Comment: The Pulltops, a duo from Milwaukee, just dropped their latest song, ‘Make Me Smile,’ which reminds me quite a bit of Semisonic — never a bad thing. It captures the simple yet sweet message: “You’ll always be the one to make me smile.” Hopefully, we all have someone like that in our lives.
Mark Pierret and Tom Crowell form the core of The Pulltops. With diverse musical tastes but always rooted in classic pop and indie rock, they bring in flavors from a wide array of styles, blending it all together to make a timeless sound that goes beyond genres. “Make Me Smile” is their seventh song this year, showing they’re all about putting out music. In fact, they are planning to release a new song every six weeks for the next two years and an EP every fourth single.
“I particularly enjoy the big chorus; it has a great melody that makes you sing along in no time. Between that and the sweet lyrics, it’s hard not to enjoy “Make Me Smile.” It’s one of those songs that can lighten up your mood whenever you need it. [Insert here a cheesy pun about how this song makes you smile.]
Comment: I was aware of the existence of Everything Everything, but I hadn’t really cared about them until a friend of mine made me listen to “No Reptiles” a few weeks ago. When the song started playing, I have to say that I wasn’t enjoying it very much, but by the time it finished, I knew right then that it was a stroke of genius and one of those tracks that grows on you with each listen. Considering I’ve been overplaying this track since then, I suppose I wasn’t wrong.
In a musical landscape often dominated by formulaic melodies and predictable lyrics, “No Reptiles” emerges as a refreshing revelation. The song is a brilliant confluence of art-rock, pop, and unbridled emotion. With an arresting, pulsating beat that serves as the foundation, the song immediately commands attention. The bassline then adds depth and groove, ensuring that this song isn’t just an auditory experience but a visceral one too. Jonathan Higgs’ vocal range and intensity are staggering, and the lyrics, although cryptic, are highly evocative. Supposedly, Higgs wrote this song after a few of his friends became conspiracy theorists, and the title refers to the Reptilian theory.
That being said, what truly elevates “No Reptiles” is its ability to create an atmosphere that’s both hypnotic and liberating. As the song progresses, it swells, cascading into an intricate sonic tapestry that refuses to be confined by any genre or structure. The seamless interplay between the band members showcases not only their musical chemistry but also their innate understanding of their craft. This is why I had to feature it here as a #ThrowbackThursday post. What a masterpiece!
Comment: For those who are not familiar, Sundara Karma is an English indie rock band that originated in Reading, England back in 2011. The group comprises Oscar Pollock as the lead vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter, along with Ally Baty as the lead guitarist, Dom Cordell on bass, and Haydn Evans handling the drums. Their band name, derived from Sanskrit, translates to “Beautiful Karma.” In the years since their formation, they have been consistently active and have treated listeners to a series of albums, each offering a refreshing perspective on indie rock. Sundara Karma‘s distinctive musical identity is characterized by the fusion of emotionally charged lyricism with captivating rhythmic melodies, resulting in compositions that are not only enthralling but also profoundly relatable.
Sundara Karma‘s most recent offering, “Wishing Well,” is a good example of that. It presents an uplifting composition juxtaposed with verses that articulate the torment of dwelling on “what ifs.” It’s a track that leaves you contemplative, humming along, and eagerly hitting the replay button. Enjoy.
Comment: The Sherlocks are a British indie rock band that have been making waves since their debut album in 2017. Their latest single, ‘Don’t Let It Out’, which will be part of their forthcoming new album, ‘People Like Me & You’, set to be released on August 11th, is a catchy and energetic tune that showcases their knack for writing anthemic choruses and relatable lyrics.
The song is about the frustration of living a mundane and repetitive life, and the urge to break free from it. The singer urges the listener to not let out their emotions, because they will only make them feel worse. He also encourages them to take risks and live in the moment, because they might regret it later if they don’t.
The song has a driving rhythm section, with punchy drums and bass, and a melodic guitar riff that adds some flair. The vocals are passionate and expressive, delivering the message with conviction and charisma. The chorus is especially catchy, with a sing-along quality that makes you want to join in.
If you like anthemic rock songs, it doesn’t get any better than this.
Comment: If you’re looking for a summer anthem that will make you feel good and get you moving, look no further than “Sees The Sun” by Velika Velika. This indie pop gem is the debut single from the solo project of Benjamin Davies, a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter from Derbyshire. He plays everything on the track, from the funky drums and bluesy acoustics to the screeching electric guitar and the recorder. His vocals are laid-back and cool, reminiscent of Beck in his mid-90s heyday, but with a British twist and a more optimistic tone.
