Sam is a musician who is known for making emotional music. Every aspect from the lyrics to the overall tone emit such a relatability. His latest release was a solo project under the moniker Songbird. Listening to Somber all the way through it’s impossible not to get in touch with emotions you forgot existed.
Creating such powerful music has to begin at some level with the inspiration of the artist.

*Main photo by Kate Martin- @quietwisdom

Now, Now – Threads
“Threads is a journey. It’s hard to describe without having heard it all the way through, front to back. It starts with “The Pull” which sets the scene of a protagonist lamenting the loss of a relationship, with just a hint of hope for the future. Each following song weaves into each other like a thread (GET IT) creating a new layer to the somber themes holding the album together. It’s incredibly minimal, honest, and comforting. The simplicity of every song mixed with the beautifully hushed singing of Cacie Dalager makes for an easy, every time goosebump inducer. All music aside, the production is my absolute favorite. I legitimately believe i’ve never listened to an album all the way through as many times as I have this album.”

From Indian Lakes – Absent Sounds
“Absent sounds is one of two musical discoveries i’ve made recently that blew me away from the get go. I’ve heard the name From Indian Lakes for the last few years, but, due to an awful habit, I put off listening to new music until I force myself to do so. This album seriously made me wish I didn’t. Absent Sounds is everything I’ve wanted my own solo music to sound like and hits every emotion i’ve ever wanted to convey so fluently it’s frustrating. Like Now, Now’s “Threads”, this album takes that same somber, simple indie music and puts a new spin on it. It’s a bit more upbeat, experimental with it’s time signatures/dynamics, and remains hopeful even when singing lines like “I’ve been feeling like a lost cause” and “have I become the man that I hated once?” through the same hushed, honest vocals as on Threads. The music seems to feel so personal, it’s insane.”

The Used – In Love and Death
“This album was the catalyst to the musician I am today. I remember in 4th grade, I used to log onto Yahoo music and smash the repeat button for the “All That I’ve Got” music video. I attribute my preference of not-super-technical but really emotional vocals to Bert McCraken. No joke, I had a dream that I met him at a music festival and got to join him on stage for a few songs literally last night, that’s how embedded the love for this album is in my heart.”

Linkin Park – Meteora
“Although The Used kicked off my love for music, Linkin Park’s album Meteora was the very first album I owned, given to me by when twin brother when I wouldn’t stop asking to borrow it from him. I revisit this album and Hybrid Theory on long car rides all the time and am still surprised by how a lot of those songs hold up.”

The Dear Hunter – Act II: The Meaning Of, And All Things Regarding Ms. Leading
“This fucking album. It’s hard to put into words how important this album (and band) are to me. During my junior year of highschool, I recall going on a rafting trip with a bunch of close friends. The song “The Lake and The River” came on while parked at a gas station and I just remember being taken back immediately. The theatrics of it, paired with Casey’s silky smooth voice that peaks with passionate grit at the top of his range just took me aside. By the midpoint of the song, where they have the instrumental break that grows into this series of huge, progy horn hits (any Dear Hunter fan will know the part!) the Dear Hunter had already signed and sealed a place in my heart that it continues to hold. Unbelievably stoked for Act V.”

Taking Back Sunday – Louder Now
“I can recall hearing “Make Damn Sure” on most major radio station around the time when I was in 6th-7th grade. I’m honestly not sure if my love for TBS started there, or if I were listening to one of Emo’s grand anthems “Cute Without The E” before then, but either way, this album knocked me off my feet. Adam again displays the same, not overly flashy, super emotional vocals I’ve come to love and subconsciously adopt. I love how much of a roller coaster the album is. It’s extremely aggressive, yet incredibly held back, sensitive, and heart-bearing during some moments and full songs. Plus, there was something jazzy about Adam’s voice that I loved, as a kid who was in a few Jazz choirs.”

Panic! at the Disco – A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out
“Speaking of jazzy, holy shit. I know this album was super well liked, but even so I think it’s incredibly underrated. I listen to this album all the time and am constantly blown away by pretty much everything. Brandon’s vocals are very technical, bear a lot of emotion, and his lyrics are just so damn clever. Beyond my for the vocals, there are tons of jazzy instrumental breaks, mixed with downright super fucking weird moments, one of my favorite being the end of “Build God, Then We’ll Talk” where Brandon takes the lyrics from the song “My Favorite Things” from “The Sound Of Music” and turns them incredibly grotesque, much like the lyrical content of the rest of the album. This whole this is just incredibly catchy, jazzy, clever, experimental, and grotesque. I love it.”

Dance Gavin Dance – Self Titled (Deathstar Album)
“This album was the gateway drug out of Screamo music and into the post-hardcore genre I still bump on the daily. It was the perfect amount of aggression (with Jon Mess screaming his brains out) and meaning (with Kurt Travis’ vocals soaring above Jon’s) that I needed during that time of life. Songs like “Uneasy Hearts Weigh The Most” and lines like the funny talking part in “Rock Solid” were anthems and inside jokes amongst all my close friends. Whereas The Used catapulted my love for music as a kid, DGD kick started the drive to seriously pursue it as a teenager.”

Foxy Shazam – Foxy Shazam
“With the opening line to the album being “There sure are a lot of dogs out this evening. Perhaps they can assist me in a song”, this album strays far from providing me with the emotional value every other album on this list does. What it does give me, though, is an overwhelming sense of joy no other album has before. Every single song on this album is mad catchy, silly, in your face, and upbeat even when discussing serious topics like divorce and suicide. This album was one of those albums that defined a whole summer/year for me and my close friends. So many car drives packed with buddies belting these songs occurred.”

Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle
“I mentioned briefly before that Absent Sounds by From Indian Lakes is one of two recent discoveries that blew me away enough to be on my top 10 albums of all time list. This is the second. There’s not much I can say about this album. I’ve used the words raw, somber, and minimal many times during this list, but this album takes the cake. A majority of the songs on this album feature only Julien and her guitar, slowly giving herself piece by piece to the listener through soft, poetic lines. It’s a huge belief of mine that the best music comes with being honest with yourself. Painting a vivid picture with her lyrics, Julien confides in each listener about her struggles with religion, drugs, and loneliness amongst other things. In my opinion, Julien’s music seems to be the complete embodiment of self-honesty in its rawest form. My new solo stuff is highly influenced by this album.”

Honorable Mentions
Coheed and Cambria – All Albums

Chon – Grow

Monomate – Grand Battle


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