Lonely Fossa – “At All Times”: This past Friday, Columbus, Ohio artist Miles Miller dropped his fourth single under this moniker. Every song that has been released has been its own separate entity stylistically. This shows the wide range of Lonely Fossa as an indie pop act and songwriter. The song is just what doctors ordered as with Spring in full swing, “At All Times” gets listeners in a good mood on a sunny Sunday. This single contains a constant jazz vibe and Miller’s vocals will put people in a euphoric trance. This lad likes to test his limits and show that he has a variety of creativity he to unleash onto the music community.

La Poré – “Love Song”: L.A. synthpop performer Nick Samson returns with his highly respected project dropping serious Top 40 quality vocals and magnificent musicianship. The song is a slight change of pace in that he slows it down and the result is an 80s style new wave ballad that is every bit as relevant today as it would have been 40 years ago. La Poré shows that he is in for the long haul and is determined to make music that makes people feel and think and has major potential to reach a mainstream audience. Although Samson is making top quality pop on his own, if the right ears get a listen to what he has to offer major collab offers could be on the table which will take him and his talent to new heights.

Wearebaby – “Amnesia”: Released on March 30, the Columbus alternative duo’s new gem is more poppy than their arsenal. “Amnesia” is synth heavy and with an emergence of pop in the local scene, the works well as a gritty early 80s type bop that would be blaring from a juke box in a dive. It is a thing of epic beauty with straightforward, devil may care vocals and some bombastic bass work happening throughout. Wearebaby are unique in every way and with an atypical performed at a high level, this is a band to watch out for in the backend of 2021 and beyond when live shows are appropriate. They will command the stage and witnesses will be mesmerized.

Flo Gallop – “Can’t Be Friends”: When physical attraction alone is one’s moral compass is the story of the latest bop by the British upstart. It tells the tale of desiring someone and ignoring the inevitable letdown. Gallop is honest and unapologetic and it is a formula that works for her. “Can’t Be Friends” possesses brilliant beats accompanying Gallop’s on-point vocals. The subject matter is relatable to people Flo’s age and some beyond that, thus this has legs as a Top 40 hit on both sides of the Atlantic and even further. On this tune and her prior single “21”, Gallop demonstrates she has a lot to provide the music world and people better watch out.

SC.undercover – “Deeper Love”: Possessing authenticity in his voice along with fabulous guitar play, the latest from UK-born crooner has hit written all over it. Reminiscent of the R&B crossover smash “Suga Suga”, “Deeper Love” is performed beautifully from beginning to end. The harmonies are spot on and the soulful approach combined with the acoustic guitar work is proof that SCU has the chops to be the next Babyface. Cheers to the lad for demonstrating less is more through keeping the stylings simple and focusing on performing the basics at a high level. If SCU keeps this artisanship up, he will be a big deal all over the world sooner versus later.

Johnny Ashby – “Lucky”: The British-born singer-songwriter who now calls L.A. home re-emerges with a song of hope post-heartache. Throughout the song, Ashby’s vocals come across as heartfelt and sincere. The tone and pace of “Lucky” is that of a powerful ballad that can get noticed on the Hot AC format. It should connect with listeners seeking inspiration in the trying times we are going through. The music fits perfectly with Ashby’s voice to make for a non-denominational modern song about faith.

Cristóvam – “Love, Be On My Side”: This Portuguese singer-songwriter’s new single screams Hot AC and AAA hit and could be a lot more. The song is brilliantly laid out musically and his vocals are excellent making this one deserving of its current praise. “Love, Be On My Side” has been added to several Spotify playlists recently and given its authenticity and top-notch production and execution, the adds will continue for months to come. Cristóvam sings and plays from the soul and that is going a long way in garnering listeners and fans, for which the numbers are only going to go up from here. The song is one of hope and the passion in which Cristóvam performs is over three minutes of feels.

Nuela Charles – “Space”: The new alt-soul single from the critically acclaimed Kenyan-born singer is an assertive love song that has the palatability to be a smash on stations across several formats. Now based out of Canada, Charles’ singing is superb from the first note to the last and the chorus is catchy as the day is long. Lest we forget successful producer Don Mills, who has worked with the likes of Juice WRLD, Allegra, and others, wrote the bop so that is proof itself listeners “Space” is a world class recording. What else would people expect from a three-time JUNO Award nominee singer and top shelf producer/songwriter? Charles and Mills make a dynamic duo on “Space” and it is only a matter of time before this song earns more nominations. A fun fact about the accompanying video: Given the current restrictions up in Canada, Charles took the DIY route and produced and directed a dynamic masterpiece all courtesy of an iPhone.  

Cheridomingo – “Swallow”: These Simi Valley blokes are indeed on the rise already getting recognition from industry big timers KROQ and Billboard. The banger has loads of opportunity to climb the alternative and pop charts and put the quartet on the map. “Swallow” is harmonic as hell and the chorus is quite powerful with each individual playing their part to precision. The vocals are vivid and strong throughout and the catchiness will infect listeners in an instant. The band has a video for “Swallow” directed by Madie Ramser that is as vivid and wild as the song itself and should help the song gain even more traction. Although Cheridomingo already have a record deal with Honey Pit, the more attention and praise “Swallow” gains the higher their stock rises and their fans will want to be on hand for the payoff.

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RAGS AND RICHES x Cody Morgan – “CROSSFIRE”: This collab sees the Lexington, Kentucky duo of the Whitt brothers (Tanner and Peyton) joining forces with Cody Morgan with a song that varies from prior releases. The new single is reminiscent of X Ambassadors and is polished and performed well enough to be a success. The song maintains enough pop flavor to enables it to cross over from alternative to mainstream pop stations. A week and a half ago, the fellas released a wild west themed video for “CROSSFIRE” that ends in a cliffhanger. It is such an elaborate and well-shot vid that shows bands do not need big budgets to produce high-quality content. Combine this cinematic short film with radio-ready audio and help from indie rock space cowboy Morgan and “CROSSFIRE” clicks on all cylinders stylistically and musically.’

Kristin Gramza – “Watch Me Go”: This alt-country ditty could become the next anthem about empowerment and independence. “Watch Me Go” is about knowing one’s worth and not being disrespected and much like any song Gramza has dropped, it is performed with passion, emotion, and honesty. The Columbus singer-songwriter has created a gem that will be relatable to people who have dealt with obnoxious suitors. The tune is well-crafted with fine musicianship from Gramza and company and Gramza’s vocals go vroom throughout. Joining her with a hand in bringing the song to life are Megan Rainey, Efrum Imler, Will Ash, Eric Clemens, Harold LaRue, and the recording studio Oranjudio. Everyone involved in the song ought to be proud of their input as the proof is in the pudding and this song sounds like a winner. Once live shows happen in droves, the song will certainly have people dancing and cheering in honky tonks and dives across Central Ohio.

Big Smile – “F*** Off (But Take Me with You)”: The Southwest Ohio area alternative rock outfit returns with yet another banger sure to resonate with genre lovers. The song features marvelous melodies leading to happening harmonies that is a winning formula. The chorus is simple to follow, proving less is more. The group is hitting its stride with these most recent releases as they along with their fans anticipate meeting each other again at neighborhood venues. The vocals are pop-punk goodness and match the musical output note for note. The lads are doing their label Anchor Eighty-Four Records proud with 100 percent effort each single dropped. Alt rock aficionados will find it in their best interest to revisit (or discover for the first time) tunes such as “Pop Song About Drama” and “Bible Belt”. As modest as they are about their success and adulation, Big Smile is an artist on the rise and that is no B.S..

