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.
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 Ojai (California), Seattle, Los Angeles, Oakland and New York City.
Fransancisco, “More Than You Know,” Ojai
While beautiful and evocative, this song is also melancholy. Or, at least, the story behind it is. The acoustic duo was formed in part as a result of one of the members (Thorald Koren) experiencing tragedy. His infant son, Jack, died from brain injuries he’d had at birth. The emotional song borne from the tragedy is a tribute to the little boy and a way that his transcendent spirit will speak to the world for decades to come.
NighTraiN, “Reparations,” Seattle
Is there a more appropriate word in America today? “Reparations,” by the Emerald City powerhouse quartet, pulls no punches. In fact, the song lands many. If the mark of a great artist is to truth tell while entertaining, than the members of NighTraiN have hit the proverbial nail on the head. America owes a great debt to the many who have served on the front lines and not every battle happens overseas. Crank up “Reparations” and bask in the freeing idea of paying back what’s owed.
Gum Country, “Somewhere,” Los Angeles
With a new record out this month, this L.A. band crunches guitars, floats on snares and echoes in the instant memories of their unique harmonic blends. “Somewhere” is a dreamy cloud floating through the blue-grey sky that, over time, collects enough condensation that it sets itself ready to burst. A picnic below, a dog running in the grass, the cloud erupts and quenches the earth again.
Madeline Kenney, “Sucker,” Oakland
If you vacation to a new city and find yourself walking the sidewalks with sunglasses and an open mind, you’ll likely pop in some headphones. Sometimes you know the song you want to hear and on other occasions you’re willing to hear a surprise. In those fresh moments, “Sucker” is the song you want to find but you maybe had never heard of it before. It’s like half-open eyelids and a goofy grin at dusk. It’s dinner waiting at home and a bottle of wine waiting for dessert.
Lauren Jaimes, “Home Is Where You Are,” New York City
This honky-tonk track is like opening a window in a stuffy apartment. The breeze rushes in and washes over your face. It finds your lungs and you exhale, grinning from eye corner to earlobe. If you want to add confection to the equation, throw an apple pie on the windowsill and let it cool as the new brisk air mixes with the treat, the treetops and this bright track.