Julia Cavazos, better known as Julia Michaels, made a name for herself writing hits for other pop artists such as Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and Shawn Mendes, just to name a few. Then, in 2017, she wrote a song that she liked so much that she kept it for herself. That tune, Issues, became a hit and even earned her some Grammy nominations (whatever that’s worth). Julia is a established solo artist now and earlier this year released her debut studio album: Not In Chronological Order, which features the single being featured here today.
I hadn’t paid that much attention to Julia before because most of her songs tend to be mainstream pop tunes that are not typically my cup of tea. That being said, I happened to listen to All Your Exes and found it so good that I had to write about it here. It starts as a decent pop track led by an acoustic guitar and Julia Michaels‘ great vocals. So far so good but nothing to write home about. Then the chorus starts and it becomes a very different song, swapping out the acoustic guitar with a gritty electric one. The end result is one of the best #poprock tunes of the year, which comes accompanied by a fun music video that nods to a few psychological thrillers. Well worth your time.
I had been wanting to feature Chvrches here for a long time now but I was waiting for the right opportunity. They they have just released the second single off their forthcoming fourth album, Screen Violence, and I really liked it, so I decided to take the plunge. I’m a big fan of Chvrches’ first two albums but not so much of the third one, Love Is Dead: it was not a bad album but it wasn’t at the same level as the other two. I thought that He Said She Said, the lead single for Screen Violence, could have been in their previous album but this new song, which features the legendary Robert Smith from The Cure, is something else completely. In a sense, it sounds exactly as you would expect from combining the two bands’ styles, while, at the same time, it’s kind of surprising to see how great that hybrid sounds.
How Not To Drown is a song about coping with everything that’s going on in your life and how sometimes you might feel like you just want to go away. If features Chvrches’ electronic soundscapes they got us used to, and, as usual, great vocals from lead singer Lauren Mayberry, one of the coolest and more down-to-earth music artists out there today. Having Robert Smith as well is just the cherry on top. Check this great song out below and start your weekend with a bang.
Moon Museum describe their style as dream rock and after you listen to their debut single, Pleasures of Peace, you’ll understand why. There are some ethereal elements in the track. It kind of makes sense too, considering that songwriter Ryan Joseph got the melody from a dream. The band cites as influences bands like Slowdive and Doves, but for this song in particular, I can’t help but think of Wolf Alice and their song Bros. If you like that song, Pleasures of Peace will be right up your alley.
Moon Museum started as a collaboration between Ryan (vocals/guitar/keys) and Ian Zazueta (lead guitar), who knew each other from the music scene in San Francisco. The pair then contacted Olivia Barchard (vocals/guitar/keys), who was working on her own solo material and after discovering how similar their styles were, she decided to join them and explore the dynamics of having contrasting male and female vocals. Last but no least, they recruited their friend Aaron Hazen to play drums. Unfortunately, the pandemic slowed things down for Moon Museum but they emerged from it with 3 singles ready to be shared with the world. Pleasures of Peace was the first one but they just released a second one called With Youthat is worth your time as well. I’m genuinely looking forward to their third single.
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.
Being a young woman dangling with alternative rock and pop-punk, it is inevitable that Maggie Lindemanngets compared to the likes of Avril Lavigne and Hayley Williams (Paramore). However, in this case, that comparison actually makes sense because her tone of voice is not far from Avril‘s and some of her songs do have a Paramore vibe. There is nothing wrong with that, though. Those two are really talented and successful musicians and, on top of that, Maggie is also able to stand on her own. She could become just as big pretty soon.
She’s not a complete unknown either. In 2016, her breakout single Pretty Girl reached the top ten in several countries including Sweeden, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. I didn’t know her by name back then but that song does sound familiar to me. Early this year, this artist from Dallas, Texas, released her debut EP, Paranoia, which features Knife Under My Pillow as its lead single. This pop-rock banger is a song about fear and paranoia inspired by early 2000s horror movies (which also explains the music video, see below).