Bubble Made Imagination – “Forgotten Faces (Outside)”: What started out as a solo project headed up by Columbus multi-instrumentalist Andy Dunfee has grown into a team to look out for this year and beyond. On the latest BMI release, Alec Cox handles vocals and Aaron Bishara of The Wet Darlings fame is behind the kit. Mastered by Brad Smalling of Evergroove Studio, the new single can only be compared to bands who are unique themselves musically. Dunfee set out for Bubble Made Imagination to be its own thing, but somewhere in the madness there are bits and pieces of Modest Mouse and Talking Heads. “Forgotten Faces (Outside)” is a trippy, nostalgic art rock masterpiece and there is nothing else like it on the airwaves. It is about time that Bubble Made Imagination take the terrestrial and Internet radio stations by storm with a little alt rock awesomeness. Those seeking a bigger dose of what the guys have cooked up should take a listen to tracks from last year’s LP Thomas Henry Huxley such as “Just Figure It Out”. “Fight or Flight”, among others.

Photo by J. Bartholomew Photography

Madeline Finn – “Ohio”: Released on March 26, this new single by the Cleveland-born singer-songwriter is sung with sincerity and vulnerability that will strike a chord with listeners. Those most impacted by the song are going to be those who currently live in the Buckeye state or grew up there. On the other hand, anyone with fondness for a place they used to spend their formative years should be able to relate to “Ohio”. It will make people long for a simpler time in their lives where they could be full of joy without a care in the world. Finn’s trip down memory lane has charm and authenticity without frills as it is pretty much one woman and her guitar. Now residing in Nashville, Finn bares her soul and it makes for a remarkable story and an even greater song. People looking for more emotionally charged tuneage from Finn ought to give two contrasting tunes “Timing Is Everything” and “Whippoorwill” some streams.

Island Parkway – “Never Have Loved”: Columbus singer-songwriter Pat Miller is back with his fourth release this year that reinforces his expansive musical stylings. On his latest cut, Island Parkway slows it down with a bluesy ballad that based on the lyrics seems written from the heart and is performed with sincerity and passion. One must imagine themselves in a smoky bar with Miller sitting on stage with his guitar and a mic to get the full effect. That is exactly what listening to “Never Have Loved” looks like. Island Parkway reinvents himself on each single dropped as they all sound different from each other, providing proof he is a well-rounded songwriter and performer. His latest is the longest tune to date at nearly six minutes, but what a splendid time it is. After a couple of streams, even folks who are not genre enthusiasts will appreciate Miller and his brilliance and talent.

Photo by Nicole Leonardo

Champagne Atlantis – “I Wanna Be Your Hair”: This is the latest tune by the musical act founded by Tri-State area artist Jesse Barki, who believes in DIY and has himself a very polished gem on his hands. A principal songwriter for indie rock project The Mellowells, his newest creation under Champagne Atlantis draws from dreampop and bedroom pop with some old school R&B sprinkled in. It makes for an adventure that will have the listener on cloud nine as Barki makes use of weaving guitar play with drum machinery and some sampling mixed in. The indie pop delight should make a fabulous add to many alternative stations’ playlists given its Flaming Lips-eqsue psychedelic presentation. Everything about “I Wanna Be Your Hair” is top-notch showing that less is more. Barki has a fraction of the budget and resources that major label artists have and this is song is just as good as what is heard on corporate radio stations and the Top 40 format. He handled all the writing, producing, and mixing himself in the state of New York. That plus this brilliantly performed single ought to impress the right people to land him one of those lucrative label contracts.

Green Paradise: “Start of Something New” / “Zaffa Taking Form”: Happy Family drummer Sandro Zambrano-Villa goes out on his own and simultaneously self-releases two smacking singles on Bandcamp. Both tunes will be part of his upcoming full-length due out on April 20 and the contrast in the two demonstrates Sandro’s diverse musical palette and talent. On “Start of Something New”, there is definitely some Hendrix influence on the instrumental that rocks from the opening second to the last. Zambrano-Villa will have listeners on a musical locomotive for over three minutes and after the ride, people will long for more. The second single “Zaffa Taking Form” is a mosh-worthy anthem that will have listeners in a fit of rage for most of the song. By going from the psychedelic 60s rock on the first single to 70s punk on the second, Sandro shows his influences and that he has a knack for creativity that comes out of left field. The Columbus resident subscribes to the DIY method as he was responsible for the songwriting, the recording, and mixing of the singles and the upcoming album. Based on what has been released thus far, Green Paradise is more than a side project as this music has legs in a time of cookie-cutters in the industry along with the pent-up anger and frustration from multiple events this past year. Zambrano-Villa is going to have the local music audience wanting to see him play these live and perhaps that will happen sooner rather than later.

Coral Palms – “Echoes”: Already well-received by outlets like Earmilk, Amazing Radio, and others, the London indie pop quartet have themselves a bop that could be a smash worldwide. On their debut song, the bouncy vocals plus the ravishing guitar and drum work make “Echoes” one that should be a Top 40 entry on the pop charts on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. The group cites Two Door Cinema Club as an influence and fans of TDCC will enjoy the stylings of Coral Palms. With spring in full swing, this song dropped at the perfect time to get people in the mood to bob their heads while out in the sun. Ten days ago, Coral Palms premiered a video for the single and it is as vivid and vibrant as the audio, serving as evidence the sky is the limit for these blokes. Bands based stateside similar to Coral Palms include Rock Rundown mainstays Spice Jar and Goldpark, both who are magnificent indie pop artists with bright futures.


Lisa Gain & the Rusty Silos– “1988”: The Ohio indie folk outfit returns with a song that gets a great reaction at concerts and livestreams. This ballad about decades-old memories has excellent vocals by critically acclaimed veteran Gain and the guitars and drums throughout are top notch. Joining Gain on the single are guitarists Keith Colbert and Brandon Bankes, bassist Efrum Imler, and drummer Bryan Rupejko. Each member plays their parts to precision making for a beautiful five and a half minutes of Americana-styled nostalgia. Keith Hanlon, who handled the tune’s mixing and mastering, had an important hand in the song’s crafting making sure it was high quality before the public heard it. “1988” continues the high standard that the band has a reputation for and will have people of all ages looking back on their past with fondness.

Sara Kajari – “Momentarily”: Earlier this month, the Croatian sensation dropped this sensational single with vivacious vocals and bombastic beats giving it legs to be a Top 40 hit stateside and beyond. Signed to Bentley Records RED, Kajari has herself a gem of a pop ballad that will draw listeners in and make them feel deep emotions. “Momentarily” is a love song that has enough flavor and pop to be perfect in scenes on daytime and nighttime soap operas. Kajari is one bright up-and-comer as evident in her confident output with lyrics that convey authenticity and passion. Her latest single in which she is front and center displays enough to show a long-term future in the pop genre, but Kajari really shines as the featured artist on the 2020 single “Met Again” by ViceVersa, courtesy of Bloc Beatz Records.

Photo by Laura Dark

LoveSick Radio – “Nothing Left To Lose”: The well-traveled quintet with Ohio roots is back with their brand of butt kicking rock n’ roll that is ready for the big time. Their latest song has some serious throwback rock vibes that will remind genre aficionados of The Black Crowes’ hit “Hard To Handle”. “Nothing Left To Lose” should be just as big of a single for LSR as it has sick hooks and a catchy chorus. The song is already garnering accolades as it was recently selected by Classic Rock Magazine as the Song of the Week. Furthermore, a lyric video premiered for the classic bluesy rock banger over at Swedish website ROCKNYTT. Their latest recruit Tucker Jones (lead vocalist/guitarist of Columbus alternative act The Forty) fits in perfectly along with members lead vocalist Troy Brown, guitarist/backing vocalist David Harris, bassist Glenn Viers, and drummer Matt Seskevics. The song clicks on multiple cylinders with each player performing their role with precision. The hard-working blue collar rock outfit should be proud of their latest offering that is well-written, well-performed, and so far well-received.

