Hello, music aficionados and sonic adventurers! It’s that time of the week again where we, at B-Side Guys, curate and bring forth the freshest tracks that have just graced the music scene. From hidden gems to soon-to-be chartbusters, our “Weekly Soundwaves” column is dedicated to showcasing the best new releases that deserve a spot on your playlists. So, grab your headphones, set your volumes to the max, and let’s ride this new wave of sound together! Whether you’re seeking solace, a rhythm to dance to, or simply the next big hit, we’ve got something that’ll resonate with your musical soul. Dive in!
Sea Ray – “Lashes”
Marking two decades since the iconic release of “Stars at Noon,” New York’s chamber rock stalwarts, Sea Ray, delight their dedicated fanbase with the introduction of “Lashes.” This track, one of two brand new offerings accompanying the 20th-anniversary edition, is a testament to the band’s enduring creativity and ability to evolve while staying true to their core sound. “Lashes” seamlessly melds the otherworldly aesthetics of psychedelic rock with indietronica’s eclectic vibes. From the first note, the listener is wrapped in a lush tapestry of sound, evoking a sense of melancholic nostalgia coupled with the thrill of new exploration. The lyrical depth, tinged with emotion, paints an ethereal landscape that resonates with the spirit of introspection.
With the deft mixing hand of Peter Katis, a collaborator who’s left his mark on some of the modern era’s most memorable tracks, “Lashes” emerges not as a mere appendage to “Stars at Noon” but as a beacon of Sea Ray’s continued journey. The song dances between the reminiscent and the innovative, drawing listeners into a dreamlike state where the past and present collide. For those who’ve journeyed with Sea Ray from their early days, “Lashes” is a heartfelt nod to shared memories, while newcomers will find it an impeccable entry point into the band’s rich discography. All in all, it’s a track that captures the essence of Sea Ray – always evolving, yet eternally familiar.
The Helltones – “Nothing Compares To You”
The Helltones have outdone themselves with the masterfully crafted “Nothing Compares to You” – a song that seamlessly marries the nostalgic ambiance of the ’60s with contemporary indie rock sensibilities. The track instantly evokes imagery of sunlit coastal drives, as its beachy undertones, harmonized backing vocals, and rhythmic claps pay homage to vintage doo-wop. Yet, it’s the soulful thrust of the piece, reminiscent of Alabama Shakes and the unmatched emotional fervor of Otis Redding, that catapults the listener into a whirlwind of profound sentiment. The combination of a mesmerizing bassline intertwined with the melancholic hum of the organ sets the stage, leading to an exhilarating chorus that’s nothing short of anthemic. The result is a song that feels both intimately familiar and refreshingly innovative.
On their latest album, “Medusa,” due out Nov. 17th, The Helltones reaffirm their prowess in blurring the lines between genres, creating a sound that feels both rooted and explorative. With “Nothing Compares to You,” they paint a sonic tapestry rich with emotion and intricacy. The track offers a journey through the myriad faces of love – from its gentle stirrings to its volcanic eruptions. It serves as a testament to the band’s ability to tap into the universal, crafting songs that resonate with the soul while celebrating the rich history of rock ‘n’ roll. With its raw authenticity and poignant vulnerability, “Nothing Compares to You” is undeniably a standout on an already stellar album.
Chaz Diggity – “Crying On Your Birthday”
In “Crying On Your Birthday,” Chaz Diggity graces us with an intimate journey through the poignant memories of a lost loved one. The raw emotion encapsulated in every note becomes the listener’s companion, reflecting on the bittersweet blend of celebration and sorrow that can come with remembering a dear one who has passed. The song’s melancholic tone, echoing the heartfelt nuances of Gregory Alan Isakov and Courtney Marie Andrews, speaks of an annual cycle of grief that many can relate to but few have the courage to articulate. The minimalist arrangement of the track further amplifies the weight of Diggity’s lyrical confessions, allowing his voice to take center stage, whispering in the ears of those who have felt the same pain.
As Chaz Diggity embarks on a new chapter beyond “The Brazen Youth,” it’s evident that his growth as an artist is built on the foundation of genuine experiences and genuine emotion. “Crying On Your Birthday” is a testament to Diggity’s ability to channel grief into a poignant musical narrative that resonates with listeners and provides solace to those grappling with similar feelings. His journey of healing through music promises to take listeners on an evocative ride, establishing Chaz Diggity as a force to be reckoned with in the indie folk scene.
