Top 30 Songs for August 14-20, 2022

Lizzo remains at #1 for a second week on my latest Weekly Top 30 with her infectious dance song “About Damn Time”, while The Frontier‘s delightful “Closer” and YUNGBLUD‘s wonderfully frantic “The Funeral” both move up a notch to #2 and #3. respectively. Climbing four spots to enter the top 10 at #10 is the darkly beautiful “Failure to Comply” by MISSIO. Some big upward movers this week include “Lemon Tree” by Mt. Joy, which jumps eight spots to #12, “Viva Las Vengeance” by Panic! At the Disco, climbing seven spots to #17, and “Break My Soul” by Beyoncé, which leaps 10 spots to #18. Making their debut this week are terrific new songs by three great pop-rock bands: “Here to Forever” by Death Cab For Cutie, “Part of the Band” by The 1975, and “Seasick” by The Rare Occasions, which enter at #s 28, 29 and 30.

  1. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (1)
  2. CLOSER – The Frontier (3)
  4. MISTAKES – Sharon Van Etten (5)
  5. UNTIL I FOUND YOU – Stephen Sanchez (6)
  6. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (2)
  8. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (10)
  9. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (7)
  11. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (8)
  12. LEMON TREE – Mt. Joy (20)
  13. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (11)
  14. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (16)
  15. BONES – Imagine Dragons (17)
  16. DESPERATELY WANTING – The Star Crumbles (15)
  17. VIVA LAS VENGEANCE – Panic! At the Disco (24)
  18. BREAK MY SOUL – Beyoncé (28)
  19. TEK IT – Cafuné (21)
  20. GREY – Holy Coves (22)
  21. SIDELINES – Phoebe Bridgers (26)
  22. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (12)
  23. COMPLIANCE – Muse (27)
  24. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (13)
  25. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (19)
  26. WHAT’S THE TRICK? – Jack White (29)
  27. PLEASE WRITE RESPONSIBLY – Granfalloon (30)
  28. HERE TO FOREVER – Death Cab For Cutie (N)
  29. PART OF THE BAND – The 1975 (N)
  30. SEASICK – The Rare Occasions (N)

Top 30 Songs for August 7-13, 2022

I’m thrilled to place Lizzo‘s infectious feel-good single “About Damn Time” at #1 on my latest Weekly Top 30. I love a good dance song, and with its funky bass-driven groove, “About Damn Time” fits the bill quite nicely. From her fourth album Special, it’s her first song to top my chart, and her second to top the Billboard Hot 100. Born Melissa Jefferson in Detroit, the 34-year-old singer has already had an interesting life. After moving with her family to Houston when she was 10, Lizzo began studying the flute with renowned music teacher Claudia Momen. She also started rapping in her early teens, and formed a musical group called Cornrow Clique with her friends, at which time she acquired the nickname “Lizzo”. After graduating from high school, she studied classical music with a concentration on flute at the University of Houston, but by 21, was living out of her car for a year while trying to break into the music industry. She released two studio albums, Lizzobangers in 2013 and Big Grrrl Small World in 2015, but neither charted. Lizzo finally achieved breakthrough success in 2019 with her single “Truth Hurts” after it was featured in the Netflix film Someone Great. The song became a viral sleeper hit, reaching #1 two years after its initial release. Lizzo’s life-long struggles with her weight have led her to become a fearless advocate for body positivity and self-love.

In other chart highlights, “Closer” by The Frontier and “The Funeral” by YUNGBLUD, hold at #3 and #4, and “Mistakes” by Sharon Van Etten climbs four spots to #5. Entering the top 10 are “Until I Found You” by Stephen Sanchez, which jumps six spots to #6, “Broken Record” by NAVE, up seven spots to #9, and “SUPERMODEL” by Måneskin, which leaps 10 spots to #10.

I wanted to add at least six new songs to my chart this week, but had room for only these three, each of which could not be more different from one another: “BREAK MY SOUL” by Beyoncé, “What’s the Trick?” by Jack White, and “Please Write Responsibly” by British artist Granfalloon, the music project of talented singer-songwriter Richard Lomax, making his first appearance on my chart.