This Day Forever – “Don’t Change”: Columbus musician Will Newsome carries on the name and legacy of a beloved hard rock band whose members, for the most part, went their separate ways over a decade ago. Moving forward, the music released as TDF is going to be dedicated to Will’s sibling and bandmate the late Ken Newsome as well as the band’s entire prior incarnation. It could not have been easy to continue under the established moniker given the circumstances, but Will gets all the credit in the world for doing so. TDF’s take on the legendary INXS’ song is well-arranged with on-point guitar work and terrific vocals. This cover deserves to be heard universally as it rocks and Newsome shows grace, emotion, and pure talent throughout. Produced and mixed by Brett Hestla, “Don’t Change” is the first single from the band’s upcoming EP When Only the Devil We Know Can Save Us, set for a May release. If the album’s other songs are anything like the first one, this highly anticipated record will be amazing.

“Palette Knife – “Hungover Brunch At Tiffany’s”: Signed to Take This To Heart Records, the Central Ohio trio reemerges with a uniquely titled and catchy single that oozes charm and talent. The song’s release serves as promotion for their upcoming LP set to drop on May 28. The song is approximately three minutes of indie rock delight with all three guys performing their respective roles at a high level. “Hungover Brunch At Tiffany’s” is a terrific tune to get established fans and general emo pop punk lovers pumped for the album. Hats off to vocalist/guitarist Alec Licata, bassist Chris McGrath, and drummer Aaron Queener for a job well done at expressing their creativity and doing so with a very polished release. Think Brand New meets New Found Glory and you have this superb band to go along with an equally superb song.

Real Face – “Space Control”: Legally known as Andrew Tyson, the moniker is about transparency as he writes and records songs that focus on honesty. The song is not yet released to the masses, but in an advance screening courtesy of Holy Moly Records, the song demonstrates Real Face is the real deal. The ballad makes wonderful use of acoustic guitar and piano against Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania-based Tyson’s vocals, making it sound from the heart. “Space Control” is about relationship toxicity and boundaries, which has been prevalent in the mainstream over the past several years. The song can certainly serve as a deterrent or wake-up call for those in similar situations. Tyson bares his soul and his vulnerability is heard and felt throughout the tune. Once it is released to platforms everywhere, those attracted to dramatic, truthful music will be affected by “Space Control”. Until that day comes, his latest released single “Justice Is Closure” is a complete 180 in tone and pace but does a great job of showing how well-rounded Real Face is as an artist.

Chey Rose – “Polyester”: The Nashville pop artist is back with what has is considered her favorite release yet. The song is dedicated to her long-term platonic relationships that have a lasting impact. The song can also be perceived as an ode to finding a romantic companion who serves as one’s best friend. On “Polyester”, Rose has the chops and the beautiful dove-like vocals over the vibrant beats makes for a song that ought to catch on with pop enthusiasts. Rose has tons of talent and is ready for the world to hear what she has generated thus far. It has been a long 12 months for the world and this is just one of the songs that should give listeners all sorts of feels given its theme of friendship and love.

Cooper Phillip – “Not Perfect”: Of Russian descent but currently based in L.A., the pop singer’s latest is a vibey bop about self-identity and betting on oneself. Cooper’s current success did not come overnight as she had had humble beginnings when performing in New York City years back, but it all led to where she is today. The song is R&B, pop, and jazz fused into three minutes of ear candy topped off by her vivacious vocal output. “Not Perfect” and Cooper are ready for the Top 40 charts everywhere as the song has garnered over a half-million streams on Spotify alone in its short time. Those who seek more proof of her pop precision should give the single “Head Over Heels” several streams as she is going places and will be getting there sooner versus later.

Brother. – “EZ”: This new song by the Salt Lake indie alternative quartet is unlike anything else out there right now. The mid-tempo tune has airy vocals that connect brilliantly to the melodies throughout. The chorus will put listeners in an even more euphoric state during the tune. There is a video for the single directed by Austin Berenyi and Joshua Jorgensen and it is just as vibey as the audio. “EZ” is a song that is very out there and there is an audience for it. It is a dark horse that could thrive on the alternative and AAA charts and the band can only hope the song gains a big enough following to bolster their profile in the genre. They deserve the chance to reach the masses and their previous works like “1985” and “Oxidate”.


Artist: Largemouth Brass Band

Title: Repilot

Format: LP

Release Year: 2021

Founded in college town Athens, Ohio, the eight-piece instrumental big band jazz outfit migrated to another college town of Columbus where the band has entertained diverse audiences at local dives and major festivals in the city. Due to the global health crisis, LMBB unfortunately could not grace stages but they took the time to work on and drop a dynamic full-length record that will energize listeners all day and night. Repilot is a diverse sounding instrumental LP that respects music’s origins and combines Old School with Gen Z as the group pays homage to the genre while maintaining a modern swagger.

After hearing this album, it is possible some people might compare the band to Earth, Wind, & Fire. Although the record is sans vocals and is not as funky as the music the R&B legends have made, LMBB holds their own regarding musicianship. It is evident the group has excellent musical skills as each part is on-point and the album’s production sounds crisp. Each performer plays at a high level, which puts the future of local music in good hands. Several members are involved in the industry either having their own studios or serving as instructors to the next generation.

Although LMBB does not have an off note anywhere, some of the record’s songs stand out more for their specific tempo and tone. “Night Lightning” is reminiscent of a detective TV show and might lead to ‘Barney Miller’ flashbacks for some listeners. “Squid Kick” sounds like a solid pep rally and tailgate anthem to get people hyped before a game. “Duped” comes off as a super cool 1970s renegade cop TV show or movie theme. “Rum & Cider” is a ditty that will take listeners back to their school dance days and get them shaking and toe-tapping wherever they may be listening. These are just some of the well-crafted gems the group has presented, but surely listeners will find others that resonate with them. Other songs from Repilot that jazz lovers will enjoy include “whypplclppn?”, “Tarantula”, and “We’re Guessin’ (You Wanna Party)”.

Overall, Repilot is a 40-minute throwback adventure that will invoke memories and help people escape the world’s ills, even if just temporarily. Each song is family-friendly and every household is going to have somebody with their own favorite track. Everyone involved on the music side and behind the scenes should be proud of their efforts as the LP is just plain awesome. A local bill with the Largemouth Brass Band and a similar respected band Thomas and the Work-Men is not that far-fetched with concerts likely in full swing by the start of 2022. Until then, the record is top quality to tide people over before they see this talented bunch on a festival stage or watering hole near them.


Trey Pearson – “Don’t Dance 2.1”: The Columbus, Ohio-based pop singer is a local music icon who returns with this bombastic bop that is absolutely Top 10 worthy. The song serves as a callout to haters and hypocrites and is dedicated to those trying to come to terms with themselves in a world of divisiveness and disdain. Pearson is an out and proud artist who hopes his journey and marvelous music serve as solace to those who are blazing a similar path. The single contains spot-on vocals, delightful beats, and an amazing arrangement that make it a danceable anthem. The former Everyday Sunday vocalist has found himself and his musical groove and there is no turning back with no apologies made. If “Don’t Dance 2.1” turns some haters into supporters and/or helps people along their own journeys of self-discovery, then the song is automatically a hit. Those who enjoy the styling of the late George Michael’s “Fastlove” will fancy this tune and have it on repeat for a hot minute or two.

My Dark Reality – “Things You Should Know”: Signed to Bentley Records last summer, the Ohio hard rock outfit is back with a bang. This thrashing hard rock tune has crisp guitar play, dynamic drums, brilliant bass work, and sharp vocals from Nerak Roth Patterson, Sr.. The rock climate is in good hands with this band as it seems that they are picking up where they left off with their 2020 singles “Soulless” and “Ashes to Ashes”. Those who like their rock n’ roll straightforward and pedal-to-the-metal are going to love MDR and everything they have released thus far. Once live shows are thing widespread again, this band will be able to do what they best and entertain on a stage like only they can.

