Comment: Desert Life, a musical duo hailing from Tenby, Wales, has recently captured my attention with their debut album titled “Let It All Pass,” released last month. The album opens with “Future Dead,” a track that sets the tone for the entire album beautifully. It commences with acoustic folk instrumentals that set a tranquil tempo, soon followed by the melodic vocals.
The songwriting partnership, composed of the singer-songwriter Chris Swales and the multi-instrumentalist Tom Jordan, has expertly fashioned a sound that reverberates with their influences, particularly R.E.M (in my humble opinion). This is particularly palpable in “Future Dead,” where the emotionally charged musical arrangements and poetic lyricism delve into the shadowy recesses of the heart.
If you’re a fan of R.E.M. or similar bands, I wholeheartedly recommend giving “Future Dead” by Desert Life a listen. And if it resonates with you, I encourage you to explore the rest of their debut album as well; you’ll discover plenty more of what you love within.
Comment: In the realm of folk-infused serenity, “Better to You” by Elkvilla stands as a radiant testament to the power of musical introspection. With its heartfelt lyricism, masterful instrumentation, and the warm embrace of Elkvilla‘s soulful vocals, this song takes us on a contemplative journey through the intricate landscapes of self-empowerment.
The journey begins with the opening line, “I am the salt in your wound,” a poignant declaration that sets the tone for the entire composition. It’s a song about enduring pain within a relationship, choosing to stay, and ultimately finding strength through personal growth and introspection. The resilience of the human spirit is poetically portrayed through Elkvilla‘s evocative lyrics.
The instrumental canvas of “Better to You” is both minimalistic and richly textured, an artful balance that is influenced by the work of folk artists such as The Tallest Man On Earth and neoclassical ones such as Ólafur Arnalds. The musical backdrop feels as comforting as it is profound.
Elvilla is the moniker of Australian singer-songwriter and producer Adam Dudek. He often crafts his songs on his own in his apartment in Berlin. He started this musical project, which is named after a beloved childhood toy, in 2020 but took a break to improve his producing skills. “Better To You” marks his return, and you can see that he has done a great job producing it. Expect to hear new songs from Adam every 4 to 6 weeks. It will be quite a treat!
Comment: “Athene” by The Velveteins is a laid-back track that was inspired by Homer’s Iliad. The track emits an easy and relaxed tone with warm, effortless vocals, breezy guitars and a steady beat, creating an overall comforting atmosphere. The song also reminds me a bit of Augustana (songs like “Meet You There”, for example), which is never a bad thing. It’s easy to get lost in the mesmeric sounds of The Velveteins, where you’ll find yourself hitting repeat and staying along for the journey.
Nestled at the crossroads of past and present, The Velveteins emerged onto the scene in 2014, anchored by the creative partnership of frontman Spencer Morphy and co-songwriter Addison Hiller. “Athene” emerges as the third jewel from their forthcoming sophomore album, and it comes accompanied by a cool music video that features an excellent choreography and performance by Anya Allegra Saugstad. You can watch it below!
Comment: Brendan Scott Friel is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has been making waves in the indie scene with his honest and heartfelt folk songs. His new single, “Simon the Doubter,” is a catchy and clever tune that tells the story of a man who questions everything, even his own faith. The song features acoustic guitar, piano, harmonica, and subtle percussion, creating a warm and organic backdrop for his smooth and expressive vocals. The lyrics are witty and clever, using biblical references and metaphors to describe the protagonist’s doubts and struggles.
“Simon the Doubter” is the first single from his upcoming second album, Summer Moons, which is set to be released later this year. The song showcases his talent for blending folk elements with pop sensibilities, creating a sound that is both familiar and fresh. If you like artists like Passenger, Ed Sheeran, or Vance Joy, you might want to give this song a listen.
Comment: M. Byrd is a German-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer who has been making waves with his debut album The Seed, a collection of songs that blend intimate moments with wide horizons, inspired by the Laurel Canyon sound and shoegaze aesthetics. The album is meant to plant a seed and encourage listeners’ evolution.
One of the standout tracks from The Seed is “Pyrrhula”, a song that showcases M. Byrd‘s ability to create atmospheric and emotional soundscapes with his guitar, synth and bass playing. The song starts with a gentle acoustic guitar strumming and M. Byrd’s soft vocals, singing about a fire in someone’s eyes and a longing for connection. The song is named after a genus of birds, also known as bullfinches, which are known for their bright colors and monogamous relationships. M. Byrd uses this metaphor to express his desire for a lasting bond with someone who can light up his world.
“Pyrrhula” by M. Byrd is a song that will make you feel something, whether it’s joy, sadness, nostalgia or hope.
Comment: I recently watched the movie A Good Person, written and directed by Zach Braff, who also wrote and directed Garden State, whose award-winning soundtrack has been referred to on multiple occasions here. There is a pivotal scene in the movie in which the main character, played by the scene-stealing Florence Pugh, attends a concert and the song being played when she arrives really grabbed my attention. It turned out to be “Stardust” by Cary Brothers, a singer-songwriter -Brothers is his surname- who was also featured on the soundtrack of, you guessed it, Garden State.
Stardust is a moody indie track that is simply stunning. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
Comment: Allow me to introduce you to the mesmerizing instrumental piece, “Lilium,” composed by the talented artist Gav Moran and featured on his excellent debut album, “Broken Pieces”. “Lilium” is a musical journey that effortlessly blends simplicity and elegance. The piano melody, at its core, is delicate yet profound, guiding the listener through a cascade of emotions that gradually intensify, culminating in a powerful crescendo accompanied by lush violins and cellos. This piece possesses a captivating quality that lingers long after its last note fades away.
The significance of the song’s title, “Lilium,” holds deeper meaning within its Latin origins, translating to “lily.” The lily, renowned as a symbol of purity and innocence, serves as a fitting representation for Moran’s composition. “Broken Pieces”, which was recorded in Gav’s home studio in Ireland, is full of hauntingly beautiful tracks. I highly recommend that you listen to the entire album in addition to “Lilium”. You will not regret it.
Comment: “Primary Colors” by Baseball Game is a catchy, upbeat anthem about finding hope in the midst of uncertainty. The song begins with a simple guitar riff that quickly builds into a driving beat. The vocals are clear and powerful, and the lyrics are inspiring and hopeful. The song is a perfect example of Baseball Game‘s unique sound, which blends elements of indie rock, pop, and electronic music.
The band started in 2019 and consists of Adam (vocals, guitar), Jason (guitar, production), and Ben (bass). The name “Baseball Game” came from a story from Adam’s childhood. When he was in T-ball, he played in the championship game. His team lost, and afterward he went to the wrong dugout. The other team sprayed him with red Kool-Aid and told him to get out because he didn’t belong there. Adam and Jason felt like this story was a metaphor for their band. They felt like their songs were very individual and didn’t necessarily fit together or belong.
Comment: 18 by Jonah Kagen is a heartfelt and emotional exploration of the ups and downs of young love. With his acoustic-driven sound and honest lyrics, Kagen captures the essence of falling in love as a kid and the rollercoaster of emotions that often come with it.
As a talented singer and songwriter, Kagen brings a level of depth and authenticity to his music that is truly captivating. His passion for the acoustic guitar and finger-style technique is evident in his music, and it’s clear that he is dedicated to creating something special for his listeners.
Following his debut EP, ‘georgia got colder,‘ Kagen has already made a name for himself in the music industry, with over 130+ million global streams, a US tour supporting Maisie Peters, and nearly 2 million Spotify monthly listeners. He was even included on Shazam‘s 2023 predictions list, cementing his status as an artist on the rise.