First up this week, we have a band that is constantly dancing the line between pop, emo and math rock by the name of Pool Kids. Originally formed in Florida and now in Chicago, lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Christine Goodwyne originally wrote and recorded their first debut in 2018 titled, ‘Music To Practice Safe Sex To’, before adding Nicolette Alvarez on bass, Andrew Anaya on guitar and Caden Clinton on drums. To fully appreciate what each member brings to the table, one must listen to their tracks below. The insanely infectious tunes even caught the ear of Paramore’s Hayley Williams who posted on her social media,
This is what Paramore WISHED we sounded like in the early 2000s. Love hearing math twinkly parts mixed with heavy moments. This kind of music will always be v special to me.Hayley Williams (Paramore)
When speaking about their multiple musical influences, Goodwyne says,
Caden is into metalcore and all sorts of shit, and Andy says he likes a ton of different things, but all he listens to in the van is metal. Nicolette has a ton of knowledge about jazz. She’s able to bring a jazz influence to the band. We sound way different live than recorded because when it’s all the musicians together on a stage and it’s not just me, you can hear our individual influences. Nicolette has the jazzy influence, Andy brings classic metal guitar parts, and Caden is blast beat city.The Hard Times
Russian-based fingerstyle guitarist, Alexandr Misko may not be a household name, but you most likely have seen one of his videos, which has collected well over 200 million times.
Alexandr’s style of playing has caught the attention and infatuation around the globe, leading to performance slots with artists like Jon Gomm, Mike Dawes and more. His 2015 video for “Guitar & Pen Tapping Song” gained over 1 million views which would get the ball rolling and then his 2017 video for Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” gained over 30 million views on Facebook alone. But, it was his performance of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” where people outside of the guitar community really became obsessed. With over 10 million views and 600K+ subscribers on his YouTube channel, Misko’s brand of detuning and tuning, fingertaps, and his blending of modern and classic fingerstyle playing, has solidified himself in a league all his own.
I try to write music, not a technique, so in terms of genre I would call it “Progressive Pop” because I’m trying to write melodic and accessible music with some progressive flavor. That means the use of complicated structures, unusual time signatures, polyrhythms and other stuff.Misko to Stereo Gum
Alexandr Misko plays Ernie Ball’s Aluminum Bronze Medium gauge acoustic strings for that high projection and clarity in his tone.
William Ryan Key
William Ryan Key is best known as the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist of the now-defunct band, Yellowcard. Although the band ended in 2017, Key has continued his own solo project under his name.
After Yellowcard’s 20-year run, Key wasn’t quite ready to put down the guitar, leading him to produce a handful of solo singles and EPs named “Thirteen and Virtue”. The tracks see Ryan scaling back a little from Yellowcard’s known energetic-filled pop-punk/pop rock tunes, giving way to his singer-songwriter tone and exploring textures of acoustic guitars, orchestral instruments, keys and more. Now writing without the collaboration of a band, Key sees songwriting as an opportunity to see where his skills can actually take him.
When it comes to songwriting, there are no rules or boundaries or expectations from anyone. For me to be able to exercise some of those influences, it’s extremely liberating. I don’t think I would’ve put out four singles and two EPs in the last year and then tour so intensively if it wasn’t deeply inspired.Key to Hour Detroit
Key has also joined New Found Glory on rhythm guitar and pulls opening duties on a recent tour they completed. Make sure to check out his music below.
Jesse Daniel heard Hank Williams years ago and decided right then and there that he wanted to play like that. Fast-forward to 2019, and Daniel walks away with the “Honky Tonk Male of the Year” award for his self-titled album.
Jesse grew up as a punk-rock kid in Ben Lomond, CA, east of Santa Cruz, but his sound is reminiscent of classic honky tonk and country music, mixed with a roadhouse-jam energy. Spinning stories about overcoming addiction, traveling the country, and finding success in clean living, Daniels has his sights set on becoming a legendary country artist alongside his romantic partner and co-writer, Jodi Lyford. Daniel is known for his unique style that separates himself from the other Texas or Tennessee country music sounds.
I’m a nut for the Bakersfield sound… it’s really become a part of my songwriting. This record is all about taking a step forward, but it also carries on the tradition of country music made in — and inspired by — California.Jesse Daniel
Jesse Daniel recently released his second full length album, ‘Rollin’ On’ in March 2020. Make sure to take a listen to his sound below.
Rounding out our list this week is Estonian-born and Nashville dwelling, Laur Joamets. Laur had the American blues and roots-rock bug while studying music in Estonia and then eventually moved to Nashville after catching the ear of Rival Sons’ manager Dave Cobb, where he created a name for himself as the touring member and studio musician for Sturgill Simpson. With influences ranging from Albert Lee and Danny Gatton, to Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones, Joamets has this unique take on country picking and rock that stands out to anyone who catches him on stage.
I try to keep my influences from Hendrix, Deep Purple, and the Stones there in my country playing because there are so many better country guitar players then me, so as far as I’m concerned, the best thing I can do is play my own way.Joamets to Vintage Guitar Magazine
Joamets excited Sturgill Simpson’s band in 2017 to pursue more personal projects and has since been lending his riffs for ‘Drivin’ & Cryin’, alongside fellow Ernie Ball artist, Sadler Vaden. He also has his own project, LOAR. Check out some Laur Joamets tunes below.
**Header image credit: Michelle Baumval