Bloodthirsty Virgins – “Burn After Reading”: The Columbus band led by vocalist/guitarist Nikki Wonder consider themselves to be ‘Spaghetti-Western/Vampire Dramatic Rock’. This song is foot-on-the-throat, take no prisoners, rock n’ roll and the formula is fantastic. On this latest offering, the single has Wonder’s vivacious vocals accompanied by strong guitars, brilliant bass, and dynamic drum work. The song has already been broken in at respected rock station CD 92.9 FM and the band has a contract with Scioto Records, helping bolster its potential outreach. This head-bobbing single is worth all the streams and spins it gets and fingers crossed that Bloodthirsty Virgins garner a lot of play off this well-crafted track. People who are impressed by “Burn After Reading” will likely enjoy some tunes from the band’s self-titled album such as “The Want of You” and “The Skin”.’

Sierra Blax – “INYIM”: A collaboration with Tim Rose, this fiery R&B/pop single has all the makings of a breakthrough hit if heard by the right people in the industry. An up-tempo love song directed to an ex, the song’s protagonist takes ownership on things not working out with the line “It’s not you, it’s me.” Blax seeks to be herself and do her thing which she does very well with confident singing combined with catchy, soulful beats in the background. That noted, this jam will remind people of the sultry stylings of Joss Stone, who did well for herself in the business. The L.A.-based singer-songwriter is building her audience organically and the talent and merit are there for Blax to go nowhere but up as evident on her previous singles “Loose Cannon”. “Good Type of Love” and “Just for Now”.

Lalalow – “Sensory Deprivation”: This Finnish duo of vocalist/keyboardist Nina Jackson and guitarist/bassist Tommi Laivamaa is ready to take the world by storm. Their latest single is electropop goodness with on-point vocals and cunning synthesizer work. Per an interview given by Jackson, the song is about the loneliness stemming from the year-long pandemic and the challenges to communicate and decipher reality. The song’s construction from start to finish will mesmerize listeners and hook them in, moving bodies and souls simultaneously. “Sensory Deprivation” has legs to make a dent on the Hot AC chart as it is catchy, charming, and attractive. Those looking for more mind-bending pop tunes from Jackson and Laivamaa can look no further than last year’s single “Quiet Lately” and their self-titled EP.  

Laveer – “Real Thing (Chilled)”: This Columbus synthpop quartet has a harmonic new single that shows some true talent from the lads. This version is a dynamite ballad that oozes tight vocals and marvelous melodies. There is absolutely no reason either version of “Real Thing” (the original being upbeat electropop) cannot heat up the Top 40 chart. Laveer demonstrates a knack for beautiful songwriting and execution that should lead to a fabulous career locally and beyond for several years. Whether “chilled” or regular, “Real Thing” lives up to its title and it is only a matter of time before the lads are heating up stages with fellow local studs such as The Raquels, Something Else, Spirit Of The Bear, among others.

Johnny Ashby – “Getting Started”: Born in England, but living in L.A. the folky singer-songwriter is ready to unleash his brand of indie jams on the universe. His current single possesses superb singing and polished guitar play that should find itself well on alternative and AC stations. Throughout the tune, Ashby displays haunting vocals that have an excellent cadence against the gentle guitar play. This indie folk delight is going to resonate with a lot of people and Ashby himself has gained some traction over the years. Previous releases have seen airplay stateside and across the pond with songs gaining placement on shows ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, ‘Pretty Little Liars’, to name a couple.

Aibai – “Glow”: From Minneapolis comes this prodigal producer’s single created in conjunction with Swims. The single is two and a half minutes of well-crafted electropop that ought to help Aibai garner a following. The vocals are perfect for the music and based on this song alone, Aibai should be in high demand as someone artists will want to work with in the future. She makes electronic music that has potential to branch out beyond the raves and her current release is a successful attempt to broaden her horizons by tweaking the formula a tad. Every bit as good as Calvin Harris and Darude, Aibai’s talent is proven on her 2020 series of singles “Imagery”, “Enough”, and “Insomnia”.

Photo by Elise Hisdal

Yndling – “Childish Fear”: Also known as Silje Espevvik, the Norwegian singer-songwriter makes her remarkable debut with a dream pop bop. The tune makes excellent use of bass, drums, synthesizer, and floaty vocals to create a musical cloud that will carry Yndling extremely far. The mid-tempo track is slickly produced by Einestor Sandberg and it clicks on all cylinders. The song will send a tingle down listeners’ spines as it entails a psychological hindrance towards expressing love. The story alone will resonate with people who struggle with stagnation in relationships and the harsh reality of being at a crossroads. The lyrics and oral output are from the heart and that makes the personal tale Yndling is telling even more authentic and special. It is only a matter of time before more outlets take notice of the tools and talent Yndling has as she has already been praised by the likes of 1883 Magazine and Earmilk.


Courtney From Work – “Love In Another Dimension”: Columbus, Ohio’s self-proclaimed BBQ rock band is back with a fabulous straightforward kick-butt rock anthem that justifies their signing to Long Nail Records. The quartet of Jacob Fournier (guitar, vocals) Colin Cavanaugh (guitar, vocals), Conner Hannah (bass), and Andrew Davis (drums) come together beautifully as a team, creating a catchy, well-crafted tune that should be in medium rotation at minimum on rock radio stations. “Love In Another Dimension” is approximately three minutes of rock n’ roll fun that aficionados will have on repeat. The single will remind listeners of the throwback alternative rock from greats such as Weezer, Alien Ant Farm, among others; The blokes work hard on each and every recording they put out and for those who have seen them play live, it is evident they bring just as much energy to a stage. With the record deal, new high-quality music released, and the possible return to concerts overall, CFW is on track to have a huge 2021 and beyond.

Kristin Gramza – “Say When”: The Columbus singer-songwriter emerges with a power ballad that will give listeners fantastic 80s flashbacks. The well-arranged tune accentuates her vivacious vocals and contains a toe-tapping chorus that should make it a favorite at concerts. This love song is exactly what people need in these ongoing days of turmoil. On “Say When”, Gramza provides pop fans nearly five minutes of her heart and soul. The adult contemporary single is a change of pace from the foot-stomping alt-country fare the passionate soloist is known for, but the new song’s quality is equal to that of her previous releases. Gramza credits the Greater Columbus Arts Council, a respected non-profit supporting local creatives, for helping fund the recording of the song. Although Gramza is usually inspired by Cheryl Crow and Grace Potter, “Say When” seems to be the type of song one would hear from the likes of Bonnie Tyler and the late Laura Branigan.

stop.drop.rewind – “The Joke”: The Valparaiso, Indiana lads return with a single that is acoustic in nature, which is a departure from their plugged-in emo punk sound. The emo influence is still there, but this time it is stripped down as the band challenges themselves and are up to the task. Charter SDR members Kris Lohn and D.J. Crenson wrote and recorded the tune as a duo with the behind-the-scenes duties handled by Roye Robley. There is also a video for “The Joke” as produced by Broke Boy Media in which drummer Andy Sutton makes several appearances. The vid shows the protagonist going about his mundane day only to find himself thinking of good times after viewing a photo with him and SDR. What listeners of “The Joke” get is two best friends and industry veterans showing they can write and perform a stripped-down power pop song that is every bit as good as their previous bangers. Lohn and Crenson pour maximum effort into their vocals and guitar play, making for approximately four minutes of an emotional rollercoaster listeners will resonate with people.

Thomas and the Work-Men – “Why Can’t I Ever Say No”: The heralded Columbus quintet dropped a wonderfully performed ska-inspired single about the inability to stick to principles against one’s better judgment. Everyone gives their all in their individual roles, leading to a classy and catchy mellow tune that demonstrates the praise they have accumulated lately is authentic. Signed to Free Dive Records, TWM’s debut EP Good Company released last year premiered at #4 on the iTunes Top 200 Albums chart plus. It also debuted at #3 on the Top Alternative Albums chart, so proof is there that the genre-crossing band has talent for days and has a bright future ahead of them. TWM likes delivering good times and this light-hearted song about temptation is the kind of ditty that helps provide escapism in these trying times.

Island Parkway – “Reborn”: Columbus-based solo artist Pat Miller returns with another eclectic collaboration involving a fellow up-and-comer in his own right. For those who love Island Parkway’s debut song “It Could Be Right”, they will be blown away by the new single that involves indie pop artist Lonely Fossa. The pop-rock gem will bring listeners to Top 40 hits of yesteryear with its amazing melodies and Miller’s terrific vocals. The guitar and synthesizer work throughout are on-point, making this song one that deserves to find an audience on terrestrial and Internet radio. “Reborn” is a beautifully made and performed song from beginning to end that will provoke the minds and hearts of indie pop enthusiasts everywhere.

Lonely Fossa – “Gray Robotic Love”: The man known as Miles Miller is back with a unique up-tempo single that is a departure from his previously released songs. Musically, the new tune is spot on and will get heads bobbing. On the other hand, the track’s vocal execution is presented in a more somber tone. “Gray Robotic Love” is best described as an atypical journey into emo indiepop as it is unlike anything heard in a long while. Miller has a knack for carving out songs that are as creative as they are challenging. Lonely Fossa is not trying to be anybody else and it works. The difference in this current single from “Blu Melody”, which is different from Lonely Fossa’s debut “Private Lie”. By expanding his range, Miller will continue to crank out authentic indie rock tunes that should find an appreciative audience.

Ava Kay – “Wild Again”: This is the debut solo single from the Canadian singer-songwriter and film/TV composer. She has had music placed everywhere from Disney Channel to Hallmark and collaborated with industry personnel such as Afrojack, ATB, and others. Her first ever released song as a soloist lives up to the lofty expectations those would have for an individual with serious accolades like hers. On “Wild Again”, the Toronto native has the voice to hold her rightful place on Top 40 radio with other prolific singer-songwriters like Amy Shark, Phoebe Bridgers, Olivia Rodrigo, to name a few. The ballad is well-crafted musically to fit Kay’s vocals like a glove. She showed what she could do making music for other entities and as part of Boss & Swan and has had a productive and rewarding career thus far. That noted, Ava Kay has done well for herself going out on her own this time around. “Wild Again” will compel listeners to look forward to her future tunes released under her own name or licensed elsewhere.

Brother Valiant – “Lady Daisy”: The New Jersey singer-songwriter also known as Alex Amsterdam drops his first released material in three years. The song has brilliant songwriting lyrically and musically, making the most of Amsterdam’s talent. Furthermore, the vocals and musical execution are reminiscent of respected artists Eagle-Eye Cherry, Phillip Phillips, and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. “Lady Daisy” is well worth the wait for Brother Valiant’s return to the forefront and should gain some traction on indie rock and adult contemporary radio stations. Those curious on what BV brings to the table should stream “Two Fish” and “Indoors”, both from his 2018 EP titled Dark Treasures.

Photo by Austin Dalgleish

Skofee – “Post Pop Spiderman Remix”: Along with help from Stefan Skarbek, the Kansas-born and L.A.-based singer drops her follow-up single to last year’s debut EP Polished. With the proper marketing, there is no reason this bop cannot make the Top 10 of the charts worldwide. Skofee’s vocals are a marvelous match to the bombastic beats and that combination will have people dancing in their homes and the clubs (once it is safe to do the latter again). The talent is there and it is just a matter of time before big things happen for Skofee. Proof of her brains and brawn can be found on the original version of “Spiderman” and the EP’s title track.


The Katawicks – “Dark Cloud”: The indie-soul tandem of Allison Justice and Matt Washburn return with a single reminiscent of the 90s singer-songwriter stylings of Lisa Loeb, Sarah McLachlan, Chantal Kreviazuk, among others. The tune is about doing one’s best to overcome setbacks, a.k.a. the dark clouds in life. Justice’s vocals are super on this track and this uplifter has a serious chance to find an audience at terrestrial and online AC radio stations. Justice and Mashburn are joined on the music side by Brian Hoeflich (drums) and Anthony Powers (bass, piano), providing fantastic support. Behind the scenes, the song’s engineering and mixing were handled by Patrick Himes of Reel Love Recording Company and mastering was done Alex McCollough of True East. Everyone involved should be proud of their contribution as each musical role is played to the utmost extreme as their combined efforts make “Dark Cloud” enlightening and entertaining.

The Raquels – “Oh! There is Love”: Columbus, Ohio’s premiere new wave indiepop outfit returns with a single that’s a change of pace from their trademark sound. This old-timey throwback is their follow-up to last year’s pop bop “Lower East Side”. The song is comprised mostly of the piano with Sinatra-esque vocals with some synthesized sound effects sprinkled in, reinforcing the departure from the band’s usual up-tempo fare. Thumbs up to the quartet of Derrick Walter, Gabe Ritz. Dave Butler, and Tyler Birch are making the music they feel is right to make. The band has dropped a very thought and emotion-provoking ballad for these times of uncertainty and divisiveness. This is the kind of tune that will lead to a lot of slow dances once the band can perform live in front of fans. The Raquels’ recordings are great, but their sensational concert sets demonstrate the lads never fail to entertain.

Snailmate – “Donuts in the Rain”: Formed in 2015, the Phoenix DIY duo are unlike any other artist in recent memory and that is the way Kalen Lander (vocals, synth) and Bentley Monet (drums, vocals) like it. As part of their upcoming album Stress Sandwich, “Donuts in the Rain” makes terrific use of the synthesizer and drums the lads are known for, leading to a wild roller coaster ride for nearly three minutes. Lander and Monet pride themselves on being a hard-working act and it shows in this innovative and creative ditty. The guys cross genres with drops of punk, hip-hop, electronica, and rock to make for an adventure people will remember. These fellas have literally been a lot of places such as Japan, Brazil, and Canada plus SXSW and various state fairs in the U.S.. These guys are bent on making an impact in live music music scene once again when it is appropriate to do so. “Donuts in the Rain” and prior releases such as “Hot Sauce for Blood” and “I Know What You Want” are proof listeners are in for the ride of their lives.

Outsider Heart – “Anyone But You”: The Columbus alternative rock trio re-emerges with a brilliant banger that just might surpass their most streamed song to date (the brilliant “Leper’s Bell”). The tune has the legs to be popular on terrestrial and Internet radio stations with terrific arrangement and marvelous melodies that make it a serious head-bobber. The track’s vibrant vocals, dynamic drumming, bombastic bass, and slick guitar work that proves it is a well-produced and well-performed track. Members Doug Katula, Kovy Arseneau, and Jonah Young are kicking 2021 off with vigor and rock connoisseurs desiring more from these blokes should give the aforementioned “Leper’s Bell” a try along with “Like The Rest”. Once live music is feasible again, do not be surprised to see Outsider Heart share a bill with equally as spectacular local acts such as Something Else, Mouth Movements, Hello Luna, and others.

Leechwife – “Burrowing Filth”: Columbus resident Lilith Grace returns with a single written and performed on her terms and conditions, making for unlimited creativity. Per her Spotify bio, Leechwife’s genre is described as “microtonal, electro-sludge, trans-dimensional post-punk. Grace believes in the DIY approach as she is the sole songwriter along with going her own recording and mixing. Leechwife likes being unique and every song that has been released brings something different to the forefront. “Burrowing Filth” is a nearly six-minute blood curdling audio horror film that keeps listeners engaged as to what will happen next. The guitar and vocals are raw as they can get, with the production quality still being up to par. Leechwife is emerging as a true alternative artist in the local scene and the continuation of releasing well-produced and thought-provoking music out of left field will carve her a niche for years to come.

