Meet Me @ the Altar – “Garden”: It’s self-evident why Meet Me @ the Altar is possibly Fueled By Ramen’s most important release to date. If you’re living under a rock, this band, who we picked as a 2020 Florida Band to Watch, is an all female PoC trio, which is basically a unicorn when it comes to representation in punk, let alone pop punk. “Garden” is a feel good pop punk anthem at its best—I think this will be up there for my favorite punk track of the year, like Neck Deep’s “In Bloom” was a couple of years ago.
Jetty Bones – “Taking Up Space”: I ran into Kelc Galluzzo, the face behind Jetty Bones, at one of my favorite cafes recently. It would be easy to forget that the unassuming barista is behind a project set to pop off in a big way in the next year with her recent signing to Rise Records. “Taking Up Space” is the debut single, and it’s her emo-pop sound fans already know, albeit with a bit of an alt-country twist. With artists like Lydia Loveless and even Kacey Musgraves bringing this sound into the mainstream, Jetty Bones is putting her own twist on it at just the right time.
Suit Up, Soldier – “Villains”: Nothing quite says “fun” this time of year like an unexpected evil laugh as the intro to a song. The Utah group are back with a crunchy, anthemic song that you need to listen to with the intro and outro to get the full experience. When live shows are a thing again, I have no doubt this song will be a fan favorite—mixing the aggression of Royal Blood with the melodic hooks and sheen of the The Killers. After the dance pop leaning “Picture,” “Villains” was a surprise from the band to this writer—and I’m okay with surprises.
Hello Luna – “Wait So Long”: The last we heard from this group, they had reworked an angsty alt rock EP into a dark pop journey. Now, they’re firmly back in their rock roots with their new single, which is the first of many to come in this never ending quarantine period (the title is ironically appropriate, don’t you think?). The chorus will stick with you, especially with the rant-like “I’ll stay, I’ll stay, I’ll stay” in one of the lines. Hello Luna are smart to take advantage of this down period to pump out singles to stand out from the crowd when many are delaying until they can play live. The sound is classic driving Hello Luna, with delicate vocals atop aggressive bright rock.
Beyond Here – “Go There”: Beyond Here have chosen the route of “angsty and anthemic” to cement their presence in the music world with the release of their second single, “Go There.” We named them a 2020 band to watch for Nashville, and while for obvious reasons they didn’t have a chance to gain more momentum, this song reinforces the pick in my opinion. Jon Wisecarver walks the line well between shredding and complimentary guitar playing in this song about inner turmoil.