There continues to be such a tremendous amount of new music being released that I simply cannot keep up with it all! Consequently, I’m going to have to do more of these group posts in order to feature more artists and songs. Here are three great new singles by artists or bands located on the west coast of North America, (in alphabetical order) Bealby Point, Matt Jaffe and Yard of Blondes.
“I’m So Bummed Out Right Now” by Bealby Point
Named after their favorite beachside vacation spot, Canadian alt-rock band Bealby Point had a rather serendipitous beginning. Comprised of four childhood friends who grew up in North Vancouver – Jack Armstrong (lead vocals), Jordan Studer (bass), Clayton Dewar (lead guitar) and Zack Yeager (drums) – Jack and Jordan were already a two-piece band when, one day in 2018, they stumbled upon music coming from the house of their old friends Clayton and Zack, who were also playing as a two-piece. The four reconnected, quickly realizing they complemented each other’s instruments and music styles, and Bealby Point was born.
On February 17th, they released their debut single “I’m So Bummed Out Right Now“. Recorded with veteran producer Matt Di Pomponio, the single will be included on their forthcoming EP, due out later this year. The band states the song was inspired by missing out on opportunities to hang out, have fun, and create memories with your best friends because of being stuck at home during the recurring lockdowns. The upbeat melody, buoyant guitars and snappy drums create a fun, breezy vibe that contrasts with the melancholy lyrics about feeling lonely and isolated, beautifully sung by Jack in vocals that go from a vulnerable croon to plaintive falsetto: “I’m so bummed out right now. Don’t leave me behind. Don’t leave me inside. Watch my friends through a screen. Stuck in a box, alone without me. Having fun without me. Making me feel, oh so lonely.” It’s a fine debut from Bealby Point, and I look forward to hearing more from these guys.
“Time Traveler” by Matt Jaffe
Matt Jaffe is a talented, hard-working and silky-voiced young singer-songwriter based in San Francisco who’s been making music since his early teens. While playing at an open mic one evening when he was only 16, he was discovered by Jerry Harrison of the band Talking Heads, who went on to help him produce his first album. In the years since, he’s written scores of songs, released three more albums, and has performed as an opening act for Blues Traveler and Wilco, as well as co-written songs with Tom Higgenson of the Plain White T’s. Matt has also served as musical director for experimental theater, collaborated with poets on genre-bending spoken word, and curated residencies among fellow songwriters. And if that’s not enough, he also volunteers with Bread & Roses, a non-profit that brings live music to facilities such as prisons, rehab centers, and foster homes. Having suffered from seizures himself since 2015, Matt also uses his music to unite local and national epilepsy communities.
Matt released his fourth album Undertoad on February 12th, and I especially like one of its singles “Time Traveler“. It’s a melodic and beautiful track, with exuberant jangly guitars and lush sweeping synths that build to a dramatic and glorious wall of sound. I’m a fan of male voices in the higher ranges, and Matt’s vocals are stunning as he fervently sings the lyrics that speak to regrets for past mistakes and time wasted: “I’m the time traveler, and what I were to flip the hourglass. Watch promise of the future turn to phantoms of the past. I wasted all my moments dear, traversing centuries. Cause it not time, but distances, dividing you and me.” “Time Traveler” is a magnificent track, and I think it’s one of Matt’s finest.
“Hummingbird” by Yard of Blondes
From humble beginnings in France as a folk pop duo making mostly acoustic music, Yard of Blondes have come a long way in the years since relocating to Los Angeles in 2014. Now a four-piece, they’ve made a splash on the L.A. music scene with their exciting and edgy style of alternative rock. The band is comprised of French-born singer/songwriter and guitarist/vocalist Vincent Walter Jacob and bassist/vocalist Fanny Hulard, Turkish-born guitarist Burak Yerebakan, and California native Forrest Mitchell on drums and backing vocals. Yard of Blondes are no stranger to this blog, as I’ve previously featured them three times, most recently last October when I reviewed their last single “Do You Need More?” On February 19th, they released “Hummingbird“, the fourth and final single from their forthcoming debut album Feed the Moon, due out later this year. The single and album were produced by Billy Graziadei, mixed by Michael Patterson, and mastered by Maor Applebaum.
Never shy to take on social and political issues, the band actually wrote “Hummingbird” a few years ago after the protests in Ferguson, Missouri that erupted after the killing of Michael Brown, as well as in the wake of yet another school mass shooting. They explain “Being in the U.S. for only a few years at this time, we came to realize America was dealing with a lot of things that were unresolved for decades and centuries. The growing appeal for conspiracies and alternative narratives also [played] a great part in our writing this song. Ironically, in the music video, we tried to picture an invisible threat coming at people, something like a virus, destroying our community. Now that we are in an actual pandemic the song takes on another meaning.“
The song is a rampaging beast, with a barrage of jagged, gnarly guitars, driving bass and pummeling drums, befitting the dark and violent subject matter. Vincent and Fanny’s commanding vocals start off with an angry resignation as they lament “It’s happening again. It’s not a crime to shoot a humming hovering around. It’s happening again in my town. They’re killing hummingbirds. Soaked in blood. They soon grow more impassioned as they furiously scream their refusal to accept that the killings were provoked: “I don’t believe you when you said they attacked you! I don’t believe you now!” It all makes for a fearsome and compelling track, both musically and lyrically, and I think “Hummingbird” is their best song yet.