After experiencing a major adversity, Brooklyn-based singer Andrew Selkōw moved to Alaska for a while to find himself. Being alone and surrounded by nature rekindled his love for literature and music and planted the seed for Middle Part to be born. Inspired by both 1990s and early 2000s alternative bands, Andrew composes sincere music that connects with you at many levels. On December, Middle Part released his debut EP, I Wish I Was Alive, which compiles the singles he had published already.
One of those singles is Busy, a laid-back tune that relies on hazy vocals, acoustic guitars, and soft synths to deliver a message of vulnerability. Influenced by artists like Natalie Imbruglia and Michelle Branch,Middle Part wrote Busy to warn us about the problems ego brings to friendships. I don’t know if it is because of the guitar, the vocals or the steady beat, but somehow this song reels you in and doesn’t let go until long after it’s ended.
Do you like the ‘heart in a blender’ song? If this question does not ring a bell to you, then you are not following Eve 6 on Twitter and, therefore, missing out on what has become one of the most entertaining accounts on that social media platform. Max Collins, the band’s frontman, became hyperactive with the account towards the end of 2020, tweeting whatever comes to his mind, from stories about other ‘nineties bands’ (as he usually refers to them) to his opinions about any subject. Sometimes he is joking and sometimes he’s telling the truth but often it is not obvious to figure out which tweet is which, with Max even referring to the whole stuff as a form of art. One of the funny things he’s been doing is asking different personalities and celebrities, from Kamala Harris to Taylor Swift, if they liked the ‘heart in a blender’ song. The Rolling Stone magazine even wrote an article about it.
Inside Out is the heart in a blender song and let me tell you, I’ve always liked it. It was part of Eve 6‘s debut album from 1998 and reached the number one spot on the Modern Rock charts. The band from Southern California broke up in 2004 but luckily got back together in 2012 and released a very nice album that year, Speak In Code. While they haven’t published any new music since then (other than a live album), they’re still together, although with a new drummer. Hopefully, there is some new music coming song. In the meantime, enjoy this week’s #ThrowbackThursday tune.
“I would swallow my pride, I would choke on the rinds
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.
Josh Stevens has either been nominated or won quite a few awards, including the Grammys, mostly as a music producer. He got all that success working with dance and/or hip-hop artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Steve Aoki and Pitbull. So, naturally, he now sings and writes indie rock songs. And, let me tell you, he’s quite good at that.
Late last year, Josh released a superb track called Hello Darling, which he wrote for her daughter. It is an upbeat and anthemic song with neat production and great, emotional vocals. The track even features some sleek guitar riffs that are just the cherry on top. Quite simply, it is a really great tune.
Nick Louis, who is a Brooklyn-based multi-instrumental singer songwriter who’s been involved with other bands and is skilful at writing catchy hooks, met HW LaSota, who is an architect and writer, online basically by chance. That led to several months of remote collaboration and eventually to the formation in 2020 of almost sex, which they describe as “a folky alternative post punk rock indie pop duo“. Nick is the lead singer and instrumentalist while HW writes the lyrics. provides harmonies and plays several instruments. They haven’t told me this but I guess the band’s name is meant to imply that their music is almost as good as sex. Clever.
The duo has released two singles so far. The first one, Knockoff, was more acoustic, revealing the folky alternative side of almost sex. The second single, on the other hand, relies more on a groovy electronic soundscape that hypnotizes you for the duration of the track, helped in no small part by HW LaSota‘s subtle harmonies as her voice combines pretty well with Nick‘s. Charmer is inspired by the story of the snake and the charmer (hence its cover art above) and closes with a cool coda that contrasts nicely with the rest of the track. Let me put it this way, this song could have been part of The Neighbourhood‘s debut album and been one of its highlights, that’s how good it is.
Pay attention to almost sex because they really got a promising future.
