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Alt Rock

LUXTHEREAL bring in the new wave of classic rock with their ethereal hit, I Got You

After an entrancing synth-driven prelude, the Phoenix-based alt-rock outfit LUXTHEREAL’s standout single, I Got You, grips you with the alchemy that pours from the cinematic cocktail of classic rock, new wave, and post-punk.

The dreamy and ethereal instrumental interludes wrap around the robust vocal timbre of Rachel Guilbault and the increments of classic rock that pull you back to the 80s while simultaneously immersing you in a brand-new sonic world, defined by its emotive gravitas and atmospheric magnetism. Any fans of Christian Death will undoubtedly want to make LUXTHEREAL a firm fixture of their playlists.

I Got You is available to on YouTube and on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Spotlight Feature: Winchester 7 & the Runners shared their world-weary wit in their ukulele-led indie rock album, Catacomb Songs.

Get your nostalgia fix and your catharsis hit in one in the latest album from the internationally scattered outfit, Winchester 7 & The Runners. Catacomb Songs was just one of the lockdown-born albums conceived via Zoom in 2021; notably, few albums advocate for the future of remote collaboration better than this 9-track release.

The hazy, smoky and garagey vibes in the ukulele-led indie rock album are just as sweet as any album from the Zombies, the Beatles and the Stones. There may be nothing like delving into your favourite records from decades past, yet Winchester 7 & the Runners have their relevant and resonant ennui as an upper hand.

The thought of an indie ukulele rock album may send the blood pressure of music snobs through the roof, but if anyone can change the reputation of the electric ukulele, it is Winchester 7 & the Runners. They know just how to pull the rich, warm timbre from the electric uke to compliment the equally as mellifluous vocals.

The album starts with the quasi-morbid single, Dead Celebrities and New Beginnings, which questions why new beginnings seem impossible for ordinary folk while the famous can enjoy posthumous transformations. Once Dead Celebrities and New Beginnings has grabbed your attention, the album kicks things down a notch with the 70s rock reminiscent single, The Song That You Sing, which opens up a new level of lyrical intimacy that continues through the duration of the album that is tinged with satirical wit and the rare sense of compassion that can only be extended from world-weary soul to another.

Here is what Winchester 7 had to say about Catacomb Songs:

“We released our previous EP, Argos Holiday, last year on December 17th to limited fanfare due to the pandemic. In the following months, we made the best use of our time, took to our home studios and worked via Zoom to produce a follow-up. Catacomb Songs is certainly pandemic influenced in places, especially Riding High Again, which was written in memoriam of a good friend that succumbed to alcoholism during it. However, there is also a message of hope and inspired joy that is directly related to the normalcy we found playing together, albeit apart, amidst the lockdowns and travel bans.”

Catacomb Songs was officially released on December 17th. It is now available to stream on Spotify and Bandcamp.

Connect with Winchester 7 & the Runners to stay up to date with the 60s-inspired alchemy yet to come via Instagram and Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The UK-based artist, Bobby Bluff is set to make his bleak smitten-worthy avant-folk debut

Bobby Bluff

If any new 2022 release can help you turn a smile, it’s the eccentrically enamouring release, The Cat of Cruickshank, by the UK-based singer-songwriter and artist Bobby Bluff. With fleeting reminiscences to Billy Bragg, The Residents, The Legendary Pink Dots and John Cooper Clarke, the gritty yet sonically exuberant vignette is the ultimate existentialist’s playlist staple.

Paradoxically, The Cat of Cruickshank is elevated in its Avant-Garde style and as rough as the plot to a Ken Loach film. Coming across it almost felt like an act of serendipity in our dystopic world-weary times. The Cat of Cruickshank leaves you with that rare sense of eagerness to find out where Bluff will take his innovation next. Even if the rest of 2022 disappoints, you can place your faith in the stout-hearted ingenuity of Bluff.

The Cat of Cruickshank is just one of the singles on Bobby Bluff’s debut album, Introducing Bobby Bluff, which will release in April 2022.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Proto-punk bites back in Underdog’s seminal punch-drunk alt-rock track, Over and Over

Over and Over (Northern Lights) is the seminal proto-punk track from Boston’s most boisterous alt-rock powerhouse, Underdog. It may be harder for new artists to register as obsession-worthy from the first hit, but the college radio rock vibes mixed with the lo-fi scuzz and energy that stems from the frustration that resounds around monotony makes a riotously magnetic track out of Over and Over.

Thankfully, the band that has been charting as the top alternative band in Boston since establishing in 2013 didn’t allow their creativity to buckle during the quarantine. Their album, Trans Global Amnesia, is due for release in the Spring of 2022. Any fans of the New York Dolls, The Heartbreakers and the Ramones will want Underdog on their radars – it is only a matter of time before their moniker becomes unfitting.

Over and Over is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Cagri Raydemir bites the hand of ego-greed in his single, Attention Hunger

Attention Hunger is the latest intellectually scathing alt-rock track from the Munich, Germany-based artist, guitar virtuoso, songwriter and producer, Cagri Raydemir. With vocal reminiscences to Serj Tankian and an instrumental atmosphere that carries similarities to Incubus, any true alt-rock fan will allow Attention Hunger to resonate as a smorgasbord of dynamic alt-rock innovation.

It’s been a while since I had a quite literal jaw-drop moment at an instrumental interlude, but the one that brings in the outro in Attention Hunger gives Mr Bungle an Avant-Garde run for their money.

After releasing 12 albums and 3 EPs, Munich Germany-residing alternative artist has discernibly honed in on his craft to the point of peerlessness. It’s beyond refreshing to hear an artist with the ability to catch you broadsided by their talent.

Attention Hunger is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Post-rock meets folk as Jess Porter connects the dots in his comeback single, Patterns.

Patterns by Jess Porter

After experimenting in other outfits, the Melbourne artist, Jess Porter, has made his first release since 2014. Right from the intro, Patterns hits you with its dynamic intensity. The simple folky melody running through in hyper-speed instantly immerses you in the post-rock alchemy.

Patterns moves past art rock into 65daysofstatic territory with the synths becoming equal to the guitars as they groove and glitch through the complex time signatures. The vocal effects are nothing short of ingenious for the way Porter harmonically proves that he doesn’t have a vocal timbre to hide before running it through enough distortion that it becomes as volatile as the instrumentals.

Patterns is now available to stream and purchase on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Christopher Kremer has released his elegantly poetic allusion to languor ‘Electron’

If you still hold a candle for the melancholia of Elliott Smith, consider the new EP from folk singer-songwriter Christopher Kremer as an unmissable release. Major/Minor carries just enough reminiscences to tease nostalgia as the Chicago-based artist leaves you enamoured by his down-but-not-out authenticity.

The soul-fizzingly sweet lead single, Electron, is equally as instrumentally melodious as the most cathartic singles from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The vocals and lyrics lace the soundscape with an all too relatable languor, but even with the poetic allusions to entropy, the hazy choral textures ensure that Electron resonates as a transcendently uplifting release.

Major/Minor is now available to stream in full via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

American social media star, JÚWAN, has released his snipingly riotous pop-punk debut single, OUCH

After going viral on TikTok, the American social media star, JÚWAN, has made his spicy alt-pop debut. His debut single, OUCH, is a confrontationally infectious take on pop-punk with sharp enough lyrics to cut right to the bone.

From tearing apart narcissists to shaming the people that think that questioning someone’s sexuality is a good use of their time, this riotously high-vibe track allows you to imagine what Bowling for Soup would sound like if their music got a potent shot of emotional intelligence.

Instrumentally, OUCH takes you right back to the golden age of 00s pop-punk and alt-rock with the crunchy guitars, sharp lyrical hooks and massive choruses, but JÚWAN is discernibly an artist made for this generation and their search for artists that do more than just superficially scratch at the surface. Seemingly, his magnetism shines through on the airwaves as much as his viral videos. He is definitely one to watch.

OUCH is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

North Carolina’s Snatch the Snail are set to release their warped and wavy surf punk single, Sunk

Snatch the Snail

North Carolina’s most psychedelic retro surf outfit, Snatch the Snail, is set to release their warped and wavy alt-rock track, Sunk. Instead of sending you under as the track title suggests, the Avant-Garde nuances in the colourfully mellow track feed the dopamine with the same generosity of Pavement’s album, Brighten the Corners.

While the bent to the point of distortion guitar notes ring through plenty of wobbly echo and delay, the deadpan vocals sweeten the track that has all the hallmarks of a vibe-out playlist staple. With the experimentalism of Mike Patton and the punk surf vibes of Fidlar, it doesn’t take a genius why Snatch the Snail are thriving in their niche.

Check out Snatch the Snail on their website, Bandcamp and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Patience Is Wearing Thin: Alabama band Think Sanity look for the best way to prevail on ‘Closest to Happy’

With their 2nd album on the way soon as they bring us a speaker-shaking start to wake up the nosy neighbours, Think Sanity sends us a candid message about attempting to keep that smile nearby as everything else falls apart on ‘Closest to Happy‘.

Think Sanity is an Anniston, Alabama-based 4-piece indie rock band who bare their honest souls on each track as they lace down realness to ponder all about mental health and issues that so many of us can relate to.

A musical mixing pot of all the things we need to say, but can’t.” ~ Think Sanity

Breathing fire into our ears with a real message which sparks your attention quickly, Think Sanity leads us into a world where you need to be sharp to survive and extra motivation is highly necessary to brush away all the self-doubt. There is so much electrifying energy here that flows through our ever-thinking consciousness as we all look for that happier path to reaching true contentment within ourselves.

Closest to Happy‘ from the Anniston, Alabama-based indie rock act Think Sanity, is a true story all about getting that coffee quick when you start the day so that you can achieve all the goals that you have set out in this wild world. With passionate vocals and thunderous guitar riffs loaded with heartfelt emotion – this is a highly reflective song – that will restock your mind with flashbacks of when you wondered if your patience was about to break in half.

Check out this new single on Spotify and see more via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen