Comment: Memorable songs have a distinctive feature that makes them instantly recognizable. “Like a Painting” is one of such songs, and its distinctive feature is mesmerizing guitar line that hooks you from the first note. The incredible part is that this is the debut single of this fresh-faced band straight out of New York: Head Sound. Just imagine what magic they’ll create with more time playing together!
Influenced by icons like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive, this shoegaze quartet crafts melodies that soar atop layers of lush guitars. “Like A Painting” is like their love letter to MBV, inspired by vocalist Richard’s deep dive into their music. But here’s the thing: Head Sound isn’t just about shoegaze: they also explore Americana and Experimental genres, showcasing their artistic versatility through alternate bands featuring the same members.
New Yorkers might recognize this song from local station WEXT, but the rest of us can join the party too! Listen to “Like a Painting” right here!
Comment: Dea Doyle, a West London native, has been creating quite a buzz in the music scene with her clever lyrics and unforgettable choruses. In her latest single, “One For Me,” she showcases her talent and versatility.
“One For Me” is a delightful surprise, much like the unexpected love it narrates. The song encourages listeners to embrace spontaneity and the thrill of the unknown. With its charming blend of light-heartedness and warmth, and a catchy chorus that lingers in your mind even after the song concludes, the track undeniably makes it clear that Dea Doyle is one artist to watch.
Comment: Teo Salfinger is a German composer who crafts neoclassical landscapes with a minimalist touch, where his melodies often carry a melancholic beauty reminiscent of evocative film scores. Just before Christmas, he released “Petite Dances“, his third studio album, with ten little gems encapsulating this. “Shy” is just one example, and the main reason why I chose it as the featured track over the others is that it is cello-based, and I have not written about many cello tracks here. If you enjoy the work of Max Richter and Ludovico Einaudi, two of Teo’s influences, I highly encourage you to check out the whole album.
“Shy” appears to have been crafted specifically for contemplative moments, when the entire world fades away and you are left with your own thoughts. Each cello strum paints a dream, a velvety realm of calmness and quiet understanding. This isn’t a song about grand pronouncements; rather, it’s a composition that celebrates the beauty of introspection. Close your eyes and enjoy!
Fueled by the fantastic year-end charts of Mr. Keith Law and Eclectic Music Lover, I was inspired to craft my own list of the 25 songs that soundtracked my 2023. To streamline things (and maybe sneak in a bit of personal indulgence), I’m focusing solely on releases after October 2022. It’s not strictly a “most played” list, but that undoubtedly cast a long shadow here. You’ll recognize some familiar tunes that were featured here this year, but I’ve sprinkled in some hidden treasures too. So buckle up and dive into my sonic journey through the past year! (scroll down for the Spotify widget with all these songs).
“We Can Be Anything“ by Baby Queen. This is a total earworm that appeared here in September. Sadly, despite being a high point, it overshadowed everything else on her new album.
“Goodmorning” by Crusoe. Another familiar gem that’s bound to resonate with regular readers. In the realm of wordless electronica, this track sets the bar impossibly high.
“Primary Colors” by Baseball Game. This song snuck its way into my top tracks without me even realizing it. It might not be the one I actively pick to play, but whenever it pops up, I can’t help but get completely drawn in. It’s that subtle magic you know?
“We Are One” by Wild Youth. Wild Youth represented Ireland with “We Are One” in this year’s Eurovision contest. As you can expect from that show, it didn’t even reach the finals.
“When We Were Young” by blink-182. I really loved blink-182’s self-titled album and this song wasn’t even the one I featured on this blog earlier this year. It’s also not the last one from that record on this list.
“Godzilla” by Nanna. This solo offering from Of Monsters and Men‘s vocalist envelops you in a warm embrace of swirling melodies and ethereal vocals, proving that sometimes, the quietest roar can be the most captivating.
“Bug Like an Angel” by Mitski. I didn’t love the Japanese-American artist’s latest album, other than this stunning tune, which I wrote about here before.
“Sunbeams” by Michael FK. I didn’t have time to write about this enchanting song earlier, but I did write about this Moldovan artist back in 2020. I highly recommend checking out his work.
“How Many Dreams?” by DMA’s. I’m gutted this Australian act has toured the UK quite a lot recently and I still haven’t been able to see them live. I mean, this isn’t even the track from their latest album I liked the second-most.
“Childhood Eyes” by Yellowcard. As you can tell, I have a soft spot for punk-rock acts from the early 2000s. This release didn’t grab me initially, but it’s definitely grown on me.
