New Music Weekend: Dune Moss, Hornsbee, Ashley Elle, and Old Heavy Hands

Welcome to New Music Weekend on, where we dive into the freshest sounds and emerging talents shaping the music scene. Each weekend, we bring you a carefully curated selection of new tracks that stand out for their originality, artistic expression, and ability to push boundaries. From the gritty energy of indie rock to the soulful depths of singer-songwriters, our compilation is a celebration of diversity and innovation in music. Whether you’re a fan of pulsating rhythms, haunting melodies, or groundbreaking soundscapes, there’s something here for every ear. So, grab your headphones, settle in, and let’s explore the sonic wonders of this New Music Weekend.

Dune Moss – “Lullaby Please Don’t Lie”

“Lullaby Please Don’t Lie” by Dune Moss is a hauntingly beautiful exploration of the transition from the innocence of childhood to the complexities of adulthood. Dune’s multifaceted musicality, inspired by her nomadic and nature-immersed upbringing, imbues the song with a mystical quality that resonates with the soulful depths of alt-pop. The track begins with a gentle, haunting piano, setting a tone of childlike simplicity before it evolves into a profound statement on self-realization and the courage to embrace one’s truth.

The song’s lyrics, “Tell me that the faeries fly / Tell me that God is real,” juxtapose the enchanting beliefs of childhood with the stark realities of adult life, creating a poignant narrative of internal conflict and discovery. Dune’s vocals, whispered with vulnerability and later soaring with raw emotion, capture the essence of this struggle. The instrumentation, including the dark-hued strings and the climactic crescendo, mirrors the emotional journey of the song, from introspection to an empowered declaration of self. “Lullaby Please Don’t Lie” is not just a song; it’s a journey through the layers of one’s being, a call to witness and embrace one’s own story with all its facets.

Hornsbee – “Wish I Had Not Said That” (J.J. Cale cover)

Hornsbee’s rendition of J.J. Cale’s “Wish I Had Not Said That” is a masterful homage that transforms the original into a realm of psychedelic rock and alt-pop. The Los Angeles-based Erick Eiser, under the moniker Hornsbee, infuses the track with a moody and chill ambience, reminiscent of the works of Air and Kurt Vile. Co-produced with the Oscar and GRAMMY-nominated Emile Mosseri, and mixed by Alf Briat of AIR, the cover stands as a testament to Hornsbee’s skillful reinterpretation and production prowess.

The song’s arrangement offers a fresh take on Cale’s classic, with a soundscape that blends ethereal synthesizers with dreamy, layered vocals. The lyrics, “Wish I had not said that, baby / If I could only close you out of my mind,” are delivered with a new depth and resonance, reflecting Hornsbee’s ability to imbue the song with a contemporary feel while honoring its original essence. The cover is not just a tribute; it’s an artistic statement, showcasing Hornsbee’s talent for reimagining and revitalizing classics with a modern touch. This version of “Wish I Had Not Said That” is a journey through nostalgia and innovation, an auditory experience that both soothes and captivates.

Ashley Elle – “Spring Street”

“Spring Street,” the upcoming single from singer-songwriter Ashley Elle, is a poignant reflection of personal upheaval, encapsulating the emotional fallout of her parents’ separation. Set against the backdrop of indie-pop and adult contemporary, Ashley’s heartfelt lyricism and classic vocal style resonate with a raw honesty that is both touching and profound. Scheduled for release on December 6th, this track marks her most personal work to date, offering a glimpse into the depths of familial change and its impact on her and her siblings.

Ashley’s approach to songwriting shines in “Spring Street,” where the lyrics are not just words but pieces of her soul, drawn directly from her journal during a time of intense personal turmoil. The final vocals, imbued with real and raw emotion, carry the weight of her experience, delivering a powerful and relatable narrative. The song’s composition, blending Ashley’s innate musicality with the expertise of her collaborators, creates a sound that is both contemporary and timeless. It’s a track that not only showcases Ashley’s growth as an artist but also her courage as a storyteller, inviting listeners into her world of heartbreak, maturity, and self-discovery. “Spring Street” is more than a song; it’s a heartfelt journey through the complexities of life, love, and mental health, offering solace and understanding to anyone who has navigated similar paths.

Old Heavy Hands – “The Flood”

“The Flood,” a standout track from Old Heavy Hands’ upcoming album “Small Fires,” is a gripping narrative that melds Americana with alt-country, echoing the soulful essence of acts like Drive-By Truckers and Jason Isbell. Hailing from Greensboro, NC, the band brings to life their y’allternative sound in a song that captures the essence of resilience and rebirth. Produced by Danny Fonorow and engineered by the legendary Mitch Easter, “The Flood” is a testament to the band’s journey through life’s tumultuous waters, from surviving cancer and overcoming addiction to building families and sharing stages with renowned artists.

