Faye – “As I Am”: This marks the first single by the Central Ohio band’s current configuration of vocalist/guitarist and the group’s namesake Faye Williams, bassist Jenna Jaworski, guitarist Jonathan Leonard, and drummer Jared Knutson. Along with a lineup change comes a departure in sound from Faye’s prior release “Pink Dress.” The new release is a solid, sharp, and cunning alternative rock tune that accentuates Williams’ powerful, on-point vocals. The song also possesses brilliantly crafted guitar work from Leonard, beautifully blended in bass from Jaworski, and quite prolific drumming by Knutson. Directed by Trey Pride, the video for “As I Am combines scenes in color and black-and-white as the band is depicted rocking out in various areas, including a downtown rooftop and an elevator. The song about what you see is what you get is flawless in its production, musicianship, and ambition. These four mechanics have built themselves quite the vehicle with “As I Am” and highway of success looks to be long and promising.

*Photo by Blazing Chakrams Photography

Cotter – “Keep Driving”: The newest tune by the Columbus emo pop punk quintet quickly proves itself as a summer banger with vicious vocals, dynamite drum play, and supreme guitar work throughout. The song has rock radio hit written all over it and it should be a matter of when the band takes the airwaves by storm versus if. The chorus hooks the listener making for some massive headbanging and fist pumping and ought to be a fave at live events. Cotter also has a video for the rager, directed by Frank Mareno, which combines footage of the blokes cruising around town with them doing what they do best on-stage. If “Keep Driving” catches on, the fellas will not be an unsigned group for much longer. They have the arsenal, talent, and drive to go far in the local scene and beyond.

*Photo by Nathan Shipp

Shape Of The Sun – “Words You Can’t Erase”: Columbus alternative rock soloist Nate Linek returns with a song that is a change of tempo from his prior heavy hitters. SOTS’ newest release is a compassionate and earnest semi-ballad in which Linek expresses a great deal of emotion in his vocals. The drum work throughout is spot on and the guitar work a minute in gives listeners a tremendous taste of Linek’s craftmanship. The lyric video, which utilizes clips from, drives home his soul-baring and vulnerability that he has not displayed on recent releases. Credit goes to Shape Of The Sun for making each single distinct from one another, which reinforces Linek’s array of talent and diversity in songwriting and musicianship.

Jake Summers – “Church”: The multi-instrumentalist from Columbus is a box of chocolates as he is known in the scene for a displaying a variety of creativity. Being part of prominent bands over the years, as of late Summers has elected to devote some of his brilliance and genius to a solo career. His latest single to drop possesses pristine indie rock harmonies that shine through due to first-rate production. When it comes to playing instruments, Summers has shown he is prolific but on “Church” he demonstrates his gifts of indie folk songwriting and his honest and fabulous vocals. Ready to front his own band for live events, Summers has the aptitude, attitude, and this spectacular song to take the ball and run as far as possible with it.

Spice Jar – One Last Time”: Columbus tandem Zack Elswick and Alonso Zavala are back with another tune that diversifies their impressive musical portfolio. Over the past couple of years, the duo has taken advantage of their chops and created one banger after another. It is safe to say on “One Last Time,” the streak continues as this angsty, in-your-face single brings a lot to the table. The tune is a hybrid of pop punk, emo, and alternative rock and that mix provides listeners with a song that has vicious vocals, gritty guitar play, and on-fire drumming with powerful production value behind it. It will be included on their upcoming EP, which is being handled by the reputable Jakob Mooney of Mooney Recordings. Mooney’s name attached to anything is proof it is on the level. “One Last Time” has an accompanying video shot entirely on VHS with the lads getting into mischief around town. This is a shred of evidence Zavala and Elswick take the music making seriously, but not necessarily themselves. The formula has made for sensational songs and this latest to drop is a terrific tease for the new record.

Maddy Hicks – “My Eyes Have Dried”: The Nashville-based contemporary pop singer-songwriter by way of the state of New York delivers a powerful and slickly produced message about heartache and getting to closure. Hicks takes approximately four minutes to call out an ex who was a disappointment and makes it clear in the end she is over it. Sometimes pain makes for the best story and Hicks channels her situation into what turns into a song of progress and empowerment. “My Eyes Have Dried” contains precise vocal output spread among beautiful beats and well-placed guitars that makes for a song worthy of Hot AC and pop airplay. Hicks comes off as a tad brooding when delivering the lyrics and her singing combined with the music makes for a terrific tune with legs to reach the mainstream. Based on prior releases “Wake Up and Call the Uber” and “Backseat,” Hicks is on her way to making a name for herself beyond Music City, U.S.A..

daysormay – “Ego”: Although the latest from the Canadian trio dropped several weeks ago, it is one of the more unique songs to come out of 2021. The Vancouver group comprised of Aidan Andrews, Nolan Bassett, and Carson Bassett have created a track that fuses together elements of electropop, and hip-hop that is out of left field. The song “Ego” derives from the concept of the same name as studied by Sigmund Freud along with the concepts of superego and id. The vocals are executed beautifully within the booming beats and super snyths, helping to make the song worthy of being a pop chart hit in their native land and beyond. On Spotify alone, it has amassed nearly 87,000 streams but on YouTube the video for “Ego” has slightly under double those that number in views. While daysormay list the likes of Glass Animals and Phoenix as influences, the vid shows the gents channeling Daft Punk and The Beastie Boys as the Bassett brothers don masks and the trio wear the same white industrial uniforms while wreaking havoc around Vancouver’s industrial community. It is a sight to see and the band is one to watch for the rest of 2021 and then some.

Siena Bjorn – “Indigo”: Seattle born and Denver bred, this actor and singer dropped this jazzy pop gem over a month ago and it has a chance to go places. The new tune has that 90s R&B, jazz, and pop swirl about it reminiscent of Digable Planets’ smash hit “Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)”. “Indigo” is a story about acquiescing where the protagonist is conflicted on making herself vulnerable to being hurt once again. The song is catchy as the day is long, the subject matter is relatable to people who have had relationship dilemmas, and it is radio-ready for Hot AC and pop stations. There are a couple of vids for the song premiering on July 7 and they are only going to add to Bjorn’s bombastic prolific portfolio. The industry is a shark seeking fresh blood and execs should look no further to what Bjorn presents on “Indigo” and the rest of her smooth catalog. 

Nightshifts – “Rest”: Having already gained praise from outlets 1883 Magazine, Earmilk, Under the Radar, and others, Toronto-based Andrew Oliver has a bright future that will only get brighter from here. His latest indie pop wonder has amazing, genuine vocals mixed with bombastic beats and sharp guitars which makes for an easy-going three minutes of spectacular indie rock. Pun intended, “Rest” is a song for those who need a moment to escape and relax from their daily ills. Through his other releases, Oliver has garnered about a million streams and he ought to be onto millions more. He is creating out-of-this-world stories that are resonating with listeners and with his knack for creating spacey songs, the world will be hearing a lot from Nightshifts and they better get ready for the ride of their lives.  

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