“Girls Are Mean” by Boyish. Lead vocalist India Shore and vocalist and guitar player Claire Altendahl founded this indie rock duo when they auditioned at Berklee College of Music. On “Girls Are Mean”, the mix of pop, rock, and electronic elements created a soundscape that was both familiar and fresh, keeping me engaged throughout the track.
“Egyptian Summer” by Good Strangers. This is a song I raved about back in August, and honestly, my feelings haven’t faded a bit. This stunning debut track from their equally remarkable EP cemented my love for this Irish band. It’s truly special.
“Under The Influence(r)” by The Summer Set. It isn’t all smooth sailing here- lines like “You made me want to call my mom” have me scratching my head. But the sheer energy and infectious melody are undeniable, and it is pure pleasure to have them back making music together.
“Where Do I Sign?” by Weathers. When Weathers dropped “Where Do I Sign?” as their lead single, I expected it to be the crown jewel of their new album. Boy, was I wrong.
“Nothing Is Perfect” by Metric. I feel I could listen to this song’s intro on repeat the whole day. It appears on their latest album, Formentera II, a follow-up to their successful record from 2022.
“Jai Alai” by DMA’s. And there you have it! As I was saying, these guys are quickly climbing the ranks of my favorite bands. They got one more song in this list.
“Trastevere” by Måneskin. I didn’t like this Italian band when they won Eurovision in 2021: their glam rock excess not quite clicking with me. But “The Loneliest” started chipping away at those walls, and “Trastevere” has brought the whole damn building down. This stripped-down masterpiece, with its achingly beautiful melody and Damiano’s raw vocals, is everything I ever wanted in an acoustic rock anthem. This is how you weave storytelling and raw emotion into a sonic tapestry that leaves you breathless.
“Cool About it” by boygenius. It is not a groundbreaking track, but I just love this song. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the comfort it brings? Whatever it is, I keep hitting repeat.
“Nothing To Say” by Weathers. Not quite my top spot on Weathers’ latest album, but “Nothing To Say” comes awfully close. The catchiness is practically contagious.
“Amnesia” by M83. A truly impressive comeback from the French act. I loved it when it was released and I still love it now.
“In One Ear & Out the Other” by Chicane. The eletronic music legend knows how to create ethereal soundscapes to lose yourself in. This one is no exception.
“Kill Ur Vibe” by All Time Low. I just love this song’s rhythm. It’s a punk-infused chill pill. Not mosh pit, but midnight drives and quiet defiance.
“21 Year Vacancy” by DMAs.Unsurprisingly, this was my favorite track from their latest album. A beautiful and emotionally resonant indie rock ballad about revisiting the past, acknowledging lost dreams, and finding peace with the journey taken.
“One of a Kind” by Weathers. Here it is: my most played song of 2023. The soaring melody grabs me every time, and the lyrics pack a punch that keeps me hitting repeat.
“Blink Wave” by blink-182. I never expected blink-182 to drop a synth-drenched, 80s-inspired track like “Blink Wave.” When I heard the rumors about it, I was skeptical, but let me tell you, this song blew me away. Who knew these pop-punk legends had an 80s synth masterpiece in them? It’s so good, the only reason it wasn’t my most played of 2023 is the album’s late November release.
Comment: Germany-based artist Mookee released an album titled “Alinea“ earlier this year, featuring a gorgeous downtempo track called “Anhaga.” The title, referencing the Old English meaning of “solitary one”, adds a layer of evocative depth to the music. Mookee then invited several electronic artists to remix tracks from “Alinea” for an upcoming record. Among them was the talented Lithuanian musician Domas Ruškys, better known as Rushkeys, who delivered a stunning reinterpretation of “Anhaga.”
The remix takes the original track’s melancholic beauty and infuses it with Rushkeys‘ essence. This is best explained by the artist himself: “I tried to interpret the tune through my creative voice by taking it somewhere slightly new. I did it by giving more tense electronics, faster tempo and floaty vibe while capturing its original spirit. In the background of the track I used a recording of me walking through the snow in the middle of nowhere from my trip in Iceland.”
The result is a track that deserves to be savoured, headphones on, eyes closed, letting the sounds wash over you and transport you to another world. If this doesn’t send you diving into both Rushkeys and Mookee‘s back catalogs, I don’t know what will. They’re undoubtedly artists to watch, each crafting sonic experiences that deserve your full attention.
