Bubble Made Imagination – “I Stole an Aeroplane”: The act led by Columbus, Ohio musician Andy Dunfee returns with a change of tempo from prior releases. This time, the outfit goes the classic alternative ballad route and this alteration works to demonstrate Dunfee’s expansive array of talent as a songwriter and performer. On “I Stole an Aeroplane,” Dunfee is joined by vocalists Alec Cox and Cristina Crimaldi, percussionist Aaron Bishara, and trumpeter Tim Perdue with everyone hitting their parts to precision with a well-rounded tune as the result. The hybrid of old school alt-rock with a kick of the new generation has worked out for Bubble Made Imagination with their recorded works. If the band wishes to take the next step and perform their remarkable collection live in front of an audience, odds are Dunfee and company will pass with flying colors.
Pink Salt – “One Hour”: On the Columbus indie rock quintet’s second ever single, the group shows they have the chops to hang with the Capital City’s established bands. Standout elements on the new tune are the nifty guitar play and the Bob Dylan-esque vocals that are a nice change from what other local bands are providing. Everybody in Pink Salt knows how important their role in making the band successful and what listeners get is top-notch quality. The members’ motivation and individual skillsets make for a superb sophomore effort that is sure to be a hoot for listeners digitally and live in-person. The group has taken their talents to the live stage to a positive response thus far. Pink Salt’s confidence must be through the roof with not only well-received gigs, but terrific output courtesy of “One Hour” and its equally awesome predecessor “Paradisium Rex.”
Saltlick – “go away”: On July 9, highly regarded emo rock singer-songwriter Brianna Snider dropped this track about her experience returning to her hometown of Pittsburgh from a successful time musically in Columbus. The approximately three-minute song has that trademark Saltlick catchiness to it with some indie rock danceability, but the lyrics depict an underwhelming experience sung by Snider in a melancholy way. She takes a deflating moment in her life and sets it to a happy tone to reinforce her own unique take on emo. This gives listeners something to grasp onto that has a happy tone, but is balanced out by demoralizing verbiage that leaves listeners having empathy for Snider in her home again moment. This approach has been successful for Saltlick at this point as writing, playing, and singing about pain is commonplace for musicians. Everyone is pulling for Snider in turning her situations into a form of healing.
Faded Element – “Echo”: The pandemic has been difficult on most people, but making the most of it is this Canadian alternative rock act led by Drew Budd with Nick Iden playing the instruments along with handling mixing and mastering. Unable to meet in person, the duo took advantage of modern technological advances and managed to release a high-quality rock tune reminiscent of the days when Vertical Horizon and Matchbox Twenty ruled the airwaves. Budd’s chops hold up to the likes of Matt Scannell, Rob Thomas, and many others and Iden’s musicianship throughout the single is just as top tier as the vocals. As a formidable follow-up to their 2019 album Off The Back Burner, “Echo” demonstrates despite all the adversity thrown their way, Faded Element can craft fantastic music in terms of writing, production, and performing. Will they ever get to record and perform in person again? Only time will tell, but these guys have a lot left in the tank and are ready to go when the opportunity arises.
Roxy Mae – “Slips Away”: The Central Ohio outfit has had lineup changes over its decade-long run, but the one constant is the talent that is vocalist/guitarist Matt Starr. Joining Starr in the group’s current incarnation are drummer Patrick Bailey and bassist/vocalist Joe Black. This time out, Roxy Mae goes against type by releasing a ballad that draws from heartache Starr experienced. His authentic vocals combined with the consistent acoustic guitar in the first third of the song will hook listeners to empathize. In the song’s latter two-thirds, electric guitar dominates the tune and accompanied with superb drum play makes “Slips Away” a strong rock ballad reminiscent of when metal acts like Extreme, Poison, and Firehouse had a standout slower tempo song up their sleeves. Everyone involved in the making of the single should be proud of its release as it pulls on heartstrings just as much as it shows top-flight musical prowess.