Goldpark – “Beautiful Desperation”: The Nashville-based pop-rock three-piece returns with a bop reminiscent of Mr. Mister and the Killers. Signed to Hazel Street Records and Orchard Enterprises, the fellas now have the backing to crack the Top 40 of various charts. They give off 80s nostalgia in an admirable and respectable manner, while staying in touch with current musical climate. The singing is heartfelt and each member performs their instruments to precision, which makes for a bombastic alt rock masterpiece. “Beautiful Desperation” has an accompanying video that shows the guys rocking out at an empty dive bar, but once the all-clear is given Goldpark will be playing this song and its predecessor “Morning Light” in front of packed crowds. The word is spreading and by the end of the year, at least one of their songs should absolutely hit the mainstream one way or another.

Photo by Shelby Parks

Mothica – “forever fifteen”: Born McKenzie Ellis in suburban Oklahoma, the L.A.-based singer-songwriter recently dropped this tune regarding the anniversary of a near-tragedy. Fortunately, the talented lass is here today living her quarterlife and able to share her experience with people in similar situations as they empathize with each other. There is a lyric video for the original version that has Mothica putting together a collage of supporters who mailed their likeness and provided words of support. There is also a stripped-down version and both will absolutely pull at listeners’ heartstrings. Anyone accessing this song will have certainly their thoughts and emotions challenged. The song was co-written by Mothica along with Eva Honey, Alexandria Veltri, and Lenii and this team should be proud of getting this important message and form of self-healing out there. Mothica is known for writing emotionally driven songs to electronic beats and those interested in more of her arsenal should give “VICES”, “Overthinking”, and others a stream or two.

DD WALKER – “Only Two at the Start”: New York City multi-instrumentalist presents a soulful pop gem that should earn him a great deal of praise. Walker’s vulnerable vocals are reminiscent of Temper Trap singer Dougy Mandagi and make the song stand out. The tune starts out with soothing guitar play and then Walker’s voice takes over making the slow jam one that should get play on alternative and R&B stations nationwide. “Only Two at the Start” has some fine drumming throughout with a pinch of synthesizers for flavor. This shows Walker’s broad range, which will help build his audience. Those curious of what else he brings to the table should most definitely check out his best-known song at this point: The surf-themed pop bop “Malibu” which should have been a Top 10 hit on Billboard and Ryan Seacrest’s ‘American Top 40’.  

Van Isaacson – “Georgia”: Now living in Nashville, the Wisconsin born and bred singer-songwriter is back with a powerful predominately piano-laden ballad. Isaacson takes his craft seriously as evident with this tune from the heart and soul. The music world has its new Bruce Hornsby as the song is every bit as good as the legendary adult contemporary star has released. “Georgia” is arranged well and the lyrics have purpose, attributed to Isaacson’s sincere singing. The song’s solid musicianship and the superb vocals should earn Isaacson offers to license his music in high-quality films, which will help continuously build his resume. The talent is there and now it is time for the breakthrough to get the marvelously made music out there.


Cellar Dwellar – “Deja Vu”: The upstart Columbus, Ohio indie psychedelic rock quartet provides a sharply written and performed tune to promote their debut full-length due out March 5. The new single is a perfect choice to hype the LP When Does it Stop Feeling Like a Dream?, which will contain eight tracks with firepower. “Deja Vu” is a well-oiled machine that has trippy and scathing vocals, top notch guitar play, beautiful bass work, and spot-on drumming working in its favor. The guys putting maximum effort into the song makes it ready for alternative terrestrial and Internet radio airplay. The gents should be proud of this gem and their 2020 single “Rapture”, which will also be on the new record. Both songs show what the local music scene has to look forward to from Cellar Dwellar for years to come.

Lisa Gain – “Winter Blues”: The decorated Central Ohio singer-songwriter goes solo on this acoustic beauty appropriate for the season that is frigid in multiple ways. Gain, who has garnered accolades for decades, is reliable voice in the regional music scene to provide high-level material that makes the most of her talent. The lyrics are relatable to listeners and they can hang on for the full three and a half minutes and empathize with Gain’s message. It is a song that can be literal, but metaphoric for a brighter future in general. “Winter Blues” is well-written and exploits Gain’s vocals to the max. She has received compliments that compare her voice to the likes of legend Bonnie Raitt, but those who are fans of fantastic folk music ought to take listen to her latest and last year’s self-titled album with the Rusty Silos featuring “The Surface” and “Haunted Hotel”.

Photo by Mick Martinez

Mouth Movements – “Pumpkin Patch”: This Columbus four-piece recently got the chance to perform a livestream for the highly respected independently owned alternative rock station 92.9 FM, hosted by Randy Malloy. The fellas got to show what they can do when playing live on YouTube and they sound just as good on recording, as evidenced on the new release. “Pumpkin Patch” is approximately three minutes of alternative rock done right with the band showing they are ready for the next level. The drum work is dynamic throughout and the vocals are in absolute harmony with the rhythm guitar. The song goes back and forth in tempo and it works like a charm. “Pumpkin Patch” is an example of the calm being equally as chilling as the storm and it makes for an absolute banger. If the chips fall in Mouth Movements’ favor, expect to hear this song on radio stations everywhere to skyrocket the band to new heights. Those curious of more the blokes bring to the table should sample last year’s single “Better Things” as it will not disappoint.

Nicholas D’Andrea – “Nothing At All”/”Sweet Paradise”: The Columbus veteran musician returns with a double shot of songs this month. Mastermind of brilliant bands Nick D’ & The Believers and Doc Robinson, the Tone Tree recording artist continues his solo acoustic endeavor with principle and purpose. On the ballad “Nothing At All”, D’Andrea’s soothing voice matches the music brilliantly as he speaks to the listener with confidence and calmness. “Sweet Paradise” is more up-tempo and serves as a callback to his earlier musical escapades. The formally christened Nicholas D’Andrea is a consummate professional in the local music scene and “Sweet Paradise” is deserving of a Hot AC or Adult Album Alternative chart hit that launched the careers of similar soloists such as David Gray, Michael Penn, and others. If this talented lad keeps serving up quality tunes, his breakthrough will come sooner versus later.

The Heisey Glass Company – “Love Potion No. 9”: The Dayton trio of bassist/vocalist Sam Cannon, guitarist/vocalist Jake Shook, and drummer Clayton Piatt return for their take on the 1959 chart hit first performed by The Clovers. HGC’s version was released in time for Valentine’s Day and the guys do right by the original. Their cover was created with respect and admiration for the song’s roots. The fellas have created two minutes of fun and escapism, which is what the world needs now as it makes its way out of turmoil. Cannon, Piatt, and Shook perform their individual roles excellently and it makes this version of the indie tune splendid and once live shows are happening again, people of various generations will enjoy dancing to the ditty. The band’s own songs are every bit as good and curious ears need to discover their brand of kick-the-door down midwest rock gems “Jaguar Jam”, “Skeleton Funk”, to name a couple.

Photo by James Robertson

Avanti – “Endless”: The Cincinnati hardcore quintet is back with a new single and an accompanying video to boot. The group’s familiar brand of unapologetic in-your-face metal has garnered them much praise over the years. The new rager picks up where they left off in 2020: Rocking out and getting their hands dirty in the process. The video’s storyline sees the band being cursed by a sorcerous with ram horns, which leads to them being overtaken and attempting to fight the effects throughout the song. Every member’s musical part is on point and the vocals switching from screamo to melodic for the chorus is pure genius that shows the singer’s got serious skills. Not only is Avanti comprised of great musicians, but they are great human beings as well serving as the Founders of the annual FWD Fest in which proceeds are raised to help area non-profits. For more firepower the band has to offer, songs “The Path Less Traveled” and “Dirt” are worth several streams.

Londin Thompson – “Don’t Prove Me Wrong”: Signed to major label Republic Records, the up-and-coming pop singer-songwriter drops a well-constructed danceable bop destined for the top of the charts. Every time Thompson writes and releases a song, she bares her soul and that kind of honesty and transparency will endear her to pop music lovers. On her latest, Thompson drops seriously sharp vocals and brilliant beats and with everything in sync, “Don’t Prove Me Wrong” will resonate with the public. The Cleveland native earned her contact when several songs released independently started to take off on Spotify. With the machine backing her and the knack for writing and performing head bobbers like her current single, Thompson has nowhere to go but up.

