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Alternative

The Third Arrangement give us a whole lot of ‘Rosie’

The Third Arrangement formed as a four-piece in South Jersey in 2016, around keyboardist and song-writer Nathan MacAdams and guitarist Frank Morley. Growing in numbers at the same time as in influences and scope, they’ve become a fine, innovative Acid Jazz-styled group, taking in rock guitar, funk, and of course jazz. ‘Rosie’ is a prime example of their art, with elements of Ben Folds, bits of Dave Brubeck, touches of JD McPherson, and occasional flashes of J. Mascis guitar breaks, all mixed in with storytelling, narrative lyrics.

‘Rosie’ is a beautiful mix of jazz guitar, flashes of rock flourish, and Rhodes piano, mellow and outlandish at once, all wrapped around the overall sound of a band that’s utterly aware of the sum of its parts; tight, assured, and with some serious groove. ‘Rosie’ is smooth, composed, with a lovely minor third rise and drop, and some absolutely filthy piano licks to compliment the sexy-as-hell guitar-work.

The Third Arrangement released their debut EP “Scarecrows” in 2019, and are currently recording more singles for release later in 2021; on the basis of this, we’re all going to need to get our hands on every last one of them.

Listen to ‘Rosie’ on Spotify. Follow The Third Arrangement on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Nick Tello brings his stunning, ambitious signature with ‘The Artist’

‘The Artist’ is six minutes fifty-two seconds of jazzy, (initially) lounge-bar piano-led (mostly-) instrumental composition, part musical movement, part art piece, rotating its way through guitars, samples, and orchestral instrumentation and percussion, always with the same repeating melody-line. It’s freeform, experimental, and hugely ambitious, with multiple layered tracks compounding that repetitive ostinato phrase; apparently three years in the making and a month to mix, with ambient background-chatter samples, reverb-soaked drums, strings, and that constant piano, programmed TR-808 patterns and electronic instrumentation, and even the smash of a glass. There’s twists and turns, rests and pauses, pitch-shifts and tempo and timbre-changes, classical finger-picked guitar mixing with engineered notes and sampled speech, but always a return to the familiar, beautiful piano refrain. It’s an absolute work of art, delicate, potent, and powerful, and a definite labour of love. A stunning, sublime achievement.

You can hear ‘The Artist’ on Spotify. Follow Nick Tello on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

SVRPoole get over their fear of rejection with ‘Dusted Artist’

Pop-folk as a concept might sound like it takes a bit of explaining, but that’s what we’ve got here with acoustic singer-songwriting duo SVRPoole; a mix of early Fleetwood Mac, June Carter, ABBA, and Steeleye Span. It’s a cute little mix, vocalist and guitarist Simona-Valentina’s high resonance, Angel Olsen-like vocal underpinned by some frankly delicious slide guitar work and ballady brushed drum-and-tambourine patterns.

Lyrically, this is a song for mistakes, misshapes, and misfits, or anyone who feels stigmatised, rejected, or otherwise discriminated against. Written originally as a poem for Simona-Valentina’s sister, it’s gentle, it’s quirky, it’s got a bit of a boho indie vibe going on amongst the folk-country-ish tinges, and the lilting chorus vocal is irretrievably hummable.

You can hear ‘Dusted Artist’ on Soundcloud. Follow SVRPoole on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Just Pathetic are wondering just what happened ‘Since College’

Describing themselves as ‘a band specialising in substandard music and haphazard melodies’, Just Pathetic’s ‘Since College’ is a poppy-punk number, with elements of Bowling For Soup, The Police, Sum-41, and Journey all mixed up with a Blink 182 tongue-in-cheek bouncy, upbeat ode to time since…well, you guessed it, since college.

There’s a nice little break-down mid-song, a nice flanged-and-octaved guitar-line throughout, and lyrically there’s some not-too-serious digs at teen entitlement, angst, and ‘emo-days’ mixed up with underage drinking and ‘interesting’ cigarettes. It’s fun, it’s vaguely silly, and it’s catchy, energetic, and exuberant mixed in with laid-back ‘stoner’ vocals (there’s a tiny hint at ‘Superfuzz’-era Mudhoney to the delivery), with the fuzziest guitar tone we’ve heard in a long time. It’s the age-old question: ‘Where have the days gone since college?’

