For this week’s feature, I wanted to recommend three songs from lesser-known bands that I’ve been playing nonstop recently. Unlike the previous installment, these tracks aren’t from upcoming releases, but rather the bands that seem to have the potential to become favorites in the coming months, if not sooner. Included are the very first song from a yearlong EP project, the final track from a brilliant recent pop-punk EP, and the lead single from a Punchline side project. Each song brings a different tone and offers unique lyrical content, but these are all well-written songs that should encourage you to explore these bands at least a bit more, at least once the Steelers are done winning the Super Bowl.
1. “Next To Me” – Sleeping At Last
I’m not a fan of the ukulele. I’m generally not the biggest fan of love songs. This song is the exception to both rules. While reminiscing on the heartfelt nostalgia of fearless childhood freedoms and accomplishments, Ryan O’Neal holds that nothing can surpass the feeling of having that one special person beside you. The song is intimate and beautiful without exception. Featuring instrumental parts not unlike those on Bright Eyes‘s Lifted…, the simple strumming is supplemented by brilliant piano bits and ambient vocals to create a dreamlike atmosphere that is perfectly suited to any flashback to sweetness of the past. What really sets this track apart, however, is the lyrics that manage to be at once deep, cute, and endlessly meaningful. The best parts come in the middle with the metaphor “if time is money, then I’ll spend it all on you./I’ll buy you flowers with the minutes we outgrew.” and at the end with the line “’cause there’s nothing in this world we can’t fix with some scissors and glue.” It’s the kind of writing that makes me jealous that I didn’t do it first, simply because of its greatness. This song is flawless.
2. “Golden” – Farewell Fighter
If you’ve followed my articles at all, you should know by now that I’m the kind of person who gets the most out of vocal melodies and lyrics. I believe that the simplest instrumentals often allow for the greatest exploration in the vocal department and for listeners to truly focus on the lyrics. This song is an excellent example of what I like. There is nothing overly complex in terms of guitars or drums, and the vocals are without doubt the most important part. Though they are a bit too low in the mix in the chorus, the excellence in the rest of the song more than makes up for it, as the lyrics hit on a myriad of life lessons, blending positivity and uncertainty exactly how I believe that most people actually feel at some point or another. In short, if you can’t relate to this song in one way or another, odds are you aren’t real. With songs like this and the rest of their recent EP, The Way We Learn, Farewell Fighter is an early pick to be this year’s Take Cover for me – the band that comes out of nowhere and blows me away with tons of passion and no record label. If you like pop-punk, either check out their EPs or miss out on something great.
3. “Stop Now, Start Again” – The Composure
As a fan of Punchline, I tend to follow the members of the band, especially when their record label, Modern Short Stories, adds to its roster an act that a few of them are also a part of. I first heard this track a little more than a month before Christmas, and it’s been in my head ever since. With the same feel as Punchline’ and labelmate Spontaneo‘s latest releases (Delightfully Pleased and For Those Who Can Whistle, respectively), it’s clear that Modern Short Stories is staying true to its mission to only release songs they love. This is punk-tinged pop-rock that features a massive hook in the chorus and some great harmonies and guitar parts to create an undeniable wholly catchy song. Though Paul Menotiades typically serves as second vocalist for Punchline, he is more than capable of fronting a band, as he proves here, commanding attention with his voice while playing some fun little riffs. Though he trades off on the vocal duties a bit, it’s his voice that will draw listeners in and keeps them wanting more. This is the band’s debut single, but the quality of this song could have come from a veteran band, and that is something that sets the track apart. Pay attention to the little things here, it’s worth it.