Diving At Dawn

Diving At Dawn Shares Unreleased Song from 25 Years Ago

Diving At Dawn I Can't Love You Anymore

Indie folk artist Pete Hobbs of Diving At Dawn finds redemption in releasing a single dating 25 years back. Diving At Dawn’s latest single, “I Can’t Love You Anymore,” brings back a history of turmoil for Hobbs. The London-based singer was the frontman of the band User at the time this song came to life. The three-piece power pop band had the opportunity to record “I Can’t Love You Anymore” with The Stones Roses producer Paul Schroeder. Shortly after, a record deal came to fruition, and Abbey Roads Studios was booked. Unfortunately for User, everything came crashing down in a dramatic stream of events that prevented the band from being signed and recording.

Hobbs went on to find success with The Boy Least Likely To, an English indie pop duo formed in 2002. The group has been supported by BBC Radio and Pitchfork. Their songs were also featured in films and tv shows like Easy A and Grey’s Anatomy.

With his solo project, Diving At Dawn, Hobbs revamped “I Can’t Love You Anymore” from its original power pop state to a more intimate folk ballad. Sometimes, songs have a way of coming full circle, and this one took a little reminder from Pete’s mom to inspire a journey back in time.

“It’s very strange to go back and inhabit something you created 25 years ago; much more
emotional than I had anticipated. It’s almost impossible not to look back and wonder what my younger self, who had his whole career ahead of him…would
think of how it all unfolded. It’s a beautiful full-circle moment for me.”

“I Can’t Love You Anymore” Song Review

“I Can’t Love You Anymore” encapsulates the backstory of a song that has taken the toll of time. It is a timeless tale of love, rejection, and a broken heart that resonates with those young and old. The song initially captivates with its melodic feel and almost seems to have been in the world this whole time. “I Can’t Love You Anymore” brings familiar feelings of longing for something you missed but couldn’t quite recall what it was. The folk ballad style of the latest version suits Diving At Dawn’s quintessential melancholic soundscapes.

Through the push and pull of the end of a relationship, the song embodies dispair, loneliness, and glimmers of hope. Diving At Dawn brings instant emotional connection with vulnerable vocals and sorrowful lyrics. “And I know I’m never gonna see you again, and the way I’m feeling now I’m better off dead, I know I’m only happy when I’m falling apart…” Hobbs transitions into a much more uplifting chorus of realizing all will be okay and he will prevail.

If you’re a fan of Beck, Van Halen, Wings, or similar artists, be sure to press play on “I Can’t Love You Anymore” from Diving At Dawn. Other recommended tracks include “Playing Your Records,” as previously featured on our blog, and “Lying By Myself.”

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best emerging indie artists

Best Emerging Indie Artists: Summer 2023 Wrap-Up

Did you find your song of the summer? Do you have a list of your favorite albums of 2023 so far? Maybe you caught onto Del Water Gap if you watched The Summer I Turned Pretty. Or if you followed along with the New Music Friday trends, you probably checked out Olivia Rodrigo, The National, and Morgan Wallen. If you’re still searching for some of the best emerging indie artists of the year, stay tuned for a breakdown of new music discoveries. Our summer 2023 wrap-up will put some new artists on your radar as we head into spooky season.

best emerging indie artists

Best Emerging Indie Artists Summer 2023

Amanda Cross: Folk/Acoustic/Alt-Country

Amanda Cross’s music blends several genres, from folk to Americana, country, and rock. Her summer single “Desert Rose” has a haunting aspect that undoubtedly captures the atmosphere of the desert. The song comes to a powerful height, demonstrating Amanda’s vocal range and talent. “Desert Rose” sparks a similar feel to “The River” by Daisy Jones & The Six. Amanda Cross followed this single with “Tennesee,” a more stripped-down folk ballad.

ANI: Soul pop

ANI is a soul-pop artist whose music is pure, calming, and heartfelt. Her single, “Miss U,” is an easy-listening earworm and a perfect addition to any chill-out playlist. The bassline on this track drives the song but pauses for the listener to focus on the vocals and lyrics. The chorus is memorable and soothing as it echoes in your head. ANI most recently released “Waiting Game,” which features more of her soulful vocals and sultry sound.

Lucius Arthur: Pop/Rock/Punk

Lucius Arthur is a pop-rock/punk artist from the U.K. His summer single, “Bad Trip,” proved to be a success for his audience. “Bad Trip” creeps into your head and instantly has you singing along in an angsty way. The vocals are inviting and unique, calling upon fans of Måneskin or The Struts.

Lucius recently followed “Bad Trip” with “Scarlet Tears,” a 90s-inspired single with a guitar style similar to Radiohead. He shows an array of emotions in his voice and a wide vocal range to keep the atmosphere captivating. After hearing these tracks, fans should be enthralled with the surprises in Lucius Arthur’s music.

Luther Clayton: Folk/Acoustic/Pop

Luther Clayton is an emerging singer-songwriter from the U.K. His recent single, “It’s Amazing,” showcases his songwriting talent and acoustic influences. The slow-building progression of this song keeps listeners eager to hear the story unfold. Moreover, the lyrics are eloquently written and delivered by Luther’s unmistakable vocals. You can hear musical inspiration from Luther’s influences, Ben Howard, Bon Iver, and David Gray. “It’s Amazing” is a heartbreaking track with an unexpected yet relatable ending.

Elijah Delgado: Indie rock/Singer-songwriter

Elijah Delgado’s music is for fans of Gary Clark Jr., John Mayer, Young the Giant, or Paulo Nutini. His latest single, “Pipe Dream,” draws listeners in with a minimal introduction focusing on the vocals and lyrics. “Pipe Dream” has many layers that play to Delgado’s depth and ability to blend genres. The structure of this song continues to give as it builds to a culminating high.

Best Emerging Indie Artists Summer 2023

Del Water Gap: Indie pop

Del Water Gap (Samuel Holden Jaffe) is the most recognized artist on this list. His music became more prevalent with the second season of The Summer I Turned Pretty. His infectious singles, “All We Ever Do Is Talk,” “Losing You,” and “Coping On Unemployment” have infinite plays.

As a follow-up to his 2021 debut, Del Water Gap released his sophomore LP I Miss You Already + I Haven’t Left Yet. This album includes indie pop bops that will carry you into the end of the year. Standout tracks apart from the singles include “NFU” and “Glitter & Honey.” Del Water Gap’s second album is certainly gearing up to be a contender for AOTY.

Edgar Everyone: Electropop

Edgar Everyone is a French artist living in L.A. His most recent single, “Time is a nonlinear joke,” merges electronic, pop, dance, and funk. His style of music would resonate with fans of Tame Impala, Gorillaz, or Thundercat. “Time is a nonlinear joke” is psychedelic, melodic, and particularly transcendent. This track makes a great addition to any festival or concert pump-up playlist.

Cati Landry: Indie pop/Dream pop

Cati Landry is a Canadian singer-songwriter who fuses indie, alt, and dream pop sounds. Her latest track, “Mind’s Eye,” is undeniably memorable and melodic. The chorus flawlessly achieves the goal of being catchy within the first few seconds. The combination of romanticism alongside poetic lyrics encourages you to dig deeper. Cati’s vocals seem to float as they carry the atmosphere of this song. “Mind’s Eye” is full of dreamy melodies and longing expressions that will stick in your head.

LiketheAstronaut: Alternative

LiketheAstronaut is a new project from John Glenn of the band Stellar Young. Together with Dave Parker (Weerd Science producer), Josh Eppard (Coheed & Cambria drummer), and Kyle Hatch (Stellar Young guitarist), they released their debut EP. The EP, Moments Before, covers grief, new life, and reflection presented in an organic blend of soundscapes.

“A Part” is the lead single from this project, which holds a scope of deeper emotions masked by upbeat elements. “Slumber Still” is a favorite from the EP that pulls in every direction of life when you explore the lyrics. “Slumber Still” has layers of despair, vulnerability, and hope. The contrast of the ethereal instrumentals and significantly personal lyrics will have you listening repeatedly.

PRIMOVERE: Indie pop/Altnernative

PRIMOVERE is an 8-piece Italian group that combines influences of indie pop, post-rock, new wave, and classical music. Their two most recent singles, “Funeral” and “Dopamine,” both hit with an abundance of emotions.

On “Funeral,” a glimpse of hope shines in the chorus of a mostly subdued and melancholic track. The song starts soft and focused, gradually building to a more amplified sound. The feelings of “Funeral” pierce the audience both musically and lyrically. “Dopamine” follows a similar suit, with flawless vocals and a clearly communicated message. The style of PRIMOVERE echoes the likes of The National with their ability to evoke a goosebump feeling from a ‘never-before-heard’ song.


Other best emerging indie artists of the summer include Holly Humberstone, Babe Rainbow, Shak SYrn, Anthony Ortiz, Nation of Language, and Cannons. All of these artists and more are featured in a selection of playlists below.

BEST EMERGING INDIE ARTISTS PLAYLISTS

NEW MUSIC EMERGING NOW

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WOMEN TO WATCH: EMERGING FEMALE ARTISTS

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Ryan Hommel Daisy Jones

Daisy Jones Music Director, Ryan Hommel, Releases First Album in 8 Years

For the past two and a half years, Ryan Hommel worked alongside the cast of Daisy Jones & The Six as the guitar/bass coach and Music Director. Yes, that means he taught cast members like Sam Claflin and Riley Keough to play guitar and become a band in the hit series for Amazon Prime Video. Through the ups and downs of the pandemic and the steadfast dedication of the production team and cast, Daisy Jones & The Six came to life in 2023.

Ryan Hommel, a Massachusetts-based guitar player, songwriter, and singer, recently released his first album since 2015. Default To Open is the second full-length album from Ryan, dating back to 2016 when he recorded these songs. The lead singles from this album showcase his raw talent and knack for penning songs that resonate with a wide range of music fans. Gaining insight into the stories behind these songs makes the album all the more intriguing to hear them after eight years.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Ryan Hommel to learn more about this collection of songs. In the past eight years, Ryan welcomed a lot of changes. Of course, the pandemic delayed the filming of Daisy Jones & the Six, but the time spent with the cast solidified his journey as Music Director. After touring with Amos Lee’s band as a guitar and pedal steel player, Ryan welcomed a baby girl earlier this year. Going from uncertainty to fatherhood has led Ryan to new endeavors, beginning with the release of Default To Open.

Ryan Hommel Daisy Jones

Ryan Hommel Interview

POETRY DANS LA RUE: You seem to be all over recently with Daisy Jones & The Six, your music, and your family. What’s the backstory to where you are now?

Ryan Hommel: “I’m originally from Massachusetts. My wife and I met here and decided to move to L.A. together. We lived in L.A. for about four years, which included the time during the pandemic, then we moved back to Massachusetts when we found out we were expecting a baby. Now we have a five-month-old daughter.”

PDLR: So I saw your album, Default To Open, was recorded in Nashville. Can you talk about that time in your life?

Ryan Hommel: “We recorded the album almost entirely in Nashville at Blackbird Studio. I used to drive a lot from Massachusetts to Nashville. I wanted to absorb the world of country music that I didn’t grow up in. Being surrounded by that community, I became passionate about playing pedal steel and met many people in the music industry.”

Behind Default To Open

PDLR: You recently released “Bury Me” and “All the Time in the World” as the first two singles. Can you talk about why you led the album with those songs?

Ryan Hommel: “When I listened to the whole record, those songs popped out to me as singable. I love songs that you can immediately sing along to. It makes listeners feel the song is familiar and they’ve known it forever. I’m not saying these songs achieved that necessarily, but most of the record doesn’t come close to doing that. Some other songs are more exploratory, longer, and experimental in songwriting. “Bury Me” and “All the Time in the World” felt like a good way to introduce the record to new ears.”

PDLR: I’ve had more time with the singles, of course, than the other tracks, but I do agree. “Bury Me” has been in my head a lot. It is singable and maybe more melodic, which people can easily pick up on. I also picked out “Wide Open” from the other songs, which was a little longer. It was more in-depth, and I liked the direction it went.

Ryan Hommel: “That’s great to hear because “Wide Open” is the first song I ever wrote. Default To Open is made of songs like that. It was my first experience putting these songs together from different times. Default To Open has been finished for eight years, since 2016. It almost feels like a compilation album, putting pieces of my writing together but only from a decade ago and earlier. The most recently written song on the record is the last track, “Brent Song.” I wrote this as a friend of mine passed away eight years ago. So the album comprises pieces of my life from before until 2016.”

“From an archiving standpoint and gaining a new perspective with my daughter being born, it matters that these songs are out there.”

Ryan Hommel: “I’m glad you responded to “Wide Open.” It feels surreal to me that that song will be in the world. From an archiving standpoint and having a new perspective with my daughter being born, it matters that these songs are out there. It’s also cathartic and rewarding to know that my daughter will be able to find that.

Sitting on these songs and having more time to reflect gave me an extended perspective. I feel more lighthearted about the record and less attached to it as a whole, but it’s a point in time that paints one picture.

I’ve done a lot of touring and come across so many songwriters. I’ve had more time to absorb how artists perform, interact, and adapt. You can interact with your art in many ways, and people will find their meaning once it’s out there. Art and music breathe new life into other people, and they breathe new life back into it.”

PDLR: Do you have a specific song that was the most rewarding to write or that you hit exactly what you were trying to convey?

Ryan Hommel: “I think “Wide Open” came out exactly how that song should be presented. Even if I’m unsure what that means, I’ve never felt that after recording a song. “Wide Open,” “Bury Me,” and “All the Time in the World” were songs that I recorded by setting up a guitar and vocal with a drummer in another booth at Blackbird.

All of the vocals on this record are primarily live, with the main guitar layer and the drums. Filling in the blanks with bass, other guitar parts, pedal steel, and keyboard was rewarding. It was me supplementing the barebones tracks we had from the recordings. I felt proud of “Wide Open” from the initial performance and what it was after we finalized the production.

In the song “Same Side,” the album’s third single, I played everything from top to bottom. “Same Side” occurred at my friend Ryan Ordway’s studio in New Hampshire. I went in with this song and planned to record it in a day. I started with an acoustic guitar and a vocal and added drums, bass, some other guitars, and pedal steel. Going in with a blank canvas like that and sitting back and listening after a day is a satisfying feeling.”

Musical Influences

PDLR: Who were some of your musical influences growing up, or who inspires you in your music?

Ryan Hommel: “My dad introduced me to a lot of guitar-based music as a young teenager. He was trying to get me out of my Stevie Ray Vaughan fixation at that age. He bought me a Steely Dan, a Jeff Beck, and a Robben Ford record. The guitar playing was nothing like what I was listening to at the time. My dad tried to show me that while Stevie Ray was excellent, there was another world of guitar players.

