The top four tracks from the week of September 6-12.

Doomsday – Architects

Architects power on, and that’s the huge story here. After the death of their guitarist Tom Searle from cancer, there was definitely questions of whether the band would retire after the album cycle of All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us. Well, allow this song to be a resounding NO. They will continue on, because according to all existing members, that’s what Tom would have wanted. Essentially, that’s what this song is about. Moving on, pushing forward, despite the obstacles and pain. Doomsday’s instrumentals were written by Tom, which the band finished writing after his passing, adding lyrics that reflect how the band felt about moving on without him. Dan tweeted that this song is not from an album, but rather the band’s way of showing everyone that there’s still a future for this band. And there’s no question that this was an emotional decision to make, and song to write, as expressed in the lyrics. “But I sometimes  forget I have to do this for you, and the only way out is through.” It’s an amazing song about continuing on through tragedy, and proves that this band still has it. They’ve recently confirmed the addition of a new guitarist, Josh Middleton, of Sylosis fame. The guitar work in this track feels like an Architects song, and I think Josh will be able to respect and honour Tom’s legacy while still bringing his own skill to the band. Love this song, love this band.

RIYL: Kingdom of Giants, Invent Animate, Polaris


Hide Me – Ember Island

Ember Island continue to impress me, and they truly are the most original and creative band on my radar right now. The experimentation with the vocal chopping and electronic influences are so subtle and nuanced that they don’t  stand out, but rather are only noticeable when pointed out. It’s so well done, and only adds to an already incredible song. Her vocals are haunting, and the instrumentation is so layered and meticulous that it truly creates a symphony from just three people. After releasing a cover of Rihanna’s Umbrella earlier this year, Ember Island decide to finally release their first original song of the year. I’ve been waiting. What I find so impressive about Ember Island is the effort and artistic thought they put into everything they do. They’re more than just a band, they create art, and that is shown in every moment of their work, whether in artwork, video, or music. The quality is always so high. The melancholia aesthetic that this band embraces truly sets them apart. This song instills a sense of rainy days and a desire for a warm drink and being alone, hidden from the world. I always struggle with words to describe how much I enjoy Ember Island because they are so original and different from everything else I listen to. This band deserves your attention, undivided.

RIYL: kiiara, Chinah, Bon Iver


Dive Feat. Beam – Social Club Misfits

Dive shows that Social Club Misfits are in a complete category of their own. The beat in this song is incredible, and I can’t find who the producer was on this track. I’m going to take a wild guess that it was D-Flow. I love the chorus’ chord progression, and Beam absolutely kills it on his feature in this track. Michael Phelps with the Stroke. The boys hold down their individual verses well, showcasing their different flows and rhyming schemes. The hook is beyond catchy, and I can’t get enough of it. What I appreciate about Social Club is that they continue to put their faith at the forefront of their songs, even as they gain more success and sign to a label. They continue to get better at their craft, but they stay true to themselves, as showcased in their music video, which is a very 8-bit, pop art style of video that they’ve been playing with since they first got together. Their usual lyrical style of telling the struggle stories combined with always pointing to the grace and hope of God shines through on this song, but there’s a serious sense of maturity in this song. It’s become more of a craft, and I think Beam really adds that additional layer to the song.

RIYL: Andy Mineo, Wordsplayed, Migos


Over and Over Again – The Used

There are many people who are unhappy with this new single, and new direction, for The Used. I am not one of them. This song is amazing. I mean, cowbell? C’mon, it’s amazing. It still has that Used feel in the guitars, but it’s far more bouncy and fun than anything they’ve done before this. It feels like Bert is just loving this new direction, and is having fun with it. Though so many fans try to pigeonhole them into the post-hardcore emo sound they started with, The Used have never been ones to stick to one genre, and a quick glance at their discography will reveal that they’ve experimented with genres from full on metal to jazz, and Bert has always said that the band played “dirty pop music.” And that’s the perfect way to describe this song. This is the first album with Justin (of Saosin) on guitar, and I think bringing that fresh perspective is giving this band the rejuvenated desire they needed. After all, this is the first track they’ve released since 2014, so it’s great to see the fans patience pay off in one way or another. Many fans are saying they sold out, but if that’s what The Used are trying to do, they’re doing it wrong, because this won’t sell in the mainstream as well as some EDM-influenced songs would (see Fall Out Boy). The Used are simply staying true to themselves and writing what they like, same as they always have. And I can’t get enough of it.

RIYL: The Matches, The Maine, Taking Back Sunday