It’s been a few months since my last set of recommendations so I thought it would be a good idea to update you on some of the best artists I have been listening to recently. If you are looking for something different, this post is for you. This issue includes new albums from Nina Nesbitt and Matt Nathanson, a great sophomore EP from Em Beihold and a step into the past ahead of the release of new material by indie rock band Unkle Bob.
Nina Nesbitt - Älskar (Album)
I have been a fan of Nina Nesbitt for years but more recently she was brought to my attention through her collaborations with one of my favourite British country bands “The Shires”. I was really impressed with the modernity and pop qualities she brought to their style, while still retaining their important Nashville sound. Earlier this year while surfing through Spotify I discovered one of her singles from Älskar; “Pressure Makes Diamonds”. It immediately drew me in through its electronic pop guitar riff (the type of sound I have been trying to incorporate in my more recent work) and melodic yet elucidated delivery of lyrics. The whole album features these elements in some way or another, talking truthfully about Nesbitt’s experiences as a woman. It stands out from the other electropop works dominating the charts because of these choices and is all the better for it. Often in songs like “Dinner Table” and “When You Lose Someone” the electronic parts take a backseat and allow the vocals and lyrics to speak for themselves which creates a great flow and variety listening through Älskar. If you are looking for something fresh in the modern popular music landscape this is the perfect album as it retains the modern aspects but is succinct in knowing exactly what it needs to do, that it breaks through the noise.
Matt Nathanson - Boston Accent (Album)
An artist I hadn’t heard of until March of this year and was completely surprised as he has much in common with some of my favourite artists. Soon after discovering his music, he released his brand-new album, “Boston Accent”, giving me something to dive into and get a feel for his style. What I found was a pleasant revelation. Nathanson is an artist who can blend lots of styles seamlessly while still sounding like himself. There are tracks on “Boston Accent” that feel akin to an early 2000’s Jack Johnson and another that would fit in the discography of David Gray. Yet what stands out as Nathanson is his romanticised lyrics. “You kissed like the queen of California” and “Music used to be everything to me, now it’s just the soundtrack to you” are just some of the notable lines I really enjoyed and they’re what elevate the album above the normal affair. In short, the album is a simple, stripped back, sweet collection of thoughts and stories, ideal for the listener who is looking to lower the volume in life a little. After listening through this album, I’ll be sure to go back and check out his previous work. If you enjoy it as well, I’d encourage you to do the same, not just for Nathanson but for any new artist you find.
Em Beihold - Egg in The Backseat (EP)
Em Beihold was one of the big artists to come out of the Covid lockdowns with her timely appropriate song “Groundhog Day”. If you’re active on TikTok or Instagram I’m sure, you’ll have heard it. While the song became viral due to its lyrical content, I was thoroughly impressed with the musicianship and became an avid follower of her work. Other singles “City of Angels” and “Blink of An Eye” also caught my ear. After the success of “Groundhog Day”, Beihold was signed to Republic Records and released her second EP; “Egg in The Backseat” - a whimsical title befitting of Beihold’s light pop-y style. The quirky lyrics and bass heavy piano produce young and bright personality in the songs, despite some of the subject matter being less so. Encapsulating the mood of the current younger generation, it’s no wonder she has been a hit on social media. If you’re looking for songs to brighten your day “Egg in The Back Seat” is a delightful turn and from such a young talent I can only see her growing further in the public consciousness.
Unkle Bob - Invisible (Single) and Various
Unkle Bob are an indie rock group that hit their stride in the early 2000’s with an album that was hugely influential on me; “Sugar and Spite”. They had tracks featured on Grey’s Anatomy and CSI Miami and supported the Goo Dolls on tour before taking a hiatus in 2011. However, in 2020 the full band reformed and have announced new material coming our way. This year they released the single “Invisible” which dives right back into their indie rock quality with ethereal vocals, rhythmic snare, and piano and clean guitar riffs. If this is only an indication of what’s to come, I can’t wait to see what they have in store. However, I didn’t want to just take the chance to recommend their new work but also to revisit their past tracks which still hold credence today. “Swans” and “This Way” are beautifully haunting and a constant feature of my Spotify playlists. The melancholic nature of the music is easy to get lost in which makes them one of my favourite bands. If you can get into the music, it proves how powerful the writing is. I would definitely recommend you check them out and visit a couple of the live shows they are performing at this year.
Let me know if you check out any of these suggestions, you can contact me via instagram @samnixmusic. I try to cover something for everyone and I am always open to recommendations myself. I also have a Spotify playlist of my favourite tracks in 2022 including the tracks suggested here as well a bunch of other hidden (and unhidden) gems. You can check it out here - https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3ZHfsmqvQsWgQGCZW7ZsrA