Before that, the music in my house was Stevie Wonder, Aretha, and Elvis Presley. Those were my first music memories, along with Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly, and Howlin’ Wolf. My favorite current band has been Dawes. They are my gold standard in writing, performing, playing, and overall class and evolution.”

Daisy Jones & The Six

PDLR: How did you come into your role with the Daisy Jones series, and what was it like working with the cast?

Ryan Hommel: “So when my wife and I moved to L.A. at the end of 2019, I got a call from Tony Berg. He is an incredible producer and one of my producer heroes (Andrew Bird, Phoebe Bridgers, boygenius). I met him the year before, and he kept telling me to move to L.A. When we decided to move, he called me and said he had a two-month gig to teach guitar and bass to a handful of actors. The actors would come together and make this fictional band known as Daisy Jones & The Six from the book by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

At the time, Blake Mills and Tony Berg were running Sound City Studios in L.A., where many iconic artists have recorded. The show signed Tony as the Music Consultant for Daisy Jones & The Six and Blake Mills as the Executive Music Producer. Blake Mills wrote or co-wrote and produced all of the music for the soundtrack (alongside collaborators Tony Berg, Phoebe Bridgers, Taylor Goldsmith, Marcus Mumford, and Chris Weisman, among others). A huge bonus was the proximity to and the use of Sound City. The reality of the songwriting process and location mimicked the book’s storyline. So, plugging this fictional band into that time period and space was so surreal.

“The initial call was to have Daisy Jones & The Six be a fully functional band. If you put them on stage, they should be able to play this music flawlessly.”

I was set up across the street with Frankie Pine, the Music Supervisor, and a handful of other music coaches (drums, keyboard, vocal). We were working with the cast across the parking lot from Sound City. I was teaching Riley Keough (Daisy Jones), Will Harrison (Graham Dunne), and Josh Whitehouse (Eddie Roundtree) at the time, which was January 2020. Sam Claflin (Billy Dunne) came in around when everything shifted because of the pandemic.

They kept us remotely working on Zoom to keep the band learning. The cast members needed help learning their instruments and focusing on their characters’ roles, so most of that was done individually. Because I had been doing that, working with them collectively as a band made sense. So that’s how I fell into the role of Music Director for them as a band. Enter Suki Waterhouse (Karen Sirko) and Sebastian Chacon (Warren Rhodes), and we had Daisy Jones & The Six.”

Ryan Hommel Daisy Jones
Ryan working with Riley Keough (Daisy Jones)

“The initial call was to have them be a fully functional band even though they will be miming to recordings on the set. If you put them on a stage, they should be able to play this music flawlessly. That was a tall order, but everyone did their best and committed to the role.

Before we finally started shooting after the delay, we gathered the band at SIR in Hollywood for a private showcase. The showcase included everyone involved in making the show, like Taylor Jenkins Reid (book author), the Hello Sunshine media crew, Scott & Lauren Neustadter (creator), Reese Witherspoon (executive producer), Amazon, all the music crew, and more. It was particularly humbling to be a part of something that massive.

They absolutely achieved their goal, and they played the songs. They pretty much played the AURORA record front to back. Nabiyah Be (Simone) sang “A Song For You.” It was remarkable to see it pay off after keeping it going for so much longer than expected. They can all play and sing and have a natural chemistry that you can feel in the room.

My role transitioned into being on set with them whenever music was on camera. It was such a thrill to be there and coach them through those scenes. They were driven, motivated, and dedicated to learning to play music together, which certainly shows.”

PDLR: That’s incredible to hear your perspective. When reading a book, you envision how it will look. But then there was the uncertainty of not knowing if the show would happen or when. So when you hear it from you, it’s cool to see they came together as a band and learned it. You can see the realness in the show and the chemistry that you mention.

Daisy Jones Ryan Hommel

Looking Ahead For Ryan Hommel

PDLR: What’s next for you after the release of Default To Open?

Ryan Hommel: “The last record I put out was in 2015, and I began writing Default To Open around the same time. Of course, all these years have passed, and life has changed significantly. I’ve taken myself off the road to be with family and raise my daughter with my wife. I want to be present.

Releasing this record is putting me back in the game of how the industry works today. I’ve aided many people or worked on other records as a producer but haven’t put myself out there in a long time. I thank Greg Hall for running the backend of the album release and managing this campaign.

We hope that this album sets me up for future releases. I’ve already started working on the next record, which is more rooted in my life now, becoming a father and what family has come to mean. I enjoy getting the word out there and connecting with people in the music industry.

Ryan Hommel Ghost Hit Recording
Ghost Hit Recording Future Home of the 1 to 1 Sessions

After releasing this record, I’m starting a new live in-studio video series. It’s something similar to Daytrotter or Audiotree. This project would be about working with new artists that I usually wouldn’t have the chance to, but they are coming through town on tour or local to this area.

The idea is to bring them to Ghost Hit Recording studio in West Springfield, MA, where I often work. The studio was built into this church from 1800, and the live room is the sanctuary with the original pipe organ. It’s just a place where you feel especially compelled to make music. I’d love to bring in artists as a stop on their tour and cut some live footage, very minimally mic’ed. It’s going to be called the 1:1 Sessions. It’ll be a YouTube channel and a website.”


Be sure to check out Default To Open, available on all streaming platforms. Keep up with Ryan’s endeavors on social media and follow the 1:1 Sessions on Instagram and YouTube.

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"Big Eyes" by Gold Record

“Big Eyes” by Gold Record Emulates Beautiful Melodies & Desert Vibes

California experimental pop band Gold Record recently released the heartfelt single “Big Eyes.” This melodic track will appear on the band’s upcoming full-length album, Desert Soul, set for release in October. “Big Eyes” is a lyrically thought-provoking ballad penned by songwriter Noah Clark. The track is mixed and produced by Nicolas Vernhes, known for his work with Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective, and The War on Drugs. Gold Record creates peaceful yet vibrant soundscapes with this summer single.

Pulling from local inspiration, the band set out to record this project around Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert. “Big Eyes” whispers evocative lyrics like, “You’re talking like you’d run this bar here better. The scent of the ink from old love letters lingers like the scars from times you’d met her…when the chords you borrowed were the only ones she liked.”

Gold Record Big Eyes

Our Review of “Big Eyes” by Gold Record

For fans of Dirty Projectors, Tame Impala, Passion Pit, or LCD Soundsystem

The downtempo style of “Big Eyes” perfectly suits this heartfelt ballad. The atmosphere of the chorus allows the listener to reflect on the story while consuming soul-stirring melodies. Lyrically, the track hits the scope of the emotions that Noah Clark is sharing. “Big Eyes” is a nice contrast to some of Gold Record’s previous singles. Furthermore, this song shows the depth Gold Record has to offer as songwriters, performers, and recording artists.

If you’re looking for some chill-out desert vibe tracks, you will appreciate the laidback style and grooves of Gold Record. Songs like “Big Eyes,” “The Groove Infinite,” and “Azalea Charms” capture the feeling of the desert heat and palm trees waving. Kick back and meditate to these breezy and transcendent tunes for the end of summer.

Check out the “Big Eyes” music video below and be on the lookout for the band’s full-length album, Desert Soul, coming October 2023.

