Justin Forrest – Hold Steady

If you watched the second season of Cobra Kai, you may have noticed that during a party scene towards the end of the season, a cool song played for a few seconds. It caught my attention then and after a little research, I found that the song was Hold Steady by Justin Forrest. Now, he does have Instagram and Twitter accounts, but other than that, it is not much what you can find about him. He’s from Nashville and got three singles on the major streaming platforms, with Hold Steady being the most recent one. Nevertheless, Justin obviously got a knack for writing extremely catchy pop-rock songs and we should definitely keep him on our radar.

Hold Steady is definitely a #musicalcrush with an explosive chorus. Check it out below.

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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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Manuel Bellone – A Case Of An Endless Blue

Happy New Year! Today is not blue monday, but given the fact that for many of us it is the day we return to our daily routines/work after the holiday season, I’d say it comes pretty close in second place. If you’re like me, in days like these you’ll prefer to listen to sad/melancholic songs instead of happy ones, and if that’s indeed the case, I got the perfect song for you. A Case Of An Endless Blue is the latest track from Italian folk-rock singer/songwriter Manuel Bellone, who got inspired by the difficult year we all had in 2020 and being stuck at home for os long. Manuel got a raspy voice that is just perfect for the type of music he makes, including this track.

Despite being from Palermo, Sicily, Manuel got his roots in styles of music that are traditionally associated with America, such as folk, blues and country. Influenced by the likes of Ryan Adams and Neil Young, his goal is to sound classic but unique. He’s been releasing music and touring Europe with his band rather successfully since 2013, with plans to go out on tour again soon and release a new album this year. Give a chance to this true musician and hopefully A Case Of An Endless Blue will get you get through this day.

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HD Bradley – Enough

This is likely to be my last post of 2020 so I’m going to make it count by featuring a song from a talented artist who cares more about his music than himself. If you visit HD Bradley‘s social media pages, all personal info you’ll be able to find is that he’s from Chicago and likes coffee and dogs. I got his real name, Bradley Dean Honeyman, from looking at his songs’ credits on Spotify. His music gets all the spotlight.

HD Bradley is a singer/songwriter who just started releasing singles this year. Most of them consists of just an acoustic guitar and his voice, with a few exceptions. Enough, for example, got some really nice electric guitar in the bridge and backing vocals. However, the important thing to highlight here is that Bradley‘s voice is really satisfying, perfect for this type of music, and his melodies are always nice and interesting. You can listen to them all day long without getting tired. Start with Enough right here and then continue with his back catalogue. Hopefully, he’ll continue making great music in 2021.

P.S: You might notice that some of the mixtapes have fewer songs now. That’s because I have moved their songs to 2020-specific playlists, that way the mixtapes won’t become too big.

P.S2: Hope you are all enjoying the holidays break and have a much better 2021 (the bar is not too high). Thank you for your visit and see you in Jan!

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Tessa Violet ft. chloe moriondo – Words Ain’t Enough

Have you had a close friend who’s in a bad relationship but you cannot tell them anything because they’re still in love and won’t listen to you? I think that’s a feeling we can all relate to and that’s exactly what motivated Tessa Violet to write Words Ain’t Enough, which is a heartfelt and melancholic song about being with someone who doesn’t really love you back. As the chorus says: “You can say you love me but words ain’t enough“. It’s not a complicated piece of music, with just a guitar supporting the vocals, but it doesn’t need anything else. It’s a beautiful piece and that’s what matters.

Tessa Violet, who is an American singer-songwriter who started as a successful blogger on Youtube before focusing on her career in music, originally released this song last year on her second full album: Bad Ideas. This year, she re-released it featuring vocals from chloe moriondo, who is a 18-year-old indie/bedroom pop artist who has been garnering quite a following on her own. I’m sure we will be hearing about both artists for years to come. Check this beautiful tune out below.

