Single-Play

While the music world is focused on SXSW this week, I thought we should take a few moments away from our Twitter feeds, Instagram photos, G+ stream, and FB updates to listen to some new music in the comfort of our own homes — or happily plugged into a smartphone with some noise canceling headphones. This week, I’m featuring a fairly diverse lot of music, but these tunes are united around the hooks that make pop music so pleasing. So, without prolonging the rising of the curtain, here are this week’s “Single Play” artists of the week.

“Who Am I,” Devyn Rose

I like it when musicians fuse styles and push a genre beyond what’s fashionable and popular. Case in point: Devyn Rose. If you look at her page on SoundCloud, she’s billed as a Hip-Hop/R&B artist — but there’s more going on with her music that that. Her influences? Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Whitney Houston, Minnie Riperton, and Cindy Lauper — just to name a few. Can I hear those influences in “Who Am I?” Not overtly. But what I do hear is someone who has combined big hooks and breathy vocals into a catchy dubstepy soundscape. “Who Am I” is not really Hip-Hop, nor is it quite R&B. Instead Rose combines a number of styles that make her sound very unique in a music marketplace populated by sound-alikes.

SEACATS
“Lately,” SEACATS

If you go to the SEACATS’ website, you’ll see that they bill themselves as “America’s Number One Party Band.” Hmmm…I guess Van Halen just got knocked out of the top spot. SEACATS come from a land up yonder (Kelso, Washington to be exact) and have a sound that they like to call “Crunchy power pop.” This tune, “Lately,” is actually a B-side that was included in their promo package hyping their new video “Wrecked.” However, if you’re a student of that old media giant, radio, then you you know that some DJs used to spin the B-side of a record because they thought it’s the better song. Now, your milage may differ when it comes to “Lately” vs “Wrecked,” but “Lately” grabbed me on the first listen, so that’s why it’s in the spotlight (“Wrecked” may be a grower, though). SEACATS are not entirely polished pop rock, but rather there’s a lumpy-bumpiness to the group that makes them very likable for their upbeat, pop-drenched sound.

Walk Off The Earth
“Red Hands,” Walk Off The Earth

After seeing the video for Walk Off The Earth’s latest, I did what any person with a Twitter account would do: try and post some kind witty response to it. After pondering the possibilities of a 140 character limit, I went with the Miller’s Analogy shorthand from the old version of the S.A.T. You be the judge whether the analogy holds up. But enough with my attempts at being clever as a toilet lever, and on to the cleverness of Walk Off The Earth. The Canadian group — best known for cover songs that have become very popular on YouTube — have signed with a major label and are now cranking up the PR machine with “Red Hands.” The studio version of the song is one thing, but this “Big Guitar” version is much more appealing to me for the sheer fact that it showcases that these kids can sing, harmonize, and have continued with their gimmick to get attention. Have a look at the video and you’ll see what I mean.

 

“Every Time,” David Ford

There’s enough British working-class spit in David Ford’s “Every Time” that even if you’re not British, one can relate to the kind of one-finger salute attitude in his lyrics and vocal delivery. In addition to being a singer/songwriter, Ford is an author whose book chronicles his life as full time musician for the last 10 years. But, you may not have to read his book if you just listen “Every Time” to know about his trials and tribulations. With the chorus declaring, “Well, every time I was giving a chance to stand on my own two feet/I fell” it’s clear Ford has experienced his fair share of getting kicked in the teeth — but I’m glad he got back up.