Fresh New Tracks Vol. IX

It’s been a while since my last installment of Fresh New Tracks, and truth be told, I’ve been rather hesitant to do more of these posts, as I suspect a lot of artists don’t appreciate sharing the limelight with others. That said, there’s just so much great music being released nearly every day, and my time to write posts and reviews is limited, so combine them I must.

For my latest installment, I’ve chosen new singles by three of my favorite indie artists, all prolific musicians who possess really beautiful singing voices – Australian singer-songwriter G. Samedi, American singer-songwriter The Frontier, and Canadian-American singer-songwriter Shimmer Johnson. I’ve previously featured each of them on this blog numerous times, and love their new songs so much that I have to share them.

“Rearview” by G. Samedi

Sam looking cool as always

G. Samedi is the music project of Sam Dawes, a remarkably talented and dangerously charismatic singer-songwriter from Sydney, Australia. He’s also lead vocalist and songwriter for the wonderful soul/funk/jazz/pop band Thunder Fox, who I’ve written about several times as well. He has a distinctive soulful and silky vocal style that effortlessly glides from smooth, sultry croons to a plaintive falsetto and back again. Drawing from R&B, soul, trip hop, electronic and alternative rock elements, Sam creates moody and sensuous soundscapes for the expression of his bold lyrics addressing the darker and more introspective aspects of love and relationships. He writes all his own music and lyrics, records and programs all instruments, sings all vocals, and produces and mixes all tracks. The only think he outsources is the mastering.  

While still actively involved with Thunder Fox, who will be releasing their second album next month, Sam began recording and producing some of his songs as a solo artist in early 2020. In less than two years, he’s released an astonishing 10 singles, one of which, “Icarus”, I reviewed this past May. His latest is “Rearview”, which dropped October 16th, and it’s another stunning & dreamy track. I love all the colorful instruments and sounds he incorporates into the song, highlighted by sparkling synths, enchanting organ, and a mix of shimmery and gnarly guitar notes. As always, his layered vocals are smooth, sensuous and incredibly emotive.    

Connect with G. Samedi: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

“On the Other Side” by The Frontier

Jake sharing a moment with his trusty sidekick Atlas

Regular readers of this blog know I’m a huge fan of The Frontier – aka Jake Mimikos, who’s based in Fairfax County, Virginia. Jake is an enormously talented guy with a kindness and sense of humor to match, and I’m quite fond of him both as an artist and human. Since 2015, he’s released an impressive amount of music both as a solo artist and as a band under The Frontier moniker, and we’ve been following each other on social media for nearly that long. Drawing upon elements of pop, folk, rock and electronica, his music is always incredibly pleasing and flawlessly crafted. As with many singer-songwriters, Jake’s songs are often inspired by personal experiences, and deal with love, relationships and loss. He prefers to write lyrics that are honest and straightforward, as if he were having a conversation with a friend. I’ve loved all of his songs, and have featured several on this blog, most recently “Shattered”, which I reviewed this past July. Two of his singles, “Dark Places” (from 2019) and “Can We Go Back” (from earlier this year) reached #1 on my Weekly Top 30, while “Sleep” (released in late 2020) reached #2.

On October 15th, he dropped his latest single “On the Other Side”, a beautiful song with heartfelt lyrics directed at a former romantic partner that’s hurt him, and who he now wants to try and get over: “Gotta get my head right, gotta get you out of my mind. Tell me what it feels like on the other side.” About the song, Jake told the blog Cool Top 20The music for this song came to me, oddly enough, when I was creating a video on Tik Tok. At the time, I was just messing around and posting little videos of me playing with my looper pedal. One of the loops I created had this really cool lead part over this simple progression. When I heard it I knew instantly I wanted to develop it a bit more and turn it into a song. You can hear the lead guitar part over most of the song in the background. It’s really simple, but to me it was the coolest thing hearing it come together.” It sounds very cool indeed Jake!