Ebony Buckle – “Wonder”: This British singer-songwriter provides the world a ballad that possesses dove-like vocals that would make Celine Dion and Enya jealous. Derived from a tale about a whale with a loud voice (a frequency of 52hz) discovered nearly 40 years ago, “Wonder” is the positive easy listening tune most people need in their lives to relax in these trying times. The song tells a fantastic story and is laid out beautifully not just musically, but with vivid lyrics. A video for the tune is a sight to see with vivacious visuals that enhance the song. The soothing single has a chance to be licensed for TV and movie dramas, bolstering the profile of the Londoner. Other examples of the eccentric singer’s talent include releases “Golden Sand” and “Silver Dagger” and listeners will not be disappointed.

Julian Skiboat – “Flowers”: A tale of overcoming setbacks, Skiboat’s latest single starts off bohemian, but it picks up the pace making it an indie rock finger snapper. The San Antonio-based singer-songwriter has his finger on the pulse of what people are going through. The song’s subject matter about improvement in life and overcoming adversity are exactly what people who are struggling need to hear. Skiboat should be praised not only for putting himself out there, but for also being a tremendous performer. His newest indie emo tune should land him a great deal of attention and praise. He has already started to gain some via Live Nations Ones To Watch, Lyrical Lemonade, among other entities.


Photo by Bianca Olivo

TRVSS – “Fell On Black Days: The Ohio alternative rock quartet kicks off 2021 paying homage and respect to Soundgarden and the late, great Chris Cornell. The outfit consisting of Hannah Crandall (vocals), Eric Kennedy (guitar), Holden Szalek (drums), and Thomas Rastatter (bass) do the song justice with an inspired and polished cover that TRVSS makes sound like their own fresh take on the 90s rock smash. Crandall, Rastatter, Kennedy, and Szalek (the latter two mixed the tune) are solid in their roles and collectively their version will draw them praise for years to come. The group has recorded a wicked cover of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” that is well received at concerts. Visiting the band’s Spotify page, people will notice the unique artwork accompanying the song created by designer and fellow Ohio musician Kallan Imhoff (vocalist/guitarist, The Manatee Room). Splitting time between Cleveland and Columbus, the band has been making a name for themselves throughout the Buckeye state for a few years. To discover the talent this fiery foursome has unleashed, rock fans should give TRVSS some love by streaming outstanding originals “Mayhem” (with over 375,000 on Spotify alone), “All The Bugs”, among others.

La Poré – “All We Have Is Us”: The Cleveland native and current L.A. resident is back with a delightful pop tune from the heart. His sincerity is felt in the vocals and every note that is played. The song is performed with authentic emotion and talent that ought to capture the attention of the mainstream music industry. A veteran of the Ohio music scene, the man also known as Nick Samson landed on the west coast two years ago to take the next step in the music and entertainment industries. The result has been synthpop with realness and soul and “All We Have Is Us” continues that tradition. In the last quarter of 2020, La Poré took part in the virtual music and art festival Moonrise V, in which he was one of four performers featured as part of the event. He has already garnered attention in publications throughout the city of angels, so perhaps with more bops like his current release and previous songs “Close” and “Missing It”, he is on his way to breaking through in the toughest media market in the States. Samson has the knack, poise, and talent to tackle the challenge head on as evident in this new single and his past gems.

Big Smile – “Bible Belt”: The Southwest Ohio-based rockers are back with a rager in the new year that also marks a new beginning. The band may have undergone a lineup change, but they have not missed a beat by dropping their latest. The guys give their all in every aspect of the song from start to finish. They make music that satisfies them and their loyal fanbase and discovery by pop punk and alternative aficionados is icing on the cake. Those seeking something deeper into the song can refer to the band’s lyric video as posted on YouTube as that will provide the full effect. “Bible Belt” provides a terrific chorus, magnificent melodies, and everything comes together for approximately three minutes of alternative rock done right. The Anchor Eighty Four recording artist should be proud of their latest tune and bet the farm that they are eager to get back on stage and perform this raucous song and others in their arsenal like “Killdozer” and “Dependent”. Once live music is back on a grand scale, these guys are going to resonate with crowds everywhere they play. With the record deal, Big Smile is going to make the most of this opportunity and their current single is an amazing start on their quest.

Rooftops – “I Wanna Know”: Multi-instrumentalist Bryan Ream returns with his third ever solo single which expands his range as a musician. His latest offering is acoustic-driven and the focus is more on his songwriting and his voice conveying the song’s message. Every aspect of the song is up to code as Ream hits another home run with an authentic guitar and vocal performance. The voice matches the guitar work from beginning to end and this tune has enough mainstream appeal to be licensed in commercials and films. On his prior releases “Falling” and “Queen City”, Rooftops planted seeds of a bright future of alternative rock awesomeness. With “I Wanna Know”, Ream broadened his horizons and challenged himself as a songwriter and performer. With this task, he has generated a song from the heart that is sure to catch on with rock and pop fans alike. The song is reminiscent of beloved Central Ohio singer-songwriter Nick D’Andrea’s playbook. These two talented lads doing an acoustic show at a café is a dream that must one day become a reality.

Photo by Iamai Studio

We Are The Movies – “The Devil Inside”: The veteran Columbus alternative rock quartet still have a lot left in the tank and their new banger is proof positive. The blokes sound as good as ever with this fresh single. The amazing arrangement along with top-notch musicianship and high-class vocals make for what should be a surefire rock chart entry. The song is all about overcoming adversity and facing challenges as they come one’s way. With the way things are these days, it can be perceived as a song about hope and making every day a fight. Broken Line Records have themselves a winner in every sense. Directed by Danny Rogers, there is an accompanying music video for the sizzing single. WATM show that as songwriters and performers, they can evolve with the times and provide relevant headbanging music for years and years.

Elizabeth & the Catapult: “together, alone”: New York singer-songwriter Elizabeth Ziman is one of the more unique soloists out there as proven by her latest offering. The piano-heavy ballad seems inspired by the current state of the world that clamors for a return to normalcy, whenever that is possible. “together, alone” seems to also be a social commentary and cautionary tale about just how much humans are disconnected to each other, despite the virtual/digital contact people have with others daily. Ziman is planning to release a new record sometime next month and it is expected that songs about life in the global crisis will be heavily featured. The soul-baring and creativity in Ziman’s storytelling is greatly appreciated and makes for a song that should resonate with individuals processing similar feelings. Although incredibly good as a balladeer, Elizabeth & the Catapult displays she is capable of a lot more on fabulously written and performed tunes such as “You And Me” and “Ambrosia”.

Jimkata – “Liar with the Lights On”: This synthpop trio’s new single is promotion for their upcoming album BONFIRES, expected to drop this spring. It will mark their first full-length album since 2017. They think of themselves as a synth-washed, electro-rock band and the three have garnered praise over the years from the likes of Billboard, Wonderland, American Songwriter, and others. The song lives up to the hype the blokes are receiving with dynamic beats and earnest vocals making for what should be a bonafide pop chart entry. The band also released a super trippy video for it, directed by Greg Ellis. The three middle school friends of Evan Friedell, Packy Lunn, and Aaron Gorsch have themselves a well-crafted catchy head bobber, but listeners should not let the upbeat presentation mislead them. Per the band’s Facebook page, Friedell wrote, ‘This song started as a simple, fun bass groove but by the time I got the idea for the chorus, I knew something more sinister was boiling underneath. It’s pretty clear we’ve been living in an era of lies, misinformation, delusions and mass deception and it was hard to not let that seep into my psyche and therefore the music.’ Those craving more pop precision from Jimkata will enjoy what they hear on “Blessings in Disguise” and “Wait for You”.