  1. ABOUT DAMN TIME – Lizzo (2)
  2. UNCONDITIONAL I (LOOKOUT KID) – Arcade Fire (1)
  3. CLOSER – The Frontier (3)
  5. MISTAKES – Sharon Van Etten (9)
  6. UNTIL I FOUND YOU – Stephen Sanchez (12)
  7. SYNCHRONIZE – Milky Chance (7)
  8. IN THE MIRROR – The Interrupters (8)
  10. SUPERMODEL – Måneskin (20)
  11. WARNING SIGNS – Band of Horses (10)
  12. SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER – Sam Fender (5)
  13. A LITTLE BIT OF LOVE – Weezer (6)
  15. DESPERATELY WANTING – The Star Crumbles (17)
  16. LIN MANUEL – Onism E (18)
  17. BONES – Imagine Dragons (22)
  18. TELL ME THE TRUTH – Two Feet (11)
  19. AS IT WAS – Harry Styles (14)
  20. LEMON TREE – Mt. Joy (24)
  21. TEK IT – Cafuné (25)
  22. GREY – Holy Coves (23)
  23. BELIEVE – Caamp (13)
  24. VIVA LAS VENGEANCE – Panic! At the Disco (28)
  25. THE FOUNDATIONS OF DECAY – My Chemical Romance (15)
  26. SIDELINES – Phoebe Bridgers (30)
  27. COMPLIANCE – Muse (29)
  28. BREAK MY SOUL – Beyoncé (N)
  29. WHAT’S THE TRICK? – Jack White (N)
  30. PLEASE WRITE RESPONSIBLY – Granfalloon (N)

Top 30 Songs for July 31-August 6, 2022

Photo by María José Govea

While the top two songs on my latest Weekly Top 30 – Arcade Fire‘s “Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)” and Lizzo‘s “About Damn Time” – remain in place for a second week, there are lots of changes to the rest of the list. Several songs fall out of the top 10, including Harry Styles‘ “As It Was” after a 15-week run in that rarefied group, clearing the way for a newer crop of songs to move up. Jumping seven spots to #3 is “Closer”, by The Frontier (the music project of the very gracious, funny and talented Northern Virginia-based Jake Mimikos). We’ve followed one another on social media for over six years, and I’m quite fond of both him and his music. Entering the top 10 are: “The Funeral” by YUNGBLUD, which leaps eight spots to #4, “In the Mirror” by The Interrupters, climbing five spots to #8, “Mistakes” by Sharon Van Etten, up six spots to #9, and “Warning Signs” by Band of Horses, which moves up four spots to #10.

Other big movers this week are Stephen Sanchez, with his stunning retro love ballad “Until I Found You”, which leaps 10 spots to #12, and British artist NAVE, whose hauntingly beautiful “Broken Record” climbs five spots to #16. Two songs make their debut this week, “Viva Las Vengeance” by Panic! At the Disco (which recently spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart, and took a while to click with me) at #28, and “Sidelines” by Phoebe Bridgers, which enters at #30.

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

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)

I was a guest moderator for Fresh On The Net

I had the honor of being a guest moderator for this past week’s Fresh On The Net, an independent music blog founded in 2009 by renowned BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Tom Robinson (you can check out the blog here). The mission of the blog is to help independent musicians find new listeners, and independent listeners find new music. Since its creation, Fresh On The Net has amassed a team of volunteers made up of music enthusiasts of all ages, and representing a broad range of tastes. I was invited to participate by one of the moderators tobisonics, a British-born and now Luxembourg-based electronic music producer and composer in his own right, who’s music I’ve previously featured on my blog a number of times.

Each week, Fresh On the Net creates a new inbox, or “Batch” along with a successive number, for artists and bands to submit a song for consideration. The inbox opens Monday morning, and remains open until 200 songs are submitted or by Wednesday evening, whichever comes first. The entire inbox is posted on the site as a Soundcloud playlist, so that artists and music fans can listen to the submissions. The team of moderators listen to every single track, and each one chooses their five favorite songs, as well as any additional tracks they especially like. After the total scores are compiled, the top 25 tracks are published as a Listening Post on Friday morning. Anyone can vote for their five favorites from that list of 25 tracks. Those votes are compiled Sunday night into a Fresh Faves list of 10 tracks, which are then reviewed by one of the site’s moderators the following week.

For this week that I participated – Batch 438 – there were a total of 170 songs submitted, the majority of them by British artists and bands, as to be expected. It was a daunting task to listen to all 170 songs, and I have to say I was blown away by the high quality of the submissions. I went into this expecting to hear a few gems amongst a sea of mediocrity, but found exactly the opposite, as there were literally only four tracks I did not care for out of 170 (one of which was ultimately among the 25 finalists, so what do I know?). As EclecticMusicLover, my music tastes are both pretty broad, and fairly open-minded, meaning I generally like a lot of the music I hear.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a number of artists and bands I follow included in Batch 438, of which there were nine when I began listening to the submissions. As I listened to each track, I clicked on the artist or band’s Soundcloud page, then checked their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts to learn more about them. To show them support, I “liked” their submitted song on their Soundcloud page, as well as their tweets about the song on Twitter, even commenting in cases where I really loved their songs. Well, that resulted in me gaining ten new Twitter followers!

