Night Traveler – Watching You

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to add a new entry yesterday, but I’ll try to make up for that today. Here, I bring this musical crush from Night Traveler, a terrific duo from Austin, Texas. I discovered this song back in August but between prioritising submissions and other plans, I had been delaying its inclusion here. It’s about time that changed because Watching You certainly deserved better than that. It’s a really great track.

The duo recently released their debut EP, Dreams You Don’t Forget, for which Watching You was its latest single. An atmospheric track of searing indie pop with traces of melancholic 80s music, this song got everything you need to put it on repeat, including the perfect vocals for this type of music. Actually, I dare you to listen to this great tune just once. I had to put it on repeat.

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Cultures – Shake

Manchester band Cultures, which you should know already if you’ve been paying attention ;-), are back with, in my humble opinion, an even better single than its predecessor (which was pretty good on its own). Shake is a catchier single with hooks from beginning to end that will probably still play on your mind long after the song has finished. Lyrically, it pertinently talks about how everything is better when you have good company, even being stuck in one place.

If Shake is a glimpse of where Cultures is headed now, then they’re going in the right direction. Here we are looking forward to more singles from this promising band.

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Evaride – What’s It All For?

I feel like I should have known about American band Evaride for a while now. Formed by the former guitar player on Glee and one of the stars in Billy Joe Armstrong’s Broadway musical “American Idiot”, their debut single got over 4 million streams on Spotify and then the band got songs featured in video games and some tv shows. Their debut EP Vol. 1 got several heavyweight producers and sound-mixers involved such as Chris Lord-Alge. I mean, there was certainly some buzz about them. That being said, I only know about Evaride because they liked one of my posts on Instagram and it caught my attention because they had the verified badge.

What’s It All For? was the first song from Evaride that I played and it blew me away how well it sounded. The top-notch production made sense once I saw who had been involved, but besides that, it was a high-energy, catchy and fun pop-rock song like those from yesteryear that are not common anymore. Even better, the lyrics had a deeper meaning than what you would expect from such a fun song (and music video, see below), basically talking about all those little stupid things we tend to do or give importance to that are essentially meaningless, like people doing whatever it takes to get more likes on social media. What could be better than songs with great melodies and good lyrics?

It will be interesting to see how far Evaride will go in the next few years.

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Serenade The Stars – Rewind

Serenade The Stars are a U.K. based alternative rock act that reminds me a lot of the kind of bands that were popular in the late 90s and early 2000s. Formed in 2017, they have been releasing singles at a steady pace, with Rewind being their latest one, released last week. Now, I got to be honest: I don’t love the way the song was produced. I think there’s something odd with it and, as a result, the song doesn’t sound as neat as it could (and I don’t mean the bits that were obviously done on purpose). That being said, I’m not a music producer and I could be entirely wrong.

Production issues or non-issues aside, I actually like the song and I think the band’s lead singer has a nice voice for alternative rock. Lyrically, the song talks about “rewinding” back to better or easier times, in order to remember what gave us purpose when we feel lost. All in all, I think Serenade The Stars got a lot of potential and we will be cheering for them to live up to it. Listen to Rewind below and please let me know your thoughts (here or on the usual social medial channels). I’m particularly curious about your views on this one.

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Needtobreathe – Hang On

Needtobreathe, stylized as NEEDTOBREATHE, is a band from South Carolina, United States, that has been around for nearly 20 years. During that time, they have consistently released strong and often successful albums (the last one debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart) but, nevertheless, they remain a mostly unknown band to the casual music fan outside the US. Their music style lies on the fence between folk, country and alternative rock. In a way, you could say they are an older and lesser-known version of Mumford & Sons.

The band will release their seventh studio album in August but a couple of their new songs have been made available already, with Hang On being one of those. It is a great song that perfectly represents what the band is about. With its upbeat rhythm and extremely catchy chorus, it got all the necessary ingredients to become a musical crush. Enjoy it below.

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Arlo Parks – Creep

Arlo Parks, which is how Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho is professionally known, is a singer and poet from South London with a voice to die for. In a poll of music critics ran by the BBC, Sound of 2020, she was predicted as a breakthrough act for this year. We all know what has really happened in 2020 but Arlo is so talented that she might still prove those critics right even despite the circumstances.

Arlo cannot really be classified into a specific genre, as she could flirt with R&B and soul as easily as she could do the same with indie or bedroom pop; but the song being added today to our mixtapes is definitely indie. And yes, I know this legendary Radiohead song has been covered hundreds of times by plenty of talented artists, yet Arlo Parks‘ version is so breathtaking and unique that it feels like the first time listening to Creep. The truth is that nothing I could say here would make this stunning version any justice. Just judge by yourself, here:

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The Illness – Phrases Redacted

I have to say, Phrases Redacted is a weird song. It is basically Bob Nastanovich (from an old school indie rock band called Pavement) speaking over a stream of groovy sounds. Yet, I really dig it, because the music somehow perfectly complements Bob’s words in a hypnotic way. You can certainly tell that the musicians who form The Illness not only know each other well but also have been making music for a long time.

The band is a UK collective of members from different bands on Sea Records, who had been jamming together at times but procrastinating the formal release of new music until –of all years– 2020, when it finally happened. Phrases Redacted is one of two songs the band has dropped, and it got a similar vibe to “Let Forever Be” from The Chemical Brothers.

You have to listen to this unconventional track by yourself to see what I mean (or watch the video below). Good luck getting it out of your head afterwards.

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Fan Theories – Next Great Holiday

Next Great Holiday is the debut single of Fan Theories, a band from Helsinki, Finland, founded by two friends who met while they were playing for different bands. Now a 5-piece, the band was lucky to record a few songs just before the world got into lockdown mode due to the pandemic. This allowed them to released their first song this month, which comes accompanied by a very-well-done music video.

Even though they wrote the song last year, its lyrics strike a chord nowadays when we all dream about going on holidays without knowing when we will be able to (proper holidays without that many restrictions). What I really like about this track is its catchy chorus, which really elevates the whole song to another level. If they keep producing songs like Next Great Holiday, Fan Theories is going to be around for a long time.

Listen to this fine piece of Indie rock from Finland here:

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The Goo Goo Dolls – Tonight, Together

Iris is one of the best alternative rock songs ever written, but The Goo Goo Dolls are much more than that single song. In fact, they have been one of the most consistent bands in the genre, releasing solid-to-great albums every three or four years pretty much since it all started in 1987. I have liked some of them more than others but I can’t recall having disliked any. It can’t get any more consistent than that. In addition to that, they sound really great live.

Just this week, the Goos –who have been pretty active on their social networks during the lockdown– released a deluxe edition of their 2019 album Miracle Pill featuring three previously unreleased songs. Tonight, Together is, in my humble opinion, the best of the bunch and it does sound great, which is why I decided to make an extra entry to the mixtapes today (luckily for me, I got more songs to recommend at the moment than time to write the posts). Do not expect a new Iris (or Slide or Acoustic #3), just enjoy this new track by the band from Buffalo, NY, for what it is: a pretty great rock song!

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Polar States – 2020

Polar States is a four-piece guitar band from Liverpool, UK (seriously, is there something in the water over there? Is it the Mersey?) that in all likelihood will become the next big British band to take the world by storm. The group got already a cult following despite releasing their first EP less than 3 years ago. They describe themselves as a ‘dark pop’ band but I think their genre is spot on alternative rock.

The band released just last week a new single, 2020, which is extremely catchy and already a musical crush of mine. It has huge potential to become a big hit and if you hadn’t listented to it before, this is your opportunity to do so before it does!

I can’t believe it was recorded in their own houses…

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