Music Roundup: Becky Krill, Christine Nguyen & Justice Gbada, Owlstar, Tom Duggan, Monroe Moon, Our Dear Friend

Ooph, something about a singular unexpected synth really does it for me. Alive in the Summertime by Becky Krill features an acoustic guitar opening with some flittering notes, and after a brief hint of the electronic influence as a beat drops in over the verse, we get a LFO’d sawtooth synth undergirding the pre-chorus before Krill brings it home with a hooky chorus, and a feel good lyric about appreciating life and leaning into love. Krill is looking for a collaborator to feature in the re-release of the song so be sure to get in touch if you’re feeling the song! Check it out on our Indie Rock & Pop playlist below.

Christine Nguyen and Justice Gbada deliver this wonderfully crafted, laid back track that places artfully performed vocals on top of a lo-fi hip hop beat. The mixture of their two voices throughout provide a great push and pull throughout the track that keeps it fresh even as the beat remains simple and unintrusive.

Into Your Eyes brings some serious pop game. It’s a slick production, with lots of space between instrumentation in the mix, snappy drums, clean vocal production, and some clever reverb dropouts in the chorus that really punctuate the vocal lines. The artist writes that a lot of technical work went on behind the vocals, and the results clearly paid off in a slick and effective vocal track. There’s certainly a nod or two to the likes of The Chainsmokers here and there, and a distinctly contemporary production style. If you’re digging the pop vibe it’s well worth a listen.

Tom Duggan gives us Broken Trust, a solo acoustic guitar song about just that. The song is an impressive effort for some of his first recordings, despite previously performing live frequently. He uses the natural room sound to provide ambience to the vocal rather than adding it in post-production, a difficult (and rare) feat that he pulls off quite effectively to my ear.

Greener by Monroe Moon opens with birds cawing and a dreamy palette of piano acoustic guitar that make me think of a vision of driving through your hometown after a long time and noticing that it’s not quite the same as you remembered it, not unlike the band Stars circa Take me to the Riot era. It’s got a bit of a DIY indie band aesthetic that once you get on board with is worth the effort. I’d love to hear this with an acoustic piano and the vocals a bit more out in front, but the vibe is definitely there, and I’m loving the horns.

The band Our Dear Friend bring us their cover of the karaoke classic Wonderwall. I enjoy the lo-fi electro take on the track. The unconventional drums like the “whirr” that occurs on beat 3 throughout, give the track it’s own melancholic twist, and the swirling low pass filter intro is great. I’d love to hear the band keep pushing their vocals further, as it feels like this heavily auto-tune stylized vocal lead is maybe a bit heavy handed , though the layering of their vocals a second one dropped 1 octave below provides a bit more texture to the vocal track, I feel some more natural moments would provide a refreshing contrast and give the band more space to hone their craft. Nonetheless I appreciate their effort on taking on a challenging track already seeped in emotion and many previous interpretations.