This set of MP3 drops aren’t arranged by any particular mood or sonic space, as I usually do. Here’s a grab bag! Enjoy the surprises!
1. “Sisters” – ELY. There’s more suspense and payoff than in most novels packed into this four-minute instrumental wonder. The trumpet leads the way throught the deconstructed verses, teasing the listener with what could be, until the rousing full-band jaunt that appears twice. Hooky, interesting, and really worth your time.
2. “Sail” – Seckar. This song has a lot going on: post-rock instrumentation, danceable vibes, electronic grooves, acoustic solemnity, ghostly vocals, and overall a giant sense of fun.
3. “Lips” – Oyster Kids. The tension between the light, Foster the People-like melodies and the slow-moving guitars gives this pop song a neat vibe.
4. “Orange + Blue” – Colored In. Chaotic, hyperactive, multi-colored indie-pop held together through sheer force of will. It’s like some alternate-universe of the Flaming Lips where they didn’t get all paranoid but continued getting weird after Yoshimi.
5. “Plastic” – Howard. The grandeur of trip-hop, the instrumentals of maximalist post-dub, and a clicky percussive sensibility lead this indie-rock track. Sounds like a version of OK Computer, 20 years later.
6. “Tin” – Nearly Oratorio. Weary, dreary, bleary, and yet capable of woozing its way to memorable melodies and comforting moods.
7. “The Mahogany Tower” – Pyramid//Indigo. Dark, brooding, and evocative, this instrumental post-rock piece includes found-sound clips of sermons for extra atmosphere.
8. “Cove” – Kerosene (UK). Vocal gravitas and spartan electric guitar levity combine neatly here to make a serious, mature indie-rock tune that doesn’t feel overburdened or maudlin.
9. “Don’t Waste Another Day” – The Moves Collective. There’s a subtly funky groove, charming melodies, a friendly vibe, and rhythms that make me want to dance. This is acoustic jam done right.
10. “My Situation” – Joseph Tonelli. This gently fingerpicked tune is already enticing before it brings in subtle percussion and beautiful strings–after that it’s impressive.
11. “I Called to Cry” – Nate Henry Baker. For those who’ve gone the Sturgill Simpson / Chris Stapleton route and decided that full-on country music is alright by you, add Nate Henry Baker to your list. This one’s a traditional tears-in-your-beer ballad that wouldn’t feel out of place with The Louvin Brothers or Roy Orbison.
12. “Maybe I Won’t Come Home Tonight” – Meredith Baker. There are millions of troubled-relationship tunes, but this one sticks out above the rest with a gentle guitar, an engaging voice, and that x factor called charm.