The Broken Cradle – Road to Gilead

Gilead may mean, among other things, “hill of testimony” and that is the meaning The Broken Cradle had in mind when he decided to use it as the name of his latest EP. It is supposed to tell the journey of our respective roads to Gilead in our search for happiness and purpose. The EP is a neoclassical and ambient album that starts with the aptly titled Road to Gilead, a piano-centered track with atmospheric pads that create a mesmerizing soundscape. Listening to the multiple textures in the song feels like scratching an itch and not wanting to stop.

The Broken Cradle is the solo work of Eric McLean, a musician from North Carolina with over 20 years of experience. With influences such as Brian Eno and Olafur Arnalds, it is not surprising that his music could fit so well in an album from any of those renowned artists. He is that good.

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Eighty Ninety – Forever

Forever is the latest single from NYC-based brothers Abner and Harper James, aka Eighty Ninety. I don’t know the exact reason why they chose that moniker but if you told me that it was because they wanted to emulate the style of indie pop music from the 1980s and 1990s, I’d believe you because that’s exactly how they sound like. As stated in their bio, they “fuse intimate storytelling, sticky melodies, and minimalist pop productions built on acoustic instruments and electronic sounds in a style they call ‘808s and telecasters‘”. They debuted in 2016 and even got Taylor Swift to add one of their songs, Your Favorite Song, to her official Spotify playlist with tunes she loves.

Forever will be part of Eighty Ninety‘s upcoming sophomore EP. It is a warm song in the duo’s signature chill-pop style . Even though the song’s theme is about unrequited love, it is actually pretty uplifting. The whole tracks feels like a daydream we won’t want to wake up from. Give it a listen below.

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Renay – Why

I was introduced to this song by the video below and I know it’s very “artsy“, but I have to admit that I don’t like this videoclip that much. It’s just not my cup of tea. The fact that I actually enjoyed the song is a testament to how good it is. I was predisposed to dislike it yet I didn’t. I don’t know, I found it hypnotic and the artist, Renay, got a nice voice and obviously knows how to use it. Why can certainly cast a spell on your ears.

Renay and Razteria are actually two monikers used by the same person: Renee Asteria. A singer-songwriter and producer/engineer based in the San Francisco Bay area with Bolivian and Dutch roots. She uses Renay for her pop-oriented work and Razteria for more experimental tracks incorporating different genres including South American music. A true artist, she wrote the first version of Why over 15 years ago when she was still trying to figure out herself. On this finished version, she’s learned to embrace all of her sides, good and bad. Check it out below.

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Au Gres – At Home In The Dark

I’m here for the outstanding guitar solo in the bridge of At Home In The Dark. It really elevates the whole song to another level: from nice to really good. The tune is the second single from Michigan based-artist Au Gres  (aʷ grā), which is the musical project of singer-songwriter Joshua Kemp, who conceived the whole project in his bedroom with, according to him, unimpressive equipment. Au Gres‘ music is a blend of indie rock with bedroom pop and that is particularly true in this new release, which Joshua refers to as being “indie pop with teeth”.

At Home In The Dark is also a love song whose theme is promising one’s partner that you will help them feel at home during the good times but specially during rough times too. You can read a wonderful review of this song at our friend Jeff‘s essential music blog: Eclectic Music Lover, or just listen to it right away at the links below. Whatever you choose, you won’t regret it.

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Carson Rowland – Miss Hollywood Wannabe

To be honest, when I heard that Carson Rowland was an actor who started on Nickelodeon and was now trying his luck as a musician as well and that he had a new track that perhaps was about a fellow actress and former love interest who was obsessed with making it in we Hollywood, I never thought that I was going to like the song. What can I say? We all have our biases. The truth is that Miss Hollywood Wannabe is catchy as hell and Carson is actually a nice singer with an enjoyable voice. Even the lyrics aren’t as cheesy as I thought they were going to be. He is way better than your average young heartthrob actor turned pop star. Not only that, he’s even completing a degree in Neuroscience with a 4.0 grade point average. Talk about judging a book by its cover.

If you don’t hate good hook-ridden pop songs, give Miss Hollywood Wannabe a chance. It’s as good as they come. If Carson Rowland continues down this road, he has a real chance to become a much bigger star.

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Mystery Rose – Stability

Pop-punk is far less popular today than 15 years ago but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t young artists exploring that genre. We have featured a few here already and today’s artist is another example. Mystery Rose is a 17-year-old indie artists from L.A who writes and records her own music, which ranges from Amy Winehouse-style blues ballads to the genre mentioned earlier. Unlike most teenagers in the music business today, she is not interested in fame, which is why she chose the Mystery Rose moniker. She can show her face from time to time but, for the most part, she prefers to remain largely a mystery.

Mystery Rose‘s debut album, the cleverly titled Socially Distant, will be released this year and its first official single is Stability. A catchy tune about feeling vulnerable after a break-up, it reminisces early ‘00s indie rock tracks, While it doesn’t get bonus points for innovation, it delivers way more than enough in terms of quality rock music. Definitely, check this young artist out.

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Orange G – Orion’s Arrow

Some people make music for fame and money and others do it because it is their passion. Orange G, a multi-instrumentalist based in Pittsburgh, PA, falls into the latter category. He makes music because he enjoys the process and also because songwriting helps him to cope and process the ups and downs of life. You can feel his raw emotions and the love he has for his craft in his songs and that is what I particularly liked in his latest single, Orion’s Arrow. One of four tracks he has released, not including collaborations with other artists.

As is usually the case with Orange G, he sings and plays all the instruments here. The tune was supposed to be an acoustic, ukulele-only track but he ended up adding a harmonica, trumpets and percussion. All are nice but the harmonica, in particular, elevates the song to another level with the heartfelt emotions it is able to transmit. The track’s subject is time, and the pressure we often feel to spend it wisely while pursuing fulfilment in our lives and careers. I, for one, can relate to that.

If you enjoy indie-folk, Americana or even a bit of blues, please give this independent artist a chance. He deserves it.

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Cloe Wilder – I Wanna Be Alone With You

I can’t believe indie-pop singer/songwriter Cloe Wilder is just 14-years-old. Her single I Wanna Be Alone With You, from her just-released debut EP Teenage Lullabies, is as catchy as it comes. Lyrically, the tune is probably what you would expect from a teenager but musically the track is flawless within the indie pop genre. It got more hooks than a fisherman’s kit. When you add it up and also take into account Cloe’s voice, can you blame me for having trouble believing her age?

As many other artists nowadays, the Florida-based songstress started her career uploading covers to her Youtube channel. With her talent, the sky is certainly limit. I just hope she keeps true to herself writing music that she likes as opposed to simply what they think is going to sell. Only time will tell but she could certainly become something special.

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Taylor Castro – Breathe

Ignore for a moment the picture above. If you just listened to Miami-based singer/songwriter Taylor Castro‘s voice, you would find it hard to believe that she’s only 21. She really got a strong voice that will prevent her from sounding like your typical female pop artist. Knowing how to write a hook does help her too. She’s been active in the music business for 3 or 4 years already but was particularly successful last year, with nearly all of her singles from 2020 reaching over 1 million views on Youtube. She’s dropping a 10-track album, Girl, Afraid later this year featuring those songs along with new tunes.

Breathe is one of Taylor‘s new tunes for 2021. Written during quarantine (shocking, I know) in the midst of a rage, it gave Taylor a way to deal with the frustration and calm herself down. It got a catchy melody and a crisp production, as it’s usually the case with any good alt-pop song, but makes this tune particularly interesting is Taylor‘s powerful voice. I think the future is extremely bright for this young talented artist.

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Misao McGregor – She Was Worlds Above Me

At a minimum, what you should know about Misao McGregor is that she’s a singer/songwriter who composes charming music that has roots in indie, pop and soul. You don’t need to know that she’s based in Los Angeles, California or that she was classically trained as singer and pianist, but it adds a little bit of context to her story and it is always nice to have context. Similarly, we absolutely don’t need to know that she’s openly gay, mixed-race American-Japanese and non-binary femme in order to appreciate her music, but it is nice that she generously shares that info because it helps us put everything in perspective. It gives us another lens through which interpret her lyrics and plays and connect with what she’s trying to say.

Misao recently self-released her debut album, Kid In The Corner, which is an autobiographical look into her first 24 years of life and the experiences that made her who she is today, good and bad. The whole album is worth your attention but I particularly liked She Was Worlds Above Me. Not only does it have stunning hooks and great vocals but also a deep meaning. I’ll let Misao explain it herself in the video below. All I can add to that is that I hope you give this talented artist a chance.

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