Connect with The Frontier: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

“Starts with You” by Shimmer Johnson

Shimmer working her magic

Let’s kick the mood into high gear with a hot new dance-pop song, “Starts with You” by Shimmer Johnson. Originally from Edmonton, Canada and now based in Los Angeles, Shimmer has an incredibly beautiful and resonant singing voice. Her clear, pitch-perfect vocals are strong, but with a raw vulnerability that beautifully conveys the subtle yet powerful emotions expressed in her heartfelt lyrics, enabling us to connect with her songs on a deeply personal level. In addition to her amazing vocal talents, she’s also a fine guitarist and pianist, and has collaborated with several songwriters and producers to create an impressive repertoire of outstanding songs over the past few years. She started out singing Country songs, but eventually transitioned to a more adult contemporary pop sound. 

I’ve featured Shimmer several times on this blog, most recently this past June when I reviewed her powerfully moving single “It’s Fate’s Turn”. Her latest single “Starts with You”, released on October 15th, sees her venture into dance-pop, and I absolutely love it! Co-written by Shimmer, her husband Corey, and Ted Perlman, the song features an infectiously upbeat dance groove guaranteed to have even the biggest wallflowers on their feet and swaying their hips. It’s essentially a song of love that starts off with the singer feeling a bit unsure about her new lover’s intentions: “All alone feeling emptiness. She’s leaving. He won’t see me. What I need, I can’t breathe” but ends up with her feeling happy and secure: “He does see me. What I need to be free (Feel this moment). He helps me see all the things I can be.” I love the funky little Nile Rodgers-like guitar riff and Shimmer’s smooth, breezy vocals. It’s a great track that’s already one of my favorites of her many songs, and I’m certain it will be a hit.

Connect with Shimmer:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Top 30 Songs for September 12-18, 2021

L.A. band The Neighbourhood hold the top spot for a second week with their beautiful single “Stargazing”. Moving up to #2 is “Missing Piece” by Vance Joy. Though I’ve liked the Australian singer-songwriter ever since hearing his 2014 hit “Riptide”, it took a while for “Missing Piece” to grow on me. But it’s such a sweet love song, it’s hard not to like it. A band I’ve really come to love is Lord Huron, and their song “Mine Forever” leaps 14 spots to #7. Imagine Dragon’s poignant “Wrecked” jumps 10 spots to #9. Debuting this week are “Freak” by L.A. band Surf Curse and “Never Looked Back” by British alt-rock band The Zangwills.

  1. STARGAZING – The Neighbourhood (1)
  2. MISSING PIECE – Vance Joy (3)
  3. SATURDAY – twenty øne piløts (4)
  4. DEVIL – Two Feet (2)
  5. TRANSPARENT SOUL – WILLOW featuring Travis Barker (6)
  6. LAST TRAIN HOME – John Mayer (7)
  7. MINE FOREVER – Lord Huron (21)
  8. STOP MAKING THIS HURT – Bleachers (9)
  9. WRECKED – Imagine Dragons (19)
  10. LIKE I USED TO – Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen (5)
  11. BE A WOMAN – DeLaurentis (13)
  12. ENNUI – Dawning (12)
  13. MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X (8)
  14. BAD DREAM – Cannons (16)
  15. WHAT YOU SAY – Cold War Kids (17)
  16. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (18)
  17. THE ANGEL OF 8TH AVE. – Gang of Youths (20)
  18. EVERY WINDOW IS A MIRROR – Joywave (11)
  19. SOLAR POWER – Lorde (9)
  20. I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE – Måneskin (23)
  21. TAKE MY MONEY – Ships Have Sailed (24)
  22. MAKING A FIRE – Foo Fighters (25)
  23. CAN YOU HANDLE MY LOVE?? – WALK THE MOON (26)
  24. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (14) 20th week on list
  25. WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (15)
  26. DISTORTED LIGHT BEAM – Bastille (28)
  27. NDA – Billie Eilish (29)
  28. HUSH – The Marías (30)
  29. FREAKS – Surf Curse (N)
  30. NEVER LOOKED BACK – The Zangwills (N)

Top 30 Songs for September 5-11, 2021

I’m going to try something different for my Weekly Top 30 posts. Because they get little engagement, I’ll start providing a brief narrative introduction at the beginning to hopefully generate a bit more interest.

After Two Feet’s four-week-long reign at the top with his darkly smoldering “Devil”, Los Angeles alternative rock band The Neighbourhood take over the top spot with their dreamy love song “Stargazing”. Ever since the release of their gorgeous monster hit “Sweater Weather” in 2013 (which ranks at #4 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s), The Neighbourhood have been one of my favorite bands. I love just about every song they’ve released, and I’m happy to see them still flourishing after eight years. The sweet video shows the band as their alter-egos Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones, and features cameos by Lana Del Rey, Blake Griffin, Jaden Smith, Benny Blanco, Devon Carlson, Mac DeMarco and Alexa Demie.

Debuting on this week’s list are “NDA” by Billie Eilish and “Hush” by The Marías.

  1. STARGAZING – The Neighbourhood (2)
  2. DEVIL – Two Feet (1)
  3. MISSING PIECE – Vance Joy (4)
  4. SATURDAY – twenty øne piløts (5)
  5. LIKE I USED TO – Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen (3)
  6. TRANSPARENT SOUL – WILLOW featuring Travis Barker (11)
  7. LAST TRAIN HOME – John Mayer (12)
  8. MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X (6)
  9. STOP MAKING THIS HURT – Bleachers (10)
  10. SOLAR POWER – Lorde (7)
  11. EVERY WINDOW IS A MIRROR – Joywave (13)
  12. ENNUI – Dawning (14)
  13. BE A WOMAN – DeLaurentis (16)
  14. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (8)
  15. WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (9)
  16. BAD DREAM – Cannons (18)
  17. WHAT YOU SAY – Cold War Kids (19)
  18. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (20)
  19. WRECKED – Imagine Dragons (21)
  20. THE ANGEL OF 8TH AVE. – Gang of Youths (22)
  21. MINE FOREVER – Lord Huron (23)
  22. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (15)
  23. I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE – Måneskin (25)
  24. TAKE MY MONEY – Ships Have Sailed (26)
  25. MAKING A FIRE – Foo Fighters (27)
  26. CAN YOU HANDLE MY LOVE?? – WALK THE MOON (28)
  27. STICKY – The Maine (17)
  28. DISTORTED LIGHT BEAM – Bastille (30)
  29. NDA – Billie Eilish (N)
  30. HUSH – The Marías (N)

Top 30 Songs for August 29-September 4, 2021

  1. DEVIL – Two Feet (1) 4th week at #1
  2. STARGAZING – The Neighbourhood (2)
  3. LIKE I USED TO – Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen (3)
  4. MISSING PIECE – Vance Joy (8)
  5. SATURDAY – twenty øne piløts (9)
  6. MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X (4)
  7. SOLAR POWER – Lorde (6)
  8. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (5)
  9. WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (7)
  10. STOP MAKING THIS HURT – Bleachers (11)
  11. TRANSPARENT SOUL – WILLOW featuring Travis Barker (12)
  12. LAST TRAIN HOME – John Mayer (17)
  13. EVERY WINDOW IS A MIRROR – Joywave (15)
  14. ENNUI – Dawning (16)
  15. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (10)
  16. BE A WOMAN – DeLaurentis (18)
  17. STICKY – The Maine (14)
  18. BAD DREAM – Cannons (20)
  19. WHAT YOU SAY – Cold War Kids (21)
  20. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (22)
  21. WRECKED – Imagine Dragons (23)
  22. THE ANGEL OF 8TH AVE. – Gang of Youths (24)
  23. MINE FOREVER – Lord Huron (25)
  24. MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (13)
  25. I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE – Måneskin (26)
  26. TAKE MY MONEY – Ships Have Sailed (27)
  27. MAKING A FIRE – Foo Fighters (29)
  28. CAN YOU HANDLE MY LOVE?? – WALK THE MOON (30)
  29. NOTHING2 – Strange Souvenirs (19)
  30. DISTORTED LIGHT BEAM – Bastille (N)

