We are more than halfway through to 2019. And just like 2018, the amount of new indie releases that are particularly relevant has been outstanding. We’ve been quite busy trying to write about at least some of them, but we know there have been some very very good releases we didn’t manage to write about when they were released. So, as a proper rendition, this is a special three-part post (and playlist) compiling and reviewing those special songs released in the first semester of 2019, that we’ve should have written about earlier. It is also a special way of celebrating our 700th post on this adventure called Where the Music Meets.
Alex McArtor – Last Blur in the City
When someone writes she is a 16-year-old singer, you don’t really know what to expect and figure out ways of politely not destroying dreams. But with Alex McArtor happened almost the opposite. Is she really 16? We asked right away. Not only the vocals of Alex McArtor sound unlike her age, but the slow compass and depth of the song will surprise almost everyone. There is absolutely nothing wrong about it. And that magical feeling is all around it. What a way to introduce yourself. This is Last Blur in the City.
stella. – Should’ve Known Better
stella. released his debut EP entitled Amalfi this year. Folk-inspired, guitar-based and vocally lullabied the entire time, this is one of that very hard-not-to-like collection of tracks. Should’ve Known Better perfect illustrates the flow of the record, with sensible lyrics, all around gorgeous melodies, and those guitar solos that perfectly remind John Mayer.
Alex Luca – Only The River
Alex Luca is Alex Abbuehl, a very young singer-songwriter that wants nothing else in the music business but to make his mark of sincerity. Only The River is that first step for this Italian-born Liverpool-based lad. Inspired by 70s rock and west coast jazz and piano-based, like the great classics. The track is delivered by a nurtured and genuine voice that finds no difficulty in the long nuanced melodies and the nice bits of vibratos.
Stillhound – Walk In The Park
Coming from Scotland and doing enchanting pop with clever electronics are Stillhound. This 3-piece band released their second album this year and Walk In The Park can perfectly serve as the example of the merge of sonorities these guys achieve. Never dull, never less than exciting, going directly to our feet and still echoing in our mind while we dance, this is music like it is rare nowadays. Fully equipped with awesomeness and clever production. The song is also deep in its meaning, and if you take time to let it in you’ll acknowledge how an electronic song can turn into something sensible. Finally, and everything (the meanings) going on with the masks is just awesome.
Kuri – The Great Orator
“Creativity relies on vision in a figurative and literal sense”. That’s how Kuri introduces himself to his first time listeners. And The Great Orator is a clear exame of how creativity can be limitless. Part of Kuri debut album, No Village, this is a multi-instrumentalist overflow. One that sounds as melodic as fantastic and without boundaries. The Great Orator does not have a clear style or genre. The piano is evident from the beginning, like a weapon of choice, but both the (choir-based) vocals and the challenging and complex ways the track varies are in fact its main core. This is a track for the creators and for the thinkers. But also a track that makes the World something beautiful to live on. Even if just for 3 minutes and 19 seconds.
Sophia Bel – Time
We have previously talked about Sophia Bel vulnerability and likeability when we highlighted her release Don’t Forget. But what we were forgetting is how a great song was released two months earlier. Well, we were not forgetting because we were listening to it to compulsively. But we just forget to tell that to the world. Time brings back that Lana Del Rey vibe, but goes further melodically, in complexity and in subtle touches. Yes, it goes further. No mistake here. The vocals are dreamy and sexy, very competent and with a lot of reach, disguising itself for other instruments. There is a gorgeous bass, that is also subtle, going on. And everything slides through. Like life. Like a gorgeous life where we don’t count time, until it ends, and we see how beautiful life was. That’s Time for us. A life homage in the form of a track.
ESCHES – Sierra
Since Justin Vernon is Bon Iver that using vocals with falsettos and electronics turned into some kind of magic. Many have tried to replicate it, and we feel like millions have failed. Just a few can actually do it. Robert Summerfield a.k.a ESCHES does it like a master. For the first large seconds of Sierra that is evident. And then ESCHES turn the track into a Jazzy feel. Soft layers follow soft layers. The song evolves, changes, turns into something else. But never loses its power or what we first noticed about it. Those gorgeous vocals and internal shine. Minimalism that sounds grandeour. That’s Sierra for us.
Josh McGovern – When You’re Done
Josh McGovern vocals bring us back to the great Johny Cash. In the beginning. After a while, we remember Nick Cave. And those are two gorgeous things by itself. But his qualities go beyond that, obviously. This Brighton singer-songwriter is a poetic singer that makes everything more intense with his powerful register. When You’re Done is a loving song and a track that shows how Josh is a very confident singer and writer. It sounds his own thing. His own space. A powerful space where we learn there is a softness and a smoothness in a very deep voice. The double bass that we can hear along the track makes it a double bomb. And there is a lot of love put into this track and emanating out of it.
Evan Konrad – Come On Snake, Let’s Rattle
“This is an ego battle”. Evan Konrad’s second-ever single is the complex Come On Snake, Let’s Rattle. The multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer is a maker of a new indie genre somewhere between indie rock, psychedelic, and gore. It is not easy to define him or his songs, and that is a great part of the beauty about it. Still, somewhere between the experience of listening to the track, almost any listener will find him/her self identified and thinking how far out of the comfort zone he as taken us. But it’s right there we seem to find a distinct kind of love for a new type of song-making. Unique is the word, right after the words we can’t seem to find to describe it any better. And that’s good.
Josh Herring – Down the Wire / She’s Coming For You
We tried to choose just one song from Josh Herring debut album. But perhaps the fact we couldn’t make our minds, and we’ve had to go for two, is the perfect demonstration of how Josh’ music is hard to let go and multi valenced. Down the Wire was the first track we were introduced to. Resembling Housemartins almost from the first instance on, the song grows to surprise us. Like a proper ballad that does not sound like one, it’s in the variations and effortless but super clever vocal variations and hooks that the magic resides. Classical and modern. Hard to beat.
She’s Coming For You builds on the previous song style but keeps the cadence down, on a dreamy level. The greatest thing about Josh Herring is the way he ever conquers the listener, and this is no different. Vocally dazzling, unique, rare, unexpected. The amount of musicality in a track is in how much an artist can make multiple things from his voice and a simple piano. Then, magical beats here and there, and everything sounds ethereal.