Nate Adamson – Grace

At 5:32, Vancouver-born Nate Adamson‘s debut single, Grace, might appear to be too long but it is not because at 04:06 it switches up a gear and goes from being a good song to an outstanding one. I simply love those guitar riffs that complement the song so well. And did I mention that Nate did absolutely everything related to this song? Besides writing the song, singing and playing each instrument; he also recorded and produced every element using the studio he built from the ground up. Pretty impressive, if you ask me, for somebody who is just starting.

This singer-songwriter started listening to legends like Johnny Cash but later discovered more contemporary acts like Kings of Leon and Phoebe Bridgers, which is what ended up motivating him to create his own music. That being said, Grace reminds me a lot of Duncan Sheik, not just in style but also because of the soothing vocals. A bright song the artist wrote for the daughter he would like to have someday, it brings us hope by telling us that no matter how dire things might look right now, everything will be all right in the end. With more songs like Grace, I could totally believe that.

P.S: Since I wasn’t able to write a post on Monday and Wednesday this week, there won’t be a #ThrowbackThursday entry this week. Hopefully, it will return next time.

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Middle Part – Busy

After experiencing a major adversity, Brooklyn-based singer Andrew Selkōw moved to Alaska for a while to find himself. Being alone and surrounded by nature rekindled his love for literature and music and planted the seed for Middle Part to be born. Inspired by both 1990s and early 2000s alternative bands, Andrew composes sincere music that connects with you at many levels. On December, Middle Part released his debut EP, I Wish I Was Alive, which compiles the singles he had published already.

One of those singles is Busy, a laid-back tune that relies on hazy vocals, acoustic guitars, and soft synths to deliver a message of vulnerability. Influenced by artists like Natalie Imbruglia and Michelle Branch, Middle Part wrote Busy to warn us about the problems ego brings to friendships. I don’t know if it is because of the guitar, the vocals or the steady beat, but somehow this song reels you in and doesn’t let go until long after it’s ended.

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Eve 6 – Inside Out

Do you like the ‘heart in a blender’ song? If this question does not ring a bell to you, then you are not following Eve 6 on Twitter and, therefore, missing out on what has become one of the most entertaining accounts on that social media platform. Max Collins, the band’s frontman, became hyperactive with the account towards the end of 2020, tweeting whatever comes to his mind, from stories about other ‘nineties bands’ (as he usually refers to them) to his opinions about any subject. Sometimes he is joking and sometimes he’s telling the truth but often it is not obvious to figure out which tweet is which, with Max even referring to the whole stuff as a form of art. One of the funny things he’s been doing is asking different personalities and celebrities, from Kamala Harris to Taylor Swift, if they liked the ‘heart in a blender’ song. The Rolling Stone magazine even wrote an article about it.

Inside Out is the heart in a blender song and let me tell you, I’ve always liked it. It was part of Eve 6‘s debut album from 1998 and reached the number one spot on the Modern Rock charts. The band from Southern California broke up in 2004 but luckily got back together in 2012 and released a very nice album that year, Speak In Code. While they haven’t published any new music since then (other than a live album), they’re still together, although with a new drummer. Hopefully, there is some new music coming song. In the meantime, enjoy this week’s #ThrowbackThursday tune.

I would swallow my pride, I would choke on the rinds

But the lack thereof would leave me empty inside

Swallow my doubt turn it inside out

Find nothin’ but faith in nothin’

Want to put my tender, heart in a blender

Watch it spin around to a beautiful oblivion

Rendezvous then I’m through with you

Eve 6, Inside Out

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Xavier Valdez – Bear

Xavier Valdez is a singer/songwriter from California who debuted as a solo artist in 2020. However, he used to play bass and provide backup vocals on LA-based band MR CALL, so he wasn’t a neophyte to the music business. His style is indie rock with nice pop touches that make it really enjoyable. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that his sound is completely unique, but it’s certainly distinctive enough to be refreshing.

After releasing a few singles in early 2020, Xavier compiled them into his debut EP, Sun, in August. Then, in November, he dropped a brand new single, Bear, that really reflects everything I said above about Xavier’s sound. While Bear is the track I am recommending today, check out the Sun EP too. Xavier Valdez is certainly a talented artist who knows how to make appealing indie music.

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Josh Stevens – Hello Darling

Josh Stevens has either been nominated or won quite a few awards, including the Grammys, mostly as a music producer. He got all that success working with dance and/or hip-hop artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Steve Aoki and Pitbull. So, naturally, he now sings and writes indie rock songs. And, let me tell you, he’s quite good at that.

Late last year, Josh released a superb track called Hello Darling, which he wrote for her daughter. It is an upbeat and anthemic song with neat production and great, emotional vocals. The track even features some sleek guitar riffs that are just the cherry on top. Quite simply, it is a really great tune.