Top 30 Songs for August 22-28, 2021

  1. DEVIL – Two Feet (1)
  2. STARGAZING – The Neighbourhood (4)
  3. LIKE I USED TO – Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen (5)
  4. MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X (3)
  5. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (2)
  6. SOLAR POWER – Lorde (9)
  7. WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (7)
  8. MISSING PIECE – Vance Joy (10)
  9. SATURDAY – twenty øne piløts (11)
  10. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (6)
  11. STOP MAKING THIS HURT – Bleachers (12)
  12. TRANSPARENTSOUL – WILLOW featuring Travis Barker (13)
  13. MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (8)
  14. STICKY – The Maine (15)
  15. EVERY WINDOW IS A MIRROR – Joywave (16)
  16. ENNUI – Dawning (17)
  17. LAST TRAIN HOME – John Mayer (19)
  18. BE A WOMAN – DeLaurentis (20)
  19. NOTHING2 – Strange Souvenirs (14)
  20. BAD DREAM – Cannons (23)
  21. WHAT YOU SAY – Cold War Kids (24)
  22. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (25)
  23. WRECKED – Imagine Dragons (27)
  24. THE ANGEL OF 8TH AVE. – Gang of Youths (28)
  25. MINE FOREVER – Lord Huron (N)
  26. I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE – Måneskin (29)
  27. TAKE MY MONEY – Ships Have Sailed (30)
  28. SINNER – Young Decades (18)
  29. MAKING A FIRE – Foo Fighters (N)
  30. CAN YOU HANDLE MY LOVE?? – WALK THE MOON (N)

Top 30 Songs for August 15-21, 2021

  1. DEVIL – Two Feet (1)
  2. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (2)
  3. MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X (6)
  4. STARGAZING – The Neighbourhood (7)
  5. LIKE I USED TO – Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen (8)
  6. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (3)
  7. WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (4)
  8. MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (5)
  9. SOLAR POWER – Lorde (9)
  10. MISSING PIECE – Vance Joy (11)
  11. SATURDAY – twenty øne piløts (13)
  12. STOP MAKING THIS HURT – Bleachers (16)
  13. TRANSPARENTSOUL – WILLOW featuring Travis Barker (20)
  14. NOTHING2 – Strange Souvenirs (15)
  15. STICKY – The Maine (17)
  16. EVERY WINDOW IS A MIRROR – Joywave (18)
  17. ENNUI – Dawning (19)
  18. SINNER – Young Decades (10)
  19. LAST TRAIN HOME – John Mayer (23)
  20. BE A WOMAN – DeLaurentis (25)
  21. BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (12)
  22. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (13)
  23. BAD DREAM – Cannons (28)
  24. WHAT YOU SAY – Cold War Kids (29)
  25. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (30)
  26. HIGHER POWER – Coldplay (24)
  27. WRECKED – Imagine Dragons (N)
  28. THE ANGEL OF 8TH AVE. – Gang of Youths (N)
  29. I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE – Måneskin (N)
  30. TAKE MY MONEY – Ships Have Sailed (N)

Top 30 Songs for August 8-14, 2021

  1. DEVIL – Two Feet (3)
  2. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (1)
  3. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (2)
  4. WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (4)
  5. MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (5)
  6. MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X (6)
  7. STARGAZING – The Neighbourhood (9)
  8. LIKE I USED TO – Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen (10)
  9. SOLAR POWER – Lorde (14)
  10. SINNER – Young Decades (7)
  11. MISSING PIECE – Vance Joy (16)
  12. BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (8)
  13. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (11)
  14. SATURDAY – twenty øne piløts (23)
  15. NOTHING2 – Strange Souvenirs (15)
  16. STOP MAKING IT HURT – Bleachers (17)
  17. STICKY – The Maine (18)
  18. EVERY WINDOW IS A MIRROR – Joywave (19)
  19. ENNUI – Dawning (20)
  20. TRANSPARENTSOUL – WILLOW featuring Travis Barker (24)
  21. ZITTI E BUONI – Måneskin (12)
  22. CRAWLING KINGSNAKE – The Black Keys (13)
  23. LAST TRAIN HOME – John Mayer (28)
  24. HIGHER POWER – Coldplay (25)
  25. BE A WOMAN – DeLaurentis (30)
  26. FLATLINE – Two Feet (21)
  27. BETTER – Michigander (22)
  28. BAD DREAM – Cannons (N)
  29. WHAT YOU SAY – Cold War Kids (N)
  30. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (N)

