Xavier Valdez – Bear

Xavier Valdez is a singer/songwriter from California who debuted as a solo artist in 2020. However, he used to play bass and provide backup vocals on LA-based band MR CALL, so he wasn’t a neophyte to the music business. His style is indie rock with nice pop touches that make it really enjoyable. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that his sound is completely unique, but it’s certainly distinctive enough to be refreshing.

After releasing a few singles in early 2020, Xavier compiled them into his debut EP, Sun, in August. Then, in November, he dropped a brand new single, Bear, that really reflects everything I said above about Xavier’s sound. While Bear is the track I am recommending today, check out the Sun EP too. Xavier Valdez is certainly a talented artist who knows how to make appealing indie music.

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Manuel Bellone – A Case Of An Endless Blue

Happy New Year! Today is not blue monday, but given the fact that for many of us it is the day we return to our daily routines/work after the holiday season, I’d say it comes pretty close in second place. If you’re like me, in days like these you’ll prefer to listen to sad/melancholic songs instead of happy ones, and if that’s indeed the case, I got the perfect song for you. A Case Of An Endless Blue is the latest track from Italian folk-rock singer/songwriter Manuel Bellone, who got inspired by the difficult year we all had in 2020 and being stuck at home for os long. Manuel got a raspy voice that is just perfect for the type of music he makes, including this track.

Despite being from Palermo, Sicily, Manuel got his roots in styles of music that are traditionally associated with America, such as folk, blues and country. Influenced by the likes of Ryan Adams and Neil Young, his goal is to sound classic but unique. He’s been releasing music and touring Europe with his band rather successfully since 2013, with plans to go out on tour again soon and release a new album this year. Give a chance to this true musician and hopefully A Case Of An Endless Blue will get you get through this day.

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HD Bradley – Enough

This is likely to be my last post of 2020 so I’m going to make it count by featuring a song from a talented artist who cares more about his music than himself. If you visit HD Bradley‘s social media pages, all personal info you’ll be able to find is that he’s from Chicago and likes coffee and dogs. I got his real name, Bradley Dean Honeyman, from looking at his songs’ credits on Spotify. His music gets all the spotlight.

HD Bradley is a singer/songwriter who just started releasing singles this year. Most of them consists of just an acoustic guitar and his voice, with a few exceptions. Enough, for example, got some really nice electric guitar in the bridge and backing vocals. However, the important thing to highlight here is that Bradley‘s voice is really satisfying, perfect for this type of music, and his melodies are always nice and interesting. You can listen to them all day long without getting tired. Start with Enough right here and then continue with his back catalogue. Hopefully, he’ll continue making great music in 2021.

P.S: You might notice that some of the mixtapes have fewer songs now. That’s because I have moved their songs to 2020-specific playlists, that way the mixtapes won’t become too big.

P.S2: Hope you are all enjoying the holidays break and have a much better 2021 (the bar is not too high). Thank you for your visit and see you in Jan!

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Kendall Street Company – In A Little While

Remember The Shrugs from early November? One of its members, saxophonist Jake Vanaman, also plays in another Virginia-based band called Kendall Street Company, who released recently their fourth studio album, The Stories We Write For Ourselves (I love this album name. Not only do they have a similar vibe to The Shrugs, but they even invited Abbey Potter as a guest vocalist in some of the tracks, like lead single Lady In Green. That being said, the tune that caught my attention was track #11.

In A Little While is a folk rock song with an acoustic charm and great storytelling. The vocals from lead singer Louis Smith are also perfect for that kind of music. However, do not make the mistake of thinking all 15 tracks in the album (including a prologue and epilogue) sound the same. There’s a little bit of everything, with bits of classic and experimental rock mixed in here and there. KSC are becoming a popular jam band in the Virginia region. Don’t be surprised if that starts being the case in other states too.

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The Break Plans – Crossroads

If you visit The Break Plans Facebook page, you will find that they describe their music as “Rock n’ roll with an EDM soul” or “indie pop music you can dance to — with an alternative rock vibe”. After listening to some of the singles they’ve released so far, it’s fair to say that both descriptions are pretty accurate. This band from Freehold, New Jersey, started in 2018 when lead singer Colton Braun replied to an add the other two band members, Mike Jahoda and Phil E. Eichinger, posted on Craig’s List. Getting inspiration from bands like Walk The Moon, Coldplay, and The Killers, their songs are certainly catchy and fun.