“Sees The Sun” is inspired by a parable and tells a story of workers in the hot sun who don’t envy others but enjoy what they have. The chorus is catchy and memorable, with a hook that will stick in your head for days. The song also features some quirky touches, like the sound of a cat meowing in the outro, adding to its charm and personality. “Sees The Sun” is the first of four singles that Velika Velika plans to release this year, each one promising to be a banger. This is a project that deserves your attention and support, so don’t miss out on this sunny slice of indie pop goodness!
Comment: Fudge Dummy‘s new single “Take Me” is a catchy and upbeat track that combines elements of indie, disco, and rock/post-punk. The duo, who describe themselves as an “internet band,” have a unique and experimental sound that draws comparisons to legendary acts like Blondie and Kraftwerk. “Take Me” follows a familiar plea for company on the dance floor, with disco beats, a carrying synth, and an 80’s electric solo that oozes nostalgia.
The duo wrote and recorded “Take Me” over a weekend in Northern England, locking themselves away in a sleepy town surrounded by rolling fields and stone walls. The result is a track that’s both infectious and charming, with a lively energy that’s sure to get people moving. Fudge Dummy’s success began with their hit track “Rocky Hill,” which received airplay on BBC Radio 1 and landed them a spot on BBC Introducing’s “Best of the Year” list in 2022. With an upcoming EP on the horizon and a sync deal with Stone Rolla Songs, Fudge Dummy’s “Take Me” is just the latest in a string of impressive singles from this exciting and innovative band.
Comment: Circa Waves is a British indie rock band formed in Liverpool in 2013. The band consists of Kieran Shudall (vocals, guitar), Joe Falconer (guitar), Sam Rourke (bass), and Colin Jones (drums). They burst onto the scene with their debut single “Get Away” in 2014 and have since released several albums and gained a loyal following.
On that note, their latest single “Carry You Home” showcases their ability to deliver catchy indie rock tunes with meaningful lyrics. With dreamy guitars, smooth melodies, and offbeat vocal emphasis, the track is a charming indie track that explores themes of masculinity and fatherhood with lyrics such as “And I’m supposed to be Superman, But I just cried in my hands”.
“Carry You Home” may not break new ground, but it’s still a solid addition to Circa Waves‘ discography and a must-listen for fans of indie rock.
Comment: Lizzie Esau is just 23 but she must have grown up listening to alt-rock records from the 90s. If you listen to any of her singles (for example, “Bleak Sublime”), you will see what I mean. That said, the Newcastle-based singer-songwriter adds her own experimental touches to her music, making her stand out in the crowded music scene. “Jellyfish” is her exciting new single and it showcases her creativity with a fuzzy guitar riff and spoken-word vocals that lead into a soaring chorus. That chorus is everything! and along with the tempo variations and clever lyrics, they make “Jellyfish” truly a must-listen track.
Comment: British alt/rock band WESSON, led by #singersongwriter Chris Wesson, is formed by four musicians coming from different backgrounds, resulting in a delightful blend of pop, punk rock and indie rock. “Made Me Happy” is just their fifth single, but given how fun and catchy it is, I think it’s safe to say that this band is going places.
The lyrics express the emotions of a person who was hurt by someone’s actions in the past. The song reveals that the person has come to the realization that they might have acted similarly if they were in the same situation, and is finally finding peace in understanding their own and others’ behaviors. Between how relatable the lyrics are and the extremely catchy chorus, “Made Me Happy” is the type of tune that gets stuck in your head. Listen to it at your own peril.
Influences: Bon Iver, Phoebe Bridgers, Fleetwood Mac
Release date: January, 2023
Comment: Some singers are lucky enough to have a vocal style that is nuanced and distinctive enough to be easily recognizable whenever you hear it. I think that could be the case with Brighton-based artist, Benjamin Brett, who has just released a hauntingly beautiful debut track called “In My Head”. This song reminded me a bit of David Gray‘s 1998 hit: “This Year’s Love”, probably because both tracks got gorgeous melodies and unmistakable vocals.
The emotive and raw vocals perfectly capture the vulnerability and honesty of the song’s subject matter, which delves into mental health struggles and the fear of losing touch with one’s real self. With delicate guitar work and touching harmonies, “In My Head” will stay with the listener long after it has ended, and that, my friends, is the best kind of music. Certified #musicalcrush.