Small Forward: A refreshing sound in Indie Music

todayOctober 3, 2023 57 1 5

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By Natalia Velazquez

Music Journalist


Three members of Small Forward looking to the left. In order from left to right are Campbell Scott, Michael Stevenson, Rounak Maiti.
Cover of their singles “I Do,” “Take Care,” and “Look At Me Now” | Small Forward

I consider myself an explorer of music. I will search high and low for new artists and songs to add to playlists and to love. In December of 2022, I was playing around on Spotify when I discovered a song called “Tearjerker” by the band, Small Forward. I instantly fell in love with the relaxed yet upbeat instrumentals, and the transition from the bridge to the chorus was so satisfying. Ever since then, it is rare that Small Forward is not in my top 3 weekly artists on Airbuds.

Small Forward has become my favorite band within the indie genre. Members, Rounak Maiti, (rhythm guitar) Michael Stevenson, (lead guitar) met at Occidental College in Los Angeles, California, later being joined by Campbell Scott, (bass) and Nick Waldram. (drums) In 2015 they began to play small shows and release demos created in their makeshift home studio. They released their first comprehensive set of demos in 2016 under the title The Moon You Stand On: Demos.

Since these demos, their sound has greatly matured while still maintaining their spacey rhythms and eccentric guitar playing. In 2020, they finally released their full length self-titled album. I am a dramatic person regularly, but I truly must emphasize that the love I have for this album is immense. It is apparent how much passion these musicians channeled into this work, as not only do the lyrics pull at heartstrings but the instrumentals alone make you feel transported into a new plane. In addition to these collections, Small Forward has also released several equally impressive singles throughout the years, having just recently released three new singles in August titled “Look At Me Now,” “Take Care,” and “I Do.”

Three members of the band in suits, just showing torso and down, standing in a circle surrounding an alligator
Small Forward, released in 2020. | Small Forward

What I feel truly differentiates Small Forward when compared to other bands in their genre is the way they craft their songs. When I listen to their music, I feel that the instrumentals are guiding me through a story, showing me suspense, feelings of highs and lows and most essentially a proper ending. This is most apparent in their song “Imagine So” off their self-titled. I feel that this song exactly translates the anxiety and excitement of being in a new relationship. The eagerness and the fear of wanting to tell someone you love them can be felt through the upbeat guitar during the bridge into the chorus. Yet this elation is contrasted at the end with a distortion of voice and change in sound. It feels like a realization almost; that with love is almost always guaranteed pain. Directly following “Imagine So,” is one of their most popular songs, “Most of You,” which guides the listener through the loss and acceptance of a past relationship.

For those interested in listening to Small Forward, here are a few of my very favorites from their discography:

  • “Mrs. Kennedy”
  • “Tearjerker”
  • “Bound”
  • “Delicate Days”
  • “Bloodhounds”
  • “Take Care”

If you are someone who dances alone in your room at 2 a.m., really loves the game We’re Not Really Strangers or simply enjoys indie music, then Small Forward is the band for you. I am truly excited for whatever is next in their career and can only hope to hear more of their amazing work soon.

Written by: Cayla Soriano

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