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.
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:
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.
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:
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!
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…
Cultures is an alternative/indie rock band from Greater Manchester that started just four years ago but has managed to get some attention in that short period of time. In fact, I would not be surprised if they became the next big thing to come out of the Manchester area. The group certainly got the talent for that.
Away From Us is their latest single and it showcases perfectly how much the band has evolved since 2016. It is a guitar-driven song about what it feels like to live away from home for the first time, something many of us can relate to. If this is an indication of where Cultures is heading to, it is clear then that the band is going up. Watch the brand new video (released today!) or listen to the song in the playlists below, and then you’ll be able to brag about listening to Cultures before they became big.
These British rockers deserve worldwide recognition. Started by Will Irvine (the Bear) and Jimmy Hunter, Hunter & The Bear is now a four-piece rock band that have supported artists like Eric Clapton and played in multiple festivals, but I don’t think the casual listener knows who they are. That needs to change soon.
Hunter & The Bear released a new single in March this year. It is very good and I will probably feature it here in the near future. However, the song I’d like to highlight here today is this gem from their debut album from 2017: Won’t you Ever Come Home. This beautiful song blends the best of Bruce Springsteen with Irvine’s stunning vocals to make it a memorable track that deserves to be played on repeat ad infinitum. It became my musical crush for a while. If you like good rock music, chances are high it was or will become yours too.
*Update: The band has been renamed Daytime TV after guitarist and co-founder Jamie Hunter left the band in 2021.
Janice Sue Meghan Myers, better known as Meg Myers, is an American singer-songwriter who debuted in 2012. Almost two years ago, she released her second studio album, Take Me to the Disco, for which Numb was the lead single. I know it is not brand new but the song is too good not to be featured here, especially considering the fact that it didn’t reach a very wide audience (that being said, it wasn’t unsuccessful, having peaked at position 182 of Billboard 200.
Numb is perhaps the singer’s most radio-friendly song, which is not something Meg usually tries to achieve. The song’s style reminds me of the late 90’s alternative rock, which feels like a breath of fresh air nowadays. It certainly deserves to be listened to on repeat at a high volume level. Without a doubt, Numb has huge musical crush vibes. Is it yours?
The Airborne Toxic Event were extremely active from 2008 to 2015 and then went quiet until now, when they’re back with their sixth studio album, Hollywood Park, which is a concept album accompanied by a book: lead singer Mikel Jollett’s memoir.
The first single out of Hollywood Park is Come On Out, which is not bad at all, but the song I’m adding to the mixtapes here is The Common Touch, which has the band’s signature style and deep, harrowing lyrics. Hope you like it!