Fresh New Tracks, Vol. 22 – Oli Barton & the Movement, Magnetic Skies, Marc Schuster

New music releases continue at a dizzying pace, so much so that it often feels overwhelming. I should be featuring at least some of it on this blog, but alas, I just haven’t much felt like writing of late. But when I hear new songs that pique my interest, I want to share them with the world. That means it’s time for another Fresh New Tracks post, and today I’m featuring three terrific tracks from artists with totally different sounds. They are, in alphabetical order, British alt-rock band Oli Barton & the Movement, British synthpop band Magnetic Skies, and American singer-songwriter & musician Marc Schuster. I’ve previously written about Oli Barton & the Movement and Marc Schuster, while Magnetic Skies is new to me.


London-based Oli Barton & the Movement are a long-time favorite of mine. As indicated by their name, the band is headed by the wildly creative and charismatic singer-songwriter Oli Barton, with the Movement comprised of exceptionally talented musicians Jamal Lagoon on guitar, Marco Paone on bass, and Josh Needham on drums. Together, their eccentric yet sophisticated style of alternative rock is a colorful mix of post-punk and psychedelia, fortified with touches of funk, grunge and pop. I’ve featured them many times on this blog over the past six years, and have loved every one of their releases. Four of their songs have appeared on my Weekly Top 30 lists – their provocative 2017 single “Kinky” went all the way to #1, while “44”, “Martyr” and “Just Like Always” all reached the top 5.

On February 17th, they dropped their latest single “Paid Off“, and it’s a certifiable banger! Produced by the band’s longtime collaborator Jules Gulon, and featuring beguiling backing vocals by Portugal-born and now London-based singer-songwriter Carlota Rocchi, the song is an exhilarating, infectiously catchy romp. Opening with Needham’s galloping drum beats and Paone’s throbbing bass, which are soon joined by Barton’s distinctive croon, the song explodes into a chugging rocker, fueled by Lagoon’s scorching riffs, Barton’s vocals rising to an impassioned wail. The lyrics seem to speak of people who use others for their own gain, bleeding them until they’re dry: “I’m just a fraction of the fragment of what I was. The moment they penetrated me./ They just want to be paid off by you, by you, by you!” I love it, and the guys have another future top 5 hit on their hands!

Follow Oli Barton and the Movement:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram


Also based in London, Magnetic Skies was originally formed as a duo in early 2019 by singer-songwriters and keyboardists Simon Kent and Jo Womar. With a shared love of 80s synth-driven post-punk and vintage analogue synths, they quickly got busy writing and recording an impressive amount of material they released in a succession of singles and three EPs – Dreams And Memories, Hold On and Into Paradise. They became a four-piece in 2021 with the addition of guitarist Carlos Aguilar and drummer Lenin Alegria, and since then have released six more singles. In preparation for writing about them, I listen to quite a bit of their back music catalogue, and it’s really outstanding. Their latest single, “You Shine On“, which dropped February 17th, will be included on their forthcoming debut album Empire Falling, set for release later this year.

Released via independent label ReprinT Records, “You Shine On” features a dreamy melody set to hypnotic driving beats and lush, atmospheric soundscapes reminiscent of such defining 80s acts as The Human League, Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode. There are so many fabulous touches, like the dominant pulsating bassline, gorgeous jangly guitars, swirling synths, crashing percussion and soaring vocal harmonies. About the song, the band explains: “This is a love song, a story about two people finding each other despite divisions from outside, and about being true to yourself even when that doesn’t fit with expectations from society or other people. It’s celebrating a really positive self-belief.” The track is accompanied by a stylish video featuring kaleidoscopic images of a beautiful woman dressed in a flowing, butterfly-like golden garment, interspersed with similarly-kaleidoscopic images of the band performing the song.

Follow Magnetic Skies:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

MARC SCHUSTER – “George Around the Corner”

Marc Schuster is an insanely creative, multi-talented guy from the Philadelphia area who I first got to know several years ago through blogging (he has a terrific WordPress blog called Abominations, where he writes about music and interviews lots of indie artists). Not only is he an educator, author, literary critic and visual artist, he’s also a prolific songwriter and musician, recording both as a solo artist and as part of numerous music projects and collaborations with an ever-expanding roster of musicians, including his latest project The Star Crumbles with fellow musician Brian Lambert (their song “Shadows in the Dark” recently spent two weeks at #1 on my Top 30 chart). As if all that weren’t enough, he also started doing a weekly hour-long music podcast a few months ago he calls “Tweetcore”, where he features songs by talented indie artists he’s met through Twitter. I honestly don’t know how he finds the time and energy to accomplish all that he does!

