Groover Playlist 99 | Close Enough For Rock ’n’ Roll

Another round of great new music from around the country & around the world.

Declan Welsh And The Decadent West play it tres cool, Finn is a wanted man, C4 is bluer than blue, Esther Maud is falling apart, Kobé has a dream — and so do the rest of today’s submissions from Groover, a platform that connects artists with critics like me for a small fee. You can (and should) follow me on Spotify HERE, check out my Top 150 playlist HERE, or listen to it via the widget at the lower right of every page on this site. If you want to be in an upcoming playlist, go HERE. But first, let’s toast these outstanding offerings:


Declan Welsh and The Decadent West | Parisian Friends

HOME BASE: United Kingdom.
GENRE: Indie-Rock.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Parisian Friends is a song about being surrounded by cool people and feeling like ye might not match up. It’s a fun, tongue-in-cheek tune thats meant to be played live and jumped around to. It was written while we played a gig in Paris, after Duncan had driven his old banger of a car all the way from Glasgow. That car was written off after we made it back. The French is deliberately ham-fisted cos its about trying to superficially present yerself as one thing when ye know that’s not who you are.”

Finn | Dead Or Alive

HOME BASE: Australia.
GENRE: Blues-Rock.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Dead or Alive is an upbeat blues-rock-ballad from our new album Stonewalling. The track is a tale of an outlaw and his lover accomplice who are on the run from the authorities. It is a tale of deceit, lies, love, lust, revenge, punishment, futility and regret. The song is intense and upbeat, with tasteful guitar work and contrasting harmonies. Think Bonnie & Clyde.”

C4 | Plus De Bleu

HOME BASE: Canada.
THE TRANSLATED & EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:C4 is originally from Lille and has been rapping since 2012 with the Non-Less Sans Plus collective. Now based in Montreal, he released his first EP Ghuvu last December. He says: “The track is produced by Doc Sebulba from Lille. This song is about growing up and doing violence to yourself to achieve your goals — all illustrated by images of the Mile-End (Montreal district in which I spent time) and my humble dance movements in motion capture.”

Esther Maud | Dérapage Incontrôlé (w/ Thomas Baignères)

HOME BASE: France.
GENRE: Indie-Pop.
THE TRANSLATED & EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Esther Maud sews. Esther Maud draws. Esther Maud takes photos and makes videos. But above all, Esther Maud writes. She records her texts in the form of vocal notes, and little by little, these turn into melodies, then into songs. These songs almost naked, a cappella, she sends them to the four corners of France, because not being a musician herself, she seeks the right setting for her snapshots of life. And once finished, the magic operates and we see more than fire. Seemingly light, these songs speak of love; the one we lose, the one that destroys us, but also of that love that we miss and that we find again, the one that soothes us. Her first EP Since Nothing Lasts is scheduled for June 30. This song is a sad dance about two beings who love each other but who cannot live together.”

Kobé | Rêve D’Ève

HOME BASE: France.
GENRE: Indie-Folk.
THE TRANSLATED & EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “I am Kobé: Author, composer, musician, arranger and performer. With my first album L’Entre Bleus, I offer songs that are deep but poppy, with styles ranging from African music through French chanson. This is the first single from this album. I try to expose, in this new title, with as much empathy and respect as possible, the suffering of a love that cannot extend beyond itself.”

M.A.D. | La Fille de Personne

HOME BASE: France.
THE TRANSLATED & EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “For Mystika Ava Dynasty alias M.A.D., music is about taking a critical look at her own life, but also at the world around her. To share your fears, your rage, your hopes, while knowing on the other hand that words, for all their power, are not always enough to express exactly what you feel: To be able to make it transmit, with all the appropriate depth, the story of a life that continues to be written. A story which, the artist hopes, will lead people everywhere to take a fresh look at the society in which they live and at themselves. La Fille de Personne (Nobody’s Daughter) refers to the conflicts / tensions between parent-child (in this case mother-daughter). The sometimes-necessary need to leave behind a part of oneself, to cut the cord, to change identity in order to have the possibility to develop fully. We can feel strong emotions: anger, rage, but also assertiveness, strength and determination.”

Francesco Palmeri | Coração

HOME BASE: Belgium.
GENRE: Latin-Pop.
THE TRANSLATED & EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “Here is a song with Brazilian flavors and in a traditional configuration. This title pays homage to these new encounters that make our life more interesting and crisp.”

Shadow The Archangel | Song Of Solomon

HOME BASE: United States.
GENRE: R&B-Soul.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “We are releasing the Song Of Solomon as a stand-alone single to promote our EP. What makes this record special is my blatant opposition to what has happened in urban music. Romance in hip-hop and R&B has taken a dark, tactless turn. I am reviving clean courtship in R&B music. Song Of Solomon is a clean song infused with Bible scriptures from Matthews, Song of Solomon, Corinthians and Isaiah, creatively woven into a fluid R&B song about true romance. This is all in preparation for our EP Espera: Fuego dropping July 1.”

Mackenzie Leighton | Un Jour La Vie

HOME BASE: France.
GENRE: Indie-Pop.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “In her everyday life, Mackenzie Leighton works as a florist while composing sweet melodies and poetic lyrics. She grew up in a small seaside town in Maine playing classical piano, moved to New York at 18 and played in several folk, jazz, and indie-pop inspired bands, and in 2017, arrived alone in Paris with electric guitar in hand. Mackenzie intimately reveals the reality of her expatriate life, torn between both sides of the Atlantic, and pushes the boundaries of her own identity in her album Fleuriste, set for release in summer. A sunny pop song to dream of a life like before, Un Jour La Vie takes you to Italy to drink cocktails and dance the night away. Cool synths, a groovy bassline and the sweet narrative of better days will have you listening to this upbeat track over and over.”

Chancy Squire | Hold On To Your Dreams

HOME BASE: Germany.
GENRE: Folk-Pop.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “We produced a nice album called For A Better World. Hold On To Your Dreams is the first track, delivered in a West Coast / country / pop-rock style.”

Lakunée | Sauvons Nos Rêves

HOME BASE: France.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “When playing the piano, I often let my voice tells me imaginary stories. I have co-written, composed, pre-arranged, and performed several songs. Sauvons Nos Rêves (Save Our Dreams) is a call not to be devoured.”

Dillastrate | Party In My Head (ft. Emily C. Browning)

HOME BASE: Australia.
GENRE: Reggae-Rock.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:Dillastrate are a “five-piece duo” from New Zealand producing soul, hip-hop, roots and electronic music. Our new single Party In My Head (feat. Emily C. Browning) is an absolute earworm exploring the party going on in all of our heads!”

Josh Harris | This Morning (ft. Norris Man)

HOME BASE: Jamaica.
GENRE: Reggae.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE:This Morning is a song of daily redemption. Give thanks.”

Hybr1ds | Lightning In A Bottle

HOME BASE: United Kingdom.
GENRE: Folk-Pop.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “This track is my second release as a professional independent artist and songwriter.”

Langside | I’ve Had Enough

HOME BASE: Australia.
GENRE: Indie-Pop.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “Sydney electro-pop artist Langside delivers a sound that walks the line of electronic & acoustic production. Combining commanding melody’s and vocal layering, Langside is establishing herself as one to watch and listen to. She says: “I got tired of the everyday sexism and misogyny I experienced and saw around me. So I wrote a song about it. The big things matter, rape and sexual assaults, partner violence, it’s all awful, but it’s fueled by undercurrents of minor offence. The way a man looks at a woman as she walks past, the joke your coworker cracks about women’s football not being real football. The way your brother-in-law threatens to lock his daughter up until she’s 35 so she won’t have a boyfriend. It all adds up and it grinds us down. We’re not property, we’re not eye candy and yeah, we throw/kick/run/play like girls, with precision, strength and fierce determination. I’ve had enough, haven’t we all had enough of it? I hope this song strikes a chord with you and your experiences. I hope it inspires you to strike up conversations with the women around you. Let’s have a conversation, let’s make it heartfelt and let’s have it now. Was there ever a better time?”

Xray-Ash | Rose (ft. Slim Titty Ray & Ahsia)

HOME BASE: Canada.
GENRE: Hip-Hop.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “Hailing from British Columbia, Rai — who is half Fijian and half First Nations (Nisga’a) — grew up “without a strong support system as a child and was bullied a lot for being different from other kids.” Rose (ft. Slim Titty Ray & Ahsia) sounds like a triumph — Ash’s self-fulfillment and accomplishment over his dark period. It’s the track with the highest energy and at times sounds like a ’60s Motown revival with Ahsia‘s backing vocals.”

JBV | Hero Pt. 2

HOME BASE: France.
GENRE: Hard Rock.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “A child of the guitar, JBV wrote and produced his first EP. Through this new stage, he develops his own sound and tries his hand at production as a solo artist.”

Fixxions | Fixxions Album Teaser

HOME BASE: France.
GENRE: Electronica.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “My universe is rooted in science fiction, in literature as much as in the rock of the ’60s and ’70s, classical music or electro of today. I can only deliver it to you as the result of a long, slow personal work … a wandering made of chance, luck, encounters, explorations and various passions.
I have concretized Fixxions over the last few years but its origins are spread over more than 20 years, during which I have experimented with sounds, images, stories, encounters, technologies, reports. I am as much a journalist, videographer and podcaster as an author, photographer and musician. Fixxions explores the great spaces: The ocean, the night, the sky, death and why not, the gods (the ones that live inside you, anyway). You will hear the words of Blaise Cendrars, Bertolt Brecht, Victor Hugo and poets of today. You will hear children’s voices, sounds of nature, mixed with melancholy, violence or furious joy on rumbling basses, pounding rhythms and enveloping guitars and synths.”

Bachot Muna | Loh Yonme (BM Remix)

HOME BASE: Belgium
GENRE: Afropop.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “First released in 1999, Bachot Muna’s Loh Yonme made a mark in the music world with its makossa, dance-inspired sound. Some 22 years later, it has been brought back to life in the BM Remix. Translated into English, the essence of the song revolves around “come and pick me up,” reflected through the feel-good and positive soundscape. Despite its upbeat tempo and soul-inspired vocals, the song became a shining light at a dark time for Bachot, who wrote the track after his divorce in 1995. Loh Yonme was recorded in 1998 and released the following year. Only two weeks later, the song would become a major hit, staying in the Cameroon charts for the next decade and winning awards. The BM Remix pays tribute to all the much-loved elements of the original track while bringing a contemporary and fresh twist. Bachot’s music is spirited and vibrant, a reflection on Bachot himself, spreading love and happiness through his songwriting.”

Save The Clocktower | This Weight

HOME BASE: United States.
GENRE: Synth-Pop.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “With head-bopping grooves that anchor breezy vocals, infectious melodies, and bouncy beeps and bleeps, Save The Clocktower’s new album Renaissance is Chicago to the bone: Chilled by harsh winters, burnt by scalding summers, propelled by a sense of urgency, yet relaxed and serene all at once. Renaissance is a think-piece of sorts, set to music. Over the course of the album’s nine songs, the band explores self-actualization, relationships, and, in Renaissance’s most meta-moments, art. It’s easy to get lost in the grooves and almost miss the meaning, one that guitarist/vocalist Sean Paras defines as “Love in the shambles of the postmodern era.”

Echolily | Higher

HOME BASE: Australia.
GENRE: Electro-Pop.
THE EDITED BIO & PRESS RELEASE: “With a sonic palette enveloped in dusty, oblique soundscapes and pop sensibilities, Melbourne-based, Malaysian-born Echolily finds herself pivoting around themes of ‘90s nostalgia and lo-fi melancholia. For her, perfection lies in its imperfections, and music is the ultimate distraction. Echolily has been writing songs from a young age, though has only spent the past three years taking music production seriously. In a short amount of time, she’s built up a fanbase and received notable press mentions. Echolily, when not producing from her bedroom, works as a medical doctor. A frontliner throughout the pandemic lockdown, Echolily finds solace within music and songs she grew up with.”