25 Songs You Need to Hear Right Now
25 Songs You're Not Listening To
Ok, maybe you're listening to a few. But, most of the songs on this list are criminally under-listened to. Find some new gems that you've probably never heard of, but won't stop listening to afterward.
By: Sam Eeckhout
Rival Sons shouldn't be on this list, and they won't be for long.
The third single off the Southern California rock band's fourth album, Great Western Valkyrie, "Good Things" pays homage to the soulful, bluesy rock n’ roll that filled the airwaves during the 60’s and early 70’s. The track's tireless guitar licks and spectacular use of the Hammond organ provide for a classic, rhythmic tune that fans of stoner-rock rightfully never grow out of. As always, singer Jay Buchanan lays down a genuinely inspiring vocal track that adds the soul and vibrance needed to carry a song that avoids using a dominant guitar-based melody.
The five-piece psychedelic/noise/punk/rock band from Leeds released Microshift earlier this year and is a strong contender for Best Album of 2018 So Far. "Negative Space" is the album's first track, and is the perfect representation of what Hookworms is. Blending electronic elements, with infectious rock riffs and a captivating vocal performance, the song transforms from punk anthem to heartwarming singalong over nearly seven minutes. "Negative Space" might not be the last Hookworms song you'll listen to today.
Anywhere You Want To Go
Perplexingly, the song has less than 1000 views on it's official Youtube, and a shade over 100,000 plays on Spotify. Blending blues guitar with 60's piano and a hip-hop beat, "Anywhere You Want To Go" is an absolute banger. On the making of the tune:
"This one kind of just kind of flowed out of me. I added a bunch of guitar and I found this incredible piano recording from the 60's that I chopped up that was perfect for this. It's one of my favorite tunes I've written in a while." It's one of ours too.
cymbals eat guitars
Probably the best album opener you'll hear for a while. The dudes from Staten Island start Pretty Years off with a straight-ahead rock song with lyrics focusing on love and light. In their classic raw-yet-refined style, CEG tightens up their garage-rock meets indie-rock sound with this cathartic and emotional album opener. Staying true to their name, "Finally" is chalked full of loud cymbal outbursts and distorted guitar riffs. Their live performance, courtesy of KEXP, shows just how talented a band they are.
Bouncy, funk fuelled glitch-hop master Opiuo continues to show growth in his never-ending melding of upbeat genres. Teaming up with Texture Like Sun, "Jelly" is a good time from start to finish. With an amazing saxophone melody (who doesn't love saxophone) and his quintessential chunky bass and fat snare, "Jelly" is a beast of a tune.
Pistol Made of Bones
Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach lets loose with his side-project, The Arcs, and really showcases how music flows through his veins. While he's not reinventing the wheel, he strikes balance in his collaborating, and "Pistol Made of Bones" is a helluva lot of fun. Slick guitar riffs and lyrical structure are the backbones of this vibrant tune, complete with a sexy guitar solo.
Tame Impala member Jay Watson's side-project is bright and heavy with vocal/guitar effects and relentless bluesy guitar licks. Groovy and psychedelic bliss, "The Underdog" gets you tapping your foot on its first note. Watson describes the album aptly as “evoking that sensation of triumph and that weird parallel universe feeling you get when the person that’s not supposed to win, does.”
Packed full of ridiculous energy and anthemic lyrics, "USA" has Rosenstock venting his frustration at the state of his country. One of the best punk songs of the year, "USA" is impressive and ambitious in its structure and lyrical content. Bookending 3 serene and juxtaposing minutes of gentle guitar, the words, "we're tired and bored" repeat, and will have you singing along. "USA" is a true achievement and a song you will want to throw on repeat.
Do I Have Power?
How many dark, mysterious, freak-folk blues bands can you name? Well, Timber Timbre may just be in a genre all to their own, and they are owning it. "Do I Have Power?" is everything they do right. Complete with squealing saxophone solos over a deep and heavy groove, "Do I Have Power" is a sobering reflection on modern masculinity, as lead singer Taylor Kirk plays with an inner monologue theme.
I'll Be Around
Self-proclaimed "Beach-Goth" band The Growlers released "I'll Be Around" with Julian Casablancas handling production duties. In its raw form, The Growlers stayed true to their sound while incorporating more synth melodies and different genres. With its dark-groove and near reggae vibe, "I'll Be Around" has lead singer Brooks Nielsen showing off his impressive range. Screaming, "So I fear, but I don't know what it is. So I want, but I pretend I don't need", the song is 5 minutes of pure foot tapping.
Criminally underplayed "Helicopter Mack" has close to 7,000 plays on Youtube and another 475k on Spotify. Sounding like an early Pretty Lights song, "Helicopter Mack" is a tightly produced track complete with a perfect trumpet sample. Blended all together with subtle strings, guitar riffs layered with effects and wobbly bass, "Helicopter Mack" is a pump you up, making you want to dance track.
No One Real
Who thought there could have been such a thing as a "chill" song about a stalker? Tora delivers smooth vocals that float over an increasingly melodic guitar and minimal electronic elements that tie it all together. Very few electronic artists can organically blend traditional instrumentation into their songs, but of those that do, Tora is amongst the best. This song is the perfect example.
killer be killed
Snakes Of Jehovah
We haven't forgotten about Metal.
Killer Be Killed features members from Soulfly, Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon and Converge, but instead of e-mailing each other tracks as one might expect, this entire album was written by the guys getting into the studio and being involved in every aspect of the album. This results in what can only be described as a raw and welcome beacon in what was becoming a stagnated genre. Filled with groove, growls and amazing writing, "Snakes Of Jehovah" is an example of when raw talent meets humble egos.
Dust and Echoes
Toronto based DnB producer Emperor clearly took a timeout from his normal genre. While "having a bad day", he created this insanely uplifting and inspiring tune. Gentle in its progression, Dust and Echoes is the perfect song to put on when you yourself are having a bit of a tough time, need some inspiration or want to get your creative juices flowing. Climaxing with strings and deep sub bass, "Dust and Echoes" will make you look inward and reflect.
As of the writing of this list, "Over Here" has 452 plays on Youtube (and 23k on Spotify), which is utter bullshit. Mk.Gee (Pronounced "McGee") has given us a truly funky fresh dance tune. Carefully written and demonstrating serious thoughtfulness, producer Michael Gordon is one to keep our eyes on moving forward. Until then, we dance.
Looking for a fun, bluesy rock song you can sing along to? Here you go. LA's Chicano Batman was formed 10 years ago and describes their sound as "a spectrum of influences ranging from psychedelia, soul, to Tropicalia." Hypnotizing, "Black Lipstick" is a mature track with simple yet effective guitar licks over a grooving and pulsating synth line.
Disarm You ft. Ilsey (Grey Remix)
Flawless production doesn't begin to describe it. Grey's remix of Kaskade's massive hit "Disarm You" completely flips the original into an almost DnB style track. By infusing strummed guitar into the buildups, and slyly leaving metronome sounds in, Grey takes remixing to a new level. With two massive drops, this remix should keep your ears busy for awhile.
the war on drugs
While TWOD may have just won 'Best Rock Album' at the Grammy's, their earlier stuff still flies relatively under the radar. In fact, "In Reverse" might just be their best song. Heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, "In Reverse" is a strong breakup song. After 3 minutes of slowly building an emotional and haunting aesthetic, "In Reverse" kicks into a new gear of rock and roll bliss.
Ancient Names (Part 1)
Starting with old-school strings, the song tricks you into thinking it will be a slow one. Then, it explodes. An energetic bass line leads us into a verse with amazing visual lyrics and a head-nodding beat. The chorus is exactly what you want from a rock chorus, and the song impressively never drags over the course of six minutes. Only a month since its release, this song might not be in the under-listened to category for long, and (Part 2) is equally great.
Shine (Nebbra Remix)
An electric remix doing exactly what a remix is supposed to do. Elevating the original tune while making it unique in its own way. Nebbra's remix of "Shine" lets Karin Park's vocals do the heavy lifting and then explodes into a fun and distinct future-bass synth breakdown that is completely fresh.
All the pieces fit, and Phazz's "About Her" is drenched with emotion. Deep bass and dark vocals swim around his distinct drum patterns. A really beautiful tune about caring deeply for someone. Close your eyes and immerse yourself in the layers that the amazingly talented French producer has created.
A deeply impressive lyrical effort mixed with bluegrass and group vocals, "Just Visiting" is a reminder of how short life is. Complete with a bagpipe solo (and don't we all need more bagpipe in our lives), "Just Visiting" is a toe-tapping, sit-around-the-campfire-singing tune that puts everything in perspective.
I'm an Outlaw
Kurt Vile has some fun on "I'm an Outlaw". In his quintessential Kurt Vile-esque voice, he sings, "I'm an outlaw under Orion's Belt. What a dumb thing to sing, but it had a ring to it." Kurt Vile doesn't just have a unique voice, he knows how to use it. Playing around with emphasis and accenting different words, he changes the meaning of passages with the simple pauses of how words should be delivered. Vile has a real knack for patiently and carefully progressing his riffs without you ever noticing. Four and a half minutes fly by as you get caught up in the flawless and methodical vibe he is known for creating.
Unlike anything you'll have heard.
No genre, no predecessors have served up anything quite like what Eastghost is doing right now. "Exile" isn't for everyone. It's a slow, brooding and emotional journey to a downright memorizing and explosive drop. Intricately layered and complete with captivating vocals, "Exile" will suck you in and spit you out.
Near to the Wild Heart of Life
..."And it got me all fired up, to go far away..."
Lead singer Brian King takes us through the decisions that led him to take the leap and become a full-time musician. The song, fittingly named after the classic James Joyce novel, "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man", is a coming of age tale about King leaving his hometown, and being fired up about it. He's fired up, and you will be too. An inspiring and anthemic punk track that will pump you and encourage you to take a leap of faith, for whatever decisions you are mulling over.