1. John Moose's moody slide guitar helps "Under Bridges" stand out. The song laments the loss of relationships, but at least there's some sweet steel string to make it go down smooth.
2. Jesse Konrad's layered vocals adds some woozy warmth to "Cruise Ctrl." I admire the writer's struggle to get back in touch with his emotions in order to save his relationship.
3. If you've been following closely this summer, then you already know Erin Rae. "Wild Blue Wind" lands Erin Rae squarely among the up-and-coming generation of great country voices like Courtney Marie Andrews.
4. 5j Barrow features the talents of Broadway performers Eryn Murman and Jason Hite. Indeed, "Sarah Brown" has a stage-y, manic energy that makes it a charming number.
5. Tom Speight's "My My My" will remove the bad taste in your mouth when you hear the words "pop folk." Speight has a wide-eyed sincerity that's refreshing.
6. Kate Grom's "Whistle Cry" has an epic, spaghetti Western quality. The big sound is fitting for the epic story told within the song: one of taking risks and redefining one's identity.
7. "You'd Know Today" by EL MAR has a slow build that will reward the patient listener, even as the narrator expresses impatience with her indecisive lover.
8. Arpeggi grapples with the conclusion of a short but an intense relationship in "Never Meant 2." Arpeggi's soft but adamant voice drives his confusion and frustration home.
9. "Vaquero" by Midwestern Exposure is but one of many studies in acoustic picking and sparse arrangements in their strong debut, The West.
10. Moral Combat named their first song after themselves and a certain video game. But the song is amazing, fraught, and catchy.
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