I didn’t check but I think Five Days North are becoming the first artist or band to be featured herethree 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.
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.
Birmingham-native, London-based singer-songwriter Will Naisbitt is just 19 but already knows a thing or two about writing a hook. After cutting his teeth as a busker since he was even younger, Will released his debut single in 2019 and he hasn’t stopped releasing new songs at a steady pace. He’s been gaining notoriety and support from bloggers and radio stations alike, including BBC Introducing. I hadn’t heard of him until Do It Again dropped back in April, but that song alone is enough to make you think he’s got a promising future. If you take the time to check a few other tracks as well, you’ll be certain of that. Ed Sheeran got some competition.
Do It Again starts with some really infectious guitars and inviting rhythms. Will Naisbitt‘s vocals are really perfect for #indiepop music and that’s another reason why this track works so well. It is also pretty upbeat, even though it explores the difficult dynamics of lovers who enter a long-distance relationship. I wouldn’t be surprised if Do It Again became a summer hit but, at the very least, it should expose Will to a wider audience. This is just the start.
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.
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.
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!
WOLFNUNN is the electronic/dance project of London-based multi-instrumentalist, writer and producer Joshua Nunn. He draws inspiration for writing songs from watching movies, imagining wherein the movie his tracks would fit in. Case in point, he wrote Make Me Feel Bad, his first original release, right after watching The Matrix and his intention was to create an atmospheric track for the end credits. The ethereal vocals in the song are from Spain-based artist CLOUDE, who attends the same university in London Joshua goes to (he studies Music Technology), and they couldn’t fit the tune any better.
Listening to the track, it’s hard to believe that it was recorded remotely (thanks to the first lockdown) and mixed and produced with home equipment. You really cannot notice anything odd with the recording. All in all, it is pretty clear that Joshua is really talented as a music writer and producer and he could get really far with WOLFNUNN. Hopefully, he will make more collaborations with CLOUDE as well. The future is bright for them.
When someone tells you that a recently-released song got a strong 1980s influence, almost immediately you will think of synths of all types and shapes and, most of the time, you will be right. With Close To You, however, you would be very wrong because music from that decade was much more than just synths. Majozi is a South African #indiefolk / #indiepop artist who decided to push his boundaries further with his latest single by incorporating rhythms and sounds typical of tunes from the 1980s. Think Lionel Richie’s All Night Long with a folksy vibe and a sax-based bridge.
Majozi has been active in his home country for about 10 years and has even had several radio hits over there. He has grown a fanbase in South Africa due to his heartfelt lyrics written from his cheerful perspective of the world. Close To You is a good example of that because you will see that the track is pretty uplifting on its own. It’s the kind of music the whole world needs right now: the kind that will make you smile.
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.
Back in September 2020, British #singersongwriter Jacko Hooper was featured here with his single Beg, Steal or Borrow. I emphasized then how Jacko was able to easily transmit his emotions when he sang and after listening to his latest single, This Was The Earth, I’m happy to report that the above mentioned skill remains intact. Even though the new track sounds very different: there are no Indie Folk traces here, it’s still very intimate and emotional. Jacko’s great vocals really stand out.
This Was The Earth was written and recorded from Jacko’s bedroom with help from producer Josh Trinnaman. Jacko got inspired by how chaotic our lives have been since the pandemic started, especially for people with mental health problems, such as Jacko himself. That being said, the lyrics are generic enough so that everybody could really relate to them, regardless of time and space. It’s impossible not to feel something while listening to Jacko’s emotional vocals on this song. What exactly? That’s up to you but, above all things, I feel in awe of how talented Jacko Hooper is.