The Safest Ledge – “What Have You Done”: The Youngstown, Ohio band sought to reinvent their mindset and sound from prior releases while maintaining the same quality. Co-written by the band and Steve Perrino (who also produced and engineered), “What Have You Done” does not disappoint as the new single is alternative emo at its finest. Their latest masterpiece is a solid melancholy flight that takes listeners on an addictive emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end. Those who get an earshot of it will have it on repeat until they have had their fill of this ingenious single. TSL created a playlist of tunes that inspired the creation of “What Have You Done” with Deftones and Citizen having multiple entries, as that should give listeners a look into the band’s mind as far as influences go. This strongly produced and solidly executed concoction should have a home on alternative and mainstream rock radio, but it is a matter of getting the right ears to focus on something so dramatic and personals from the group’s psyche. Nevertheless, this banger will be well-received as TSL is back to performing live and that is who the band ultimately wants feedback from.
Tess – “Bed Of Lies”: Released just a few days ago, the Nashville alternative rocker drops a piano-driven tune that makes the most out of her talent as a musician and a vocalist. The single serves to promote the release of an upcoming EP that is sure to impress as Tess sings from the heart and proves she has a powerful voice much like other pianists such as Tori Amos, Jillette Johnson, Fiona Apple, Alicia Keys, to name a handful. The subject matter of “Bed Of Lies” is relatable as it deals with ambition and identity, things very important to people who desire a better life for themselves. Tess’ passion and dedication are on full display within the song. She also has passion and dedication for the Music City’s in-house scene as she has built a backyard stage named Beep Bop Box out of pallets from a local brewery with a friend helping to hang some lights. The result has been intimate shows featuring Nashville’s underground talent and writers’ think tanks to positive reviews. The venture has gained buzz outside of the city as touring acts are now inquiring into performing on the backyard stage. Things are looking up for Tess onstage and off, musically, and behind the scenes and listeners and the like will be curious to see what the new record brings along with the house shows.
Meagan Hickman – “Obsession”: The newest from the Nashville-based pop-soul crooner serves as a follow-up to the much appreciated jazzy single “Still Here.” This time around, Hickman delivers a fancy dance tune that oozes sultriness by way of booming beats and Hickman’s vibrant vocals. The song may be short compared to other dance tracks out there, but that just means it will be on repeat until listeners can dance no more. The accompanying video directed by Cholette shows Hickman being empowering and alluring simultaneously while performing seductive and slithering movements throughout. Co-written by Hickman, Thomas Pino, and Evan Cline (who also produced), “Obsession” has the musical workings from top to bottom to be a success on the Top 40 and the club charts. The mixing and mastering were handled by Matt Harris and Chris Gehringer, respectively, with the latter having worked on songs by heavy hitters Dua Lipa, Halsey, and Selena Gomez. That kind of pedigree behind the scenes along with the skillset multi-instrumentalist Hickman brings to the table makes for a sizzling summer single sure to heat up earbuds and stereos everywhere.
WIESE – “Hear Me”: The latest from the suave Norwegian DJ/songwriter/producer dropped five weeks ago and has already amassed 150,000 streams on Spotify alone. The tune is a hybrid of house music and pop that is a perfect bop for the sweltering summer party scene. Joined by vocalists Erin Jarvis and Callen, “Hear Me” is considered an excellent song to emerge from the mandates and lockdowns from as the song is about busting out from the cocoons and getting back to a life of normal. With the beautiful beats combined with Jarvis and Callen’s vibrant and polarizing vocals, “Hear Me” is the lit anthem that some people need to hear as motivation to get back to the clubs, beaches, and house parties (post-vaccination, of course). The song is short and sweet clocking in at less than two and a half minutes, but what a booming tune it is. The official video will have people jumping and bumping as well as it tells a remarkable story of going from a ghost town to business as usual. People looking for good times will play this repeatedly, which might be the contributing factor to it catching on in such a brief time. The sky is the limit for WIESE as with over 15 million Spotify streams to date, he is on his way to joining popular DJs such as David Guetta, Calvin Harris, among others to stardom.