Couchsleepers – All The Best Intentions

Harrison Wood Hsiang, the Vermont-based songwriter who founded the collective of musicians and artists known as Couchsleepers, is upfront in telling you that he actually makes his living as a neuroscientist. After all, it comes up in everything that is written about his band. I can imagine that it could get really tiring, but, at the same time, I can’t blame the people writing those articles. It’s actually a pretty cool fact. He formed Couchsleepers in 2019 during the third year of his graduate studies because he needed a way to express all his creativity. Fast-forward to 2021 and they have received hundreds of thousands of streams and even one fan with a Couchsleepers tattoo. Not bad at all.

All The Best Intentions is the band’s latest single. It’s a song about that feeling we get when we’re about to do something that we know we shouldn’t do but want to anyway. Melodically, it has a really strong Snow Patrol vibe and all the ingredients it needs to become a hit with the right marketing (I know, easier said than done). At the very least, it will help Harrison and Coachsleepers to keep growing their audience organically. I, for one, am now intrigued by the great music they have yet to release.

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The Wallflowers – Three Marlenas

You might have heard this week’s news on The Wallflowers releasing their first album in 9 years next month. They even released its lead single already, which is okay, I guess, but nothing to write home about. While I’m not a die-hard fan of Jakob Dylan‘s band (I wasn’t even aware they had made an album in the last decade), they do have some really great songs that were very popular during the The Wallflower‘s heyday. Their most famous –and probably best– song is One Headlight, which won two Grammys and became the first song to top all three of Billboard‘s rock charts: modern rock, mainstream and adult alternative.

All that being said, I do have a soft spot for a far more modest single from the same Bringing Down The Horse album: Three Marlenas. It peaked at number 51 on the Hot 100 chart and is not the song most people immediately think about when they hear this band’s name, but it is that song for me. Take a walk with me down memory lane with this week’s #ThrowbackThursday song.

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Twenty One Pilots – Trees

You can love them or hate them but you can’t deny Twenty One Pilots is one of the biggest musical acts out there. They hit it big in 2015 with their album Blurryface and basically every single song they have released since then has become a success. Until not that long ago, I thought that record was their debut album but, as probably know, I was very wrong: it was their third. In 2019, I decided to watch some of the performances from that year’s Reading Festival on video-on-demand, which included this musical duo from Columbus, Ohio. That was the first time I listened to Trees, a little gem from their second album, Vessel (2013), and that they used to close their show (which made me think it was a fan favorite). They put an amazing spectacle performing this track then (you can watch it below) and it blew me away. It immediately became a #musicalcrush.

Tyler Joseph and Josh Dunn are releasing a new album, Scaled And Icy, in May. While we wait for it, please enjoy this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry: Trees.

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Young Rising Sons – Halloween

With the Easter break, I don’t have much time for writing this post, so I’m going to take the opportunity to feature a little gem from a signed #indiepop band that is popular enough to have its own Wikipedia entry: Young Rising Sons. I first heard of this band from New Jersey when their debut single, High, became viral around 2014 and stayed on my radar ever since. They released Halloween in October 2020 but I didn’t pay much attention to it until February or so. Let me tell you, from the moment I really listened to it, I became hooked. I’ve been playing it over and over during this time and am still not tired of it.

Have you ever been in a relationship with somebody who gave you mixed signals? That’s basically what Halloween is about and also what makes the lyrics so relatable. Lead vocalist Andy Tongren wears his heart on his sleeve on this song and the music arrangement during the chorus is really stunning. I know Halloween is the wrong holiday for this time of the year but, between you and me, I don’t really care. Enjoy.

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4 Non Blondes – What’s Up

I wasn’t planning to feature What’s Up as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday song when I mentioned it in the Marcelo Deiss‘ entry, but I’ve stumbled upon it quite a few times since then, I even listened to a nice cover I might feature in the near future. It is a great and extremely catchy song, don’t get me wrong, but chances are you know that already. After all, it’s a classic.

4 Non Blondes are considered one-hit-wonders but that’s basically because they didn’t give themselves another chance. The band broke up shortly after What’s Up became an international hit, and it was just the second single off their first and only album. However, lead singer/songwriter Linda Perry remained active within the music industry, founding record labels and writing and producing hits for other artists, including Beautiful by Christina Aguilera. By the way, Linda hated how What’s Up was produced for the commercial version we all know. She preferred her demo version but it hasn’t been released.

One final piece of trivia: the song’s title is never mentioned in the lyrics. What is mentioned, quite prominently, is “what’s going on“. However, there is a classic Marvin Gaye song with that name, which is why, in order to avoid any confusion, they went with What’s Up instead.