Though Marc likes to experiment with different sounds, styles and textures, most of the songs he records as a solo artist have a delightful, indie bedroom-pop sensibility. Not only are they infectiously catchy, he has a wonderful knack for putting a youthful, often tongue-in-cheek perspective on everyday situations and problems many of us have faced at one time or another. He doesn’t have a powerful singing voice, but he more than makes up for it with a quirky, endearing vocal delivery that never fails to put a huge smile on my face. I seriously adore this man, who’s also been incredibly supportive of both me and my blog.

Almost a year ago to the day, I reviewed his delightful EP There Is No Down. In addition to his work with The Star Crumbles, Marc has continued putting out solo singles, his latest of which is “George Around the Corner“, a sweet song he released on February 16th. He cleverly name-drops his neighbor George, as well as a few of his fellow artist collaborators like Tim Simmons and Brian Lambert. He elaborated about the song on his blog: “‘George Around the Corner’ is more or less about real people I know. George does, in fact, live around the corner, and he did, in fact, fly a fighter jet in 1969 (and the years on either side of it). The line about him not remembering my name was true when I started working on the song, but more recently he has begun to remember my name when I see him. Tim stops by for coffee fairly regularly if not actually once a week, and sometimes I stop by his house. The line about us not speaking, however, is entirely false. We talk a lot. But ‘speak’ rhymes with ‘week.’ And Brian did visit Philadelphia once. He was actually visiting family in Delaware when he made the additional trek out to see me. His son came with him and did take a picture of us waiting for the train. However, that was not the only picture he took. Also, I stand by my claim that sometimes the best of times move kind of slow.” If you click on the Bandcamp link below, you’ll see the lyrics to the song.

Follow Marc:  Website / Twitter / Instagram

Fresh New Tracks, Vol. 21 – 5ON5, Brian Lambert, Wild Horse

It’s been over two and a half months since my last Fresh New Tracks post, as I haven’t felt much enthusiasm for writing about music, but I thought it was time to try and get back into the groove. Accordingly, today I’m featuring three new singles by three very different artists I’ve previously featured on this blog. They are, in alphabetical order, German collective 5ON5, Texas singer-songwriter Brian Lambert, and British indie pop-rock band Wild Horse.

5ON5 – “Balloon”

Based in beautiful, cosmopolitan Berlin, Germany, 5ON5 is a collaborative music project comprised of four distinctly unique artists spanning two generations and coming from completely different music backgrounds. The brainchild of Max Koffler, a singer-songwriter, musician and producer with over 20 years experience in the music industry and two solo albums to his credit, 5ON5 also includes singer-songwriter and producer $INAN (aka Sinan Pakar), rapper and visual artist Maxx B, and singer Yumin. Their unusual name 5ON5 was inspired by Max’s music label sonsounds, and reflects the group’s eclectic blend of music genres and styles, including EDM, synth pop, hip hop and alternative rock. I’ve previously featured Koffler’s music on this blog twice in 2018, as well as two of 5ON5’s singles, “Runaway” in 2021, and most recently last January, “Don’t Dance” (which was one of my most-read reviews of 2022). They followed with four more singles in 2022, and now kick off 2023 with their latest single “Balloon“, accompanied by an animated video, which dropped January 12th.

The song, which was produced by Koffler along with Steve van Velvet, and mixed and mastered by Jeson Huang, seems to be about going on a journey without any particular agenda “I don’t know where we’re meant to fly so purposeless, so purposeless…” One of the things I like most about 5ON5’s music is how well their individual voices harmonize together, and I love the song’s airy dance groove, spacey synths and delicate mix of chiming and twangy guitar notes.

The colorful video, created by Max Klumker, shows animated versions of the four band members singing and dancing against a glorious ever-changing backdrop of figures, ranging from Mary Poppins and Easter Island statues to astronauts and lovable aliens, floating through the skies in hot air balloons, spaceships or by their own accord.

Connect with 5ON5:  Facebook / Instagram  

Stream their music:  Spotify / Apple MusicSoundcloudYouTube


Brian Lambert is an engaging, thoughtful and extremely prolific singer-songwriter and musician based in Denton, Texas. He’s been writing and recording music for many years, and says he’s “reinvented himself more times than he can count.” He even tried his hand at country music for a while, but came to the realization that it just wasn’t for him. More recently, he’s been making indie rock music inspired by some of his favorite acts like Spoon, Gang of Youths, Soul Asylum and the Replacements. He used to play gigs all over the DFW metroplex, but with Covid putting a halt to that, in 2021 he challenged himself to writing, recording and producing a new song every week for a year, an ambitious feat he went on to accomplish! He’s continued to write and record songs both as a solo artist and in collaboration with a host of other musicians he’s met on Twitter. One he’s worked with the most is Marc Schuster, a singer-songwriter and musician from the Philadelphia area who’s also an educator, author, literary critic, blogger and visual artist. Together they’ve collaborated to create a separate music act The Star Crumbles, and last September, they released their fantastic debut album The Ghost of Dancing Slow (which I reviewed). Now Brian returns with his latest single “It’s Good“, which dropped yesterday, January 27th. 

The song is a collaboration with Schuster as well as fellow musician Mike Mosely, who performs under his own musical moniker Jr Moz Collective. Brian elaborates: “I had Covid over Christmas, and had some pretty wild dreams. In this particular dream, I got the chords to a song, and whenever that happens, it seems to make sense to get up as soon as you can, and grab your guitar and write it down. Lyrically, I wasn’t exactly sure where to go with it, so I decided to write a letter to my 11-year-old self. I cut a demo, and sent it to my friend Mike Mosely, who said ‘cut the song today’“. Even though Brian’s voice was still gravelly due to the effects of Covid, he went ahead and recorded the song anyway. He also played acoustic guitar and keyboards, with electric guitars and bass played by Mike and drums by Marc.

The result is a really compelling tune with a bit of a roots rock vibe, highlighted by some fine guitar work. The heartfelt lyrics, which Brian’s ravaged vocals make all the more poignant, offer encouragement to a young boy in that awkward transitional period between his childhood and teen years: “And you are, whatever you think you are. As bright as a shining star. Yeah, it’s good.” The video shows Brian driving around town and visiting vintage and resale shops in what I’m guessing are in and around his hometown of Denton.

Connect with Brian:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream his music: SpotifyApple MusicSoundcloudYouTube

WILD HORSE – “Cougar”

Hailing from East Sussex, England is the talented and very charismatic young pop-rock band Wild Horse, consisting of brothers Henry and Jack Baldwin and long-time friend Ed Barnes. Now in their early 20s, the guys are seasoned musicians who’ve been writing and recording songs since forming in 2013, when they were barely teenagers. Both Henry and Jack are multi-instrumentalists who play guitar, bass and keyboards, as well as sing vocals, while Ed plays drums and percussion, sings backing vocals and plays guitar on a few tracks. The Baldwin brothers are also prolific songwriters who’ve penned hundreds of songs over the years, with five albums, three EPs and numerous singles to their credit. I’ve been following them for over five years, and love their music. I have reviewed two of their albums, DANCE!! Like An Animal in 2019, and When the Pool Is Occupied in late 2021, as well as one of their singles “Bitter” last September (which you can read here) The song spent two months on my weekly top 30 last fall. They’ve been releasing new singles every few months, and their latest is “Cougar” which also dropped yesterday, January 27th. 

Despite their young ages, Wild Horse are not afraid to tackle mature subjects, and “Cougar” is perhaps their most ‘adult’ song yet. The band explains: “‘Cougar’ is a tale of a lonely housewife who starts using psychedelics and visiting younger men to escape the pain of real life and her failing marriage. Told from the point of view of one of her conquests, the funky indie pop track expresses secret desires, bitter regrets and sweet oblivion. The song’s ending refrain of “how sweet the sound” features the soulful gospel vocals of Jalissa Livermore and reminds everyone that even if you know it won’t end well, you can’t turn back. It simply feels too good.”

It’s a terrific song, and I love the sensuous groove, lush synths, sparkling keyboards, snappy drums, and funky guitars. Jack’s plaintive vocals nicely convey the conflicting emotions expressed in the lyrics “Cougar, You tell me that you’re married. You say it’s not a problem. He’s always working out of town. You tell me that you want me. You’re getting yourself ready. And like a deer under the headlights I find myself drawn into your life. This isn’t gonna end well. That man has left you broken. Confined inside these four gold walls.”

Connect with Wild Horse:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music / Reverbnation
Purchase:  Bandcamp / Amazon

THE STAR CRUMBLES – Album Review: “The Ghost of Dancing Slow”

Music act The Star Crumbles came to be rather serendipitously earlier this year when singer-songwriter Brian Lambert, who’s based in Denton, Texas, reached out to singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Marc Schuster, who lives in suburban Philadelphia, for some help with his song “Kids” (which I wrote about last March in a Fresh New Tracks post). The two had previously met on Twitter, but had never before worked with each other. Well, they immediately hit it off, so much so that they decided to collaborate together on more music projects, eventually leading to their creation of a new music act they dubbed The Star Crumbles. On September 30th, their debut album The Ghost of Dancing Slow was released on Bandcamp, and will go live on most other streaming services (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) on October 7th. 

Brian Lambert & Marc Schuster

Before I get into the album, I want to provide a bit of background on Brian, Marc and The Star Crumbles. Brian has been writing and recording music for many years, and says he’s “reinvented himself more times than he can count.” He even tried his hand at country music for a while, but eventually realized that it just wasn’t for him. More recently, the prolific songwriter’s been making indie rock music inspired by some of his favorite acts like Spoon, Gang of Youths and the Replacements, and beginning in 2021, he challenged himself to writing, recording and producing a new song every week for an entire year. He now has an incredible body of work to his credit.