Top 30 Songs for August 1-7, 2021

  1. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (3)
  2. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (1)
  3. DEVIL – Two Feet (8)
  4. WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (2)
  5. MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (5)
  6. MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X (7)
  7. SINNER – Young Decades (6)
  8. BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (4)
  9. STARGAZING – The Neighbourhood (13)
  10. LIKE I USED TO – Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen (14)
  11. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (9)
  12. ZITTI E BUONI – Måneskin (10)
  13. CRAWLING KINGSNAKE – The Black Keys (12)
  14. SOLAR POWER – Lorde (20)
  15. NOTHING2 – Strange Souvenirs (18)
  16. MISSING PIECE – Vance Joy (23)
  17. STOP MAKING IT HURT – Bleachers (21)
  18. STICKY – The Maine (22)
  19. EVERY WINDOW IS A MIRROR – Joywave (24)
  20. ENNUI – Dawning (25)
  21. FLATLINE – Two Feet (11)
  22. BETTER – Michigander (16)
  23. SATURDAY – twenty øne piløts (30)
  24. TRANSPARENTSOUL – WILLOW featuring Travis Barker (N)
  25. HIGHER POWER – Coldplay (26)
  26. YOUR POWER – Billie Eilish (15)
  27. ALL YOU EVER WANTED – Rag’n’Bone Man (17)
  28. LAST TRAIN HOME – John Mayer (N)
  29. METRONOME – Polarizer (19) 20th week on list
  30. BE A WOMAN – DeLaurentis (N)

Top 30 Songs for July 25-31, 2021

  1. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (1)
  2. WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (2)
  3. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (5)
  4. BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (3)
  5. MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (7)
  6. SINNER – Young Decades (8)
  7. MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X (30)
  8. DEVIL – Two Feet (N)
  9. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (6)
  10. ZITTI E BUONI – Måneskin (9)
  11. FLATLINE – Two Feet (4)
  12. CRAWLING KINGSNAKE – The Black Keys (13)
  13. STARGAZING – The Neighbourhood (14)
  14. LIKE I USED TO – Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen (15)
  15. YOUR POWER – Billie Eilish (11)
  16. BETTER – Michigander (12)
  17. ALL YOU EVER WANTED – Rag’n’Bone Man (17)
  18. NOTHING2 – Strange Souvenirs (20)
  19. METRONOME – Polarizer (10)
  20. SOLAR POWER – Lorde (24)
  21. STOP MAKING IT HURT – Bleachers (22)
  22. STICKY – The Maine (23)
  23. MISSING PIECE – Vance Joy (25)
  24. EVERY WINDOW IS A MIRROR – Joywave (26)
  25. ENNUI – Dawning (27)
  26. HIGHER POWER – Coldplay (21)
  27. TYPHOONS – Royal Blood (16)
  28. SHY AWAY – twenty øne piløts (19)
  29. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (18) 20th week on list
  30. SATURDAY – twenty øne piløts (N)

Top 30 Songs for July 18-24, 2021

  1. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (2)
  2. WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (1)
  3. BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (4)
  4. FLATLINE – Two Feet (3)
  5. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (7)
  6. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (5)
  7. MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (8)
  8. SINNER – Young Decades (9)
  9. ZITTI E BUONI – Måneskin (10)
  10. METRONOME – Polarizer (6)
  11. YOUR POWER – Billie Eilish (14)
  12. BETTER – Michigander (15)
  13. CRAWLING KINGSNAKE – The Black Keys (16)
  14. STARGAZING – The Neighbourhood (20)
  15. LIKE I USED TO – Sharon Van Etten & Angel Olsen (21)
  16. TYPHOONS – Royal Blood (11)
  17. ALL YOU EVER WANTED – Rag’n’Bone Man (19)
  18. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (12)
  19. SHY AWAY – twenty øne piløts (13)
  20. NOTHING2 – Strange Souvenirs (23)
  21. HIGHER POWER – Coldplay (22)
  22. STOP MAKING THIS HURT – Bleachers (24)
  23. STICKY – The Maine (25)
  24. SOLAR POWER – Lorde (26)
  25. MISSING PIECE – Vance Joy (27)
  26. EVERY WINDOW IS A MIRROR – Joywave (28)
  27. ENNUI – Dawning (29)
  28. COME FIND ME BACK – Philip Morgan Lewis (17)
  29. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (18)
  30. MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X (N)