Young Ritual – Dylan’s Dream

Dylan Grantham is a singer/songwriter from Michigan who writes and performs music as Young Ritual. Having the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and The National as influences, he composes beautiful indie/folk songs highlighted by honest lyrics, his heartfelt voice and his guitar. The global pandemic in 2020 gave him an opportunity to stay creative, releasing a stripped-down EP, Spare Room, earlier this year and even more songs after that. Dylan’s Dream was the first single from that EP.

Written, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Grantham from his home studio, Dylan’s Dream is a captivating song about a fever dream where people act on their worst impulses, leading to a dystopian society. Its title is a callback to an older Bob Dylan song called, Bob Dylan’s Dream. Both tracks are similar in style, but if I had to choose only one of them, I think I would prefer Young Ritual‘s one. I’m not saying you’ll agree with me, but you should at least give it a chance, which you can do on the mixtapes below.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

LEK – World Cup

One important quality all artist must have is perseverance. There are countless stories of writers, painters and musicians, among others, who found success only after they were rejected multiple times. If you believe in yourself, just keep trying. That is something that today’s artist, LEK, got in his favour: he doesn’t take no as an answer.

Born in New York and based in New Jersey, this multi-intrumentalist artist has led quite an interesting life. From leaving medical school to follow an Indian guru in California, to backpacking for months in Southeast Asia, India and South America, including teaching himself how to read and write Thai, he has done it all. Now, Lek is focusing on his music, having released 3 full albums in 2020 alone already, each one of them covering different genres: from psychedelic rock to acoustic folk going through Thai rock covers.

Now, I’m not a big fan of psychedelic music, and when LEK reached out to me to see if I would be interested in featuring one his earlier songs from that genre, I declined letting him know that. Then, when he was about to release his latest album, Surya, which leans more towards the indie/folk side, he reached out again to gauge my interest, which led me to discover World Cup. It got a nice melody with beautiful guitars and soothing vocals, but what really sets it apart are its lyrics. Had you heard before a folk song mentioning Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo? This is your chance!

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Lomon – Little Visitors

Lomon is a Seattle-based musician who feels out of place, as if he had been born a thousand years early. His style is described as psychedelic indie electronic, and perhaps that is the case in general, but this particular song we are featuring today, Little Visitors, is actually closer to glam rock. There’s certainly a David Bowie vibe to it.

Passionate about science fiction and all things related to space, Lomon, aka Zander Chocron, usually writes songs about our planet, taking care of it, and space exploration. Little Visitors, for example, is a metaphor for the human race not appreciating the beautiful planet we have. All in all, Lomon is certainly an artist with plenty to say and the creativity to do so in quirky and interesting ways. Check him out below.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

No Doubt – Don’t Speak

This iconic album, No Doubt‘s Tragic Kingdom, is 25 years old this month, and, as a homage, I decided to feature one of its songs as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry. Usually, with bands or albums this popular, I try to highlight the lesser-known gems, but I can’t do that this time around. I got a soft spot for Don’t Speak and can’t pick another song (which would probably have been Just A Girl, which is pretty popular anyway) over it. I’m sorry.

Enjoy this classic song from 1995.

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Night Traveler – Watching You

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to add a new entry yesterday, but I’ll try to make up for that today. Here, I bring this musical crush from Night Traveler, a terrific duo from Austin, Texas. I discovered this song back in August but between prioritising submissions and other plans, I had been delaying its inclusion here. It’s about time that changed because Watching You certainly deserved better than that. It’s a really great track.

The duo recently released their debut EP, Dreams You Don’t Forget, for which Watching You was its latest single. An atmospheric track of searing indie pop with traces of melancholic 80s music, this song got everything you need to put it on repeat, including the perfect vocals for this type of music. Actually, I dare you to listen to this great tune just once. I had to put it on repeat.

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Desoto Jones – Nonfiction

Back in 2007, a little alternative rock band from Pennsylvania released Aurora, their debut album, which got overlooked despite being one of the best rock albums of that year, perhaps even of that decade. I’m talking, of course, of Desoto Jones and for this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry, I thought we could reminisce about one of the gems in that record.

Three of the five members of Desoto Jones –they are still active– are brothers and while they were recording Aurora, their father passed away. Nonfiction is a an emotional song the brothers dedicated to him. Its acoustic overtones and the heartfelt lyrics intertwine into a beautiful track that doesn’t get old. Listen to this song and then play the whole album. You will see why it is a shame this record didn’t become more popular.

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CR and the Nones – Judgement Day

Tom Gallo, the guy behind the Look At My Records! podcast and music blog, and his pal Nick Lafalce (who plays in the band Atlas Engine), have launched a new record label called Favorite Friend Records. Their first ever release is this lovely tune from Jersey City-based project, CR and the Nones, which is led by songwriter Chris Gennone, whose previous band, CR Ant The Degenerates, became popular around New Jersey.

Judgement Day will be part of CR and the Nones forthcoming album, Living In Fear. It is a sweet blend of folk and rock that results in a great melody that suits Chris’ vocals really well. The song talks about the experience of going through hardships and persevering in order to overcome them. If this song is a sign of what’s coming in the album, we should keep it in the radar because it is going to be a refreshing blast. This is a great start for both the band and Favorite Friend Records and we look forward to more music from them. Please check them out.

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Tonic – Do You Know

I got a request last week for this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry: “If You Could Only See” from American alternative rock powerhouse, Tonic. So, naturally, I complied by featuring a different song from the same band (=. I got nothing against “If You Could Only See”. It’s a great song, possible Tonic’s best and undoubtedly their most iconic track to date (after all, it was 1997’s most-played song in rock radio), but that is precisely the reason I opted to talk about a different, lesser known gem included in their 2002 album, Head On Straight, Do You Know.

This song is a guitar-driven alternative rock song with a melodic chorus, but the reason why I’ve always liked it so much is that it got terrific lyrics, which shine the most during the great chorus. I don’t think this tune got much attention back then when it came out, but it’s not too late to give an overlooked outstanding song a second chance. Tonic and Do You Know certainly deserve it.

Do you know how it feels to be angry

Do you know how it feels to be hurt

When you live all your life for a moment

Just to prove that you know what it’s worth

Do you know

Tonic, Do You Know

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Blame Baby – Silhouette

Blame Baby are a Los Angeles trio that produces catchy indie rock with strong late 90s/early 2000s vibes. They only got three songs in their catalogue, but they got an EP on the way. Silhouette is their most recent release and, in my humble opinion, the best so far. A song about incomplete relationships, it got a nice combination of distorted guitars, good vocals and a chorus that gets stuck in your head. They recently made public the tune’s music video (you can watch it here), which is deliberately bad, in that so-bad-it-is-good kind of way.

I hope they do well enough to keep making music without having to change their sound and feature rappers or K-Pop groups as guest vocalists. They know how to write a good alternative rock song. They should keep doing just that.

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in earnest – Put Me Under

in earnest has the peculiarity of having not one but two lead singers: front-couple Sarah and Thomas, who are also the songwriters. As such, they aim for getting the listeners to connect with them through their honest and raw lyrics, in which they talk about their battles with mental illnesses, loneliness and other difficult subjects. This indie band from Southend-on-Sea, UK, is about to release its debut self-titled EP next month, but three of the tracks are available already, including the song we’re featuring today.

Put Me Under was written by Sarah, who also sings her heart out on this track. Talking about her struggles with anxiety and depression, her ethereal vocals are complemented outstandingly well by ambient soundscapes and acoustic guitars. With this song, in earnest managed to create a mesmerizing track that offers us just a glimpse of what they are capable of. Keep them on your radar and listen to their EP when it’s out.

Featured on the following mixtapes: