What I’ve Been Listening to: Winter 2021

A new season is coming so that means it’s time for our quarterly feature on new music. If you’re new to the blog, hello and welcome! In this series, I aim to break from the routine by sharing new, but largely classic rock inspired music that I’ve been digging. Believe it or not, sometimes I do feel burnt out by classic rock even if I like it and I sometimes want to listen to something different. Classic rock may be my home, but I see newer music and other kinds of music I like like vaporwave and city pop as a holiday home/getaway – also very nice and a change of pace. As much as you may love home, sometimes you need to step away. Also, I just like giving new things a chance.

You can check out a few playlists I’ve made below if you want an example of newer music that I like:

This one called “This isn’t Classic Rock?” is a general playlist of songs that straight up sound like they were made during the classic rock era, but weren’t.

This is the new music playlist from last year:

This is this year’s playlist:

I hope you find something you enjoy in these playlists.

Without further ado, let’s talk about music released in the past few months that I really liked. In each section for each musician I’ll share whatever information I can find on their bio page, a bit of what I think about the song, and a streaming link for your convenience if you want to listen.

1. I’m Not Giving the Game Away – Craig Payne

Craig Payne is a musician from New Zealand who I interviewed last year. Really interesting interview to read. He mentioned in that interview that he was going to be releasing a new album and here it is! He describes his music as classic rock of tomorrow and that it definitely is! If you like 70s power pop and folk music, you might like this album.

2. Cabin Fever – SunDog

SunDog are a psychedelic/funk/garage rock band from Alaska formed in 2015 that I found out about thanks to Instagram. I saw Keith Lannon (who has great taste in music btw!) share their music on their story and I had to check it out. Their latest release came out on Groundhog Day. The vocals remind me a bit of Grace Slick and they’re a perfect fit for my “This isn’t Classic Rock?” playlist. My favourite tracks are “Oh No!”, “Whattagottado”, “Biam”, “Strange Skies”,

3. “They Don’t Know” – Men of North Country

Men of North Country are a Northern Soul band from Tel Aviv and I remember finding out about them when I was reading about more modern mod revival/northern soul groups. I was so happy when I got a notification on Spotify they had a new song out and I like it! A more pop rock song with some 60s beat influences, but doesn’t completely leave behind the soul sound that made them well known.

4. “On My Mind” – Peaches in Honey

I’ve previously interviewed Tara on my blog. After some bumps in the road with Burger Records shutting down and her music being temporarily taken off the streaming outlets, she’s back releasing great music. Another haunting, beautiful song. If you liked “Swing Time Dream”, you’ll like this beautiful dream pop song. It’s more psychedelic.

5. “The Dawn of Mankind” – Dripping Sun

Another mesmerising psychedelic instrumental. Just came out on the first of March.

6. “Under an Ocean of Holes” – Minor Moon

I have to thank Spotify’s recommendations for me stumbling across this musician. Sometimes Spotify gets it right. Minor Moon is a solo project by Chicago based musician Sam Cantor and sound wise his music is a combination of 60s/70s country/roots/folk rock and indie music. If you like Rich Mattson’s music, you might like Minor Moon. “Under an Ocean of Holes” to me combines country with some psychedelia and classic rock, and I can see why it’s called cosmic country.

7.  “Open Letter” – Beäfets

An upbeat, energetic indie rock song by this band from Scotland. Reminds me of the 2000s, a much happier time because I was a kid and feeling hopeful for the future.

8. “Purple, Red, Green, Blue, & Yellow” – Electric Looking Glass

Another great song from this LA baroque pop band who have one of the most beautiful aesthetics and dress sense I’ve seen. I think the reason I’ve turned from listening more to 70s music to 60s music is that optimistic feeling of 60s music and how needed it is now in this depressing day and age. Check out my interview with them from 2019. If you like The Left Banke, The Zombies, and Procol Harum, you’ll like them.

9. “Loose Canyon” – The Gabriels

A great song by this new band out of the UK. If you like jangle pop and paisley underground music, you’ll love this song. This is one I included on my “This Isn’t Classic Rock?” playlist. I love these sorts of songs that remind me of the 60s and we absolutely need more Byrds-like music. I’m looking forward to more music from this band.

10. Urban Driftwood – Yasmin Williams

Found out about her music from Reddit and I was so impressed with her acoustic fingerstyle guitar playing. If you like Steve Howe, Bert Jansch, and Leo Kottke, you’ll love her music. Yasmin is originally from Northern Virginia, studied Music Theory and Composition at NYU, and has won talent contests with her unique style of playing guitar. She grew up listening to all kinds of music and got into guitar thanks to the video game Guitar Hero and begged her parents for a guitar. She’s completely self taught too, learning to play by ear! Definitely a contender for one of my favourite albums of the year. It’s not often that I add a new album onto my perfect albums list on Pinterest, so you really have to impress me and she did that! It’s hard to pick a favourite on this album, but if I had to pick one, I’d say it’s “Swift Breeze”. Urban Driftwood is so relaxing and beautiful – I love technical music and instrumentals.

11. Lit – Pennan Brae

I interviewed Pennan Brae last year and really loved his last album, the soundtrack for his film 2 Below 0. This year, he’s back with another album, Lit. Like the previous one, it’s very 70s/80s inspired with a power pop sound and it’s great! My favourite tracks are “Won’t You Come My Way” , “El Camino”, “I Reminisce You”, “Fake”, and “Savant”. To reference one of my favourite shows – RuPaul’s Drag Race, rather than “Sashay”, I give this album a “Shantay you stay!”

12. Good to You – Deanna Faye

Another great release from the very creative and talented Deanna who is not just writing and recording new music, but also starting a YouTube channel where she talks about songwriting.

13. Yol – Altin Gün

Found out about this Turkish psychedelic rock band from Reddit. Their sound mixes Turkish folk, psychedelic rock, funk, and yes – Turkish music of the 70s! I always love hearing musicians from different countries fuse their culture with psychedelia. The second track, “Ordunun Dereleri”, is very Tame Impala/Pond like. “Bulunur Mu” mixes electronics with some surf rock guitar, a combination I haven’t thought of or heard before, I dig it! Other great tracks are the funky “Hey Nari”, “Yüce Dağ Başında”, “Kara Toprak”, and “Maçka Yolları”. It’s definitely an album you need to listen to start to finish. Lots of great albums in this one and that’s only gonna make it even harder for me to do my best of 2021 edit at the end of the year – we’re only ¼ of the way into the year.

14. “Blueberry Dream” – The Pink Stones

The Pink Stones are a cosmic country rock band from Athens, Georgia. Founding member of the band Hunter Pinkston was really into punk rock and grew up on country music thanks to mum and rock and roll thanks to his dad, but what really inspired the then punk-rocker to make country rock was listening to Gram Parsons’ “Brass Buttons”, an excellent choice! They released their debut album in 2015 and are releasing a new album soon called Introducing… The Pink Stones. In the meantime, you can listen to three singles from the album and they’re all great! “Blueberry Dream” is such a beautiful song. If you like The Flying Burrito Brothers, CSN, and The Byrds, you’ll like this band. “Barroom Blues” is a more upbeat song and a lot more country.

15. “She Hides Daggers” b/w “The Signal” – Black Satin

My friend, Sam, from Twitter is back with another song and this is his latest release. It’s a nice mix of darkwave, ambient, synthpop, and disco and has an 80s-esque sound.

16. “Western Skies” – The Pretty Visitors

Coming out on the 12th of March is a music video for The Pretty Visitors‘ new single “Western Skies”. Below, you can see a teaser for it. I was lucky enough to get to listen to the single before it came out and I have to say it’s their best song yet! If you like The Arctic Monkeys but with a bit of rap/spoken word, you’ll love this song! I find the lyrics very relatable because they’re about small town life and feeling like there’s no future and you’re channelling your anger and energy towards something creative since there’s not much else to do.

Shoutout to Patrick and Jeffrey from Maryland for supporting the blog!

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