Marc is an insanely creative renaissance man in every sense of the word. Not only is he an educator, author and literary critic, he’s also a prolific songwriter and musician, recording both as a solo artist and as part of numerous music projects and collaborations with an ever-expanding roster of musicians. As if all that weren’t enough, he’s also a pretty good visual artist, is incredibly supportive of other artists and music bloggers (including yours truly), and has a terrific WordPress blog of his own called Abominations, where he writes about music and interviews lots of indie artists. I’ve featured him three times on my blog, including a review last February of his wonderful EP There Is No Down.

In addition to making music, both Brian and Marc are wildly imaginative and funny guys. Soon after forming The Star Crumbles, they came up with the idea of creating a tongue-in-cheek back story for the act. Since their music is strongly influenced by their shared love of 80s new wave music by such bands as The Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen, Ultravox and New Order, they decided that The Star Crumbles would have its origins in the early 80s, but due a number of unexplained circumstances, they suddenly disappeared from the music scene before having a chance to release their first album: “From 1982 to 1986, The Star Crumbles were always on the verge of something big – until they vanished without a trace, taking their eagerly anticipated album, ‘The Ghost of Dancing Slow’, with them. Everyone thought they had potential, but they were dogged by misfortune and bad timing. Also, they had terrible business sense.

The guys recruited a motley crew of friends and fans to provide their own unfiltered insight into what became of The Star Crumbles. The result (which I was honored to be a part of) is a brilliant and hilarious video documentary Beyond the Music. The inventiveness, originality and deadpan delivery of those who participated is really quite impressive! Please press play:

Okay, now lets get to the music. The Ghost of Dancing Slow was a DIY project, totally self-recorded and produced by Marc and Brian. Marc mixed the tracks, and they both had a hand in the final mastering. Marc played guitars and drums on all tracks, while both he and Brian played synths. All but one of the ten songs on the album were written by Brian and Marc, the exception being “Cool Down”, which was written by fellow musician Mike Mosley (who also appears in the documentary).

Opening track “Desperately Wanting” was The Star Crumbles’ first official single, released this past May. It’s a beautiful and compelling song about a couple who are unable to communicate their needs to each other, leaving their relationship in a perpetual state of limbo, with each of them feeling unfulfilled and unhappy. The album’s title is taken from the song’s lyrics: “The space that lies in between. The gap that lies in between, what we’re really wanting, we don’t want to talk about. The ghost of dancing slow, inside what we’re speaking. But we pretend not to know, what we’re really thinking.” Musically, the song is driven by Marc’s hypnotic bassline, over which he’s layered somber droning synths, thumping drumbeats and gently crashing cymbals. Both he and Brian played guitars. Brian’s plaintive vocals are both comforting and melancholy, nicely conveying the sad sense of resignation expressed in the lyrics. It’s a great song, and spent 12 weeks on my Top 30 chart this past summer.

Next up is their follow-up single “Shadows in the Dark“, another winning tune with a strong retro 80s vibe that borders on darkwave. The guitar work is fantastic, and I love that sizzling little guitar solo in the bridge. Brian’s fervent vocals are great as well. The cool video, which was created by Marc, features pixelated renditions of the band trapped in an eight-bit Atari nightmare.

On the timely and relevant “Conspiracy“, the guys take on those who spread conspiracy theories, and the damage it does to society: “While bald-faced lies are told, the rhythm of what’s true skips a beat. We wonder how they get away with it. There is no consequence for ineloquence that harms the trust. I think it’s more than just a bit intentional.” The gravity of the subject is driven home by the song’s unsettling vibe, created by a rather menacing groove, overlain with dark industrial synths and distorted guitars.

Cool Down” sounds like a long-lost song by Joy Division or The Cure, with gorgeous shimmery guitars and swirling synths, and Brian’s vocals sound better than ever here. “Cozumel” is a sweet song about spending time with a loved one in the Mexican resort, and though the subject matter is quite different, it made me think of Suzanne Vega’s great song “Tom’s Diner”. Those great jangly guitars return on the haunting new wave gem “Trees in the Forest“, with lyrics that seem to speak of feeling lost and disconnected from the world.

With its bouncy new wave vibe, “What Are We Waiting For” urges us to stop doubting ourselves and seize the moment so that we can move forward and live our fullest lives. “Spectres in Waiting” has a decidedly different feel than the other tracks on the album, with a somber, more introspective feel, highlighted by rather mournful guitar notes. The wonderfully-titled “Past, Present and Future Walk Into a Bar, It Was Tense” is another terrific story song, in which Brian talk-sings about his present self encountering his past and future selves in a bar, and wanting to ask them questions to gain a better understanding of himself: “All these years older, what do you get? I hope not colder, nor full of regret.” I love the song’s darker vibe and rather menacing gnarly guitars.

Closing track “If I Could” is the longest on the album, running over five minutes, and has a gentle, upbeat cadence that’s really pleasing. The song seems to be about searching for the truths that will help guide us to a better life, which I also think kind of encapsulates the overall them of the album: “Every time I thought I had an answer, there is just another question that begs that I go searching. Even when I find it, I’m left not truly knowing. I guess it will always be that way.”

The Ghost of Dancing Slow is a marvelous album, and we’re so fortunate The Star Crumbles were successful in retrieving the lost masters to these new wave gems so that we can enjoy them these many years later 😉

Those who purchase the album on Bandcamp will receive a bonus song. Also Friday, October 7th is Bandcamp Friday, meaning all proceeds from purchases go directly to the artists.

Connect with The Star Crumbles:  TwitterInstagram

Top 30 Songs for July 24-30, 2022

Photo by María José Govea

My new favorite song this week is the uplifting and poignant “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid” by Canadian art-rock band Arcade Fire. Released in late April, it’s the second single from their sixth studio album WE. About the song, band front man Win Butler told Pitchfork‘Lookout Kid’” is a reminder, a lullaby for the end times, sung to my son, but for everyone…. Trust your heart, trust your mind, trust your body, trust your soul. Shit is going to get worse before it gets better, but it always gets better, and no one’s perfect.” The video, produced by Ben Matheny and Nathan Harrison, and directed by Benh Zeitlin, is delightful.

Singer-songwriter and rapper Lizzo advances to #2 with her feel-good dance song “About Damn Time”. Debuting this week at #s 28-30 are “Lemon Tree” by L.A.-based alternative/indie folk rock band Mt. Joy“, “Tek It” by Brooklyn-based electro-pop duo Cafuné, and “Compliance” by British alt-rock band Muse.

  1. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (2)
  2. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (3)
  3. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (1)
  4. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (6)
  5. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (4)
  6. BELIEVE – Caamp (5)
  7. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (8)
  8. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (10)
  9. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (11)
  10. CLOSER – The Frontier (12)
  11. LONELY – Sea Girls (13)
  13. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (15)
  14. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (16)
  15. MISTAKES – Sharon Van Etten (17)
  16. 2am – Foals (7)
  17. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (9)
  18. DESPERATELY WANTING – Brian Lambert & Marc Schuster (20)
  19. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (21)
  22. UNTIL I FOUND YOU – Stephen Sanchez (25)
  23. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (26)
  24. BONES – Imagine Dragons (29)
  25. GREY – Holy Coves (30)
  26. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (19)
  27. CHASING TRAINS – HULLAH (18) 20th week on list
  28. LEMON TREE – Mt. Joy (N)
  29. TEK IT – Cafuné (N)
  30. COMPLIANCE – Muse (N)

Top 30 Songs for July 17-23, 2022

There’s so much great music out now, I have at least 50 songs I’d like to put on my Weekly Top 30. “Seventeen Going Under” by Sam Fender remains at #1 for a second week. Closing in at #2 is Arcade Fire‘s heartwarming ““Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)”, while Lizzo slides into the #3 spot with her funk-pop earworm “About Damn Time”. German alt-rock band Milky Chance enter the top 10 with their cool song “Synchronize”. For some reason I cannot fathom, the song has not been anywhere near as popular as their previous single “Colorado”, even though I think it’s a better song.

Two songs make their debut this week: “Bones” by Imagine Dragons and “Grey” by Welsh rock band Holy Coves. While I’m a fan of Imagine Dragons, I didn’t care for their previous single “Enemy”, a massive hit now in it’s 35th week in the top 40 of the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart, nine of them at #1, but I do like “Bones” a lot. (“Enemy” and “Bones” currently hold the #4 and #5 spots on the Alternative chart.) I’ve resisted putting “Bones” on my chart for the past several weeks, but it’s just too damn infectious! “Grey” is the second song by Holy Coves to appear on my Weekly Top 30; their single “The Hurt Within” spent 11 weeks on my list this past Spring.