Their latest single, Crossroads, is exhibit A of everything mentioned above. It is an indie pop track with hints of alternative rock, some cool synths and even some EDM vibes. A song about feeling incomplete without that person who complements you, Crossroads is one of those tunes you could easily play on repeat. If you don’t have an aversion to radio-friendly songs, don’t lose sight of The Break Plans and check their back catalogue out. You won’t be disappointed.

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Crash Cathedral – MoodRing

Crash Cathedral is a new alternative pop band from Philadelphia with an experimental side. While their music is radio friendly, the background the band’s members have is actually in metal, hardcore and industrial rock, which offers a unique twist to what they do, resulting in a darker-than-usual style of alt-pop. However, I’d like to make it clear that this is not a case of artists making music they hate just because it’s popular. Instead, it is an example of musicians finding the middle ground across the multiple and sometimes dissimilar styles that they enjoy.

Back in October, Crash Cathedral released their debut single, MoodRing, which centers around relationships with people who are not what you thought they were. Musically, it draws influence from ’80s new wave while still sounding modern. What sets this tune apart is its extremely catchy chorus. You will want to put it on repeat. If this is what their debut single sounds like, I can’t imagine how great their songs are going to be once they have more time working together.

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Tessa Violet ft. chloe moriondo – Words Ain’t Enough

Have you had a close friend who’s in a bad relationship but you cannot tell them anything because they’re still in love and won’t listen to you? I think that’s a feeling we can all relate to and that’s exactly what motivated Tessa Violet to write Words Ain’t Enough, which is a heartfelt and melancholic song about being with someone who doesn’t really love you back. As the chorus says: “You can say you love me but words ain’t enough“. It’s not a complicated piece of music, with just a guitar supporting the vocals, but it doesn’t need anything else. It’s a beautiful piece and that’s what matters.

Tessa Violet, who is an American singer-songwriter who started as a successful blogger on Youtube before focusing on her career in music, originally released this song last year on her second full album: Bad Ideas. This year, she re-released it featuring vocals from chloe moriondo, who is a 18-year-old indie/bedroom pop artist who has been garnering quite a following on her own. I’m sure we will be hearing about both artists for years to come. Check this beautiful tune out below.

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Stumble Steady – Coming To An End

Garrett Kealer got OCD and does not try to hide it. Instead, he write songs from the unusual perspective of somebody living with that mental condition. Under the moniker Stumble Steady, Garrett wants to tear down untrue stereotypes usually associated to OCD while also creating upbeat music that people can relate to. His music is pretty contagious indie pop that might remind you of the likes of The 1975 and Grouplove.

Stumble Steady‘s latest single, Coming To An End, is a perfect example of all of the upbeat. A really infectious song with colorful soundscapes that deals with the subject of ending a relationship through the lens of a person with OCD. In particular, the thought patterns someone like Garrett experiences in that situation, from thinking about everything that led to the breakup to worrying about what friends will say, often at the expense of his own feelings. Without a doubt, this is a catchy and interesting tune. Definitely check it out below.

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We Wander – Can’t Save You

Maddie Little got a really nice and sweet voice and given how much she loves music, it came naturally for her to pick up a guitar in 2017 and start a band: We Wander. Eventually, she recruited Camilo on bass, Jacob on drums, and Christian on violin, resulting in a sound they call lush and explorative. It’s basically their own brand of indie folk.

Can’t Save You is one of their latest singles. It showcases all of the above, from Maddie‘s beautiful vocals to the contribution of each one of the band’s members and the overall style. The song is a letter that Maddie wrote to herself to be reminded that fighting her own battles is sometimes more important than the actual outcome. If you like indie folk, then make sure to check We Wander out. You’ll be glad you did.

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Cristóvam – Setting Sun

I’ve had Setting Sun sitting in my queue for a while now, and during that time, my pal Jeff from Eclectic Music Lover wrote a flawless review of this single. I’m not a fan of repeating what has already been said, and even less so when what has been said is so good. The only thing I can add to what Jeff wrote is that Cristóvam, a singer/songwriter from Portugal, won first prize in the ‘Unsigned Only’ category for the International Songwriting Competition 2018, which had the likes of Keane, Bastille and Lorde, amongst the judges. And then, this year, he won ‘Pop Performance’ and ‘Song of the Year’ in the International Portuguese Music Awards. At this pace, by this time next year, he will be complaining about The Grammy Awards being corrupt.

The bottom line is that Setting Sun is a great, uplifting tune, and a great addition to T.A.M. Check it out below.

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