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  • Tom H

SoundThread Discovery (September 2020)

In this mid-September post in our SoundThread Discovery series, we once again cast the spotlight on the incredible musicians and songs that we've heard and discovered through various submissions to the music blog. There is so much groundbreaking, great songwriting and performance out there that deserves to be heard by a larger audience. Read on, listen up and enjoy the music from the six artists featured in this post!

This 'Discovery' post shares some great new music from River Hooks, Joseph Bell, Hunter Huxter (feat. ALX), Jake Stopar, FAMES, and C. SHIROCK.

River Hooks | "Mountains" (new single)

With her gorgeous new single "Mountains," NYC singer-songwriter River Hooks paints a vast ethereal soundscape that provides the perfect aural therapy for taking a pause from the constant buzz and grind of life. While the atmospheric electronic backdrop establishes the chill vibe of this gorgeous track, it's River's blissful and emotive vocals that take center stage on this dreamy tune.

Written by River a year ago on a trip to Colorado, the lyrical message of "Mountains" remains relevant in this new and challenging age of video calls, remote everything, and undertones of anxiety and stress. River explains, "This track is about needing to take a break from many things in my life that were becoming suffocating, such as surviving in New York City. I moved to NYC by myself at 17 and have grown up so much since leaving all that I knew behind. It's an environment that has forced me to hustle and cope with whatever life throws at me."

Taken from 11:11, her forthcoming, self-produced debut EP, River explains that "Mountains" represents a turning point for herself as a musician. "I've grown so much as an artist because of 'Mountains'. This song has really changed my life," River relates. "I'm so grateful for that Colorado trip and what came out of it. It reminded me of my purpose, and it has had me working harder for what I want to accomplish as an artist. I'll forever think back to that summer, with my Colorado gang, when I play this song."

I need a break now

My body aches

Can't swallow all of this water that my head's in

I wish it was shallow

I need a break now

I need my space

Can't follow all of these thoughts

Keep running in my head now

River provides some insight into her creative process for "Mountains," and her music in general. "I tend to start writing a song and its melody on my acoustic guitar. I then will translate into digital music while combining my live recorded electric guitar and piano parts," River explains. "I never know what a song will turn out to be until I start to play around with it. I usually have a concept in my head and then try to write it into the production."

From a production perspective, River reveals how the resulting vibe of "Mountains" came to life. "I was listening to a lot of chill, lofi and indie pop music at the time, so I was playing off of those sounds. I enjoy using sounds that have ear candy and are airy, which can fill the track in a bit more, but in a subtle way." She adds, "When I’m producing I tend to see music rather than hear it, but how I’m feeling in the moment really shapes the production. The production really took shape when I started to think back on my trip and the plane ride to Colorado. When I listen to the song, the intro is my excitement of getting out of the city, the soaring instruments that enter is the turbulence from the plane taking off and then the break leading into the guitar outro is entering paradise."

Joseph Bell | "Look Away" (new single)

UK singer-songwriter Joseph Bell released his debut single, "Flat 15 (Step Up)," at the start of 2020 after gigging across London for several years. With the support of online blogs, BBC Introducing, Amazon Music, and Boogaloo, Joseph's musical career has been taking shape and flight as he blends acoustic and electronic elements to create his own brand of modern indie, infused with influences from R&B, folk, pop and more.

Joseph's new single, "Look Away," is a captivating, upbeat song that prominently features dreamy, shimmering guitars and dynamic vocals. The light, buoyant vibe of "Look Away" conjures up sensations of a carefree afternoon drive along a picturesque, shimmering coastline. Lyrically, the song finds its roots in a real-life, 'fake heiress' tale of deception. Joseph comments, "The lyrics were inspired by the story of Anna Delvey, a Russian woman who posed as a wealthy German heiress to con banks into supporting her life as an American socialite for several months."

"Look Away" follows on the heels of Joseph's previous single "Dancing Days," and is taken from his forthcoming Dancing Days debut EP, which is set to be released in October.

Hunter Huxter feat. ALX | "F*ck 2020" (new single)

If you're looking for a theme song for 2020, then look no further than the fearless and riveting new single, "F*ck 2020," from producer-songwriter Hunter Huxter, and featuring the vibrant, Halsey-like vocals of talented Atlanta-based singer-songwriter ALX.

Hailing from central England, Hunter recently made his debut single release with "Only One," an upbeat, infectious track that features the dynamic vocals of John Osborn and a steady, driving electronic vibe. The track obtained a global reach, receiving support from the BBC Introducing program on BBC Radio Stoke.

Clearly inspired by this year's pandemic, "F*ck 2020" provides one of the most honest and in-your-face takes I've heard regarding this unpredictable and unforgettable year. Hunter comments on the song's theme as he notes, "It's a shameless dig at a subject that absolutely everyone can relate to, wrapped up in an irresistably direct song title. The musical theme blends elements of modern pop, with a vocal style similar to Halsey."

Queue this one up on your music playlists and be sure to ring out year-end with this killer track. Here's also hoping for a better 2021 and a new Hunter Huxter track to usher in the new year!

Jake Stopar | "Lovely Life" (new single)

Chicago musician Jake Stopar spends most of his time performing and playing guitar and bass with The North and Wells Band, comprised of himself and several other night staff workers who met while working at Chicago's The Second City. Prior to the band's formation, Jake has been jamming all over Chicago's most known blues clubs since he was in high school. Before The North and Wells Band can head back out and hit the road, Jake has been focusing on creating his own music to release in the meantime.

One of those tracks is "Lovely Life," a fresh, infectious, energized and upbeat song that makes you want to jump on your feet and dance. With an electronic, groove-laden vibe, the track contains musical elements reminiscent of artists the likes of Royksopp, Daft Punk, and Groove Armada.

Regarding the energy and atmosphere prevalent in "Lovely Life," Jake remarks, "The song is pretty much a feel good song - you’re probably gonna end up wanting to dance or at least bobbing your head. It was just a cool song where the instrumental just came together smoothly."

According to Jake, there is more new music beyond "Lovely Life" in the songwriting pipeline. He comments, "I just have a real love for music you know, and you can expect a lot more soon cause I’m constantly working on new stuff."

FAMES | "Scared of the Dark" (new single)

Los Angeles-based pop band FAMES tackles the themes of post-breakup anxiety and insomnia in its infectious, hook-laden single, "Scared of the Dark." Comprised of Ian Johnson, Wesley Chandler and Blair Heumann, the trio has been creating fresh, modern indie pop that incorporates big synths, catchy guitars, unforgettable hooks and groove-driven drums. FAMES' previous single, "What Do I Call U? (Ex Sounds Wrong)," racked up over 100k organic streams on Spotify alone without any editorial playlisting. In addition, the band has played on BeApp live streams with Coca Cola, and played a sold out show at the iconic Troubadour in LA earlier this year.

Can’t believe that you got me so scared of the dark

I’m sleeping with the television on

In my bedroom with my thoughts

That’s when your ghost it haunts me

That’s when I feel every tear

And break in my heart

The band comments on the theme of the new single and the eventual light at the end of the heartbreak tunnel: "If you've been through a dark time after a relationship ends, you've probably experienced the insomnia that can occur. You're constantly up late replaying old memories with coffee, tea, cigarettes, and other substances that ease the broken-hearted. If you've ever been there or are currently going through it, just remember the sun will come up and the light can heal yesterday's wounds. It may just take awhile."

C. SHIROCK | "Come Summer"

C. SHIROCK is the artist name for the solo project of Chuck Shirock, founder, frontman, and primary writer for internationally acclaimed band, SHIROCK. His new single, "Come Summer," is an uplifting song with personal, heartfelt lyrics, accompanied by driving rhythms, soaring melodies, and musical builds and releases. With layered keyboards and programming that have drawn comparisons to artists such as Peter Gabriel and David Bowie, this hazy track with Mediterranean vibes makes the perfect musical accompaniment to the last days of summer.


Taken from his forthcoming album, Evidence of Things Unseen, the Los Angeles-based musician comments on the song's theme and inspiration: "'Come Summer' is a song about hoping for simpler days - days of ease, the feeling of summer, a time of stillness in the midst of life’s often tumultuous seasons. But also recognizing that there is a time for every season."

C. SHIROCK has lived in the Philippines, Scotland and Nashville. Coming from a family of creatives and musicians, he grew up the oldest of four, playing piano, writing and composing from a very early age. His mother was a professional ballet dancer, his father an avid guitarist and his grandfather an accomplished jazz pianist. Outside of his music, C. SHIROCK is also a professional model landing his face on campaigns across the globe. He has further involved himself in charity work, where he has partnered with various homeless and poverty-focused organizations. 

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