So Alive came up a few days ago while I was working and it immediately made me look at what other music this little known #alternativerock band called The Rising had released since then. I didn’t know much about them and So Alive was their only song in my library. Sadly, my research revealed bad news only.
The Rising was formed by Australian singer Michael Johns, and if that name rings a bell to you is probably because he finished in eighth place on the seventh season of American Idol (2008). The Rising’s first and only album, Future Unknown, was released in 2003 and then again in 2008 after Johns’ appearance on the aforementioned TV show. It never really sold much but Michael was then able to release a solo album in 2009 that sold 20,000 copies. The really sad news was that Michael passed away in 2014, aged just 35, of dilated cardiomyopathy. Way too young.
So Alive might be a little known song but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of your attention. There are plenty of little gems out there that never received a fair chance. As a tribute to Michael Johns, I thought of sharing one of his best songs with you in this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry in case you weren’t aware of it. I really hope you can enjoy it!
You might have heard this week’s news on The Wallflowers releasing their first album in 9 years next month. They even released its lead single already, which is okay, I guess, but nothing to write home about. While I’m not a die-hard fan of Jakob Dylan‘s band (I wasn’t even aware they had made an album in the last decade), they do have some really great songs that were very popular during the The Wallflower‘s heyday. Their most famous –and probably best– song is One Headlight, which won two Grammys and became the first song to top all three of Billboard‘s rock charts: modern rock, mainstream and adult alternative.
All that being said, I do have a soft spot for a far more modest single from the same Bringing Down The Horse album: Three Marlenas. It peaked at number 51 on the Hot 100 chart and is not the song most people immediately think about when they hear this band’s name, but it is that song for me. Take a walk with me down memory lane with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday song.
Earlier this week I mentioned the Grammy-nominated band Fireflight. They do have a decent fanbase, but they are not household names. Therefore, I thought it would be relevant to talk a bit about them in this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.
“Fireflight is technically a Christian rock band, but not all of their songs are about religious themes. (I could be wrong, but I think the track I’m recommending today is simply a love song.) They are often compared to bands like Evanescence and Paramore, just because they are also female-fronted rock bands that often lean towards the heavier side. (Paramore not so much anymore.) They were formed in 1999 and have released seven albums so far, including one last year. For Those Who Wait (2010) is their most successful record to date.
This band from Florida has quite a few nice tracks, but my favorite one is this overlooked gem called “Wrapped In Your Arms” from their third studio album, Unbreakable (2008). It wasn’t even a single, but it is a really outstanding song. The first half of it is very laid-back and features the beautiful voice of lead singer Dawn Michele prominently, but what I really love about this tune is how all of a sudden the whole band comes in after the second chorus, taking everything up a notch. I hope you enjoy this track as much as I do.
Denver-based artist Allison Lorenzen is one half of the synth / percussion duo School Dance, which allowed her to learn the tropes of composing beautiful vocal melodies across minimalistic backgrounds. In January, Allison put all those skills on display with her first release as a solo artist, Vale, for which she got the help of slowcore multi-instrumentalist Madeline Johnston, aka Midwife.
I really like the deceiving simplicity of the track but I also find the main melody quite catchy. Vale is another word for valley, which is often used metaphorically to describe feeling low or depressed, which is the meaning the word has on this ethereal song. Luckily, that’s far from the feeling you get when listening to Vale: the elation of having found a great tune. Check it out below.
As I shared yesterday on Facebook, this great album, Dosage, was released 22 years ago on February 9, 1999. If you only know a few songs from Collective Soul (if you know them at all), chances are those songs are all from the band’s first two albums, as those were their biggest hits: Shine, December and The World I Know. All great songs, hands down. However, this band from Georgia is much more than those 3 tracks, as they consistently released good albums all the way through 2009. The pace slowed down after that year (two albums since then) as they focused on some side projects but they will probably release another album soon as they just dropped a small EP a couple of months ago. I will always have a soft spot for Collective because they were the first band I ever saw live and it was a heck of a live show. Seriously, if have never seen them live, you should prioritize that once rock concerts are a thing again. Ed Roland is one of the best performers I have ever seen.
Anyway, I’m digressing. Dosage was a great album and even though it had a couple of big hits in Heavy and Run, and contains several little gems, the record itself is not as famous as its predecessors. One of those gems in Needs, which, in my opinion, is just as good as any of the band’s bigger hits. Ed Roland’s vocals are great as usual but each component of this song (the strings, in particular) is just stunning. Please enjoy this #musicalcrush of mine as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.
The Sunrise Over The Hill is my favourite track from The Jobs‘ new EP: Sailing UponThe Thames, which is on itself a really good album. In case you are wondering who they are, we are talking about an alternative rock band from Cleveland, Ohio that should definitely be on your radar. They started when its two primary songwriters, Trevor Meyer and Thomas Heun, who played on competing bands in high school, decided to join efforts after college. Drawing inspiration from all around the world and adding tones of punk, emo and surf rock to their alt-rock base, they deliver outstanding music with their own distinctive style.
What I love about The Sunrise Over The Hill in particular is, quite simply, its magnetic melody. However, the band added enough rhythmic changes to keep it interesting from beginning to end. The hook-ridden song got the whole package including quality lyrics. See it by yourself below.
Stranger Girl sounds a lot like a female-fronted and improved version of The Strokes (I’m not a big fan of Julian Casablancas‘ vocals), which makes sense because that band is one of their influences. This British band has released 5 singles since 2017 but 4 of them since 2019, with Bad Side dropping late last year. A song about confronting your inner bad thoughts, highlighted by an anthemic chorus, this tune really showcases how talented Stranger Girl are.
With recurrent themes such as neuroticism and geekiness, it’s not hard to understand the origin of the band’s name. However, there is nothing strange about Stranger Girl‘s music. It is catchy, relevant and distinctive. Please do check them out.
Today was one of those days with meetings back-to-back non-stop, which is something that drains my energy levels. For that reason, I’m going to feature today a great band that everybody is aware of. There isn’t much I can tell you about the Foo Fighters you don’t already know.
They’re about to release a new album soon and have dropped 3 song so far, with the latest one being Waiting On A War, released last week. If you haven’t heard it already, do so now. It rocks. I hadn’t liked a new song from the Foo Fighters this much since Walk from 2011’s Wasting Light, so I’m not a diehard fan who will simply love everything Dave Grohl and company do. Believe me when I say that I think this new track is stunning. I love everything about it, from its lyrics (inspired by Grohl’s daughter) to the intro with the soft guitar strums and the strings to its amazing in crescendo finish.
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.
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!