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New Music Spotlight (November 2023)

This late Autumn New Music Spotlight post highlights some of the tunes that have been dancing about in my ears recently. Read on and have a listen to several captivating new singles from Maddie Regent, Johan Baeckström, Petra Marklund (September), Eighty Ninety, sixten, and Hadley. If you like what you hear in this New Music Spotlight, please share with your friends and add these great new songs to your Autumn music playlists.

Be sure to check out the SoundThread Music Blog Spotify playlist where you can stream the songs below and a lot more great new indie tunes!

Maddie Regent | Can't Pretend (new single)

NYC-based singer-songwriter Maddie Regent releases her infectious, upbeat new single, "Can't Pretend," taken from her forthcoming EP, Girl Of Your Dreams, set for a December 1 release. The track was co-written and produced by BFFL and singer-songwriter Cade Hoppe, mixed by Harper James (Eighty Ninety), and mastered by Joe LaPorta.

Maddie's smooth, melodic vocals magnificently deliver the song's lyrical theme that speaks to honesty, uncertainty and occasional anxiety related to keeping a relationship strong.

"This is probably my favorite pop song I’ve ever made," Maddie comments on social meida. "It references a key and kite, stone in a throat, lightning, magicians and trenches…oh and it’s about dating in NYC ... I think I literally compare dating to call of duty."

Johan Baeckström | Here EP

Swedish electronic songwriter/musician Johan Baeckström releases Here, his brilliant new solo EP. Most widely known as one half of the pop duo Daily Planet, Johan presents three electro-pop gems within Here, each resonating with vibrant, warm and retro-sounding synth accompaniments. Opening track "Always Here" is upbeat, syncopated and ultra-catchy. You'll find yourself singing and dancing along to this after just one listen. "Happy Man" evokes elements of classic Yazoo and The Assembly, with its minimal and spacious electronic soundscape, slowed tempo and melancholic melody. "Forever in Here" re-ignites the synth-driven flame that opened Here, followed by a 'Moist Remix' of "Always Here." If Here plucks a heartstring, be sure to check out the music Johan created with Daily Planet. Their Play Rewind Repeat album (2017) remains one of my all-time synth-pop favorites.

Petra Marklund (September) | Cry For You (Acoustic) (new single)

It's been 20 years since Swedish singer-songwriter Peter Marklund embarked on her music career as the voice, image and essence of electronic dance music outfit September. "Cry For You" was the song that established September as an international dance music presence in 2007. After releasing several critically-acclaimed albums as September, Petra stepped away to embark on her solo career, releasing three astounding albums, Inferno (2012), Ensam Inte Stark (2015), and Frimärken (2021), creating her own sound, working with a variety of co-writers and producers, including Joakim Berg (Kent). Her debut solo single, "Händerna mot Himlen" (Hands to the Sky) is one of my all-time favorite pick-me-up songs.

To celebrate 20 years, Petra is re-visiting her catalog of songs of the past two decades and creating several acoustic and orchestral re-interpretations of them. Petra's new acoustic version of "Cry For You (acoustic)" is heartfelt and gorgeous, stripping the song down to its melancholic musical roots.

Eighty Ninety | Ruins (new single)

Indie-pop duo Eighty Ninety (Abner James, Harper James) releases "Ruins," the final preview single leading up to the December 15 release of their highly-anticipated self-titled debut album.

"'Ruins' is a reflection of the past, the choices we didn’t make and the 'what ifs' that still linger," the duo explain. "We wanted to capture the ache of those missed opportunities and unspoken words, and to reflect on our youth and the ruins we all carry with us. The rest of the album also explores how we shape our lives on the foundations of those ruins and their enduring impact on who we become."

Showcasing their ability to craft the perfect indie pop song with textured, less-is-more production, dreamy vocals and honest, heartfelt lyrics, "Ruins" is classic, top-notch Eighty Ninety. The track will lead off the duo's new album and feature alongside recent singles, "The Hard Way," "Face Like a Sunset," "Stay Alive," and "2 Carat."

sixten | Ocean In Me (new single)

Siblings Tova and Sixten Strandell, previously known as The Strandells, recently re-branded themselves as sixten. With musical influences from artists such as John Mayer, Fleetwood Mac, and the Cardigans, the duo quickly became considered one of Sweden's most promising indie pop newcomers.

The duo's shimmering new single, "Ocean In Me," is part country, part acoustic indie folk, featuring Tova's bittersweet and mesmerizing vocals, with a warm acoustic-based soundscape that elicits sensations of breezy, warm summer evenings.

Hadley | Oceans (new single)

With the second "ocean" themed song in our November new music roundup, Hadley's "Oceans" is a touching, personal song that lyrically speaks to the anxiety associated with the unspoken pressure to achieve perceived societal ideals ("a big back yard and a picket fence"). When it feels like the ocean is coming, the impulse may be to run faster and just drive away.

"I'm waking up in the morning

Like the ocean is coming

Running faster than I ever have

I'm singing songs that I needed

Don't be scared, they're just feelings

I made up my mind

My heart is bad

Then I drive away"

Co-written with producer Walter Kazmier, "Oceans" features a warm, infectious guitar riff that introduces the track and carries it throughout. The racing, shuffling percussion seems to allude to the "running faster" lyrics, with Michael's heartfelt vocals breathing life and harmony into the underlying and moving melody and vibe of "Oceans."

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