Single-Play Stretch

This week, it’s The Attack of the Non-Mainstream Artists on “Single Play.” These performers have their fans, but I’m guessing not one of these songs is being played on the radio in the U.S. right now. Despite the lack of airplay, these tunes have charm, wit, and hooks a-plenty. However, because we’re flooded with music via something called “the Internet,” and force-fed a steady stream of music by a narrow group of artists on something called “Radio,” it can be really difficult for music artists to get much traction on a song these days. I do what I can with this series to promote bands and performers who take the leap into music and hope to make a living at it. And with that, here’s this week’s featured artists!

“Like Lovers Do,” Ms. Henrik

Sometimes, everything old is new again. How else to describe Ms. Henrik — but as a kind of mash-up of ’80s synth with David Bowie’s forays into androgyny. It’s not all style over substance for Ms. Henrik, however. The song itself is perky, quirky, and with a little more than a nod to Matthew Wilder’s (“Break My Stride) singing voice, “Like Lovers Do” has both style and substance. But unlike Wilder, Ms. Henrik is about working cross-gender boundaries in a number of ways — one being that he’s released his own lipstick line. I give him a lot of credit for “diversifying his product line” by venturing into the realm of cosmetics, but in the end, it’s about the music. And Ms. Henrik’s sound is unapologetically rooted in synth pop that channels robotic sounds like it’s the mid-’80s all over again.

“Dimensions,” On The Go

I dig this tune…a LOT. It’s got a lot of that moody/ethereal xx stuff going on, but with more musical variations in the vocal stylings. On The Go come from Russia and they must have studied their Russian film history because the video is very cinematic. But for me, videos only enhance (or sometime detract) from the most important thing: the song. And the song is quite the winner in the way the group creates a mood that’s dark, but not too dark. What elevates this song from something stuck in the swamps of Doom and Gloomsville are the wonderful hooks in the vocals. On The Go is doing great on the Russian charts, but time (and a good promotions team) will tell if a song like “Dimensions” will find its way onto North American alternative rock stations.

“Beat Silent Need,” Júníus Meyvant

Meyvant is an Icelandic singer/songwriter currently living in Reykjavík and churning out some stellar music like “Beat Silent Need.” The video is pretty odd, but the song has a kind of epic quality with the horn sections adding nice punches to the rather funky beat underneath. Mostly relying on word of mouth (or in this day and age, Facebook), the song has gotten a lot of traction, and it’s not hard to see why. Meyvant has great control over all the elements in this song and it really lives up to how it’s described on his Facebook page: “freaky folk pop with a familiar and soulful feel.”

“Little Delight,” Sofia Härdig

If you hear more than a smattering of PJ Harvey in Sofia Härdig’s voice, you’re not alone. More than one reviewer has noticed the similarity between the two artists. However, where they split in terms of style is that Härdig’s sound on “Little Delight” channels a kind of Joy Division (early New Order) muddiness that gives the song a good amount of angst and propulsion.