Bikini Trill – “Lost Boy”
Bikini Trill has described their sound as somewhere between No Doubt and Riot Grrrl, with some Sublime in the mix as well–but all the while maintaining a very West Coast “surf pop” vibe. If that sounds like a mess of influences, it might be. But something about songs like “Lost Boy” just work. So relive your Peter Pan nostalgia and bask in the California dreamin’ while summer’s still here!
Elliot James – “Smooth”
Sonically, there is a lot happening in Elliot James’ “Smooth.” The former Hey Monday drummer squeezes in soft guitar strums, punchy synths, and a fuzzy audio recording of his parents’ choir at Christmas. Lyrically, things are just as complicated. It’s as if James is meandering, attempting to figure out this complicated relationship alongside us, and dancing all the while.
edu – “Miss Melody”
Andrew Horowitz (AKA edu) is flexing his roots here. The Juilliard-trained pianist, award-winning poet, former member of Tally Hall, and accomplished producer–working alongside John Legend, Jidenna, and Janelle Monae to name a few–is wearing all his hats at once. A simple “melody” unfolds into something else altogether in this hauntingly sweet lullaby.
Ivan & Alyosha – “Everybody Breaks”
Ivan & Alyosha, named after Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, bring us a much more uplifting story in “Everybody Breaks.” The five-piece folk/rock combo draws a lot of their inspiration from classic 60s artists like Bob Dylan and The Beatles. And it shows. In charmingly dense harmonies and hit-home lyrics, “Everybody Breaks” is that smile-so-wide song you can’t help but sing along to.
courtship. – “Amy, Run For The Hills”
Whoever said disco is dead hasn’t heard courtship. The LA-based duo has been proving that adage wrong since the release of their debut single “Stop For Nothing” in 2016. In the years since, the band has developed quite the cult following. In fact, they recently tweeted out their number to fans itching to get a taste of their latest demo. In the meantime, we have “Amy, Run For the Hills,” a break up song sure to hit as hard as it rocks.
Peyton Stilling – “High”
“High” pulls from Peyton Stilling’s jazzy roots, the influences of her Dallas home, and a timely modern sensibility. It’s the perfect balance of acoustic guitar and electronic sounds, coming across as an old-school blue-eyed soul that’s a little more Hall & Oates than Amy Winehouse.
Mannequin Online – “So Cool”
From futurism to retroism, Mannequin Online has us dancing through the decades in “So Cool.” Theirs is a fun-loving pop, unafraid to walk on the silly side. The music video makes this quite clear. But if Zach DeGaetano and Bridget Boltz aren’t “So Cool,” then who is?
JAIE & NYK – “Daylight”
JAIE & NYK are a match made in R&B heaven. Their voices float in and out of each other with beautiful ease on “Daylight.” The harmonies unfold alongside the story of a rather difficult relationship. And so a seemingly small request (“could you stay with me all the way through the night?”) feels much bigger by the end of this 4-minute track.
Camp Candle – “NRT”
Synths and vocals are nearly indistinguishable on “NRT”. The song is a maze begging you to get lost in it. Halfway between hip-hop and electronic pop, it’s the kind of song you spin around to. And it’s always a delight to get dizzy with Philadelphia duo Camp Candle.
Halfloves – “Polvo”
Halfloves (formerly known as The Olympics) have done something charmingly weird with “Polvo.” Alongside their third studio album Dazer, the Iowan combo is expanding a tradition of dark and windy indie-rock. Producer Brandon Darner has worked with Imagine Dragons in the past, and that influence is somewhat apparent. But there is also something unique and quirky going on here.
Wildermiss – “Hell or High Water”
In a pop soundscape so dominated by synths and electronic beats, Wildermiss brings a refreshing repertoire of guitar-driven songs. In particular, their summer single “Hell or High Water” might just quench the thirst of Paramore fans in the pop-punk bands’ apparent hiatus.