I, The Mountain – Wildflowers

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.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Rebel Kicks – Floating

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.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Vance Joy – Missing Piece

This is going to be a concise entry. Australian singer James Gabriel Keogh, aka Vance Joy, became an international sensation back in 2013 with his hit Riptide and is back now with a new single called Missing Piece. If you liked the former, you’re going to love the latter because it has the same brand of bubbly #folkpop that made Riptide so successful. A song about missing someone you love, this sweet little tune will get stuck on your head. Unless you hate radio-friendly tracks (and some people do), you are really going to enjoy this one.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

The Strumbellas – Greatest Enemy

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.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Daniel Etherton – Foundations

Foundations is the debut single of London-based British artist Daniel Etherton, and as far as debut singles go, it cannot get much better than this. Released back in February, Foundations is a sweet tune with an acoustic guitar-based melody that really does sound great. One of the reasons for that is Daniel’s voice, which is perfect for an #indiefolk track such as this one. When he sings the lyrics, which reflect on internal struggles and real friendships from a hopeful perspective, it feels like he really means every single word. The song is long enough to make you appreciate how talented Daniel is as singer-songwriter, but at 2:41, it is also short enough to leave you wanting more.

I do hope Foundations gets enough success and recognition to encourage Daniel Etherton to keep writing and recording music. If this is what he did as a new music artist, just imagine what he will be able to do with more experience and confidence. The sky is really the limit for him.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Mike Robert – Cold

After completing his service time in the army and travelling across Europe and North America for 5 months, American #singersongwriter Mike Robert decided to write a music album as well as record it and produce it from home while playing all the instruments himself. You would think it was recorded and produced in a high-end music studio by the way Cold, one of its lead singles, sounds. This debut album will be quite good.

Cold is one of those songs that sound pretty uplifting while the lyrics tell a different story. In this case, the song is about feeling trapped and ‘underwater’, unable to feel excitement about anything. The happy energy in the tune’s arrangement represents Mike’s desire for happiness and feeling love. It starts with an acoustic guitar that gives the track a #folkpop vibe, followed by an infections beat that will get you to tap your feet right away. By the time the rest of the instruments come into play, you are already hooked. Listen to this earworm at your own peril.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

We Wander – Rock And A Hard Place

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.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Sean Watson Graham – Your Life Is A Story

Your Life Is A Story is the debut single of Toronto-based musician Sean Watson Graham as a solo artist. His first band, Modern Space, got a deal with Warner Music Canada but unfortunately, that didn’t last. Now, he’s getting ready to release his first EP under his own name, for which this track is the lead single.

Sean wrote Your Life Is A Story after thee major life changes as a way to give himself some closure. It is a song about giving yourself another chance to start over again. The result was an uplifting indie folk track with great harmonies and a very compelling chorus. Good luck getting it out of your head afterwards. You’ll need it. Listen to it at your own peril.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Creature Fear – Big Summer Eyes

While they have been together as a band for at least 3 or 4 years, 2020 was the year Creature Fear, a five-piece indie rock band from Australia, started to break out in their home country. They’re about to release their debut EP this year, from which they have released three singles already. All of them are really nice but whereas the first two were more upbeat and closer to the band’s 60s rock influence; their latest single, Big Summer Eyes, is more intimate with a soft acoustic intro that showcases the gorgeous voice of lead singer Jacqui Lumsden. It is not, however, an acoustic track from start to finish. The full band joins the party soon enough.

A song about hope during the darkest times, it surely brings a ray of light to our lives during covid times. Creature Fear is just another example of the really talented artists coming out from Down Under. Check them out as I’m sure you won’t regret it.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Josh Stevens – Hello Darling

Josh Stevens has either been nominated or won quite a few awards, including the Grammys, mostly as a music producer. He got all that success working with dance and/or hip-hop artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Steve Aoki and Pitbull. So, naturally, he now sings and writes indie rock songs. And, let me tell you, he’s quite good at that.

Late last year, Josh released a superb track called Hello Darling, which he wrote for her daughter. It is an upbeat and anthemic song with neat production and great, emotional vocals. The track even features some sleek guitar riffs that are just the cherry on top. Quite simply, it is a really great tune.

Featured on the following mixtapes: