravel. Connor wrote it after going through a tough breakup, reminiscing about a summer in Egypt and searching for signs that everything would go downhill afterwards. Musically, the track has a similar vibe to Of Monsters And Men‘s debut album, without sounding exactly the same. What it really sets it apart for me are two things: first, how well Connor and Niamh’s voices fit together, and second, the emotion that they are able to transmit with their heartfelt vocals.
In conclusion, “Egyptian Summer” by Good Strangers is a sublime testament to the power of storytelling through music. It delves into the complexities of love, loss, and self-discovery, wrapped in an indie soundscape that feels both familiar and fresh. I honestly can’t wait for the debut EP!
“Remember that Egyptian Summer The fork lightning over the bay When we forgot everything We forgot our troubles When love was kind And the silence was noise But Underneath a marble sky I never seen you look so happy In your life.
And you were always cracking jokes And laughing at my funny ways And as the thunder rolled Well so did my sorrow We told lies We told them all the time But underneath a marble sky Nothing mattered.
I need a thunderstorm To distract from the pain Cause tomorrow might be the same damn sorrow I need something to happen The heavens to burst The sky to tear open The passion to run and flow like a river Out of my eyes Once it’s out of my heart It’s such a cold and desolate Happy ever when It’s such a cold and desolate Happiness never came.
We sat at the bar and we talked about the things we used to like And romanticised the pain Always remember it’s a crying shame Like reaching for the heavens but the heavens never came And I’ve played the victim long before you arrived These are not my people It’s not my scene not my style So I’m going back I’m going back to the city Please forgive me”
Comment: If you are a fan of indie folk and rock, you probably know who boygenius are. The supergroup, formed by Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus released their self-titled debut EP in 2018 and it was full of harmonies, emotions and exquisite songwriting. Since then, each member has been busy with their own projects, but somehow they still found time to release a new album, aptly titled ‘the record’, earlier this year. Even though it probably won’t be released as a single, “Cool About It” is my favorite new track and I’ve been meaning to feature it here for a while now.
The song is a slow-burning ballad that showcases the trio’s vocal chemistry and their ability to create a captivating atmosphere with minimal instrumentation. The lyrics are about trying to act nonchalant in front of an ex-lover, but feeling the pain and regret underneath. It’s a simple yet beautiful track.
Regular readers will probably remember that I’ve written about Phoebe before, but Julien and Lucy are just as talented and compelling, and together they form a powerful and unique musical force.
Comment: Back in April, Canadian band New Friends released their debut EP Camaro; it contains the catchy “Doomed”, which I featured here last year, and three other tracks. I listened to the EP without expecting to find a song I liked as much as “Doomed” in it, but I was wrong. Even though “Find You”, the closing track, is a different kind of song, it got me hooked just the same. The chorus is really something else. It makes you want to sing along.
“Find You” showcases impressive vocal harmonies and captivating guitar riffs, enhancing the richness of its sound. The production is polished yet tasteful, allowing the song’s essence to shine through. With its universal theme of longing for understanding and happiness, this track strikes a chord. All in all, the song sounds like a radio hit, but with a distinct personal touch. New Friends is unquestionably a band to keep an eye on in the pop rock scene.
Comment: Brendan Scott Friel is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has been making waves in the indie scene with his honest and heartfelt folk songs. His new single, “Simon the Doubter,” is a catchy and clever tune that tells the story of a man who questions everything, even his own faith. The song features acoustic guitar, piano, harmonica, and subtle percussion, creating a warm and organic backdrop for his smooth and expressive vocals. The lyrics are witty and clever, using biblical references and metaphors to describe the protagonist’s doubts and struggles.
“Simon the Doubter” is the first single from his upcoming second album, Summer Moons, which is set to be released later this year. The song showcases his talent for blending folk elements with pop sensibilities, creating a sound that is both familiar and fresh. If you like artists like Passenger, Ed Sheeran, or Vance Joy, you might want to give this song a listen.