You can hear ‘Since College’ on YouTube; check out Just Pathetic here.

Review by Alex Holmes

Fastride are taking us all the way to ‘Sin City’

Fastride cut their teeth on the USA’s East Coast, playing clubs and bars like the Whiskey and the Viper Room alongside such luminaries of the rock scene as Black Star Riders, Jake E Lee, Hookers & Blow, and Michael Graves (The Misfits); formed around lead guitarist Ty Asoudegan, an alumnus of Berkelee College of Music who’s been featured in Guitar Player Magazine and name-checked by none other than Guns n’ Roses’ Slash, new single ‘Sin City’ is down and dirty, gritty, no-frills rock n’ roll. Hard-riffing straight from the off, this is proper LA screaming vocals, overdriven guitars, and thundering drums. There’s touches of ‘Slave To The Grind’-era Seb Bach to the vocals, the obligatory rip-snorting guitar break – all pinched harmonics and staccato muted flurries, trills, and hammer-on/pull-off runs – and a shouty, gang-vocal chorus. It’s the essence of 1980’s debauchery – sleazy, trashy, swathed in bandanas and black leather, and reeking of Marlboro and Jack’n’Cokes. Rock and very much roll.

Check out ‘Sin City’ on YouTube; Find Fastride on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

I Just Need To Get Away: LA’s Kilo Tango desires that enticing fun to get rid of the lonely empty spaces on ‘Lace and leather (not forever)’

Lace and leather (not forever) by KiloTango

As she looks temptingly through her breeze-filled bedroom curtain and wholeheartedly wishes for some much-needed excitement, Kilo Tango opens her front door to a possible mistake with the enthralling ‘Lace and leather (not forever)‘.

Kilo Tango (Kee-lo Tayn-go), is a Kt Mitchell-formed artist from bustling Los Angeles, California. She stylishly intermingles her 90’s dream pop, 60’s rock, and modern pop creations smartly together, like a hungry kitty cat looking for a tasty snack in the middle of the night.

She saunters cheekily into our eager speakers with careful precision and a purring curiosity — as each lyric is sung with such wondrous intrigue — that has you nibbling on your lip, as you keenly await the full experience to soak in sweetly.

We are introduced to the true story of feeling that so much before was such a waste of time, as the story of desiring that real fun right now is shown to us by a truly wonderful singer-songwriter, who is so refreshingly honest at every turn.

Her voice is ear-catching, the genuine energy eases all over your stretching body, as you sit back and remember when you were so tired of dull relationships, and just wanted to have some fun for once.

Lace and leather (not forever)‘ from the engaging LA artist Kilo Tango, shows us into a world of the fleeting night that was mind-numbing before you switched things around, and took a chance on someone you thought might let you down later on. The heart-beating thrill of the chance-to-see-what-happens rolled the dice for you — as you looked eagerly for that winning six — to make your evening all worth it after all.

Hear this spellbinding new single on Bandcamp and find out more via her paw-printed IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

That Extra Edge: Observe the 93rd sharpen up the mic with the rock anthem ‘Archaic’

As their quick-fire sound of carnage stretches your mind like a fragile elastic band, Observe the 93rd makes all parts of your speakers shake in disbelief, with the shock-educing new banger called ‘Archaic‘.

Observe the 93rd is a powerfully struck two-piece alternative rock band from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. They build up stream like the click of a lighter — and smoke forcefully into our lives with a fiery performance of epic magnitudes — that has you turning this up all the way real loud, to get the best experience possible.

The focus will always be raw, authentic expression. The songs are guided by a feeling, an idea, an experience, failure, triumph, suffering, joy…any abstract internal entity that yearns to be externalized. Sometimes the expression of this is a means of reflection, sometimes a means of relief and survival, and other times merely an exploration of the mind or ideas.” – Observe the 93rd

Archaic‘ from Pennsylvania two-piece alt-rockers Observe the 93rd, teaches us about the wild world that is currently transpiring before our eyes. There are so many demons around and we need to extinguish them quickly, otherwise they shall burn your important senses down like a tree burning in the forest. This is sublime stuff and a new rock song that certainly has your attention, due to its heart-stopping ferocity and excellent execution.

Hear this fine new song on Spotify and see more on their IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Techno meets jazz in JoeJas’ latest experimental hip hop track, ‘VENTURE?’

Any fans of Beardyman, Qemists and Fatboy Slim won’t want to hang around on the latest single to be released by alt hip hop artist and producer JoeJas.

‘VENTURE?’ is a playful aural assault constructed with elements of techno, experimental house, boom bap hip hop and jazz that won’t fail to leave you adrenalized and endeared in equal measure.

JoeJas lost none of his credibility by utilising his quirky personality. Instead, his roguish attitude runs right through the grooving progressive mix, giving you a taste of his authenticity that will leave you insatiable for his soulful style that carries reminiscence to that of artists such as Andre 3000 and Childish Gambino. Along with his solo work, JoeJas also produces under the moniker HairyMuffinMan; which goes some way in explaining how the mix in VENTURE? pulled together so tightly in spite of the seemingly contrasting textures.

You can check out the official music video that premiered on May 8th via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Simulated Youth smashes the premise of the totalitarian state with his dark electro track, ‘Ghost in the Machine’.

Phoenix, Arizona-based dark electronica artist and producer Simulated Youth has switched up his sound from his previous releases, N.B.T. and Kill the Messenger by introducing a galvanising urban twist. With rap bars flowing as veraciously as his euphorically-swamped signature beats in Ghost in the Machine, fans of trance to harsh industrial electronica alike will want to pay attention.

As with all of Simulated Youth’s tracks, Ghost in the Machine is so much more than a smorgasbord of adrenalizing sound; the mix falls on the very valid anxieties of our surveillance state. We may be in the midst of an Orwellian nightmare, but at least we have apt anthems which thrash and slap in the face of dystopic oppression and totalitarian control.

Of all the artists I’ve heard breaking through this year, no other artist holds as much promise, authenticity and escapism from the bleakness of our current socio-political structures as Simulated Youth.

Ghost in the Machine is now available to stream along with the rest of Simulated Youth’s 2021 EP via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

KAIS sends us back to the alt 90s with his psych-tinged indie track, ‘Spirit City Kiss’.

‘Spirit City Kiss’ is the latest single released by alt-indie-rock artist KAIS, the suitably sweet grungy tones are tinted with the nuances of psych-pop and swathes of alt 90s nostalgia. If Dinosaur Jr’s 2021 album didn’t hit the spot, the hazily over-driven tones in Spirit City Kiss definitely will.

Fans of Blur, The Charlatans, The Beatles and Dinosaur Jr alike will want to delve into the psychotropic soundscape inspired by the cities that make us feel home, even if our home is on the other side of the ocean. The dreamy reverb wraps around the subversive lyrics that may sound like your usual amorous tropes at first but if you read between the lines, you’ll find that KAIS has, once again, explored ubiquitous social dynamics and tapped into a relatively unexplored part of our consciousness that yearns for our spiritual homes.

Being no stranger to international travel, the Canadian, Jordan-born singer-songwriter and instrumentalist now finds himself residing in Cyprus, where he works out of his recording studio, Hot Soap Studios.

KAIS has been travelling the globe and gracing stages since the early 00s. In 2014, he took part in the Mayor of London Big Busk. In 2014, he graduated with a diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering (Point Blank Music College). With a full band, he performed throughout Vancouver, Toronto, and Seattle in 2016 and 2017.

With an EP in the works and due for release later in 2021, you’ll want to save a spot on your radar.

Spirit City Kiss released on May 14th; you can check it out for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast