This is what breaking out of a musical category is.
In a state so highly stereotyped for producing country music and songs that bring out an artist’s true southern accent this band breaks this stereotype. Hailing from Texas, The Unlikely Candidates are a 5-piece indie rock band. Having formed in 2008, they have and always will be breaking an old cliche.
Since breaking out into the American music scene, the band has released EPs ‘Follow My Feet’ and ‘Bed Of Liars’ which were released in 2013 and 2017, respectively. During this, the band released their debut single “Follow In My Feet” which hit No.1 in the Adult Alternative Songs chart and peaked at No.9 in the Alternative Songs Chart. This single was followed up by two singles from their sophomore EP. “Your Love Could Start A War” peaked at No.36 in the Alternative Songs Chart and “Ringers” peaked at No.38 in the Alternative Songs Chart.
Your Love Could Start A War
The Unlikely Candidates
“Your Love Could Start A War” proved to have a popular opinion from the world, currently holding the highest-streamed song on their Spotify page with over 3.4 million streams. The song has an Arctic Monkeys-turned-U.S. feel to it. With strong guitar riffs and continuous piano rhythm, the song is quite fast-paced, but don’t let that misinterpret the words of the song. My advice is to forget the tempo, forget the guitar riffs and focus on the lyrics. This is a song you MUST check out, no ifs or buts. You’d be missing out.
Future Generations sounds like summer in New York. Riding in the back of cabs, reading in Washington Square Park and then driving out to Montauk when you get tired of sticking to the sidewalk.
The five-piece indie pop band got their start in the city, on the Bronx campus of Fordham University. They’ve come a long way from producing EPs in their dorm room, however. They signed to NYC label Frenchkiss Records and put out their debut album in 2016. The self-titled record was full of pulsing synths, shiny melodies and existential lyrics – the type not always expected in pop songs. It’s this combination that allows their sound to feel as much like a drive to the beach as it does a nostalgia you can’t quite place.
Their single “Stars” particularly has that effect, evidentially because the same song exists in an 8tracks playlist under a band called The Suits. Before preparing to crack open the indie-est plagiarism scandal of all time though, an intense sleuthing session (err, quick Google search) revealed that The Suits were, in fact, an early line-up of Future Generations. Conflict avoided.
One More Problem
Conflict, however, is the theme of their latest single “One More Problem” – a guitar-heavy track whose chorus asks “don’t you remember who you are?” According to a press release, it’s the first song collectively written by all five members of the band and a step towards more of a rock-driven sound that we will hopefully hear more of very soon. If you want more Future Generations right now though, you can see them at Welcome Campers 2017 festival in Springfield, MA.
Let SPINN take you to a dreamland with their single “Notice Me”.
Having just returned from Europe, specifically the UK, I’ve found myself seeking anything and everything that will take me back across the pond. Enter SPINN. This delightful new find hails from Liverpool and is bringing back all my pleasant memories of the summer days in the UK.
And I’m not the only one starting to take notice of these guys. On Spotify they’ve been added to the “Fresh Finds,” “Indie Songs for Slackers,” “Dreampop,” and “Fresh Finds: Six Strings” playlists. Their inclusion in these playlists has given them well deserved momentum and popularity.
With only two singles released so far, “Home” and “Notice Me” the self described “connoisseurs of Jangly Dream Pop” are already making a name for themselves.
Both singles have been released within the last year and have been rapidly gaining recognition and popularity. “Notice Me” is notable since it has earned an astounding 42,000 plays in the three weeks since its release. This is odd since the ensemble only has about 46,000 monthly listeners.
“Notice Me” is a perfect dreampop jam with a beautiful balance between the upbeat summery rhythm, the striking lyrics, and the perplexingly relaxing vibe. The lyrics tell the all too relatable story of becoming hopelessly infatuated with a lover incapable of reciprocating the feelings and speak to the dangers of idolizing them.
“Why won’t you notice me?” is my lingering question and I can’t help but wonder if it’s really asking how the group can grow and earn their own fanbase. Well, this I can confidently say, if SPINN is looking for fans, they can count on me.
