I’m back with another playlist, and I’m returning to delivering them weekly (sorry about the break, but school comes first, and finals were tough this semester!). However, this playlist in particular is a bit special.
Every song you hear on this playlist comes from people I have the good fortune of knowing personally. As a Music Business and Technology major at Millersville University, you would not BELIEVE the amount of talent I’ve witnessed from the people on this list, each one of them opening up their own lanes in the music industry. I’m so happy and lucky to know them, and I figured what better way to bring back the weekly playlists than to show you what I’ve been listening to that I’ve even had the chance to be a part of or witness being made.
Please enjoy and support these amazing artists as their careers take off. I have no doubt that they’ll all do great things and I’m so happy to call them my friends!
1. “The Moment (All I Need)” by Jackie Hynes
One of the most versatile people I’ve met in college is Miss Jackie Hynes. She can slay on the bass, she can write songs all the while making it seem effortless, and she can really sing. In her first official single, “The Moment (All I Need)”, she’s vulnerable both vocally and lyrically in a Jack Johnson/John Mayer-style singer/songwriter slow jam. It’s one of those songs you can see someone whipping out a guitar to play at a campfire and getting the entire group around to sing along to. With just guitar, bass, subdued drums and piano, though a few hand claps come in, she puts her heart out on her sleeve for the one she loves, and not unlike Adele, she shows not a ton of production or instrumentation is needed to get an emotion across to those listening to the song. Sometimes, all you need are good lyrics and a capable voice to make someone identify with your music.
In my (admittedly biased) opinion, the song is beautiful. Love songs can be cheesy when done incorrectly and without proper intent, but everything about this song and Jackie’s vocal delivery beams with sincerity, and I can’t wait to hear what else she can come up with!
2. “last chapter ripped out” by Movies
I got chills when I heard this next song. This song comes from my friend, Kevin, or as he’s also known, Movies, (he’s also in a band called Stippling that you should also check out on Bandcamp!). For fans of music more in the vein of Bon Iver, this is something you’ll definitely enjoy. With a fascinating transition from bare production to a surge of distortion by the end, “last chapter ripped out” is my favorite song on this album. Leaving the listener with a reminder that the best is yet to come, this song’s melody manages to worm it’s way into your brain and not let go. You can really feel it and understand the track as a whole when you put both headphones in, turn up the volume and let it play. That’s why I say, like Bon Iver, when you put it on and allow yourself to really listen to it, it’s an experience. And just when you think you’ve heard it all, a sample from the show Documentary Now comes in, that says, “Someone said to me, ‘Would you do it again?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about but I’d do it a million times again. To you, to anybody.” It’s an inspired twist using the line in this context, making it come off more self-conscious and introspective than it’s use in the show was.
Also, I wanted to say that its refreshing to hear something that so clearly doesn’t care to conform to formulaic trends and fitting to a mold. There is no need to always follow the ‘verse, chorus, verse, chorus’ structure (I say hypocritically, because that’s all I do) to make an interesting record, and that’s demonstrated clearly here.
Finally, I want to note and what is truly impressive is that Kevin (and Jackie) did all of the instruments, the writing, and the vocals himself, something I didn’t know he could do as well as he does, on all of these songs. I highly recommend checking out this whole album, as well as his other releases on Bandcamp, because he’s definitely in a lane of his own.
Follow him on Bandcamp!
3. “Grey Minds” by The Pof
The Pof have become a pretty well known name around Millersville, having released their first album this year, titled Remember Why You’re Here. Filled with some serious indie rock jams, the 7-track record showcases the intricate writing styles of these very talented musicians, led by guitarist and lead vocalist Matt Subers (and let’s not forget, they have two drummers, which is quite a sight to see when watching them perform live). I have no idea where Matt gets the ideas for these crazy guitar licks that he does, but it blows my mind every time. If you want a perfect example of what I’m talking about, take a listen to “The Plan”, the first song on their album. The riff that introduces the song is out of this world. “Grey Minds” is my favorite off the album, opening subtly with just the guitar and bass before the drums come roaring in. The song jams from there, breaking down in the middle to add some trumpets before surging back to the chorus and adding some tight harmonies. Then, a final gang vocals section to really close this sucker out, and you’ve got great indie rock track that’s an experience to be apart of at a live show. And with most of the band still in high school, they’ve got nothing but time to continue making more solid music. And, they’re touring! So if you want to catch them live, they’ll be around! Check out their Facebook page for upcoming dates!