Nate Hall’s voice, raw and emotive, cuts through the cacophony of organ and horns, giving “The Flood” a gospel-like quality. The song’s lyrics, “Storms come and they go / The wind will always blow / Just tried to hold on tight / We’ll make it on through this night,” speak to the enduring human spirit in the face of life’s inevitable trials. This is not just a track about survival; it’s an anthem of hope and the cyclical nature of existence. The biblical imagery of cleansing floods and the promise of new beginnings is masterfully woven into the fabric of the song, creating a narrative that is both deeply personal and universally resonant. “The Flood” is more than a piece of music; it’s a story of life’s ebb and flow, a reminder that even in the darkest storms, there’s a chance to hold on and emerge stronger.

Album Review: Rebel Kicks – EP

On December 8, 2023, the dynamic duo Rebel Kicks, comprised of brothers Anthony and Steven Babino, unveiled their latest EP, ‘’, marking a vibrant addition to their growing discography. This EP, lasting a concise 16 minutes and 49 seconds across five tracks, is not just a collection of songs but a vivid showcase of the band’s versatility and evolution.

The EP begins with “The Girl In Barcelona,” a track that immediately stands out with its infectious groove and vivid storytelling. This song is an aural journey to Catalonia, imbued with the spirit of liberation and joy. The Babino brothers have managed to capture the essence of a fleeting, beautiful encounter and translate it into a rhythm that resonates with anyone who’s ever found unexpected happiness in a foreign land. The animated music video accompanying this track further amplifies its vibrant narrative, bringing to life the energy and color of Barcelona.

“Past Life,” another standout single, dives into the mystical realm of human connections and the concept of soulmates. Inspired by the red string theory, this track is a masterful blend of emotive lyrics and poignant melodies. The song explores the depths of a past life connection, resonating with listeners through its intricate storytelling. The track’s ethereal sound, combined with the band’s skillful harmonies, creates a hauntingly beautiful experience that lingers long after the last note.

The EP’s sonic landscape is a testament to Rebel Kicks’ ability to weave various influences into a cohesive sound. From the pulsating rhythms of “The Girl In Barcelona” to the introspective melodies of “Past Life,” the EP spans a spectrum of emotions, encapsulating the essence of their musical journey. The fusion of synths, big harmonies, and guitar work creates an infectious sound that’s innovative yet familiar, aligning perfectly with Glide Magazine’s praise of their ability to craft mainstream-friendly yet distinctly unique songs.

Rebel Kicks’ background, growing up with a jazz musician father and honing their harmony and songcraft from a young age, is evident in their music. The brothers have successfully merged their influences from jazz, classic rock, and R&B to create a sound that is uniquely theirs. This amalgamation of genres is not just a musical choice but a reflection of their personal journey and growth as artists.

Their recent electrifying performance at The Cutting Room in NYC, just before the release of ‘’, demonstrated their prowess as live performers. It also served as a testament to their growth, having shared bills with prominent artists like Foo Fighters, Blink-182, and Incubus, and featured on channels like MTV and Showtime. The live renditions of the EP’s material, particularly the standouts “The Girl In Barcelona” and “Past Life,” undoubtedly captivated the audience, showcasing the band’s dynamic stage presence and the depth of their music.

‘’ is more than just an EP; it’s a narrative of Rebel Kicks’ journey as musicians and storytellers. It’s a celebration of their growth, a nod to their past, and a glimpse into their future potential. With this latest release, the Babino brothers have not only solidified their place in the contemporary music landscape but have also opened a new chapter in their artistic journey.

Listeners of ‘’ are treated to a rich musical experience that is both reflective and forward-looking. The EP’s focus tracks, “The Girl In Barcelona” and “Past Life,” are perfect embodiments of Rebel Kicks’ ability to navigate the complex terrain of pop music with grace and originality. As the EP finds its way into the playlists of listeners worldwide, it stands as a vibrant reminder of the power of music to capture the nuances of human experience and the endless possibilities that lie in the fusion of genres and influences. With ‘’, Rebel Kicks has not only delivered an engaging musical experience but has also set the stage for their continued evolution and success in the music industry.

Album Review: SonOfHarry – The World Has Gone Mad

Released just a day ago, on December 8, 2023, SonOfHarry’s debut concept album, ‘The World Has Gone Mad’, marks a striking entrance into the pop/soft rock scene. At just 21 years old, Australian artist Harry Cleverdon, previously known for his contributions to the country music genre, embarks on a transformative journey, blending the nostalgic echoes of Pink Floyd and Queen with the modern inflections of Hozier, Matt Corby, and John Mayer.

The album, comprising 11 tracks over a span of 38 minutes and 11 seconds, unfolds as a meticulously crafted narrative, rich in sonic detail and layered with profound social commentary. It’s a concept album that, true to its nature, creates a cohesive aural journey, guiding listeners through a landscape filled with thematic depth and emotional resonance.

Opening with ‘Intro’, SonOfHarry sets the stage with a soundscape that is both ethereal and potent. This introductory piece, with its keys, thunderous drums, and compelling soundbites, seamlessly transitions into ‘The World Has Gone Mad, Pt 1’. This track sets a tone of gloomy foreboding, incorporating layers of vocals, orchestral drums, and striking strings that hint at the epic musical experience to come.

‘Paradise, Pt 1’ shifts the album’s mood, injecting an air of optimism with its anthemic chants and energetic percussion. It’s a testament to Cleverdon’s versatility, his ability to pivot between moods and styles while maintaining a thematic consistency.

‘The World Has Gone Mad, Pt 2’ surges with pop-rock energy, featuring explosive blues-rock guitar solos and passionate choruses. It serves as a poignant commentary on the chaotic state of the world, echoing the album’s title and thematic core.

One of the standout tracks, ‘Moments Of Beauty’, showcases SonOfHarry’s adeptness at crafting soulful, slow-burning numbers. The track, which starts with a clean electric guitar and the gentle sounds of birds chirping, gradually builds into a rich musical tapestry of laid-back blues guitar riffs and layered harmonies, all supporting Cleverdon’s emotive vocal delivery.

‘Alien’ then launches listeners into a different sonic space, starting as a piano ballad and building to powerful choruses accompanied by hammered strings. This song’s dynamic shifts are a microcosm of the album’s overall narrative structure, showcasing SonOfHarry’s ability to weave a story not just through lyrics but through music itself.

The interlude ‘Where Do We Come From?’ maintains the album’s narrative flow, bridging into ‘Can Not Be This Way’, which injects an infectious energy and questions societal constructs with a vintage, jazzy feel and snappy anthemic choruses.

‘Fall’ presents a mesmerizing blend of vocals and piano, creating a track that is both intimate and passionately heartfelt. It’s a testament to Cleverdon’s ability to capture emotion in its rawest form, unfiltered and profound.

The album closes with ‘The World Has Gone Mad, Pt 3’, an epic, slow-burning pop track that encapsulates Harry’s social and political commentary. Its dynamic shifts and theatrical climaxes mark it as one of the album’s most impactful pieces, continuously evolving and shapeshifting.

Throughout the album, SonOfHarry demonstrates a level of expertise and professionalism that belies his years. The album is a journey – not just a collection of songs but an experience that weaves together Cleverdon’s introspections and observations about the modern world. The use of lush synthesizers, fiery guitar riffs, and orchestral arrangements, combined with enchanting vocals, creates an immersive listening experience.

‘The World Has Gone Mad’ is more than an album; it’s a cathartic exploration of the complexities of contemporary life, delivered through a fusion of vintage inspirations and contemporary sound. SonOfHarry, with this debut, has not just entered the music scene; he has announced his arrival with a bold statement, one that resonates with thought-provoking commentary and striking musicality.

Listeners of ‘The World Has Gone Mad’ will find themselves on a journey through the peaks and valleys of human experience, guided by Cleverdon’s artistic vision and musical prowess. It’s an album that promises to leave a lasting impression, not just for its thematic depth but for its sonic innovation and emotional resonance. With this release, SonOfHarry has set a high bar for himself and the world of pop/soft rock music, marking the beginning of what promises to be an exciting and transformative musical odyssey.

Album Review: Bad Veins – Imposter

After an 8-year sabbatical from the music scene, Bad Veins, led by the enigmatic Ben Davis, returns with “Imposter,” an album that emerges from the attic of creativity and seeps into the very fabric of experimental indie-pop. Released on December 1st, 2023, via Dynamite Music, “Imposter” stands as a testament to Davis’s musical evolution and perhaps, as he tentatively suggests, his magnum opus.

“Imposter” is not just an album; it’s a journey through the attic of Davis’s mind, where nostalgia intertwines with modernity, and where the vintage sounds of a 1970s Mattel Optigan organ, a megaphone, and the beloved reel-to-reel recorder ‘Irene’ blend seamlessly with contemporary synth-pop. This 42-minute, 10-track album is a mosaic of Davis’s introspection, his battle with the imposter syndrome, and his unmistakable talent for crafting unique soundscapes.

