Guest post by Joshua Clifton
I am a big fan of music as an experience. In the mist of a pandemic, many artists are still trying to find their footing. In the past year, we’ve seen really amazing online experiences and even more less than desirable quality streams, but we kept moving forward. Even when it was a mess of an online stream, we adapted to connect. I’d never disrespectfully downplay the hurt and loss of 2020, but this has called us to be stronger and for some to reinvent ourselves. I believe we are in a musical revival. We artists have to become better. We music lovers have to become better. We realized the importance of the connection aspect of the art, especially when we couldn’t do it anymore. I’m reminded of when I was in high school and arguably not very good at my craft what a live show did to put gas in the fuel tank. That fuel, aka connecting with people pushed me to be better, to perform better, to create better songs, and to just grow as an artist. That connection helped me find my voice. So as we step into 2021, I will be looking at these artists and others that I have yet to discover to help move forward this musical renaissance; a movement that I believe we need now more than ever.
There will be more from these artists and others across the globe, as I relaunch The Youngblood Podcast. Be on the look out. But until then, let’s find new ways to connect with each other since we can’t darken VFW halls or grimy venues. Let’s do more than just listen. Let’s like and follow and brag to our friends that we found them first. Let’s support and buy from artists you like. This is an opportunity to make your local scene our local scene. Whether you’re in Dallas or Columbus or anywhere else in this world, let’s hang out. Tell me about your favorite local band. You can find me on Instagram @joshuacliftonart.
I’ve heard one House Parties song. Just one. It is probably a nightmare to find via Google, but well worth the internet voyage to find this pop/punk band with clearly talented song writers with something to say. As soon as it is a possibility, I will run to see House Parties live because I want to see if this bands live performance is as fun as their single, “HINDSIGHT” would have us believe. By the way, if you want to skip the Google journey, just type in HousePartiesTX! Now go follow them and let the house parties begin!
What happens when you start a band, work real hard, record a debut EP, put it out, and then a pandemic hits? I’m sure plenty of artists found themselves in a scenario familiar to the Dallas Texas alternative band Kid Embassy. I have yet to see this band live but the smooth passionate tunes they have released to date get me hyped to see their first show in 2021. Moody melodic delivery with the band tapping into the complexities of love & death, but allow their lyrics to pull you up to a better place. Go let their newest track “Take You” be you and your valentines theme song this February [er, next February – sorry this posted late! -friendly TU editor RG] With the help of Kid Embassy as our soundtrack, we can grab the hand of the one who is close to us & fall in love all over again.
Lost At Sea
The Dallas Post-Grad Rock band Lost At Sea’s track “On My Own” needs to be added to everyone’s “Get Back Up & Kick-Ass” playlist! These guys have a way with their melodies and tones, that gives hope despite their honesty of a desperate current situation. Hauntingly catchy choruses will have you listening to Lost At Sea in your head all day. These guys sounds like they have been through battles and we get the pleasure of hearing their victory stories around a campfire. I can’t wait for more tracks from this band. I’ll bring the bourbon.
I had the honor of sharing the stage with AnimalJam before the world took a break from all things in person. This band is one of the best live bands to see in Dallas that I’ve experienced since moving back to Texas in 2017. This band doesn’t fit into any single genre or box, but they have the ability to beautifully and seamlessly take you on a sonic journey. That is one of the many reasons why this band is so interesting to me. I cant wait for more good times and good tunes with AnimalJam in 2021. Go follow them and meet me at their next show. I’ll be the one at the show losing his mind.
JT The Human
Since moving back to Texas a few years back, JT the Human has remained a constant in my personal rotation. This artist’s hooks will have you singing along before you finish your first listen. “Crawling Out The Back Of My Heart” was a top track for me in 2020, spin it! I dare ya. You should start listening to JT the Human right now before you’re forced to because everyone else is posting about it on their socials. Now I’m gonna go listen to “Lied 2” cause I got to start this week off right. If you see me, just bob your head and smile; I’ll know cause you’ll have that same confident stride goin’ on.
Follow JT The Human on Instagram.
The Wild Frontiers
Rock n Roll is so cool. Especially with The Wild Frontiers at the helm. I got to play with TWF at Gas Monkey in Dallas before the pandemic made that a memory. They gave me hope in the future of Rock N Roll. From their live show to their album 17, they know what you want. If I tried to describe the band’s sound, I’d only do it a disservice because this bands sonic output can’t be contained into mere words. It’s more of a feeling or an attitude. Just go listen and show up! They deserve it! Enough said. Tell them to remember RAVENHILL when they play the Super Bowl LX!
Lockdown really made me search to find new music through other avenues than just going to shows. I found a smooth alternative artist by the name of STEVE GNASH in a deep search of random Dallas artists. It’s such a good soundtrack for when I’m trying not to fall off my skateboard or driving through Deep Ellum on the way to pick up pizza from Serious.
From track to track on Las Colinas, you’ll find yourself leaning back and enjoying your point of view, no matter the setting. Powerful horns to groovy rhythms, you’ll be happier with Steve Gnash in your life. This EP Is a perfect addition to those that need a few more tracks to add to a summer good vibes playlist. I promise listening to this artist is a good time, you’ll just have to add the Topo Chico with a slice of lime.
Follow Steve Gnash on Instagram.
I have a list of artists I’ve discovered during COVID and Garrett Owen is at the top of that list. On his newest record, Quiet Lives, we follow Owen’s masterful falsettos through the heartache and the conversations that life throws at us. Owen’s ability to melodically navigate hard times in such a beautiful way is reminiscent of other great artists that are legends now. This begs the question, is it time for the rest of the world to notice Garrett Owen? I believe so.
Little King is my newest discovery. I can’t believe I’ve spent this entire time without this bands music. Everything about this band screams they should be your favorite new band, unless you like being sad ALL the time. Just listen and find me. I’ll be reinventing myself to Little King’s newest release <3?, while trying on that outfit I haven’t had the confidence to wear until now. Thanks LK! Love, Joshua!
WORDS is a band I think you should believe in. I did and do! Full transparency, I signed this band to my label Honey Gold Records. Although I wanted to put every artist on Honey Gold’s roster on this list, I thought I would tell you about this one first. Having the ability to create amazing melodies mixed with complicated and heavy guitars WORDS will move you. There really should be no limits when creating art and WORDS seems to believe that. This band is art in every way you can use that word. It only takes one listen to the bands release, TREES to realize this. The band states that we are all the same, but these guys seem to be a little ahead of the rest of us. I’d follow them if I were you, just to see where they take us.
Listen to a sample of all of the above artists on THIS playlist!