  1. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (1)
  2. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (3)
  3. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (5)
  4. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (2)
  5. BELIEVE – Caamp (4)
  6. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (6)
  7. 2am – Foals (9)
  8. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (8)
  9. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (7)
  10. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (12)
  11. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (13)
  12. CLOSER – The Frontier (14)
  13. LONELY – Sea Girls (15)
  15. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (18)
  16. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (19)
  17. MISTAKES – Sharon Van Etten (21)
  18. CHASING TRAINS – HULLAH (10) 19th week on list
  19. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (11)
  20. DESPERATELY WANTING – Brian Lambert & Marc Schuster (22)
  21. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (23)
  24. BLOODRUSH – The Amazons (16)
  25. UNTIL I FOUND YOU – Stephen Sanchez (29)
  26. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (30)
  27. BEDS ARE BURNING – AWOLNATION feat. Tim McIlrath (20)
  28. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (26) 21st week on list
  29. BONES – Imagine Dragons (N)
  30. GREY – Holy Coves (N)

Top 30 Songs for July 10-16, 2022

A year after it’s release in July 2021, the beautiful “Seventeen Going Under” by the immensely talented English singer-songwriter Sam Fender reaches the pinnacle of my Weekly Top 30. Somewhat of a sleeper hit, the song finally peaked at #3 on the UK Singles Chart this past January, when it also began getting airplay in the U.S. It eventually appeared on various Alternative song charts (where it recently peaked at #10 on the Billboard Triple A chart). Though I actually ranked it #44 on my Top 100 Songs of 2021 list, I felt compelled to add the song to my Weekly Top 30 in May, and it’s quickly climbed my chart ever since. Even though it’s now fallen off most charts, I love it more than ever, and it’s my current favorite song. Those gorgeous jangly guitars, exuberant trumpet and sax, cracking drumbeats and Fender’s arresting tenor vocals are all magnificent.

Written by Fender and released as the lead single from his brilliant and critically acclaimed second album Seventeen Going Under, the album in general, and song in particular, chronicle his life at 17 when his mother was afflicted with fibromyalgia and depressed because she could no longer work after 40 years of service as a nurse. Though she’d never missed a day of work, the Department for Work and Pensions harassed her with letters and treated her unjustly. Fender wanted to help her financially, even considering selling drugs to earn money, but she talked him out of it. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he commented: “That’s when my rose-tinted glasses fell off. 17 is when all the challenges begin: you’re not a baby, but you’re definitely not an adult.” With his striking tenor voice, strong Geordie accent, and heartthrob good looks, it’s hard to believe Fender was bullied for being overweight and unathletic as a child.

I think “Seventeen Going Under” is one of the most perfect songs I’ve heard in a long while, and in May, the song won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors. Fun fact: Sam Fender also plays Fender guitars.

And here’s Sam’s triumphant performance of the song last month at Glastonbury:

In other chart highlights, Arcade Fire‘s “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid) leaps 8 spots to #3, and YUNGBLUD‘s “The Funeral” jumps 6 spots to #17. Debuting at #s 29 & 30 are the beautiful “Until I Found You” by Nashville singer-songwriter Stephen Sanchez and “SUPERMODEL” by Italian band Måneskin.

  1. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (2)
  2. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (1)
  3. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (11)
  4. BELIEVE – Caamp (6)
  5. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (7)
  6. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (8)
  7. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (4)
  8. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (5)
  9. 2am – Foals (10)
  11. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (9)
  12. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (13)
  13. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (15)
  14. CLOSER – The Frontier (16)
  15. LONELY – Sea Girls (17)
  16. BLOODRUSH – The Amazons (12)
  18. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (20)
  19. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (21)
  20. BEDS ARE BURNING – AWOLNATION feat. Tim McIlrath (19)
  21. MISTAKES – Sharon Van Etten (26)
  22. DESPERATELY WANTING – Brian Lambert & Marc Schuster (24)
  23. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (25)
  24. THAT’S WHERE I AM – Maggie Rogers (14)
  26. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (18) 20th week on list
  28. WILD – Spoon (21)
  29. UNTIL I FOUND YOU – Stephen Sanchez (N)
  30. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (N)

Top 30 Songs for July 3-9, 2022

Two Feet holds at #1 for a second week with his fiercely erotic “Tell Me The Truth”, while Sam Fender‘s glorious “Seventeen Going Under” jumps four spots to #2. Despite the fact it’s been around a while, my love for the beautiful and emotionally powerful song just keeps growing stronger. And speaking of staying power, Harry Styles‘ “As It Was” and the Black Keys‘ “Wild Child” are now in their 12th week in the top 10. “As It Was” has actually spent 11 weeks in the top 5, two of them at #1, while “Wild Child” spent 10 weeks in the top 4, two of them also at #1. Entering the top 10 this week is “2am” by Foals, from their marvelous new album Life Is Yours. Leaping 11 spots to #11 is the uplifting and poignant “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” by Arcade Fire, while “The Funeral” by YUNGBLUD climbs five spots to #23.

