patricia lalor, “this man thought he saved me”

patricia lalor, “this man thought he saved me”

From young indie artist Patricia Lalor comes the hypnotic track “This Man Thought He Saved Me”, a reflection of possible insecurity.  It may be hard to describe exactly what genre this falls under, but that is only because Lalor perfectly incorporates many elements of different genres, crafting a transcendent track.  Starting off with a more electronic vibe, the song quickly and almost seamlessly shifts to a vibrant and prominent electric guitar, one that takes hold throughout the entire track.  Viewers of the song’s music video can even spot Lalor strumming away on the guitar, a testament to the fact that the guitar really owns the whole song.  While some of the rock genre is evident, it may be appropriate to take it a step further and call it a punk spectacle.

“This Man Thought He Saved Me” is a thrilling, not-so-straightforward take on feeling slightly inferior.  Make no mistake, though, the track still radiates confidence in a more subtle way than normally depicted.  One thing is for sure: Patricia Lalor leaves plenty of room for nuance.

kitten, “what year are we in”

kitten, “what year are we in”

The new track from pop-rock band KITTEN has dropped, and it asks the question everybody seems to have on their mind these days.  “What Year Are We In” is exactly the type of song that you may expect people to listen to years from now in order to get an idea of what life may have been like in the year 2020.  Not only does it make the expected pandemic references, it also offers commentary on other various things that have come to shape the year like social justice movements, worry of climate change, and the fact that movies don’t really seem new anymore.

It isn’t only the lyrics that make you question the era.  Sonically, the track is reminiscent of the 90s punk scene, a reminder that maybe none of these time periods are really all that far.  KITTEN successfully solidifies any suspicions that 2020 is the year that seems to revisit other decades in a plethora of ways.

Brainchild Chloe Chaidez says:

It’s a bizarre time to be alive. We have history at our fingertips. Teenagers wear Joy Division t-shirts, and moms listen to Drake. ‘What Year Are We In?’ is a funny question to pose, but it also feels like the simplest way of conveying a feeling.

wax owls, “light up the way”

wax owls, “light up the way”

From the band Wax Owls comes a coming of age tale that takes us through fortresses in the forest and late-night rides through the back streets of a small town.  It is a narrative about what it is like to have somebody there through the various phases of getting older.  The track sees the band taking a trip down memory lane, a trip that is supported by bright guitar strums and commanding drums.  This trip works to leave the listener with a feeling of calmness and warmth to counter any coldness that the year has left with them. 

The song also proves to be the perfect companion for a drive into the sunset on an old country road, or a walk by the lake during morning’s sunrise.  The best part?  It accompanies anybody who is currently experiencing a path filled with darkness and fear and lights the way.

jeremy buck, “don’t look down”

jeremy buck, “don’t look down”

At just the time when we are in need of as much cheer as we can get, Indiana-born and LA-based indie rock artist Jeremy Buck has bestowed upon us the uplifting and empowering single, “Don’t Look Down”.  Inspired by how one may feel while walking on a tightrope and riddled with fear, the track sends the message that even though a lot of things really suck, everything will be okay if you just focus on the good things life has to offer.  

The catchy chorus is sure to satisfy any pop music fan’s quest for a new sing-along jam, and it will likely remain in your head for an extended stay after an initial listen.  Buck’s powerful vocals carry the verses, which provide a perfect sprinkle of rock n’roll.

Buck shares of the need to write a song like this:

With all of the negative energy and the constant threat of imminent doom that is being spoon-fed to use through the media, I felt a huge creative urge to share my concerns and frustrations but in a way that will hopefully spread positivity.

sarah sample, “old barn owl”

sarah sample, “old barn owl”

Sitting under the starry sky at a songwriting retreat in West Texas, Sarah Sample and her sister began writing “Old Barn Owl”.  A feeling of openness came over them, one that can be hard to obtain otherwise in a world filled with such judgment.  For the listener, that same feeling of openness translates well, leaving your speakers and entering your world.  All it takes is a soft guitar and gentle words to feel the very same warmth of the fall Texas air that Sample felt when penning this tune.  When the last note hits, you will indeed forget any feelings of failure and uncertainty, trading it for the feeling that everything is alright.

Sample says of her experience writing the track:

My sister and I sat under a fall moon and wrote the chorus. As we started singing the lines, something cathartic was happening. It was quiet. It was healing. We reflected on what can happen in nature, with no one to judge you and the acceptance that you are worthy just as you are. You never know what kind of song you’re going to write, but sometimes when you’re in a mystic place you get these kinds of odes to nature.

josephine johnson, “built to last”

josephine johnson, “built to last”

When Georgia-based indie artist Josephine Johnson realized that her love for music took precedent over her love of a person, she took that feeling to the studio and created “Built to Last”.  This is where Johnson is able to build upon the idea that what we need may not always be what we want.  The peaceful essence of the tune creates a powerful feeling of security in the sometimes uncomfortable realization that what we need for ourselves may be just a step outside of our comfort zone. 

With the help of Johnson and “Built to Last”, we are reminded that while there may be a great deal of comfort in what we want, there just may be a greater payoff for going for what we need.  At the end of the day, you just might see yourself blossom.

Johnson explains of what inspired the track: “I loved someone very much, but ultimately knew that the path I’m on—doing music professionally, touring–would be done without him, though in my heart it always felt that I was the one he needed. Funny, I know now that I don’t need him!”

austin plaine, “fangs”

austin plaine, “fangs”

Head to the most peaceful place you can think of and press play on Austin Plaine’s new release, “Fangs”.  The track is Plaine trying to bring light to somebody who has been through many gray days.  While the first verse focuses on describing the pain and the steps it takes to get to such a dark place, the second verse offers a more optimistic outlook.  The chorus depicts the need to just sometimes scream at the universe and beg for answers.  By the end, you are hopefully left with some hope about how to carry on in spite of the dark clouds that tend to loom.

“Fangs” creates a special musical moment that feels personal.  The lyrics alone are enough to create a personal connection between artist and listener.  With a simple guitar, a bit of piano, and just the right amount of percussion, Plaine gives the green light to be fully immersed.  Just don’t forget to let out a yell to the universe, asking what it all means. Of the writing process, Plaine admits:

I had ‘You’ve been showing off your fangs, God save the Queen’ as the opening line and it immediately created this visual of a troubled girl questioning suicide and the mental state she can’t escape from. I’ve had some dark moments and it is painful to watch someone else go through depression when you yourself know how heavy it can weigh.

kat saul, made in the 90s

kat saul, made in the 90s

Alt-pop artist Kat Saul’s newest EP, Made in the 90s, has been released, and is the perfect way to celebrate being human.  “Alright”, a track about how hard it is to get somebody off your mind when you’re into them, starts off the celebration with an intro that sounds like it comes from a basement rock concert.  “X2” is a catchy hit-worthy bop about moving on, or actually being tired of trying to move on.  In all honesty, this should be in regular rotation at all Top 40 stations.  Saul slows it down a bit with “Monsters”, where the celebrations are toned down in a search for inner peace and serenity.  Not to worry, “I Love To Hate You” speeds everything back up with a sobering story of mutual frustration at the end of a relationship.  Appropriately, the last song celebrates that person that is always by your side at the end of the day.  This is the feeling of floating on “Cloud 9”.

Made in the 90s may have actually been made in 2020 or shortly before, but the music lives up to the name.  A perfect blend of 90s rock and modern pop, Saul proves that you don’t have to escape older sounds to create new ones.  She explains of the EP:  “It’s me reflecting on who I am and what I’ve been through as I transition into adult life so that I can process how the past has made me who I am…because that’s what art is right?”

foo fighters, “shame shame”

foo fighters, “shame shame”

Foo Fighters have given us a first glance into their upcoming album, Medicine at Midnight, with “Shame Shame”, a foggy tune that brilliantly addresses the feelings of emptiness and the racing mind.  The thought-provoking lyrics provide you with some level of ambiguity while staying in line with some general theme. 

The track features all of the best that modern rock music has to offer.  Equipped with a fiery guitar riff and hard percussion, it is no wonder the band are put on a pedestal of current rockers.  The slow, gentle progression of the verses work as the perfect introduction to the song and the new era that fans are entering.  That being said, the most defining moment comes during the pre-chorus.  With just a simple recitation of the title, Foo Fighters prove that simplicity can go a long way. 

The best thing about the band is that they don’t actually need to live in a past generation of rock n’ roll to be great.  While the melody of the chorus is reminiscent of some timeless rock hits, sonically and lyrically, they are fully taking advantage of what modern music has to offer to perfect their craft.