Flash Forward is a band to watch; three albums in, and I think they are just getting warmed up.
The struggle was real this week, children! So many good albums were brought to my attention, it was such a (pleasurable) challenge just to pick five. But don’t worry: There is a bonus selection for you enjoy, as well. I am breaking the rules this week—well, sort of; read on and expand your minds.
Wintersleep: Santa Fe | Those Canadians—with their free health care and maple syrup—can sure put out some tasty music. Indie rockers Wintersleep made me take note by seamlessly blending modulated vocals and blazing guitars. They had me on board when the first chorus kicked in; this band knows how to rock. I wonder if they would sponsor me to move to their country—eh?
Spiritual Beggars: Sunrise to Sundown | Crank up the smoke machine, turn down the lights, and let the massive wall of sound of Spiritual Beggars wash over you. Nothing about this rocker I don’t like: vintage Dio-esque vocals, massive-sounding guitars, and are those keyboards I hear? Burnout realness at its finest, Spiritual Beggars should submit this song for the Eurovison Song Contest. Sweden would be in the finals hands down.
Lee Aaron: Bad Boyfriend | Another Canadian makes this week’s list with the lady rocker vocal stylings of Lee Aaron. This track is delicious from start to finish. Aaron is giving me Pat Benatar, the Runaways, Joan Jett, and a bit of Lita Ford, all rolled up into one. I love the attitude of the vocals, the fun and flirty lyrics, and most of all, that classic, kickass rock ’n’ roll rhythm. Remember when rock used to be fun?
Flash Forward: Runaway | Flash Forward hails from Wesel, which is in North Rhine-Westphalia. (I think that is in Germany; I am so international!) At first listen through the album, I dismissed them as a trendy, alt-rock, rip-and-burn–type of band. But then I came across this track: It seemed mature, well-conceived, and, most of all, a bit dark. The track has something that appealed to my 40-year-old ears: It has soul with a rock edge. This is a band to watch; three albums in, and I think they are just getting warmed up.
Room 94: Hurricane | U.K. rockers Room 94 takes all the best of modern alt-rock and makes it shine even more. Hooky guitars, a ballsy rhythm section, and those gorgeous vocals all work well together, making a track that could easily be a top summer jam. This song needs to be played in amphitheaters all across America—including a pit stop in St. Louis, please. First round of pints is on me, boys.
Bonus! Natasha Rothwell: Basic Bitch | I had to include one American on my list this week, didn’t I? Be sure to click this link, children; it will make your day. I have begged Rothwell to release this as a single. Drag queens all over America would perform this song to perfection. I am proud to be a basic bitch!
If you want to hear these songs—and others by these bands as well as others from previous columns—check out my Five for Friday playlist on Spotify. It will become your new radio station. Enjoy! | Jim Ryan