for KING & COUNTRY – Relate

Artist: for KING & COUNTRY

Song: Relate

Genres: #altpop #indiepop

Location: Nashville, United States

Release date: August, 2021.

Comment: Nashville-based duo for KING & COUNTRY is formed by Australian brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone. I wasn’t aware of them even though they have won 4 Grammy awards for contemporary Christian music, but I listened to their latest single, Relate, and found it quite catchy. With a theme focused on empathy and how we can all relate to each other, it’s easy to feel compelled by the lyrics too. This track will not change your life but it is a very enjoyable song nevertheless. Enjoy!

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Alice Merton – Island

Artist: Alice Merton

Song: Island

Genres: #indiepop

Location: Berlin, Germany

Release date: September, 2021

Comment: I don’t know much about this German-born Irish-Canadian #singersongwriter. She achieved notoriety around 2018 with her hit No Roots but I can’t say I liked it that much. Last month, Alice Merton dropped two songs that should be part of her forthcoming sophomore album: Hero and Island. Hero is the one that got a music video recorded but Island is the track that caught my attention. I really dig it and that’s why I wanted to share it here. Hope you enjoy it as well.

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Far West – Make It Up

Artist: Far West

Song: Make It Up

Genres: #altpop #indiepop

Location: Santa Cruz, United States

Release date: June, 2021

Influences: The 1975, The Cure

CommentMake It Up feels like the soundtrack to the memories of your most cherished summer holidays. According to Ryan Settles, aka Far West, it is a song about “trying to forget the bad and relishing in the good”. He played all the instruments and produced the track in hi garage in Santa Cruz, but the track’s aesthetics are so good that you would think it was recorded at some fancy studio. Definitely check this song out. You’ll have fun!

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The Last Arcade – When We Were Young

ArtistThe Last Arcade

Song: When We Were Young

Genres: #altpop #synthwave

Location: Liverpool, United Kingdom

Release date: June, 2021.

Comment: Synthpop bands are quite popular nowadays, but very few of those bands can actually stand out. If their debut single, When We Were Young, is an indication, I think that The Last Arcade will be one of them. It helps to have band members with plenty of experience in the music industry: lead singer Steve McNally had some hits in the early 2000’s as a member of the band BBMak; rhythm guitarist and songwriter has even supported Bryan Adams, among others, on tour; and producer and songwriter Steve Erickson has been creating music since the early 1990’s. All in all, it is clear that they know what they are doing and we should pay attention.

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Still Charles – Wembley

Artist: Still Charles

Song: Wembley

Genres: #indiepop #indierock

Location: Milano, Italy

Release date: May, 2021.

Comment: Wembley is a stunning single by Italian artist Carlo Aprea, aka Still Charles. The song is sang in Italian but it’s so good that you will enjoy it even if you couldn’t understand a single word (for the record, you should be able to catch at least a few words). Carlo says that Wembley, which he wrote during quarantine, is a love story told from beginning to end, inspired by a real relationship he had that ended because both of them were too proud. The track was produced by Riccardo Foresi, whom Carlo met in June 2020. Wembley has a beautiful music video as well that looks like a movie and that you can watch below. I hope you enjoy Wembley as much as I do. It’s quite a gem.

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School of Seven Bells – Ablaze

Artist: School of Seven Bells

Song: Ablaze

Genres: #indiepop #dreampop

Location: New York City, United States

Release date: February, 2016

Comment: The story of School of Seven Bells (SVIIB) is, sadly, a tragic one. It was formed in 2007 by sisters Alejandra Deheza (vocals, guitar) and Claudia Deheza (keyboards, vocals), and Benjamin Curtis (guitar, synthesizers, vocals), but then Claudia left the band in 2010. Unfortunately, Ben, who was Alejandra’s romantic partner, died in 2013 from sudden-onset lymphoma and, as a tribute, Alejandra took some demos Ben had written prior and during his illness and completed the band’s fourth and last studio album, SVIIB, which was released in February, 2016. It is a wonderful album which, despite the circumstances in which it was created, is actually full of hope and even joy.

To me, the best among a collection of great songs is Ablaze, the first track. It’s a cleverly produced song that features Alejandra’s ethereal vocals and sweet lyrics that become even more beautiful knowing the context in which they were written. If you are only going to listen to one SVIIB song, listen to Ablaze, this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry. You will be happy you did so.

As a bonus, I’m leaving below the link to the video of SVIIB’s cover of Joey Ramone’s I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up) (it is not available on streaming platforms). It was written by Alejandra and Ben quite literally while they were ‘sitting in a hospital bed’ and released just before SVIIB.

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Holly Humberstone – The Walls Are Way Too Thin

Artist: Holly Humberstone

Song: The Walls Are Way Too Thin

Genres: #indiepop

Location: United Kingdom

Release date: May, 2021

Influences: Phoebe Bridgers, Damien Rice

Comment: Holly Humberstone is a young and immensely talented British artist who in just over one year has managed to make a name for herself in the alternative pop scene. She’s preparing to release her sophomore EP in November, whose lead single is the eponymously titled The Walls Are Way Too Thin. She wrote this song after moving to a small flat in London and it is a catchy piece of “dark pop”. If you were not aware of Holly Humberstone before, write her name down. This won’t be the last time you hear it.

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Sixpence None The Richer – Kiss Me

Artist: Sixpence None The Richer

Song: Kiss Me

Genres: #alternativerock #poprock

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Release date: August, 1998.

Comment: Kiss Me is a beautiful ballad that made Christian alternative rock band Sixpence None The Richer famous not only across the United States but also around the world. It peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one in the Australian and Canadian charts. It was all well-deserved because this sweet song is quite a gem. Enjoy this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.

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Volts – Glass Walls

Artist: Volts

Song: Glass Walls

Genres: #AlternativeRock

Location: Christchurch, New Zealand

Release date: April, 2021.

Comment: Possibly the first Kiwi band to be featured here, Volts are ready to be heard globally. Glass Walls, a fast-paced, hook-ridden alternative rock track about Imposter Syndrome, is their second single off their forthcoming debut album, to be released later this year. Unless you hate radio-friendly tunes, do check them out. They’re really good.

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Caroline Romano – The Hypothetical

Artist: Caroline Romano

Song: The Hypothetical

Genres: #PunkRock, #PopPunk

Location: Nashville, United States

Release date: July, 2021.

Comment: 19-year-old Nashville-based artist Caroline Romano has just dropped this pop-punk banger that sounds really refreshing. She’s young but wise beyond her years and you just have to listen to The Hypothetical to know that she’s going places. No doubt.

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