Ryan Reacts to a smorgasbord of tunes [single reviews]
Emily Kinney – “Fifteen Minutes”: Folks, I think I found a unofficial mantra for Tuned Up. In the earnest “Fifteen Minutes,” The Walking Dead star muses “Seeking stories is a noble cause / But seeking fame will leave you lost.” This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot as I continue to try to conceive ways to push this band. How do I continue to elevate this brand? Make it about the stories, and not myself. Kinney undoubtedly has seen what lies at the end of the journey to fame, and this song is a wistful love song of longing for many things – all of it exuding a sense of humility and genuineness.
The Particle Board – “Superbloom”: Creative ambient music has always struck a chord (cord?) with me. Anything that makes me feel like something warm is swelling up inside me is something I’ll return to again and again. The Particle Board, the new endeavor of Paper Route’s Chad Howat, released a single that takes me back to when I went through a phase of discovering new age music. Remember the Pure Moods compilations? This is something that would be on a modern Pure Moods comp, if there ever was one. Maybe Tuned Up should make a playlist.
The Lonely Ones – “Change the Station”: The single artwork to this song hearkens to Rage Against the Machine and also makes me think of the Headroom Incident – that time someone hacked into the airwaves of a local news broadcast (the culprit was never found). “Change the Station” is angry and powerful. And, it feels tailor made for the festival stage – especially if it is curated by Danny Witmer’s team.
SHAED w/ Two Feet – “Part Time Psycho”: I’m going to be real with you guys. The more I listen to the evolution of SHAED, the more delicate Chelsea’s vocals become. In a sense, we’re witnessing her evolution, but her style of singing in harmony with Two Feet feels somewhat similar to much of what we’re hearing on pop radio. I like the song overall, but am unsure if I dig the similarity. That being said… this is a very strong song. If the band is set to have a follow up superhit to “Trampoline” in the near future, I think this is it. It’s real and vulnerable and primed for the masses. Plus, we receive a slice of rock and roll that’s perhaps a bit larger than what we’re used to hearing from SHAED.
The Ones You Forgot – “Desensitized”: When I turn on this song, it makes me feel nostalgic for my youth group days. Some may take that as a dig at the music, but it really isn’t. Some of my favorite high school memories are from that setting, and this song feels like sitting in the rec room, waiting for the evening festivities to begin on a Sunday night. We’re excited to be there, yet feel a bit vulnerable about whatever topic matter we’re going to be discussing. But, we leave feeling a sense of catharsis and relief from your cares of the day, kind of like the song seems to be aiming to give the listener.
nika jane – “empire”: I’m kinda blown away by how complete this debut from nika jane, a 16 year old pop artist in Nashville, sounds! I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised – her dad, Geoff Duncan, has a rather impressive resume of production and songwriting himself. But this artist put this song out in true DIY fashion, and resulted in a classy twist on a Lorde meets Banks sound. The song ends almost too soon.
Find the songs above and more on our New and Nifty Playlist: