“Canvas,” Tiny Dragons

Sometimes the measure of a band’s talent is best exemplified by how well they play live. In this age of Auto-Tune, post-production audio sweetening (known as “fix it in post”), and all the tricks of the trade technology can be used to hide lack of talent, it’s refreshing to hear Tiny Dragons showcase their impressive abilities with a live version of “Canvas.” This UK band certainly has the chops, and Lizzie, Jim and Marcus make a big, soulful sound on their live EP, “Come Alive.”

Scarlette Fever Sunday Best
“Sunday Best,” Scarlette Fever (You’ll have to click the link to hear this. No embedding available).

Back in April, I featured Scarlette Fever (aka Karen Barrow) and the song “Where’s The Fun.” Well, now comes “Sunday Best,” a power ballad that showcases Barrow’s vocal range. This song will sound great on a Triple A formatted radio station with its passionate delivery that eschews the treacle that pervades adult contemporary and CHR. Scarlette Fever demonstrates that the quirky debut of “Where’s the Fun” wasn’t a one-trick pony, but rather a ramping up of bigger, more substantial things. Just give “Sunday Best” a few spins and you’ll hear what I’m talking about.

Like Swimming
“Go Buffalo,” Like Swimming

Upon your first listen to “Go Buffalo,” you may find it hard to believe that Like Swimming is from Sweden. But considering that bubbly pop in the form of ABBA came from Sweden, too, perhaps many groups from those nordic countries just can’t keep a catchy beat and hook-heavy song at bay. However, if you listen (or read) the lyrics to “Go Buffalo,” you’ll see there’s quite the dark underbelly to this otherwise catchy song. To wit, the opening lyric goes a little something like this: “I’ll Hang You Upside Down/And Let You Drain For Days.” Um, the kids from Like Swimming must have been reading Stieg Larsson and listening to ABBA for them to come up with such a dark, yet sunny song. Nevertheless, I’m having trouble getting it out of my head. Is that a bad thing?

“Watch Me,” Daytrip

Daytrip (Sam DeArmond and Anna Burden) are duo from the midwest who used Kickstarter to help their produce their EP — which features the uberpoppy “Watch Me.” I’ll confess that I don’t know much about this band, but what I like about this song is their effective use of contrasting vocals. DeArmond sings in higher register while Burden has a more sultry delivery that really stands out in the context of this song. Have a listen and you’ll see how quickly you’ll be spinning “Watch Me” again and again.