“Caught a Feeling” shows the strongly melodic songwriting of T. Soomian, a Los Angeles-based artist whose sound generates blissful psych-pop sentiments and hypnotic rock twilight. The track’s “take you on a magic trip,” hook features glistening keys and a gently buzzing synth, a delightful accompaniment to Soomian’s soaring vocals. The vocal ooh-ing, mellow bass drive, and twinkling synths combine for an aesthetic that’s extremely digestible, and the type of material fit for sunsets with great company. If “Caught a Feeling” is indicative of the quality to expect on Soomian’s forthcoming full-length Love Relief, out this summer, big things are on the way. “The songs will have a similar sound, not veering too far from groovy, late 70s dad porno pop music,” the artist says. Count me in.
“For All I Know” is a track played, recorded, and mixed by Hugo Cottu in his bedroom. Certainly a bedroom project by definition, though “For All I Know” packs an atmospheric punch that rivals major studio efforts. Hugo’s tranquil vocals — tonally reminiscent of Mac Demarco — accompany a nocturnal synth whir and placid percussion. The multi-layered vocal moment around 02:47 leads to a gorgeous, synth-tinged climax a few moments later, where Hugo’s vocals ascend from nonchalance to spine-chilling emotion. “For all I know,” Hugo sings here, “you’ve gone to sleep.” This is a strikingly beautiful track, one that shows a rising artist with ample enough talent to become very prominent.
Ellen Warkentine’s ongoing Nonsense Mouth project has treated us with visual and audible splendor, with the four tracks so far offering videos with striking visuals and resonating themes. The music itself is rich and expansive, often incorporating orchestral elements into the melodic and stylistically creative fold. “Ghost” is more of this brilliance, a brass-led enigma where Warkentine’s creeping vocals join alongside the brass, suave guitar lines, and grooving bass. Ellen Warkentine has released some of the most successfully striking videos and tracks this year so far.
“1965” is a consuming track released today from Johnnie Beamon, a hip-hop artist from Las Vegas. The track strives to take the listener “into the mind of a young black man that believes he is about to lose his life at the hands of a police officer.” The murky beat accompanies lyrics that reflect a yearning for forgiveness and acceptance, with a retrospective feel conveyed well by the artist’s intense delivery. The “roof on fire,” bit at 01:11 amps the intensity up, with increasing rhythmic intensity. Vocal pitch fluctuation and spacey synth arps and pads help comprise a very satisfying conclusion. Overall, “1965” is a very strong showing from Johnnie Beamon, who cements himself as a rising hip-hop act with ample talent in both flow and atmosphere.
Anaheim-based singer/songwriter Solomon Sprenger impresses on the track “Peace,” where his mellow vocals and thickly stirring guitars mesh with twinkling keys for a dazed, blissed-out feel. The guitars rise emotively as the one-minute mark approaches, before arriving back to the verses, which almost tout a Kinks-like lazy-day charm. The track’s final minute or so stretches its legs out, with twangy rhythm guitar and a soaring wordless backing vocal impact playing well. “Peace” is a nice start to Sprenger’s talents as a songwriter. Hear more via his Soundcloud.
“Calm For Color” is a successful new track from Tiny Dolphin, an artist from Austin, Texas. Stylistically, the track sits somewhere between The National’s morose rock retrospection and Andrew Bird’s stirring folk leanings. The vocals are vibrant from the get-go, showing a commendable range and delivery between folk-laden brooding and higher-pitched exhilaration. The guitars are a prominent force, though certainly take a backseat during specific vocal hooks and the numerous times that a buzzing synth lead takes over, particularly during the final moments. “Calm For Color” is a well-produced, nicely melodic effort from one of Austin’s many rising acts.
Italian power trio Hypergear showcase their powerful, emotional rock sound on the track “Buzz” — released today. The band describes the effort as: “A song about a friendship or a relationship went wrong. The loss of a friend or a beloved one is a really tough thing to overcome, and most of the times it changes forever the shape of everything.” Heavy, distorted guitars kick this one off alongside very emotive vocals, with the distortion fading around 01:30 in favor of gorgeous, relaxed strums with an orchestral-like pull. The whispering vocals here play well, amping up alongside the shortly thereafter emerging buzzing guitars and pounding rhythm section. “Buzz” is an enjoyable journey of an effort that shows this Italian trio’s knack for structural and melodic variety.
Dot.s’ “Evil Lines” is a super catchy track that rides on glistening synths and infectious vocal harmonies, with climatic orchestral whirring adding to the gripping sound. “Evil Lines” comes via the forthcoming and third LP, Long for this World, from the Atlanta-based five-piece. Dot.s’ aim for “percussive, synth-heavy, dance music” with ample hooky appeal hits the mark here. The pulsating rhythm section and synth accompany the breezily melodic vocals, with different vocal tones assuming the lead in enjoyable form. The string-laden rumination around 01:30 lends a gripping chamber-pop feel, a testament to the act’s firm grasp of production and melody. “Evil Lines” marks the first of eight singles from the album, each released on a weekly basis, starting with today’s release of this gem.
“Why You’re Tired” is an immersive effort from rising Manchester quartet Plato, who channel a very Radiohead-esque sound here — from the escalating guitar tones and expansive rhythm section to the strikingly impassioned, space-enveloping vocals. Following debut single “Blindfold,” “Why You’re Tired” shows the band’s more ambitious side; tranquil guitars and tender vocals start, with the bulk of the track’s mid-section featuring those striking Thom Yorke-like vocals over steadily escalating guitars and rhythmic growth. “Why You’re Tired” is a very powerful effort, one that shows a band that’s poised for big-time recognition. I look forward to more from Plato, for sure.
The serene, spacious “But I Don’t Know” is a new track from Mathias Hammerstrøm, a singer and electronic composer from Denmark. Stylistically reminiscent of James Blake’s most contemplative efforts, the atmospheric track stirs the soul, with a touching and vulnerable vocal lead providing a light over the fog of reverbed, paced percussion, nocturnal bass ruminations, and lush synths. “But I Don’t Mind” comes via Hammerstrøm’s forthcoming EP, There Is a Light Within Yourself, out on May 27th. “I wanted to write an EP about the aftermath of loss, but I also wanted it to be more like a soothing experience than a sad one,” Hammerstrøm says. “Personally, making the music on this EP has been like a therapeutic experience. I hope it can help someone believe in themselves, to not give up and to not feel alone.”