Young Ritual – Dylan’s Dream

Dylan Grantham is a singer/songwriter from Michigan who writes and performs music as Young Ritual. Having the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and The National as influences, he composes beautiful indie/folk songs highlighted by honest lyrics, his heartfelt voice and his guitar. The global pandemic in 2020 gave him an opportunity to stay creative, releasing a stripped-down EP, Spare Room, earlier this year and even more songs after that. Dylan’s Dream was the first single from that EP.

Written, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Grantham from his home studio, Dylan’s Dream is a captivating song about a fever dream where people act on their worst impulses, leading to a dystopian society. Its title is a callback to an older Bob Dylan song called, Bob Dylan’s Dream. Both tracks are similar in style, but if I had to choose only one of them, I think I would prefer Young Ritual‘s one. I’m not saying you’ll agree with me, but you should at least give it a chance, which you can do on the mixtapes below.

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Bedside Manners – What It Seems

This five-piece band from Merseyside, Bedside Manners, epitomizes British rock. Creating what they describe as dirty indie rock/punk, their style feels like an amalgamation of many British bands such as Arctic Monkeys, the 1975 and even Oasis, resulting in riffs-heavy energetic rock. After starting out in 2018 with the release of their first EP, they have quickly garnered a following, with one of their singles gaining over 200k streams on Spotify. As with any other artist this year, Bedside Manners has been impacted by the Covid situation, but that hasn’t stop them from releasing a new single, What It Seems, which is also –in my opinion– their best one yet.

This banger consists of nearly three minutes of shimmy-inducing rock & roll. A song of multiple meanings, it manly deals with the subject of reminiscing about the past and wondering what would have happens if we had made different decisions. One decision you won’t have to regret though, is listening to What It Seems now. It will bring some energy to your Tuesday.

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Forest Blakk – If You Love Her

I think one of the hardest things for a songwriter to do is to write beautiful romantic songs that aren’t cheesy. Seriously, how many are there that don’t say things like “I’ll die for you” or “I can’t live without you”? Not that many. Luckily, that list is slightly bigger now with the addition of this new song from Canadian singer/songwriter Forest Blakk: If You Love Her. It is a nice song with great vocals and a good melody, but what really sets it apart, I think, are its lyrics.

I discovered Forest Blakk two years ago when Apple Music recommended its song Tread Lightly to me. He describes his style as urban folk, mixing the tranquility of folk music with the chaotic rhythm of a city. He’s been releasing his songs to streaming platforms just since 2018 but at a steady pace, so he got a good number of singles out already. Check them out when you feel thirsty for new music.

For the time being, listen to this beautiful song here.

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Oasis – Champagne Supernova

Speaking of iconic albums celebrating 25 years this month, Oasis‘ legendary album, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? also fits the bill. It featured hit after hit and if you ask different people what their favorite song from this record is, you will likely get different answers each time. For example, Some Might Say that it is that song; or Wonderwall, which usually tops ‘Best of’ chats and lists; or Don’t Look Back In Anger, recently crowned as the greatest song of the 1990s by listeners of Absolute Radio. However, if you ask me, the best track is one that wasn’t even released as a single in the UK (it was a single in the US though), Champagne Supernova, which is why I chose it as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.

At “just” 07:30 minutes, I love the way this song starts. People complain about the lyrics being psychedelic –i.e: making no sense–, but I think they are great. You give them the meaning you want . You can complain about the track being too long (up to you), but everything else is spot on. Oasis might not exist as a band anymore, but thankfully, we’ll always have this record and, in particular, Champagne Supernova.

This writer, he was going on about the lyrics to “Champagne Supernova”, and he actually said to me, “You know, the one thing that’s stopping it being a classic is the ridiculous lyrics.” And I went, “What do you mean by that?” And he said, “Well, Slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball — what’s that mean?” And I went, “I don’t know. But are you telling me, when you’ve got 60,000 people singing it, they don’t know what it means? It means something different to every one of them.

Noel Gallagher, Oasis

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LEK – World Cup

One important quality all artist must have is perseverance. There are countless stories of writers, painters and musicians, among others, who found success only after they were rejected multiple times. If you believe in yourself, just keep trying. That is something that today’s artist, LEK, got in his favour: he doesn’t take no as an answer.

