It’s that time again! I’m excited to announce my favorite music of the season, highlighting some of the musicians that deserve recognition the most.
While I can only include my top three submissions, please know that if your band/your favorite band wasn’t included, it does NOT mean they lack in any way, it just means that the field is so competitive that only the best of the best (in my opinion) can be considered.
Everything about these submissions was analyzed, from the production of the record as a whole to the quality of each instrument and vocal part. Without further ado, these are my top three records out of submissions from January-March, including singles and albums:
3. “Edge of Time” by Rags & Riches
Rags & Riches is a recurring favorite, and for good reason. The inspiring messaging in their music never fails to leave listeners feeling better, even after the darkest of days. Dubbed my artist to watch out for in 2020, they have not disappointed, and continue dropping music that illustrates their talents matched with meanings I can fully support.
“Anthemic yet casual, the new track is full of meaning. Like many of their previous records, “Edge of Time” focuses on bringing positivity to listeners’ lives, telling them to never settle for less: “Rise, when the chances come / Move, don’t be left behind / Now is your time to shine.” In a modern world filled with so much darkness, Rags and Riches’ lyrics are perfect to listen to when you need a little spark of light in your life.
The vocals of “Edge of Time” are smooth and flowing, creating catchy choruses that suit the band’s overall brand, making it feel very cohesive with their other works. Although it feels less full than many of the fast-paced, intense tracks in the band’s repertoire, “Edge of Time” takes a strong stance as a more casual member of the setlist. Its peaceful, inspirational aesthetic is guaranteed to place it gently—but firmly—in listeners’ hearts.” —On the Edge with Rags and Riches
More Rags & Riches content:
RAGS AND RICHES Has Arrived!
RAGS AND RICHES are Far From Strangers to this Blog!
Explore the Social Abyss with Rags & Riches’ New Single, “Blood Runs Cold”
Best EPs of Summer 2019!
Best Singles of Fall 2019!
Best of 2019!
Connect with Rags & Riches:
2. “Wild Card” by Moana A
In my book, Moana A is an upcoming feminist icon! I love that the meaning of “Wild Card” isn’t watered down, instead leaving listeners with a very clear message that she isn’t someone who will sit down and be controlled. When the strength of her lyrics is combined with a catchy western style, Moana A is unstoppable.
“‘Wild Card’ is a confident, catchy track that will be fresh yet familiar for fans of musicians like Kelly Clarkson, Marley Wildthing, and Chenoa Summers. Its anthemic, easy-to-sing-along-to choruses and dramatic instrumentals follow the twists and curves of the track, forming an overall dynamic, well thought out song. The lyrics are more than just pretty words, emphasizing Moana A’s goal of showing women they should be apologetically themselves from the first measure: “I won’t close my mouth, my eyes, my heart / I’m a lady but that’s not all / Not on display, I’m a doll / I am loud, boy / I’m a scandal.” “Wild Card’s” underlying western aesthetic makes it easy to picture a strong, independent cowgirl striding confidently through the swinging doors of a modern-day saloon, metaphorical gun drawn and ready to face the world.” —Moana A’s “Wild Card” is Your New Women’s History Month Anthem
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1. Music 4 No One Vol. 1 by Bad Ties
Bad Ties’ unique poetic experience calls out to both the writer and musician in me. Their album features gorgeous lyricism and fluid melodies, but also takes the time to skillfully discuss substantial topics such as substance abuse, displacement, and heartbreak.
“Based out of Asheville, North Carolina, since 2017, Bad Ties takes PoJazz to a new level with their experimental mix of spoken word, jazz, and post-punk to create a brand new style of beat poetry. The work of Garland Wells (Poet), Jacob Moran (Producer), Billy Reed (Bass), and Jason Chrisman (Tenor Sax) is truly one of a kind.
The band’s latest release, titled Music 4 No One Vol. 1, is their fourth LP. The record, mixed and mastered by Sid Saravanan, focuses on themes of heartbreak, displacement, and substance abuse, and was released on December 14, 2019 at a celebratory hometown show.
“Just Goofin” plays with tempo and empty space in a way that crafts an utterly unique listening experience. Mixing white space with a dragging, stilted melody, the instrumentals of the track add a lot to the poetry’s lyrical twists and turns, creating layers of rhythm that the ear races to understand: “Tenuous, terrible, / Marble faced shame! / Ride along, bridal song, / Warbled mouth dame. / Step away, entry way / Nothing was the same. / Nonsense words, all preferred, / All parties were game. / Simmer down, abandon crown, / Gyges is dead. / Staccato walk, bravado talk, / Disregard what he said. / The ring was turned, Republic burned, / I’ve died a hundred times. / A monster’s life, this constant strife, / I’ve lied a hundred rhymes.”The saxophone outro takes the staccato backing and turns it on its head, producing a flowing, mellifluous contrast to give listeners a lot to think about.” —Bad Ties Makes Poetry Cool(er)!
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