Comment: M. Byrd is a German-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer who has been making waves with his debut album The Seed, a collection of songs that blend intimate moments with wide horizons, inspired by the Laurel Canyon sound and shoegaze aesthetics. The album is meant to plant a seed and encourage listeners’ evolution.
One of the standout tracks from The Seed is “Pyrrhula”, a song that showcases M. Byrd‘s ability to create atmospheric and emotional soundscapes with his guitar, synth and bass playing. The song starts with a gentle acoustic guitar strumming and M. Byrd’s soft vocals, singing about a fire in someone’s eyes and a longing for connection. The song is named after a genus of birds, also known as bullfinches, which are known for their bright colors and monogamous relationships. M. Byrd uses this metaphor to express his desire for a lasting bond with someone who can light up his world.
“Pyrrhula” by M. Byrd is a song that will make you feel something, whether it’s joy, sadness, nostalgia or hope.
Comment: I recently watched the movie A Good Person, written and directed by Zach Braff, who also wrote and directed Garden State, whose award-winning soundtrack has been referred to on multiple occasions here. There is a pivotal scene in the movie in which the main character, played by the scene-stealing Florence Pugh, attends a concert and the song being played when she arrives really grabbed my attention. It turned out to be “Stardust” by Cary Brothers, a singer-songwriter -Brothers is his surname- who was also featured on the soundtrack of, you guessed it, Garden State.
Stardust is a moody indie track that is simply stunning. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Comment: If you like covers that are not exact replicas of the original song, you’re in for a treat.
“Tonight, Tonight” is a classic alternative rock song by The Smashing Pumpkins, released in 1996 as part of their double album “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness“. The song is an anthemic ode to hope and change, with lyrics that evoke a sense of urgency and possibility. It reminds us that we’re not alone, we’re not stuck, and we can make things happen.
Smallpools, featured here before for another outstanding cover they did, and Caroline Kole are two indie pop artists who have teamed up to deliver a fresh and fun cover of “Tonight, Tonight”. Smallpools is a Los Angeles-based band known for their catchy and upbeat songs such as “Dreaming” and “Million Bucks”. Caroline Kole is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter who has collaborated with artists such as Reba McEntire and Mr. Gwen Stefani Blake Shelton.
Their cover of Tonight, Tonight is a faithful homage to the original, but with a modern twist. They keep the same structure and melody of the song, but add their own flair with poppy synths, electric guitars, and harmonized vocals. They also strip down the song in an acoustic version that showcases their vocal talents and chemistry. Please enjoy “Tonight, Tonight” by Smallpools & Caroline Kole.
Comment: Housewife is a Toronto-based indie rock project led by 20-year-old Brighid Fry (she/they), who has been making waves in the Canadian music scene with their catchy and clever songs. After touring with Paolo Nutini and releasing the hit single “Fuck Around Phase” earlier this year, Housewife is back with another great track: “King of Wands”.
The song is a fiery anthem of female empowerment and intuition, inspired by the tarot card of the same name. Housewife sings about resisting the patriarchal attempts to silence and undermine women’s voices and wisdom, and reclaiming their power and agency. The lyrics are sharp and witty, with lines like “I wish I was the king of wands / But really, I’m Cassandra / The girl that I’ll ignore / When she’s got all the answers”.
The music is equally energetic and explosive, blending pop melodies with rock instrumentation. The song features heavy drums, distorted guitars, and soaring vocals that create a contrast between the verses and the choruses. By the way, the vocals during the verses remind me of Amelia Meath from Sylvan Esso. The song was co-written with Gabe Simon (Lana Del Rey, Noah Kahan) and JT Foley (GAYLE, Maddy Hicks), who helped Housewife craft their mature and intentional indie-rock sound.
If you live in North America and like what you hear, you can catch Housewife live on their upcoming tour dates across Canada and the US.