The album kickstarts with “Helicopter,” a track that immediately immerses listeners in the quintessential Bad Veins soundscape – a mix of vintage and modern, with a hint of melancholic nostalgia. This is followed by “Arrow” and “Long Long Night,” tracks that exemplify Davis’s ability to weave complex emotional narratives through simple yet captivating melodies.

“Wendy,” the album’s lead single, stands out as a centerpiece. It’s a musical paradox, combining robotic beats with ethereal synths and sing-song vocals, resulting in a rhythm that’s as disorienting as it is captivating. The song is a time capsule, encapsulating Davis’s nostalgia, starting with a cozy drum loop and unraveling into a mellotron flute solo, adorned with 1980s synth-pop hooks. The camcorder-shot music video for “Wendy” only adds to its charm, painting a picture of retro sentimentality.

The tracks “Stupid Heart” and “Under The Cover” delve deeper into the emotional spectrum, exploring themes of love, vulnerability, and introspection. “Crazy” and “Lonely Soldier” showcase Davis’s penchant for storytelling, crafting narratives that are both personal and universal.

“We’ll Get it Right” and “Instant” close the album with a sense of resolve and reflection. They encapsulate the journey of “Imposter,” highlighting the growth and self-realization that Davis has undergone in his hiatus.

Throughout the album, Davis’s craftsmanship shines through the experimental soundscapes. The use of unconventional instruments like the Mattel Optigan organ and megaphone, along with the familiar warmth of ‘Irene’ the reel-to-reel recorder, creates a sound that is distinctly Bad Veins – familiar yet fresh, nostalgic yet forward-looking.

“Imposter” is also a reflection of Davis’s internal struggles with public life and his creative identity. This duality adds depth to the album, making it not just a collection of songs but a narrative of Davis’s journey as an artist. The title itself is a nod to the imposter syndrome that Davis grapples with, despite his significant achievements in the music industry.

The legacy of Bad Veins is further cemented by its unique blend of hipster acclaim and mainstream appeal. From accolades like the “Target Music Maker” Award at the Tribeca Film Festival to features in Billboard, Paste, and MTV, Bad Veins has managed to straddle the line between indie underground and commercial success. The band’s music has not only resonated with fans across various platforms but also found a home in television shows like “Queer Eye” and “Santa Clarita Diet.”

The cult following of Bad Veins, with its Army battalions on Reddit and Facebook, is a testament to the impact Davis has had on his listeners. His onstage persona, clad in his father’s army jacket – a symbol of resilience and legacy – has become iconic, resonating with fans worldwide and immortalized in Ken Burns’s “Country Music” documentary series.

“Imposter” is more than just a comeback; it’s a renaissance for Bad Veins and Ben Davis. It’s an album that embraces its imperfections, celebrates its idiosyncrasies, and offers a glimpse into the soul of an artist who has traversed the peaks and valleys of a musical journey. For fans old and new, “Imposter” is a reminder of why Bad Veins has remained a beloved fixture in the indie-pop landscape.

In closing, “Imposter” is not just an album to be heard; it’s an experience to be felt. It’s a musical diary that captures the essence of a man who has battled with his demons and emerged with a collection of songs that are as authentic as they are artistic. As we listen to “Imposter,” we’re not just traversing through an album; we’re walking through the halls of Davis’s memories, thoughts, and dreams, making it a truly intimate and immersive experience.

New Releases: THE GOA EXPRESS, bail bonds, Daniel Ellsworth, Magenta Moon, Chelsea Reed, Charlie & Margot, and Sadie Ava

Welcome to B-Side Guys’ Weekly New Releases, where every week we dive into the latest and greatest in music. Our mission is to unearth those hidden gems that might otherwise slip through the cracks, alongside some of the most anticipated drops from the biggest names in the industry. From the raw energy of underground indie rock to the smooth rhythms of neo-soul, our curated selection aims to bring a diverse range of sounds to your ears. Whether you’re searching for your next favorite song or just looking to expand your musical horizons, you’ve come to the right place. So sit back, plug in, and get ready to explore the freshest tracks that this week has to offer. Let’s see what’s spinning on the turntable this time around!

