Comment: I remember when Imagine Dragons used to be this alternative band few people knew about. It wasn’t that long ago. Then they hit it off at some point and became so successful that nowadays some people dismiss them for being too mainstream. In my opinion, that would be a mistake because they are actually quite good. For better or worse, they’re not afraid to experiment while they could just repeat the same song again and again and still sell million of records anyway. Their experiments don’t always work out but when they do, they strike gold. Case in point, I only liked two out of the 12 tracks in their new album, Mercury – Act 1, but one of them, My Life, is insanely good. Just listen to it and when you get to that instrumental bridge at 2:25 you’ll see what I mean. On top of it, the lyrics, that talk about mental health struggles, are outstanding as well.
Enjoy your Friday listening to this #musicalcrush.
Comment: The song that introduced me to Said The Whale, one of Canada’s most successful indie acts, was 2013’s I Love You, which remains one of my favorite tracks from that decade. I’ve been following them closely since then and I’m happy to report that they will release their seventh full-length album, Dandelion, in October. 99 to the Moon is one of the lead singles and it is the perfect love song for a band like Said The Whale: charming and quirky at the same time. According to the press release, “the song title can either be interpreted as the year 1999, until forever or as the 99 B-Line (a bus that runs east-west in Vancouver) to wherever you are going“. I have to say as well that the music video below is the perfect companion for such a sweet song.
Comment: The first single from Mid-Century Modern, Canadian trio’s Talk Show Host‘s debut album. The tune is an anthemic alternative rock song that flirts with punk rock without becoming overwhelming. It’s a fun track for fans of bands like MxPx and Weezer. Also, its music video got nothing to do with Blood In The Sand, but if you are a cat person, you’re going to love it.
In terms of style, I, The Mountain sounds pretty similar to a favorite of T.A.M.: The Strumbellas. That’s not a coincidence though because in addition to being influenced by them, both bands are actually really close. Case in point, Simon Ward (The Strumbellas’ frontman) co-wrote today’s featured song, Wildflowers, with this five-piece band from Kitchener, ON. The song is I, The Mountain‘s latest single and chances are you’re going to love it. It is as infectious as it is uplifting. Vocals are shared between the band’s lead vocalist, Matt, and Allison (keyboard) and they are complemented by the remaining band members with great harmonies throughout the track. I can only imagine how Wildflowers should sound like live but I’m sure it must be great.
I, The Mountain released their debut album just last year at the start of the pandemic but the bad timing didn’t prevent the band from developing a passionate fanbase they call Mountaineers. After you listen to Wildflowers below, I’ll be surprised if you don’t become one as well. With their good vibes and talent, it is impossible not to root for I, The Mountain.
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.
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.
Lost In Japan is a Canadian band whose members have never actually being lost in that Asian country. That being said, I dig that band’s name and, more importantly, their indie rock music. With a sound reminiscing of Arkells and My Favorite Highway (obscure reference), Lost In Japan have received plenty of support in their hometown of London, Ontario, and even amassed over 500k streams for their debut album (2018). They’re getting ready to release a sophomore EP and Lonely is its latest leading single.
Frontman Addison Johnson wrote Lonely three years ago while he was on tour. He wanted to channel the loneliness he was feeling while away from his family. Eventually, after other band members added their input to it, the tune morphed into the version we can listen to now. What I really love about Lonely is the infectious chorus that Addison delivers flawlessly. It’s a really catchy tune that I’m sure you will enjoy.
To me, there are two sides to Sum 41: a lighter, punk-rock embracing one and a darker, guitar-heavy, metal-flirting side. They used to oscillate from one side to another with each album but after switching to the darker side on the album that followed 2009’s excellent Underclass Hero, they seem to have decided to stay there. This coincides with the return of lead guitarist and founding member Dave Baksh to the band in 2013, after a 9-year break. They have released a handful of songs that I like during this time, but the above mentioned Underclass Hero was their last album I truly loved. What can I say? I don’t enjoy metal that much.
That record includes several standout tracks but I’ve decided to feature today one that I didn’t love right away. I don’t know why though, because With Me is truly a great song. As with a few other tracks from Underclass Hero, it’s likely based on frontman’s Deryck Whibley failing relationship with Avril Lavigne, his wife at the time. Besides Deryck’s ability to transmit his raw emotions, what sets this song apart is the great drum part from former band member Steve Jocz. It’s really hard to get those drums out of your head.
Anyway, here’s this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry: With Me by Sum 41.
I talked about Canadian #indiefolk act We Wander back in November (time flies), and they are back now with a new single, Rock And A Hard Place, that’s just as good, if not better. Drums and strings take a more prominent place on this song, which is nice, but just as with Can’t Save You, the secret weapon here is Maddie Little‘s vocals. She’s able to transmit emotions of longing, anger or despair in line with the lyrics, which are about a relationship falling apart. I particularly like the chorus because that’s where the songwriter is coming to terms with what is going on and, in some way, that’s exactly how that section of the tune makes you feel.
I would also say Rock And A Hard Place is a grower: a song that you enjoy more and more each time you listen to it. And if you needed further proof that We Wander was going places, watch the song’s music video below . It’s really well made and worth watching.
Steve Kroeger is an electronic music composer and producer who has had 5 singles on the Billboard Dance charts. He often teams up with singer-songwriter Skye Holland, as was the case in Home, a chill spellbinding tune that feels like summer. Skye, who got Japanese, Dutch and Canadian roots, started her music career at 10 when she joined a Japanese teen pop group. Her sweet voice shimmers all over this track and complements Steve’s smooth production really well.
Home is the perfect track to listen to when you want to lighten your mood. It’s fun and catchy as hell. As far as house/pop songs go, it cannot get any better than this. Enjoy!