In this post, we take a look back at the month of July and some of the outstanding new indie singles and EP's that have landed on our musical radar - from DNDR, Middle Youth, Kirsty Hawkshaw, Midnight Divide, Lately., and Kevin Daniel. Read on and round out your music playlists with these impressive tracks and artists!
DNDR | All We Know (EP)
DNDR is the musical moniker of musicians Ludwig Jonsson and Ola Pålsson. While both are native Swedes, they managed to cross paths only after they found themselves in LA pursuing music from opposite ends of the spectrum, with Ola rooted in punk and indie, and Ludwig in electronica.
The five tracks on their debut EP, All We Know, are nothing short of spectacular, with soaring, melodic vocals that glide atop vibrant, less-is-more electronic soundscapes that oscillate between synth-laden, retro-sounding dance to spacious, echoing soundscapes. The entire EP is outstanding - my favorites are "Shine a Little Light on Your Own Mind" and "Fall Out." Be sure to turn this one up as you listen!
MIDDLE YOUTH | Heaven Is a Feeling (EP)
I can still recall the "wow!" moment when I first took a listen to Heaven Is a Feeling, the debut EP from Middle Youth. The project is a creative outlet for record producer, mixing engineer and musician Harper James, who many may recognize as one-half of Brooklyn indie band Eighty Ninety.
The out-of-left-field, no hype release of this gem of an EP caught me completely off guard. The six diverse, creative, lo-fi tracks on Heaven Is a Feeling range from minimalist, lo-fi acoustic indie ("Black Square", "Sublight") to full-on, crank it up, thundering synths ("Heaven Is a Feeling") to rock solid, modern indie ("Open Your Eyes", "Wanna Be True"). The unsettling, honest "My Phone" closes this impressive EP, leaving the listener with the all-too-true, timely reflection on many people's relationship with their smartphones ("I don't wanna be alone | Can't put down my f*cking phone").
My favorite track, hands down, is title track, "Heaven Is a Feeling." All it takes is one listen to this ridiculously infectious song to permanently embed its melody and lyrics in your head. You'll find yourself jamming to the chorus more than you might think: "So f*ck you, I know I'll get it right | Yeah f*ck you, sit down and let me type | Yeah f*ck you, I know I'll get it right | I love you, so come on and hold me tight."
Harper comments, "These are songs about growing up, trying to be true to the people you love, becoming disenchanted with some things you used to believe in, and seeing the magic in other things for the first time; feeling old, hating my phone, getting it wrong, getting it right, beginning to acquaint myself with the concept of mortality and experiencing love in many forms. The project is about experimenting and finding my sounds and myself - it’s called Middle Youth."
KIRSTY HAWKSHAW | "Fine Day (Zed Minus Remix)"
This one's a bit nostalgic, but comes glittering with a bit of a 2019 twist. Iconic vocalist and musician Kirsty Hawkshaw freshens up the 90's Opus III classic, "Fine Day," with brand new vocals and a stunning, haunting house mix by Zed Minus. Kirsty's signature, angelic vocals are as strong and captivating as ever. While you might hear other mixes and takes on the Opus III classic, we can assure you that this one is 100% authentic and approved by Kirsty.
As a side note, if you've been missing Kirsty's vocals, I highy recommend checking out her collaboration with SLEEPTHIEF, the electronic music project of musician Justin Elswick. You'll find some truly outstanding vocal contributions from Kirsty across several of his albums.
MIDNIGHT DIVIDE | "Who Do You Think That You Are?"
I got hooked on LA-based, indie alternative rock band Midnight Divide in 2017 with the release of their stunning Dichotomy EP and its singles - the rocking "Animal Eyes" and gorgeous "Fireline."
Comprised of Austen Moret (vocals/guitar/keys), Jace McPartland (bass) and Dan Beltran (lead guitar), and drawing upon influences from artists such as Imagine Dragons, Queens of the Stone Age and Muse, the band is back with its brand new single, "Who Do You Think You Are?" In conjunction with the single release, the band has just released the bold and colorful accompanying music video to the track. Listen and watch below!
LATELY. | "Shaky"
In late 2018, we chatted with and posted about Tulsa-based, indie/soul singer-songwriter Sam Westhoff and his impressive Colour album. Several of the album's singles ("The Way That You Move", "Everyday", "Easy") landed on a number of alternative music press playlists. In the time that's elapsed, Sam has been collaborating with fellow musicians Ethan Knapp, Jesse Perdue, Hugh Westhoff, and Kristen Westhoff to form the Lately. project. Yes... the period at the end of Lately. is intentional.
The collective releases its debut single, "Shaky" - a soulful, down tempo number brimming with edgy, lo-fi, electronic treatments, tight production and killer chorus. Have a listen and keep an eye on this emerging musical presence.
KEVIN DANIEL | "Time to Rise"
Leading up the release of his forthcoming album, Things I Don't See, Brooklyn-based Americana singer-songwriter and musician Kevin Daniel releases his latest single, "Time to Rise." Presenting a rootsy, bluegrass vibe with its acoustics and production, the single showcases tightly harmonized vocals, which also feature Shannon Söderlund of NYC alt-rock band Punch the Sun.
If you're hooked by this one, and want to hear and see more Kevin Daniel, check out his current US tour schedule that continues throughout the remainder of the year. Kevin is performing at a variety of venues, from Sofar Sounds events to proper musical venues throughout the US.