In this – the age of the Coronavirus – many of us are stuck at home, isolated with only TV screens and the glow of laptops and phones to keep us connected. In other words, there isn’t much to do.
Videos by American Songwriter
However, one thing that is available to us all is the wide world of recorded music. And now is as good a time as ever to get to know some bands you may not have heard of but ones that you will assuredly enjoy, dear reader.
So, buckle up and get ready for a digital ride around Greenville (North Carolina), San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Brooklyn
Dedicated Men Of Zion, “Father, Guide Me, Teach Me,” Greenville
The moment this track begins, it’s like the ignition of a Cadillac springing into action. Except this car is equipped with the explosive power of the Bat Mobile, fire churning from the exhaust, tires screeching on the dense grey cement. This song cruises, heroically and admirably. It’s headed for glory. Enjoy all 4:21 from beginning to end from this masterful southern quartet. Onward!
Harlow’s Monkeys, “Fresh Terror Machine,” San Francisco
This heartfelt song was inspired by the world changing outside our collective windows. Within it, there’s regret, apology, hope and an attempt at equity. It’s a song to put in your pocket and carry around with you if you need a reminder why the world is turning the way it is today. But, beyond any melody or rhythm, the song reminds us to summon that extra bit of respect for our neighbors because love, respect and honor take work.
The Only Ocean, “Watch It Fall,” Los Angeles
You stand before a black brick wall. In each hand is a can of spray paint. As if a part of the Matrix – you’re one of those who’ve luckily escaped – you know how to paint like an expert. You shake the cans and begin the outline of a face. Then another. And another. Each face has a different expression. You paint the face of your first crush. Then you drop a painted egg and see the yolk drip. You thank The Only Ocean for their raucous, poignant palate of sound from which you painted your masterpiece.
Erin Rae & The Heartbeets, “Lately,” Seattle
Recognized in 2019 by the NPR Tiny Desk crew for the band’s joyous song and top pet dog cameo, Erin Rae & The Heartbeets provide the proper sonic space to sway. With heart-shaped glasses (literally), the group infuses bop and romp to any room (or miniscule desk). Rae’s gravely vocals subsume while the band behind her inflates with helium the only balloon you’ll ever need to party a mile above of the city skyline. Blue skies and puffy clouds soar by before touching back down on the boulevard for one last waltz and whiskey ginger at your favorite local.
Sam Himself, “Like a Friend,” Brooklyn
The strobe light is your best friend. The deep voice you suddenly hear pushes into your chest. Your eyelids drop two millimeters. Life is all of a sudden completely different. A glass of red wine is before you. The moon is in your sunglasses. You have twelve fingers. An autumn-colored frog croaks your name. You blink and suddenly you’re in love with the world again for the very first time. A candle is lit. This whole time you’ve been inside a Sam Himself song.