The Music-Searching Mermaid's 25 Finds From June 2019
June was a busy-bee month for us, so we’re pretty late on this one, but we still made time for music magic. Last month we listened to tons of brand new singles (mostly debuts from super talented folks we can’t wait to watch grow) and stumbled on a bunch of great songs over the years that we’d only just heard.
From radio-ready anthems to quiet love songs to fresh rap and a whole lot more, here are our 25 favorite songs we heard this June.
1. “Don’t Wanna Be Without Ya” by Penny and Sparrow: Tears at Penny and Sparrow’s first note of their newest single. It’s a love song of the highest order, peak romance in all its unexpected imagery and wild, foot-stomping chaos, an emotional effort equal parts sweet and soaring.
2. “Fallin’” by Wildermiss: Ready for radio from the first note, “Fallin’” by Denver indie band Wildermiss is a smash of pop power, but there are some moments when a shadow falls over it or things explode or the strong vocals turn reflective, so there’s a whole lot to it.
3. “When I Grow Up” by Honeybutter: The debut release from pop project Honeybutter feels like a drop of rain on a sunny day. It’s refreshing, but it moves through these different waves of warmth, like sunshine breaking through the clouds before being darkened by another fleeting thunderstorm.
4. “Chilly” by Bedroom / Boredom: UK alt-rockers Bedroom / Boredom already have a batch of impressive indie ragers under their belt, like “Chilly,” which comes running right out the gate as a howled, searing rock anthem.
5. “Papercuts” by Tedious & Brief: Sometimes there are songs that make you cry from the very first note — for us, most recently, that song is “Papercuts” by Chicago artist Tedious & Brief. It’s packed with emotion, a raw inner confession set to an electronic arrangement at times otherworldly and at other times subtle.
6. “Different Things” by GRACEY: The debut single from UK powerhouse GRACEY, “Different Things,” is a tour de force of talent. Her voice is insane — especially at the chorus when she screams “I wanted to love you / But you made it fucking hard to” — and it’s matched by a desperate, glowing dark-pop base.
7. “Doghouse” by Christian Howse: Canadian singer-songwriter Christian Howse has a way with words. On “Doghouse,” he offers something stark and honest and lovely — his voice aches when he sings each hurting lyric among an arrangement of wailing strings, acoustic strums, and the loud silence of regret.
8. “Hard Time” by Jeremie Albino: We’re convinced that Jeremie Albino should be a star. He’s fantastic, fit with a strong, classic voice set perfectly against the rollicking, twang-filled alt-rock of his track “Hard Time.”
9. “Hawk Fly Tiger Run” by Ofelia K: Los Angeles artist Ofelia K is a magician of music — she accomplishes sonically insane things with every release and it all comes so effortlessly to her (so it seems). Her 2015 track “Hawk Fly Tiger Run” is a softer example of her talent, fizzing and thumping and airy — a dream.
10. “Due Girl” by Fortuno: Slick with swagger, “Due Girl” by indie-R&B trio Fortuno is a sublime effort. There’s something so sexy about it, churning along with pounding percussion and quick wordplay, every element contributing to an addictive soundscape.
11. “The Reunion” by Prude Boys: Fast-paced and full of heart, “The Reunion” by Detroit-based rock band Prude Boys is led by a songbird-like trill sent soaring over steady percussion and surf-rock rhythms.
12. “Feel Good” by Peter $un ft. Blue Rondo: Off Richmond rapper Peter $un’s latest full-length album, “Feel Good” is, indeed, a feel-good track, sexy in its shimmering drum pad beats, a singalong hook, and chugging, churning rhythms.
13. “Adeline” by John-Robert: Virginia-based singer-songwriter John-Robert makes songs to fall in love to. They’re gentle acoustic songs, all so pretty, but on “Adeline,” he delivers a devastating effort in the form of tender acoustic strums and his versatile voice — it’s just as pretty as any of his other works but there’s something more cathartic and in-your-face about this one, especially when he howls “You don’t have to love me.”
14. “Siren 042” by Lala Lala ft. WHY?: The recent collab between Chicago artist Lala Lala and Cincinnati band WHY? is impossibly dreamy despite having to wade through waves of increasing sonic detail — it’s different and strange and soft and lovely.
15. “Gay” by Flo Petite: A sparkling jangle-pop effort, the latest single by Maryland-based artist Flo Petite is an unapologetic anthem jam-packed with twinkling keys, bass rumbles, and a whole lot more.
16. “Small Town Mystery” by Gabriel Bernini: Singer-songwriter Gabriel Bernini might actually be the second coming of Jeff Tweedy, but this track is wholly unique, a drunken folk ditty packed with lazing twang.
17. “take it back” by Lila Drew: LA-based R&B artist Lila Drew is poised to become the next big thing. She’s young, and she’s relatively new to the scene, but “take it back” is a total dream, a slinking anthem led by breathy vocals and cut by lo-fi beats.
18. “Tales of a Queer Rapscallion” by Alfred.: Virginia-based rapper Alfred. is remarkable — they’ve got the gift of words, effortlessly spitting witty lyricism like they’re just breathing. On this track, Alfred. pairs that wordplay with low thumping production for a drowsy result.
19. “Everybody’s Got Somebody” by Prabir & The Substitutes: Back in the early 2000s, Richmond-based band Prabir & The Substitutes made a splash. For good reason — this track is completely addictive, jangling and pumping at its slower moments and explosive at its fastest.
20. “Paper Stickers” by Deau Eyes: This song is so fucking good. We’d leave it at that, but to be more specific, Deau Eyes delivers a rock rampage softened by perfect, twangy vocals, something Grace Potter or Jenny Lewis might have tackled if Deau Eyes didn’t already deliver it.
21. “rbbts” by Kate Davis: The newest single from NYC singer-songwriter Kate Davis is a soaring effort weighed down by big emotion. Kate’s voice is a shy, gorgeous lilt, and the simmering arrangement of “rbbts” comforts for a bit before something magnificent overtakes it by the end of the song.
22. “Don’t Worry, Emily” by Instant Empire: Indie-rock band Instant Empire’s newest album is insanely good, but this song from it is one of those songs that grabs you in your core and doesn’t let go. It’s got notes of Frightened Rabbit and The Hold Steady, too, which automatically propels it to skyrocketing goodness.
23. “Tear It Down” by All The Colours: Growing steadily from the beginning, the new single from Australian band All The Colours is a total time machine to 90s grunge. It’s heavy with dark, creeping energy before bursting into an explosive, high-powered rock arrangement.
24. “He Could Be The One” by Hannah Montana: Apparently we missed the Hannah Montana wave 10 years ago but better late than never — this song’s legitimately a banger. It’s rocking, a fast-paced alt-country romp to obsess over.
25. “who knew” by Chloe x Halle: It’s undeniable that Chloe x Halle are supremely talented — they’ve been honing their skills as an R&B duo decked out with angel-like voices and their newest release, “who knew,” is one of their most mesmeric yet, a hazy love song. [Editor’s note: Just FYI, Halle playing The Little Mermaid is the greatest thing that has ever happened. She’s going to be PERFECT.]