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Eighty Ninety – Forever

Forever is the latest single from NYC-based brothers Abner and Harper James, aka Eighty Ninety. I don’t know the exact reason why they chose that moniker but if you told me that it was because they wanted to emulate the style of indie pop music from the 1980s and 1990s, I’d believe you because that’s exactly how they sound like. As stated in their bio, they “fuse intimate storytelling, sticky melodies, and minimalist pop productions built on acoustic instruments and electronic sounds in a style they call ‘808s and telecasters‘”. They debuted in 2016 and even got Taylor Swift to add one of their songs, Your Favorite Song, to her official Spotify playlist with tunes she loves.

Forever will be part of Eighty Ninety‘s upcoming sophomore EP. It is a warm song in the duo’s signature chill-pop style . Even though the song’s theme is about unrequited love, it is actually pretty uplifting. The whole tracks feels like a daydream we won’t want to wake up from. Give it a listen below.

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Kafka Kaya – Kyrie Eleison

Kyrie Eleison is a transliteration of Ancient Greek meaning “Lord, Have Mercy”, which is an important prayer of Christian liturgy (thank you, Wikipedia). This is as far as I can tell you about the meaning of this song without guessing (I think it is about someone who is down on his luck), but the good news is that we don’t need to know more in order to enjoy it. The low-key vocals, electronic soundscape and synths give the tune a soothing effect that I find very appealing. There is comfort in sound and Kyrie Eleison is proof of it.

Julien Zeno Bitter is the man behind Kafka Kaya, a solo act that he started in 2015 after his previous band split up. With origins in the quiet but beautiful countryside of Switzerland but based now in Berlin, Kafka Kaya has a background in electronic music with a predilection for authentic acoustic sounds. As many other independent artist, Julien produces his music himself and is getting ready to release a new EP in April, which will include Kyrie Eleison too. Check him out below.

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Duccbod – No Sympathy

There’s some rawness in No Sympathy that makes it incredibly compelling. It was written by Duccbod during a difficult period for him in which his inner monologue had turned particularly dark. This song was his way of coming to terms with his emotions and purge himself of them. The result was this haunting piece that is as heartfelt as it is hard to catalogue. I mean, it is an indie rock track with elements of rap at times and one of the most magnetic choruses you will find today. It gets heavier towards the end without losing its contemporary essence. No Sympathy is really something else.

Duccbod is the moniker of Ryan Skidmore, an obviously talented artist from Lincolnshire, UK. With a wide array of influences, ranging from The 1975 to Lil Peep, Sublime and Post Malone; it’s not surprising that No Sympathy has what he calls “sonic fluidity”. After starting composing bedroom pop songs, with over 20 singles under his belt, he has transitioned into a more versatile artist. He’s currently working on his biggest and most industrious project yet, for which No Sympathy is just a little taster. Listen to this great tune below and you will see why I’m genuinely waiting for Duccbod‘s next project with anticipation.

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Fireflight – Wrapped In Your Arms

Earlier this week I mentioned the Grammy-nominated band Fireflight and it is possible you hadn’t heard of them before (they do have a decent fanbase but they are not entirely household names either). Therefore, I think it would be pertinent to talk a bit about them in this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.

Fireflight are technically a Christian Rock band but not all their songs are about religious themes (I could be wrong but I think the track I’m recommending today is simply a love song). They are usually compared to bands like Evanescence and Paramore just because they are also female-fronted rock bands that often leaned towards the heavier side (Paramore not so much anymore). They were formed in 1999 and have released seven albums so far, including one last year. For Those Who Wait (2010) is their most successful record to date.

This band from Florida got quite a few nice tracks but my favorite one is this overlooked gem called Wrapped In Your Arms from their third studio album: Unbreakable (2008). It wasn’t even a single but it is a really outstanding song. The first half of it is very laid-back and features the beautiful voice of lead singer Dawn Michele’s prominently, but what I really love about this tune is how all of a sudden the whole band comes in after the second chorus taking everything up a notch. Hope you can enjoy this track as much as me.

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Vega4 – Life Is Beautiful

I will keep this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry short and simple after discussing Vega4 on Monday’s post. In summary, Vega4 was a short-lived band fronted by Johnny McDaid from Snow Patrol. They released two albums but the first one is really hard to find. The follow-up, You And Others (2006), is the one featuring Life Is Beautiful, which had a lot of exposure back then. This song is certainly special but the whole album is really good. I highly recommend it.

It’s sad that Vega4 didn’t release more albums but the silver lining is that the band’s demise allowed Johnny to join Snow Patrol and also write songs for other artists such as Kodaline and Example. As a piece of trivia, Johnny has been dating Courteney Cox since 2013.

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