Song: “Quarter Life Crisis”
Evocative danceable pop with an uplifting message backed by dense, danceable backing instrumentals. The sawtooth bass and rapid-fire vocal delivery in the verse of “Quarter Life Crisis” especially add an edgy and frantic little flair to this bumping tune.
Artist: The Ocean Blue
Song: “All The Way Blue”
Album/EP: Kings and Queens / Knaves and Thieves
Glitzy and mysterious 80s alternative pop shrouded by dusk, “All The Way Blue” drips with so much noir nostalgia it’s almost stifling. Crooning vocals, delicate touches of piano, and several layers of keys and reverb-heavy guitars add to the bittersweet tone.
Artist: The Gerald Peter Project
Song: “Enigma (feat. Julie Elven)”
Heavy gothic progressive with a key foray into cyberpunk-esque synth features in place of guitar melodics, “Enigma” is a sprawling and intense epic. Operatic vocals by featured singer Julie Elven add a layer of ominous haunting above the complicated arrangement and champion effort on both drums and keys, culminating in a climatic overture.
Artist: Carousel Kings
Song: “Lock Meowt”
Album/EP: Plus Ultra
A YouTube commenter called this tune ‘easycore’, and I find that descriptor absolutely perfect. Pop punk that still maintains that blissfully immature core but gets a bit more complicated with its syncopated guitars and compound structure, Carousel Kings pull a Fall Out Boy-meets-math-rock feel – how very year 20XX.
Artist: Tony Molina
Song: “Not The Way To Be”
Album/EP: Songs From San Mateo County
Short and sweet alt rock that cuts deep with a light heartfelt performance bookending a sudden eye-catching Weezer-esque rock bridge, “Not The Way To Be” comes from a cassette-era release of rarities that might explain the 90s influence. Bay-area artist Tony Molina seems to be a local classic, and this tune sounds like a characteristic snippet of the musician’s work: a short, to-the-point observation encapsulated within juicy fleeting tidbits.