World Gone Cold – “Apology”: The growl of Ryland Raus cuts through the atmospheric intro in a way startling enough to wake the dead. The supergroup (featuring Raus of Inhale Exhale, Traa Daniels of P.O.D., Yogi Watts of Demon Hunter, Mark Stanton of Disciple, and Mark Anthony of The Letter Black) dropped this as their second single, of what seems to be a new band with lofty goals for the industry veterans. Raus’ vocals are sure to satisfy those who missed his brutal screams in his Inhale Exhale days (“A Call to the Faithful,” anyone?). But, I believe this band has hit that crossover sweet spot with a hard-hitting chorus and crisp production.
Charlotte Sands – “Alright”: It’s official. Charlotte Sands has released a power ballad that could compete with the best of ’em. Honestly, I think I prefer her pop punk side. “Special” and “Bad Day” are certified Getz Bangers (an accolade I just made up) but certainly “Alright” has an audience for those for those that want to take a breather from the angst. Sands’ distinct vocal style remains true, but some of the production adds more polish that I would prefer here – but that’s ok. Recently named a band to watch by Nashville Unsigned, there’s no doubt in my mind that Sands will continue her rise as she fleshes out a robust catalog of material with songs like this.
Lone Wild – “Free My Mind”: While we’re on the subject of power ballads, Lone Wild dropped a particularly poignant one earlier this winter that has been timely for yours truly. Without spilling personal details no one needs to know on the internet, I found this song stuck in my head one morning while I had a cacophony of catastrophic intrusive thoughts and anxiety whirling around my mind. While ultimately some key conversations brought out of my funk, I do believe this song helped me to stay grounded. Ashkan Karimi’s vocals really shine here, offering a mixture of solace and relatability in times of darkness.
7HO3NIX – “It Is What It Is”: This Derek Minor approved ambient R&B vibe is compliments of none other than our own Gabrielle Solange, who recently rebranded as 7HO3NIX (pronounced “Phoenix”). This poignant track is autobiographical and provides the listener with several moments of vulnerability. “They say hindsight is 2020 / I can’t believe I almost took my life in 2021” is one particularly striking wordplay in this debut single of Solange’s new project – which comes in two versions (stripped, and not). As a beat lover myself, I prefer the one with more of a groove, but the atmospheric production makes the initial release quite compelling to listen to as well. Releasing the stripped-down version prior to the “regular” release is a bit counter-intuitive, but a wise decision in this case.
Papa Roach – “Cut the Line (ft Beartooth)”: OK, it’s fun sometimes to rag on songs that are generic radio fodder. And, on paper this latest single from Papa Roach could be considered that. But as the local music aficionado I am, the Beartooth stamp of approval drew me in and I’ve enjoyed this active rock earworm for the past few weeks. It was on regular rotation during a recent vacation in south Florida. One thing I found notable is how seamlessly Jacoby Shaddix and Caleb Shomo’s vocals blended together – I had a hard time picking out where one stopped and another began!
Empty Isles – “What Are You Thinking”: This Tooth and Nail Records artist straight up needs to be promoted more – a lot more, by the powers that be. Fans of Copeland and more recently chillwave influenced pop acts will find a lot to appreciate here. “What Are You Thinking” is a song I would describe as being pleasantly melancholy. An appetizer of the feels if you will, without a full-on commitment to being sad for the next half hour.
Durry – “Bubble of my Gum”: This is a love song that is so cheesy it’s brilliant. Durry is a band who’s sole purpose is to be wholesome, it seems. How can you not like lines like “you’re a pair of warm socks, fresh out the dryer”? Could this be the band’s next breakout after “Who’s Laughing Now?” They certainly seem to be playing their cards right, with this short and sugary sweet folky ditty and an equally quirky music video.
The Ongoing Concept – “Prisoner Again”: Come on now, you didn’t think I was going to wallow in mellow tunes for this whole write up did you? The Ongoing Concept, everyone’s favorite americana influenced hardcore band from the West, is back with this barnburner of backslapper, rock and roller, open up this pit jam. I can’t wait until I get the chance to experience in a sweaty tent in a college town in Illinois. Let’s rage.
Stream all of the above songs and more on our playlist: