Islands in the Stream: 4/11/24

Giving some love to artists who oughta have more of it

Islands in the Stream: 4/11/24
Islands, stream, etc.

Islands in the Stream is a periodic series that highlights songs I've liked by artists who have a relatively low number of monthly listeners. It's like a public service with a dash of the thrill of discovery. What else could you ask for?

"Suffolk Moon," Samuel Sharp
Sax player Samuel Sharp says his music is an act of "contemporary storytelling through innovatively crafted soundscapes," which probably sounds awfully pretentious and/or delusional. I can't speak to his overall success on that front, but I can definitely vouch for "Suffolk Moon," which sounds like it was built using slightly staggered loops; the overall effect is calming and meditative. This track comes from last year's Consequential LP, and if you're anything like me, it'll leave you wanting to hear more.

"The Fountain," Rainshop
This song makes me feel like I'm listening to a musical dispatch beamed out from a parallel universe where Simon & Garfunkel grew up listening to Vampire Weekend records instead of the other way around. Including Rainshop here might be a bit of a cheat, since this project is one-half Charlie Burg, but fuck it; not many people have heard this since it was released last Christmas.

"25-29," Local Honeymoon
Local Honeymoon sound very much like what they say they are, which is "an up-and-coming rock and roll band from South Philadelphia that plays catchy, punk-tinged songs about attempting to age gracefully without the material comforts of past generations." On one hand, that seems oddly specific; on the other, it feels pretty goddamn universal. "25-29" is the type of song that would wear flannel and order Rolling Rock if it could pick its own clothes and was old enough to drink. A fun hang, in other words.

"Californiagain," Dolph Chaney
Full disclosure: I've known Mr. Chaney a little bit for a long time. I'm pretty sure he was a regular part of the comment section at the original Jefitoblog way back when, but I'm not sure I've ever written about his music before, which feels like a thoughtless oversight on my part. Well, better late than never: "Californiagain" is a short 'n' sweet pop number that may very well remind you of Steven Page at his uptempo finest.

"Miracle Girl," Brian English
Brian English says his music is "mostly chilled quiet style," which is very true; while listening to his English Times LP, I found myself pining for a bit more dynamic range from song to song. This was the standout for me, a jangly, chiming number that conveys all the lust-tinged wonderment one feels when contemplating a miracle girl. Could have been a hit on your favorite modern rock station in the early '90s, and I mean that as a sincere compliment.

"Hold Your Fire," Solomon Henry
Solomon Henry describes himself as an "Australian troubadour," which sounds pretty rad and also somewhat dangerous — throughout his 2000 travelogue In a Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson made a persuasive case for the argument that every living thing in Australia wants to kill you, so if I were Solomon Henry, I'd arm myself with more than a guitar and a song. But hey, I'm not his mother; I'll just sit over here and appreciate the gently mournful "Hold Your Fire" while he plies his trade among lethal jellyfish and six-foot wasps or something.

"This American Lie," John P. Strohm
I really like the entire album this song comes from (Something to Look Forward To, released late last year), and it was kind of hard to pick just one to share in this post. If you've never heard of Strohm by name before, you've probably heard of at least one of his previous projects — he was a member of the Blake Babies, for starters. Anyway, this is just the sort of fragile, hopeful-sounding, yet also slightly profane song that always has a really good chance of making me lean in. Skip it at your peril and musical impoverishment.