To honor all the artists and bands that follow me who submitted songs for Batch 438, I decided to write this post and share their music. Because there are 19 artists & bands represented, and both my time and readers’ attention spans are limited, I won’t write a review of each song. I will simply name each artist in alphabetical order, along with a line or two about them and the Soundcloud link of their song. A few of these songs were my personal picks, but I won’t identify them, as I don’t want anyone to feel left out.

Alex Lipinski – “Long Way To Go” – Alex has been making music for several years, and counts Liam Gallagher as a fan, even singing Elvis Presley songs with him in his kitchen! “Long Way to Go” is from Alex’s forthcoming third album For Everything Under The Sun, and I loved it at first listen. Alex is a new follower of mine, and I’m a new fan of his!

Art Block – “Pilgrim” – Art Block is an alternative folk singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from East London. A prolific musician, he’s been making beautiful music for several years, and has released multiple singles and EPs since 2015. We’ve followed each other on Twitter for over three years, and I’ve previously featured him twice on this blog. “Pilgrim” is a heartfelt tribute to his parents, who passed away many years ago, and features a lovely string arrangement by Jay Chakravorty, who also produced the track.

Barbara – “A Perishing Of Cherished Things” – Barbara is the music project of charismatic brothers Henry and John Tydeman, who are based in Brighton and Hove. Their sunny, uplifting sound is an anachronistic blend of – in their own words – “a bit of 70s US AM radio, a dash of English music hall, the effortless catchiness of a Broadway musical, a sprinkling of sequined power pop, luscious Disney strings and glorious golden harmonies. This past November, I reviewed their delightful song “Rainy Days in June”, and their latest single is every bit as charming.

Branwell Black – “Lay On Me” – Branwell is a beautiful young singer-songwriter, producer, dancer and model who creates mesmerizing alternative electro dance-pop/rock. Born in Oxford, England, raised primarily in France, and now based in London, Branwell’s strong creativity and imagination are evident in his exciting music. I reviewed “Lay On Me” just last month.

Chief Springs – “La Cienega” – Leicester six-piece Chief Springs was one of my new finds as a result of my moderator gig, and I couldn’t be happier! From what I can tell, they began as a two-piece, but expanded to six members a few years ago, and have been releasing music since 2020. I really like their melodic post-rock sound, and loved their latest single “La Cienega” at first listen.

Dictator – “Candlemaker Row” – Drawing inspiration from such acts as Gorillaz, Primal Scream, Alt-J, London Grammar and The XX, Scottish band Dictator create fantastic atmospheric alternative rock. Their submission is the Post Coal Prom Queen Remix of their hauntingly beautiful song “Candlemaker Row”, and it’s positively stunning.

flakebelly – “Trouble Don’t Heavy My Load” – flakebelly is a Scottish singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, whose pleasing, eclectic sound is influenced by such varied acts as Syd Barrett, Miles Davis, The Smiths, Radiohead, The Beatles, The Cure, Led Zeppelin, Bert Jansch, Elliott Smith, Robert Johnson, Joy Division, Daniel Johnston and The Clash. “Trouble Don’t Heavy My Load” is a delightful and upbeat folk song of encouragement.

Gomrund – “Remove Disease” – Self-described genre-fluid knob-twiddler, maker of bleep-bloops and remixer ordinaire, Gomrund creates an incredibly eclectic range of music that truly transcends genres and styles. Though we’ve followed each other on Twitter for a while, I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t explored his music very much. Hearing his song submission as part of this exercise has made me realize the error of my ways, which I’m now working to remedy. “Remove Disease” is five minutes of wonderfully trippy hip-hop for our earholes!

Holy Coves – “The Hurt Within” – Hailing from Anglesey Island in North Wales, psychedelic rock band Holy Coves was formed in 2005 by Welsh singer-songwriter Scott Marsden. The first single from their forthcoming third album Druids and Bards, “The Hurt Within” is brilliant, with a gorgeous soundscape of moody psychedelic guitars and driving rhythms, and I love Marsden’s powerful vocals.

HULLAH – “Chasing Trains” – HULLAH is a strikingly handsome London-based writer-producer, sound designer and half of the electro-pop duo Futuretape. According to his bio, he creates music “inspired by a passion for nightlife culture and stories from the queer community, and wrapped in the sonic flavours of trip-hop, 90’s house and synth-pop.” His submitted track “Chasing Trains” is breathtaking, with airy industrial synths, sparkling keyboards and captivating vocals, and I loved it the moment I heard it.

