The top tracks of the week based on readership!
Pop upstart Halle Abadi has all the confidence in the world on new single, “Focus.” Crossing over elements of her Persian/Afghan culture into catchy commercial music, Abadi’s impressive vocal chops set her apart from the crop of young hopefuls. First gaining popularity on TiKTok, “Focus” is a dominant jam worthy of editorial playlist placement.
Listen to “Focus” below.
It’s hard to imagine that it’s been three (very long) years since Brandy Zdan’s last studio record. “Protector” is the first ounce of new music since then, outside of an excellently moody “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” cover. The bass line is as silky as ever, gliding like a summer breeze through the pasture. Naturally, Zdan knows the best ways to evoke an irresistible emotional quality in the lyric, spinning a melody to die for.
Listen to “Protector” below.
Catie Turner caved to the pressure. After posting snippets of a demo for “New Girl,” the American Idol alum decided to post the full version. “I used to be you, girl. He’ll promise the whole world, just to lay you down,” Turner knitts every sore emotion into a plea to her ex’s new lover. “There will be a next one after you,” she sings later through parted lips. The folk arrangement has a visceral quality, a background on which the singer-songwriter pours out her heart like buckets of paint.
Listen to “New Girl” below.
With a sound uniquely their own, Brother Earl and The Cousins release new single, “Down With My Ship.” The title track of their new EP produced by Grammy winner Tim Hutton (Jimmy Cliff, Three Dog Night), “Down With My Ship” combines sounds of Bluegrass, Southern Rock and Americana. Earl’s relaxed tone is infectious while he makes his stance known throughout the mid-tempo, feel-good song.
Drawing inspiration from his lyrical hero Tom Petty, Earl wrote “Down With My Ship” in one sitting. “I’ve always been such a huge fan of his. How he had a way of getting to the hook in the first 30 seconds of a song was amazing … As funny as this sounds, and as embarrassing as it is to admit this, I actually prayed out loud and asked Tom Petty to send his muse my way just for one moment,” Earl recalls.
Listen to “Down With My Ship” below.
Many artists face a fork in the road at some point in their career. Do you keep believing, or live with the loss of what could have been? Singer/Songwriter John Sierra weighs his options on new single, “A Dream Worth Keeping.” Driven by primarily an acoustic guitar, Sierra sells the dramatic track with an emotional vocal delivery. Sierra has loads of potential and we are rooting that he continues to release great music.
Listen to “A Dream Worth Keeping” below.
If you haven’t gotten the memo, Mickey Guyton is finallyreleasing her debut LP. Her latest taste test is the rock-tinged “All American,” a boot-scuffer etching out the notion that we’re all literally American. “We’re different in a million ways. But at the end of the day, ain’t we all all-American?” she questions on the bridge, production fading away.
Listen to “All American” below.
It doesn’t need to be a rainy day to soak in Arthur Gunn’s new song. Aptly titled “Rainy Days,” his voice, which took him to second place on American Idol in 2020, envelopes you from within, like a good cup of hot tea will do. “Hope the rain will fill your thirst wherever you may be,” he sings, swinging from Bob Dylan power lines. While he certainly nods to folk tradition, there’s just something so wonderfully unique and vivacious about his storytelling. It’s hooked into the past, yet never tethered to it totally. Just surrender to the beauty.
Listen to “Rainy Days” below.
Listening to Runaway June is like flipping on the radio in the ‘90s. It’s vintage but polished with modern flourishes. “Forgot About That,” an essential from the trio’s new EP, warms the soul with its rumbling electric guitars that glisten and shine. “Well, I never say never, but I swore I’d never waste any more time on you,” sings Naomie Cooke. In such frankness, soon unraveling other things in a long-dead relationship she’d totally forgotten about, she comes clean about “heartbreak amnesia,” even if it ultimately does more damage.
Listen to “Forgot About That” below.
Isn’t it such a cop out when your ex starts slandering your name after an unpleasant breakup? On “Psycho,” Belz owns up to the petulant rumors because at the end of the day, aren’t we all a little psycho? The pop newcomer’s silky tone builds gradually throughout the track and leaves us wanting more.
Listen to “Psycho” below.
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