Michael Armstrong is an LA-based indie singer-songwriter who has mastered the lyrical honesty of the 70s Laurel Canyon folk scene with the creative instrumentation of late 90s indie-rock. It’s hard to believe that Armstrong is just 20 years old given his masterful song-writing technique; each of Armstrong’s songs present timeless emotional statements that can’t help but captivate listeners.
In Armstrong’s debut album, I Hope I’m Hearing Right, the intimacy of his singer/songwriter approach shines through; the swirling sounds of his lyrics and instrumentals envelop you while also creating an unusual mixture of familiarity within an unaccustomed context. Released earlier this month, I Hope I’m Hearing Right is comprised of 8 mind blowing tracks. I honestly am shocked that this is Armstrong’s debut album because the sophistication and maturity exemplified in this album is at the level that most tenured artists strive for. Each song is catchy without being obnoxious, full of depth and meaning, and undeniably unique.
It’s hard for me to pick some of my favorite songs because they are all honestly so amazing, but for conversations sake let’s say that “Deafened Calling”, “Golden Cup”, and “Colors” are my favorites. “Deafened Calling” opens the album with a just under two minute masterpiece of chilling instrumentals and powerful lyrics. “Golden Cup”, the third track on the album, is equally as good as “Deafened Calling”, but it has a distinctly indie feel to it. The echoey vocals, harmonized chorus, and beautifully layered instrumentals is the reason I’ve been playing it on a loop for the past ten minutes. Moving on to the single off of I Hope I’m Hearing Right, “Colors” blew my mind. The guitar opens the song with catchy riffs followed by the introduction of more instrumentals; Armstrong’s vocals then break into the array of instruments with force and a contagious melody that is hard not to replicate.
Check out Armstrong’s music video for “Colors” below and be sure to listen to his entire album! I can’t recommend I Hope I’m Hearing Right enough and I look forward to see what Michael does next (hopefully it includes coming to Cleveland on tour).