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Grunge

Nostalgic Smells pierced through the shadows of ennui with his debut post-grunge hit, Glimmer

The post-grunge movement has been pushed forward with the emo-adjacent debut single, Glimmer, from the Scottish solo artist, Nostalgic Smells, who dove headfirst into emotional depths most would drown in.

After earning his stripes as a drummer and honing his ear for rhythm and melody, Nostalgic Smells’ knew exactly where to implant the hooks within the angst and disquietude of his ode to the intersections between emo and 90s grunge.

Glimmer is an enthralling return to the thick, sludgy hooks and emotive turmoil that defined an era. Despite its dense layers of distortion, David’s knack for melody shines through in the song’s structure which is rife with tensile progressions that meticulously pull the listener into its emotionally charged core, reminiscent of the sounds of Nirvana and HUM.

The debut invigorates the familiar with a freshness often attempted but rarely achieved in the modern music scene. For those who grew up with the resonant beats of Helmet or the textured distortions of Quicksand, Glimmer promises a journey back to those raw, introspective soundscapes, while also beckoning to those new to the scene.

The lyrical aching for a modicum of light to break the dark clouds of ennui couldn’t be more affecting in this intensely authentic hit that is already going down a storm and creating immense anticipation for the sophomore release.

Glimmer sludged up the airwaves on April 15; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Pan De Muerto conjured darkwave sonic sorcery in ‘Shadow Woman’

Make no mistake, the only thing spectral about Pan de Muerto’s single “Shadow Woman” is the ephemeral female protagonist that will cast her spell on any listeners who sink into this scintillating synthesis of alt-rock, metal, and gothic post-punk.

The grungy Eddie Vedder-esque vocals over an atmosphere that could easily have been of Sisters of Mercy’s conjuring is affecting from start to finish. Darkwave singles rarely come as rhythmically heavy as this immersively beguiling rejection of material reality which pulls you into its haunted core, leaving you aching to bear witness to more installations of black magic alchemy conjured by the ultimate aural polymaths who have exactly what it takes to invoke their way out of their niche and into the alt-rock mainstream.

This Memphis-based band have become renowned for their blends of alternative rock with gothic, metal, and classical elements, infused with a hint of Latin rock influence, creating a sound that is as unique as it is ensnaring. Shadow Woman effortlessly showcases Pan de Muerto’s ability to navigate complex musical landscapes while maintaining a visceral, darkly poetic edge. Their latest release not only reinforces their place in the alt-rock scene but also promises a future rich with innovative sonic sorcery.

Shadow Woman was officially released on April 14; stream the single on YouTube now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Return to the alt-90s with Trailerfuss’ debut single O Rei da Solidão

Trailerfuss’ debut single, O Rei da Solidão, from their EP Roteiro Sem Final, revisits the 90s grunge era via a route never before taken.

By fusing the sludgy rhythmics of Dinosaur Jr and the fierce soul of Hole, Trailerfuss created a solid foundation to lay their innovative approach to evoking alt-90s nostalgia on. They didn’t stop at emanating two influential artists; you’ll hear everyone from Bob Dylan in the opening harmonica blows, Grandaddy in the lo-fi intimacy, the Beachboys in the surfy layered vocal harmonies, and nuances of Pavement and Pixies synthesised between.

The debut single is a visceral statement from the Rio de Janeiro-based band that is strong enough to carry their fans back to the rose-tinted sanctity of the alt-90s while also delivering potent punches of their own authenticity.

Stream O Rei da Solidão on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jon Fritz – Cold Hard Rain: A Soulful Storm of Genre-Defying Rock Reverie

When it rains, it pours, and in Cold Hard Rain, the latest single from the singer-songwriter and touring troubadour Jon Fritz, the soulful rock reverie pours deliciously.

After an intro of layered gospel-esque harmonies, Cold Hard Rain sells vintage indie rock sanctuary; the bluesy guitar bends carve chemistry across the upbeat rhythm section as Jon Fritz vocalises in the middle ground beyond college radio rock and grunge. Vedder himself couldn’t have performed this release better.

There are expansive releases; then there are singles that refuse to inhibit themselves by following genre constraints and register as pure unbridled communications from the soul; Cold Hard Rain cascades into the latter camp with the blissfully constructed melodies that turn on a dime between 90s nostalgia, 80s soaring solos and 70s rock n roll stripes. It is within these cohesive confluences that John Fritz truly shines; try as you might, there’s no resisting being injected by the rugged euphoria which resounds in the rhythmic downpour of Cold Hard Rain.

Cold Hard Rain was officially released on April 4th; stream the single on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Alley of the Dolls earned a place in the pantheon of post-grunge with ‘Broken Skies’

Alley of the Dolls, Yorkshire’s alt-rock revelation, delivered a thunderous wake-up call with their single ‘Broken Skies’. The standout from their EP ‘Urethane‘, is a movement scribed through Jacob Stephenson’s and Adam Pickering’s shared passion for the gritty, grungy, and raw energy of 90s rock.