The one debut track this week is the hauntingly beautiful and cinematic “Broken Record” by British artist NAVE, the solo music project of singer-songwriter, composer and producer Nathan Evans. The prolific and hyper-talented musician, who possesses a gorgeous singing voice, is also front man for alternative rock band Native Tongue. Nathan states “‘Broken Record’ focuses on the like, follow and share society we have transitioned into over the past decade. Likes release dopamine like a drug and we become addicted to the validation, attention and acknowledgment of our successes or happiness. We hide behind filters and fake smiles to show an inaccurate reality we wish was real.” I can attest to the fact that I’m frightfully addicted to the need for validation, attention and acknowledgment of not only my blog, but also my tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts, all of which causes me frequent disappointment and unhappiness.

  1. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (1)
  2. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (6)
  4. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (3)
  5. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (5)
  6. BELIEVE – Caamp (7)
  7. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (8)
  8. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (9)
  9. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (4)
  10. 2am – Foals (12)
  11. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (22)
  12. BLOODRUSH – The Amazons (10)
  13. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (14)
  14. THAT’S WHERE I AM – Maggie Rogers (15)
  15. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (16)
  16. CLOSER – The Frontier (17)
  17. LONELY – Sea Girls (18)
  18. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (13)
  19. BEDS ARE BURNING – AWOLNATION feat. Tim McIlrath (19)
  20. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (21)
  21. WILD – Spoon (11)
  22. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (23)
  24. DESPERATELY WANTING – Brian Lambert & Marc Schuster (26)
  25. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (27)
  26. MISTAKES – Sharon Van Etten (29)
  28. SLEEP – Gooseberry (20)
  29. VIRGINIA (WIND IN THE NIGHT) – The Head and the Heart (25)

Top 30 Songs for June 26-July 2, 2022

Brooklyn, New York-based Two Feet (the music moniker of singer-songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire Bill Dess) has been my favorite music artist for the past four years or so. I’ve written about him numerous times on this blog, and have seen three of his live shows. His latest single “Tell Me The Truth” assumes the #1 spot on this week’s Top 30, his tenth song to top my weekly chart. Many of his songs are sultry and sensual, but “Tell Me The Truth”, taken from his fourth album Shape & Form, is one of his darkest and sexiest yet. The lyrics are sung from the perspective of a man who’s tried everything to win the love of a woman he desires, to no avail. “For too long, I dream of you, All that you do. I watch you float on, float on. For too long, I contemplate, I try to be all that you need. So tell me the truth, my baby, baby. Is it me, is it you?

It’s a powerful and gorgeous song, and I love how it transitions from haunting interludes of restrained instrumentals and vocals in the verses, to an explosive, cinematic crescendo in the choruses, in which Two Feet’s vocals are more impassioned and raw than we’ve ever heard before. It’s also longer than most of his previous songs, and his scorching guitar solo in the final chorus is well worth the wait. He’s commented that it’s his favorite of all the songs he’s written and recorded, and I have to say that it’s certainly one of mine. The steamy video, directed by Brian Lipko and starring a finely chiseled Two Feet and sexy LA-based model and restauranteur Tina Louise, shows them experiencing the throes of unrequited sexual desire and angst, both together and alone.

Entering the top 10 this week are “About Damn Time” by Lizzo and “A Little Bit of Love” by Weezer, who I’m happy are still making music after nearly 30 years together. Making a strong upward movement are My Chemical Romance‘s “The Foundations of Decay” and Arcade Fire‘s “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)”, both of which climb seven spots to #16 and #22, respectively. Three new songs make their debut: “The Funeral” by British artist YUNGBLUD (which I realized I really like after reading this post by fellow blogger The Alternative Mixtapes), “Mistakes” by the always wonderful Sharon Van Etten, and the haunting “Failure to Comply” by MISSIO, another one of my favorite artists, who I’ll finally be seeing perform live in LA on July 30.

  1. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (3)
  3. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (2)
  4. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (4)
  5. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (5)
  6. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (7)
  7. BELIEVE – Caamp (9)
  8. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (12)
  9. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (11)
  10. BLOODRUSH – The Amazons (8)
  11. WILD – Spoon (6)
  12. 2am – Foals (13)
  13. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (10)
  14. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (15)
  15. THAT’S WHERE I AM – Maggie Rogers (16)
  16. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (23)
  17. CLOSER – The Frontier (20)
  18. LONELY – Sea Girls (21)
  19. BEDS ARE BURNING – AWOLNATION feat. Tim McIlrath (22)
  20. SLEEP – Gooseberry (14)
  21. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (25)
  22. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (29)
  23. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses(26)
  24. LA CIENEGA – Chief Springs (17)
  25. VIRGINIA (WIND IN THE NIGHT) – The Head and the Heart (18)
  26. DESPERATELY WANTING – Brian Lambert & Marc Schuster (28)
  27. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (30)
  29. MISTAKES – Sharon Van Etten (N)

