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Good Stuff is our latest feature franchise on UNXIGNED where we bring you some of the best songs that recently got on our radar. Handpicked for your listening pleasure, today’s Good Stuff includes good music—not-so-old and new—from Michigan Left, Sail by Summer, Opus Orange, and many more artists to watch. In this Good Stuff feature we try to break down these gems’ apparent sound formula and gauge their repeat worthiness (i.e. 3/5 means a song is worth repeating 3 times in 5 play instances).


Michigan Left – “One in Two”

Sound formula: French Kicks x (Tame Impala + The War on Drugs) / (boy pablo x Beach Fossils)

Repeat worthiness: 3/5

Why it’s good stuff: This grainy, confidently raw cut from Detroit indie rockers Michigan Left (seriously) fuses shoegaze and neo-psych musical strands. Released only a little over a year ago, the fuzz-laden “One in Two” is the band’s first single off of their long-awaited sophomore album (which is the first with their current lineup). “We’re big fans of Tame Impala and The War on Drugs, and we wanted to make a piece that fused those sounds with some melodic sensibilities of psych-era Beatles and proto-disco grooves of Barry White,” the five-piece said of the track in a statement.

With a production approach that gives boy pablo and Beach Fossils a wink, Michigan Left offer an esoteric lo-fi experience to anyone obsessed with muddy reverb-drenched six-strings and melodic, borderline art rock that’s as random as their intersection design namesake.

Sail by Summer – “Lowlowlow”

Sound formula: (Death Cab for Cutie x Bon Iver) / (Broken Social Scene + múm)

Repeat worthiness: 3/5

Why it’s good stuff: Released exactly a year ago today, this indie pop-rock number from Nordic duo Sailing by Summer is an introspective, refreshing gem that literally “counts”. The percussion-scooped track sees the band flirting with 3/4 time and basking in mesmeric euphoria that resonates long after it ends. “Lowlowlow” tastefully illustrates William Hut and Jens Kristian’s calm, often melancholic alt-pop and modern folk dogmas that can well sit alongside the likes of Death Cab for Cutie and Bon Iver.

“Lowlowlow” is a catchy transcendental chant that will make you feel better with each repeat. In Hut’s own words, “Sometimes you need to slow down to get back in shape. If you feel lost in despair and nightfall sneaks up on you, you need to harvest your dreams and ‘Lowlowlow’ will be your companion in all its glory.”

Opus Orange – “The Lucky Ones”

Sound formula: Bombay Bicycle Club x (Real Estate + The Cure) / (The Smoking Popes / Blind Pilot)

Repeat worthiness: 4/5

Why it’s good stuff: “The Lucky Ones” is the first track off of Paul Bessenbacher’s most recent album, Miles from Nowhere. The LA-based composer, who is famed for his contribution to film and TV (with credits in Grey’s Anatomy, The Detour, etc.), says “[the track] explores the need for intimacy, isolation and silence in a chaotic world.” Bessenbacher released the album under his Opus Orange moniker, a solo project that centers around acoustic-based folk-leaning synth-pop. Played in a fixed, friendly rhythm, the song evokes a thoughtful mosaic of the world we’re living in today.

A video made by new media artist Xuan for “The Lucky Ones” will be out Thursday, July 30. Speaking of the process, Xuan says:

“I began sketching the storyboard on March 13, 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in New York. In a way, the sketches provide a genuine depiction of my inner world during quarantine, constantly oscillating between hopelessness and hopefulness from page to page. The creative process unfolded as an ongoing conversation with the lyrics. Eventually, I arrived at the word ‘silence’. Though it seems like inaction, the act of silence brought meaning back into the words again. Silence allowed the dust to settle. Silence allowed for hidden yearnings too quiet to be heard to gradually reveal themselves. Colorful landscapes emerged from the page as the noise slowly dissipated. Silence provided the backdrop for clarity, bridged the two halves of the song and revealed a path forward. I saw it as a gateway to cross over to a more wondrous place. In essence, ‘The Lucky Ones’ is about finding escape.”

Subscribe to Opus Orange‘s YouTube channel to catch it on premiere day.

