Set it Off – Why Worry
This pop-punk band might have earned attention for covering Ariana Grande, but their best work is clearly their original material. With urgent, tense verses, Why Worry builds itself up to a rousing, carefree chorus that is simply overwhelming. Clapping percussion, a choral background vocals, and brooding rock instrumentals create a unique sound and style that definitely leaves an impression!
Kimberly Caldwell – On The Weekend
“I love my nine to five!” said no man ever. This American Idol alumni created everyone’s workday anthem with this bouncy little jam. With a deep, smokey voice, Kim sings about making it through the workweek with a realism that most other pop stars can’t sell. Once the chorus hits with its funky 80’s synth beat, the party really gets going! This is one under rated pop gem you don’t want to miss!
Anberlin – Stranger Ways
It figures that the same year that I get into this cool and interesting rock band would be the same year that they break up. It truly is a shame, but you can’t deny that they went out on a strong note. Stranger Ways is simply captivating with its urgent beat, ominous guitars, and emotional vocals. Its a sound that harkens back to 80’s synth rock, but with a modern twist that makes it sound like the style never went out of favor. Its a shame that Anberlin has disbanded, but they’ve definitely gone out strong.
Mat Kearney – One Black Sheep
With a new album set to drop early in 2015, Mat released three singles to build anticipation. While the lead single Heartbeat didn’t feel up to Mat’s usual standard, One Black Sheep proved that he hasn’t lost his touch. Over a mellow guitar riff, Mat sings about a lifetime of not fitting in, and being happy regardless. Its both catchy and inspiring, with a great message about self acceptance.
Sevyn Streeter – nEXt
This song’s smooth urban beat instantly draws you in. Sevyn’s sweet vocals make you stay. With a catchy chorus and lyrics about a conflicting relationship, this song setting into a groove that’s pretty hard to get out of. Having already written major hits for some of the biggest stars in the genre, Sevyn makes a strong case for being the next big RnB starlet.
Maroon 5 – Maps
While Maroon 5’s music output in recent years hasn’t been quite as good as their first few albums, you can’t deny that they know how to write a hit. Its a formula that’s made them into one of the top pop-rock bands of this generation! Maps took over the radio with its catchy chorus, dancable beat, and Adam Leveign’s unmistakable vocals. With a surefire hit making formula, I’m hoping that this band can top themselves again in 2015.
Modest Mouse – Lampshades on Fire
Its been awhile since Modest Mouse has put out anything new, but with Lampshades on Fire, its obvious that the band is picking up where they left off. From the opening riffs, you know this is a Modest Mouse track, because the formula that made Float On and Dashboard and such stand out tracks has been left untouched. Lampshades is still characterized by Brock Issac’s unique vocals, a stirring blend of instrumentals, slick guitar work, and quirky lyrics. Providing commentary on the ways we become bored, numb, and complacent to the world, Lampshades is a self-aware song disguised as an indie rocker crowd pleaser.
Ray LaMontagne – Airwaves
Ray LaMontagne never fails to pierce right through to your very being. With 70’s inspired folk guitars, a raspy croon, and simple, heartfelt lyrics, Ray always seems to take us back to an easier time. Airwaves proves that less is more with whispered vocals and soothing guitars. Ray doesn’t need to go big to impress. That raspy voice does all of that without any big studio tricks.
Gorgon City – Ready For Your Love
EDM isn’t going away any time soon, but trends come and go within the genre. Now that listeners have moved past Electro-hip-hop, Dubstep and Big Room, we’re finally moving onto the next EDM trend…house! This DJ duo started out the year by reminding us why we all loved house in the 90’s! Synths are used sparingly, a thumping beat keeps us moving, and the chorus hits with a wave of loops rather than the typical bass drop. MNEK leads his soulful vocals to the track, giving it a rich texture. By reinventing an outdated genre, Gorgon City is definitely ahead of the pack.
OK Go – Writing On The Wall
OK Go is best known for their mind blowing music videos, and once again, they’ve managed to one up themselves! While the video plays with camera tricks and illusions, the actual song is just as compelling. Using distorted instrumentals to create a unique sound, the song speaks of that moment in a relationship when you know its coming to an end. However, you wouldn’t know it based on the lively and colorful sound! Both upbeat and melancholy, Writing is a one of a kind track that you just have to hear for yourself!