Straw & The Scarecrow – “The Boogeyman”: The latest single from Columbus, Ohio duo Jeff Straw and Paige Vandiver was actually written four years ago, but per Jeff Straw is a tune more relevant in these currently divisive times. Straw goes on to state, “The song’s theme is focused on the distrust, discord, and disinformation that has been sown in our society in the last decade.” The tune is definitely a different pace from the band’s prior single “Letting Go” in that it is quite the upbeat toe tapper. A great deal of admiration and respect goes out to Straw and Vandiver for making a song with a seemingly negative theme sound cheery and wholesome. Their vocals really make “The Boogeyman” the terrific indiepop tune it is and required listening. The song’s lyrics are a must read and are published at the band’s Bandcamp site as they will make a person reflect on their behavior and attitude among this whirlwind of a health crisis, political bickering, social injustice and civil unrest.
Left Out – “Stay Away From My House”: The Columbus quartet has certain come up with one of the most appropriate song titles during the pandemic. The band has created such a charming pop single that will get people’s heads bobbing. The soothing bop serves as an edict to an ex that now is not the time to reconvene, something that is relatable to people of all backgrounds. It is a dynamic single and is the perfect preview to their upcoming record titled Learn to Walk. Consisting of Ceci Clark, Quinn Crotty, Louis Novy, and Nick Weber, Left Out should take a bow for creating a catchy throwback single that takes music lovers back to the days Sneaker Pimps and The Cardigans ruled the alternative and pop airwaves. The group shot a flamboyant video for the eclectic gem, which was directed by Max Kaplan. Everyone plays their role to precision and “Stay Away From My House” should blow up over the months to come as it is unlike anything else out there at this time.
Hoger – “Same Mistakes”: The prolific singer-songwriter has delivered a personal and powerful pop ballad showcasing vigorous vocals and relatable subject matter. The new single deals with the fatal attraction to someone with toxicity and eventually escaping said toxicity…only to be doomed to constantly repeat the pattern. Hoger is a breath of fresh air in the pop world as a person of color and has the songwriting skills and voice to back it up. This is not bad for a songwriter who only began his career as a performer last year. Hoger has written material for the likes of Cher Lloyd, Yellow Claw, Naaz, to name a few. The track record of talent is there, so it is just a matter of getting the sizzling song heard by the masses. Hoger is on his way to something great with over half a million streams of his tunes on Spotify. Other tunes worth hearing include “Show Me How to Love” and “Rain” and they should tide pop enthusiasts over until he drops his debut EP, which is sure to impress.
Vic Allen – “Healing”: The British pop country star emerges with her follow-up to this past summer’s release “I Can”. Per Allen, the song is about overcoming a great deal of adversity and is meant to serve as something to console people during their time of need. The ballad is well- structured with fantastic execution with Allen’s vocals and musical backup by the track’s Co-Producers Kaity Rae and Sue McMillan plus guitarist Adrian Hall, who mixed and mastered this gem. The tune is piano-heavy, with Kaity Rae playing it to the hilt. She also provides backing vocals, bass, and guitar work and makes a great team with McMillan and Hall helping bolster this already well-sung masterpiece. “Healing” comes when some people are in darkness and wonder if they will see light at the end of the tunnel. If life has someone down for the count, they are encouraged and empowered to fight back with an uplifting and inspiring song thanks to one of country’s up-and-comers.
Tranquility – “BLUE DREAM”: This Michigan indie rock darling was founded by Brett Kaminski a half-decade ago and has emerged into a quartet also featuring Beau Kaminski, Evan Villarreal, and Drew Yates. Per their Spotify bio, the group’s goal is to provide people with escapism from everyday life’s ills. Based on that ambition alone, the new tune from these blokes could not have come at a better time. “BLUE DREAM” is a non-traditional single in that it clocks in at over nine minutes and starts off with a psychedelic vibe. The first half of the song sounds and feels like a trippy dream meant to soothe the listener. At 4:45, the tune suddenly morphs from grooviness to Tranquility’s signature indie rock sound. The Kaminskis, Villarreal, and Yates play their parts perfectly making the song’s second half a banging wake-up call from the mellowness of the first half. There is no telling what the lads have up their sleeves for future singles, but those who enjoy “BLUE DREAM” should listen to previous releases such as “Promise”, “Tamarack”, “Spinning” among others for a taste of what these guys offer.
Madeline Finn – “Whippoorwill”: The one-time leader of bands Envoi and The Whiskey Hollow returns with a sincere and heartfelt ballad, further solidifying her success as a solo artist. Unlike previously released works, Cleveland native Finn slows it down a tad with the main focus being her vocals, which are absolutely vibrant and brilliant on the new single. The instruments provide a wonderful backdrop to Finn’s voice and it will be evident to the listener that “Whippoorwill” is written and performed beautifully. She pours everything she has into this song that will make one think and feel simultaneously. Although her time on the hit TV series “American Idol” was way more brief that it should have been, the hard work and talent is paying off and current Nashville resident Finn will go on to have a long and fantastic future in the industry.
Goldpark – “Morning Light”: This nearly four-minute single is the rocking debut track from the Nashville-based trio. The spine-tingling tune will give listeners vibes not felt since The Killers arrived on the scene. “Morning Light” has a radiant retro feel that will take listeners back to the delightful decade of the 80s where Genesis and Mr. Mister scored multiple Top 40 hits. Congratulations are in order to these gents who have scored a grand slam with their first ever song, which ought to catch on at terrestrial and Internet alternative stations everywhere. Furthermore, the song has crossover pop appeal to be garner some mainstream love. If future tunes are half as good as “Morning Light”, Goldpark will be a force to be reckoned with in the music scene for many a year. The slickly produced and professionally performed masterpiece shows that these guys are ready to take the industry by storm.
Spice Jar – “Want Me 2”: The Columbus alternative duo of Zack Elswick and Alonso Zavala are back again with a high-quality single picking up where this past summer’s thing of beauty “Nothing” left off. The new tune is indie rock done right with a bit more grit and ruggedness than its predecessor. This is to be expected and justified given the stressful year of 2020. The band deserves credit for making relationship-themed songs on their terms with their unique viewpoint and excellent execution. The aggression has paid off as of their three songs published to Spotify, “Want Me 2” has the most streams thus far. The word is out and this band is going to have a fabulous 2021 and beyond with more releases and perhaps live shows once most of the public is vaccinated.
Thy Witness – “Fortress”: Seth Magnetic and Vincenzo Bernardo return with their fifth ever single and what a banger it is. The song has already generated some terrestrial airplay on RadioU as of late for the Columbus metalcore duo. “Fortress” consists of super strong vocals, guitar and drum work, especially in the chorus. The tune starts off like a lamb with a smooth melody and calming vocals and then turns up the lion-like rage. For those seeking the meaning behind the song, there is a lyric video available in which the viewer can draw their own conclusion. Seth and Vincenzo have another successful tune on their hands and once concerts are greenlit on a grand scale, they will be one heck of a band to watch on stage. For people who are drawn to “Fortress”, it is likely they will fancy Thy Witness’ previously dropped gems “First Blood”, “Pens and Needles”, and more.