Comment: Colin Woltmann, an emerging singer-songwriter from Alabama, draws inspiration from folk legends like Bob Dylan and John Prine for his latest single, ‘The In-Betweens.’ While often compared to Elliot Smith, the contemporary vibe of the song brings to mind the soothing style of British indie folk artist Passenger. With Colin’s comforting vocals and a pleasant acoustic guitar melody, the relaxation is total.
In the heartfelt lyrics of “The In-Betweens,” Colin Woltmann delves into the universal experience of internal conflicts. The sensation of not fully belonging, caught in the transitional space between the past and where we want to be. Woltmann‘s skill in portraying these emotions positions him as a resonant voice for those searching for connection in our sometimes isolating world. Because, in the end, there’s comfort in being reminded that we’re not navigating our struggles alone.
“The In-Betweens” is the first single of Colin’s forthcoming EP, “A Case of the Times”. I’m already looking forward to it.
Comment: I’m going to be honest. When friend of T.A.M., J. Zito, told me that his new track was a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine”, I didn’t think it was a great choice. Sure, it’s a sweet song with beautiful lyrics that are still sadly relevant, but it has been played and covered so many times already that I didn’t think the world needed another version of it. To put it bluntly, I was wrong. Zito, a consistent artisan of emotional expression through his music, managed to breathe new life into a song that many might argue has become lost in its own familiarity.
Describing his cover as “totally unnecessary yet needed,” J. Zito boldly asserts that the timeless message of “Imagine” is slipping through the cracks of contemporary consciousness. Departing from Lennon‘s delicate piano arrangement, Zito injects the track with a raw, visceral energy. Powerful guitars replace the spare keys, and anguished vocals convey frustration and discontent, mirroring a world that seems to have strayed far from the utopian vision of the 60s and 70s. The cover is not a mere musical homage but a call to action.
Accompanying the audacious sound is a music video that seamlessly weaves haunting imagery of modern conflict victims into a kaleidoscope of 60s-style psychedelia. This visual narrative serves as a stark reminder of the uncomfortable truth that we have drifted far from the path envisioned by Lennon. Feel free to check it out below.
Comment: Emerging from the Gold Coast, Australia, 19-year-old singer-songwriter Georgia Hoareau is a name to add to our radar. With her latest single “Only One”, released this month, it becomes obvious that Georgia knows how to craft and deliver a catchy indie tune. I think this skill is what truly sets talented artists apart from those who merely have a nice voice.
Georgia’s musical odyssey commenced with her debut single ’17’ in 2021, when she was, you guessed it, just 17 years old. Since then, she has made waves in her local scene, garnering media recognition and leaving a lasting impression with her compelling live band performances. As the young artist gears up to share more new music, her journey is undoubtedly one to watch closely.
If you like indie pop tunes with folksy vibes, ‘Only One’ will be right up your alley.
Comment: The Pulltops, a duo from Milwaukee, just dropped their latest song, ‘Make Me Smile,’ which reminds me quite a bit of Semisonic — never a bad thing. It captures the simple yet sweet message: “You’ll always be the one to make me smile.” Hopefully, we all have someone like that in our lives.
Mark Pierret and Tom Crowell form the core of The Pulltops. With diverse musical tastes but always rooted in classic pop and indie rock, they bring in flavors from a wide array of styles, blending it all together to make a timeless sound that goes beyond genres. “Make Me Smile” is their seventh song this year, showing they’re all about putting out music. In fact, they are planning to release a new song every six weeks for the next two years and an EP every fourth single.
“I particularly enjoy the big chorus; it has a great melody that makes you sing along in no time. Between that and the sweet lyrics, it’s hard not to enjoy “Make Me Smile.” It’s one of those songs that can lighten up your mood whenever you need it. [Insert here a cheesy pun about how this song makes you smile.]
Comment: Caroline Romano is back with a new single, “girl in a china shop”, and it’s, as they say in the UK, a ‘banger.’ Having written about her twice before, it’s clear that Romano is not just a passing phase, but a force to be reckoned with in the alt-pop scene.
The Nashville-based singer-songwriter has once again demonstrated her knack for capturing the essence of young adulthood in her music. “girl in a china shop” is an emotional rollercoaster, with an explosive chorus that contrasts beautifully with its reflective verses. In the lyrics, Caroline admits to feeling like she breaks everything she touches, and this song is her way of acknowledging that feeling.
With millions of streams already under her belt, and more music on the way, it’s clear that Caroline Romano is an artist whose star will only continue to rise. We can’t wait to see what she does next.