Follow them on Facebook!
And, stream/buy their album, Remember Why You’re Here, on iTunes and Spotify!
4. “Key To The Highway” by The Mousey Brown Trio
This next band is nothing but fun to watch perform live. The Mousey Brown Trio, featuring Kyle Hancock, Luke Leonard and Jackson Trout, have compiled quite a number of funky blues-inspired tracks and have been taking them to a bunch of different places all around the Lancaster and Philly areas. And these performances are really just something you jam to. Kyle stands up there and rips it with some seriously bat sh*t crazy guitar playing, Luke and his iconic hair flips provide you with bass lines you never thought possible and Jackson’s drumming makes you doubt that he’s a human being because it just shouldn’t be possible to play like that. They do, and at the same time don’t, take themselves too seriously, having a hell of a lot of fun with their music, while also being very dedicated players (and trust me, it shows). This live performance of “Key To The Highway” is one of their best, showing how much fun they have on stage, as well as just how impressive they are as players and how tight they are as a band.
Follow them on Facebook!
5. “Show Your Love” by Kiana Corley
What do you get when Corinne Bailey Rae’s vocals meet Tori Kelly’s writing acumen? You have my best friend, Kiana Corley, that’s what. Inspired by both of these lovely ladies, Kiana is a master with melodies and an acoustic guitar. On “Show Your Love”, her first mastered release (shoutout to Matt Subers for producing!), Kiana writes about the struggles of finding someone as equally guarded about opening up to others, and trying to get them to be comfortable with falling in love. However, she also acknowledges that being in a relationship is a two way street, and recognizes that she herself needs to open up as well. Musically, she’s crafted a soothing, mellow guitar line that makes you feel like you’re floating and swaying with the waves, while her harmonies will have you saying, “Damn, girl!” The clarity to her tone is pretty much just the icing on the cake! It’s also noteworthy that this is another example of how, in a world of over compressed vocals and synthesized instrumentation, a guitar and a great voice can still carry a great song to leave an impression on you.
Kiana is also one of the hardest working musicians I know. She laid down all the harmonies, the acoustic guitar and the bass parts herself, and has come leaps and bounds as a vocalist and as a writer from when I met her a couple of years ago. Not that it needs to be said, but she’s one to watch, people.
Buy/Stream “Show Your Love” on iTunes and Apple Music:
Follow her on Facebook!
6. “Before I Ever Knew Your Name (Demo)” by Connor Powers
I couldn’t help but end this list with a shameless plug of my own. This past semester, I was able to write and record part of one of my own original songs, titled “Before I Ever Knew Your Name”, and, with the help of some very talented friends of mine (shoutout to Matt Rodriguez [bass], Matt Subers [drums] and Kyle Hancock [guitar]), we were able to make a demo of the first verse and chorus. The rest, which is already written, will be recorded in full this upcoming semester, and I’ll share that, as well as the album I’ve been writing, when it’s all done. I’m so excited! The song was inspired a lot by Carole King, with it being a piano-centered blues style song. Lyrically, it’s about wanting to go back to a simpler time before having feelings for someone complicated your life, something I think we’ve all faced at one point in our lives.
That’s it for this week, everyone! As of next Wednesday, I’ll be introducing Guest Playlists, featuring some fresh faces with some intriguing music tastes that you have to hear! First up will be Miss Brenna Diehl, so look out for the new playlist next Wednesday!