The Music-Searching Mermaid's 25 Favorite Finds from July 2019
We thought June was busy for us but turns out July was pretty busy too. Luckily we’re never too busy for music searching, so in between striking a new work-life balance and reading really good books on long daily commutes, we still made time for listening to new songs and old songs alike.
If you know us at all, you know that we’re a sucker for sugary sweet pop. July’s playlist happens to be pretty pop-centric but we also have a few favorite folk and rock songs on here too!
1. “One Track Mind” by Heavy Diamond Ring: From the very beginning, there’s something palpable about “One Track Mind.” Something in the shimmering, staccato beats and emotive vocals drip undefined ache, so it’s easy to attribute the song’s full-bodied feeling to your own life — it hurts but it’s special.
2. “A Little Honey” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: “A Little Honey” off Nathaniel’s 2018 album, Tearing At The Seams, is an innocent tribute to love for all ages and in all stages. It’s a saccharine sweet, foot-stomping track wrapped up in a little bit of honey and a whole lot of tenderness.
3. “The Other Side” by Axel Mansoor: Earlier this year, Axel Mansoor released a fresh, click-clacking track. His voice is a cool breath floating among a ceaseless soundscape of fizzy beats, slick bass lines, and bright guitar riffs.
4. “Pity Party” by Nòe: Plinking incessantly with an eerie edge, “Pity Party” soon rushes into white-walled minimalism aided just by brash percussive beats and Nòe’s pretty voice, but eventually the song begins moving through different tiers of energy and emotion. It’s an A+ effort, smacking and sweet.
5. “Good Love” by Aly & AJ: Never ones to deliver anything less than addictive, Aly & AJ’s single “Good Love” from last year is a sea of throbbing, glittering synth. There’s an underlying rumble to it as it slinks and zaps its way into the center before bursting.
6. “Maneater” by Cuja: Recent single “Maneater” by electro-pop artist Cuja needs to make it to radio. It’s the quintessential pop track, sexy when it needs to be and glittering with a torrent of synth-pop smacks for the majority of Cuja’s singalong.
7. “Impossible” by Carlos Vara: Nashville powerhouse Carlos Vara has a one-of-a-kind voice. No one will ever come close to accomplishing what he does with every release, especially on “Impossible,” a soaring, sweeping example of Carlos’ sky-high genius.
8. “Angel Eye” by Shai Nowell ft. Wiley from Atlanta: R&B artist Shai Nowell has something special. You can hear his smile when he sings, which is probably what coats each of his tracks in warmth, so on “Angel Eye,” he delivers a dreamy sun-and-sea tune featuring Wiley From Atlanta.
9. “Plasticized” by Erin Anne: On indie artist Erin Anne’s debut album, she shreds and confesses and scares and cries. This track off the record is her most gut-punch effort, simple with acoustic strums and distant warbling clouds of melody, though the lyrics are on another level of utter inner destruction. Erin is a poet.
10. “I Regret It” by The Needs: Norwegian alt-rock band The Needs have a gift. Their sophomore single “I Regret It” is a rapid-fire crush of anthemic, radio-ready rock. It’s palatable — it’s built with rhythms and elements and lyrics anyone could (and will) obsess over.
11. “Dearly Departed” by Shakey Graves ft. Esmé Patterson: This masterful collab between Americana artist Shakey Graves and singer-songwriter Esmé Patterson is basically one big howl. It’s energetic and aggressive, an alt-folk scream dipping into the mainstream.
12. “All Of Me” by Katey Brooks: One of singer-songwriter Katey Brooks’ latest lead singles is a core-deep ballad prodded on by her strong voice delivering the ultimate love song — one that’s raw and timid and earnest, each emotion amplified by the track’s golden guitar riffs and retro percussive swings.
13. “Secret Handshake” by Future Friend: Off the electro-pop duo’s debut EP, “Secret Handshake” epitomizes summer in all its sunny, peppy, vivid glory. It’s just so easy to enjoy because it’s soaked in sunshine courtesy of the band’s creative production and clamoring pop beats.
14. “dead girl in the pool.” by girl in red: Time and time again, Norwegian artist girl in red delivers disturbingly relatable, tears-on-your-pillow indie tunes, but “dead girl in the pool” is like no other — it’s warm with acoustic plucks and a sunny, screamable chorus despite, you know, the dead girl in the pool. No biggie though.
15. “Space Song” by Our Fathers: “Space Song” is fascinating. You could write a dissertation on the layers it travels — from detached smacks of percussion to breathy vocal echoes to otherworldly prog-rock to trilling synth leading, finally, to a previously locked door unveiling an astounding soundscape of who knows what. It’s a sonic trip.
16. “Mood” by JUJ ft. Vic Mensa: Philly-to-LA transplant JUJ could stand tall with fellow powerhouses Daya and Alessia. Her single “Mood” caught Vic Mensa’s ear for good reason (it’s just really good!!!) — the resulting collab is a moving, cool-toned ballad made all the more powerful by glimmers of hope in the melody.
17. “Break Every Rule” by Craig Stickland: Steeped in the emotion of years of love and loss, singer-songwriter Craig Stickland’s new single “Break Every Rule” is the ultimate power ballad. It’s equal parts strength and vulnerability — strong for its in-your-face instrumentation and vulnerable for Craig’s soft vocal comedowns.
18. “Better Without You” by Marielle Kraft: The absolute smash of my summer — “Better Without You” garnered thousands of repeats for my ears alone, a steady, punchy moment of indie-pop perfection and breakup balladry.
19. “Nine Lives” by Primes: The latest single from Scottish rock trio Primes is a homerun. There’s an urgency to it fueled by its guitar-driven nature and moments when their searing alt-rock instrumentation reaches each climax, erupting into a quick, anthemic chorus.
20. “Boston” by Parker Lee: UK band Parker Lee’s debut album is chockful of endlessly impressive instrumental solos and poetic songwriting, specifically on the fuzzy, twinkling “Boston,” which rumbles with garage-rock treatment.
21. “Montaigne” by Harry Heart: On “Montaigne,” Harry Heart offers examples of duality. We get anxious percussion pulsing quickly along in the face of slow, languishing rhythms. We get dreamy shoegaze moments cut by alt-rock instances. Ultimately, we get a sweeping composition stacked with details that fight for the spotlight.
22. “I Wish” by Hayley Kiyoko: It’s basically no surprise at all that Hayley has released yet another lowkey bop — it’s just what she does. Her latest single is a shadowy, pumping dark-pop track about unrequited love, and it’s as addictive as any other Hayley Kiyoko masterpiece.
23. “A Solitary Slip” by Will Johnson: On indie singer-songwriter Will Johnson’s new single “A Solitary Slip,” he treats listeners to a stunning four minutes of low-and-slow balladry. Piano trills, brief percussive sparkles, and tender acoustic strums aid Will’s gravelly vocals as he calmly delivers crushing lyrics.
24. “Oahu ‘97” by Christian Paul Philippi: “Oahu ‘97” is an ode to childhood in Hawaii surrounded by warm surf and sun and ocean, a pretty song fluttering with carefully curated tones and emotions in shimmering keys and distant drum pounds.
25. “Elk City” by Samantha Crain: Oklahoma folk artist Samantha Crain’s 2015 track “Elk City” is an example of stirring storytelling. Among a lush arrangement of quick, searing strings and melodic swells, she uses her unrivaled songwriting skill to tell the story of a woman reflecting on the confines of life in love and the world beyond it.