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Smallpools – A Real Hero

Last month, when I featured A Real Hero by College feat. Electric Youth as that week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry, I mentioned that I was planning to feature one of its many covers too. This great cover by Smallpools, released in 2015, is the one I was referring to. It is different enough to the original to seem a brand new song while maintaining its essence. I just love its atmospheric vibe and the guitar chords in the intro, as well as how the whole track goes in crescendo. Pro tip: if you have some high quality headphones or speakers, use them with this song.

Smallpools is a synth-happy 3-piece indie pop band from L.A. formed in 2013. Their debut single, Dreaming, got featured on the FIFA 14 videogame, which gave them a lot of exposure. Another single, Over & Over, was used in a promotional video for Snapchat. While their subsequent singles haven’t replicated the success the aforementioned tracks had, I think they have all followed a similar blueprint of indie pop. I believe what they did with A Real Hero is completely different to anything else they have done. While their music is generally good, gorgeous tracks like this cover are what could set them apart. They should do more of them,

almost sex – charmer

Nick Louis, who is a Brooklyn-based multi-instrumental singer songwriter who’s been involved with other bands and is skilful at writing catchy hooks, met HW LaSota, who is an architect and writer, online basically by chance. That led to several months of remote collaboration and eventually to the formation in 2020 of almost sex, which they describe as “a folky alternative post punk rock indie pop duo“. Nick is the lead singer and instrumentalist while HW writes the lyrics. provides harmonies and plays several instruments. They haven’t told me this but I guess the band’s name is meant to imply that their music is almost as good as sex. Clever.

The duo has released two singles so far. The first one, Knockoff, was more acoustic, revealing the folky alternative side of almost sex. The second single, on the other hand, relies more on a groovy electronic soundscape that hypnotizes you for the duration of the track, helped in no small part by HW LaSota‘s subtle harmonies as her voice combines pretty well with Nick‘s. Charmer is inspired by the story of the snake and the charmer (hence its cover art above) and closes with a cool coda that contrasts nicely with the rest of the track. Let me put it this way, this song could have been part of The Neighbourhood‘s debut album and been one of its highlights, that’s how good it is.

Pay attention to almost sex because they really got a promising future.

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Five Days North – Take Me Higher

Five Days North must be the band with the highest aggregate IQ. Really. Most, if not all, of the members of this five-piece act from Manchester are scientists or doctors. I don’t think there are many bands out there that can claim that. Their specialty in music is indie pop and they’re quite good at that, even winning a few competitions for unsigned bands in the UK.

Take Me Higher is just exhibit A of the knack they got for catchy melodies. The track, which was written as a collaborative piece amongst the band members, got colorful synths and incisive bass lines that make the whole song really hard to resist to. Released in 2020 after the lockdown, Five Days North have not been able to play it live yet but it will probably become one of the highlights of their live gigs once that becomes a thing again. In the meantime, you can improve your day by listening to this cheerful song below.

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Deep.Sleep – You and I

Deep.Sleep is an indie rock band from Newcastle upon Tyne that, at least before 2020, was turning heads touring the UK and even The Netherlands pretty successfully. Their music is generally upbeat and anthemic, not that different to bands like The 1975. The Geordie band has spent this year honing their craft, resulting in the release of their latest single, You and I. It is a song about anxiety, specifically the one frontman Dan Frend felt a few years ago when his then-girlfriend moved away to study and the fact that he felt he had to tough it up because of the toxic masculinity mindset that surrounded him. He managed to find a way to make it a light-hearted and catchy tune, and that in a nutshell represents what is great about this promising young band.

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The Lutras – Give It Up For Christmas

Don’t worry. I’m not going to start spamming you with holiday-themed songs. You can get plenty of those pretty much everywhere else. The thing with Give It Up For Christmas is that it got a couple of nice things going for it: first of all, it is actually a really good song, and, on top of that, it is a charity single with ALL proceeds being split between the Music VenuesTrust #saveourvenues campaign and Shelter. The catchy single was released earlier this month and counted with the collaboration of over 40 musicians and artists, including Edinburgh’s The Phoenix Choir. If you like alternative rock songs, you’ll like this track regardless of your position towards Christmas tunes. The fact that Give It Up For Christmas supports two well-deserving charities is just the cherry on top.

With regards to The Lutras, they’re one of Scotland’s hottest emerging rock bands, topping a public vote across nearly 1000 artists to be crown winners of Firestone‘s annual search for the UK’s best independent music artist in 2019. After originally starting in 2013, it wasn’t until 2016 that this 4-piece band recorded its debut EP and things really started to take off in 2018. This year was lining up to be huge for them with a really busy schedule but then coronavirus happened. Luckily, from the sound of their latest single, it seems The Lutras will be able to pick things up right where they left off.

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