Linda Dunnavant – “Every November”
Linda Dunnavant’s “Every November” is an intimate, deeply resonant exploration of seasonal melancholy interlaced with personal heartbreak. The song’s central refrain, “Every November I relive the end,” tells a narrative both haunting and relatable, capturing the essence of a pain that returns with the changing leaves. Her voice, crisp and imbued with the nostalgia of artists like Joy Oladokun and Courtney Marie Andrews, captures the chill in the air, inviting listeners into a tapestry of autumnal grief. The instrumentation is subtle, allowing her clear vocals to shine, and it exudes an Americana warmth that offsets the song’s melancholic narrative.
From her first notes, it’s evident that Linda Dunnavant approaches songwriting with a vulnerability that belies her relative newness to the craft. Channeling her experiences into raw, evocative stories, her lyrics masterfully express the complexities of human emotion, making them feel tangible. Her seamless blend of vintage Americana and contemporary indie-folk offers listeners a rare authenticity that’s both refreshing and comforting. “Every November” stands as a hallmark track in what promises to be an impactful EP, “Tiny Towns.” With Dunnavant’s unique perspective on life and love, her place in Nashville’s songwriter scene is well-earned, and this song is yet another testament to her burgeoning talent.
Jack West – “Undealt”
Amidst a landscape of introspective narratives, Jack West’s “Undealt” stands out as a poignant introspection, delivered in a manner that echoes the familiarity of folk giants like The Lumineers and Vance Joy while maintaining its unique flavor. The song encapsulates the struggles of self-worth, ambitions, and the intricate balance of expectations and reality. The lines “Things stuck together don’t stick well enough” and “There’s nowhere to climb if u fly to the top” masterfully convey the antithesis of aspirations and their potential aftermaths. The somber tone of verses juxtaposed with a resonant chorus, “Keeping my head held down… Nobody knows the way anymore,” captures the essence of feeling lost and the inward journey of self-discovery.
West’s youthful perspective is a refreshing bridge between generations, drawing from the deep well of classic rock legends, such as The Beatles and Nirvana, and channeling them into modern folk expressions. It’s apparent from lines like “Life is what happens with plans that u make” and the repeated “Keeping my cards undealt” that he’s not just singing songs but reflecting on life’s complexities from a mature standpoint, far beyond his 17 years. This collaboration with renowned producer Barrett Jones adds an air of authenticity and depth, intertwining West’s profound lyrics with a soundscape that’s both intimate and expansive. “Undealt” is a testament to the evolving tapestry of folk music, shaped by the hands of a young visionary with an old soul.
Ostrology – “Mourning Window”
Journeying through the spectral melancholy of Ostrology’s “Mourning Window,” listeners are submerged in an atmosphere of dark introspection, with shimmers of triumph hidden beneath the surface. Drawing deeply from ’90s sensibilities, the track marries the raw, avant-garde ethos of Sonic Youth with the modern psychedelia of Tame Impala. Yet, the narrative – the ethereal longing of a departed soul yearning to remain close to a cherished love – sets it apart, painting a landscape where despair and hope are two sides of the same coin. The emotional tug, the pull between loss and love, is brilliantly captured, offering a haunting reflection on death, memory, and the afterlife.
Ostrology’s DIY approach, wherein every aspect of the song is a singular vision, brings a raw authenticity to “Mourning Window.” Each note, each lyric, is imbued with palpable effort and unfiltered imagination, echoing the artist’s dedicated craftsmanship. The slight rough edges, far from detracting, add a depth and realness, making the song feel like a handcrafted artifact, a direct line from the artist’s soul to the listener’s heart. Ostrology’s commitment to their craft is evident, turning what might be seen as imperfections into markers of genuine, undiluted emotion. “Mourning Window” is a testament to the power of personal touch and heartfelt creativity in music.
Jess Renn – “What You Like”
Stepping into the velvety embrace of Jess Renn’s “What You Like,” listeners are met with an enchanting blend of dream pop and alternative rock, reminiscent of the ’90s soft rock era. Emanating the ethereal and raw qualities of Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette, and their iconic contemporaries, the track creates an immersive soundscape that dances between tender vulnerability and fierce self-assuredness. The subject – a young girl’s journey into love and the exploration of her own sexuality – is painted with intimate brush strokes and a sublime honesty, evoking a delicate balance of nostalgia and contemporariness, resonating with the listeners’ own experiences of passion, introspection, and self-discovery.
