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.
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.
All My Favorite Songs was released back in January and I’ve been meaning to feature it here since then. For one reason or another, it took me this long but the important thing here is that today’s the day. The lead single from Weezer‘s latest album, OK Human (pretty clever name), I think it is the best Weezer song in the last decade or so. According to the band’s frontman Rivers Cuomo, the lyrics reflect his music taste with the first line being: “All my favorite songs are slow and sad“, but those are far from being the adjectives I would use to describe this tune.
If this is your first time listening to All My Favorite Songs, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy!
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 albumBlurryface 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.
I’ve featured quite a few good bands from Michigan lately and today I got you another one. I don’t know what exactly is causing this avalanche of great indie music coming from that state but I hope they keep it coming. Shady Groves is a collective of singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists formed in 2015 and after going through some lineup changes, it now consists of just original founders: Adam Fitzgerald & Dylan Caron. Adam also started Underflow Records, whose goal is to draw attention to under-appreciated artists from the region.
With influences such as The Smiths and The Shins, it’s not shocking that Like You, the fourth single from their second full-length album, Dreamboat, feels old and modern at the same time. It’s kind of a musical reverie that could have been part of a TheBeach Boys album. However, do not think that all Shady Groves songs are like that. They’re really versatile in terms of genre, so if for some reason Like You is not right up your alley, they will probably have something else more suitable to your style. In my case, I really enjoy this track. Check it out in the mixtapes below.
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.
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.
Just to avoid any confusion, One is an original song and not a cover of the famous U2 classic. That being said, for some reason, it reminds me a lot of another classic: What’s Up by 4 Non Blondes. It is a magnetic alternative rock track with nice guitars and even elements of blues. The lyrics intertwine Portuguese and English to deliver a message about fighting back and standing together as one. The end result is pretty uplifting and invigorating.
One is also the first track of Hurl, the new EP from Brazilian-born and London-based musician Marcelo Deiss, whose goal as an artist is to evoke emotions through his music. As a keen observer, he writes about society from his experience merging his Brazilian culture with his English surroundings. He’s particularly worried about people getting overloaded with fake news, advertising and social media post and subsequently losing touch with reality and themselves. As a talented artist with a conscience, he makes it very easy to root for him.
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.
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.