The JoJo Man Band – “Love” – London-based The JoJo Man Band is the brainchild of singer-songwriter Nick Woodgate, with assistance by Tim Maple on guitar and Accy Yeats on guitar. Together, they make a quirky and upbeat style of what they call “semi-psych alternative pop”. Their submitted track “Love” has a fun, bouncy cadence that calls to mind the 80s hit “Our House” by Madness, only more psychedelic. I like it a lot!

Lee Switzer-Woolf – “Bat Roost” – Lee Switzer-Woolf is a singer-songwriter from Reading, and “Bat Roost” is from his debut album Scientific Automatic Palmistry, which he released February 7th on All Will Be Well Records. It’s a pleasing folk-infused alt-rock song about mental well-being, at the end of which Lee ponders “When I lose my mind. We will be happy.

Morganway – “Come Over” – Female-fronted six-piece Morganway are based in Norwich, and play an arresting brand of Americana rock. Since the release of their debut self-titled album in 2019, they’ve garnered widespread critical acclaim and a growing fanbase. Their latest single “Come Over” is a powerful and bluesy stunner, with fantastic guitar work and gorgeous six-part harmonies.

Native Tongue – “CROW’S NEST” – Native Tongue is an alternative rock duo based in Bournemouth and Brighton, and from what I’ve been able to determine, consists of Nathan Evans on lead vocals and guitar, and Arron Bennett on drums. “Crow’s Nest” is from their debut EP Hiding In White Light, which they released last month, and is darkly beautiful and haunting. Nathaniel’s enchanting vocals remind me a bit of Robert Smith’s, and in fact, the song sounds like a song The Cure could have recorded.

NAVE – “Let Me Be You” – NAVE, aka Nathan Evans, is a prolific songwriter, music producer and multi-instrumentalist who creates gorgeous music incorporating elements from an array of styles and genres including alternative electronica, rock, ambient, trip-hop, orchestral and dark wave. He’s also a member of Native Tongue, profiled above. NAVE recently composed the music score for the British indie film English Dogs, and is currently working toward syncing his music on more upcoming TV/Film projects. “Let Me Be You” is from his EP This Is Hell, which was released in December, and is a dark and mesmerizing track.

Noodle Beard featuring Hannah Reem – “Deception” – Okay, I’ll be honest and reveal up-front that this gorgeous song is my favorite out of this entire batch of 170 tracks. I was immediately struck by it’s mysterious cinematic vibe, and in particular Hannah Reem’s vibrant soulful vocals that remind me of Shirley Bassey. Based in Portsmouth, producer and composer Noodle Beard makes trip-hop and ambient chilled music, and Hannah Reem is a popular personality in the Portsmouth music scene. “Deception” is Hannah’s second collaboration with Noodle Beard, and is about infidelity and the emotional complexities of making painful choices. The song is fantastic, and would make a great James Bond theme, no doubt about it!

Shyer – “Lame” – Hailing from Cambridge, Shyer are songwriting duo Amanda George and Zak Tysoe (although from what I can tell, they began around five years ago as a four-piece). Their infectious style of indie pop rock has won them airplay on BBC 6 Music’s Fresh on the Net and BBC Introducing Mixtape, as well as on Amazing Radio, and in July 2018, they won ‘Best Indie Act’ at East Anglia’s NMG Award. “Lame” is from their new EP Still Life, released on February 25, and is chock-full of fuzz-coated jangly and twangy guitars and driving rhythms, highlighted by Amanda’s resonant vocals.

Steve Peck – “FXpective” – Steve Peck (aka St3v3L33) is a prolific composer, producer and saxophone player from West Sussex who makes fascinating and eclectic instrumental music incorporating a dizzying array of elements ranging from house, trance and techno to blues, jazz and dance. “FXpective” is a trippy, brooding affair, with spacey industrial synths and crunchy percussion, over which Steve overlays bleating sax notes. It’s a brilliant track.

Young Decades – “Man On Mars” – Last, but certainly not least, is Young Decades, a favorite of mine who I’ve previously featured three times on this blog. Comprised of James Tidd (vocals), Scott Harvey (guitar, keyboards), Liam Downey (bass) and Lee Cameron (drums), the various band members are scattered about the Midlands and North West England. Their music is melodic and beautiful, characterized by exuberant cinematic synths, driving rhythms, stellar guitar work, and James’ soaring impassioned vocals. I’ve loved every one of their songs, and “Man On Mars” is yet another in an unbroken string of superb singles.