Born in New York and based in New Jersey, this multi-intrumentalist artist has led quite an interesting life. From leaving medical school to follow an Indian guru in California, to backpacking for months in Southeast Asia, India and South America, including teaching himself how to read and write Thai, he has done it all. Now, Lek is focusing on his music, having released 3 full albums in 2020 alone already, each one of them covering different genres: from psychedelic rock to acoustic folk going through Thai rock covers.

Now, I’m not a big fan of psychedelic music, and when LEK reached out to me to see if I would be interested in featuring one his earlier songs from that genre, I declined letting him know that. Then, when he was about to release his latest album, Surya, which leans more towards the indie/folk side, he reached out again to gauge my interest, which led me to discover World Cup. It got a nice melody with beautiful guitars and soothing vocals, but what really sets it apart are its lyrics. Had you heard before a folk song mentioning Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo? This is your chance!

Featured on the following mixtapes:

Lomon – Little Visitors

Lomon is a Seattle-based musician who feels out of place, as if he had been born a thousand years early. His style is described as psychedelic indie electronic, and perhaps that is the case in general, but this particular song we are featuring today, Little Visitors, is actually closer to glam rock. There’s certainly a David Bowie vibe to it.

Passionate about science fiction and all things related to space, Lomon, aka Zander Chocron, usually writes songs about our planet, taking care of it, and space exploration. Little Visitors, for example, is a metaphor for the human race not appreciating the beautiful planet we have. All in all, Lomon is certainly an artist with plenty to say and the creativity to do so in quirky and interesting ways. Check him out below.

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Nick Kingswell – I Didn’t Try

Nick Kingswell is an Australian singer-songwriter whose music deserves to be featured in indie movie soundtracks. I Didn’t Try is a perfect example of that, with its acoustic backdrop, sweet melody and Nick’s soothing voice; it could very well be the song that started playing when Tom is lovesick after Summer breaks up with him in 500 Days of Summer. And that is a movie with a great soundtrack.

Nick recently moved to the UK looking to push his music career, and the experience of adapting to a new place while longing for your home place inspired him to write a few songs for his new album, Brontide, which will be released this month. Keep him on your radar because this kind of heartfelt music is always welcome. While we wait for the new album, listen to I Didn’t Try and add it to your soundtrack for this week or month.

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Habitantes – Antes de partir

I’ve said before that music is universal, and in the same way we featured earlier a song written and performed in French, it is the turn now for a nice indie song in Spanish. Habitantes is an alternative/indie rock band from Mexico that can be really versatile when it comes to musical style. They can go from high-energy garage rock to indie folk with stunning ease. Antes de partir is an example of the latter type of music, a melodic and captivating tune that reveals the acoustic side of this Latin American act.

After starting in 2015, they have released singles and b-sides consistently since then. There will be a new full length album out very soon too. Antes de partir is not going to be part of it, which prompted Habitantes to drop it as a single now. It has been produced by themselves, as they are passionate about all aspects of making music. I don’t think they are widely known outside of Mexico yet, but they got the talent to become a force within the Latin American rock scene and beyond. They only need a tiny bit of luck. Hopefully, this little entry will help.

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No Doubt – Don’t Speak

This iconic album, No Doubt‘s Tragic Kingdom, is 25 years old this month, and, as a homage, I decided to feature one of its songs as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry. Usually, with bands or albums this popular, I try to highlight the lesser-known gems, but I can’t do that this time around. I got a soft spot for Don’t Speak and can’t pick another song (which would probably have been Just A Girl, which is pretty popular anyway) over it. I’m sorry.

Enjoy this classic song from 1995.

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Free Country – Throw My Voice

Throw My Voice is a pretty quiet track that could have fitted pretty well in the award-winning soundtrack for Garden State. Free Country is the stage name of singer/songwriter Jason Ribadeneyra, who earlier this year released his second EP, The Life Of Riley, which consists of 8 songs. Throw My Voice is the second single off of it.

Jason lost his brother to the opioid epidemic in the US and I can’t help but think the heartfelt lyrics in this single were at least inspired by him. An indie folk track, Throw My Voice is one of those songs you can enjoy best on a rainy day. If you enjoy emotive folk songs with soothing melodies, this little song will be right up your alley.

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