‘Broken Skies’ lyrically tackles a subject as delicate as it is devastating – the rising phenomenon of school shootings. Few artists have dared to go beyond lyrically mourning the tragedy, but Alley of the Dolls does so with a boldness that is both haunting and necessary. Their words don’t just skim the surface; they eviscerate the protagonists of these tragedies, demanding accountability for the senseless destruction born from unprocessed emotions.

The duo’s fearless approach to songwriting is matched by the sonic ingenuity within the bruising riffs and intense instrumental thematic textures in ‘Broken Skies’. Their determination to become architects of a new sound influenced by iconic Seattle post-grunge bands and legends like Guns ‘N’ Roses and the Foo Fighters is palpable in every viscerally affecting note of ‘Broken Skies’.

By using their music to punch upward against tyranny and stand for those struggling to survive and thrive, Alley of the Dolls’ discography is as essential as it is vindicating.

Broken Skies will drop on April 12th; stream the single on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Unbranded penned a riotous alt-90s love letter with ‘Novacaine’

If you’ve ever wondered what Dinosaur Jr would sound like with a bigger and louder sonic stature, find the answer in the high-octane riotous love letter to the alt-90s, penned through The Unbranded’s hit single Novacaine.

Once you let the impaled-with pop-punk-hooks earworm in, don’t expect it to depart any time soon. As the kinetically infectious chord progressions subjugate your rhythmic pulses into submission, the augmented-with-charisma vocal lines draw you further into the centre of the frenetic epitome of rebellion which spits in the face of anyone who wants to shunt people who don’t fit the mould of banality to the sidelines.

The track is a clarion call to all the outliers looking for permission to transform their idiosyncrasies into fuel for their empowered fire. Following in the footsteps of the likes of Social Distortion, The Unbranded and their motivation to inject spiritual awakenings into their music are an essential listen; just one hit, and you’ll want to join them at the vanguard as they smash down toxic social constructions.

Novacaine was officially released on March 15; stream the single on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Grunge Father Let His Demons Out to Play in an Exclusive A&R Factory Interview

In an evocative interview with A&R Factory, The Grunge Father delves into the soul-stirring depths of his debut album, ‘Demons‘, which unravels as a raw, introspective journey through the labyrinth of personal struggles and the relentless pursuit of clarity amidst life’s chaos.

With a nod to the gritty essence of Seattle’s grunge era, The Grunge Father weaves a tapestry of emotive narratives, each track a chapter in a larger story of battling and acknowledging one’s inner demons. His unique blend of melodic grunge, infused with introspective lyrics and acoustic warmth, offers a fresh perspective on the genre.

As he discusses the creative process, inspirations, and the cathartic experience of bringing ‘Demons’ to life, readers are invited to delve into a world where darkness is met with the resilience of the human spirit, a theme that resonates universally.

The Grunge Father, thanks for sitting down with us to discuss your debut album, Demons, what are the emotional themes which underpin this release?

Thank you for having me. With ‘Demons’ I wanted to create a strong theme throughout the album which all tied together. The album is mostly about my own personal Demons and the life experiences I have had with them. I try to shine some light on the darkness and mazes of life and our constant search for clarity among the chaos.

I am aware that everyone has their own Demons and I hope they can relate in some way. I think anyone of age has gone through some kind of personal struggle with their inner Demons. Whether it be with addiction, low points, vices etc. There will be voices in your head which have conflicting views trying to pull you one way and then the other. The Demon is always there lurking in the shadows but you always have a choice in what to do? Will you give in to the Demon or fight it and battle through? This is how I see life. It is a constant fight against the creatures which live inside you.

I wrote the songs and put them on the album in that specific order to tell the story that I have personally been through and tried to cover all the different angles from which I see life. Although the album is quite dark, I do hope people can take a lot of positivity from it with the main theme being ‘acknowledge that your Demons are there and then do your best to slay them or keep them at bay.

We love how the Seattle sound resounds through your uniquely melodic grungy sonic signature, what is it about the era that continues to inspire you? 

Grunge music and the bands which came out of Seattle in the early ’90s had a rawness which instantly resonated with me from the age of 8. I was hooked instantly and listened to cassette tapes on repeat. I don’t know if it’s because I listened to Grunge music so much growing up but whenever I write songs where I am trying to express an emotion through the lyrics, the songs have a gungey vibe and that is completely unconscious. I was in metal bands for years and also have played and written a lot of Jazz and Blues music but I find Grunge is the best way to convey an emotion or tell a story.

For your new listeners, where would you say your sound fits in the grunge genre?

I would like to say I take a unique approach to the genre while keeping the foundations as a baseline. Out of the big grunge bands, my music is definitely more in line with Nirvana and Silverchair than any of the other big Grunge bands. I don’t think I quite fit in with the ‘Post Grunge’ category that much, as I feel the bands which are labelled as this have more of a nu-metal sound.

The acoustic fingerpicked guitars bring swathes of warmth to juxtapose the evocative vocal performance of the lyrics, was this an easy stylistic choice to make? 

