MOSAICS – San Francisco, California
The Penthouse – New York, New York
Amber Lamps – Queens, New York
Jordan Sleed – San Antonio, Texas
Band of Dust – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Brett Weller and The Congregation – New Orleans, Louisiana
Matt Squires – Austin, Texas
…plus Striving Artists and Woven Green
MOSAICS – “Secrets”
Returning with a fresh new track, “Secrets,” San Francisco indie trio MOSAICS turn up the heat just in time for summer with a simmering and provocative new scorcher. Drawing from the remarkable and pensive instrumentation work of Devon Kelts and Tyler Hill, lead vocalist Maryam Sadeghian delivers a sultry and booming performance on vocals.
The mechanical, lashing beat, perhaps one of the signatures of MOSAICS’ evolving sound in the past year to 18 months, is hypnotic paired with keys, guitars and Sadeghian’s mood-setting voice.
The band performs regularly in San Francisco proper and the Bay Area. They plan to release a series of singles throughout the year. Top musical influences include Radiohead, FourTet, Apparet, and many others.
Listen to “Secrets” on Spotify and follow/share MOSAICS.
The Penthouse – “City Lights”
Straddling between two cities – Boston and New York, DIY band The Penthouse are finding themselves settling more in NYC where the gigs are, and are regularly booked for this up-and-coming band who are sounding better on each new track. The evidence of that is on the upbeat indie pop track, “City Lights” just dropped last week by the band.
The Penthouse has been on our radar for about a year now and we think they could be a popular NYC band within the next couple of years as they improve and grow their audience and followers.
Thee band members include Patrick Minogue (vocals; guitar); Kyle Raney (bass); Jesse Mason (guitar); Eric Derwallis (drums) Jacob Arias (guitar). The band’s top musical influences include Foster the People, Two Door Cinema Club, Young The Giant, and The 1975.
Newly based out of the Astoria section of Queens, New York, the pop punk DIY band Amber Lamps burn it up on the new single, “Bitter Ride” from the band’s recent album drop, Plaidypuss.
Some listeners might hear a likeness to Green Day and The Kinks, but there is one thing for sure – they will rock your party and are professional musicians who are not messin around. The band’s top musical influences include Green Day, Weezer, and Blink-182.
Yet another solid, summertime party track is the pumping energy and fast-changing melodies of “Between The Lines.” The band originally formed back in 2009 as a one-off high school graduation party cover band and evolved over the years into a punk-punk-loving trio who dig “catchy hooks, aggressive guitars and killer bass.”
Jordan Sleed – “Drift Apart”
At the young age of just 19 years old, San Antonio singer/songwriter and musician Jordan Sleed has already released a sleuth of interesting, and in some cases, unforgettable, tracks over the past couple of years, on various social media platforms.
Tracks like the beautiful and inspiring love song “Drift Apart” are at the heart of Sleed’s sound – one that he has been developing for many years.
“At 13, I picked up the ukulele and have since then used it to discover a passion for music and songwriting,” Sleed says. “I write in an innovative way, being driven by the ukulele/guitar and my voice.”
“The music speaks for itself, showing influence from great soulful musicians” that he says include John Mayer, Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys, James Taylor, and Jake Shimabukuro.
Sleed has been performing regularly around the San Antonio area for years, at times for audiences of nearly 3,000 people.
Other songs like “Words,” with its soul and R&B influences coupled with acoustic guitar, and Sleed’s sensual, versatile and soulful vocals. We hear a lot of DIY music and most of the time it is the vocals that don’t work.
In Sleed’s case, that is not a problem. His vocals and amazingly mature songwriting on track after track, whether it’s a cover song of influences like John Mayer, or one of his original songs, Sleed hits it again and again.
MP3: “A Fool’s Game“ – Jordan Sleed from Jordan Sleed
The rambunctious folk rock single, “Blue Flame,” from the Milwaukee indie band, Band of Dust, is the two-year old band’s debut single from their recommended debut album, Whispers Are Roars.
Combining fast strumming of jangly pop-driven acoustic and electric guitars, hard driving, stick-heavy percussions, harmonicas and the raspy, Tom Petty/Conor Oberst-like vocals of frontman Dustin Mayer, the unforgettable single, “Blue Flame,” is almost irresistible.
After living in the family house in upper Wisconsin following the death of his father, Mayer returned to Milwaukee with 22 songs, of which a dozen made it on the album – a stunning, deep and heartfelt album – an American sonic journey where each turn is something special and each spin is familiar yet new.
Brett Weller and The Congregation – “Running Man”
The new album, Chances, from New Orleans indie rock/acoustic folk band Brett Weller and The Congregation, is full of tracks that move and rock, taking in concepts from influences like Damien Rice, Mumford and Sons, and The Black Keys.
Appropriately coined previously as a band with a “gumbo of sounds,” Brett Weller and The Congregation’s funky, bluesy, acoustic folk gumbo springs from a fountain of musical influences of Weller and his band members, as demonstrated on the lead track, “Running Man,” from Chances.
Formed in 2014, the duo – featuring Brett Weller on acoustic guitar and vocals and Anna Weller on violin, keys, and vocals – have been working on the songs for their newly released debut album for a couple of years along with musicians Jacob Jordan, Ryan Brown, and Andrew Gordon.
Matthew Squires – “Debt Song”
East Texas musician Matthew Squires spent two years and his life savings to record his most recent album, the indie pop rocking Tambaleo, featuring songs like the quirky, experimental psych rock, “Shape of Your Heart,” which reminds us of The Kinks (circa 1965) mixed with some Bowie and Flaming Lips.
The track has accumulated more 120,000 plays and 1,400 likes on Soundcloud alone, in part thanks to being featured in Stereogum.
The newest song to be released as a single, “Debt Song,” carries over some of the same early Kinks-like sound and wit, complete with a strangely appealing chorus, and lo-fi elements that give Squires’ tracks more authenticity.
Not many artists can pull off genre-shifting within songs and albums as Squires has proven time and again over the years that the indie pop rock world is where he is most comfortable, as long as he allows himself – which he does – to be experimental, introspective and witty.
Throughout the album, Squires interlaces references to the Bible with Eastern philosophies. The track, “Bird Song,” touches themes of death, failure, and again, religion, singing: When we spot her/we’ll feel so very small/But the arms of grace/Which we’ll embrace/Will not be so small apparently in reference to an angel.
There are repeating themes in Squires’ music, including – it goes without saying – religion and enlightenment, but also soul searching, love, family and friends, with pop references sprinkled throughout.
Striving Artists and Woven Green
As a director of a group of artists, called Striving Artists, that engage in theatre, arts and music, writer and musician Gregory Luzitano assembled an entire group of singers and musicians to record a full cover version, you could say, of the play Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack. Here is one of the tracks from the album.
In 2006, he formed the Striving Artists Theatre Company with his sister Mary Luzitano. The album, featuring dozens of tracks, is a trip back in time for any of those who enjoy ‘hippie’ and religious soundtracks.
Based in the small town of Sterling, Virginia, husband and wife musical duo, Jim and Ashley Cash, aka, Woven Green, recently released a new album, Into Bloom, an indie rock, acoustic folk/new age release, featuring songs like the lead single,”Breaking Free.”
In November of 2009, Woven Green dropped an EP that was featured in Relix Magazine, and which helped prompt the band’s nomination for a 2009 Wammy (Washington Area Music Association) award in the pop/rock category. The Cashs’ describe their sound as ‘world rock funk acoustic.’
MP3: “Breaking Free“ – Woven Green from Into Bloom