Mosa Wild’s debut single, “Smoke,” will rip your heart out of your chest with no warning and no mercy.
Mosa Wild have had a busy year between playing Reading and Leeds festivals later this month on the BBC Introducing stage, and having just played at Latitude festival in July. Based in Ashford, a relatively small town on the southeast corner of England, the alternative band is comprised of Jim Rubaduka on lead vocal, guitar, and keys, Alex Stevens on guitar, Edwin Ireland on bass, and Charlie Campbell on drums.
Rubaduka and Stevens originally made music together under The Intermission Project, while they were in the midst of taking a brief pause to decide whether to pursue music or head to university. After finding Ireland and Campbell through a twist of fate, their intermission came to a close, and the curtain lifted to reveal Mosa Wild.
The name Mosa Wild derives from Rubaduka’s grandfather, Mosa, whose name Rubaduka believed “simply felt right” next to wild. Their first and only single, “Smoke,” was originally released at the end of 2016, and was then re-released this July. Having drawn comparison to The National both vocally and musically, the band truly came out with a bang for their first release. As Rubaduka repeats “I’m gonna do my best to get to you” like a sort of hymn, I feel it deep within my soul, clenching in my chest.
As the song builds over a repeated, chanted bridge, and catapults into the last chorus, our hearts desperately hope for a resolution for the protagonist, who we saw smoking at the beginning of the song and promising to change her ways. The entire song is an exposition of the relationship between the singer and the protagonist, and between the building music and changing lyrics, it seems like the dissonance of their relationship is coming to a resolution. However, the chord is never resolved, as the song ends exactly how it begins, with a promise that she’s going to quit yet again, and our hearts are left hurting.
After listening to the song on repeat for 30 minutes, I’m left speechless. I feel a different range of emotions each time I listen to the song, sometimes I feel sheer rage and fury, and other times hopefulness decides to rear its head. In the end, I’m left feeling sorry for Rubaduka, who desperately tried to work through the relationship throughout the track, met with absolutely no change from the protagonist.
The way I’m left feeling is a testament to how absolutely incredible “Smoke” is. I was able to feel so many different things each time I gave the song a listen, and I felt them so, so deeply. In the end, my heart is left to take away one key message: love sucks.
Mosa Wild have promised new music coming soon, so be on the lookout for some more heart-wrenching tunes.
Zach Hurd’s passion project turned trending duo, Bay Ledges is an upbeat indie dream that, following the release of their debut single “Safe”, is already making a significant impression on the indie/alternative community.
Comprised of siblings Zach and Georgia Hurd, Bay Ledges started as Zach Hurd’s passion project after moving from New York to Los Angeles. Zach’s move to LA made him shelve his musical explorations until he rediscovered his passion for songwriting while crashing with his sister. He started writing and producing, Georgia contributed ethereal vocals, and they put out “Safe”, which soon went viral, reaching the top 5 on Spotify’s Viral chart, and recently hit 3 million streams on the platform.
Since the release of “Safe” and ‘The EP’, Bay Ledges has been playing shows around the country. They recently played a show at Mercury Lounge in New York, at which their set was described as that that “made those summer elements come alive.” Their twitter feed is filled with attendees and listeners raving about their performances instilling feelings of glee and the summer surf.
Today, the band released the music video to their single “Safe” (see above), ahead of the release of their new EP ‘Fountain Tropical’ which drops on August 18. They recently posted a clip of a new tune from the album on their Twitter, if you want a sneak peek.
We were able to get in touch with Zach and Georgia to ask them about their inspirations, sibling dynamics, and music:
What is the meaning behind your song “Hearts”? The feel-good, dreamy melody paired with the confused lyrics paint a hopeful, youthful scene of learning to love.
That song was trying to describe those moments when you feel incapable of playing it cool or having it all together when you’re getting romantically involved with someone. I’ve felt like there are certain expectations we all have while in a relationship…and trying to figure out what those expectations are, and what you’re own are, can be a challenge sometimes. It’s kind of funny to step back and watch yourself in it.
