get a break from mundane annoyance with these smooth jams [single reviews]
Blend – “Me, Myself & I”: This song by Ohio Band to Watch of 2020 Blend emerges with an unassuming start, but revs up into a roaring fusion of sound. There’s a lot of influences culminating here, which can be a lot to take in on first listen. That’s okay, though. The vocal versatility of J.D. Freeman has a nostalgic finish that lingers with me after I listen. Any impression of busyness is forgotten in the song’s payoff. The metal breakdown midway through the song is a nice touch and an unexpected element. Blend would be equally at home on a live bill with Papadosio as they would with Circa Survive.
Chelsea Ravenn – “Steady Butterflies”: This artist I’ve known for her piano pop mixed with a little hip-hop flair, popping up (no pun intended) around the Columbus DIY scene. “Steady Butterflies” sounds like it’s pink-hued cover art implies; airy, whimsical, and leaning into that bubble-gum sound with a modern flourish. Her vocals are strong, and the hip-hop verses she’s known for at live shows take a backseat this time, without completely disappearing. Ravenn has always had a genuine, cool persona that isn’t pretentious. This comes forth in this single.
Blue Stragglers – “Late At a Festival”: Two minutes and fourteen seconds are all this Brighton, UK act needs to communicate what they need to in this bright yet pensive rocker. Lots of little ditties add surprises to a track that sounds straightforward but isn’t. Or is it deceptively simple? Either way, I know I enjoy it. My heart might be in Ohio but ear-pleasers go well beyond the Heart of It All. Also, my heart might be in Ohio but surely I ought to be in tune with the pulse of this band’s scene.
Mint – “M180”: This song would be right at home on Columbus’ alternative station CD1025. It’s got that old school alternative feel mixed with a bit of grunge. More importantly, it’s a great result of an experiment to mix fun with mystery, as it were. This song is enough to make me jealous of all the clubs overseas well ahead of the US in their ability to host barnburner shows with bands like Mint. This song is spellbinding and a bit mischievous. Be sure to watch the music video below and embrace your ornery side.
Luke Dowler – “Going to Montana”: Taking us back to the early days of Tuned Up is a new single from Luke Dowler, the Americana influenced folk-rock artist, who in all reality is more rock than folk. His vocals remind me a bit of Bear Rinehart (of Needtobreathe). This song is a bit unassuming when you hear it for the first time. This song eventually soars, following a familiar pattern often heard in these sweeping sorts of cinematic yet organic tunes. It’s a getaway tune we need, no matter where you want to go. I’ve been thinking about heading to a cabin in a tree (really) for a couple days now.