I'm on vacation this week, but there's really no such thing as a break from good music. I hope you all dig on these latest songs and videos I've rounded up here.

-I am excited about my recent discovery of NYC trio Oh! My Blackbird. They are yet another example of great music being made in the city where I live, but they also have a broader appeal. This song "Faking" is catchy, clever, and easy to listen to over and over again. I like the balance of the acoustic and electric guitars. Here and throughout new album Dare Me, the writing of Annie Sullivan is strong and her voice sounds great in tandem with bandmates Veronica and Nick.

-The band Sea Wolf (which also happens to be the mascot of the minor league baseball team in the city of Erie, PA where Dave and I are from) will be releasing a new album on September 11 called Old World Romance. The lead single is called "Old Friend" and it's really good. It has a melancholy tinge in the verses and thought it opens up to a sweeping chorus, there is something so heartbreaking about the line "I know you don't believe me when I believe in you."

-Here's a great tune for the middle of summer, especially when it feels "a million degrees," like the line in "Hot River" by the Canadian band Yes Nice. It has a sunny beat, and the twisty guitar line plus the communal shouts of "Yeah!" make me think of being outside, warm, and with a bunch of good people. This comes from the forthcoming Warm Gun album.

-Here's another cool song out of Canada that also ties to warmth. It comes from the band Hot Panda and it's called "Future Markets." I am really into the video they made. It is a well-shot clip that nods to suspense thrillers and sci-fi and presents an interesting spin on the title of the track. The repetitive groove of the song in its first part does an excellent job of providing an underlying sense of tension that increases as the story evolves. Look for album Go Outside now, it just came out last week.

Gabe Goodman is a young musician from Boston with a new EP out earlier this year. If a song like "Hot River" makes me think of summer days, then a song like "Midnight Sour" evokes the more low-key, nocturnal moments of the season. Maybe just hanging out on a porch or driving home from the beach after the sun is down. It draws on elements of rock, hip-hop, and electronic to make for a captivating track.

-Another cinematic video I'm digging this week comes from FOLKS for their song "Skull & Bones." It has a lot of characters and feels like an espionage mystery with a cult mixed in for good measure. The track itself is very strong, hard to believe it's only the band's debut! They have a fleshed out sound that really pulses along here, a solid rock groove that's supplemented by strings and piano. Look for their first album in October.

Here are some links to new releases from previously featured artists:

  • The video for "Animal Style" by Murs, a powerful and heart-wrenching look at a same-sex relationship.
  • The video for one of my favorite tracks of last year, "Ain't It So" by PAPA
  • The video for another stellar track "Fuckin' Up Young" by The Dirty Nil
  • Saint Motel's album Voyeur, featuring "Puzzle Pieces" and "At Least I Have Nothing," is now out. You can buy it here or here.