As tenderly compelling as I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie, with all the ethereal iconography and tonality to boot, the latest stripped-back and sonorous score, Saints and Stars, from Leah J Jones strikes all the right evocative chords while establishing the singer-songwriter as the Joni Mitchell of our generation.
With a perfect touch of baroque melancholic malady to tinge the magnetic release with a mournful resonance, it’s impossible not to be affected by this attest to grief which captures the interplay between sorrow and gratitude for what a loved and lost figure granted us with their life. It’s a stunning testament to how influence is one of the few things in this life that isn’t ephemeral. We can’t wait to hear what is in the pipeline from the celestial song crafter.
Saints and Stars was officially released on November 5th; stream it on Spotify.
Joseph Trem’s latest single, Ruminations, is a masterful exploration of the darkness the human psyche can harbour, delving deep into the agonising feeling of invisibility and the fear that even if you were to fade away into less than a spectre, your absence wouldn’t be noted nevertheless mourned.
The heart-wrenching reality of feeling worthless is a sentiment that, unfortunately, is all too universal for people battling with depression. Trem did so much more than vent his emotions with Ruminations; he extended validation to anyone who can relate. To amplify the earnest sincerity of the release, the track is anchored by striking piano keys, each note resonating with a sense of pensiveness around his rich and emotive voice which weaves through melodies to draw listeners into an exposition of vulnerable introspection.
The moment of connection within Ruminations positions Joseph Trem as one of the most promising names on the indie-pop scene. His sound, reminiscent of John Legend in ‘All of Me,’ is both haunting and beautiful, filled with a raw honesty that is rare in today’s music landscape. As we look towards 2024, Trem is undoubtedly an artist to watch.
The official lyric video for Ruminations premiered on November 17; watch it on YouTube.
George Bone stripped everything back but the soul in his latest single, Valencia, which encompasses the 00s indie pop aesthetic while pushing it forward with the ardency in the wistful yearning, the colour in the neo-jazz pop grooves, and the instrumental sparsity which ensures every instrumental works with a singular agenda to amplify the disarming effect of the emotionally raw ballad.
Valencia is the first single released by the Essex-based evocateur after stepping off his tour with The Voice UK 2019 winner Molly Hocking. If Bruno Major and Conor Albert heavily feature on your playlists, you’ll easily find space for George Bone’s sonic signature, which scribes itself through emotionally provoking lyricism and easy-listening melodies.
George Bone Said:
“Eponymously named after the city it takes inspiration from, Valencia transports listeners on a Mediterranean journey of both loving and longing. It encapsulates the joys of travelling with ‘The One’ – summoning wonder, happiness, and the connections you feel rarely in a lifetime – and yet the wishful thinking of those who know that ‘drinking wine and [hearing] the breaking of the tide’ is only a feeling experienced in imagination. The song represents a bond in a relationship, where memories – both good and bad – are intertwined; where hopes and dreams are dashed and made; and where love is lost and found.”
Valencia will hit the airwaves on November 24; stream it on SoundCloud.
Taken from his LP, which is rooted in swathes of nostalgic funk and soul, Trouble for Another Day, singer-songwriter, Jeremy Hilliard’s standout folky neo-jazz pop single, Lay Down Like Lovers, is a fitting ode to the serenity of passion. The dreamy hues capture the haze of unconditionally all-consuming love as the groove pockets deliver oceanic depth, ensuring Lay Down Like Lovers is a release you can fully immerse yourself in.
If you can’t get enough of the lyrically driven song-crafting finesse of Paul Simon, Kurt Vile, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, you will be instantly enamoured with the poetically mellifluous beguile within Lay Down Like Lovers, which is hopefully the first of many hits from the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter, who is coming into his own away from his successful band, PEAK, which has made America’s Northeast their touring circuit.
Susan Ritchie, whose name has become synonymous with authentic artistry on the Central CA Coast, lit a beacon of tranquillity and wisdom in the standout single, It’s High Time, taken from her debut album, Life is for the Living. So much more than solely a musical score, it’s a journey into the heart of what it means to find peace and meaning amidst the chaos of modernity.
Ritchie gave the adage ‘live and let live’ brand-new potency within It’s High Time by speaking chapter and verse on how it takes nothing to accept trans men and women who are just looking to align their minds with their appearance. Her ability to weave everyday experiences into her songwriting, while giving a nod to the universal experiences we all share, is on full display here. The song is a reminder to pause, reflect, and embrace the moment, a message that resonates now more than ever when it is too easy to be consumed by the insanity which breeds on every corner of the internet.