Top 30 Songs for June 19-25, 2022

One of my best new finds of 2022 is the young British singer-songwriter Charley Hullah, who goes by just his last name, stylized as HULLAH. I learned about the handsome and talented London-based artist as a result of being a guest moderator for the BBC Music weekly song competition Fresh On The Net, for which he’d entered his single “Chasing Trains”. I loved the beautiful song the moment I heard it, and chose it as one of my five top picks out of the 170 entries. (Three others of those top five have also appeared on my Weekly Top 30: “Deception” by Hannah Reem & Noodle Beard, which reached #1 in late April, “The Hurt Within” by Holy Coves and “La Cienega” by Chief Springs, which is still on this list.) Now in its 15th week on my list, I’m thrilled to finally place “Chasing Trains” at the top. HULLAH’s compelling lyrics, haunting melody, sparkling atmospheric synths and ethereal vocals are gorgeous, and I love this song more with every listen.

In other chart developments, Two Feet moves up three spots to #3 with his smoldering song of desire “Tell Me The Truth”, and Florence + the Machine, The Black Keys, Harry Styles, Spoon, Sam Fender and Bob Moses continue to dominate the top 10. Caamp climbs three spots to #9 with their lovely “Believe”, Weezer‘s optimistic “A Little Bit of Love” also moves up three to #11, and Lizzo‘s delightful “About Damn Time” leaps 14 spots to #12. Making their debut this week are “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” by Arcade Fire, and the brilliant “Lin Manuel” by New York-based indie rock band Onism E.

  2. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (1)
  3. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (6)
  4. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (3)
  5. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (4)
  6. WILD – Spoon (5)
  7. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (8)
  8. BLOODRUSH – The Amazons (10)
  9. BELIEVE – Caamp (12)
  10. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (9)
  11. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (14)
  12. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (26)
  13. 2am – Foals (15)
  14. SLEEP – Gooseberry (7)
  15. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (17)
  16. THAT’S WHERE I AM – Maggie Rogers (18)
  17. LA CIENEGA – Chief Springs (11)
  18. VIRGINIA (WIND IN THE NIGHT) – The Head and the Heart (13)
  19. SHUT OFF THE LIGHTS – Bastille (16)
  20. CLOSER – The Frontier (22)
  21. LONELY – Sea Girls (23)
  22. BEDS ARE BURNING – AWOLNATION feat. Tim McIlrath (24)
  23. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (25)
  25. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (28)
  26. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (29)
  27. DISTANCE – Mount Famine (20)
  28. DESPERATELY WANTING – Brian Lambert & Marc Schuster (30)
  30. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (N)

Top 30 Songs for June 12-18, 2022

No matter how often I listen to “My Love” by Florence + the Machine, my love for it (no pun intended) only grows stronger, and the gorgeous song maintains a firm grip on the #1 spot for a third week. Moving up two notches to #2 is “Chasing Trains” by London singer songwriter HULLAH, another beautiful song I never tire of hearing. In other notable chart movements, my favorite artist Two Feet jumps six spots to #6 with his darkly sexy “Tell Me The Truth”, and Ohio band Caamp leaps 10 spots with their lovely song “Believe”.

Three new songs make their debut this week: “About Damn Time” by Lizzo, her first ever appearance on my chart, enters at #26. I know she’s one of the most popular artists around today, but none of her previous songs have really appealed to me until “About Damn Time”, and I can’t resist its infectious 70s dance groove. At #29 is “Warning Signs” by the wonderful Band of Horses, whose songs never disappoint. And bringing up the rear is “Desperately Wanting”, a haunting collaboration by prolific and talented singer-songwriters Brian Lambert and Marc Schuster.

  1. MY LOVE – Florence + the Machine (1)
  3. WILD CHILD – The Black Keys (2)
  4. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (5)
  5. WILD – Spoon (6)
  6. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (12)
  7. SLEEP – Gooseberry (3)
  8. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (9)
  9. LOVE BRAND NEW – Bob Moses (7)
  10. BLOODRUSH – The Amazons (11)
  11. LA CIENEGA – Chief Springs (8)
  12. BELIEVE – Caamp (22)
  13. VIRGINIA (WIND IN THE NIGHT) – The Head and the Heart (10)
  14. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (16)
  15. 2am – Foals (17)
  16. SHUT OFF THE LIGHTS – Bastille (18)
  17. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (19)
  18. THAT’S WHERE I AM – Maggie Rogers (20)
  20. DISTANCE – Mount Famine (15)
  21. THE HURT WITHIN – Holy Coves (14)
  22. CLOSER – The Frontier (24)
  23. LONELY – Sea Girls (25)
  24. BEDS ARE BURNING – AWOLNATION feat. Tim McIlrath (26)
  25. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (29)
  26. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (N)
  27. DECEPTION – Hannah Reem & Noodle Beard (21)
  28. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (30)
  29. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (N)
  30. DESPERATELY WANTING – Brian Lambert & Marc Schuster (N)