Quick Sound Bites #06 - December 11, 2023

December 11, 2023

Happy Monday, everyone!

Let's kick off the week with our final "Quick Sound Bites" selection of 2023 before a well-deserved break for the holidays. And what a selection it is! Here, we'll juggle between our modern-day superheroes and the superheroes of our adolescence who are back to make us groove once more. A real journey through time, emotions, and what the indie music world is today: full of pleasant surprises and goosebumps. Hope you enjoy the ride!

And if you want even more, the latest episode of Luna's podcast, 'Why Doesn't Everyone Know These Songs,' is now up! A perfect way to extend the journey for an hour with the best of December's indie music!


Axe & the Ivory - Strangers

Third submission from the Aussies of Axe & The Ivory, and it's a resounding yes for the third time without any hesitation. After "Find It" in November 2022 and the unforgettable "Pinball Machine" in March 2023, Rosie and her mates are back on IMC with "Strangers," their new single released in early December.

As effective as bands with catchy melodies like WILD or Animal Island, Axe & The Ivory's sound stands out thanks to Rosie's exceptional voice, unmistakable among thousands. She knows how to convey powerful emotions without going overboard.

"Strangers" was born from a real experience, a somewhat "forced" move after a breakup. And as Rosie was loading her things, she faced a strange question from her former neighbor:

"I was out front putting some things in the car and our retired neighbor Ken was putting his bins out. He saw the mattress in the trailer and must have thought we were selling it, so yells out (jokingly) 'you finally got rid of him or did he get rid of you?' not realizing that he nailed exactly what was going on. I started to ugly cry. Ken freaked out and ran back into his house."

Yes, even the worst experiences (which we often laugh about later) can lead to masterpieces like this one. A great source of inspiration that gave birth to a Folk gem with impactful vocal harmonies, moving writing, and stunning production quality that the group of friends has accustomed us to. We want more! Australia rules!

Reach out to Axe & the Ivory

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Ryan Nealon - Human

When we see Ryan Nealon's name in our queue, we can't help but reminisce about that unforgettable day in June 2021 when he made us shed tears in front of the screen with "Not Coming Home". Yes, we still consider Ryan to be one of the artists who has left the most indelible mark on our 22 years of music promotion, leaving an enduring imprint on our hearts.

His new single "Human" is more or less linked to "Not Coming Home" because Ryan continues to explore the theme of time passing, something we can't control. We all grow, we see others grow around us, and sometimes, we feel a bit lost. It's akin to the sentiment expressed in Allison Leah's song "24 Years Down".

Taken from his first full-length album, "Losing Sleep and Losing Friends," released last Friday and already amassing millions of streams, "Human" invites us to find our place in a world that sometimes evolves too fast:

"Everyone's changing / starting their families and building foundations / thought I'd be happier going against the grain / but maybe it's too late to hop on the train and be stable."

Approaching thirty, Ryan Nealon reflects on what he could have done differently. But when we come back to reality and focus on his music and career, there's nothing he could have done differently. Touching us deeply with every release is already a tremendous achievement.

Reach out to Ryan Nealon

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James Walsh - Sweet December

When I received this song from James Walsh, I burst into laughter while looking at the previous feedback I gave him two years ago. Are you ready? Here's what I told him: "Hi James! When I heard your voice, I immediately thought of Starsailor and then realized you put them in the 'similar artists'." What he didn't mention back then is that, in fact, HE IS the voice of Starsailor. Yeah, that band that rocked my teenage years with the album "Silence Is Easy" 20 years ago. I listened to that record on repeat, and 20 years later, here I am exchanging words with one of the heroes of my adolescence... How crazy is that? I feel both a bit ashamed that I didn't recognize him and honored to be able to listen to his solo work.

After discussing the post-Christmas period a few days ago with Harley Eblen's "The Last Day of December", let's now focus on the Christmas period, which James describes as "the cocoon before the madness of the new year begins". Yes, today, after Ryan Nealon, we linger a bit more on the passage of time and the frenzy that accompanies it.

"Sweet December" is that little gem that allows us to hit the pause button and reflect a bit. A beautiful acoustic ballad with numerous details in the background that you'll only hear with good-quality headphones. All carried by that unique voice that, too, might have cradled your early years. There's a lot of nostalgia and tranquility in this little ditty of less than 3 minutes that leaves us with a sense of absolute fulfillment.

Good news, an album is on its way and should be released in March. And we can't wait! We can only wish James the same success for this solo project as he had with the band!

Reach out to James Walsh

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Judge & Jury - Eventually

Well, after James Walsh from Starsailor, I'm starting to wonder if my submissions queue today isn't some kind of prank. Come on, let's stop playing around, tell me where the hidden camera is now!

In the same year as "Silence Is Easy," the iconic album from Starsailor, another album was released - "Three Days Grace" by the band of the same name. Another album I had on repeat during that time. Judge & Jury is the new project from the multiplatinum record producer Howard Benson and... Neil Sanderson, co-founder of the Canadian rock band Three Days Grace.

Let me tell you, listening to two submissions in a row from legends that marked my musical journey in the same year is almost miraculous. Finding them on IMC today, 20 years later, makes me realize how much space my passion for music occupies in my life.

Far from the electric guitars of Three Days Grace, "Eventually" leans on a powerful piano and an almost naked vocal performance, no effects, no frills, where emotion shines through in every line. If you're going through a tough time, this song will be your motivation to get better: "I'll get better, eventually", repeats this voice torn by emotion.

As the song progresses, the vocal power increases, injecting emotions into our veins and triggering what we love most on IMC: goosebumps.

Reach out to Judge & Jury

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