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Stumble Steady – Coming To An End

Garrett Kealer got OCD and does not try to hide it. Instead, he write songs from the unusual perspective of somebody living with that mental condition. Under the moniker Stumble Steady, Garrett wants to tear down untrue stereotypes usually associated to OCD while also creating upbeat music that people can relate to. His music is pretty contagious indie pop that might remind you of the likes of The 1975 and Grouplove.

Stumble Steady‘s latest single, Coming To An End, is a perfect example of all of the upbeat. A really infectious song with colorful soundscapes that deals with the subject of ending a relationship through the lens of a person with OCD. In particular, the thought patterns someone like Garrett experiences in that situation, from thinking about everything that led to the breakup to worrying about what friends will say, often at the expense of his own feelings. Without a doubt, this is a catchy and interesting tune. Definitely check it out below.

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We Wander – Can’t Save You

Maddie Little got a really nice and sweet voice and given how much she loves music, it came naturally for her to pick up a guitar in 2017 and start a band: We Wander. Eventually, she recruited Camilo on bass, Jacob on drums, and Christian on violin, resulting in a sound they call lush and explorative. It’s basically their own brand of indie folk.

Can’t Save You is one of their latest singles. It showcases all of the above, from Maddie‘s beautiful vocals to the contribution of each one of the band’s members and the overall style. The song is a letter that Maddie wrote to herself to be reminded that fighting her own battles is sometimes more important than the actual outcome. If you like indie folk, then make sure to check We Wander out. You’ll be glad you did.

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Cristóvam – Setting Sun

I’ve had Setting Sun sitting in my queue for a while now, and during that time, my pal Jeff from Eclectic Music Lover wrote a flawless review of this single. I’m not a fan of repeating what has already been said, and even less so when what has been said is so good. The only thing I can add to what Jeff wrote is that Cristóvam, a singer/songwriter from Portugal, won first prize in the ‘Unsigned Only’ category for the International Songwriting Competition 2018, which had the likes of Keane, Bastille and Lorde, amongst the judges. And then, this year, he won ‘Pop Performance’ and ‘Song of the Year’ in the International Portuguese Music Awards. At this pace, by this time next year, he will be complaining about The Grammy Awards being corrupt.

The bottom line is that Setting Sun is a great, uplifting tune, and a great addition to T.A.M. Check it out below.

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Tom Duggan – Outcomes

This song, Outcomes, reminds me a lot of those acoustic guitar-based songs from the 60s and 70s my Dad used to listen to. It would have fit perfectly into the soundtrack of any classic movie from that era. The impressive thing is that it was written by a young artist who is barely getting his feet wet, as he’s only been releasing music since earlier this year. Even though Tom Duggan received training in jazz and classical styles as a saxophone and clarinet player, he learned singing and guitar on his own. Practice makes perfect, so we can only imagine what this British singer/songwriter will be able to accomplish in a couple of years. The sky is the limit.

Tom wrote Outcomes during his time at university and is based on his experiences there. It’s a song about being whoever you want as long as you can accept the consequences of your actions. Acoustic guitar-based songs tend to be repetitive and boring, but I think this tune manages to avoid that problem by noticeably changing the melody during the bridge and then again during the chorus. Overall, it’s a catchy track with a great message, and also a clear indication that we should keep Tom Duggar on our radars.

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Gabriel Paris – Kicks In

Gabriel Paris is an Australia-based multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and producer with a few writing credits in his resumé. He has been focusing on his solo career lately, releasing three singles so far, with Kicks In being the latest one. As a songwriter, Gabriel tries to be authentic and write about what he feels compelled to as opposed to what others might want. This results in honest lyrics such as those in this single, which is a deeply personal song about a time when he relied a bit too much on alcohol to cope with his problems.

Musically, Gabriel lists the likes of Vance Joy and Coldplay as influences, and I can certainly note some similarities. His music got all the necessary elements to make it memorable, from raw emotions to nice vocals and pretty melodies, just as with the hauntingly beautiful Kicks In. Check it out below and don’t sleep on this talented artist.

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