Instead of reinventing the wheel, Karyn Ann spun it in a brand-new direction with her latest timelessly enrapturing single, 8 Hours; a hauntingly beautiful ballad that captures the essence of Southern gothic magnetism, wrapped in a production that’s swallowed by arcane reverb.
The song is a masterful blend of timeless melodies and a stylistic distortion on the guitars that gracefully wrap around the vocal lines. These elements collectively weave a sonically cavernous landscape that seductively entices listeners into the depths of melancholy that the song explores.
The release, which is sure to resonate with fans of artists as diverse as Chelsea Wolfe to Brandi Carlile, elucidates the disassociation of losing your grip with the latter half of the space-time continuum, a theme that is both esoteric and deeply human.
The emotive lyricism of 8 Hours showcases Ann’s raw vulnerability, a trait that has seen the American songwriter praised and performing at notable festivals and venues. The narrative behind 8 Hours is as darkly compelling as its composition, delving into the hours that went missing when Ann awoke in a stranger’s van, with only a dim recollection of the preceding events. This raw and exposed nerve of a song not only reveals Ann’s prowess as a singer-songwriter but also demonstrates her ability to turn personal tribulation into profound artistic expression. She’s a phenomenon in her own right.
Dons of Youth, an indie-pop duo composed of Peter Moe and Kelly Matthews III, hailing from Nashville, TN, has crafted a dream pop reverie with their latest track Rush.
Rush is a pristine example of the indie dream pop genre, evoking the ethereal soundscapes akin to Cigarettes After Sex and Beach House and nodding respectfully to the Shoegaze pioneers. The textured tapestry of sound, with kaleidoscopically colourful melodies and harmonious timbres that weave through the air, creates an immersive auditory experience that you will want to be consumed by time and time again. The band’s artistry shines in the elemental melodic interplay, which complements the tranquil and honeyed vocal lines. There’s an intimate quality to the vocals that feels like a secret whispered in confidence, creating a strong emotional resonance that’s both personal and universal.
The duo, who began their collaboration at Belmont University, have matured into an outfit capable of bringing a cogent distinction to their self-produced sound, which puts them in good stead for their upcoming debut album, which promises to deliver a narrative journey through the labyrinth of young love, desire, and romance. These themes are palpable in the tender fabric of Rush, which not only showcases their technical prowess but also their ability to capture the nuanced emotions of coming-of-age stories.
Joseph Trem’s latest single, Ruminations, is a masterful exploration of the darkness the human psyche can harbour, delving deep into the agonising feeling of invisibility and the fear that even if you were to fade away into less than a spectre, your absence wouldn’t be noted nevertheless mourned.
The heart-wrenching reality of feeling worthless is a sentiment that, unfortunately, is all too universal for people battling with depression. Trem did so much more than vent his emotions with Ruminations; he extended validation to anyone who can relate. To amplify the earnest sincerity of the release, the track is anchored by striking piano keys, each note resonating with a sense of pensiveness around his rich and emotive voice which weaves through melodies to draw listeners into an exposition of vulnerable introspection.
The moment of connection within Ruminations positions Joseph Trem as one of the most promising names on the indie-pop scene. His sound, reminiscent of John Legend in ‘All of Me,’ is both haunting and beautiful, filled with a raw honesty that is rare in today’s music landscape. As we look towards 2024, Trem is undoubtedly an artist to watch.
The official lyric video for Ruminations premiered on November 17; watch it on YouTube.
George Bone stripped everything back but the soul in his latest single, Valencia, which encompasses the 00s indie pop aesthetic while pushing it forward with the ardency in the wistful yearning, the colour in the neo-jazz pop grooves, and the instrumental sparsity which ensures every instrumental works with a singular agenda to amplify the disarming effect of the emotionally raw ballad.
Valencia is the first single released by the Essex-based evocateur after stepping off his tour with The Voice UK 2019 winner Molly Hocking. If Bruno Major and Conor Albert heavily feature on your playlists, you’ll easily find space for George Bone’s sonic signature, which scribes itself through emotionally provoking lyricism and easy-listening melodies.
George Bone Said:
“Eponymously named after the city it takes inspiration from, Valencia transports listeners on a Mediterranean journey of both loving and longing. It encapsulates the joys of travelling with ‘The One’ – summoning wonder, happiness, and the connections you feel rarely in a lifetime – and yet the wishful thinking of those who know that ‘drinking wine and [hearing] the breaking of the tide’ is only a feeling experienced in imagination. The song represents a bond in a relationship, where memories – both good and bad – are intertwined; where hopes and dreams are dashed and made; and where love is lost and found.”
Valencia will hit the airwaves on November 24; stream it on SoundCloud.
Beware of Trains stepped out of an anachronistic music box and onto the airwaves to share the histrionically ornate single, Forever Home, which carries all the glamour of the West End and all the alternative allure of the Legendary Pink Dots and Jason Webley.
The chamber pop orchestration unravels as a snow-capped fairy tale of a festive single; the all-bells and no whistles production takes the ordinary Christmas single and enchants it to the nth degree.
The origin of the single stems back to 2019 when Beware of Trains performed ‘A Kitmas Concert’ at Bradford Cathedral with members of Opera North to raise funds for Allerton Cat Rescue. Inspired by the charity’s slogan, ‘Helping cats and kittens find their furever home’, songwriter, Leighton Jones wanted to explore the sense of longing and belonging conjured by the phrase. If there’s any time of the year when the need to belong reaches its wistful peak, it is the festive holidays. If you can relate, prepare for the scintillating resonance and grab a few tissues. It hits harder than the end of Raymond Brigg’s symphonic poem, the Snowman.
