I don't have one method or formula for discovering new music and bands. Most often, I discover a lot from social media posts, blogs and articles I read, the occasional plug or FYI from bands and musicians I already listen to, and some pretty awesome submissions to this music blog.
A few weeks ago, I decided to give my 'Discover Weekly' Spotify playlist a listen on the drive home from work. That's when I first heard "Sparrow" from a band called Jump, Little Children. I don't think I made it any further down the playlist, as I recall just re-starting the song each time it ended.
Starting out with an epic-sounding orchestration of strings, acoustic guitar, and distant, echoing vocals, it's clear that something grand and massive is about to follow. Then, in the some of the tightest and most breathtaking layered harmonies, you hear "Watch it fly away, like a sparrow"... and it's seriously all uphill from here. "Sparrow" graciously and gently builds to its ultra-melodic, anthemic chorus that will leave you humming or singing "Tonight, I'm sleeping on the fire escape | Tonight I'm keeping all the stars awake" long after it's ended. The accompanying strings are absolutely gorgeous, giving the song a deeply resonating bass sound that you really 'feel' when you listen to this track. I'm not sure if the intent was to produce 70's-sounding dreamy, layered vocals, but the end result is truly stunning.
Jump, Little Children is comprised of Evan Bivins, Matthew Bivins, Jay Clifford, Jonathan Gray and Ward Williams. Formed in 1991 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the band released a series of albums and singles (including "Cathedrals") for more than a decade and remained active through 2005. After a lengthy hiatus, the band reformed to record Sparrow, their first studio album in 14 years.
Beyond the title track, the entire Sparrow album is equally as stunning, with "Hand on my Heartache" and "X-Raying Flowers" both promoted as singles leading up to the album's release. Sparrow is full of top-notch, infectious melodies bathed in majestic soundscapes, with lush, layered vocals, excellent songwriting and production. Additional standout tracks include "Je Suis Oblivion" (with great-sounding, scaled chord changes, a bit reminiscent of Frank Black/Pixies), "White Buffalo" (reminding me of the soft vocals and atmosphere of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" at the verses), "Cyclorama" (gorgeously melodic), and the gradually-building "Reality Distortion Field" with its powerful, climactic chorus.
Jump, Little Children is currently touring the US to promote the Sparrow album. For more information, visit the band's official website, follow on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), and find their music on Spotify, Amazon and iTunes.