Finish Ticket – “Dream Song”: Have you ever discovered a cool new band, only to have them fall off the face of the earth right afterwards? I can’t tell you how many times that’s happened to me—it’s one of the worst feelings in the world. So when I saw that one such band was teasing a return after almost four years away, I couldn’t help but feel excited. Now that we officially have new music from the Bay Area natives, I can confidently say that excitement was entirely valid. The alt-rockers’ massive-sounding comeback single “Dream Song” is a driving rocker with guitars that roar and choruses that soar. It’s easily the strongest track the band has ever written, and if it’s any indication of what else is to come, I cannot wait to hear more from them.
Michigander – “Poplar”: Speaking of massive indie rock tunes with roaring guitars and soaring choruses, can we just take a second to marvel at the genius of Jason Singer’s songwriting? Much like his other 2019 single “Circles,” the lead cut from Where Do We Go From Here has this stadium-ready sort of atmosphere to it. Also, how many songs can you say feature three noticeably different versions of the same chorus? Michigander is a force to be reckoned with, and this is precisely why.
Lately. – “Shaky”: You may recall Sam Westhoff from a re-discovery piece and album review that I did last year. Even if you don’t, Lately., the brand new indie soul group he now fronts, is a name you most definitely need to know. The Tulsa-based quintet describes their music as a “classic hit and banger sandwich,” devoid of deep cuts, and sure enough, their debut single “Shaky” is just that. The soulful banger immediately locks into a tight groove, the vocal harmonies between Sam and sister-in-law Kristen are characteristic of many a hit, and while the band’s bio claims that they’re “not a get rich quick scheme,” “Shaky” has enough of a mass appeal to where it could help them do that.
Noah Gundersen – “Lover”: Noah Gundersen’s follow-up to his 2017 masterpiece WHITE NOISE coincidentally shares both its title and release date with pop megastar Taylor Swift’s own forthcoming LP, and much to the dismay of Swifties accusing him of plagiarism, it could not be any more different from T.Swizzle. That said, the first two singles he’s released from Lover feel like night and day from one another too; sure, both will no doubt send chills down your spine, but the maximalist feel of the album’s title track is a stark contrast to the simple yet powerful lead single “Robin Williams” that initially got me excited for Lover. This second single soars in a way that makes me think that Gundersen may have just topped WHITE NOISE, a feat that I wasn’t entirely sure would be possible. August 23rd can’t come soon enough.
RIBS – “1992”: Across social media I will often see sponsored ads from artists I’ve never heard of; lately it’s happened more and more via Instagram. Most of the time I’ll just scroll right past these, but every now and then a visual or an audio clip will grab my attention, enough to where I feel compelled to check out the artist in question. RIBS is one of these bands: the Brooklyn-based duo’s recently-released single “1992” popped up while I was scrolling through Instagram stories, and I was immediately intrigued by the dark, industrial-leaning soundscapes. “1992” is the band’s first single after a five-year hiatus, and with an opening line that echoes “God knows we won’t be saved,” it’s an intense rocker that’s incredibly dystopic in nature.