THE GOA EXPRESS – “It’s Never Been Better”

The Goa Express strides confidently onto the indie rock stage with their debut self-titled album, marked by the standout track “It’s Never Been Better.” This song, a nostalgic nod to summers past, gushes with a vigorous blend of jangling guitars and hearty drums, creating a landscape both familiar and exhilarating. The Goa Express, comprising James Douglas Clarke, Joe Clarke, Joey Stein, Naham Muzaffar, and Sam Launder, craft a sound that’s a cocktail of early Supergrass’ unbridled energy, the Psychedelic Furs’ rhythmical prowess, and the La’s melodic daydreams. Their sound, though reflective of these influences, is uniquely their own – a testament to their cohesive artistry and shared history.

Recorded in Raglan, Wales, under the guidance of Damon Minchella and Tom Manning, “It’s Never Been Better” encapsulates the essence of their entire album – an exploration of youth, friendship, and the longing for escape. The song throbs with a palpable urgency, the kind that grabs you by the collar and demands your attention. It’s a track that revels in its own anthemic nature, hoisting itself on the shoulders of its predecessors while gazing determinedly at the future. The band’s time spent in the rural shadows of Northern England’s industrial heartland is evident here; their music is a vivid patchwork of their upbringing, brimming with tales of late nights and adolescent adventures. “It’s Never Been Better” is not just an introduction to The Goa Express but a promise of their potential, a pledge of more rousing narratives and sonic adventures to come.

bail bonds – “CALIFORNIA KING”

In “CALIFORNIA KING,” bail bonds ventures into a thought-provoking exploration of surviving and navigating the complexities of late capitalism in America, where the thin line between compromise and loss of self becomes a central theme. This track, the first of the triptych titled “Triptych 001: The Bluebird,” resonates with the raw, unfiltered energy akin to artists like Jean Dawson and Eyedress, yet carves out its distinct narrative space. It’s an energetic yet introspective indie rock piece that delves into the sacrifices and moral gymnastics required to thrive in a system that often feels inescapably flawed.

The song is a poignant love letter, not just to a significant other, but to the concept of love as a saving grace in a world marred by materialism and existential dread. The lyrics, “chasing blood money like a bloodhound / cure my depression when you come ’round,” encapsulate the duality of striving for success in a flawed system while clinging to personal relationships as the ultimate salvation. This track is more than a critique of the societal structure; it’s an affirmation that love and human connection can provide meaning and redemption, even in the bleakest of circumstances. Set to drop on Cyber Monday, a day emblematic of consumerism, “CALIFORNIA KING” is a timely reminder of the constant tug-of-war between personal values and societal expectations. It’s a sonic journey that’s both reflective and forward-looking, capturing the essence of a generation striving to find balance in a world where everything, including one’s soul, seems up for sale.

Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes – “AFTER ALL”

“AFTER ALL,” the new release by Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes, distills the essence of indie rock’s exuberance with the reflective depth of alternative rock. This track, a prelude to their forthcoming album “HIGH LIFE,” encapsulates the band’s dynamic energy and Ellsworth’s gift for blending diverse musical styles. It’s a song that reflects their journey, showcasing a maturity and complexity that comes from years of exploring and redefining the musical landscape.

The song’s sound is a vibrant blend of catchy hooks and rich, layered instrumentation, signature to Ellsworth’s style. With a rhythm that’s both infectious and nuanced, it captures the listener’s attention from the first note. The band’s ability to weave complex arrangements with accessible melodies demonstrates their mastery in balancing indie rock’s playful spontaneity with the thoughtful intricacy of alternative rock. “AFTER ALL” is not just a track; it’s an embodiment of Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes’ continuous evolution as artists, a testament to their ability to create music that resonates with both depth and immediacy.

Magenta Moon – “Perceive Yourself”

Magenta Moon’s “Perceive Yourself” is a testament to the power of indie rock and alt-pop to convey deeply personal and universal themes. This track, a gem from the Los Angeles-based duo, intertwines melodic grace with poignant lyrics to deliver a powerful message of self-acceptance and self-love. As a musical exploration of one’s journey towards self-realization, the song stands out for its ability to resonate with listeners on a deeply personal level.

Elaina Whitesell’s lead vocals, backed by Joey Petrarca’s guitar harmonies, create a sonic landscape that is both enchanting and grounding. The pair’s chemistry is palpable, infusing the track with an authenticity that elevates its message. “Perceive Yourself” encourages listeners to embrace their own stories, affirming that every step, regardless of its nature, contributes to the larger narrative of their lives. The meticulous mixing by Andrew Solis and mastering by Nick Townsend, coupled with Patrick Mannella’s rhythmic drums, ensure that the song is not just heard but felt. The upcoming music video by Miguel Vite promises to extend this narrative, offering a visual complement to Magenta Moon’s auditory storytelling.