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Emerging Female Artists

Emerging Indie Female Artists Summer 2023

It’s no secret that more and more women are dominating the music industry and finding unique ways to get their voices heard. This month, we’ve received countless buzz-worthy submissions from emerging indie female artists all over the globe. This post highlights some phenomenal women to watch for the summer in the independent music scene.

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Emerging Indie Female Artists

Emerging Indie Female Artists

ALBA

ALBA is a French pop artist who released her most recent EP, Le bon sens, on July 5th. Her polarizing two-single project, “Oh! Chéri !” and “Oui chérie ?” shows a relationship from both sides (chéri/chérie) with two different production styles.

The first, “Oh! Chéri !” depicts a frustrated partner singing, “dis-moi pourquoi avec toi, c’est toujours comme ça ? Les promesses vaines, ta mauvaise foi* !” While the visual is in color, the song stays in a melancholic realm of doubt, unanswered questions, and exasperation. In contrast, “Oui chérie ?” is a more upbeat, synth-pop track responding to all the questions. “J’ai jamais menti. Je vois bien le problème, mais moi, j’ai rien promis**.” ALBA portrays this “couldn’t care less” side of the story in a black & white video accompanied by violins and a Latin influence.

*Tell me why it’s always the same with you? Your vain promises and bad faith.

**I never lied. I can see the problem, but I didn’t promise anything.

Amelie Lucille

Emerging Indie Female Artists

Amelie Lucille’s latest single, “Mess,” will have you questioning whether you are listening to Billie Eilish, Nina Nesbitt, or Olivia Rodrigo. The NYC indie-folk artist released her self-titled debut EP on June 15th. At the young age of 14, she already sets herself apart with her classic influences ranging from Björk to Lana Del Rey. Her pure vocals and tone highlight her “old soul” mentality. “Mess” is one of seven tracks on her EP. The single is well-polished, exquisitely written, and perfectly delivered. Within seconds of listening to this track, you won’t believe your ears. Furthermore, Amelie Lucille emulates raw talent and poise and is undoubtedly an artist to watch in the indie scene.

Ferielle

Emerging Indie Female Artists

Parisian pop artist Ferielle shares singles “JAMAIS” and “JETER UN SORT” on her debut EP l’eau qui dort. Her voice is sublime and rich, often compared to the likes of Maggie Rogers or King Princess in her musical style. You may recognize her 2022 single, “dis-moi on où va,” from season 3 of Emily in Paris. Her voice is undoubtedly recognizable, soft, and ethereal. The catchy melodies in “dis-moi où on va” and “JAMAIS” linger in your head, even if you don’t speak French. Her music transports you to a lighthearted rom-com movie you idolized in the 90s.

Hello Sister

Emerging Indie Female Artists

Pop-punk sister trio, Hello Sister, is on a kick to follow the path of the Jonas Brothers but in the musical style of Avril Lavigne or Paramore. The Orlando, Florida sisters previously appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2021. This year, the pop-rock teens shared a catalog of singles, including “Invisible Girl,” “Lately,” “Things You Never Said,” and “tragic.” “Invisible Girl” shows a softer, more emotional side to the group, while “Lately” brings on Avril-esque teenage angst. Their songs are incredibly catchy and memorable, staying with you even after one listen. The lyrics relate to teenagers going through similar growing pains in relationships, friendships, life, and love. Above all, Hello Sister demonstrates a knack for blending genres with their charismatic flair.

Kaÿcie

Kaÿcie is a Franco-American artist born in France known for her folk/pop indie style. Her single, “MOON,” is an innovative blend of indie, pop, folk, and acoustic styles. A haunting twangy guitar rings out in the introduction, encouraging the listener to stay alert. Kaÿcie’s folky vocals lure you in and draw you to the chorus, encompassed by rock-esque guitars as it builds. It’s alluring, earthy, serene, and thought-provoking.

Her recent single, “Young Hearts,” showcases her superb vocal ability, soft indie folk style, and poetic lyricism. The chorus soars over a harmony of “My young heart is old, for my love is bold, and your fire’s beauty to behold.” Kaÿcie’s songwriting shines brightly on this track as she uses imagery to describe how her youth has dwindled, revealing an older, wiser, more poised version of herself in love.

Micaela Kleinsmith

Micaela Kleinsmith is a South African country artist and the first winner of the Apple TV+ series My Kind of Country. The series, executive produced by Reese Witherspoon and Kacey Musgraves, features coaches from the country music scene. Orville Peck scouted and coached Micaela on the show, leading her to victory. Micaela dazzled her audience with hit singles like “If I Die Young,” “Need You Now,” and “Good Kisser.” The soulful artist shared her original songs “Stupid Love” and “Butterfly” while on the show.

Micaela’s recent EP Butterfly includes her most popular single, “Raise This Cup,” a dance-worthy country drinking song. In contrast, a softer side reflects in her latest release, “Over You,” with Rudi Simon & Marcel Aquila. “Over You” spotlights her rich vocals on a surprising dance track showing her depth outside of the country music world.

Naya

Emerging Indie Female Singers

French singer-songwriter Naya shared her single, “vaguémo,” a melancholic dream-pop tune. The gloomy lyrics create a somber and sorrowful atmosphere around her mesmerizing vocals. Her voice is unique and memorable after a few seconds, setting her apart from many artists in this genre. The chorus draws listeners into a trancelike state as her voice rings out, “comme une tempête qui souffle dans ta tête, et tout le flot, tout le flot de cette vague émo*.”

Naya’s hypnotic vocals and distinctive style put her in line with the likes of Holly Humberstone, Gracie Abrams, and Beach House. Most recently, Naya opened for The 1975 at the gorgeous L’Olympia music hall in Paris.

*Like a storm blowing in your head, and all the flood, all the flood of this emo wave.

Sarah Lake

Emerging Indie Female Artists

Nashville country artist and former American Idol top 20 contestant, Sarah Lake, has had success lately with her single, “Good to Be Gone.” She released two versions of the track; a radio single and an acoustic version. Sarah co-wrote “Good to Be Gone” with Songland finalist Alyssa Newton. The song is produced by her husband and Grammy Nominated producer Ernie Lake. Sarah’s voice sounds flawless in this summer breakup track, especially on the acoustic version. The lyrics and storytelling aspect put you directly into the singer’s shoes. “Good to Be Gone” is an immediate earworm stuck in your head for days.

Sarah recently released a collaborative single with Lucas Grabeel entitled “Back to You.” She follows this with her brand-new track, “To Alabama,” a love song to Alabama, a peaceful place to escape. The single is a writing collaboration with the Nashville country rock group Everette.

tiger del flor

Emerging Indie Female Musicians

Emerging indie pop artist tiger del flor drops an ‘in-your-face’ grunge-inspired single, “shut up and kiss me!” You may recognize the singer from the popular reality series Love Island, USA (Season 4). Del flor makes a bang with “shut up and kiss me!” combining pop, punk, and grunge elements. She pays homage to fellow Seattle legends Nirvana, Hole, and Mudhoney, some of the groups she grew up listening to. “Shut up and kiss me!” is melodic, edgy, seductive, and nostalgic; it creeps into your ears and echos in your brain. tiger del flor is gearing up to release her debut EP see me in hell.

Discover these incredible Emerging Indie Female Artists and so many others on our “New Music Emerging Now” playlists for the season.

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New Music Spring

New Music Emerging Now: Spring Fever

If you want to catch up on the best new music releases this spring, look no further than our New Music Emerging Now: Spring Fever playlists. As always, this past season has unlimited music to discover from your favorite indie, pop, singer-songwriter, and alternative artists. Strong album releases came this month from Ed Sheeran, The National, and Joy Oladokun. Hot new spring singles included drops from Babe Rainbow, The Japanese House, Anderson Hao, and Diving at Dawn. Take a deep dive into our New Music Spring playlists below as the holiday weekend kicks off into summer.

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new music emerging now spring

New Music Emerging Now // Spring Albums & EPs

Ed Sheeran--Subtract // Singer-songwriter

Ed Sheeran shares an emotional diary of personal turmoil in relationships and professional life on -Subtract. The preliminary concept of Subtract was always acoustic and stripped down, but recent events in his private life tragically lined up with the theme. Sheeran sought instrumentals from Aaron Dessner of The National to channel some of Subtract’s more profound, intimate moments. Sheeran processes the loss of best friend Jamal Edwards and touches on grief, depression, and uncertainty. He pens his deepest, darkest songs with “Salt Water,” “Sycamore,” and “Borderline.” “Life Goes On” relates to grieving the loss of his friend while the world spins on with the daily grind.

In contrast, “Dusty” is the perfect parent-child track about listening to records and being carefree in a moment of childhood innocence. The song is squeezed between heavier tracks, bringing sunshine as Sheeran recounts a shared morning ritual with his oldest daughter. Subtract lulls to a close with a Celtic-inspired tune, “The Hills of Aberfeldy,” written with Foy Vance, to give a solemn and yearning end to a primarily heartbreaking album.

Joy Oladokun-Proof of Life // Singer-songwriter/Folk

Joy Oladokun delivers Proof of Life, a stepping-out for the upcoming artist. The album sends an uplifting message to those going through “Changes,” trying to remain hopeful and working on self-improvement. Standout tracks that convey the message of the album include “Taking Things For Granted,” “Somebody Like Me,” and “Trying.” On these tracks, Oladokun longs for acceptance and understanding while challenging herself to be unbothered by opinions.

The range of artists on this album flaunts Oladokun’s genre-crossing flair. The Nashville-local singer is opening for Noah Kahan on his headlining tour, who is featured on “We’re All Gonna Die.” Other emotive collaborations on Proof of Life feature Mt. Joy, Chris Stapleton, Manchester Orchestra, and Maxo Kream. “Sweet Symphony” ft. Chris Stapleton accentuates the soulfulness of the two artists’ voices. Proof of Life is soul-searching, eloquent, and introspective, often sounding like pages of a musical diary.

The National-First Two Pages of Frankenstein // Alternative

Excerpt by Kate Freeman@what.kate.listens.to

The National’s most recent LP almost didn’t happen. Twins Aaron and Bryce Dessner crafted their signature undulating instrumental pieces, while lead singer Matt Berninger struggled to pen lyrics due to depression and writer’s block. Thankfully, two things helped spark Berninger’s return to form: his wife and lyric collaborator Carin Besser using the phrase “your mind is not your friend;” and picking up a copy of Frankenstein from the bookshelf. The lonely, desolate setting of the book’s opening felt relatable at the time. It was an appropriate starting point for the characteristically melancholy band’s ninth album. 

First Two Pages of Frankenstein sees The National shed their earlier angular guitar sounds and harshness in favor of more delicate tracks, perfect for their vulnerable yet wry lyrics. The album is arguably their heaviest emotionally, but to counteract this, it is also their shortest in over ten years. In the standout lead single, “Tropic Morning News,” Berninger proclaims, “There’s nothing stopping me now from saying all of the painful parts out loud.” 

The album features three collabs that are any indie fan’s dream – Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers, and Taylor Swift. The most notable, “The Alcott” with Swift, earns her a writing credit and gives fans another heart-wrenching duet following “Coney Island” from evermore.

Frankenstein is relatable yet elusive, with glimpses of joy between waves of sorrow. Perhaps the exception is closer “Send For Me,” where Berninger stops looking inward and offers sincere kindness—a hopeful close to the album and the beginning of a new chapter for our favorite sad dad band.

New Music Emerging Now // Spring Discoveries

Anderson Hao “GET a GRIP” // Acoustic/Pop

Anderson Hao is gearing up to release her debut EP featuring recent singles “GET a GRIP” (ft. Lance Redeker) and “SECOND RATE.” The artist’s soft vocals and poignant lyrics are similar to the style of beabadoobee, Gracie Abrams, or Olivia Rodrigo. Hao’s simplistic tone on “GET a GRIP” instantly lures listeners with, “You’ve got your guard up, I’ve got this nagging feeling, so I hide my neck for two weeks. The track weaves in subtle elements as Lance’s voice accentuates but never overpowers Anderson’s. It culminates to a sonic height with the duality of vocals and instrumentation at the end. Anderson’s knack for candid and straightforward songwriting radiates in every song she has released. Be on the lookout for her EP, What a Hard Winter, on May 31st.

Babe Rainbow “Super Ego” // Psych-pop

Australian band Babe Rainbow recently took the stage at Shaky Knees Fest in Atlanta with their newest single, “Super Ego.” The four-piece band is known for their signature throwback sounds, which dominate “Super Ego” as the stellar production drifts listeners into a daze. “Super Ego” brings all the psychedelic vibes similar to a 60’s chill jam. One line even brings to mind Steve Miller Band’s iconic “Fly Like An Eagle” as the vocals soar over “and we were looking back through your computer.” Stay tuned for their upcoming EP, Fresh As A Head of Lettuce, set for release on June 16th.

Christian James, Laith, & Annalee Beck “Useless” // Alternative

Raleigh artist Christian James drops a collab track with Annalee Beck and local NC producer Laith. The upbeat style and carefree production are juxtaposed with the melancholy lyrics of being “Useless.” “Useless” embodies waves of ocean tides in the introduction, seemingly washing away spring and kicking off summer. “Nothing sounds right / I was slow dancing on the white rug, spillin’ wine / I love the fact that I am useless,” Christian repeats each word perfectly on the beat.

Diving at Dawn “Playing Your Records” // Alternative

Diving at Dawn, the solo project of Pete Hobbs from The Boy Least Likely To, goes on a sentimental flashback of experiencing music on vinyl for the first time. Hobbs paints a vivid image of exploring his father’s record collection as a kid and creating a core memory of spinning vinyl. This track is a must-hear for any record collector who loves the crackle of an old LP. “Playing Your Records” has similar vocals to Beck on “Stratosphere” and a melange of music Hobbs grew up listening to (Pink Floyd, George Harrison, Wings). Some songs were meant to be pressed on vinyl, and this one emulates that exact notion.

Dylan Kelley “Wherever You Are” // Country

Breakup songs have existed for ages but always seem vindictive, overly emotional, or often cliché. Dylan Kelley’s new single “Wherever You Are” is an ode to an ex, wishing them well in whatever journey they pursue after the relationship ends. Dylan’s storytelling on this track is spot on and sends the message softly but clearly in the most endearing way. Country music fans will want to put “Wherever You Are” on repeat and, for once, look back fondly on an old flame.

