Brave Town

Digging For Days likes to unearth those bands and songs that actually deserve your time and attention. I don't just post because some PR guy sent me a their clients one sheet. 

From the very first word sung on the highly catchy "Denim," Nashville's Brave Town will win you over with their infectious hooks, melodies and superb guitar licks. With only an EP to their name so far, what Brave Town lack in quantity they make up for in quality. 

Notes of Coldplay and The Killers can be heard especially through hints of Jay Ragsdale's vocals and Michael Kelly's superb lead guitar. The EP is promising of what these young guys can do but nothing quite tops the effervescence of the love at first sight Ragsdale sings about on "Denim." By the time the chorus kicks in and the band is playing full force on this upbeat track, you will be sold. 



Color Palette

Digging For Days Reviews...
Vaporwave by Color Palette

Artists tend to go through phases of inspiration. Picasso went through his blue period. Taylor Swift is currently going through her pop phase. And for some reason there was that whole "Let's go country!" phase. (I'm looking at you Aaron Lewis, Jessica Simpson, Jewel, Cyndi Lauper...) Color Palette seems to be inspired by mid-80s New Wave as evidenced by their first full length album. 

Vaporwave kicks off with a one-two punch of their most accessible and inherently catchy songs "Seventeen" and "Heartless" with the former setting the tone both musically and lyrically. Lead singer Jay Nemeyer laments about the foolish nature of young love and being able to look back with the benefit of much needed perspective singing that he "told her [he] loved her, didn't know what love was." If "Seventeen" was Nemeyer's mea culpa then "Heartless" is his middle finger to a love that may have never even been reciprocated. 

Much of Vaporwave relies on the synths to provide the memorable hooks that keeps listeners coming back.  Often moody and melodic, Color Palette does tend to paint with very few, well, colors. Songs seem to blend together towards the middle of the album without much to differentiate them. "Rain" and "Desert Sun" are among the stand-out tracks with their propulsive percussion melding with tight harmonies. Color Palette provide a modern New Wave aesthetic and only hint at what else they have up their sleeves on the epic album closer "Come Back Home." A solid debut from a band that has all sorts of colors to paint with, if only they would. B



Side Saddle

Last post was back in August. (!) Folks, I'm a teacher by day, blogger by whenever I have damn time from the job that pays the bills...

Indie rock seems to be taking a dive into the electronic sides of things lately. I can't complain, but there is never a substitute for actual instruments being played. Side Saddle create indie rock with an Americana twist. Their EP Young Professional came out in back July and this band should be on your radar for their musicianship, melodies, and subject matter. A good place to start is their epic track, "Legs for Days." Besides its intriguing title, this song encompasses the phrase "Wait for it," as it builds and builds to  a massive climax. It's a blistering break-up tune with lead singer Ian McGuinness calmly singing about the bitter end of a relationship by plainly saying "if you want to go, hit the g-damn road because staying here with me is not making you happy." 

While the lyrics will leave a red mark, the music sets a 'calm before the storm' with peaceful organ flourishes and slide guitar building to a chugging, reassuring climax with McGuinness finding resolve in another woman whose "legs go on for days." Side Saddle perfectly mix singer-songwriter aesthetics with indie Americana. Dive in to the beautifully shot "Legs for Days" video below and get lost in the story before trying other tracks on for size. 

Legs for Days-


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. 



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. 




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- 



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-


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-


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-



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. 



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-


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-