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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Will Naisbitt – Do It Again

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.

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Majozi – Close To You

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.

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Chvrches feat. Robert Smith – How Not To Drown

I had been wanting to feature Chvrches here for a long time now but I was waiting for the right opportunity. They they have just released the second single off their forthcoming fourth album, Screen Violence, and I really liked it, so I decided to take the plunge. I’m a big fan of Chvrches’ first two albums but not so much of the third one, Love Is Dead: it was not a bad album but it wasn’t at the same level as the other two. I thought that He Said She Said, the lead single for Screen Violence, could have been in their previous album but this new song, which features the legendary Robert Smith from The Cure, is something else completely. In a sense, it sounds exactly as you would expect from combining the two bands’ styles, while, at the same time, it’s kind of surprising to see how great that hybrid sounds.

How Not To Drown is a song about coping with everything that’s going on in your life and how sometimes you might feel like you just want to go away. If features Chvrches’ electronic soundscapes they got us used to, and, as usual, great vocals from lead singer Lauren Mayberry, one of the coolest and more down-to-earth music artists out there today. Having Robert Smith as well is just the cherry on top. Check this great song out below and start your weekend with a bang.

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Jacko Hooper – This Was The Earth

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.

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Shaun Riley – Secret

Shaun Riley is a solo #indiepop artist from Minneapolis that has just released his debut EP: Drive, written, recorded, and mixed by him at home. He also has a Youtube channel where he uploads acoustic covers of popular songs. In a nutshell, that’s all there is to know about Shaun in terms of biographic details, and, quite frankly, that’s all we need. Well, that and the facts that he got a really good voice for pop songs and can write a great hook or two.

Secret, the first track in Drive, is a great example of that. It’s an unpretentious song about feeling infatuated at the beginning of a relationship but good luck getting that chorus out of your head afterwards. On these short track reviews, rather than describing each element of the featured song, I just try to give the reader reasons for spending 3 minutes of your valuable time listening to a song. For Secret, I can’t think of better reasons than flawless vocals and how catchy the chorus is. Everything else is secondary.

We should definitely keep Shaun Riley in our radars.

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Dawning – Ennui

Ennui is the word used to refer to that feeling of dissatisfaction you get when you have nothing to do. I suppose Michigan-based artist Aaron Senor, aka Dawning, really hates feeling ennui because he wasted no time between releasing his debut EP, Petals, back in March, and his new single, Ennui. As it was the case before, the great Eclectic Music Lover wrote a flawless review of the single well worth your time. All I can add now is that this is an upbeat indie pop track that can be part of our summer’s soundtrack. You won’t want to miss it!

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Daniel Etherton – Foundations

Foundations is the debut single of London-based British artist Daniel Etherton, and as far as debut singles go, it cannot get much better than this. Released back in February, Foundations is a sweet tune with an acoustic guitar-based melody that really does sound great. One of the reasons for that is Daniel’s voice, which is perfect for an #indiefolk track such as this one. When he sings the lyrics, which reflect on internal struggles and real friendships from a hopeful perspective, it feels like he really means every single word. The song is long enough to make you appreciate how talented Daniel is as singer-songwriter, but at 2:41, it is also short enough to leave you wanting more.

I do hope Foundations gets enough success and recognition to encourage Daniel Etherton to keep writing and recording music. If this is what he did as a new music artist, just imagine what he will be able to do with more experience and confidence. The sky is really the limit for him.

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Mike Robert – Cold

After completing his service time in the army and travelling across Europe and North America for 5 months, American #singersongwriter Mike Robert decided to write a music album as well as record it and produce it from home while playing all the instruments himself. You would think it was recorded and produced in a high-end music studio by the way Cold, one of its lead singles, sounds. This debut album will be quite good.

Cold is one of those songs that sound pretty uplifting while the lyrics tell a different story. In this case, the song is about feeling trapped and ‘underwater’, unable to feel excitement about anything. The happy energy in the tune’s arrangement represents Mike’s desire for happiness and feeling love. It starts with an acoustic guitar that gives the track a #folkpop vibe, followed by an infections beat that will get you to tap your feet right away. By the time the rest of the instruments come into play, you are already hooked. Listen to this earworm at your own peril.

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Moon Museum – Pleasures of Peace

Moon Museum describe their style as dream rock and after you listen to their debut single, Pleasures of Peace, you’ll understand why. There are some ethereal elements in the track. It kind of makes sense too, considering that songwriter Ryan Joseph got the melody from a dream. The band cites as influences bands like Slowdive and Doves, but for this song in particular, I can’t help but think of Wolf Alice and their song Bros. If you like that song, Pleasures of Peace will be right up your alley.

Moon Museum started as a collaboration between Ryan (vocals/guitar/keys) and Ian Zazueta (lead guitar), who knew each other from the music scene in San Francisco. The pair then contacted Olivia Barchard (vocals/guitar/keys), who was working on her own solo material and after discovering how similar their styles were, she decided to join them and explore the dynamics of having contrasting male and female vocals. Last but no least, they recruited their friend Aaron Hazen to play drums. Unfortunately, the pandemic slowed things down for Moon Museum but they emerged from it with 3 singles ready to be shared with the world. Pleasures of Peace was the first one but they just released a second one called With You that is worth your time as well. I’m genuinely looking forward to their third single.

You should seriously check them out.

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