The Japanese House “Sad to Breathe” & “Sunshine Baby” // Pop

The Japanese House, solo artist Amber Bain of Dirty Hit, returns with sensational singles “Sad to Breathe” and “Sunshine Baby.” The debut single, “Boyhood,” from her upcoming album, In the End It Always Does, marked her first release since 2020. “Sad to Breathe” is an acoustic, more stripped-back style single that accentuates her pure vocals. The lyrics cut deep on processing the end of a relationship, “I go to bed, and I’m cryin, ’cause it’s sad to breathe the air when you’re not there.” George Daniel, drummer of The 1975, adds his magic to the production with the signature chimes of piano similar to The Birthday Party or The Man Who Married a Robot.

“Sunshine Baby” captures the bittersweet qualities of a relationship when you don’t want a good thing to end. “Putting off the end, ’cause in the end it always does,” is contrasted by “sitting in the backseat, driving with my sunshine baby.” Amber’s voice and diction on this track embody her feelings. Matty Healy’s backing vocals and a smooth sax solo brighten up the song like a warm spring day. In the End It Always Does is set for release on June 30th.

Lost Hearts “Night to Remember” // Rock

Lost Hearts brings pop-rock back to the forefront of the country-dominated city of Nashville. “Night to Remember” is a classic, catchy, live anthem. The lyrics on this single give listeners a glimpse of the mid-2000s. The simple concept of pining for someone that you can’t have rings out in a universal and memorable chorus. Lost Hearts have what it takes to command a stage and be the next big addition to rock tours around the US.


As May nears a close, we are still playing catch-up with new music this spring. Discover everything you see here and more on our New Music Emerging Now // Spring Fever playlists.

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New Music March

New Music March Moods Playlists

The music of March seemed endless as new albums arrived from Daisy Jones & the Six, Fall Out Boy, Miley Cyrus, and boygenius. Other notable news in the music scene came from Hozier, The Japanese House, and Ed Sheeran. This month, we dove into several mainstream albums, explored albums from new emerging artists, and spiced up our playlists with eclectic tunes from around the globe. Our “New Music Emerging Now: March Moods” playlists cover everything from R&B to Singer/Songwriter and French Pop to Alternative. A few new favorite discoveries include Blak Emoji, Eremos, Taali, and Annael. Explore all of these artists and more in our New Music March playlists below.

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New Music March

New Music: March Albums & EPs

boygenius-the record //

Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus start their debut album as boygenius with two sonically polarizing tracks. “Without You Without Them” is a minimalistic harmonic vocal intro showcasing the three women’s raw voices. The album, entitled the record, leads into “$20” with boisterous guitars and an emotional climbing crescendo. As listeners weave through the group’s three artistic styles combined into one entity, they revel in the push and pull of rock-driven tunes and stripped-back hushed desires. Other highlights of the record include the guitar-driven “Satanist” opening with Baker’s edgy vocals followed by “We’re In Love,” which holds a nod to Taylor Swift’s “This Love.” Every song on the twelve-track LP coalesces as perfectly together as the voices of the supergroup. Rolling Stone, DIY, NME, and Dork all boast 5-star reviews for the 2023 debut from boygenius.

Daisy Jones & The Six-AURORA //

Daisy Jones & The Six is an interview-style novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. The music-centered story, influenced partly by Fleetwood Mac, can also be compared to the film Almost Famous for music lovers. Daisy Jones & The Six finally comes to life with the Amazon Prime Video series starring Riley Keough and Sam Clafin. As the series unfolds, the songs on its soundtrack, AURORA, build emotional credibility and exposure. While this album may never touch the 70s classics, AURORA becomes a modern-day nostalgic masterpiece of its own. Songs like “More Fun to Miss,” “Look At Us Now,” and “The River” combine elements of longing, feminine influence, timeless 70s-sounding guitars, and band member banter. If this album hasn’t struck a chord with you, watch the series to see how each song unfolds and comes to life.

Fall Out Boy-So Much (For) Stardust //

Fall Out Boy returns with their eighth studio album, So Much (For) Stardust. The thirteen-track album may not emulate the angst of “A Little Less Sixteen Candles…” à la From Under the Cork Tree, but the Chicagoan band cohesively and succinctly generates a modern millennial gem. Leading with two stadium-charged singles led fans to believe this album was a return to form of sorts to earlier FOB days. So Much (For) Stardust does not disappoint, combining elements from their sound over the past two decades. The band delivers dance-worthy anthems, witty lyrics, and vibrant pop-rock tracks. Anyone who strayed from the Fall Out Boy path seems lured back under their spell for “Heaven, Iowa,” “Fake Out,” and “What A Time To Be Alive.”

Taali-taali //

Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Taali soars high with her self-titled record this month. Taali, a veteran songsmith, took upon the challenge of crafting an album with the idea of removing autobiographical anecdotes. The album leads off with an instrumental strings piece, “Did We Die?” straight into “When the Dust Settles,” a minimal piano and vocal track that builds midway with a sense of urgency. Taali’s artistry shines through on the poppier floaty number “Anywhere” as she uses her voice to let the notes take flight. “Somewhere over Kansas” swoons listeners with stacked vocals, while “It Comes for You” adds an edgier side to the album with a poignant keyboard melody. Lyrically, the album explores “grief, wanderlust, self-discovery, and empowerment.” Taali exudes artistic flair and cohesiveness. This album is one for the decades.

Violaine-Rose Rouge-EP //

Chanson française artist Violaine discloses a lyrical journey on her recent Rose Rouge EP. “Toute Petite” is a soft, heartfelt ballad about dealing with negative self-dialogue. Her poetic French lines roll off the tongue on “Juillet” with lyrics like “de nos errances, ivresses dense, je n’ai pas de regret…même si mon cœur n’est pas étanche, je veux rêver…” The second half of the EP picks up with “Oxygène,” a poppy confession of love, and the seductive closing track, “La Partie.” “La Partie” combines infectious beats with Violaine’s sultry vocals, leading to a satisfying instrumental fadeout.

New Music: March Discoveries

Annael “J’accuse” //

French pop singer Annael caught us off guard with his self-aware single “J’accuse.” On “J’accuse,” Annael blends genres with elements of dance and pop and a stylistic aura similar to the likes of Stromae. The diction and elocution of this song are beautifully executed. “J’accuse” creates a sonic loop of transcending sounds that echo a summer music festival. The track digs deeper, however, on self-criticism as Annael shares on Instagram, “Chaque personne à un côté sombre qu’elle doit apprivoiser. C’est un challenge au quotidien, de vivre avec ses défauts et d’y faire face*.”
*Every person has a dark side that they have to tame. It’s an everyday challenge to live with your faults and to face them.

Blak Emoji “Last Night Lost” //

Electro-R&B artist and producer Blak Emoji hypnotizes fans with the remastered single “Last Night Lost.” The vibrating electro beats meshed with luscious falsetto vocals immediately grasp and enthrall listeners. Seductive lyrics creep into your head and resonate with the catchy beats and chorus. “Last Night Lost” is a sweet addition to any going-out playlist.

Caroline Larke “Horses” //

Caroline Larke introduces us to her single “Horses,” and we fell for every detail in this song. “Horses” is a stunner on the first listen, with vocals soaring over open space. The track’s lyricism, delivery, and musical progression resound with perfect execution. The folk-style acoustic song paints a picture of serenity and loyalty. Stylistic decisions on vocal elocution echo Billie Eilish in “When the Party’s Over.” “Horses” invites you to channel your inner zen and surrender to your full potential.

Christine and the Queens “To be honest” //

Christine and the Queens announced “To be honest” as the first single off his upcoming album, PARANOIA, ANGELS, TRUE LOVE. “To be honest” is yet another masterful melange of sounds surrounded by the striking vocals of Christine and the Queens. The ever-present combination of mixing French and English lyrics and creating transcending sounds prevails in this lead single. The three-part LP is due out on June 9th, 2023.