In their own words:
“Forever Home is a symphonic festive tale that transports us into a snow globe and whisks us away through snowy Yorkshire fields and skies, revelling in the nostalgic sense of homecoming the festive season brings. But the song is also tinged with bittersweet melancholy, reflecting on the passing years and sadness of saying goodbye to the people and places we love and hold dear.”
Forever Home was officially released on November 24th; stream it on SoundCloud.
Freyja Elsy’s latest single, Over It, from her upcoming EP, Modern Artifice, is a mesmerising blend of trip-hop, dark pop, and innovative electronica that resonates with the chillingly arcane Southern Gothic air of Chelsea Wolfe.
The single, which premiered on BBC Radio Wales on Adam Walton’s Introducing show, has been aptly compared to the likes of Massive Attack and Portishead, with a nod to the acid house genre in its production. The multi-layered auditory journey reflects the despondency of being cast into the harsh realities of adulthood and forced to contend with the seemingly arbitrary monotony which stretches for decades before those coming of age. Elsy’s voice, both haunting and commanding, unravels this narrative against a backdrop of spiky dream pop and leftfield electronica, creating a sound that is as visionary as it is haunting as it oozes the divinity of female power.
Elsy, who has had a remarkable year, opening for acts like Death & Vanilla and Welsh artists Eädyth, Ani Glass, and Small Miracles, never fails to showcase her ability to create a cohesive and clear vision in her music. Her previous singles, Lungs, Requiem, and Golden Hour, have already garnered international attention and BBC recognition, setting a high bar for her upcoming EP.
Over It hit the airwaves on November 17; stream it on SoundCloud.
Urban Cafe Crew wrapped a perennial pop earworm in tinsel to deliver the catchiest Christmas single since Mariah Carey dominated the festive sonic landscape with All I Want for Christmas is You.
Hit play on Baby It’s Christmasby the eclectic Australian music collective and instantly succumb to the modern spin on the classic Christmas motifs. From the first beat following the swells of classic strings, you’ll register that Baby It’s Christmas sets itself apart from the usual holiday fare.
From the bells to the butter-wouldn’t-melt croons to the keys working in complete synergy with the percussion to raise the energy, Baby It’s Christmas ticks all the sentimental boxes while oozing cross-generational appeal. It has been a while since a Christmas single melodiously moved with the times while keeping sonic traditions alive; Urban Cafe Crew achieved the feat effortlessly.
Even if you usually recoil to the tune of White Christmas on the radio when November rolls around, you won’t be able to resist turning a smile as you hum the exhilaratingly vibrant melody.
Baby It’s Christmas was officially released on November 10th. Unwrap it on YouTube.
With a voice which resonates with over 155k monthly listeners on Spotify and the confidence to create under the mononym archie, knowing that the name will become synonymous with his anthemic new wave indie aesthetic, it is no surprise to see that the 19-year-old singer-songwriter has hit razed the airwaves with his latest augmented with attitude and style single, Mayalyn.
With a vice-like grip which hits all the provocative and evocative marks, the track that starts with a saturated in delay jangly indie pop instrumental arrangement beneath his raspy croons, reminiscent of the 1975, evolves into a fiery feat of overdriven and modernised rock. With a seemingly infinite sequence of twists and turns, every progression is a revelation with Mayalyn. A revelation which paints its orchestrator as one of the most essential artists in 2023.
The classically trained Scottish singer-songwriter may only be getting started but he’s already giving every other up-and-coming act tips on how to raise the bar with lyrical ingenuity, which goes hand in virtuosic hand with his ear for a melody that will consume you when brought to life with his impassioned intensity.
Mayalyn was officially released on September 22; stream it on Spotify.
With jangle pop guitar melodies reaching the epitome of effervescence under the dreamy vocal honey which tastes just as sweet as the harmonies that ensured Debbie Harry’s name would never be lost to history, the latest single, Turn Left, from the Chicago Indie Rock outfit, Midamerican Elevator is a resonant revelation.
By lyrically tracking how hard it can be to keep pace with the tumultuousness of modernity and how easy it can be to go around in circles, Turn Left speaks volumes to anyone who knows how it feels to be consumed by the franticness of society that leaves so many of us without a compass.
Between the killer chord progressions which elucidate that Midamerican Elevator will never be pedestrian at best and their capacity to fuse soul with style, they’re ones to watch out for. We’re stoked they’re back on the airwaves following the successful launch of their 2022 debut LP, Moon Ruler.
Turn Left will give indie rock fans a sense of direction on November 17th; stream the single on Spotify.
The critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Jeff Jepson is set to garner a fresh wave of impassioned reverence with his Christmas-tinged EP, Sparkle. If this is your first acquaintance with the artist who rose to fame in Liverpool and has recently replanted his musical roots in the Isle of Man, the standout single, The Good-Night Song, is the perfect introduction to the master of poignant melody.
Whether it was the finiteness in the lyricism or the way the acoustic guitar’s euphonic rings intensified the affecting sting within the captivating vocal delivery in the arrangement which visualises the sparseness of winter branches, I couldn’t help but shed a tear as Jepson’s evocatively honeyed timbres quivered in the frost of the hymnal gem which will haunt you long past the outro.
The Sparkle EP illuminated the airwaves on November 10th; kindle your affinity with the 4-track release via Spotify.