Monday (#10): Andrew McMahon “High Dive”
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness is the self-titled debut album by American singer/songwriter/pianist Andrew McMahon, formerly of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin. The album has been described as “bursting at the seams with energetic melodies, enormous hooks, and optimistic lyrics…with a sense of rejuvenation.” The 2nd single “High Dive” was co-written and produced by L.A. based musician Mike Viola (Candy Butchers). Just a gorgeous song all around. I’m personally partial to the beautiful acoustic version below.
Tuesday (#9): Coleman Hell “Two Heads”
Coleman Hell is a 26-yr old Canadian musician from Thunder Bay. His debut single, “2 Heads” was released in February 2015. He started off as a rapper in the group “Burnz n’ Hell” and now considers himself more of an electronic artist, writing and producing all his own music on keyboards and computer programs. Coleman Hell also cast, directed and edited the excellent video for “Two Heads”, which is intended to be an homage to one of his favorite movies, “The Graduate”. Two Heads peaked at #6 on the US Alt Charts and #13 on the US Rock Charts. A self-titled EP was released in October, and his debut full-length album is expected in 2016.
Wednesday (#8): Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats “S.O.B.”
“S O.B.” from Nathanial Rateliff and the Night Sweats (based in Denver by way of Missouri) is not the kind of song you expect to hear on the radio. Not because of the ‘language’ – rather because the majority of this exuberantly gospel-rooted song contains no instrumentation. But when the seven piece band – complete with a 3-piece horn section – kicks in at the chorus, the urge to jump to one’s feet in a fit of dancing is very hard to resist. The song brilliantly contrasts an upbeat, foot-stomping melody with melancholy lyrics about addiction. A longtime indie-folk musician, Nathaniel Rateliff put together the Night Sweats in 2013. Their vintage R&B flavored self-titled album was released (quite fittingly!) by Stax Records in August 2015.
Thursday (#7): “Coin “Run”
Coin is a Nashville-based quartet whose debut album was released in June 2015. Their website describes the album as “guitar-driven and sonically mature, but still true to [the band’s] synth-pop sensibilities.” The single “Run” – which was a very persistent earworm for several weeks – is “the anthem of every zealous twentysomething. To those who grew up on unwavering optimism… this song is about dealing with the possibility that your dream may just be naïveté. But even then, it’s still worth chasing.”
Friday (#6): Glass Animals “Black Mambo” / “Pools”
Glass Animals is an English indie-rock group from Oxford that I first featured here in 2014. I love this band’s dreamy, hypnotic sound. Their debut album “Zaba” was released in June 2014…but the majority of U.S. airplay on “Black Mambo” and “Pools” occurred in 2015. The music is psychedelic pop laced with electronic influences, tropical percussion and jungle timbres. The“cocktail of electronic and organic sounds” was achieved by recording a variety of ambient and percussive noises, including animals in a nearby field and sounds made by cooking utensils.