The influence of her early inspirations, from James Taylor’s finger-picking to the sweet yet sassy blues of Bonnie Raitt, is evident in the song’s composition. Yet, It’s High Time is unmistakably a Susan Ritchie creation. It’s a song that showcases her evolution as an artist, blending soul, blues, rock, and folk into a seamless and captivating experience.
Regardless of how many people find comfort in Susan Ritchie’s soulfully sonorous sound, she speaks directly to you through the intimacy of her lyrics and the magnetically powerful delivery of her gilded-in-introspective-gold lines.
The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Jeff Jepson is set to garner a fresh wave of impassioned reverence with his Christmas-tinged EP, Sparkle. If this is your first acquaintance with the artist who rose to fame in Liverpool and has recently replanted his musical roots in the Isle of Man, the standout single, The Good-Night Song, is the perfect introduction to the master of poignant melody.
Whether it was the finiteness in the lyricism or the way the acoustic guitar’s euphonic rings intensified the affecting sting within the captivating vocal delivery in the arrangement which visualises the sparseness of winter branches, I couldn’t help but shed a tear as Jepson’s evocatively honeyed timbres quivered in the frost of the hymnal gem which will haunt you long past the outro.
The Sparkle EP illuminated the airwaves on November 10th; kindle your affinity with the 4-track release via Spotify.
With the eclecticism in her discography, there’s no telling what Ariana Rodriguez will pull out of her bag of sonic dynamism next; her collaboration with Guap-O Unstoppable on ‘Forever Invited’ didn’t disappoint. It’s a showstopper of a downtempo vibe-spiller that takes the Jersey club sound to the next level.
After a smooth, steady and syncopated prelude that drenches the listener in atmospheric reverb, the track seamlessly picks up the pace ensuring not a drop of the stylised soul was lost along the way. The way Ariana’s effect-laden vocal lines sink into the glitchy ethereal soundscape is a guaranteed ticket to transcendence; as for the authenticity, you’d be hard-pressed to find another artist as committed to keeping in their distinctive lane, but if you’re a fan of Kate Davies, Ada Lea, and Squirrel Flower, you won’t go far wrong hitting play.
Forever Invited was officially released on November 3rd; stream it on Spotify.
With all the magnetism, poetry, and soul of an acoustic B-side by the Manic Street Preachers and all the brashy folk-punk intimacy of Neutral Milk Hotel, Wreckage is a deeply affecting debut from the UK-based indie folk singer-songwriter, Jayacus.
After living a life of loss, alienation, and despair, Jayacus has finally come into his artistic stride with Wreckage which shares the message of resilience and hope while delivering an affirmation that as long as you are still breathing, you have reason to keep your dreams alive and pursuing what ignites your passion.
Following a stint in hospital, Jayacus picked up his guitar and recorded Wreckage in his bedroom; here’s to hoping the sophomore release is already in the works.
Wreckage was officially released on October 20; stream it on all major platforms via this link.
After a three-year break from her music career, the singer, songwriter, musician, and producer Kristen Beckwith signalled her strident return with her open love letter to the Ocean in her Grammy-worthy soul-pop release, Hawaii.
With the autumnal timing of the sun-worshipping single, which carries *all* the mesmerism of Fast Car, the fondness for tropic climates feels a little bitter-sweet, but in the very same vein, it will instil you with the recent nostalgia for memories made before the cold started to creep in. As you listen to the warmth in her radiant vocal and acoustic guitar melodies, anticipate Polaroids from the past few months to flood to the surface of your consciousness.
Hawaii is the first single to be released from Kristen’s sophomore LP, which was penned following the birth of her child. Don’t wait to put mindfulness and living in the moment more on your New Year’s resolutions; start now with the Salt Lake City songstress’ lyrical and rhythmic enlightenment.
Hawaii hit the airwaves on October 20; get your sun and serotonin fix by heading over to SoundCloud.
Fans of Tom Odell, James Bay and Birdy won’t fail to be consumed by the latest piano composition, Skies, from the UK multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer, Keli Woods.
If his voice accompanied this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, I wouldn’t be coloured surprised, and that is only the start of the crossover appeal of this sombrely intimate yet juxtaposing strident release, which seamlessly amasses evocative momentum and flair with every intricately laid progression in the epic 6-minute progressive ballad.
Keli Woods’ experience as a monk lent itself effortlessly well to the powerfully metaphorical introspection within Skies. His ability to conjure vivid pictures in the mind with his deeply affecting lyrical prose is second to none. He may have missed out on West End stardom at the age of 11, but all paths, which included performing jazz band in a decommissioned ambulance in Swansea and living the late-night rock ‘n’ roll life, have led him to this point of proving the transformative force of music.
Listen to the live recording of Skies from Real World Studios via YouTube from October 18.