B.Wood – “Holding On”

Sound formula: Rayland Baxter x (James Bay + The Lumineers + Ryan Adams)

Repeat worthiness: 3/5

Why it’s good stuff: B.Wood has just been around for a year, writing indie rock-leaning alt-country anthems that exhibit light, airy electro-acoustic faculties. On “Holding On”, the singer-songwriter’s newest release, New Jersey’s B.Wood observantly distances himself from all his past catalog’s flavor. The track sees the self-made artist and producer letting up on his tone and tempo, delivering an emotive narrative that floats above a weightless, inwardly spacious comp.

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B.Wood in a statement said that the song is about “holding on to hope when the end of the tunnel is invisible.” As with most lockdown song releases, the musician-mechanic farmer’s latest work is imbued with elements of optimism. “While the lack of tunnel light is apparent in the verse, the whistling hook melody and chorus renew the song’s notion of salvation every time.”

Charlie DeCarlo – “Hold Your Ground”

Sound formula: (The Decemberists + Josh Ritter) / (The Beatles x Josh Rouse)

Repeat worthiness: 4/5

Why it’s good stuff: This Charlie DeCarlo track is the first single off of his upcoming album, Paper Birds. Released the 1st of July, “Hold Your Ground” officially marks DeCarlo’s entry into the music scene. Among the singer-songwriter’s musical influences are Josh Ritter and Oasis, whom he is pretty vocal about. Combining elements of indie folk with Americana and acoustic pop-rock, DeCarlo successfully demonstrates on this offering his very own sound and lyrical stature that together make for an incredibly summery finish. The playful, hooky orchestration outwardly pays homage to The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” vibe, while DeCarlo’s vocal attitude epitomizes Josh Rouse’s rootsy poise. This addictive masterpiece strikingly sets the bar high for what DeCarlo is dropping next. The craving is real.

“‘Hold Your Ground’ is a story about a character finding it difficult to adapt to his changing world,” DeCarlo says of his debut single. Paper Birds is expected to drop one of these days.

Pulse Park – “The Equidistance”

Sound formula: Joy Division x (Ambulance LTD + Built to Spill) / The Cribs

Repeat worthiness: 3/5

Why it’s good stuff: Pulse Park’s “The Equidistance” is the last track off of their self-titled debut EP. It is the fastest of all three songs contained in the effort and is the only one where the band incorporates some choppy time signature quickies throughout. Released back in May, the track according to the band is their interpretation of “psychoacoustic noise pop”. While that indeed seems exactly the case, there are far more things worth mentioning about the song. Firstly, “The Equidistance” captures the dampened Joy Division sound slapped point-blank with a hybridized Ambulance LTD-Built to Spill fancy. Secondly, Pulse Park tip their hats towards The Cribs for their energetic fuzz-cooking attitude. Lastly, the song is borderline grunge.

This gem can only be found on Bandcamp; but here’s hoping it’ll be made available on all digital platforms soon.

N96 – “Free in This Sound”

Sound formula: (St. Lucia + M83) x (New Order + Depeche Mode) / (Phoenix + Earth, Wind & Fire)

Repeat worthiness: 3/5

Why it’s good stuff: J. Krajewski and Justin Griego are highly skilled musicians whose obsession with ’80s retro music timelessly matches with their fresh, forward-looking synthwave niche. Also known as Juice and JG, respectively, the twosome spent many years collaborating with each other before deciding to fuse into a musical unit. Now introducing themselves as N96, Krajewski and Griego together create exceptionally pulsating jingles that boasts first-class mix of electronica and jazzy synth-pop. “Free in This Sound” is the first-ever track they put out as a duo. Released last month, the debut single splendidly exhibits N96’s awe-inspiring prowess as masters of synthesis and fusion. Blending elements of funk, dance, pop, and jazz, Krajewski and Griego’s sound borrows the jazz-leaning styles of M83 and St. Lucia laden with New Order and Depeche Mode’s synth approach—sprinkled with Earth, Wind & Fire’s retro mood and Phoenix’s nostalgic glow.

“’Free in This Sound’ was composed as a retro/’80s celebration of artistic creativity and the power of imagination to transport us anywhere our thoughts and inspirations can take us,” the two said in a statement.

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