8.15.2015

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

"Sing like your life depended on it." Someone must have told Nathaniel Rateliff that once, and he decided to do just that ever since. Music lovers will be forever grateful because Rateliff and his band, the Night Sweats, provide rollicking, propulsive soul music reminiscent of Otis Redding. Their sound may be a throwback, but its modern edge refreshingly lacks polish. It is this raw, devil-may-care attitude that runs through the tracks of their debut and made me an instant fan. 

When Rateliff sings about needing a drink with such emotion and abandon on stand-out track, "S.O.B.", I went looking through my liquor cabinet to help this man out. What may seem like a profane hook is in fact a desperate plea to ease the pain of a broken heart. 

Backing band The Night Sweats provide harmonies, handclaps, and horns that transport the listener to another period when actual instruments(!) were used to make music. Never before have I heard a band with such presence than The Night Sweats. Nathaniel Rateliff will not be to everyone's taste depending on how well you like the stylings of fellow throwback artists like Fitz & the Tantrums and Leon Bridges, but those comparisons should not deter anyone from experiencing the sheer force of nature that is Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. 



S.O.B.-

7.06.2015

Color Palette

Modern and melodic-minded electro-rock band Color Palette provide a blast of synths reminiscent of The Killers at their very best. Lead singer Jay Nemeyer's vocals have a tendency to blend into the lush music to become a perfect compliment. This Washington D.C. based band so far only has a couple of songs to reach listeners' ears, "Seventeen" and the excellent "Heartless," with the latter providing a couplet that's the final nail in a relationship's coffin: "All our moves become so calculated/What's the sense in giving love it's not reciprocated?" 

Color Palette paints quite a sound with several musical influences to be heard. It will be nice to see what else these guys have up their sleeve. Look for their debut EP to come out early next month. 



Heartless-

6.28.2015

Firekid

Banjo seems to be winding down on its 15 minutes now that the granddaddy of the folk rock movement, Mumford & Sons, has gone electric. It's nice to know that there's still life left in it yet with Dillon Hodges aka Firekid. This Alabama native recently signed with Atlantic Records and is busy working on a full length LP set to release in August. He's released a live album with only 4 songs, but they're enough to know that this Kid will be, ahem, on fire. 

"Magic Mountain" begins with driving force amid a purposeful guitar line before becoming fully realized in its blast of a chorus with Hodges singing about the joy of your childhood memories. Hodges' vocals are distinctive with great range with a slight Phillip Phillips vibe going on. (Why Six Flags has not gotten ahold of this song for their promotions is beyond me. It's screaming to be heard en masse.)

Firekid displays a knack for the folk rock genre in the few songs I've heard, but something tells me we have only scratched the surface of what he has to offer. 



Magic Mountain- 

5.27.2015

Kaleo

Long time gone...I've been digging.

Iceland has given us Bjork. (Thanks?) But Iceland has also now given us Kaleo. Upon first listen this band is quite a mixture. Going from the sensitivity of early Coldplay and the delicate vocals of Bon Iver to the ground stomping of Mumford & Sons all in one song. Lead singer JJ Juliusson breathlessly goes from his falsetto to gritty soul on the standout track "All the Pretty Girls." This song starts with a simple acoustic guitar and builds and builds to a powerhouse climax vocal with Juliusson practically pleading with a  lover to "lay me down." (Marcus Mumford would be proud of such passion.)

Check out their pure blues rock on "Broken Bones" and "Rock 'n' Roller" to get a sense of their more rollicking side. With a move to Austin to record some new material for an EP due later this year, Kaleo seem to be poised to make 2015 a banner year. Their single "All the Pretty Girls" is currently free on iTunes. 





All the Pretty Girls-

Rock N' Roller-

3.14.2015

Young Braves

Releasing an EP, touring, and songwriting, on top of schoolwork leaves little room for my students to complain about having too much to do. The UK's Young Braves are juggling all of that and building buzz along the way. They released their self-titled debut EP last fall and it showcases a band with potential and the talent to back it up.

The single "For the Day" is propelled by lead vocalist Ollie Scott's knack for melody. With its shimmering guitars and songwriting maturity, "For the Day" is a nice yet unfulfilling first taste of the alt-rock band. I actually dug a little deeper and found much stronger tracks. "Youth" and "Long Time Coming" are more forceful and give a greater insight into what Young Braves are made of, with the latter finding Scott urging a change in his current relationship. ("We won't get that far living like we are.")

Young Braves have the skills to become a force to contend with and have much to say on their debut EP which is a reminder that sometimes youth can equal insight. 



For the Day-

1.31.2015

Lawrence Trailer

Sometimes I'm in the mood for an "everything and the kitchen sink" type of production and other times, simple is best. Lawrence Trailer is the latter. Armed with an acoustic guitar and intricate melodies, Trailer is a seasoned singer-songwriter that should be on your radar. 

"Savannah" is particularly strong track (especially for this Georgia-raised guy). Trailer sings about giving up and heading to this "Georgian town" but decides to give love another final shot, "We brace for the bottom, while we face being alone." The vocals on this song are Trailer's strength, singing every note in a beautifully raw, heart-wrenching tone. 

It's on his new single, "Old Love" where he hits me in the feels however. Trailer shifts the tempo a little on this track and ratchets up the emotional heft. He wishes his about to be married sister and his brother (with whom very little is spoken but much is said) "old love." It's a very sweet sentiment especially since my baby sister is getting married later this year. Trailer does a fine job mining life's smallest moments and turning them into heartfelt journeys. 



Old Love-


Savannah-



12.31.2014

Ryn Weaver

Should you feel badly for liking pop music? Well if it's Ryn Weaver' s brand of pop the answer is a resounding, "No!" Instantly catchy, insanely intricate, and forward thinking, Weaver has woven (no pun intended) herself into a nifty niche of the pop scene inhabited by a select few. Sky Ferreira and Ellie Goulding being a quick comparison. 

Ryn Weaver's break out single, "OctaHate," rewards on multiple listens. Co-written by Ryn and Charli XCX and produced by some of music's most innovative minds (Cashmere Cat, Passion Pit's Michael Angelakos, and Benny Blanco if you're keeping score), this tribal stomp with electronic touches is held together by Weaver's cool sonic warble. Why this song has not caught on at radio, I have no idea. "Promises" is another, ahem, promising track with its jittery vocal loops and laid back vibe. 

Weaver will release her debut album The Fool in June but if her Promises EP is any indication of what to expect, 2015 is looking to become a red letter year. An artist to keep your eye on for sure in the new year. 



OctaHate-

10.28.2014

Sunset Sons

I love Tuesdays. It's a day where the music gods look down upon me and say, "Here you go. Try these bands out." And, boy, did they deliver today. Sunset Sons are 3 Brits and an Aussie who will undoubtedly be compared to Kings of Leon. Lead singer Rory Williams sounds uncannily like Caleb Followill in phrasing and tone. This quality alone will help Sunset Sons tune some ears. Their new EP No Bad Days, is a sonic adventure filled with hard driving piano, melodies, and superb vocals. 

On the catchy track "On the Road," Williams lets the verses fly at a breakneck speed before hitting the pounding chorus. This is a song that demands repeat listens and rewards the listener each time. "No Way Home" is bolstered by jittery guitar solos and pounding drums before calming down to a gentle refrain. 

Sunset Sons are melodic indie rock masters with their eyes set on the horizon of the rock scene. If this EP is any indication of where these guys are headed on their full length, don't expect these sons to fade into the sunset but rather rip the sky a new one. 



On the Road-

10.18.2014

Wild Party

Fellow music lovers. Look how long it has been since I posted last. It is not because I don't care. Yes, my real job has taken my attention away, but also, I have not been inspired by stuff I've been getting. Digging For Days was built on a no-hype philosophy. With that said, the band that has taken me out of my dry spell has produced one of the most cohesive efforts I have ever come across. The San Antonio based Wild Party truly deliver on their debut album Phantom Pop. 

