Post grunge? Is that a thing? Well, if it is then The Night Suns fit right into such a category. You can hear the last dissonant chords of the end of the grunge era drift through their music, as well as the muscular and more polished alt-rock sound of the modern era and between the two The Night Suns find their own singular voice.
But it is cleverer than the simple meeting and re-matching of those two genres. There is a clever dynamic at work in their approach to composition, one that often feels as if they are going to head off into more progressive rock territories but which stops short of any unnecessary noodling or sounds aping. Instead they prove to be masters of taking all the classic sounds from across a number of heavier genres, blend them with melody and deft atmospherics and produce a sound all of their own.
It might be quite obvious where they come from musically but where they are going is a far more interesting prospect.
Nature/Nurture, the album that Crawl comes from, is a poignant and timely reminder of a very serious subject. Written against a life long backdrop of depression and the related fall out, the recent loss to the rock community of a couple of its key players adds even more weight to the subject matter here. But Crawl and its parent album doesn’t dwell in the darker depths but instead attempts to bring the conversation into the light, and for all the weight of its subject matter it offers hope and positivity to a debate which we should be more and more willing to be part of.
Musically it is the perfect blend of melodicism and technicality, power and deftness, it blends the hard edge of the likes of Tool, the soaring majesty of Queensryche and the hook and immediacy of more accessible classic acts such as Def Leppard. This combination of poignancy and power makes for a great sound.
If you try to unpack Banzai.Giant stoner-alt rock sound you soon find that it is built from some surprisingly deft textures. Rather than just the usual grunge grunt and heavy riffs, there are layers of electronic wash, chiming, jangle pop guitars, progressive passages and dramatic symphonic rock theatre. All of which is rather pleasing. It is good to come across a band that understand that making an impact isn’t merely the business of volume control, but is more about dynamics and the building of layers to contour the sound.
Post-grunge? Is that a thing? If it is it suits Melancholia which proves great at capturing all of the power of the intent and delivery of the rawest of grunge bands and doing it by drawing the deftest of lines and leaving behind the “I hate by mum because she made me tidy my room” parochialism which was often at the heart of the scene.
It a world driven by often-unnecessary glitz and false glamour, Kev Howell is a musical voice of reason. Whilst Kamikaze blends the same pop and rock threads as much of the music around him there is something in the way he deconstructs and rebuilds it to make his own signature sound which is a real art.
This alternative take pulls some interesting ideas into the music but it is the restraint and a perfect understanding of just where the lines blur that is a joy to behold. The delivery heads towards world-weary but stops short of indifference, it tugs at some darker gothic threads but offers melancholy rather than misery, it swerves the bombast of alt-rock and replies with a more measured response. An alternative to alternative rock? Why not?
Masses is a musical outfit hailing from California. This song instantly appeals to fans of dark experimental alternative rock music, with a penchant for post punk melodies and a love for industrial landscapes.
The massive riffs and wide-open melodies of this track make me think of the music of artists as diverse as Thursday, Taking Back Sunday or At-The-Drive-In, just to mention a few. The guitar tone is monolith, and the bass and drums lock in together perfectly, to form the backbone of a powerful rhythm section. However, what makes the band stand out is definitely the backdrop of unique ambient sounds and drones, adding a lush, dream-like and sometimes dark atmosphere to contrast with the band’s alternative rock energy.
The song, clocking in at 3.35, is a perfect example of what this band stands for in a nutshell. This track has everything you would expect from a great post-punk band: melody, energy, darkness and light.
Find out more and listen to “Masses” directly through their official page on Bandcamp:
Blending some West Coast psychedelic vibes through some solid and sleazy rhythm and blues, Leopardo is like a time machine that takes you back to the dark underbelly of the hippy dream. Whilst day-glow flower children were painting kaleidoscopic music across the 60’s sky, elsewhere in dark corners an alternative vision was being woven, acid laced and menacing and it is this that beats at the heart of Revolucao Interior.
Doorsian dystopian blues and hazy psychedelic grooves drive the song as the vocals drift half out of earshot, dreamlike and drifting. But this is less an exercise in retrospection more a journey through timeless reflection and exorcism as the music seems to tap into the primal heart of mankind and unleashes the dark urges that can be found lurking deep within music.
