Comment: Good Times may sound optimistic and upbeat with its acoustic folk vibes and catchy melody, but it has a serious and deep message: having a nice house or a nice car does not necessarily make you happier in the long run. German-American artist Michael Lane has transited the road less traveled to get to where he is today as an artist, having served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a US soldier during his twenties. He’s had two top 50 songs in the German charts already, so he’s well-known as a musician in some European countries. It is time for him to get noticed in other latitudes too.
Comment: 4:45 is one of those songs that become instant earworms right away. It reminds me of the style of Go Radio, in case you’re familiar with that other band. I admit I wasn’t aware of DR!FTWOOD at all before I heard 4:45, but they have been active since 2015 and had big plans for 2020 that they had to suspend because of… you know. After a brief hibernation period, they returned this year better than ever with this great tune. Enjoy 4:45!
Comment: If you miss alternative rock songs from the early 2000s, then this song is for you. I have no idea if Evan Blair did it on purpose or not if you told me that Survive Myself was a hit from those years, I would totally believe you (in fact, it reminds me of a little known band called Diffuser). What I do know is that Evan wrote this song about the time of his life just before he got sober (he’s 3.5 years sober now). He’s cut his teeth writing and producing tracks for quite a few artists, such as Tessa Violet and Gnash, so he knows one thing or two about making music. Check his work out.
Comment: Toronto-based Camille Intson, aka Camie, travelled alone across Europe in 2019 and ended up spending Christmas Eve in a folk pub just outside of Prague. There, she met a beautiful woman named Claudia who was asked to dance by a handsome man while Camie watched from afar daydreaming about being the one dancing with Claudia in the spotlight. The talented artist wrote Claudia a year later when going through her notes in the middle of the pandemic when she was feeling isolated. It’s a really beautiful ballad about what happened that night and what could have happened as well. The tune got a soothing effect similar to that of drinking hot chocolate in a cold winter afternoon.
Comment: I could mention here words like “magnetic” and “catchy”, but the bottom line is that I Can’t Afford Her is a really fun track. When you hear the backstory of this tune from London-based 3-piece act The New Twentys, you realise that it could not be any other way. The song is about a misunderstanding one of the band members had with his girlfriend after she saw a video in which he was talking to a prostitute. However, this happened after a nigh out and he hadn’t even realised she was a sex worker, he was just asking for directions but, boys being boys, his friends found it funny and decided to film the whole interaction. When confronted about it, in the middle of the argument with his girlfriend, he said: ‘Well what does it matter? I’m broke and couldn’t afford her anyway.’ Not really the most reassuring defense in that situation. The music video, which you can watch below, pokes fun at the whole situation too. Have a blast!
Comment: Southern California-based duo Casual Vice is formed by two musicians who cut their teeth with other bands before forming this new act last year. Instead was released as a single back in January and then included in the EP Joie De Vivre in February. It is a great indie rock track with a chorus you won’t be able to get out of your head before December. Check it out!
I’m at least a couple of months late to Michigander’s party. This song has been in my backlog for a good while now but for one reason or another, it didn’t make it here until now. That is a shame though because Let Down is an extremely catchy song that certainly deserved to be featured here. It even peaked at #8 on the Billboard Adult Alternative chart, which is something. The song, which talks about the dichotomy of feeling excited about meeting a potential love interest and the fear of being let down by it, is part of Everything Will Be OK Eventually, the band’s latest EP released earlier this year. I say band here but the truth is more complicated than that. Michigander is mainly the work of Jason Singer, but he does have a band helping him out, which includes Aaron Senor, who should be familiar to you now after being featured here twice (here and here).
This EP was reviewed back in March by our friend Jeff (Eclectic Music Lover), and as usual, it was a superb review. I’m well aware Michigander is pretty well known around the Michigan area, but I frankly don’t know how he isn’t a mainstream artist already. His songs are refreshingly good, the production is always top-notch and his band is full of outstanding musicians. The rest of the world might need to wait a bit longer before getting acquainted with Michigander‘s work, but you can start right here, right now.
Superscum is a Danish #indiefolk band formed by five guys who used to play in metal bands. The band’s name is perhaps a bit odd but not their music, which they describe as “a mellow blend of warm melodies and melancholy.” They have released two EPs so far that have been critically acclaimed in their home country, and they are currently aiming to release their debut full-length this fall.
Subtle is one their new tracks released earlier this year and it shows why Superscum is such a promising band. They have enough creativity to sound unique even without doing anything particularly outlandish. This song algo got a positive message about believing in yourself and having no regrets for trying, and that makes the listening experience even more pleasant. If there’s one thing you can be certain you won’t regret at all is giving Subtle a chance. Check it out below.
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.