Lord Huron hold the top spot for a second week with their stunning “Mine Forever”, and Imagine Dragons’ poignant “Wrecked” moves up to second place. I think it’s one of the best songs they’ve ever done. Climbing four spots to #3 is the cinematic beauty “Never Looked Back” by British alt-rock band The Zangwills, who I first learned about this past August when I reviewed the track. Otherwise, all the songs in last week’s top 10 remain in that esteemed group again this week.
This is also an exciting week for debuts, with five new entries. My favorite artist Two Feet has released another fantastic, smoldering single “Don’t Bring Me Down”, which enters at #14, replacing his song “Devil” which spent four weeks at #1. This is his fifth song in a row to appear on my Weekly Top 30, giving him an unbroken run of 52 weeks. My favorite female vocalist Adele dropped her first new music in six years with her emotion-filled “Easy On Me”, which enters at #15. Kacey Musgraves makes her first appearance on my Weekly Top 30 with her heartfelt single “justified”, which debuts at #27. I have mixed feelings about the new collaborative single “My Universe” by Coldplay (a longtime favorite band of mine) and Korean band BTS, but I do like it well enough for it to enter my chart at #28. Last, but certainly not least, is “Love in October” by L.A.-based duo Ships Have Sailed, which debuts at #30 and replaces their previous single “Take My Money” after its ten-week run. Two of their singles, “Escape” and “Breathe” have reached #1 on my Weekly Top 30.
Los Angeles-based Lord Huron have become one of my favorite bands over the past year, and I think their gorgeous album Long Lost is one of the very best of 2021. “Mine Forever”, the second single to be released from the album, is my new #1 song this week. It’s their second song to top my chart this year, the first being “Not Dead Yet”, the first single from Long Lost.
Entering the Top 10 this week are “Never Looked Back” by British band The Zangwills, and “Distorted Light Beam” by Bastille. Continuing their climb up the charts are “I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance)” by the Glass Animals and “Bitter Taste” by the legendary Billy Idol, both leaping seven spots. The lone debut this week is “Beggin'” by Italian rock band Måneskin, entering the chart at #30, and giving them two songs on this list (the other is “I Wanna Be Your Slave”, at #14).
Willow Smith and Travis Barker’s bombastic “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” stays on top of my Weekly Top 30 for a second week, with Lord Huron’s gorgeous “Mine Forever” knocking on the back door. Cold War Kids enter the top 10 with their rousing “What You Say”, and British band The Zangwills anthemic “Never Looked Back” continues it’s climb up the chart to #11. Glass Animals leap eight spots to #22 with their delightful “I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance)”, while Billy Idol’s “Bitter Taste” jumps five spots to #23. It’s taken me a while to get into Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats’ latest single “Survivor”, which debuts at #30.
I just love “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l”, wherein 20-year-old WILLOW (the daughter of actors Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, for those who don’t already know) goes off on fake and duplicitous people with scathing lyrics, raging guitars and the pummeling drumbeats of Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. The lead single from her fourth solo studio album Lately I Feel Everything, it’s my new #1 song this week, displacing twenty øne piløts’ “Saturday”, which falls to #2. Entering the top 10 is “Take the L” by Texas alt-rock band Roadkeeper, one of my favorite indie bands who’ve become regulars on my Weekly Top 30. “Take the L” is their fourth song to appear on my list, all of which have made the top 10. Two songs make their debut this week: “Colorado” by German alternative pop-rock band Milky Chance, and the delightful “I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance)” by British electro psych-pop band Glass Animals.
Not a lot of changes on this week’s Top 30. twenty øne piløts hold the top spot for a second week with “Saturday”, while Willow Smith’s rousing kiss-off anthem “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l”, closes in at #2 and Lord Huron’s “Mine Forever” climbs two spots to #3. Two songs enter the top 10: “Gang of Youth’s “the angel of 8th ave.” and Cannons’ “Bad Dream”. The lone debut track this week is “Bitter Taste”, a comeback of sorts for 65-year-old Billy Idol. It’s good to have him back on one of my music lists after a long absence. The autobiographical song addresses his near-fatal motorcycle accident in 1990, in which he nearly lost his right leg.
twenty øne piløts have been my favorite band since around 2015, and though I’m not quite as enamored with their latest album Scaled And Icy as I am with their previous offerings Trench, Blurryface and Vessel (all masterpieces in my not so humble opinion) I do love two of its tracks: “Shy Away” (which spent 3 weeks at #1 on my Weekly Top 30 this past May), and “Saturday”. Though much more pop-oriented than a lot of their previous music, “Saturday” is a sweet tune with an irresistible dance groove, and my new #1 song this week, dislodging The Neighbourhood’s “Stargazing” after a two-week run. Otherwise, no other significant changes to this week’s list. Possible future #1’s are Willow Smith’s bombastic gem “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l”, which climbs a spot to #4 and Lord Huron’s gorgeous “Mine Forever”, which climbs two spots to #5. Debuting this week are three songs: “Talk to Me” by Canadian alt-rock band Bealby Point, the trippy “Pigs in the Sky” by electronic artist Grabbitz, and “How Not to Start a Fight” by Welsh singer-songwriter Caitlin Lavagna.
After being unable to perform live or even see one another during most of 2020, Vancouver, Canada-based alt-rock band Bealby Point are having quite a productive 2021. Starting with the release in February of their debut single “I’m So Bummed Out Right Now” (which I featured in a Fresh New Tracks post), they followed up in April with their second single “Telescope”. On July 15th, they dropped their third single “Talk To Me“, which I’ve chosen as my New Song of the Week. All three songs will be included on their forthcoming EP, due out later this year.
Named after their favorite beachside vacation spot, Bealby Point consists of four childhood friends, Jack Armstrong (lead vocals), Jordan Studer (bass), Clayton Dewar (lead guitar) and Zack Yeager (drums). Drawing inspiration from fun times spent at Bealby Point, the guys aim to create music “that captures the most cherished memory of your favourite summer and turning it into the perfect sound.” Their buoyant, high-energy garage rock sound has earned them favorable comparisons to The Strokes.
As with their previous singles, “Talk To Me” was recorded with veteran producer Matt Di Pomponio. About the song, the band explains “It’s about balancing heavy emotions with stifled logic – doing something you have reason to believe is wrong, but it feels right because you want it. The track follows a pair who previously revealed their intimate feelings to each other. Now, they have closed off their real feelings and resist the urge to speak from an open heart, in order to save themselves from the perceived consequences of revealing their true thoughts. They long for things to go back to how they were.”
The song opens strong with a wonderful swirling guitar riff, accompanied by a superb rhythm section, courtesy of Zack’s assertive thumping drumbeats and Jordan’s prominent chugging bassline, which is fucking fantastic! The dual guitar work by Clayton and Jack is brilliant, highlighted by what I’m guessing is Clayton’s blistering guitar solo in the final chorus. Jack’s colorful, emphatic vocals are marvelous, with a hazy lo-fi quality that reminds me a bit of The Strokes lead singer Julian Casablancas, even when they soar to a falsetto. We can feel his exasperation when he implores his partner to just communicate with him in an open and honest fashion: “Talk to me and I’ll talk back. I never lied to you. I don’t want that. But if you have to lie to me then I’ll lie back. And that’s the back and forth I can’t stand.”
“Talk To Me” is a terrific song, and with three excellent singles to their credit, Bealby Point have firmly established themselves as one of Canada’s best indie bands. Hell, they now rank highly among my own favorite indie bands as well. I look forward to hearing their upcoming EP.
Band photo by Sam Fazio, and single artwork by Quinlin Gustin.
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.
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.
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.