Speaking from experience, working and creating with a sibling can be demanding. What is the dynamic like between the two of you—does it sometimes get overwhelming?
Our working dynamic in Bay Ledges has been pretty casual up to this point. We’d hang out and talk music even if we weren’t doing this project so that makes it all feel pretty natural.
The response from your EP and singles has been incredibly positive, and your song “Safe” has gotten an incredible amount of traction since it was released. How has that recognition and validation altered your creative process? Has it inspired you to push yourself to do more (musically and/or socially) than you thought you were capable of?
When Bay Ledges started it was just something I was making in my bedroom so it’s been really cool to see “Safe” reach so many people. All that exposure made us think about the live performance more seriously which has been a fun and challenging thing to explore. Last year I couldn’t envision how we would ever do these songs live so it’s been inspiring to see them come to life on stage.
Your sound and visuals are quite unique. Where do you draw your musical and visual inspirations from?
We’ve both been inspired by artists/bands that explore blending different sounds like Beck, Talking Heads, The Neptunes. It’s exciting when you hear a song that sounds like it was fun to make. Visually, we’ve benefitted from some other people being able to latch onto that idea of playfulness like Michael Theodoran who designed the cover of our last EP and “Safe”.
What is one artist, song, or album that you’ve been listening to recently?
For a while I couldn’t stop listening to “My Old Man” by Mac Demarco…such simple and thoughtful production with intimate lyrics. We’ve also been playing the new Kendrick album ‘DAMN.‘, a lot. There’s great production on the album but his vocal and lyrical creativity is what puts it all on another level.
I’ve read reviews of your songs being described as upbeat and happy, with one blog even saying that your sound was “a soulful LA Priest eating an ice cream.” What kind of emotions do you want your listeners and fans to feel when listening to your music?
Initially, the idea with Bay Ledges was to not think too much about how it would be interpreted by other people and to just make sure we were having fun making the songs. We’re still trying to work that way but I hope the songs make people feel good…and gives a freedom to not take yourself too seriously.
Tell me about your favorite show you’ve ever played. What was the energy like?
It was probably our EP release show last year! We put a house party together in LA. We had some chef friends make food for it, we bought a keg, and it just felt like a really fun night of people in our community.
What is next for Bay Ledges? (Any singles/albums/touring coming?
We’ve got a new EP coming out August 18! Our release show is at Bootleg Theatre in LA on 8/15 – tickets available here.
What are three things the world needs to know about you?
1. The chocolate chip cookie was the best invention ever made.
2. We’re from Maine so the Venice Beach ocean temp is always perfect.
3. We’re always looking for good spots to cut a rug in LA.
Is there any particular cause or charity that you are rather passionate about?
Habitat for Humanity is one we’ve both participated in and support. It’s amazing to be a part of building someone a home who wouldn’t have one otherwise.
When I first heard Lewis Del Mar’s single “Loud(y)” on Spotify, it stuck out among the influx of indie pop releases that had been filling up my playlists. The duo’s jarring combination of acoustic-driven indie with tribal influences and glitchy samples left me addicted, yet confused. I didn’t fully understand it, all I knew was that it was refreshingly innovative, and they were showing crazy growth on Spotify. (In fact, we hailed them as one of the top 10 emerging artists to watch at SXSW 2016.)
At the time, Danny Miller and Max Harwood were best friends, trying to translate the influences of their childhood into a musical project that they could hang their hat on. This is reflected perfectly in the name they chose for the project, Lewis Del Mar, which is “a play off the fact that their father’s share the name Lewis, and family roots in Spanish-speaking countries (‘del mar’ means ‘from the sea’),” according to the blog Respect Your Youngers. Columbia Records realized their vision, signing them to a record deal, and the rest has been history.
Lewis Del Mar
After releasing their debut album ‘Lewis Del Mar’ in 2016, they have been touring aggressively and gaining fans across the world. We caught up with them at the Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama to talk about their growth:
You have seen such huge growth in only two years. You were featured at SXSW in March 2016 and were starting to emerge, and since then y’all have really blew up. Looking back on when you were writing those songs, did you ever think that you would hit this much success this fast?
Danny: I don’t think so, no. I don’t think you ever prepare or envision something like that happening. We always had a lot of confidence in what we were doing. We certainly believe in each other and our abilities to create the music that we want to create, and that feels right to us. But that was sorta like where we drew the line, we didn’t really think about it much outside of the little world that we created for ourselves.
And I think that that’s sort of what this year has been about for us, learning how to transfer the intimate nature of our relationship and our creative process to a larger scale, where people understand who we are and what we do and care about. Because it’s a very personal thing, and before this experience it was something that we were living off in our own corner of the universe, and it’s really just that the corner’s grown, you know?
Max: Trying to figure out how to share our corner with the world.
Danny: In a way that feels genuine and right to us.
You put a lot of thought and creativity into your staging. On this tour, you have a huge screen behind you with videos projected onto it during your set. I met your lighting director last night and he was talking about how involved you were in the creative process. How important is it for your vision to translate in a live setting?
Max: At this point we are about building a world, so the live thing is just an extension of our music and of ourselves. We put a lot of effort into making sure it visually represents what we’re trying to say with our music.
We very meticulously chose a lot of videos for the projector that’s behind us that we think blend the various influences, whether that’s the Latin American influence, or the industrial city influence, it’s just all representing that visually.
Danny: Yeah, we found some really amazing clips from foreign films, like this film Black Orpheus, and we have an old Comme des Garçons commercial in there.
Via @victoriatags on Twitter: Is there any particular album or song that you haven’t been able to stop listening to recently?
Max: You know what I had [stuck in my head]? That Y La Bamba track.
Danny: “Ojos Del Sol”
Max: They’re from Portland, Oregon, and they’ve got this beautiful song. It’s just the most gorgeous song, I just got goosebumps thinking about it. And it’s recorded so beautifully, it’s a beautiful feeling.
Danny: I’ve been listing to a good amount of Bryson Tiller lately. Also this new record by Rex Orange County, he’s from the UK, I love that record, it’s called Apricot Princess I believe [Listen on Spotify].
Anyone else that y’all are working with or writing with?
Danny: We’re sort of expanding into that recently.
Max: We’re touring with Anna Wise, and she is just a beautiful person and a beautiful artist. Having her on the road has been so inspiring and a pleasure. I would just encourage everybody to check out her music and what she’s doing.
Danny: She’s a collaborator of Kendrick Lamar, and a really close friend of ours, and everything that Max said.
What have been the highlights of this tour?
Danny: I think on the most basic level, the shows have just gotten a lot bigger. We just played our biggest headline show in Chicago, there were like 900 people there. That felt to us like entering into a different level and layer of what we are doing, where the message and the things that are important to us and the things we are creating are beginning to translate into other people’s worlds.
That’s certainly a very humbling feeling, but it’s also just a very interesting dynamic, you know? We really feel like what we do is such a reflection of who we are as individuals… We have some fans, I would say the people who are making up 75% of the audience, that are really really really dedicated to what we do, and that’s been an amazing thing to witness. To witness people that have really connected in a personal way to your music.
I mean it’s funny, because in a sense that’s the goal, right? I shouldn’t be so surprised by it. But we are and it’s empowering. When you get off the road and you’re at home or in the studio, you can spend so much time imagining and projecting these ideas of what you want your career to be and how you want to be perceived, but at the end of the day, when you’re on stage in front of people, all that stuff is just residual nonsense. It’s like that is the basis of the essence of the connection that you can have with another person. So we try to each night just take a minute and completely clear our consciences and respect that space as being very sacred. That interaction with other people.
Catch Lewis Del Mar on Tour:
May 24 – Trees – Dallas, TX
May 28 – BottleRock Festival – Napa, CA
May 30 – Chop Suey – Seattle, WA
May 31 – Star Theater – Portland, OR
Jun 02 – El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
Jun 03 – Belly Up – Solana Beach, CA
Jun 06 – Valley Bar – Phoenix, AZ
Jun 08 – In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 09 – Bluebird Theatre – Denver, CO
Jun 11 – Del Mar Hall – Saint Louis, MO
Jun 15 – Firefly Festival – Dover, DE
In Kentucky, there is an abundance of two things: cheap beer and time.
Bring in four young men who have a nostalgic obsession with American arena-rockers of the seventies and eighties, who possess an electric energy and drive to become the next in line, and you collectively create White Reaper.
If the band is new to you, you have the unique joy of experiencing their previous two records, ‘White Reaper’ and ‘White Reaper Does It Again’ (very witty), with fresh ears. Both were highly acclaimed by critics and stalwarts of the guitar-led garage rock genre, yet did not find much mainstream success outside of the niche. That’s a shame, too, because the band is one of the most exciting bands I have ever seen live. They absolutely destroy the small rooms they have played in to date, treating them as if it were the main stage at Lollapalooza, or more appropriately, Woodstock. To put it in perspective, in 2015 they were booted from their opening slot on tour with indie darlings Alvvays because they rocked so fucking hard that they couldn’t be followed.
Now the group is back yet again to rock our worlds with their third full-length ‘The World’s Best American Band’, released on Friday, April 7th (listen on Spotify). From the very first song, opening with crowd cheers and an infectious drum beat, Kentucky natives White Reaper establish in tongue-in-cheek fashion that their name is one of the greats the rock ‘n roll world.
From the heavy guitar and supersonic drums to their more polished lyrics, the album is a cohesive monster, with strong hints of garage punk heavily influencing their work. Working with producer Kevin Ratterman, who boasts a resume of working with artists like My Morning Jacket and Young Widows, the band’s third effort is one that simply must be heard.
Lead single “Judy French” is incredibly catchy, making the listener want to drop everything and start dancing, no matter where they are (this may or may not be from personal experience of listening as I sit in crowded spaces). As lead singer Tony Esposito sings, “Now stop / Read my message and tell me what you think / Let me lean close listen to your heartbeat,” it is easy to tell that the band is not only incredibly polished musically, but lyrically as well.
From “The Stack,” all the way to the final track, “Another Day,” the album keeps the listener’s full and undivided attention, each song having some unique aspect that necessitates a second listen. From inventive synth lines to irresistible melodies that stay stuck in your head for the rest of the day, the diversity across the album leaves everyone feeling satisfied. When listening, I urge that fans listen cover to cover for the full experience, as listening in order provides quite an amazing experience in hearing the band’s multitude of sounds.
Following the release of the album, White Reaper are hitting the road. They aim for every person attending to leave their show satisfied, no matter where they are in the crowd. Given their music, it is no surprise that Esposito suggests that attendees “be nice to everybody, cause you’re gonna get close.” The tour kicks off on April 23rd in Houston, and they will be hitting plenty of cities over the next months, including festival stops at Hangout, Bunbury, and Bonnaroo.
Grab ‘The World’s Best American Band’on Bandcamp for $8-17, with options ranging from digital download to limited edition 180-gram red vinyl.
Check out White Reaper’s website for all tour dates, as well as their music and social media links.
Harrison Brome, a native of Vancouver, Canada, is making waves globally following the release of his debut EP, ‘Fill Your Brains’, in July.
Brome’s sultry song, “Midnight Island”, is about to hit 3.5 million plays on Spotify, and was just added to a popular Dutch playlist with over 50,000 followers. The title track to his EP, Fill Your Brains, currently has 1.6 million plays, and has garnered attention after being featured in an episode of Shameless in November and gaining placement on Spotify’s “Chill Tracks” playlist with over 500,000 followers.
At only 20 years old, Brome stands out by finding a way to effortlessly combine various genres, including pop, alternative, R&B, and electronic. This unique intertwining of styles is also evident in his vocals – the silky, sultry nature of his voice lends itself more to soul and R&B, while the sharpness and grittiness of his vocals fit the pop or alternative bill.
The song that has garnered the most attention off Brome’s debut EP is “Midnight Island”. Brome details his journey of falling away into a utopia, and invites the listener to join him as he croons, “let your body escape, take a breath from your mind, if you would rather rest in a place of paradise.”
