Sylvan Esso – Funeral Singers

Artist: Sylvan Esso

Song: Funeral Singers

Genres:  #folktronica

Location: North Carolina, United States

Release date: September, 2018.

Comment: One of my favorite tracks in Third Eye Blind’s new album, which we have discussed before, is Funeral Singers, which I thought was an original song until the band shared their influences for the new album on instagram and one of them was Sylvan Esso‘s Funeral Singers. It turns out that Sylvan Esso‘s version is also a cover, with the original being from experimental rock band Califone. Each version is different but if I had to pick just one, I think I’d choose Sylvan Esso‘s. There’s something about lead singer Amelia Meath‘s voice and the acoustic strums in the background that I find mesmerizing.

If, like me, you were not aware of Sylvan Esso before, I hope you enjoy this cover from 2018 (which features American musical ensemble Collections of Colonies of Bees) as much as I do.

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in earnest – i feel alone even if i’m not

Artist: in earnest

Song: i feel alone even if i’m not

Genres:  #indiefolk

Location: Southend on Sea, United Kingdom

Influences: Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers.

Release date: October, 2021.

Comment: Regular visitors to T.A.M. should already be familiar with indie trio in earnest, as they have been featured here a couple of times before. They are back now with their sophomore EP, reasons to stay alive, which is also their most artistically ambitious project to date. It is a six-track record with no gaps between songs that you could listen to on an infinite loop. Ideally, you would listen to the EP from beginning to end but if I had to choose just one song, then it would be i feel alone even if I’m not because of its haunting melody and emotional vocals. If you’re looking for some music to listen to during some alone time, you just found it.

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Chxrlotte – Hey?

ArtistChxrlotte

Song: Hey?

Genres: #indiefolk

Location: Brighton, United Kingdom

Release date: June, 2021

Comment: Ukulele-based indie folk music is hardly a novel idea, but when it is done well and has a compelling melody, who cares? That’s exactly the case with Hey?, the latest single from British #singersongwriter Chxrlotte, a talented young artist with a bright future that you should check out.

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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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Funeral Lakes – Solstice

ArtistFuneral Lakes

Song: Solstice

Genres: #indierock

Location: Ontario, Canada

Release date: August, 2021

Comment: I featured Funeral Lakes here exactly one year ago and now the duo is back with a brand new EP: Redeemer. As is usually the case with  this act, the songs in the new EP are all filled with social content. It explores themes such as the tension between faith and justice from the moment Solstice, the first track, starts playing. It is a captivating song that sets the tone for Redeemer. I wouldn’t call it a radio-friendly tune yet it keeps your attention with its moody melody and thought-provoking lyrics. Check it out.

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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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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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