5 songs you must hear this week: 21 February 2021

When I go through the 500+ song pitches every week looking for five gems to recommend, I don’t go looking for anything particular. Yet sometimes certain similarities pop up like they did this week.

1. Small Sins, I Used to Be a Better Man
Volume II (Arts & Crafts)
Recommended If You Like: Death Cab for Cutie, Flaming Lips, some XTC

Toronto native Thomas D’Arcy’s Small Sins project has been dormant for about a decade—he’s been busy working with Yukon Blonde, The Sheepdogs, Dear Rouge, and a ton of others, so he’s forgiven—but the fourth album is here now featuring some smooth synth-driven alt-rock. Soothing stuff, this.

2. Goldpark, Beautiful Desperation
Single (Hazel Street Records)
RIYL: Death Cab for Cutie, Kings of Leon, Coldplay

There’s some buzz building about this three-piece from Nashville (est. 2019) who like big songs with big choruses. The video was shot at The Basement, a Nashville venue that’s been hurt badly by the pandemic. I’ve been there, too. Great spot.

3. Saint Nomad, Nothing to Lose
Single (Sidewalk/Curb)
RIYL: Death Cab for Cutie, Silversun Pickups, Metric

Another trio from Nashville but this time a band of three brothers. Co-produced by Jacquire King (who’s done work with Kings of Leon) in a home studio in the Hollywood Hills, this is another smooth bit of alt-pop (a theme this week, it appears) with a head-boppy beat.

4. The Happy Fits, Hold Me Down
What Could Be Better (Sidewalk/Curb)
RIYL: The Killers, The Stills, Two Door Cinema Club

Still another trio with a smooth sound (there we go again!) but these guys are from New Jersey. And get this: they feature a guitarist, a drummer, and a full-time cello player. That lends an interesting vibe to this single from their sophomore single.

The Orphan The Poet, The Moxie
Single (FM Music/ONErpm)
RIYL: Yukon Blonde, Hollerado, The Zolas

Yes, another trio, Three BFFs from Columbus, Ohio, here, one presumably an orphan and the other a poet (we’re not sure about the third one). They’ve been around for about five years and have a couple of albums already on their resume. And dammit, there’s something in the hook that reminds me of another song but I just can’t place it. Help!


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