Comment: If the name Kristian Montgomery and the Winterkill Band sounds familiar, that might be because almost exactly 3 years ago, I featured his single “Razor Wide Heart” on this website. “The 4th of July” is my favorite track from the band’s new album, Lower County Outlaw, and it showcases how Kristian and his bandmates keep getting better and better at what they do. The track is a delightful blend of country and rock that narrates a heart-warming love story.
From the very beginning, Kristian Montgomery’s masterful composition and emotional vocals take listeners on a captivating ride, mirroring the excitement and anticipation of that special moment when he and his wife, April, first connected. The lyrics beautifully capture the comfort and chemistry shared between the two, as if destiny had finally brought them together in the right place and time.
The song’s peak moment comes with a gripping guitar solo and a final chorus sung with an urgent passion that’s impossible to ignore. If you listen to this track and feel nothing at all, do you even truly feel alive?
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.
You can love them or hate them but you can’t deny Twenty One Pilots is one of the biggest musical acts out there. They hit it big in 2015 with their albumBlurryface and basically every single song they have released since then has become a success. Until not that long ago, I thought that record was their debut album but, as probably know, I was very wrong: it was their third. In 2019, I decided to watch some of the performances from that year’s Reading Festival on video-on-demand, which included this musical duo from Columbus, Ohio. That was the first time I listened to Trees, a little gem from their second album, Vessel (2013), and that they used to close their show (which made me think it was a fan favorite). They put an amazing spectacle performing this track then (you can watch it below) and it blew me away. It immediately became a #musicalcrush.
Tyler Joseph and Josh Dunn are releasing a new album, Scaled And Icy, in May. While we wait for it, please enjoy this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry: Trees.
I wasn’t planning to feature What’s Up as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday song when I mentioned it in the Marcelo Deiss‘ entry, but I’ve stumbled upon it quite a few times since then, I even listened to a nice cover I might feature in the near future. It is a great and extremely catchy song, don’t get me wrong, but chances are you know that already. After all, it’s a classic.
4 Non Blondes are considered one-hit-wonders but that’s basically because they didn’t give themselves another chance. The band broke up shortly after What’s Up became an international hit, and it was just the second single off their first and only album. However, lead singer/songwriter Linda Perry remained active within the music industry, founding record labels and writing and producing hits for other artists, including Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. By the way, Linda hated how What’s Up was produced for the commercial version we all know. She preferred her demo version but it hasn’t been released.
One final piece of trivia: the song’s title is never mentioned in the lyrics. What is mentioned, quite prominently, is “what’s going on“. However, there is a classic Marvin Gaye song with that name, which is why, in order to avoid any confusion, they went with What’s Up instead.
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.
I will keep this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry short and simple after discussing Vega4 on Monday’s post. In summary, Vega4 was a short-lived band fronted by Johnny McDaid from Snow Patrol. They released two albums but the first one is really hard to find. The follow-up, You And Others (2006), is the one featuring Life Is Beautiful, which had a lot of exposure back then. This song is certainly special but the whole album is really good. I highly recommend it.
It’s sad that Vega4 didn’t release more albums but the silver lining is that the band’s demise allowed Johnny to join Snow Patrol and also write songs for other artists such as Kodaline and Example. As a piece of trivia, Johnny has been dating Courteney Cox since 2013.
Please let me start this entry by talking briefly about a different band. You are probably aware of Snow Patrol and its frontman Gary Lightbody. They are pretty popular, but you might not be familiar with Johnny McDaid, who plays piano, guitar and backing vocals for the band. Before Snow Patrol, Johnny fronted a short-lived but really good alternative rock band called Vega4. One of their singles, Life Is Beautiful, got a lot of exposure after it was featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy (by the way, how on earth is that show still on?). They were a great band while it lasted.
Closure is the debut single of Lyon Tide, a band based out of Birmingham, UK. They describe their music as Indie Post-BritPop, which may or may not mean something to you, but for what is worth, Closure somehow reminded me instantly of Vega4. It turns out that one of Lyon Tide‘s main influences is Snow Patrol. When I saw that, it all started to make sense to me. This was all a convoluted way for me to tell you that this single is outstanding. And it is just their debut. Just imagine what else could be coming from them in the future!
Lyon Tide is named that way after the tidal effect caused by the electromagnetic waves generated by the excessive amount of cellular antennas located around the French city of Lyon. They usually joke about the band’s origin saying that it was formed when a Brit, an Italian and an Indian man walked into art class. However, their music is something we should all take very seriously. They are really talented and could become something special. Enjoy Closure below.
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.