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FTLOB PRESENTS: 2019 REVERBNATION END OF SUMMER FEATURED ARTIST CONTEST THE (ANTI-) TOP 40 [part 2/2]

Reverbnation featured artist

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.  

Part 1/2

Yesterday we published our review of the first 20 tracks. Click the button below to be redirected to yesterday’s edition 🙂

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.

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 Glenn Thomas Band – Keep On

From: San Diego, CA
Genre: Rock

Unbelievable production level and musicianship here with no exception – mix, performance, storytelling and song structure – this collective is studied and sublime.  A tune about Maggie, a girl with a set of struggles and breaking points where the theme of Keeping On is more than just a relative choice, it’s a necessary way forward to survive.  Urban Soul, infusements of Rock-Jazz and Southern Bluesy Grit – this is just a band out to dominate and defy classification. Keep On, fellas! 

LUNG – Sur le fil des rasoirs

From: Tavernier, MO
Genre: Alternative, Electro Rock/Pop

Featuring breakbeat samples, baby voices, ambient effects and cymbal rolls – and we’re only talking about the intro – LUNG is intent on breathing new life into the Electro Indie Rock/Pop underground.  Nevermind that the vocals are completely en francais – because the irresistible groove, the multiple guitar and bass line variations, the vocal tricks, cadence and performance – and a string-filled outro to stick around for – are all incredibly executed with texture, thoughtfulness and movement.   

Lauren Marsh – Kids

From: Princeton, NJ
Genre: Alternative, Pop, Indie

Then there are singers.  Pure, captivating, heart-on-sleeve singers.  Lauren’s had some star-building moments already, having crossed 7 million Spotify streams for her original song “Dear Love” which featured in an NCIS: New Orleans episode.  But with “Kids” here – it is the stripped back, piano and ukulele intro that allows you to hone in on the emotive transparency, breathy delivery, soaring highs and the refreshingly unique cadence or ‘bounce’ she employs to tell this longing, melancholic story.  Wonderful song structure, that slowly builds and explores how the places we come from often make us who we are. 

The Tweed – Broken

The track submitted is, unfortunately, nowhere to be found online. Is it broken? Maybe, maybe not … Find a different track below 🙂

From: Hawthorne, CA
Genre: Indie, Rock

This rockin’ duo, by way of Moscow and California, shared an unearthed gem on ReverbNation which is not on Spotify at time of printing here.  “Broken” begins with a mix of studio production percussive elements and unique guitar work, that opens into a swagger-filled first verse. Haunting keys, plenty of variations and big drum flourishes all culminate in a power-packed chorus – leading to a full on assault of guitar and cleverly stacked instrumentation – until the boys bring it back home to end.  Broken just might be the Fix you’re looking for.   

Kayla Stockert – Where Did You Go

From: New York, NY
Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Pop, Retro Infused Pop

Super eclectic selections from this New York songstress continue through her catalog, but herein lies a tale of young love and loss.  Heavily produced, but still solidly independent – there’s some cross-genre talent and spirit here, as Kayla has that Indie Pop bounce and authentic songwriting skills, but could just as easily be heard on Urban or Pop mainstream radio as well.  

Sound of a Smirk – Parasomnia

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

A brand built on subtlety that surprises, these Indie Alt Rockers are simultaneously smooth and then brash, hushed and then hurried, soulfully structured and yet explosively chaotic.  Parasomnia is fresh off the presses in June, and it’s another song that shows the group’s range and creativity.      

Thornes – Rise Up

From: New York, NY
Genre: Rock, Alternative Rock, Hard Rock

Billing themselves as the only Transgender fronted NYC-based hard rock “power trio”, Thornes offers power to the extreme.  The vocals are world class Hard Rock at its finest, and the amount of transitions and clever progressions throughout this anthem for revolution are impressive.  More importantly, those slick alterations in no way take away from what is a pulse-pounding, gritty but well-polished rock and roll master class.   

Wolf Kroeger – Winter in Paradise

From: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Indie, Rock, Folk

Epic, sprawling, trippy, ambient, rogue classic art-filled rock opus. If you could isolate each part of this song individually, from the inventive guitar work, the poetry and prose, to the soaring and rangey background vocals, and even the epic percussion pieces throughout – each individually would make for a classic must listen.  Wolf has performed a small miracle to incorporate them all in one single grand vision here, in spite of possibly losing those that may shy away from such grandeur. Fearless.

Futurist – Bad Air, Still Water

From: Brooklyn, NY
Genre: Rock, Indie Rock, Pop

Awesome, Psychedelic Floyd-esque McCartneyism featuring remarkably unique chord progressions and stunning visual lyricism.  Coined as space age vintage, the instrumentation, effects and composition all translate as modern-age transformative psychedelia.  Subtle rock genius combines with dreamscape ambience on this one, that will continue to please on the 100th listen.     

The Everyday Losers – Break My Heart

From: Washington, IN
Genre: Rock, Alternative

Ballad-esque intro that introduces the narrative in the first verse and slowly builds to a power chorus that invites heartbreak.  Solid stacks of gritty guitar, combined with radio-ready vocal treatments and straight-ahead Alt-Rock angst and swagger. These brothers plus a drummer have clearly championed song-making and production value – resulting in some early successes with sponsorships and endorsements – and are primed to make their moniker a thing of the past in a big way.  

Royal Chant – Accidental

From: Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia
Genre: Alternative, Garage, Indie

Our featured artist, check out our full review of the track in this blog post.

Sounded like “pop put through a fuzzbox blender”, Royal Chant are a noise and nirvana music collective bringing some lo-fi garage bangers to your earpieces.  Equal parts distortion, structure, melody and swagger – Accidental features some catchy pop-leaning melodies while maintaining an almost punk-like grit and dirt.  The quick ? break of stacked harmonies and floating ambience also surprises, just before slamming back into the meat of the song again. This is no accident, as both the design and delivery is genius.

The Nightmare River Band – Tonight

From: Bronx County, NY
Genre: Alternative, Alt. Folk, Alt. Country

Incredibly capable musicians whose music captures a unique brand of Folk, Country, Alternative and Americana – The NRB are purists, idealists and realists, all present in their lyrics, communal harmonies, guitar and keys playing – not to mention the authenticity in the construction of this beauty – culminating in a wonderful tune that insists that the time is now to live your best moments, in the moment.  

The Hawkeyes – JOHN Q

From: Pittsburgh, PA
Genre: Rock, Rock n Roll

Gritty Rustbelt fist-pumping rock with big-stage headlining swagger, The Hawkeyes have an obviously keen sense of production, melody and songcrafting to break on through to the other side.  The guitar and rhythm sections are so dialed in that you can hear the chemistry, science and authenticity all shining through on this stomper. John Q represents their 2nd single in as many years, but each are phenomenal insights into the capabilities of the group, as much as they are hopefully a sign of more to come.   

Dayan Kai – To Be Free

From: Haiku, HI
Genre: Americana, Jazz, Soul

From the all Live album of the same name, “To Be Free” is an expose of an artist who is in complete control of his abilities.  As a composer, a multi-instrumentalist, a seasoned jazz-blues-world-folk professional, and as an emotive and brilliant lyricist and vocalist.  There’s not a lot one can be left wanting for on To Be Free – a soulful acoustic journey that will make you appreciate the actual meaning of freedom.  

WD-HAN – Monkey

From: Clearwater, FL
Genre: Rock, Indie, Alternative

Featuring an Aussie frontman, a badass female drummer and soulful guitarist, WD-HAN incorporates a face-melting, punishing brand of Blues into Monkey.  Impressive, rangey vocals talk of the pressures of an overbearing relationship – while the bandmates show their cohesion and craftiness through multiple inventive sections of grit and promise.  Looking forward to late 2019 for more from this genre-bending, vanguard trio. 

Dead Jetsetter – Heartache Dissipate

From: New York, NY
Genre: Indie, Alternative Rock, Punk Rock

The real deal, Dead Jetsetter are a NY Indie Punk Rock trio with East Village influences from the New York Dolls to the Ramones.  Their latest EP of the same name, “Heartache Dissipate” is a collection of Live recordings from Dead Turtle Studios and shows their obvious chops and experience as a unit.  And the song.. Oh, the song. It brings all the energy, melodic genius and unforgettable pace and singalong strength of those early greats screaming back with middle finger swagger and heartfelt purpose.  

R.W. Roldan – Falling Star

From: Topanga, CA
Genre: Americana, Alt-Country, Americana Roots Rock

Singer-Songwriter with a knack of capturing vivid moments from the kaleidoscope of everyday life, and brilliantly distilling them into a poignant Americana prose that gets right to the heart.  Falling Star is a perfect example of this, telling the heart-sinking tale of losing the lustre of a future vision not promised, and reconciling with the natural landing spot on the way to your dreams.  R.W.’s current album, Can You Feel This – is likewise filled with similar genius, sincerity and spirit.  

The Heroine – Make You Move

From: San Antonio, TX
Genre: Rock, Southern Rock, Hard Rock

Rarely do you find a band that can Rock this HARD and have this much FUN.  The Heroine are that, wrapped up in a Five-Piece Juggernaut of high energy mayhem combined with hardcore musicianship and a hardcore work ethic.  Already receiving a big co-sign from Tommy Lee, their latest offering Make You Move (almost) lightheartedly tells the tale of a band on the run – determined to get you dancing and defying the deathgrip of the daily routine, by rocking out with our decibel-destroying heroes in The Heroine.    

Merry Ellen Kirk – Lovers & Liars (Stripped)

From: Columbia, MO
Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Indie Pop, Alternative

With an impressive catalog that goes for days, this emotive songstress has taken a moment to repurpose her 2015 opus “We Are The Dreamers”, and create a ‘Stripped’ version of the LP for fans this year.  With only a piano accompaniment, this version of Lovers & Liars acutely brings her extraordinary talents as a heart-on-her-sleeve vocalist and songwriter, into focus. There’s an Alt-edge and Folk storytelling to a lot of her material – but this song is simply pure realness and well-manicured song-making at its finest.    

Samantha Preis – Good Sheep

From: London, United Kingdom
Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Pop, Jazz

An absolute force on the mic and with the pen, Samantha Preis is a studied musician and artist whose recent collaborations provide more evidence of her limitlessness.  “Good Sheep”, a 2019 duet with Brian Larney once again showcase her gifted ability to convincingly emote, while shining a light on her unique cadence and clear talent to deliver inventive harmonies.  Written tongue-in-cheek, this plodding angst-ridden guitar-soaked gem is only scratches the surface of her capability.

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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