Chelsea Reed – “Dominic”

In her latest track “Dominic,” Chelsea Reed delves into the complexities of human behavior with a piercing clarity, wrapped in the vibrant energy of indie pop and alt pop. The song emerges from a place of personal frustration, a response to a conversation with a male friend whose external blame game inspired Reed to channel her emotions into music. The result is a song that’s both introspective and universally relatable, showcasing Reed’s ability to turn personal experiences into compelling lyrical narratives.

“Dominic” unfolds with a rhythmic vivacity, driven by Reed’s powerful piano chords and emotive vocals, reminiscent of Sara Bareilles and Ben Folds. The lyrics, “Dominic it’s adding up / Sorry for yourself again,” and “You don’t have love in your heart,” are direct and impactful, revealing the depth of Reed’s songwriting skills. The chorus, “How do you keep it honest? / Everyone’s trying to win,” is not just catchy but also thought-provoking, posing questions about honesty and self-awareness in a world where everyone is seemingly in a race to the top. Reed’s talent lies in her ability to weave complex emotional themes into melodies that are both accessible and deeply resonant. “Dominic” is more than a song; it’s a reflection on the human condition, encouraging listeners to look inward and recognize the love (or lack thereof) in their hearts.

Charlie & Margot – “Giving Up”

In “Giving Up,” Charlie & Margot, the solo project of New Jersey native Matteo DeBenedetti, presents a rich homage to ’90s alt-rock with a modern slacker rock twist. The track, part of a series of self-recorded, mixed, and mastered songs, channels the spirit of influential bands like Weezer and The Smashing Pumpkins, while infusing it with Matteo’s distinct creative voice. The result is a song that not only respects its roots but also pushes the boundaries of the genre into new territories.

The song’s texture is layered with gritty guitars and a driving rhythm section, capturing the essence of alternative rock’s golden era. Matteo’s vocal delivery, raw and earnest, perfectly complements the nostalgic yet fresh sound of the track. “Giving Up” stands out for its ability to balance a sense of introspective lyricism with the unbridled energy of rock, a testament to Matteo’s decade-long experience in the DIY circuit. This track is not just a piece of music; it’s a reflection of Matteo’s journey as a musician and a nod to the transformative power of self-expression through songwriting.

Sadie Ava – “Say You Want Me”

“Say You Want Me,” the latest single from Portland-based artist Sadie Ava, is a poignant exploration of vulnerability and longing, wrapped in the emotive tapestry of alt-pop and adult contemporary. Ava’s multifaceted talent shines through in this track, where she not only wrote and sang but also played every instrument, from the drums to the banjo. Produced by Barrett Jones at Seattle’s Laundry Room Studios, the song carries the weight of an artist’s solitary reflection on unspoken desires and the risks of opening oneself to possible rejection.

The song opens with the haunting line “My heart a bitter chance, laid out on your front steps,” instantly setting a mood of raw, unfiltered emotion. Ava’s voice, rich and resonant, carries the narrative with a depth that echoes artists like Adele and Jessie Ware. The lyrics, “One look across the bar, tell me what you’re thinking,” capture the tension of the unspoken, the silent questions that hang in the air between two people. Ava’s ability to blend traditional instruments with contemporary sounds creates a track that is both timeless and fresh. The chorus, “Do you want me? Say you want me,” is a powerful plea for clarity in a world of uncertainties, a moment of vulnerability that resonates with anyone who has ever questioned where they stand in someone else’s heart.


Song Review: Routine Fuss – “Headass”

Routine Fuss’ latest track, “Headass,” from their upcoming album ‘Live, Laugh, Fuss,’ is a dynamic and introspective journey through the complexities of self-expectation and the sobering realization that sobriety alone isn’t a panacea for life’s challenges. Originating from Chicago, IL, Routine Fuss brings an unapologetic rawness to the alternative rock scene, blending elements of math rock to create a sound that’s both familiar and refreshingly original.

“Headass” kicks off with a burst of energy – its instrumentation is both intricate and aggressive, setting the stage for a narrative that’s as emotionally charged as it is rhythmically compelling. The band has a knack for crafting hooky riffs that are not only catchy but convey the song’s underlying tension and frustration. There’s a palpable sense of grappling with internal demons, a theme that resonates deeply in the lyrics “struggling with the idea of living up to expectations.”