Eremos “Ghost On the River” //

In mid-March, Athens, Georgia, rock band Eremos released the mesmerizing single “Ghost On the River.” The delivery on this track, from the vocals to the lyrics and the emotion behind it, speaks volumes to listeners. Written with minimal production and drawing inspiration from blues, indie folk, rock, and country, Eremos hits every note with “Ghost On the River.” “Ghost On the River” is a timeless song that will have you belting out the words right along with it. The alluring and unique vocals only strengthen as the track continues. A captivating guitar arrangement, emotion-evoking opening vocals, memorable singalong chorus, and a properly placed guitar solo make this song perpetually superb.

Lucky Iris “23” //

Lucky Iris is an alt-pop duo from Leeds, U.K. After a period of writing and developing their sound, the band is gearing up to release their new EP, ‘maybe i’m too much.’ “23” is the first serotonin-boosting single from the upcoming summer EP. The production on “23” takes listeners on a sonic nostalgia journey; it’s truly the “frisson” type experience that many music fans often search for in a song. From what we’ve heard, “23” represents the beginning of a new creative era for the young duo.

Sophia Patsalides “Beautiful Ghost” //

Female Cypriot artist Sophia Patsalides, a new music discovery on Groover, landed on our March playlist with “Beautiful Ghost.” The single has a captivating intro, and the vocals are phenomenal. The buildup in this song and the recurring loop from the opening easily make it a breathtaking earworm. Sophia’s pop and R&B style on “Beautiful Ghost” solidifies our interest in the new emerging artist.


March was a massive month for new releases, so check out the full “New Music Emerging Now: March Moods” playlists below.

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Sterling Drake Highway 200

Now Spinning Sterling Drake ‘Highway 200’: Timeless Troubadour Tunes

Artist Q&A: Sterling Drake Highway 200 EP. Country crooner and Montana to Nashville artist Sterling Drake released his Highway 200 EP pressed on colored vinyl by Soul Step Records this month. Sterling, known for his deep country and western roots on his family’s ranch in Florida, connects his love of music to influences from his parents and grandparents. Drake grew up listening to Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Roger Miller, all of whom played a formative role in his music career.

If you’re new to Sterling Drake’s music, travel back to the era of outlaw country with Highway 200. Today’s mainstream country music seldom hits the wistful longing of a genuine country and western troubadour. You’ll be head over boots with one listen of “In the Pines” or “Highway 200” from this noteworthy rugged EP. Today we chat with Sterling Drake about living between Montana ranches and Nashville and the background of Highway 200.

Shop the Sterling Drake Highway 200 on vinyl by Soul Step Records HERE.

Sterling Drake Highway 200

Q&A with Sterling Drake //

PDLR: How have you found being in Nashville beneficial to your career? Do you still go back and forth between Nashville and Montana? 

Sterling Drake: “I think most artists that have spent time in Music City realize that it’s a love-hate relationship. If you move to a large music community, keeping your goals in mind is important. It’s easy to lose yourself in all the happenings of a big city. At times I’ve put too much stock into that town, which has ultimately led to a bit of resentment.”

“I went back to Montana during Covid, and my time away helped restore my perspective on Nashville. There is nowhere else with the amount of concentrated talent and abundance of country music lovers in a several-mile radius. The biggest benefit is mingling and playing with pickers and songwriters on any night. Currently, I spend my year split between Montana and Tennessee. When I’m in Nashville, I’m on the road, co-writing or recording. My downtime is back in Montana.”

PDLR: I’m eager to know more about country music’s influence on your childhood.  Can you paint the picture of when you realized you wanted to pursue country music?

Sterling Drake: “My father and grandparents introduced me to country music as a kid. Papa was a big Willie, Waylon, and Roger Miller fan. It’s safe to say that it’s in our genetics. Admittedly, that wasn’t the music that piqued my interest in my teens. While I wrote country songs, most of my musical time involved playing drums or lead guitar in rock bands. I like to say that country is emo music for people with adult problems. It takes a little bit of living for it to grow on ya.”

“It’s a long Montana winter, and it’s likely to drive us both insane, and the livestock and the jukebox are the only thing to occupy my brain.”

PDLR: Did you have any specific influences for this EP?  Whether it be another artist’s music or personal experiences.

Sterling Drake: “I wanted to incorporate several different styles of music that I enjoy. Highway 200 includes western traditional, old-time, and outlaw country. As a fan of American roots music, I aspire to fuse its different features into something new yet familiar.”

PDLR: Do you work with other songwriters, musicians, etc.?  If so, who are some of your favorite collaborators? 

Sterling Drake: “I’ve been fortunate enough to call a lot of great musicians and songwriters close friends of mine. I particularly enjoy discussing music and playing with Ryan Stigmon, a gentleman I’ve spent the past few years with on the road. He’s a steel guitar player out of Asheville, NC. Nashville is my musical home base. In Music City, I enjoy my time away from the road playing music and spending time with folks like Timbo, Sierra Ferrell, Hannah Juanita, Mose Wilson, Brennen Leigh, and many others.”

PDLR: What song on Highway 200 has the most meaning for you and why?

Sterling Drake: “I’d say the title track. It’s a true story about one of my experiences ranching in western Montana. Admittedly, there’s a bit of self-inflicted romanticism about western culture and ranching as a whole that I prescribe to. “Highway 200″ attempts to paint a more accurate picture of the lifestyle.”

“And I rented out a motel room off of Highway 200 just to work a riding job to earn my pay. And they never say this cowboy life was a good place to bring a wife, and I ain’t got a dollar to my name.”

PDLR: If you could collaborate or tour with any country artist, who would it be?

Sterling Drake: “I’ve spent time on the road with many of my contemporary artists and idols! In a fantasy world, I’d love to work with George Strait. One can dream.”

PDLR: What future goals do you have for your music career?

Sterling Drake: “Keep making more music and playing more shows for the good people!”


*Soul Step Records upfronts the cost of vinyl production for new artists. For more information on Soul Step Records and their mission, visit their website or follow them on Instagram below.

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Top Albums of 2022

Ranking Our Top Albums of 2022

POETRY DANS LA RUE explored 50 of this year’s hottest albums (see AOTY Contenders Playlist) and narrowed them down to 15 Top Albums of 2022. Don’t pay TOO much attention to the order because this year was massive for music releases! One commonality between these albums is the impeccable songwriting from these artists across the board.

Did any of these albums make your list? Check out our Top 15 Albums of 2022 and Honorable Mentions in the full breakdown below.

// 15 Top Albums of 2022 //

// 10 Top Albums of 2022 //

// 10 // Beatopia by beabadoobee

Rounding out our top 10 Albums of 2022 is Beatopia, the sophomore album by London alternative singer-songwriter beabadoobee. Beatopia is a lighter, more serene album from her debut Fake It Flowers. Bea holds fast to her ’90s-Esque female pop rock style on the hit single “Talk” yet goes more coffeehouse acoustic for “The Perfect Pair.” Matty Healy also makes some guest appearances with songwriting credits on this album. “Pictures of Us” echoes a sonic background similar to the likes of The Cure; Matty pens one of his signature metaphors “She reminded me that God starts with a capital, but I don’t think I could do it all,” as Bea’s voice murmurs unwavering as the track comes to a height.

// 9 // MUNA by MUNA

Indie pop threesome MUNA is at an all-time high with the band’s third studio album. MUNA is soft and vulnerable yet airy and captivating. Opening track “Silk Chiffon” ft. Phoebe Bridgers became somewhat of a feminine anthem of 2022. Other songwriting peaks include the inner dialogue ballad “Kind of Girl,” synth-pop tune “Runner’s High,” and the sultry track “No Idea.”

// 8 // Surrender by Maggie Rogers

Maggie Rogers shakes things up on her second studio album, Surrender. The singer-songwriter brings a delightful contrast from her debut album and pushes her vocal limits with “Horses” and “Overdrive.” Surrender is the pivot in an artist’s career where you see them feel entirely in charge of their artistic decisions, breaking out of the box and letting loose.

Top Albums of 2022

//7 // Sonder by Dermot Kennedy

Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy reaches massive heights with his sophomore album Sonder. Kennedy, who started his career while busking the streets of Dublin, brings the contrast of intimacy and mainstream pop on the 11-track LP. Longtime fans of Dermot bask in deeper emotional tracks like “Innocence and Sadness” and “Dreamer,” while newcomers may enjoy more pop-like tunes such as “Kiss Me” and “Something to Someone.”

// 6 // Multitude by Stromae

Belgian worldwide pop star Stromae FINALLY returned in 2022 with his third album, Multitude. After a long hiatus from the music industry, Stromae released “Santé,” a lead single with a TikTok trending dance to go with it. Stromae, inverse for “Maestro,” is a talented singer-songwriter and an all-around theatrical artist and producer. Stromae has a knack for taking a song such as “Enfers” and concealing a more profound message with the contrast of upbeat music. His music videos and stage performances take performative art to the next level. Multitude saw much success in North America this year at Coachella, and his headline shows.

Top Albums of 2022

// 5 Top Albums of 2022 //

// 5 // Midnights by Taylor Swift

After pouring out her most intimate diary entries on sister albums folklore and evermore, T. Swift is back with a stadium anthem-worthy album. Midnights is precisely the right direction Taylor needed to take for her return to the stage. Pop ballads like “Bejeweled,” “Karma,” and “Anti-Hero” bring back the reputation vibes that fans may have been missing. For the *always in your feels fans* there are a few tracks to get you down (see “You’re On Your Own Kid” and “Bigger Than the Whole Sky”). Taylor’s clever to-the-beat songwriting rings high on “Maroon,” “The burgundy on my T-shirt when you splashed your wine into me / And how the blood rushed into my cheeks, so scarlet, it was (maroon).”

// 4 // Leap by James Bay

James Bay’s third studio album, Leap, combines elements from his critically acclaimed debut album Chaos and the Calm and the more synth-pop sophomore album Electric Light. The British singer-songwriter tells stories of love, growth, and personal reflection with a voice full of emotion. Bay’s songwriting shines on the beautifully penned wedding song “One Life.” Other standout songs include “Nowhere Left to Go,” “Right Now,” “Brilliant Still,” and “Give Me the Reason.”

Top Albums of 2022

// 3 // Harry’s House by Harry Styles

Everyone lived in Harry’s House in 2022, including half of New York, Dallas, and L.A., for about fifteen nights a piece. Harry crafted the soundtrack of the year by debuting “As It Was” shortly before his Coachella headline set in April. Harry’s House hits hard with dance-pop on “Cinema,” empathy on “Matilda,” and funky soul on “Music for a Sushi Restaurant.” Harry is on top of the pop star world, and this album further solidified his spot for global stardom.

// 2 // Being Funny In A Foreign Language by The 1975

The 1975 stuns longtime and newbie fans in their 5th studio album, Being Funny In A Foreign Language. The Manchester band of 20 years has written their most cohesive CONCISE album, consolidating their musical artwork into eleven flawless and heartfelt tracks. The stripped-back production works wonders on audiences of all ages, especially on songs like “All I Need to Hear” and “When We Are Together.” Lyrically, 90% of the album takes a step back on some of Matty Healy’s most poetic monologues, making it easier to digest and sing along. If you’re looking for an overly indulgent and experimental track, that would be the lead single “Part of the Band.”

Top Albums of 2022

// 1 // Stick Season by Noah Kahan

Stick Season by Noah Kahan delivers lyrically, emotionally, and vocally track after track. Noah’s songwriting is at an all-time high as he paints pictures of melancholic dark winter nights in New England. This album will make listeners feel as though they are experiencing synesthesia in how Kahan weaves through the film-like images of his past and present. Top tracks include “Stick Season,” “All My Love,” “Come Over,” “Growing Sideways,” and “Everywhere, Everything.” Noah’s Stick Season tour is growing by the hour. He has upgraded several venues to accommodate more fans BEFORE the tickets even go on sale. “It’s the season of the sticks!”

// Honorable Mentions // Top Albums of 2022

Älskar by Nina Nesbitt, Autofiction by Suede, The Hum Goes On Forever by The Wonder Years, Lavender Days by Caamp, Tell Me That It’s Over by Wallows, and Bronco by Orville Peck

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Matt Duncan

Now Spinning: Matt Duncan ‘Soft Times’

Soft Times, the 2013 debut soul-pop record from Matt Duncan, gets a third pressing from Soul Step Records this weekend. The ever-popular LP drops in time to make the perfect gift for music and vinyl lovers this holiday season.

Local Lexington, Kentucky singer-songwriter and soul artist Matt Duncan has a long resume of lofty accomplishments in the indie music scene over the past decade. You may recognize his captivating music featured on several hit TV series such as “Private Practice” and “Vampire Diaries.” Soft Times holds a library of eleven timeless tracks eluding to Motown, The Beach Boys, and blue-eyed-soul artists (i.e., Hall & Oates, Van Morrison, Amy Winehouse, etc.). Big horns, transcending vocals, and anecdotal songwriting round out the highs of this alluring record. We are thrilled to be introduced to this hidden gem via Soul Step Records.

Subscribe to Soul Step and get early access to the Soft Times Yellow Sun variant HERE!

Matt Duncan
Album artwork by Robert Beatty

// Favorite Tracks //

“The Keys” is a vacation getaway jam to start your soulful, poetic listening journey of Soft Times. Cure your winter blues and take a mental trip “down to the Keys.”

Soft Times” embraces big band-style brassy arrangements by Ryan Moore and Evan Belt. Smooth vocals and poignant lyrics from Duncan make for an ideal title track.

“The Horn of Plenty” is a stunner track reminiscent of “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters with its similar steady bass. A vast blend of piano, bass, horns, and guitar surrounds classic soul and profound vocals.

“Sparkle and Fall” has rock-esque guitars and vocals, leading to a jazzier outro of horns. “Sparkle and Fall” displays Duncan’s range of several genres on Soft Times.

“Summer Song” contains Beach Boys-like lyrics, arrangement, and a signature doo-wop feel. Pair this A-Side closer with “The Keys,” and you’ll have yourself celebrating Christmas in the tropics.

“Lost Boys” is a standout outro to Matt Duncan’s gorgeous collection of songs on Soft Times. The final track combines nostalgic elements of Motown and older pop vocal groups with a modern-day feel similar to MIKA or Allen Stone.  

*Soul Step Records upfronts the cost of vinyl production for new artists. For more information on Soul Step Records and their mission, visit their website or follow them on Instagram below.

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