Flo Gallop – “21”: Reminiscent of Bridgit Mendler’s “Hurricane”, the London pop artist drops this bop that ought to rule the pop chart on both sides of the Atlantic. It is subject matter than a lot of women and even some men can relate to in terms of anticipating the symbolic age of coming into one’s own. Gallop ought to be admired for her transparency as on display with the song. The lyrics are relatable and Gallop unapologetically performs with honesty, which reinforces the anthem’s authenticity. “21” is well-sung, well-arranged, and well-produced, and its pop and hip-hop flair should give enable it to catch on with lovers of those genres. The song’s catchiness and Gallop’s genuine personality will help sell those on the fence. She clearly doing something right as praise has poured in from Earmilk, Live Nation’s Ones To Watch, and soon to be many more outlets worldwide.

Photo by David Myers

Emma Webb – “90s Playlist”: This marks the British singer-songwriter’s debut single and what a remarkable debut it is. With just a stream or two, people will find out how high-calibre this rising star really is. Webb possesses the skills to go far in the industry and her guitar play and dove-like voice make this folk ballad a delight. She has a way with words and sings them very, very well as evidenced on the single. The song is about good memories and good times with good company and just might be what a lot of people can use for hope and comfort. Besides having subject matter that resonates with the general public, Webb just does a fabulous job showing her future is bright as a singer-songwriter. Those who admire 90s icon Lisa Loeb will appreciate Webb and “90s Playlist” in all its glory.


saltlick – “steel phantom”: Brianna Snider is back with a single that goes back to saltlick’s indie rock roots. As of late Snider dropped electropop tunes like “and that’s not all!” and “Sad Song”, but here she provides evidence she still has it in terms of emo. The new tune shows fans she has not abandoned what brought her to prominence and has a lot left in the tank. Furthermore, it likely is a demonstration of what has been on Snider’s mind given the year we have all had and entrance into an uncertain year of cautious optimism of improvement in society. saltlick does a superb job maintaining the emo indie rock attitude of prior songs under this name. One thing is for sure: Snider gives 100% into every song that is put out there and with the new song, listeners are getting even more quality music to hear.

The Paisley Bandits – “Cotton Candy Skies”: The Central Ohio alt-country/folk band whose principal members, Jonathan Leonard and Jared Knutson plus bassist Zac Robinson, recently delivered their anticipated follow-up single to “New Orleans”. These fellas have a knack for playing high-level music as evidenced on their first song and “Cotton Candy Skies” does not disappoint. The mellow melodies make for nearly four minutes of authentic soothing sounds that help escape the tumultuous start to 2021. The vocals paint a picture and the visual enables the ideal escapism and peace people are seeking as they pursue happiness. The tune is a slower tempo than their premiere single, but the quality is equally as good. Great music is great music and look no further than to The Paisley Bandits who make the most of their musical chops on “Cotton Candy Skies”. It was a collaborative effort as Bobby Leonard engineered, musician Topher James contributed on violin, and Thom DiGiovanni provided the artwork. This team will be a force to be reckoned with in the local music scene for the foreseeable future.

Chey Rose – “Blush”: The enigmatic R&B/pop performer re-emerges with a bombastic ballad that has on-point melodies that work well with Rose’s vibrant vocals. This tune has all the makings of a high Top 40 chart entry and with the appropriate promotion, it will have a chance. The subject matter of love and desire combined with spot on harmonies plus Rose’s voice make for a fiery single that should garner the acclaim and accolades the song deserves. The Columbus, Ohio native currently calls Nashville home, so listeners and fans know from Rose’s experience in two quality music scenes that she means business. Fans of respected singers JoJo and Carly Rae Jepsen should love Chey’s latest and should give previously dropped gems “V.C.R.” and “Seventeen” a listen or two. Slowly, but surely Chey Rose is garnering cache in the industry and given what she has presented thus far, she has made it evident that she is in for the long haul.

Tommy Newport – “Yellow Lines”: The latest from the British-born, but U.S.-bred soloist possesses serious pop and funk vibes with brilliant beats and vivacious vocals. The tune oozes similar aptitude to other beloved singer-songwriters Beck and Simple Kid. “Yellow Lines” is a two-minute party that will get streamed over and over and should resonate with programmers at Top 40 stations. Newport is no stranger to the mainstream as his material has been featured in programming such as Ballers and The Sinner. Plus, he has been featured by outfits such as Flaunt Magazine, DIY Mag, Beats 1 Radio, among others. Newport has amassed a following with prior releases like “Marigold” and “Movie Screen”. Will this be the breakout year for this talented lad? Given what he has released thus far, there is no where for Newport to go but up.

Island Parkway – “It Could Be Right”: This jam is from the mind of Columbus soloist Pat Miller. With help from another relatively new artist Lonely Fossa, Miller has created a funky electropop gem destined to get some local love from the terrestrial and Internet radio stations. The song is performed with sincerity from the guitars to the vocals to the beats. The tune is the right mix of being upbeat and heartfelt simultaneously. If Island Parkway and Lonely Fossa are the future of the Columbus music scene, then the future is vivid as this is the type of music to keep people’s spirits up while they go through this nearly year-long crisis. A great deal or respect goes to Miller for providing good vibes during bad times.

Ghost Train – “Never Forget”: The Ohio rock trio is back with four minutes of All-American greatness. Technically, this tune was released at the tail end of 2020, but reeks of freshness compared to anything that has dropped as of late. Everyone plays their parts extremely well and the combined efforts equal a magnificent musical output that provides feel-good 80s vibes. For those who love old school rock n’ roll with a modern twist, Ghost Train is here to provide the good times. The blokes are always in a good mood and their morale and strong work ethic shine through their music. The presentation shows they mean business and take the craft of putting out top flight tunes seriously. The band still shows that music can be fun yet polished and professional at the same time. “Never Forget” is a terrific track to promote their upcoming EP expected to be titled Life Behind Bars.

Unrivaled – “Doppelganger”: The Cincinnati punk rockers premiered this single as further promotion for their album Quarter Life Crisis, due out in three days. The first two songs released from the record are the gems “I’ve Relapsed” and “Still Alive”. The trio gives their all on the record’s third release as the vocals are a perfect fit with the dynamic drumming, brilliant bass play, and gritty guitar work. The lads live up to their name as their brand of rock is polished and it is difficult to pinpoint a comparison to anyone else. On the other hand, per their Facebook page they name drop heavy hitters Green Day, Rise Against, and others who they likely draw inspiration from. The key is that these guys try to be themselves versus another version of somebody else making for something that is genuine and rocks all the same. Based on what Unrivaled has unveiled so far, they are in for a fantastic year of praise and accolades.

JET BLACK ALLEY CAT – “Paralyzed”: A week and a half ago, the Nashville quintet presented the music world with a fiery bop destined to storm the pop chart. The musicianship combined with the infectious and catchy vocals make the song a hit from the opening note to the last. Based on this terrific track alone, the best way to describe JBAC is 1/3 each of Nothing But Thieves, Clear Static, and The 1975. That makes for a killer combination providing danceable, head bobbing songs like “Paralyzed”. The track’s production is on point, reinforcing the notion band has a world class hit on their hands. One day, jam packed venues across the globe will be jamming to this song and other JBAC gems “She’s Alright” and “Ex Lover Syndrome”.

Sid – “Bridges”: The title track to the Mumbai-born singer-songwriter’s EP possesses authentic vocals and pristine beats making it worthy of widespread acclaim. Currently calling London home, Sid bares his soul on this tune and the accompanying two as they deal with his relocation. The gent has a fabulous future ahead of him as at the age of 18, he has generated a trio of songs full of transparency, sincerity, and hope. Sid puts himself out there and hits the target with not one, but three well-crafted ballads that tell a true story of idealism in the face of uncertainty. Those who love “Bridges” will feel emotion when streaming the equally wonderful songs “Connection” and “Fire”.

Song and Album Reviews of Artists on the Rise

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