Rebel Kicks – Floating

Brothers Anthony and Steven Babino have been surrounded by music all their lives. When at least one of your parents is a musician, I guess that’s inevitable. And after growing up watching their father perform live in front of a big band day in and day out, it is completely natural that the two brothers born and raised in New York City decided to explore a career in music as well. Enter Rebel Kicks, their musical outlet with influences ranging from The Beatles and Sinatra to modern indie rock acts such as Young The Giant and Grouplove.

Rebel Kicks started releasing singles in 2018 and even managed to place a few of them in tv shows and festivals but then, of course, the pandemic slowed things down. The silver lining is that this situation also inspired them to write Floating, a song about achieving mental peace that is perhaps their best song yet. It reminds me a bit of the early work of fellow New Yorkers American Authors. It’s a catchy and uplifting tune that will lighten up your mood right away. I hope Anthony and Steven keep up exploring this style of music (which they claim differs from their previous releases), because it suits them extremely well. Check them out below.

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Vance Joy – Missing Piece

This is going to be a concise entry. Australian singer James Gabriel Keogh, aka Vance Joy, became an international sensation back in 2013 with his hit Riptide and is back now with a new single called Missing Piece. If you liked the former, you’re going to love the latter because it has the same brand of bubbly #folkpop that made Riptide so successful. A song about missing someone you love, this sweet little tune will get stuck on your head. Unless you hate radio-friendly tracks (and some people do), you are really going to enjoy this one.

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The Strumbellas – Greatest Enemy

One of the first bands featured here, The Strumbellas, released a new single earlier this year that is just great. While the band was on hiatus during 2020, lead singer Simon Ward wrote Greatest Enemy as a way to reflect on his internal battles during a rough year that involved a cancelled tour even before the pandemic started. Not only has this song a great message, but it also is anthemic as hell. It’s impossible to listen to that chorus and resist the urge to sing or hum along. What I really love about this tune is that it doesn’t sound like I’ll Wait at all while being just as good. They weren’t just trying to repeat the same formula.

Greatest Enemy‘s music video is worth a watch as well. It was created by Toronto-based animator  Luca Tarantini and it is aligned with the song’s concept of battling your own demons. Watch it below.

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The Strumbellas – I’ll Wait

Canadian band The Strumbellas had a moderate hit a few years ago with their song, Spirits, yet they remained relatively unknown to the casual listener. Last year, they returned with their fourth album, Rattlesnakes, which included the anthemic folk single you can find below. If you haven’t listened to it yet, you must do it now because its infectiously uplifting melody will put a smile on your face and make you sing-along.

I’ll wait became an instant musical crush for me the first time I heard it. I hope it does the same for you.

Featured on the following mixtapes: