The top four tracks from the week of August 30-September 5.

Nowhere Left to Sink – Like Moths To Flames

LMTF really branched out with this song. The big thing people are noticing is no screams. Chris has always been a phenomenal singer (Emarosa, Agraceful) and I’m so glad he’s moving back in that direction. His clean vocals are extremely powerful, and he’s got pipes! Many are saying this song is boring/repetitive, but I like it a whole lot. If you’ve got a catchy chorus showcasing your new sound, play it more times than you normally would to prove you know what you’re doing. The bridge still brings the heavy with a breakdown that still shows they know what they’re doing, but then it transitions into my favourite moment, when everything cuts. Everything drops out except the guitar and Chris singing an octave lower than he had been up to that point. That dynamic, going from guns blazing to soft, is the basics of good songwriting. Make it dynamic. I’m impressed with this step forward musically from the band. This  all works in addition to the change in Chris’ lyrical content. There’s hope in this song. There’s positivity. And I wonder how much the environment in the scene surrounding mental health has affected this change. It’s real, it’s out there, and it affects millions. Let’s give people some hope. Finally, the closing moments of the song prove that they know what they’re doing. That last chord change from a minor to a major, landing it in hope. It’s beautiful and smart. Well done.

RIYL: The Plot In You, The Word Alive, The Amity Affliction

 

Incredible – Secrets

Secrets have had a new lead singer for each of their last three albums, but it seems like they’ve finally solidified their lineup, carrying over the same corp from their last album. This lead single shows that progression, as they really have jelled as a band and have a great sound. The chorus is an anthem that could easily be played during a pause at a hockey game. This is a big song. The punk beat from the drums causes my head to nod constantly while listening to this song, the palm muted guitars in the pre-chorus is the same, and then everything explodes for the huge chorus. The balance between the clean and unclean vocalists is balanced really well in this song. The bridge, much like the previous song, proves they still know how to bring the heavy, but it really feels like Secrets are moving away from the confines of their genre and are maturing as songwriters and as a band, and I’m actually looking forward to this album if it continues to branch out.

RIYL: Issues, The Color Morale, blessthefall

 

End of an Era – Summer Wars

Summer Wars have such a great, original sound, and I’m so happy they got signed. I found them back in January when they released their split EP with High Wire. Something to Call My Own is still one of my favourite songs of the year. Although they’re clearly a pop-punk band, they sound different from all of the other pop-punk bands that are huge right now. The instruments are well layered, and the vocalist sounds great. The bridge is reminiscent of mid-2000s Relient K, one of my favourite bands ever, so maybe that has something to do with why I like these guys so much. I don’t have a ton to say other than give these guys a chance. They deserve your ears.

RIYL: Grayscale, As It Is, Broadside

 

Coeur D’Alene – Tyson Motsenbocker

Tyson Motsenbocker, one of the best acoustic artists I’ve ever heard, blew me away with his album Letters To Lost Loves, mostly written to his late mother. That album was beautiful and heartbreaking, and I’m so glad Tooth & Nail picked him up to release it. This EP feels a little bit like a progression for him, like he’s written the songs about that heartbreaking time that he needed to for now, and he can write about some other things. This song is more upbeat than a lot of his other songs, and it’s really cool to see this become an entire band thing. This song is special because I’ve spent a good amount of time in Coeur d’Alene, going there for both my grad trip and my honeymoon (Silverwood what up). I’m so fond of the North West, so any time artists write about a part of it, I feel connected to it a little more than usual. The slightly twangy guitar lick really emphasizes this step forward, and I’m so happy about it. If you enjoy well written singer-songwriter stuff, don’t sleep on Tyson.

RIYL: Austin Plaine, Ben Howard, William Fitzsimmons