Today’s Song: Ode to (B)Romance on The Northcoast’s “With You”

The Northcoast
RIYL: The 1975, Prince, Maroon 5, Tears for Fears, Passion Pit

There is no mistaking that an ’80s and ’90s beat resurgence has proliferated the indie pop music scene over the past two to three years. Bands like The 1975 and Passion Pit have revived the deep, cutting grooves and swinging melodies that used to proliferate pop radio, bringing new life and a modern gleam to the soulful, made-for-dancing pulses that we refuse to let go.

Listen: “With You” – The Northcoast


Capital Cities barely breached the surface in 2013, so it’s still worth asking: What does it mean to be safe and sound? Comfortable in body, mind and spirit; snug and cozy in a familiar place; at ease with that special someone.

When I’m with you
It still makes me feel
I’m gonna make it through
Though it might be scary
and things can just get weary
and very interesting
but I’m on cue with you

Leave it to a brand new act to sum our feelings up so succinctly – yet with a sound that has spanned multiple decades, New York/Seattle indie pop duo The Northcoast don’t necessarily feel “new” – at least, not in the new = alien sense. Theirs is a fresh take on a classic and beloved sound, as evidenced by The Northcoast’s debut single, “With You.”

The Northcoast

The Northcoast is Daniel Faith (left) Charlie Grey (right)

“With You” is the perfect musical mix of dance, synthpop and indie sheen. Its bubbly rhythm-driving guitar riff feels lifted from Songs from the Big Chair or Purple Rain, bouncing with the same excitement that Michael Jackson’s guitarists brought to their hits in the 1980s. However, it lacks the luster that coated ’80s-era dance-pop: The chorus has an arena-rock, big sound feel that allows The Northcoast to distinguish themselves from their thirty-year-differential “contemporaries.”

One has to hand it to Daniel Faith and Charlie Grey: In addition to crafting a super memorable backbeat with inspired instrumentation, The Northcoast also sport a creative and clever lyrical flow. No breath is lost or space put to waste as the lead vocals smoothly deliver a story of mixed emotions.

“With You” has a different connotation than “When I’m With You,” but while the former is a more attractive title, the latter is truly a more fitting one: This is not a perfect love story. Rather, it captures a dose of reality, mixed into the brain’s brilliant ability to glaze over the minutia and focus on the greater concepts. Hence the song’s verses capture a strain and angst within a relationship, and the chorus reflects powering through the struggles because the highs are worth the lows.

Not nice
Even when all I do is sacrifice baby
You’re as cold as ice
Getting lucky’s like rollin’ the dice lady

When I’m with you
It still makes me feel
I’m gonna make it through
Though it might be scary
and things can just get weary
and very interesting
but I’m on cue with you

I gotta give you space
Cause baby I feel you’re in the wrong place
Maybe we need a change of pace
If that don’t work then we can rest my case

The Northcoast

The Northcoast is Charlie Grey (left) and Daniel Faith (right)

Every relationship has its own set of ups and downs, but again, it’s those good times that make the bad times tolerable: Because you know you can lean on and share everything with each other. The Northcoast’s music video for “With You” reminds us of how that “special someone” need not necessarily be “the one.” The video features Grey and Faith, dressed with paper bags over their heads, as roommates/best friends going about New York City together. They’re featured eating breakfast, getting coffee, riding the subway, dancing in the streets, walking through Central Park, and jamming in Times Square. At the end of their busy day, they finally take the paper bags, each of which features a taped-down printout of their respective faces, off their heads, so that they can enjoy a slice of late night pizza together.

Theirs is a true bromance. Though it comes off as a comical jaunt through the city, the music video helps us to glean some of the song’s deeper messages – especially the universality of friendship. Those paper bags on Grey and Faith’s heads suggest that they could be anybody: They could be any pair. “With You” is not about their individual relationship, so much as it is about relationships in general. It communicates a clear and resonant message in simple, easy-to-grasp words with scattered, quick references (“Cold as Ice”) that tickle the ear and warm the soul.

Watch: “With You” – The Northcoast


A cursory glance would capture their likeness to music of the past, but an in-depth look under the surface shows how The Northcoast are pushing forward: Their debut single offers much more than meets the eye, revealing a musical writing/production duo with a knack for catchy tunes and meaningful words. Just in case “With You” isn’t enough to convince the wary, The Northcoast also released a 7-song teaser on YouTube that shows off more of their predilection for dance-ready, synth-infused pop grooves.

There’s a lot to love about 2016, and The Northcoast are helping us start the year off right. “With You” is memorable and catchy, with a modern flow and deep ’80s groove. As of publication, the song has 255 listens on SoundCloud, but that number is sure to grow rapidly as more people discover and fall for The Northcoast’s addictive sound. Stay tuned for more on this 2016 Artist to Watch, and be sure to give “With You” a listen!

The Northcoast

Opening screenshot from the music video for The Northcoast’s debut single, “With You”

Discover The Northcoast on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

see below for more screenshots from The Northcoast’s “With You,” directed by Nikolai Vanyo

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com