Summer 2017 Playlist

It might not officially be summer yet, but it sure feels like it (at least here in North Carolina)! We’ve put together a playlist of songs dripping with summer vibes, perfect to listen to whether you’re poolside, roadtripping or catching some waves.

Check it out below! 

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Song of the Week: The Truth

Featured Image via Foster The People

Words can be powerful. On their own, in a sentence, in a song. It’s all about how you use them. The right combination of words, formed into lyrics, can create a song powerful enough to move listeners emotionally and have a lasting impact on all who hear it. 

“The Truth” by Foster The People is without a doubt one of the most powerful songs to have ever been written. Mark Foster delivers the touching and reflective lyrics with intense raw emotion. I don’t think anyone could listen to this song without being moved in some way.

Listen to “The Truth” below.

Sundara Karma Live: A Cathartic Experience

It is fairly impossible for me to put into words just exactly what I experienced last night, but I’m going to try. Over the past few months, one band has come to mean more to me than I can say. That band is Sundara Karma. There has never been another band that I connected to on such an emotional level. When I can’t find the words, Sundara Karma find them for me. And last night, I finally got to see them perform.

The British rockers played to a packed room at Songbyrd Café in Washington, DC. The stage was lit by a backdrop of string lights, giving the appearance of a starry night. When Sundara Karma took the stage, I was overcome with a sense of elation. I was finally hearing the songs I love so dearly being performed live. Oscar’s unique voice rang throughout the room as he belted out the lyrics to the opening song, “A Young Understanding.” It was hard to see little other than the members’ silhouettes moving in the darkness, but I didn’t care. To be quite honest, I kept my eyes closed for the majority of the set, just letting the music wash over me and getting lost in the sensation of it. The crowd cheered loudly when Oscar led the band into “Flame,” fans singing along to the familiar tune. The highlight of the set for me was the performance of “Happy Family,” my favorite song. Tears came to my eyes as Oscar delivered the poignant lyrics with incredible emotion. The band closed their set with “Loveblood,” a tale of starcrossed lovers. 

As the band played their final note, I knew that this had been the best show I had ever witnessed. For me, it was nothing short of cathartic. Even though their set only consisted of eight songs, it left me on cloud nine, all of the stresses of the day gone. Oscar Lulu has the ability to pack more meaning into a three-minute song than other artists could ever dream of putting into an entire album, making Sundara Karma’s music my greatest comfort in life. Seeing them live only amplified that. If you ever have the chance to see them, just do it. You will not regret it.

Gig Review: Dan Owen

Featured Image: Twitter

Upon walking through the doors at the Oporto and seeing the name ARC at the top of the set times list I was sure that I recognised the name from somewhere….had I seen her before?

Turns out that I was right. ARC‘s distinctive nasal vocals make her sets very memorable and I was loving “The Promise.”

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when asked to tell a joke you will forget every joke that you have ever heard. Now that I’m writing this however I can actually think of quite a few jokes that I could have told when ARC asked me to tell a joke whilst she tuned her guitar. Alas it was not to be.

“I’m in Love” with Scott Quinn and his beautiful, smooth voice. It’s difficult to pinpoint my favourite song from his set as I was head over heels with them all. From the unreleased “Run” whose deeply emotional lyrics pull at your heart-strings, to the new single “Lovers From Afar” which is set to be released in early May.

It’s my third time seeing Dan Owen perform after seeing him open for Rae Morris last year and I was a total goner. From the moment I first heard “Fall Like A Feather” I knew that I’d be going to see this guy again and again….well here I am I guess.

So the last time I saw Dan Owen at the games room at the Brudnell Social Club it was a very intimate and sweet gig with everyone sitting on the floor. Tonight, however was quite the opposite as the venue at the Oporto was really rather busy actually.

If indie-folk is your thing (and it’s definitely mine) then I would highly recommend that you check out Dan Owen. His deep, gravelly voice accompanied only by a guitar, stomp box and occasional appearance of a harmonica give Dan a rich, mature sound that is all-encompassing.

The raw and emotional “Made To Love You” which was written about a friend’s dysfunctional, abusive relationship was a highlight of the evening for me, highlighting that some of the best songs written come from hurtful experiences and true pain.

The highly anticipated “Little Red Rooster” closed the set with plenty of folky goodness and Dan Owen- the one man band.

EP Review: “Secondhand Love” by Jack Hopkinson

Featured Image via Jack Hopkinson

Sometimes in life, the best discoveries are the ones that are stumbled upon by accident. One such discovery for me is the music of Jack Hopkinson. If it hadn’t been for me loving the music of one of his friends, I wouldn’t have discovered him when I did. But thanks to that, I was treated to a very intimate performance (and I do mean very—a handful of people gathered in a barn) and I fell in love with his music.

On Friday, Jack released his new EP, Secondhand Love. On first listen, my mind drifted back to that performance. I remember some of these songs being played there, and the feeling of being captivated by them. Hearing the fully fleshed-out studio versions of these songs mesmerizes me all over again, from the bluesy first notes of “We’ve Still Got Tonight” to the flawless live rendition of “Déjà vu.” Just like the first time I heard his music, I’m entranced by Jack’s lyrics. The vast majority of “popular” music released today is full of nothing but trivial lyrics completely devoid of meaning. Jack’s lyrics are full of emotion and feeling. The music itself is alluring as well, combining elements of folk, blues and acoustic. The combination of the music and lyrics is nothing short of stunning.

Don’t just take my word for it, though. Give Secondhand Love a listen below.

Song of the Week: Galway Girl

Featured Image via Ed Sheeran

Thanks to a friend convincing me to listen to him (you know who you are), I have finally jumped on the Ed Sheeran bandwagon. I started off with his latest album, Divide, a true gem from start to finish.

One of the more standout songs on the album is “Galway Girl.” My favorite element of the track would have to be the fiddles, infusing traditional Irish music with modern day pop. The insanely catchy chorus will easily get stuck in your head after just one listen.

Check out “Galway Girl” below!  

Album Review: “The Far Field” by Future Islands

Featured Image via Future Islands

When sitting down to review Future Islands fifth album, it’s hard as a fan of theirs not to drift back in time to their live shows. This album The Far Field is so electrifying I find myself jumping up and down one minute, then swaying back and forth the next. From the very first track “Aladdin” they set the tone with their signature sound of over-the-top beats, with soft but ever present energy. Sam Herring (the lead vocalist for Future Islands) reaches out through a hauntingly beautiful medley at the end of “Aladdin,” forming yet again that emotional connection that only he can do. This track offers you a chance to really see the range of what this band has to offer. The next track, “Time On Her Side,” happens to be my new favorite of theirs. It really gives Sam’s vocals room to dance around, while allowing Gerrit Welmers (keyboards and programming) and William Cashion (bass/electric guitar) some freedom from their usual rhythm as well. Any newcomers to the Future Islands world, this is the song I’d head for first. It’ll help ease you into this one of a kind experience by merging their newer sounds with the classic Future Islands fans are used to.

I’d be remiss if I ended this review without mentioning their initial single, “Ran,” which emerges throughout the album as a powerful anthem. These Baltimore based guys, who played their first shows in Greenville, NC, have come a long way with this album. From Art Lord and the Self Portraits to the band we know as Future Islands today. I couldn’t stop playing each song over and over again. I feel if you give these guys a chance, you’ll be doing the same as well. Enjoy.

Check out their video for “Ran” below!