Drawing from her rich musical upbringing, Jess Renn has, without a doubt, poured her soul into “What You Like.” The familial echoes of harmonizing to legends like Bruce Springsteen and Janis Joplin are evident, giving the song its unique voice, that is simultaneously fresh and steeped in legacy. Conjuring the experimental allure of Lana Del Rey and the soulful depth of Amy Winehouse, Jess seamlessly weaves a tapestry of sounds that captivates and moves, beckoning listeners to revisit their own tales of young love and uninhibited expression. With this track, Jess Renn firmly establishes herself as a dynamic force in the alt-pop scene, marrying the past’s poignant melodies with the future’s limitless possibilities.
The Next Movement – “The Closer”
Immersing listeners in a vivacious realm of funk, The Next Movement’s “The Closer” paints a sonic picture of a Learjet taking off, cruising through the stratosphere of music. Every intricate note played captures the essence of classic 70s funk, yet is layered with contemporary influences, presenting a fresh spin to a beloved genre. From the meticulously constructed guitar riffs to the symphony of drums and bass, the song is an instrumental funk lover’s paradise. Each groove and beat resonates deeply, reflecting a level of musicianship that few achieve, but which The Next Movement has mastered and transformed into an art form.
Drawing inspiration from heavyweights such as Prince and The Gap Band, “The Closer” exemplifies what The Next Movement is all about: reinventing the wheel while paying homage to the legends of funk. The trio, helmed by J.J. Flueck and supported by the prodigious talents of Sam Siegenthaler and Pascal “P” Kaeser, delivers an energy-infused track, effortlessly fusing their inimitable skills with humor and an innate coolness. Having played over a thousand shows together and evolved as an in-demand rhythm section, their chemistry is palpable in every beat of “The Closer”. This track is more than just a song; it’s a testament to the timeless allure of funk, reimagined for the present and future generations.
Griffin Benton – “When The Sun Creeps In”
In “When The Sun Creeps In”, Griffin Benton beckons listeners into a dimly lit realm of alternative rock, a sonic atmosphere that thrums with the mysterious allure of after-hours encounters and the weight of choices made in the heat of passion. The song weaves a tale of post-intimacy contemplation, where the morning light brings with it not just the break of day, but the pressing questions that linger after a one-night stand with someone all too familiar. This sexy, dark, and moody track melds the sensibilities of synth pop and electro rock, enriched with gothic undertones reminiscent of Depeche Mode. Benton’s voice, eerily echoing the legendary Bowie, offers a gripping narrative, perfectly capturing the tumultuous emotions that bubble beneath the surface.
Drawing comparisons to the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age, Benton successfully treads the delicate balance between nostalgic influences and fresh, innovative sound. The song’s distinct mood and ambience set it apart, ensuring it’s not just another track in the lineup, but a standout. “When The Sun Creeps In” serves as a testament to Benton’s artistry, hinting at the depths yet to be explored in his upcoming album. And if this track is any indication, listeners are in for an evocative musical journey that resonates with the universal complexities of human relationships and emotions.
Super City – “Outta Touch”
The unmistakable pulse of “Outta Touch” is a testament to Super City’s distinctive fusion of indie rock and alternative garage influences. The track brilliantly marries a funky guitar rhythm reminiscent of iconic greats such as Talking Heads and Prince, with the urgency of its lyrical narrative – an impassioned plea for understanding and connection with an older generation. The danceable beat guides listeners through a kaleidoscope of sound – from exuberant hooks to a synth-soaked bridge, culminating in a guitar solo that feels like the climax of an electrifying party. Layered over this instrumental rollercoaster are harmonies that echo the innovative artistry of Tune-Yards, making “Outta Touch” a standout in Super City’s newly released album, “InTheMidnightRoom”.
Rooted in Baltimore, Super City is celebrated for their uniquely melodic sound that seamlessly fuses catchy pop hooks with rock’s intensity. There’s a palpable tension between their rollicking rock vibes and meticulously choreographed live performances, an intersection where music meets movement. Guided by the dual vocal prowess of Dan Ryan and Greg Wellham, this song, much like their previous works, ventures into a realm that’s both familiar and audacious. The song’s energy and vibe are a nod to the band’s commitment to producing tunes that are anything but pedestrian. Having shared stages with some of the industry’s notable names and earning accolades like 89.7 WTMD’s Album of the Year for “Sanctuary”, “Outta Touch” further cements Super City’s position as trailblazers in the modern rock arena.