As 2017 comes to a close, this marks another year that we’re able to share with you the music that hit home. The beauty of what’s been compiled lies within the tastes of each contributor. Some are rap heavy, while others lean towards indie. It’s a unique playlist that’s crafted by us in hopes that you expand your digital (or physical) library. Continue to keep your ears open for artists, or genres that you have yet to discover. Finding the ~diamond in the rough~ has never been easier, and spreading the love is one click away.
As you think about your goals for the upcoming year, pay it forward by sharing music with those you surround yourself with. I challenge you to find one song on this playlist that you’ve never heard before, and send it to someone you think would enjoy it. The feeling knowing that someone appreciates a song recommendation is unmatched. At the end of the day, there is an absurd amount of talent in this world. Some have yet to crack 1k plays on SoundCloud, and others have the first name of Aubrey. Why not share it? Spread the love.
The Sunset Fam would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy new year. Stay safe, and have fun tonight.
Rising Appalachia’s superb sibling sonics have made them a household name amongst festivalgoers as they’ve traversed the globe, playing alongside Michael Franti, Nahko, the Avett Brothers and Trevor Hall. Their new single “Occupy”, which features an elegant and potent spoken word bridge, uses 2011’s ‘Occupy’ movement as a frame of reference for the importance of taking responsibility for both our interior and exterior worlds. One of many standouts in their back catalog of radical social/enviro musical activism.
Stevie Talks is open about the origins of “Polyanna.” Ever had a relationship where you knew it was awful for you, but you were blinded? Then, when it’s all said and done, you realize how much you can’t tolerate that person? “Polyanna” paints that picture perfectly for you, as quoted by Stevie “I wrote this song about a girl I cannot stand.” He probably took the words right out of your mouth, but regardless, “Polyanna” has a feel good vibe to it, so enjoy!
Los Angeles-based duo Bassett, comprised of singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Josh Bassett and bassist Tak Ozaki, offer up a vibrant and theatrical sound lands somewhere on the indie-folk spectrum, just left of Alternative. Through dense instrumentals and spirited lyricism, their new EP Ghost Hwy conjures up the off kilter vibes of Radiohead while their storytelling paints pastoral portraits of communing with nature. “Fire in your eyes by the light of the moon / come join our tribe we’ve got the room” Basset sings on the lead single “Away”, ethereally floating above the drum circle-like beat. Josh’s layered and hypnotic vocals are are abstracted yet close, framed by beautiful strings and percussion that seem to slip in and out of auditory consciousness. The song evokes a sense of freedom, taking its listeners on a journey deep into the belly of melodic intonation before ending the adventure in the deserts of California where the song was inspired.
This enchantingly raw and beautiful track from traveling troubadour Dan Lipton focuses on his time spent in Brooklyn, riding the ferry over the dark sea. It doesn’t hurt to mention Lipton was nursing a hangover when he came up with this aching ballad or that he recorded it in an empty cabin somewhere in Maine. The hallowed vocal breaks he employs help create the heart wrenching feeling of emptiness which purveys the song but unlike the tragic work of Jeff Buckley, whom Lipton has drawn several comparisons to, “Dark Water” is intoned with an uplifting and hopeful quality which balances its tragic vibrations. In that respect, the song is certainly a dynamic listen and a powerful example of what this artist is capable of. Grab the free download below and be sure to catch him this Saturday in DC at Gypsy Sally’s.
Swedish Stockholm-based band, Melby, is making waves with their debut single, “Human.” Incorporating charming vocals from lead singer Matilda, 80’s synths, and the right drums, this 4 person group brings you folk music with a pop twist; reminiscent of psychedelic rock and Nordic sounds. Check out the single below, and let us know what you think!
Jake Howden has made a name for himself quite quickly. Reaching #6 on the UK Viral Top 50 playlist on Spotify is no easy task. The Australian artist creates a world with “Staples” that can be relevant to almost anyone. Sucking you in with soft vocals on a calm backdrop, “Staples” may just be your go to song for tough times in need of something more.
