Five Days North – Champagne Shots

I didn’t check but I think Five Days North are becoming the first artist or band to be featured here three times. They totally deserve it as they have done nothing but consistently release pretty good tracks every three months or so, which is often enough to stay relevant without saturating us. Champagne Shots is their latest song and perhaps my favorite of them so far. It does sound like a Five Days North song with their distinctive synth lines and overall vibe, but the song’s melody stands out on its own. Just listen to the captivating chorus and you’ll see what I mean.

Lyrically, the song talks about those small bits of luxury we do enjoy from time to time and used to take for granted. After a year and a half of a pandemic, I think we all can relate to that theme now that even going to a restaurant or a live concert seems sumptuous. Champagne Shots is the perfect song to play the next time we do something we once considered normal.

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boy blush – Hell With You

Artist: boy blush

Song: Hell With You

Genres: #indiemusic #indiepop

Location: Los Angeles, California

Release date: April, 2021.

Comment: boy blush is the stage name of Dylan Stone, someone who always dreamed to release music but didn’t dare to do so until the pandemic arrived and some friends heard this tune and gave him a little push. I’m glad they did because if you told me that Hell With You was written by a seasoned songwriter with multiple hits under her name and recorded at a famous studio with a well-known producer, I could totally believe you. I really hope Dylan keeps releasing music.

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Nine Days – Absolutely (Story of a Girl)

Artist: Nine Days

Song: Absolutely (Story of a Girl)

Genres: #alternativerock

Location: Long Island, New York

Release date: May, 2000.

Comment: This song is a classic from 21 years ago. Even though they were never able to replicate the success of this hit, they do have quite a few good songs. They took a long hiatus but got back together in 2016. Maybe they’ll surprise us with another hit in the future. Meanwhile, enjoy this #ThrowbackThursday!

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AO – Through The Storm

Aria Pullman Ostrander has done a little bit of everything. She’s been a model; an actress, appearing on numerous tv shows and films and on her own comedy show on Youtube with her friend Alexandra Holden, who you might remember from Friends); a songwriter, writing for herself and also for fellow artists, with several of her songs featured on films and tv shows; and a singer, which is the reason I’m talking about her today. By the way, the Ostrander in her name comes from being married to Josh Ostrander, better known as Mondo Cozmo, for whom she co-wrote several songs in both of his albums. Naturally, he returned the favour by helping her produce her debut solo album, Life Out Loud (LOL).

As a solo artist, Aria uses the moniker AO and her music style is moody indie pop in the same vein as Lana Del Rey. They even have a similar tone of voice, which makes the comparison unavoidable. My favorite songs in LOL are Heaven and Through The Storm, ultimately choosing the latter one because it had a lyric video. It is an entrancing and atmospheric track that couples Aria’s ethereal vocals with layers of sounds that give it a rich texture. This is not a song to sing along or dance to, but you can enjoy it in silence all day long without getting tired. Through The Storm pulls you in like a dream you don’t want to wake up from.

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Julia Michaels – All Your Exes

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.

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The Hisunz – CNTRDCTNS

CNTRDCTNS sounds great. Period. But when you are told that it is just the second single The Hisunz have ever released, then you can’t help but feel blown away. Well, I guess it helps a lot to have the guidance of another band that has been around for a long time now: The Ting Tings, who co-wrote and produced some of their songs. The Hisunz were formed in East London but both of their members, Emma Barber and Alex Roman, come from Spain. In fact, they’re currently in that country preparing their debut album.

The Hisunz cite The XX as one of their influences and you can definitely sense that in CNTRDCTNS, which mixes layered guitars and atmospheric electronic sounds with dreamy vocal melodies. It’s a mesmerizing indie rock song that you will want to put on repeat. Highly recommended!

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The Rising – So Alive

So Alive came up a few days ago while I was working and it immediately made me look at what other music this little known #alternativerock band called The Rising had released since then. I didn’t know much about them and So Alive was their only song in my library. Sadly, my research revealed bad news only.