What makes “Headass” stand out is its unflinching honesty. The song doesn’t shy away from the gritty reality of facing life head-on, post-sobriety. It acknowledges that while removing a vice can be transformative, it isn’t a cure-all solution. This realization is poignantly encapsulated in lines like “even after getting sober all your problems aren’t magically solved.” It’s a mature, reflective take on self-improvement and personal accountability, themes that are often glossed over in more superficial narratives.

Instrumentally, the song is a rollercoaster. From the frenetic opening to the big, bold ender, there’s a sense of constant motion, mirroring the emotional ups and downs of the song’s protagonist. The band’s ability to weave complex time signatures and rhythms typical of math rock into their sound adds an extra layer of sophistication to the track, engaging listeners who appreciate technical prowess alongside lyrical depth.

In conclusion, “Headass” by Routine Fuss is more than just an alt-rock track; it’s a candid, introspective look at the challenges of personal growth and the often overlooked complexities of sobriety. With its energetic instrumentals, hooky riffs, and emotionally charged lyrics, the song is a powerful addition to Routine Fuss’ repertoire and a promising glimpse of what their new record ‘Live, Laugh, Fuss’ will offer.

Song Review: Samantha Clemons – “Colored”

In her profoundly moving track “Colored,” Samantha Clemons delves deep into the exploration of identity and self-perception, set against the backdrop of a neo-soul soundscape. The song is a testament to Clemons’ journey as an artist, a reflection of her life experiences that have been both diverse and challenging. Born into a military family and constantly on the move, Clemons’ narrative in “Colored” resonates with the feeling of being an outsider, an ‘outline’ that is colored in by the perceptions and expectations of others.

“Colored” begins with the hauntingly beautiful lines, “I’m on the outside / I’m just an outline / You colored me in.” Here, Clemons’ voice, rich and emotive, brings a sense of vulnerability and introspection. The song progresses through various emotional landscapes, using colors as metaphors for feelings and experiences. The lyrics, “Why did you choose, such somber blues / See I’m sad but these laughs keep breaking through,” illustrate the complex interplay of emotions that define her journey – the sadness tinged with moments of joy and resilience.

Musically, “Colored” is a soulful blend of Clemons’ influences, with hints of folk and blues adding depth to the neo-soul foundation. The composition is minimalistic yet powerful, allowing Clemons’ voice to take center stage and carry the emotional weight of the song. The use of metaphors like “A little highlight / A bit of lilac / Amidst the black” further emphasizes the song’s theme of searching for light and color in the darkness of life’s challenges.

The chorus, “But I’m on the outside, I’m just an outline / You’ve colored me in, as you deem fit,” speaks to the universal human experience of being defined by others and the struggle to assert one’s true identity. Clemons’ lyrics are a poetic and insightful reflection on how external influences shape our sense of self, often at odds with our internal perceptions and desires.

In summary, “Colored” is not just a song but a poignant narrative that showcases Samantha Clemons’ exceptional songwriting and vocal talent. It is a deeply personal yet universally relatable piece that challenges listeners to contemplate their own identities and the colors with which they have been painted by the world around them. With “Colored,” Clemons cements her place as a formidable voice in contemporary music, capable of weaving complex emotional themes into compelling and beautiful melodies.

Song Review: Tall Teeth – “Lonely Dove”

“Lonely Dove” by Tall Teeth is a poignant reflection on love, loss, and the painful yet necessary act of letting go. Bradley Price, the creative force behind Tall Teeth, brings to life a hauntingly beautiful narrative with his delicate instrumentation and introspective songwriting. The song resonates with a melancholic beauty, echoing the influences of artists like Fionn Regan and Iron & Wine, while carving out its unique space in the realm of acoustic folk.

The track opens with an evocative scene: “Late night / Under the stars / At the same time / Waiting to drown in the moonshine.” These lines immediately immerse the listener in a contemplative mood, setting the stage for a journey through memory and emotion. Price’s voice, reminiscent of Jeff Buckley in its emotive delivery, adds a layer of depth to the lyrics. The chorus, “Goodbye, lonely dove,” repeated with a haunting refrain, symbolizes the act of releasing something cherished yet unattainable. It’s a universal sentiment, capturing the essence of moving on from a love that was never meant to be.

Instrumentally, “Lonely Dove” is understated yet profound. The ukelele provides a gentle, flowing backdrop to the vocals, creating an intimate atmosphere that allows the listener to fully absorb the emotional weight of the song. The simplicity of the arrangement is its strength, focusing on the raw emotion conveyed through Price’s voice and lyrics. This minimalistic approach underscores the song’s theme of finding beauty in sadness and peace in acceptance.

