Friday, May 26th was one of the biggest days for new single releases I’ve ever seen – at least with regard to artists and bands I follow who chose that day to drop new songs. From what I could tell, at least nine of them released new singles. Because I like all these artists and their songs, and want to show them support, I’ve decided to feature them all in a Fresh New Tracks post. To make it easier on me, as well as not overload my readers with too many songs all at once, I will break them into two separate posts. For the first of two, I’m including (in alphabetical order) British singer-songwriter and producer Frank Joshua, American singer-songwriter The Frontier, American alt-rock band Gooseberry, and British indie rock band Healer. I’ve previously written about Frank Joshua, The Frontier and Gooseberry, whereas Healer is new to me. All four songs deal with navigating through the challenges and uncertainties of romantic love, in hopes of emerging a better person in the process.
Frank Joshua – “Patent Leather Car”
In just the past few months, London-based singer-songwriter and producer Frank Joshua (who wishes to remain anonymous, thus posts no photos of himself) has become a favorite of mine, on the strength of his beautiful silky vocals and enchanting music style. The prolific artist has released an impressive amount of music in a little more than two years, including two albums and numerous singles, one of which, his gorgeous song “Bluebell Wood”, has spent the last three months on my Weekly Top 30. Remarkably, his latest single “Patent Leather Car” is his 25th release since last December! It’s another superb song, with a breezy and mellow groove, and as with all of Frank’s songs, flawlessly-arranged and produced.
Titled after the famous London taxicab, the song speaks to “fear and love and finding solace in something you know probably isn’t good for you“. The video shows an old wrecked and rusted Austin being rescued and restored by a man whose face we never see, then driven across scenic landscapes. Frank says “Rebuilding is like reworking the past. Only by looking back can we take steps forward and keep the flame of dreams alive.”
Connect with Frank: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
The Frontier – “Walk Through the Fire”
A long-time favorite of mine is The Frontier, the music project of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jake Mimikos. Based in northern Virginia, the talented, gracious and funny guy has released an impressive amount of music since 2015, and we’ve been following each other for nearly that long. Jake skillfully blends elements of pop, folk, rock and electronica to create memorable and pleasing songs about love, relationships and loss. His lyrics are honest and straightforward, as if he were having a conversation with a friend, and delivered with comforting vocals.
I’ve loved all of his songs, three of which – “Dark Places”, “Can We Go Back” and “Closer” – have reached #1 on my Weekly Top 30 charts. His latest offering, “Walk Through The Fire“, serves up three minutes of catchy toe-tapping grooves and beautiful jangly guitar notes. The lyrics are a plea to a loved one for a second chance: “Everyone falls sometimes. Dying to stay alive. Everyone has their fight. It’s how we walk through the fire.”
Connect with The Frontier: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Gooseberry – “Orbit”
Gooseberry is an utterly delightful and talented trio from Brooklyn, New York who formed in late 2019, and now consist of Asa Daniels (guitar, vocals), Evin Rossington (drums), and Will Hammond (bass). Together they blend indie rock, R&B and light jazz to create their own distinctive and sophisticated style of alternative rock. Their wonderful song “Sleep” spent many months on my Top 30 chart, and ranks #29 on my 100 Best Songs of 2022 list.
Their latest single “Orbit” has a grittier, more bluesy vibe than most of their previous songs, and addresses the toll that being a musician takes on relationships. Asa elaborates: “Orbit is a love song. Or at least I’d argue on its behalf! Though I suppose it’s really about the selfishness that is required for an artist to chase such an ill-fated pursuit with such single minded obsession as is needed for fame and success in this industry. Knowing that the hours dedicated to the craft, to being on the road ultimately disrupt (and, potentially, unravel) meaningful relationships outside of music. Like a loved one. I argue this is a love song because its self awareness of its selfishness makes the sting of love that much more present.” Asa’s vocals have never sounded this raw and impassioned as he wails “I know it’s taking me further away from your orbit. I know it’s selfish and it’s ugly. I know that there’s nothing I can do.” God, I love this band!
Connect with Gooseberry: Facebook / Instagram
HEALER – “Bones”
HEALER is a five-piece indie rock band based in Grimsby, England, comprised of Steve on lead vocals, Kirk on guitars, Dave on guitars, Tony on bass, and Jazz on drums. They’ve only been together for one year, but have already built a strong following in the local music scene, as well as garnering recognition from BBC Introducing. They released their terrific debut single “Hurricane” in December 2022, followed by the equally great “Fire” this past February, and now their latest single “Bones“. Their songs explore themes of love, loss, and hope, with “Bones” addressing the latter. Band vocalist Steve explained “It’s about finding the strength to keep going, even when things are tough. We wrote it after going through a difficult time ourselves, and we wanted to share our message of hope with others. [Specifically], it addresses the fear of falling in love and the idea of it not lasting forever at the same time. The anxiety of giving yourself completely to someone but the inner need to be with them forever. Loves flickering momentary happiness being on a knife edge and enjoying your feet getting cut while you walk through it.”
Musically, the song starts off slowly, but gradually transitions to a fantastic full-on rocker, with aggressive, gnarly but beautiful riffs, driving bass and pounding drums. Steve’s vocals are passionate and heartfelt as he apologizes for the hurt and pain he’s caused, promising to be a better man: “And problems, we’ve had a few. I know now what not to do. And these bones, they’re for you, sorry for what they do. It’s your choice, it’s what you do. These bones will follow you.“
The sweet video, directed by the band and filmed and edited by Lincolnshire-based photographers and filmmakers Lola and Joel, was filmed at Howlin’ Jacks Record Store and Fryer Tuck’s Take Away. It stars Lucas Albion and Lisa February as a young couple who meet at a record store, are quickly attracted to each other, then spend the day together as romance blossoms. Their wonderful skeletal face makeup was done by Micky Stephenson Jade Wilson.