The Rising was formed by Australian singer Michael Johns, and if that name rings a bell to you is probably because he finished in eighth place on the seventh season of American Idol (2008). The Rising’s first and only album, Future Unknown, was released in 2003 and then again in 2008 after Johns’ appearance on the aforementioned TV show. It never really sold much but Michael was then able to release a solo album in 2009 that sold 20,000 copies. The really sad news was that Michael passed away in 2014, aged just 35, of dilated cardiomyopathy. Way too young.

So Alive might be a little known song but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthy of your attention. There are plenty of little gems out there that never received a fair chance. As a tribute to Michael Johns, I thought of sharing one of his best songs with you in this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry in case you weren’t aware of it. I really hope you can enjoy it!

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TROUBLESHOOT – Inside My Head

I’ve been sick for the past few days, which is the reason why I wasn’t able to post anything since Saturday. Inside My Head is the song I was planning to write about on Monday but things didn’t go as planned. Anyway, that’s life.

I wrote about British artist Troubleshoot four months ago when he released his song Worst Bad Habit and now he’s back with a new track that sounds even better while maintaining a similar musical style. He got help from sound engineer Alex Edge for recording, mixing and mastering Inside My Head, which will be part of Troubleshoot‘s forthcoming debut album and one of his favorite tracks. The song talks about the ideal work Ben has created in his head, which contrasts with the toxic place he perceives the real world to be nowadays. The end result is a powerful and catchy alternative rock song like those that were popular 20 years ago.

Check it out below and support this up-and-coming music artist.

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almost sex – Blue Heaven

It’s hard to believe that we’re already in June. It was more than 6 months ago when we were introduced to alternative act almost sex back in January. Since then, they have released a few more singles and even an acoustic EP so to say that they have been very active in 2021 would be an understatement. Each new song has been considerably different to the previous ones and their latest single, Blue Heaven, is no exception. I think it is the one I have liked the most since Charmer, but that does not mean that their others releases are not worth your time. They are.

What I really enjoy about Blue Heaven is its groovy backing track. I don’t know how Nick and Warren do it but it is kind of addictive. You can’t get enough of it. The vocals match the infectious rhythm perfectly well, resulting in a well-rounded song that you will want to play on repeat. Again and again. Check it out below.

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The Black Mamba – Love Is On My Side

I was busier than expected this week, which is the reason for the short amount of updates here. I hope I can compensate for that by featuring here a great song that was totally overlooked at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

If you have never heard of that contest (it is not very popular in North America), our friend Jeff from the great Eclectic Music Lover blog, offered a concise summary when he reviewed the winning song from this edition, which wasn’t my favorite but I didn’t dislike. There is something you need to understand about Eurovision: most people watch it –and we’re talking about more than 200 million worldwide– not because of the quality of the contestants but to laugh at some of the over-the-top and often ludicrous acts that some countries send to this contest each year (for example, this one). A jury from each country awards points to 10 other countries, which accounts for half of the total amount of points. The other half comes from popular vote (people can’t vote for the act representing their own country). However, quite often political reasons influence how the country juries vote and the general public regularly selects the most extravagant acts, which means that the winning song is rarely the most deserving one (I mean, this song won in 2018). Therefore, if you don’t hate the winning song, you can consider yourself satisfied.

All that being said, this year’s edition was better than expected in terms of the quality of the contestants. Most of them were at least decent and a few were even more than good. In my opinion, by far the best entry was the act representing Portugal: The Black Mamba, and their song Love Is On My Side. It finished in 12th place but as I explained above, that doesn’t mean much. What really matters is that the tune, which was the first Portuguese song in the contest performed entirely in English, is outstanding. It starts with bluesy undertones reminiscing of rock tracks from the 1970s, which contrasts very well with the catchy chorus more typical of an #indierock track. It also helps that the band’s frontman’s, Pedro Tatanka, voice is really distinctive and perfect for this kind of music.He wrote the song inspired by a sex worker the band met during a trip to Rotterdam in 2019. Written from her perspective, it reflects how all hope is not lost even when life does not go as planned.

I hope you enjoy Loves Is On My Side as much as I did.

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