Five Days North must be the band with the highest aggregate IQ. Really. Most, if not all, of the members of this five-piece act from Manchester are scientists or doctors. I don’t think there are many bands out there that can claim that. Their specialty in music is indie pop and they’re quite good at that, even winning a few competitions for unsigned bands in the UK.
Take Me Higher is just exhibit A of the knack they got for catchy melodies. The track, which was written as a collaborative piece amongst the band members, got colorful synths and incisive bass lines that make the whole song really hard to resist to. Released in 2020 after the lockdown, Five Days North have not been able to play it live yet but it will probably become one of the highlights of their live gigs once that becomes a thing again. In the meantime, you can improve your day by listening to this cheerful song below.
I can’t claim to know much about the work of electronic music composer and producer David Grellier, aka College, because, unfortunately, that’s not the case. His goal is to “synthetize into [his] music the emotions of [his] childhood”, reason for which his music is heavily influenced by ’80s pop culture. If you watched the movie Drive (2011), you should have heard his most widely known song, A Real Hero, co-written with Austin Garrick from Canadian synth-pop duo Electric Youth, duo that also features on the track. If you just listen to this song, you’ll quickly notice two things: a) It certainly has an 80s vibe, and b) It is a mesmerizing track.
Despite getting nominated to an MTV Music Award for ‘Best Music’ and becoming an underground hit, A Real Hero is still relatively unknown to the casual music fan. Even then, it has been covered multiple times by established and not so established artists (and I’m planning to feature one of those covers here soon). In fact, a fun anecdote is that a few years ago, while I was on holiday in Malta, one night there was a really good guitar player performing some music at the hotel we were staying. Near the end, he started playing a song that instantly reminded me of A Real Hero. I quickly dismissed that thought because surely that song wasn’t popular enough to be played randomly by a guitar player in a small island on the Mediterranean Sea. Well, it was A Real Hero and it was one of the highlights of that trip. Enjoy this tune as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.
Blue October is an alternative rock band from Houston, Texas. They’ve been around since 1995 and scored a couple of big hits in 2006 with Hate Me and Into The Ocean as well as a good number of top 40 singles. I’ve never been that much into them but I’m reconsidering that because their 10th studio album, This Is What I Love For, released back in October, got a bunch of really great songs, such as Fight For Love, and today’s addition to the mixtapes: Moving On (So Long). I checked their back catalogue again and it’s better than I remembered. I’ve been wrong about them all this time.
Moving On (So Long) is a folksy track with a country vibe to it. The tune is certainly very radio-friendly but in a nice way. One of those songs that can lighten up your mood right away. Quite frankly, it is a great song to start your weekend with.
If you know only one song from Plain White T’s, it’s likely to be Hey There Delilah. By far, the band’s most successful single and a beautiful song indeed. That track was part of their fourth studio album, 2007’s Every Second Counts, which also featured a tune that I really loved back then called Let Me Take You There. I hadn’t listened to it in years until I stumbled upon it again earlier this week. It’s a gorgeous song that got overlooked due to the incredible success of that other song mentioned above. I hope you can enjoy this gem as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.
Jack Antonoff is behind a huge number of hit songs today but casual listeners might not recognize him by name. He is a guitarist and drummer on the band Fun., which went on a hiatus in 2014 so that its members could focus on other projects for a while. Jack went on and created Bleachers, an indie pop band that hit it big with its debut album Strange Desire (2015), to the point that it made Jack one of the most sough-after songwriters and record producers in business today. He has written/produced songs for the likes of Taylor Swift, Lorde, and Lana Del Rey, just to name a few.
When I saw that Bleachers had a new song featuring fellow New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen, let’s just say that it really caught my attention. I’m happy to report that the track is as good as expected. It really sounds as if Bruce were singing a Bleachers song or vice versa. It sounds classic and modern at the same time and from the moment I listened to this gem for the first time, I knew I had to feature it here. Enjoy this instant classic below and good luck getting that chorus out of your head!