Lyrically, the song weaves a tale of reminiscence and reflection. The line “This valley’s in low light / And there’s you / Carved up the world in your shoes” suggests a deep connection with someone who has left an indelible mark on the narrator’s life. The imagery of carving up the world implies a shared journey, a path walked together but now diverging. The song’s bridge, with its repeated “Goodbye, lonely dove,” serves as both a farewell and an acknowledgment of the inevitable – a graceful acceptance of the end of a chapter.

In summary, “Lonely Dove” is a masterfully crafted song that speaks to the heart. It’s a testament to Tall Teeth’s ability to create music that is both haunting and healing, offering a cathartic experience for anyone who has ever had to let go of something or someone dear. With its blend of melancholic lyrics, emotive vocals, and minimalistic instrumentation, “Lonely Dove” is a standout track that showcases Tall Teeth’s unique voice in the folk genre.

Song Review: Blue Beam – “Zodiac Chiller”

Blue Beam’s “Zodiac Chiller,” the electrifying opener for their album “No More Dinosaurs,” is a riveting journey through the heart of slacker and alternative rock with a progressive edge. Hailing from Chicago, Blue Beam has crafted a track that pulses with the city’s dynamic energy, blending rock’s raw power with funk’s rhythmic nuances. “Zodiac Chiller” is not just a song; it’s an auditory adventure that captures the band’s essence, characterized by moodiness, energy, and a dash of darkness.

Lyrically, the song dives into themes of emotional exhaustion and the necessity of letting go, encapsulated in lines like “I’ve had enough / Enough your reasons / Your asking too much / I’m gone with the seasons.” This sense of weariness is contrasted with a determination to rise above, as seen in “I’ll rise through my feelings / I’ll settle my scores / On something worth bleeding.” The chorus, “I must let go,” becomes a mantra, reinforcing the song’s message of breaking free from the constraints of the past and moving forward. The powerful imagery of breaking stone and changing worries to something of greater value adds depth to the narrative, illustrating the transformative journey the protagonist is undergoing.

Musically, “Zodiac Chiller” is an amalgamation of Blue Beam’s diverse influences. The song starts with a laid-back groove, typical of slacker rock, but gradually builds into a more energetic and complex arrangement, reflecting the band’s progressive rock inclinations. The guitar work is both intricate and catchy, creating a tapestry of sound that perfectly complements the song’s thematic content. The rhythm section, with its funk-infused beats, adds a groovy undercurrent that makes “Zodiac Chiller” irresistibly danceable, despite its moody undertones.

In summary, “Zodiac Chiller” is a standout track that showcases Blue Beam’s ability to weave together different genres into a cohesive and compelling narrative. The song’s exploration of emotional resilience, coupled with its engaging musicality, makes it a must-listen for fans of alternative and progressive rock. As the lead single of “No More Dinosaurs,” it sets a high bar for the rest of the album and solidifies Blue Beam’s place in the contemporary rock landscape.

Song Review: Small Victory – “Afraid of Change”

Small Victory’s “Afraid of Change” is a striking testament to the band’s burgeoning potential in the realms of psychedelic and indie rock. This song, recorded at Polychrome Ranch with Jared Corder of *repeat repeat, marks the Nashville-based duo’s studio debut, plunging into the depths of introspection and emotional turbulence. Echoing the vibes of Briston Maroney and Peach Pit, with a hint of Beach Fossils’ dreamy aesthetic, “Afraid of Change” is a blend of moody lyricism and energetic rhythms, encapsulating the complex dance of clinging to the familiar amid the inexorable tides of change.

The song’s narrative dwells on the difficulty of transformation and the tendency to cling to old habits and memories, even when they’re painful or self-destructive. The lyrics, “You’re so afraid of change / Still buying packs of cigarettes with your iced tea,” illustrate a vivid picture of someone caught in the inertia of their ways, unwilling or unable to break free. The imagery of “that cold, winter air, it pierced your skin just like a memory,” further adds to the song’s emotional depth, portraying how past experiences can linger and affect one’s present. The poignant lines, “And every word was filled with the hatred of a hundred men, it’s so absurd,” delve into the frustration and disbelief at seeing someone trapped in their own cycles.

Musically, “Afraid of Change” showcases Small Victory’s flair for crafting songs that are both introspective and sonically vibrant. The blend of psychedelic undertones with indie rock energy creates a soundscape that is as thought-provoking as it is engaging. The track demonstrates the duo’s capacity for nuanced storytelling, weaving a narrative that is relatable and deeply human. “Afraid of Change” stands as a compelling entry in Small Victory’s discography, promising a bright future for the duo as they continue to explore the intricate layers of human emotions and experiences through their music.