Yes to refer back to your previous question this is hopefully where my own style cuts through. Especially on this unplugged album where I felt it needed more depth. My approach here was slightly different to other music I have written previously because your standard power chords don’t round out the sound enough and get lost in the mix. There are a lot of fuller and melodic chords used to fill the space where the distorted guitars would normally sit and the guitar picking parts are opened up to interact melodically with vocals.

How long has the LP been in the making?

I spent a bit of time writing the songs with no real set period and just waited until it all came together organically before going into the studio. As I write and play everything myself, it does take a bit of time because the last thing you want to do is rush it. When I finished recording all the parts I took about a month or so to let it sink in and see if there were any parts not working. I then went back into the studio to mix and master it. All in all, it took about a year.

What was the most rewarding part of bringing Demons to fruition? 

This is my first unplugged/acoustic album to be released and that within itself is really rewarding to me. It was a challenge and a different recording process, but I feel the hard work has paid off. I am also glad that the story of the inner demons seems to have come through and resonated with people.

What’s next for The Grunge Father? 

So for the next few weeks, I will continue to promote the album and my first single ‘Seesaw’ then it will be straight onto the next album which is written with guide tracks ready to go.

While I get things sorted for the next album, I will continue to record some grunge classics. These will go up on my YouTube and social media platforms. I will also start to document and film more behind-the-scenes footage from the writing and recording process.

Stream Demons (Unplugged) on Spotify now.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

The Seattle Sound Came Back Around in The Grunge Father’s Acoustic Single, Introvert

The Grunge Father embodied the aura of the 90s Seattle sound in his debut LP, Demons (Unplugged). The standout single, Introvert, is diaphanous in one breath, cacophonously ensnaring in the next to echo the raw, unadorned spirit of the genre.

Fans of Nirvana’s iconic MTV Unplugged in New York session will find a familiar refuge in Introvert, where the Grunge Father channels the same rugged, scorned magnetism that defined a generation.

His vocal performance and instrumental work are a study in contrast as they find a rare equilibrium between melodic harmony and a deliberate, volition-fuelled discord as the lyrics reflect the weariness of introversion in an extrovert’s world. Despite being an introvert by his own admission, The Grunge Father emerges larger than life in this track, his voice a slice of vindication for those who find strength in introspection.

It’s safe to say that The Grunge Father cemented his place in the grunge pantheon with his debut LP. While other artists are busy leading the post-grunge revolution, this superlatively talented one-man powerhouse is proving that there is so much potential left to discover in the roots of the genre.

Stream The Grunge Father’s LP Demons (Unplugged) on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Serenity Club liberated from indignation in this alt-rock release, Heaven is a World Without You

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With lyrics you instantly lock into and hooks you can’t unimpale yourself from, The Serenity Club hit an alt-rock homerun with their latest single, Heaven is a World Without You. The single warps sonic timelines, pulls the 90s Seattle sound into modernity and has all the makings of an alt-rock earworm that The Serenity Club deserve to go down in history for.

Knowing that we all have antagonists in our lives that ‘trap us in cages of resentment’, the band gave the key to freedom from indignation to everyone who tunes into the hit which synthesises grunge with the infectious appeal of bands in the same vein as Rise Against. If the single is this affecting while it is blasting through your speakers, the effect of the live performance would be cathartically unholy.

Every instrumental in the hit works to perpetuate the rapture of the release and assert The Serenity Club as one of the tightest alt-rock outfits in London’s underground alt-rock scene – it is only a matter of time before they make their ascent and stand at the vanguard of the post-grunge movement. Tune into the breakdowns so you don’t have to have one yourself.

Heaven is a World Without You will hit all major streaming platforms on March 22; hear it on SoundCloud first.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Slip into the hypersonic vortex of Peach Giraffe’s latest experimental track, Intertwined

Peach Giraffe’s new single, “Intertwined,” is a masterful blend of skate punk, hyper-pop, trap nuances, and a touch of Arcade Fire, creating a vortexical kaleidoscope of avant-garde electronica. The grungy and antagonised vocal lines sink into this eclectic mix, stitching “Intertwined” with a mind-altering amalgam of aural aesthetics.

This daring combination cements Peach Giraffe as one of the most bold, indomitable, and fearlessly innovative artists in the alternative music scene. As genre lines blur in “Intertwined,” Peach Giraffe’s commitment to sonically visualising emotional themes shines through. The single is a lyrically poetic exposition of a relationship where distance doesn’t necessitate disconnection, despite the ambiguous parameters that could easily send the mind into a spiral with too much contemplation.

Peach Giraffe’s approach to music is an unforced journey of experimentation, spanning over a decade. His process involves piecing together a puzzle of sounds and ideas, driven not by genre constraints but by spontaneous inspiration. “Intertwined” is a testament to this organic and free-flowing approach to music creation. It’s a track that doesn’t just fit into the alternative music scene; it stands out as a bold statement of Peach Giraffe’s unique and unbridled creativity.

Intertwined reached the airwaves on March 10; stream the official music video on YouTube now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast