- “Rosebush”– Goldlight. I love it when a song starts off deceptively simple and progressively builds towards its climax. I enjoy the artist’s unique voice, but the driving beat and knockout instrumentation steal the show here. Listening to this track makes me want to blast it in my car, roll the windows down and drive fast– not many tracks stir that up within me.
- “Tired”– Ashley Shadow. The layered instrumentation and unassuming vocals pair beautifully. The strong driving beat also makes this track another potential car-song, but maybe I’d drive a little slower.
- “Cave”– Katie Zaccardi. This dark and brooding track combines Zaccardi’s strong voice with hard-punching lyrics that tell a poignant story about the tug and pull of toxic relationships. The guitar up-stroke even makes an appearance!
- “White Noise”– Swells. I am feeling the groovy vibes of this tune. Soulful female vocals get me every time.
- “The Wolf”– ALLA. This string-heavy song oozes with eerie. The repetitive lyrics and rhythms make it seem simple, but the string-plucking alone exposes the track’s complexity.
- “Help Yourself”– Bryde. Bryde’s powerful, Vanessa Carlton-like voice continues to entrance me. The hard-hitting lyrics and full-bodied instrumentation keep me coming back.
- “Bedbugs”– Amaroun. Amaroun’s unique alt-folk sound is akin to brilliant artists like Bjork and Jesca Hoop. You won’t want to miss taking a ride with Amaroun and her “Bedbugs”.
- “Love Dust feat. Mercy”– Christopher Pellnat. I am absolutely captivated by this juxtaposition of seductive Lana Del Rey-like vocals and circus-esque instrumentation. It feels uncannily like a 19th century cabaret, with an accordion to boot!
- “Speak”– Expert Timing. The sweet female and unadorned male vocals contrast great with the heavy electric guitar and drum kit instrumentation. This is one punk rock track to rock out to.
- “The Lost Ones (featuring Leah Hayes)”– The Gifted. Fun, playful, even includes whistling–everything you want an indie-pop song to be. There’s something about the vibrant sound and catchy lyrics that make me feel that this track could be an anthem for a generation.
- “What Became of Laura R?”– Heavy Heart. Summoning their inner MGMT, this track begins and ends with a slew of screaming kids. As the song progresses, Heavy Heart’s rock and roll vibes liken to that of the Silversun Pickups– breezy, laid-back rock and roll. –Krisann Janowitz
Funded through a Kickstarter campaign, Casey Dubie’s latest EP Strangers highlights Dubie’s strong voice through the backdrop of varied instrumentation. Every song sounds slightly different yet does not wane in quality. Strangers highlights Dubie for what she really is– an overall solid artist.
Think back to Vanessa Carlton: she began her career by walking “A Thousand Miles” but found a slightly darker sound by her album Harmonium. Dubie’s voice reminds me of Carlton’s steady voice in how she can belt high and low notes without strain, effortlessly transitioning through a rather large range. Dubie demonstrates this in opener “Motion Sick,” where the verses are comprised of much lower notes than the ones she transitions to during the chorus. This pattern repeats itself in many of the other tracks (“Ghost,” “You Make Me Feel”).
The instrumentation of Strangers varies from subdued instrumentation (“Ghost”) to a more high-energy sound (“Motion Sick”). “Fugitive” starts out particularly subtle, with the instrumentation eventually rising as the song progresses. “Ghost” highlights Dubie’s voice through its slightly eerie acoustic guitar performance; the delivery remains consistent throughout to allow Dubie’s voice to soar towards the end. “Stranger” also begins with simple, repetitious guitar strum before the sound eventually explodes at the end with Dubie powerfully singing her “Ooooohhhhh”s. “You Make Me Feel” has the most unique instrumentation of the EP, as the electric guitar contributes harmony alongside the constant acoustic guitar strumming and unique percussive elements that gradually rise and then slowly fade out.
Casey Dubie’s powerful indie pop/folk sound makes Strangers a strong EP.–Krisann Janowitz
Sunday Lane’s cheery, playful piano-pop is easy to enjoy. While not as idiosyncratic as Regina Spektor, Lane has a easy confidence that could easily place her in the conversation with charmers like Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson and Lenka. Her mid-range voice is expressive without being overdramatic, which allows songs like “A Little Hope” and “Lack of Color” to take a step back from the early-2000s maudlin that Vanessa Carlton and Michelle Branch mired the decade’s female singer/songwriters in. It’s a similar sound, but it doesn’t cloy.
The EP’s title “Bring Me Sunshine” comes from aforementioned standout “Lack of Color,” which has solid melodies and a nice counterpoint to bring the track home. “Reckless One” features the next most memorable tune, as well as a string section that will almost certainly divide audiences on the “love it/hate it” axis.
Bring Me Sunshine is a solid EP that toes the edge of overdramatic. Fans of the aforementioned female singer/songwriters will find much to love here. There’s no clear indicator of where she’s headed from this EP, but she’s worth tracking to find out.