A well-blended mixture of Passion Pit, The Killers, and Foster the People, Wild Party provide indie rock with danceable beats and undeniable hooks. Never before has a debut album come so fully formed. "When I Get Older" kicks off the album and is the archetype on which the rest of the album is built: sing-along choruses, bouncy beats, and synths melded and mixed with guitar. "Life's Too Short" is the closest these Texans come to slowing it down. Lead singer Lincoln Kreifels casually sings over breezy synths about the perils of being broke and in love, with lines like "I can't provide champagne, but you still stop and say hello."

Themes of growing older and love (both unrequited and romantic) come up often but are paired with melodies so catchy by the time the album closer comes along, you're ready to begin the journey over again. (I dare you not to sway your head on "Two Days with You")

Phantom Pop is so accurately named that even when the album is not being blared through you car stereo, the music is haunting your thoughts throughout the day, and you know what? You actually will want to hum along. Wild Party fully encompass modern indie rock with pop sensibilities. 



When I Get Older-

7.16.2014

Vacationer

As summer is winding down for me, I'm wringing the last drops of sun and freedom. Vacationer caught my attention simply because their name seemed appropriate. Their new album Relief also seemed to fit the bill for my state of mind, and boy does this Philly band deliver. Filled with laid back grooves and easy melodies, Vacationer sure do know how to put the listener in a specific state of mind. 

The best of the bunch come in a duo of songs that have, rightly so, been released as singles-"The Wild Life" and "Paradise Waiting," with the latter being a musical representation of an actual paradise. A slow saloon piano groove plays throughout and even comes complete with the warming sounds that only a turntable playing a well worn record can create. Lead singer Kenny Vasoli paints an image of a paradise not only in the literal sense but what mood is created when you're anywhere with that special person. ("When you look in my eyes you'll find the pleasure is mine, there's a paradise waiting for us in summertime.")

Vacationer create feel good summery music that should be played while enjoying the last drops of summer. 



Paradise Waiting-

5.24.2014

Jesse Thomas

Jesse Thomas does not fit into today's pop music scene and that is a shame. Her brand of singer/songwriter tunes deserves a spotlight that lesser talented acts receive. Jesse's voice has a Stevie Knicks quality with sharp lyrics to boot. Her sophomore album Burn the Boats is a triumph in the smaller moments. 

She fills her album with introspection on relationships like on the heartbreaking "Beverly," where she sings about a break-up that should happen but can't quite pull the trigger. (I can't do this again turning lovers into friends I should know so much better by now)

The bouncy piano-driven "Leather Jacket" finds Jesse fending off a guy that is trying way too hard to impress, but she's smitten anyway singing, "I should have seen it coming like a freight train running down the tracks like a bullet screaming out like a warning." On the chugging "Stunner" which seems like a response to the guy in the aforementioned song, Jesse wraps tons of imagery in a blues soaked stomp. 

Jesse's voice is the star here with a quality that immediately pulls the listener in and demands that we hang on to every word. A talented artist that is definitely worthy of your attention. 

Jesse Thomas- Facebook
Stunner-

5.13.2014

Animal Years

5 months. That's how long it's been since I have been excited enough about a new band to blog about. (Digging For Days doesn't post, just to post) Animal Years kind of came out of clear blue sky for me. A perfect blend of indie rock and Americana blues, this Brooklyn based band hits all the right notes for those looking for an up and coming band. "Let Go of Your Head" is a pounding track with a blistering opening line, "I wish a woman would say what she feels instead of me wondering if this thing is real." (Hits a little too close for me) And it is the songwriting that separates Animal Years from the others. "Heart on Heart" beautifully sums up falling in love, "You should hear the sound of your heart on my heart."

Lead singer Mike McFadden's emotional, searing vocals are allowed to soar and will continually bring the listener back for seconds. On closing track "Walking Slow," the band let's their rockabilly flag fly with banjo front and center. Animal Years have something for everyone- amazing vocals, catchy melodies, meaningful lyrics. One thing is certain this band will not remain under the radar very long.

Animal Years- Facebook
Let Go of Your Head-