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FTLOB Presents: 2019 ReverbNation End of Summer Featured Artist Contest THE (ANTI-) TOP 40 [1/2]

End of Summer

When entertaining this Feature idea with our good friends at ReverbNation early this year, we received a stunning amount of Submissions – confirming once again that the quality and breadth of Indie Music talent around the world is near limitless.  As a result, rather than only selecting a single campaign choice, we at For The Love of Bands felt it was only right to compile an additional shortlist of some of the most gripping music we came across in the process.  

In this Summer Campaign, the ante was raised.  And our Indie singers, bands and duos didn’t disappoint.  As a result, we’ve increased our must listens from a Top 20 to a Top 40.  You might think of it as the (Anti-) Top 40, since we strive to recognize those artists who are currently thriving in the Independent Music scenes around the world. 

Click here for our first Reverbnation Featured Artist contest earlier this year. Tomorrow, we’ll publish part 2/2 of this End Of Summer campaign.

Below, you will find a small description and a link for the song that was put forward (in no particular order).  ——> Listen individually in the links below, or if you prefer – check out our Spotify End of Summer Indie Playlist HERE. <—– Get to know these artists and as you do, save and share the ones you love with everyone you can!

The City Limit – Wreckage

From: Stanhope, NJ
Genre: Alternative

This sultry jammer gently leads you into the narrative with a soulful progression, tight percussive guitar strikes and velvety keys.  Brimming with inventive rhythm section choices, brilliantly coherent guitar pieces and an almost Jamiroquoi-esque vocal on this track – The City Limit are showing they are capable of extending far beyond any limitations, illustrating genre-bending poise and promise along the way.

The Violet Mindfield – Downtown (I Wanna Roll With You)

From: Ontario, California
Genre: Rock, Psych, Garage

Rolling right along, “Downtown (I Wanna Roll With You)” is a lo-fi, throwback ode to rock’s roots, featuring haunting background vocals and enough hooky, infectious melodies to satisfy your soul – all over a 50’s bop bounce that’s built to match.  Having already assembled a decent back catalog, and with independent labels clamouring to get them signed – these Inland Empire traditionalists are ready to break new ground.

Inkblot Astronaut – Slipping

From: Silverton, OR
Genre: Alternative, Rock, Pop

Wasting no time, this funk-filled rock groove slams into Verse 1 from the jump.  With Chili Pepper bounce and grit, “Slipping” features several stops and starts, stomps and hollers, a vocal and chorus expertly choreographed – and even a bridge that slowly builds back into a quickly executed shoegaze-paced 2 liner, that connects brilliantly back to the main groove.  The surprises are many, the musicianship is stellar and the sky is certainly no limit for Inkblot Astronaut.

Geoff Grayson – Driving Blind

From: Boulder, CO
Genre: Alternative

Rollicking strums open this heartful soul-searcher, whereafter lush pianos and guitar lines wistfully lead you into a gorgeous first line.  In fact, the poignant and seasoned lyrical work continues throughout “Driving Blind”, and thankfully never leads you astray from the emotionally charged soundscape you will travel here.

Ben Osborn – Letters from the Border

From: Berlin, GR
Genre: Alternative, Songwriter, Chamber Pop

Stunningly descriptive, the Cohen-esque gently melodic spoken word balladry of Osborn brings far-off shores and distant borders eerily close to home.  The musical approach similarly knows no boundaries, as the partnership between Ben and Stolze (a producer and violinist in his own right) results in a rolling bedrock that eventually leads to a gentle reversed experimental outro.  

Sasha K.A – Cheap Thrill

From: Austin, TX
Genre: Folk, Indie

Rumbling Toms open into a Shoegaze-y Indie-Folk melodic guitar and a sweetly harmonized verse.  It’s the transition to the chorus that will grab you here, teasing on its first listen as the poignant and present vocals of the 2nd verse interrupt early to bring us more of the story.  A very ‘now’ piece, Sasha K.A has tapped into the soul and spirit of the Indie Underground here.

Tyler Meacham – Moving On

From: Richmond, VA
Genre: Indie, Pop, Rock

After a year of writing and producing a demo a month for her following online in 2018, Tyler has tirelessly worked out any of the kinks and imperfections she may have had, appearing now as a poised and polished standout vocalist.  “Moving On” has crossover potential written all over it, and with a new EP coming in the fall (if this little gem is any indication), she’ll be moving on to bigger and brighter stages shortly.

Leah Kaufman – Bless the Train

From: Raleigh, NC
Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Americana, Folk

Talent, Talent, Talent.  A true singer-songwriter, Leah’s attention to detail and vivid storytelling are awe-inspiring.  Featuring an Americana Folk tale of bridging distances and life’s travels, there is a maturity and honesty you can immediately sense through the acoustic strumming, steel, and stanzas – all indicative of an artist who clearly appreciates the journey just as much as the destination. 

Mayssa Karaa – In The Grey

From: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Indie, Pop – Alternative

Originally from Lebanon, this Los Angeles songstress is fast becoming an independent superstar in the making.  Wrapped in a new 2019 album, “In The Grey” starts as a sultry and sombre affair, but eventually leaps and explodes into a Florence-esque outro that soars.  While this track might feature the most studio tricks and slick production elements of any on this list, it is the raw emotive powerhouse vocalist in Mayssa that steals the show here.

Dan Harrison – Nowhere Bar

From: Nashville, TN
Genre: Country, Rock, Pop

Sometimes a song and a songwriter can vividly capture the spirit and innocence in an everyday moment, and turn it into something special.  “Nowhere Bar” is an anthemic ode to an unexpected connection, showcasing Dan’s vocal ability and poise as a performer. Having recently gained a spot on Spotify’s ‘New Music Nashville’ playlist, Mr. Harrison is destined to have a few more Bars, Clubs and Arenas to play this one in.

Ugly Melon – It’s My Time

From: Vaughan, ON, Canada
Genre: Hard Rock, Metal

Assaulting your eardrums with riffage to punish and purify, there is a driving pulse and purpose to this well-produced track off 2018’s “Just A Man”.  As one of the only groups to repeat on our last collection, this declarative statement about accepting one’s place and fate is another blistering example from a band whose brand and musicianship are clearly and expertly fine-tuned to deliver the goods. 

Melted Vinyl – Synthetic Love

From: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Rock

Opening with a fuzzed-out Police ska-like bounce, this Joel Hamilton produced grinder highlights the strengths of this young Californian 4 piece – supremely solid vocals, a rhythm section that presents both variation and cohesion, and melodic lead guitar lines to haunt, sooth and savour.  Another repeat band from our last ReverbNation collaborative list – there’s definitely nothing too Synthetic here, just a whole lot to Love.

Heathcote Hill – Save the Ones You Love

From: Mamaroneck, NY
Genre: Alternative, Rock, Indie

A melodic, shuffling piece that’s been carefully crafted by the band to ensure every rhythmic flurry and dancing note has purpose and effect.  From keys that both soar and comfort, to guitars that sooth and saunter – to a stunningly smooth vocal that reminds us what’s really at stake in our lives – it’s gloriously seasoned stuff from a seasoned group of musicians.  Fantastic production with a groove that gently pushes you to find and support your own grace, your own heroism, your own loves.

Guidestones – Paper Thrones

From: Montreal, QC, Canada
Genre: Rock, Indie, Pop-Rock

Superb Indie charmer, with arpeggiation in the melody that wistfully pulls you simultaneously from fantasy back to reality.  Layered guitars and synths stack throughout the verses and bridges to help showcase the emotive vocals of both Ryan and Gabrielle, each with powerhouse performances.  Inventive slows and stops, crescendos and percussive flourishes all feature around a story of maturing despite the inherent difficulties, the battle of fight or flight, of risk and consequence.

Hell & Hollar – Showdown

From: Lake Worth, FL
Genre: Rock, Stoner Rock

A fuzz-filled, riff-fueled stomper, calling for consciousness over comfort and courage over complacency.  A rumbling pace, layered stacks of guitar, soulful keys, and a no-nonsense lyrical call to action – all amount to a gritty but palatable effort from H & H.  Oh – and the Outro is everything!

Casey Angstead – Sinking

From: Longmont, CO
Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Alternative

Slow-paced, acoustic strums and melodic lead guitar lines dance freely around a solid rhythm section and strategically layered piano.  Cool stop/start into the 2nd verse, which leads into an other-worldly bridge of cascading keys and a different take on the chorus. Plenty of variations throughout, showcasing an artist and musicians who aren’t afraid to gently rock the boat. 

Jordan Sleed – Childlike

From: San Antonio, TX
Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Soul, Rock

Employing a well-worn ukulele and a distinct talent for storytelling, Jordan Sleed offers this 2nd single that hints at something truly special.  Starting softly and unaccompanied, and tackling a soul-bearing and vulnerable tale of lost innocence, the stacked 2nd chorus and accompaniment slowly build to include keys and strings that soulfully take you to the center of the story and the artist himself.  

Hasty Page – Vices

From: Albany, NY
Genre: Alternative, Indie, Rock

Synth-spiced Indie vibes, with solid structure, lyrics that tell some hard truths and a new-age Alt-Indie aesthetic package.  Range, both in the vocals and musicality – Vices showcases the polish, honesty and maturity of this Albany-based trio as they attempt to save a friend from themselves. 

Barefoot – Nightcap

From: Tempe, AZ
Genre: Rock, Indie

Starting with samples and a drone-like verse – the chorus erupts with a hypnotic Indie bounce.  Featuring some ‘coming to god’ moments about lifestyle and choices, there are equal measures of maturity and polish alongside the recklessness of youth here.  Lyrically and sonically, the verses and chorus are structured with melodic elements that impress. No wonder, as they’re already deep into their 4th EP – with some fresh newness coming in September.  

Wake The Sun – What’s My Name

From: Northport, NY
Genre: Rock, Blues, Alternative

Etherial guitars ambiently set the stage, until the song explodes into percussive stomps and lyrical lifts to give way to a blues-influenced stomper.  With a rhythm section that punishes, a raucous vocal to ramble on to, and an unexpected ¾ bridge that breaks the tension – Wake the Sun has the rock ‘n’ roll chops and swagger to make sure we remember their name. 

2019 End of Summer Indie Spotify playlist

Frank M'Otion
the authorFrank M'Otion
Reviewer
Frank M'Otion is somewhat of a mystery man, but has achieved some pretty remarkable things in the music industry under different pseudonyms.  As a Producer and Writer, an Artist and Mentor - he has chaperoned the careers of several bands, rappers and singers across multiple genres.  As a studied music historian and an independent music advocate, he has been commissioned to write with For The Love Of Bands strictly and literally, For The Love..
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