It's the most magical time of year -- summer in New York City. Kicked off by the Puerto Rican Day Parade and 90-degree weather, here's some music to space out or party to. Whatever you do, just stay cool.
First up is King Never's "Over Me," a freeform rock tune that explores modern jazz while weighted down by a strong 90s rock hook. The song is meant to evoke the emotions of a solder leaving his family to fight in World War I. The band's bassist, Karl, passed away shortly after recording the track, which is a testament to his impressive skills.
New Zealand-based Vanessa Stacey's "Stood Still" is an exercise in elegant jazz vocal stylings. The climbing bass line heightens the tension in Stacey's song and maximizes her distress to full extent.
Next up, Portland's Helioscope uses masterful three-part harmonies and ukuleles to bring a comfortable ambiance to truly fraught lyrics.
El Joe of the River brings us some springtime heartache in "Pollen," a stately song that saves itself from being a downer by Joe's warm voice.
Prospect Lux takes us off the path I like to tread musically but I was intrigued by the ominous bass and hints of light through the guitar and trumpet samples.
Continuing our theme of summer fun, Weatherboy's "Great Great Life" has an irresistible beat with acid-tinged lyrics (in both senses of the word) -- my favorite kind of power pop.
UK-based Bob Hillary (yes, a descendant of Sir Edmund Hillary) describes himself as a "nu-folk" singer. "Take the Power Back" has reggae overtones with its unhurried approach and group vocals. Given the results of the UK election, it turns out it was quite prescient.
Visen's delicate vocal phrasing and spacious jazz guitar gives "Tell Me" an ethereal, spacious quality.
iLLaFenT's charming combination of pop punk and electronic music won me over, so "Noise Pollution" isn't quite an apt title here, but I appreciate what they're getting at. Wear your headphones for this one.
And lastly, Nashville session singer Erin Rae blasts forth into solo territory with "Like the First Time," a beautiful country ballad that recalls Caroline Spence's vocals and Sturgill Simpson's imaginative arrangements. Rae is currently touring the UK; you can find her tour schedule here.
With the exceptin of Erin Rae, these tracks were submitted via SubmitHub, in which I get paid 50 cents to review each song. Please help keep the lights on and support my music writing at my Patreon!