Rock has always been about dynamic and impact, but it can also be about melody and infectiousness, something that Lincolnshire’s Carry The Crown are more than aware of. They are very much a modern day rock band but it is that small weave of pop awareness that runs through the heart of their songs which makes them much more than just a foot on the monitor rock band trading in past glories.
Desire is that perfect storm of widescreen grandeur, full force deliveries, perfectly executed dynamics and anthemic choruses and at the eye, the hub around which this all revolves, is a melodic heart, one that provides the hooks and addictive melodies. It is this magic ingredient, that pushes their appeal beyond the run of the mill rock fan and into more commercial waters; it crosses old rock demarcations and appeals to a much wider audience. But the clever thing is that it still ticks more than enough of the right boxes for the old school diehards and the younger rock underground to approve. Rock music with mass appeal, how cool is that?
My favourite music is often the music that confuses and confounds me, music so texturally layered and so intricately woven that each listen unlocks new sounds, delivers new delights and offers previously unnoticed cleverness. On that basis Mt. Doubt and me are destined to spend a lot more time in each other’s company. Melodic but in a drifting rather than a structured way, rising from whispers but growing more through intensity rather than volume as it towards its destination, it melds pop charm onto strange, post-rock musical form. A Natural Swimmer does nothing that you expect it too and for that I love it.
Some bands build songs from simple yet confident lines but Mt Doubt are more about crafting layer upon layer of gossamer thin washes, each adding subtle musical colours and it is only when viewed from a distance, possibly from the height advantage of a stack of My Bloody Valentine albums that you appreciate the shimmering hues and kaleidoscopic nature of the song.
Delicate, tender and poignant, Calming River returns following his critically acclaimed 2015 EP with the dark and brooding new single, “For The Echoes To See”, released Friday 26th May 2017.
Intricate fingerpicking, numerous tunings and contemplative lyrics create an intimate and beautiful aesthetic showcasing the British-born, Denmark-based songwriter at the peak of his powers.
The atmospheric new single, “For The Echoes To See”, addresses the discomfort and disequilibrium of not living up to expectations inherent in modern life – “a feeling felt by many who struggle to see human values of care and empathy reflected in today’s world”,” as Calming River songsmith Joshua Malcolm explains.
Songwriter Joshua Malcolm explains, “The ethos of my work is to create challenging, artistic and meaningful work. On one level the music is deceptively simple—an acoustic guitar and vocal. But when analysed on another level, there is a distinguished complexity in the technical guitar playing, alternative song structures and reflective lyrics. My music is aimed to oppose an overly-produced and formulaic tide that washes many shores.”
The sensitive nature of Calming River’s artistry generates the rare ability to form a uniquely personal connection with his audience resulting in numerous festivals and radio sessions as far as Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and the UK. The arrival of “For The Echoes To See” embraces a poetic class that justifies the songwriter as being described as one of the best up and coming writers in Europe.
Vertebrae, an independent alternative rock outfit hailing from London, has released their latest studio endeavor, a single entitled ‘Half The Time.’ The melodic new track has debuted with an accompanying music video, one that’s actually quite well shot. Thus, between the song and the video, Vertebrae is a bit of anomaly in the alternative indie scene: their sound and visuals are both articulate and well-produced.
Even though their self-classification of “alternative” is technically most apt for their music, it’s worth noting that Vertebrae’s sound infuses more than a bit of pop music as well. The hook of ‘Half The Time’ is absolutely brilliant, conveyed beautifully by a strong lead vocalist. For a three piece outfit, Vertebrae has a massive sound. It’s not clear how much additional instrumentation was added in the production process, but there’s an explosive nature to ‘Half The Time’ that makes it feel especially “full.”
Lyrically, ‘Half The Time’ is about as strong as any other pop-tinged alt-rock track. It delves into navel gazing and self doubt, two themes that are fairly common in the genre. The conviction of the performance, however, is top notch, selling the authenticity of the sound. Visually, the music video is spectacularly excellent. The band has even gone as far to shoot it in 4K, and it’s superb 4K, too. Was that entirely unnecessary? Probably. Is it exceedingly cool? Absolutely.
‘Half The Time’ is certainly the kind of single one could spin endlessly for a long while. The strong production and fantastic performance on behalf of all three members of Vertebrae makes the single one of the stronger alt-rock efforts to come across my desk thus far in 2017. They’d be a band worth taking a serious look at seeing live if you live locally in London or surrounding areas. ‘Half The Time’ is well worth the download.