Fill Your Brains
On “Fill Your Brains”, the title track to his EP, Brome’s hollow vocals soar above floating harmonies. The simplicity of the track, with just a drum beat, vocals, synth, and low piano, perfectly fits the somber, bare tone of the song. It is difficult to forget the distinct gloom that Brome creates as he comes in with the hook, “fill your brains to kill your pain.”
Brome is definitely an artist to watch in 2017. With an impressive 484,000 monthly listeners and placement on playlists with tens of thousands of followers on Spotify, Brome has already garnered a strong fanbase who are highly anticipating his next release. With a long-awaited North American tour on the horizon, and new music set to release in the new year, it is clear that Brome’s success will only continue to grow.
This adorable band just wants you to dance like a goofball. And that’s exactly what I end up doing every time I listen to their music.
Al Bairre(pronounced al bear) have figured out the formula for putting together perfect happy-go-lucky indie pop jams. Every song they have ever made is a bop, but doesn’t sound overproduced or disgustingly commercial. Just put their Spotify artist page on shuffle and fall in love with their jangly rhythms and charming male/female vocal harmonies.
Did I mention that they are adorable? And that there are twins in the band with matching bangs (Tessa and Julia Johnson). See the video and photos below for proof:
They hail from South Africa, which seems to be cranking out some incredible indie talent of late, including KONGOS, Opposite The Other, and Native Young.
After seeing modest success after the release of their 2015 album ‘Experience The Al Bairre Show With Al Bairre Experience’, anchored by the jams “Let’s Fall In Love Some More” and “Bungalow”, and are now finally back with new tracks in 2017.
Let's Fall In Love Some More
The second of these new tunes, “Don’t Say / Go Away”, is the best so far. A wonderfully carefree dance tune that should anchor every one of your summer playlists.
Don't Say / Go Away
Also released was “Over And Over”, a tongue-in-cheek jingle about being best friends… with benefits.
Jerry Williams, with the release of her latest EP, definitively proves that she can hold her own and is so much more than just a support artist.
Her newest EP, ‘Let’s Just Forget It,’ won the award for Best Produced Release and was the runner-up for Release Of The Year at the Unsigned Music Awards in 2016. Williams’ most popular song, “Mother”, has surpassed 4.1 million Spotify plays. She boasts an impressive 180,000 monthly listeners and is featured on the prominent “Wild + Free” playlist with more than 30,000 followers on Spotify. Most recently, she was featured on VEVO DSCVR and has racked up more than 100,000 plays her live rendition of her track, “Let’s Just Forget It”.
Williams, who hails from Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, has amassed quite a following since her 2014 debut. The 21-year-old singer-songwriter has scored support slots with LANY, MAGIC, Nathan Sykes, and Barns Courtney, and played her first headline tour with various sold-out shows in 2016. Williams cites Vampire Weekend, Coldplay, and Slow Club among her biggest musical influences, and credits her experience being raised in Portsmouth and past relationships as her biggest inspirations for lyrics.
The sweet, upbeat tone of Williams’ most played song, “Mother”, contrasts with the somewhat more serious message of the song. On the track, Williams details her desire to run back to her hometown in order to become herself again. With the catchy hook, “Mother, I don’t feel myself,” and the call-to-action, “I need to get back to where I started,” Williams lays out her love of Portsmouth and how it shaped her into the woman she is today.
Let's Just Forget It
In title track to her third EP, ‘Let’s Just Forget It’, Williams truly demonstrates her diversity of sounds. Beginning the song like a lullaby, she croons, “cradle me like a baby, this cruel world, let’s just forget it.” The drums and guitar slowly kick in and then build to a beautiful, heart-wrenching climax, before falling once again to the softer, more stripped-down chorus. Williams’ storytelling ability, through the ebb and flow of her music and lyrics, truly shines on this track.
Boys Don't Cry
Fresh off the release of her music video for “Boys Don’t Cry,” her take on The Cure’s classic hit, fans are extremely excited for Williams’ new music. Williams has already announced a few upcoming shows and has clued her followers in on the fact that she has been writing new music, but for now, all we can do is eagerly await whatever she will put out next.