Although I spend a great deal of each year anticipating new releases from bands I already love, I love to come discover new things that draw me in and force me to listen. Whether it’s a group that I never paid much attention to previously, one that’s garnering a lot of new hype, or one I didn’t think I was into, it’s always a fantastic feeling to find something special unexpectedly. Some of my favorite releases from this year have fallen into this category, and that’s the precise reason why I try to give a few spins to as many new records as possible. There’s a lot of great stuff out there, and all you have to do to find it is to press play. This week, I’m sharing three of my favorite songs from acts that weren’t really on my anticipatory radar before 2013.
1. “Holding On To You” – Twenty | One | Pilots
Okay, so this one blurs the lines of my guidelines just a little bit, since I first heard it this past December. Whatever, Vessel dropped in January, and it’s been my favorite thing to this point. As the opener to the record, “Holding On To You” is a pretty great indicator of what’s to come: a big variety of sounds, the juxtaposition of introspective rapping and soaring choruses, plenty of catchy sections, and so much fun. If that doesn’t sound like your sort of thing, you’re probably wrong. Just hit play. There’s so much here that it’s impossible to not find at least one thing to love, whether that’s the massive chorus, the incredibly well-written bridge that builds until you think it can’t any more, or simply all of the energy throughout. As one of the youngest acts on Fueled By Ramen, this duo’s set to open for Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco this fall, and this track should be plenty evidence that they’ll be able to fill that huge role wonderfully.
2. “The One That Got Away” – The Civil Wars
I was first told about The Civil Wars near the end of 2011, and though I liked my few listens to Barton Hollow, I never really followed through with listening to this band on any sort of consistent basis. I think that the pair’s new self-titled record is going to change (read: “already has changed”) that. “The One That Got Away” simply has me hooked, as it balances an intensely emotional chorus with more intimate moments that are equally heavy and ties it all together with simple, yet powerful, lyricism. Reflecting the internal conflict between Joy Williams and John Paul White, the words show a connection so strong that it hurts, and these ideas are made that much stronger by the fantastic harmonies the two share. If you think you don’t like folk or country and haven’t heard this, give it a shot, and it just might change your mind. If you do like folk or country and haven’t heard this song yet, do it right now. Either way, you’ve been missing out.
3. “Chocolate” – The 1975
Every day for the past week or so, I’ve woken up with some part of this song in my head. I walk around and sing it to myself all day. And really, it’s not only this song. A lot of times, certain acts will build up massive hype, drawing praise from almost everyone in the music community, plenty of near-perfect reviews, and the critic’s overall stamp of approval and free pass for unlimited coverage and undying support. More often than not, I’ll see why that’s the case and still not be completely on board. This band, on the other hand, lives up to everything that’s been said about them. They deserve the hype. Every song I’ve heard from The 1975 has been incredible. I kick myself for missing out on the band’s recent tour when it came through my area a month or so ago. “Chocolate” exemplifies why all of this praise is deserved. The song’s endlessly catchy, but in a smart way. Matt Healy’s accent might take some getting used to, but his voice is tremendous and his lyrics are captivating. The guitar parts are earworms as much as the vocals are, and the track’s constructed perfectly. If you’re feeling it as much as I am, be sure to check out the band’s four EPs, and get ready for its upcoming debut next month. I’m already counting the days.