With grungy guitars, resounding drums, and a catchy chorus, this tune announces us that Maggie Lindemann has arrived and is here to stay.
If you enjoyed recently featured bands such as Rivals, Monowhales and Fireflight, then you’re in for a treat because Ashland is right there in the same league as those bands, delivering guitar-led tracks with powerful choruses. After flirting with pop in their last full-length album, the extra spare time caused by the pandemic made them go back to their rock roots and return with a new EP, I, that leans more towards rock. In Your Head is exhibit A of that.
A song about how we often make things worse than they are in our own heads, In Your Head is filled with all the repressed energy from a year without proper live gigs. As it must be evident by now, Ashland is a band fully deserving of our attention. Led by such a talented vocalist as Asia Marie Dupuy, they got what it takes to reach new highs after each release.
Los Angeles quartet Rivals just released their sophomore album: Sad Looks Pretty On Me and it contains 12 tracks of what they describe as dark-pop. I would call it simply alternative rock but regardless of how you call it, you will definitely enjoy it if you like bands like Fireflight and even Stand Atlantic. My favorite track in the album is Lavenders and even though you could argue that it is a bit formulaic, that does not make it any less compelling. Vocalist Kalie Wolfe got the perfect voice for this style of music.
Lavenders is a song about facing your own demons but nobody said that it couldn’t be catchy. If you are looking for an energetic track to help you get through this week, you came to the right place. Here it is:
I had been looking forward to writing about this song from the moment I added it to my backlog. Not only is it really good, but I also see a lot of potential on this little young band from Toronto, NERiMA. It consists of Alexi, Alex, and Connor and i doubt any of them is over 20. They claim to love both classic punk-rock and modern alternative music and somehow you can feel that in their tunes. Even Home, which they catalogue as soft-rock, got that blend in a perfect way, which is amazing considering their youth. It’s not easy to get that balance right.
And did I mention that Home is just their second single? They are currently preparing their debut album which will hopefully be released soon. As most bands, they faced difficulties during Covid, being so young and having no income from live shows. Fortunately, they survived the worst part but this is where we should step in and give them all the support we can. NERiMA‘s members are really talented and knowing that their music is connecting with people will let them know that they are on the right path and their sacrifices in terms of time, effort, and money have not been in vain. The last thing we want is a bright and talented band breaking up because they didn’t find an audience. Please buy or stream their music, follow them on social media (FB | IG | TW | YT) and let them know that you want them to keep making great music. Don’t do it for them, do it for your future self.
Pop-punk is far less popular today than 15 years ago but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t young artists exploring that genre. We have featured a few here already and today’s artist is another example. Mystery Rose is a 17-year-old indie artists from L.A who writes and records her own music, which ranges from Amy Winehouse-style blues ballads to the genre mentioned earlier. Unlike most teenagers in the music business today, she is not interested in fame, which is why she chose the Mystery Rose moniker. She can show her face from time to time but, for the most part, she prefers to remain largely a mystery.
Mystery Rose‘s debut album, the cleverly titled Socially Distant, will be released this year and its first official single is Stability. A catchy tune about feeling vulnerable after a break-up, it reminisces early ‘00s indie rock tracks, While it doesn’t get bonus points for innovation, it delivers way more than enough in terms of quality rock music. Definitely, check this young artist out.
Monowhales is a 3-piece rock band from Canada that came to light in 2017 and achieved impressive success in the Canadian music scene for a DIY, independent band. They even got supporting slots for bands like Marianas Trench. The band released a few singles last year and started 2021 with a bang with the explosive Out With The Old. The hook-ridden tune got all the elements to get you to move from the moment the first chorus hits your ears.
Monowhales wrote this track about today’s world and feeling that we are given the illusion of choice when there is no choice at all, but staying hopeful for a better future. They got a new single lined up bot this Friday and if Out With The Old is any indication, we should really pay attention to it. They obviously know how to compose a great track.