“I want to be able to guide people on a journey this year when they see me play and hear the new music I have been working on. I want them to double take when they first hear it because they don’t know what the fuck has just happened.” – Jake Howden
One of the things I find hardest about music blogging is finding a song that at first makes me think “oh shit, this is beautiful,” but then the vocals enter and the song is ruined. It happens far more often than I’m comfortable with, but I will say that it’s overshadowed by the amazing feeling that comes when you hear another song with a beautiful intro that’s accompanied by vocals that give you chills.
Luckily I stumbled across the latter yesterday when I heard this song “Run” by Rebecca Peters. She reminds me quite a bit of Florence + the Machine with her powerful vocals, emotional lyrics and rich instrumentals. If there’s any artist a new indie singer-songwriter wants to be compared to on the market, Florence might be the one; that’s a powerful endorsement that I wouldn’t throw around lightly.
As someone who has loved music and writing since she was a little girl, Rebecca Peters worked up the courage to quit her full-time job in advertising to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter based in Sacramento. She’s won a bunch of small-town awards in Northern California, but she’ll soon be moving to Los Angeles to try to take her career as a musician to the next level. “Run” is her first official single, and if it’s a sign of what’s to come, she’s got a bright future ahead of her.
Today we have the pleasure of premiering the video for Gothic Americana duo Cashavelly Morrison’s “Made of Sand”. The subtle imagery and weeping slide guitar may evoke the bittersweet nuances of Gillian Welch but Morrison’s extraordinary backstory and artful lyricism feel more akin to the haunting work of Townes Van Zandt. It is rich in emotion and cloaked in sexual power, liberating the true power of song through the artists’ authentic approach to expressing her truth.
Cashavelly Morrison’s debut LP, The Kingdom Belongs to A Child, is slated for a October 30th release. Connect with the band via Facebook here.
Today we have the pleasure of premiering the music video for Santa Monica quartet Alnilam’s debut single “Lilac”. The bands sound blurs the line between ambient folk and dream pop, delivering ethereal ear worms which convey a deep passion for the natural world and it’s cosmic surroundings – the name Alnilam is derived from the Arab word which means “string of pearls” and is associated with middle star in Orion’s Belt.
The band members mysterious origins range from Turkey to Costa Rica and all that is really known about Alnilam’s inception is that they found each other in LA early last year and released a series of demos on their Soundcloud. The demos found instantaneous reception on the platform, garnering comparisons to bands like Beach House and The Cranberries as well as 1960’s vocalists like Nico and Marianne Faithfull. Lead singer Elena Pinto is quick to shrug off the retro comparisons. “When I was little I lamented the 60’s were over and I had missed them” she recalls. “Now we find ourselves in another time of change and we all have a chance to be a part of it.”
Alnilam’s debut LP, Indigo Sky, will be released November 13th.
If you couldn’t tell from my last few posts, I’m still desperately clinging on to the bright, blue skies and warm days of summer, but I think I’ve finally found the magic formula to keeping winter away – Josh Taylor & The Cozy Boys. Like their name suggests, Josh Taylor & The Cozy Boys are the embodiment of Southern California comfort music – it’s bright, it’s sunny, it’s warm, and best of all, it’s like a musical collision between Bob Marley and Jack Johnson.
The duo of Josh Taylor and Ben Glasser first met at USC as fraternity brothers, and the rest is history. They’ve not only ventured around Australia on tour, but have also shared the Coachella stage with fellow fraternity brother and dirtybird protege, Justin Jay.
Their second original, “Sunshine and Kool Aid,” is an archetypal Southern California sunshine. The soft percussion sequences and soaring, arpeggiated guitar riffs serve as a luscious bed of warm, pillowy bass lines and sun-kissed melodies, while Josh Taylor’s soothing vocals instantly grabs your hand and teleports you to the Venice Beach boardwalk, meandering around the sand as the sun is setting below the horizon. Plain and simple, Josh Taylor & The Cozy Boys’ music is heartfelt, tranquilizing, and just down right beautiful.