Comment: Almost two years ago, I wrote about the debut single of talented London-based artist Daniel Etherton, “Foundations”, where I mentioned that the sky was the limit for him after such an outstanding debut. I think Daniel’s new single, “Mona Lisa”, proves that I was right about him. It’s just as good as “Foundations”, but quite different in style, which shows his range as a songwriter.
“Mona Lisa” is a delightful, upbeat song with a catchy melody and engaging lyrics. The metaphorical references to the iconic painting and its enigmatic subject create a lyrical narrative that is both poetic and playful. The song’s instrumentation is simple yet effective, featuring a bright acoustic guitar and infectious drums that give the track a sense of energy and movement. It’s a track that’s sure to leave listeners humming its melody long after it’s ended.
Birmingham-native, London-based singer-songwriter Will Naisbitt is just 19 but already knows a thing or two about writing a hook. After cutting his teeth as a busker since he was even younger, Will released his debut single in 2019 and he hasn’t stopped releasing new songs at a steady pace. He’s been gaining notoriety and support from bloggers and radio stations alike, including BBC Introducing. I hadn’t heard of him until Do It Again dropped back in April, but that song alone is enough to make you think he’s got a promising future. If you take the time to check a few other tracks as well, you’ll be certain of that. Ed Sheeran got some competition.
Do It Again starts with some really infectious guitars and inviting rhythms. Will Naisbitt‘s vocals are really perfect for #indiepop music and that’s another reason why this track works so well. It is also pretty upbeat, even though it explores the difficult dynamics of lovers who enter a long-distance relationship. I wouldn’t be surprised if Do It Again became a summer hit but, at the very least, it should expose Will to a wider audience. This is just the start.
Back in September 2020, British #singersongwriter Jacko Hooper was featured here with his single Beg, Steal or Borrow. I emphasized then how Jacko was able to easily transmit his emotions when he sang and after listening to his latest single, This Was The Earth, I’m happy to report that the above mentioned skill remains intact. Even though the new track sounds very different: there are no Indie Folk traces here, it’s still very intimate and emotional. Jacko’s great vocals really stand out.
This Was The Earth was written and recorded from Jacko’s bedroom with help from producer Josh Trinnaman. Jacko got inspired by how chaotic our lives have been since the pandemic started, especially for people with mental health problems, such as Jacko himself. That being said, the lyrics are generic enough so that everybody could really relate to them, regardless of time and space. It’s impossible not to feel something while listening to Jacko’s emotional vocals on this song. What exactly? That’s up to you but, above all things, I feel in awe of how talented Jacko Hooper is.
Foundations is the debut single of London-based British artist Daniel Etherton, and as far as debut singles go, it cannot get much better than this. Released back in February, Foundations is a sweet tune with an acoustic guitar-based melody that really does sound great. One of the reasons for that is Daniel’s voice, which is perfect for an #indiefolk track such as this one. When he sings the lyrics, which reflect on internal struggles and real friendships from a hopeful perspective, it feels like he really means every single word. The song is long enough to make you appreciate how talented Daniel is as singer-songwriter, but at 2:41, it is also short enough to leave you wanting more.
I do hope Foundations gets enough success and recognition to encourage Daniel Etherton to keep writing and recording music. If this is what he did as a new music artist, just imagine what he will be able to do with more experience and confidence. The sky is really the limit for him.
This song, Outcomes, reminds me a lot of those acoustic guitar-based songs from the 60s and 70s my Dad used to listen to. It would have fit perfectly into the soundtrack of any classic movie from that era. The impressive thing is that it was written by a young artist who is barely getting his feet wet, as he’s only been releasing music since earlier this year. Even though Tom Duggan received training in jazz and classical styles as a saxophone and clarinet player, he learned singing and guitar on his own. Practice makes perfect, so we can only imagine what this British singer/songwriter will be able to accomplish in a couple of years. The sky is the limit.
Tom wrote Outcomes during his time at university and is based on his experiences there. It’s a song about being whoever you want as long as you can accept the consequences of your actions. Acoustic guitar-based songs tend to be repetitive and boring, but I think this tune manages to avoid that problem by noticeably changing the melody during the bridge and then again during the chorus. Overall, it’s a catchy track with a great message, and also a clear indication that we should keep Tom Duggar on our radars.
You’d be surprised by the amount of people who think Mumford & Sons are an American band just because of the type of music they used to make (at least their first couple of albums). I think the same will happen to British artist Johnny Ashby if he becomes that famous (he should). Based in Los Angeles, this singer/songwriter composes radio-friendly, folk pop anthems with an Americana ting. He recently released a five-track EP called In Bloom, co-written and produced with members of the brand Grizfolk, that is really good. I honestly liked all 5 songs.
I decided to feature the title track just because it’s the only one with an official music video so far. I could have chosen any other song (they’re all that good). When he writes a song, Johnny gives considerable importance to how it would be like live, and In Bloom was no exception. With sparkling guitar riffs (especially during the outro) and such a melodious chrorus, it should be a blast to hear this song live. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance soon.
Not all artists are able to transmit their raw emotions when they sing, but those who can make the whole listening experience a thousand times better. Jacko Hooper is one of them and Beg, Steal or Borrow, which is one of the singles he has released so far in 2020, a great example of that. You can almost feel the sense of despair Jacko would go through if anything bad happened to the person he wrote this beautiful indie folk song for.
This musician from Brighton, UK, started out in 2012 when he released his debut EP and started a Youtube channel, which today has close to 7k subscribers. After more EPs and tours, including performances with the likes of James Blunt and James Bay, Jacko got successful enough to even run one of the leading independent promotions companies and boutique record labels of Southern England, Folklore Sessions.
If you like artist like Damien Rice or Glen Hansard, please do check Jacko Hooper out. It will be right up your alley.
I had the pleasure of listening to the debut single of strawbey last week and was looking forward to its official release today so that I could share it with you here. Play pretend is the kind of indie/dream pop that hypnotizes you and leaves you wanting more. Amazingly, the song was written, produced, recorded and released entirely in lockdown; which you wouldn’t know because it sounds as if it had been recorded in a studio by a top-notch producer.
strawbey is the stage name of 19-year-old Norwich singer (and friend of The Alternative Mixtapes), Ruben Pope, who won first place in 2019’s Young Norfolk Writing Competition and has received the support of the likes of the BBC, who featured play pretend in their LGBTQ+ Records of the Year Pride Playlist 2020 for the Norfolk region. Ruben’s debut EP will be released in August but, in the meantime, we can enjoy this honest and raw song about the struggles of playing pretend just to fit in. There is no video yet but you can listen to play pretend in the mixtapes below.
Without a doubt, strawbey is the kind of talent we should all support.
“There are times where we all knowingly ‘play pretend’ and although we often fail to acknowledge this, we’d all rather ‘fake it ‘til we make it’.”
The 20-year old singer-songwriter Maisie Peters won a following after posting her original songs on Youtube in 2017. Not long after that, she got a deal record from Atlantic Records and even though she hasn’t released a full album yet, she has put out a number of singles that got her some notoriety, with the latest one of them being The List. I honestly think that the British singer is one lucky break away from becoming the next big thing, and this song might well be it.
Maisie is not only able to come up with great hooks and catchy melodies, but she’s also a talented lyricist despite her young age. That talent is put perfectly on display on this song (as you can see for yourself with the lyric video posted here), which deals with the subject of liking yourself when you feel the most vulnerable. Something tells me we’ll keep hearing about Ms. Peters for years to come. In the meantime, you can fin The List in the mixtapes below.