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Music Blog for Indie Rock Fans

The country rock rapture arrived through The Whiskey State’s latest single, Where I Need to Be

In the valleys of Hampshire, The Whiskey State, comprising Tom Stride and Jordan Tate, has distilled a sound that resonates with the soul of country and the riotous heart of rock. Their latest single, “Where I Need to Be,” is a testament to their journey from college companions to creators of exhilaratingly sticky-sweet euphoria.

Imagine extracting the quintessence of The Manic Street Preachers, Bruce Springsteen, and Sam Fender, then blending it into a musical elixir. The result? A flavour profile as affecting as “Where I Need to Be,” a song that pays homage to the sanctity of country surrounds. It’s a track that stirs the soul so profoundly, that you might find yourself questioning if any roots-reverent rock track has ever touched it quite like this before.

The song encapsulates tender homecoming yearning through the guitar chords that wrap you in nirvana and endlessly ensnaring vocal hooks which make it impossible not to want to make The Whiskey State your sonic poison of choice. The songwriting prowess of the duo is as evident as their ability to catapult listeners into the soulful aura of their music.

Few things feel better than returning to whatever constitutes home, but this track comes a close second. With their debut EP “Welcome to…”, The Whiskey State not only showcases their distinctive blend of country and rock influences but also cements their place as one of the most captivating country-influenced rock duos in the Uk and beyond..

Stream the official music video for Where I Need to Be via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Kneel at the altar of indie rock gospel with True North’s latest release, Love is in Command

Following a leftfield electronica-esque prelude that’s tinged with 90s rave culture, True North’s latest single, Love is in Command reaches its euphorically riotous alt-rock epicentre before grooving into a swathed with soul anthem.

With each new progression comes a lesson in seamlessly transitional experimentalism. The only constant between the switches in style, passion and tone is the infectious energy which pulls you deeper into the uninhibited zeal of the release crafted by the UK-based coven of independent songwriters.

With the shimmering organs and soul-wrapped backing harmonies around the Happy Mondays-reminiscent rhythms, Love is in Command is gospel for any indie kids who never need an excuse to kneel at the altar of 90s nostalgia.

True North, led by Reg Kielty, perceptibly succeeded in their mission of creating an eclectic brimming-with-commercial-potential hit which delivers authentic, honest, and no-frills songwriting. We couldn’t be more obsessed with the aura of this earworm if we tried.

Love is in Command was officially released on March 4th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Stanford Family Band – On My Holiday: A Riotously Sunlit Escapade Through the Intersections of Indie, Garage Rock, and Motown

The Stanford Family Band, following their debut ‘Love Me A Bit‘, have returned with ‘On My Holiday‘, a single that radiates with the warmth of a supernova. This track, a part of their upcoming 6-track EP ‘For Your Listening Pleasure’, is a vibrant testament to the Brighton-based band’s endlessly euphoric sonic identity.

From the first note, ‘On My Holiday’ is an immersion in a riotously colourful explosion of kaleidoscopic fervency. The vintage production, reminiscent of Ray Charles’ ‘Mess Around’, is a masterful blend of bluesy piano grooves and Beach Boys-esque harmonies. The trailblazers could never be as pedestrian as solely nodding to the past; with this release, they reimagined the aural ecstasy of a bygone era, tailored for today’s indie and garage rock enthusiasts.

Frontman Elliot Stanford’s captivating lead vocals, coupled with the band’s commitment to complex four-part harmonies and memorable melodic hooks resulted in a quirky upbeat odyssey through a bittersweet vignette, which affirmed that in the death of winter, the sun is just around the corner.

Elliot’s approach to songwriting, as he describes, is an exercise in balancing musical joy with lyrical melancholy, a juxtaposition reminiscent of the Beach Boys circa 1965. ‘On My Holiday’ is the embodiment of this philosophy, musically exuberant yet lyrically introspective.

On My Holiday was released via Goo Records on February 27th and is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Duality resounds in Touch By Mirror’s cultivation of ethereal visceralism, ‘Send Flowers’

Touch by Mirror’s latest single ‘Send Flowers‘ from the EP ‘A Fox is a Wolf Who Sends Flowers‘ is definitive proof that there are always new intersections to explore in alt-rock. This 6-minute track transcends far beyond the ordinary bounds of sound; the genius lies in its masterful contrast: the raw, overdriven guitars clash and harmonise with ethereal electronica melodies, crafting a visceral and delicate atmosphere in the same progressive breath.

Juxtapositions in the same vein resound in the vocal chameleonic finesse as the vocals oscillate between the grungy rawness of Kurt Cobain and the haunting, melancholic harmonies that echo the legendary Ian Curtis of Joy Division and Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen. This vocal duality adds layers of emotional depth, making each listen a compelling discovery through the corridors of Touch By Mirror’s creativity.

The South African artist’s rapidly growing discography is a haven for true music aficionados. His experimental soundscapes are not just heard; they take listeners on a journey through varied sonic landscapes.

Remarkably prolific, Touch by Mirror has already graced 2024 with an EP and an LP within the first three months; most artists would kill to know the secret to his unfaltering creativity and alchemically affecting ingenuity.

Stream Send Flowers on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Submerged in Sonic Turmoil: Microplanet’s ‘Painsucker’ is A Grungy Art-Rock Odyssey from Euphony to Agony

Indie art-rock was dragged under a riptide of grungy distortion in the standout single, Painsucker, from Microplanet’s sophomore LP, Submerge. After an intro of euphonically simple guitar chords, Thom Yorke-esque falsetto vocal lines, and tender lyricism, Painsucker quickly descends into a tumultuous onslaught of scuzzed-up rancour to mirror the lyrical transition into self-defecation.

It’s a compelling exposition of how quickly the mind can contort into dark corridors of despair, with the instrumentals exemplifying the agony the mind can inflict upon itself. The seminal release is also a reflection of the expressive talents of the San Diego-hailing band fronted by the multi-instrumentalist, Nathan Wilson. Their unparalleled ability to take personal antagonism and metamorph it into a universal reflection of the human condition via an intimate self-recorded lo-fi production will undoubtedly see Microplanet go far.

Stream Painsucker on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

GETNER enriched the Manchester music scene with their expansively influenced Rock n Roll debut, White Walls

Manchester’s newest band of prodigal sons, GETNER, modernised vintage rock n roll tones with the shaking, rattling and rolling reverence in their debut single, White Walls.

With a rhythmic undercurrent reminiscent of The Undertones, an injection of Irish rock roots, garage-y blues rock nostalgia in the same vein as the Jim Jones Revue through the shimmering organ timbres and the barely tamed guitar riffs, White Walls is an expansively influenced Rock n Roll tour de force that asserts GETNER as one of the most promising Manchester bands on the scene.

By thriving on the unique sonic proclivities that each of the four members brought to the table, the band of superlatively talented artists ensured that White Walls hit the airwaves hard enough to bruise it. Feel the impact and be a part of GETNER’s inevitable ascent.

Stream the official music video for White Walls via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Bristol’s Most Strident Troubador, Alex Comaish, Augmented the Ultimate Indie-Folk Anthem with ‘Brother’

Alex Comaish’s latest single ‘Brother‘ is a poignant narrative wrapped in an augmented fusionist production that splices jangly indie pop with warm echoes of Americana, transmits the essence of college radio rock, and throws back to the 90s Britpop era while following in Billy Bragg’s footsteps. The crisp and unpretentious production allows the song’s emotional core and Comaish’s raw talent to shine through and illuminate the airwaves with affectionate fervour.

This Bristol-based troubadour brings a fresh sincerity to the genre as he elucidates that brotherly bonds may not always tie you to the perfect person, but those connections are worth their weight in gold. His strident vocal performance is an energetically affecting testament to the unspoken love and unbreakable ties between siblings.

The vignette behind the song is as compelling as the track itself. Comaish’s lyrics, penned in the throes of adventure, are imbued with genuine gratitude and affection that’s often left unsaid in the hustle of daily life.

As the first of a series of releases planned for the year, ‘Brother’ sets a high bar. It’s a track that not only showcases Comaish’s songwriting prowess but also his ability to connect with his audience on a deeply personal level.

Brother was officially released on March 1st; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

San Ílios delivered retro-indie nostalgia as you’ve never known it before in ‘Wanderlust’

For their sophomore single, the up-and-coming alt-indie duo San Ílios explored a phenomenon that everyone can relate to; Wanderlust unfurls with sonic visualisations of freedom flowing throughout the indie-folk-pop production which cuts through various avenues of retro-indie nostalgia. Imagine an evocative synthesis of Radiohead, Modest Mouse and Coldplay, and you’ll get an idea of what kind of soundscape you will escape into when you hit play.

The vocal harmonies are as light and airy as the instrumentals that meld strident horn stabs with the steady ring of acoustic guitar strings, piano pop melodies and scintillatingly artful effects that allow Wanderlust to veer into art rock territory. By drawing influence from Keane, Arcade Fire, and U2, the UK-residing up-and-coming outfit gave their growing fanbase a taste of the familiar before feeding them swathes of ingenuity that will undoubtedly see them go far after the launch of their debut album.

Wanderlust was officially released on February 4th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Strange Tides chartered a voyage into indie ingenuity with ‘Out of Deep Waters’

Out of Deep Waters by Strange Tides, extracted from their Differentiation EP, is a striking illustration of indie music’s boundless potential. This multifaceted single is a masterful fusion of Grandaddy-esque synth melodies, crunchy grungy guitars, and an air of theatrical piano pop. It embodies the instrumental grandiosity of a rock opera while maintaining the intimacy of a bedroom indie pop track, presenting a revelation in experimentalism.

Kirsten Bale, the principal architect behind Strange Tides, based in Vancouver, BC, demonstrates her expansive musical vision and her folkish poetic eloquence in this sweetly sentimental track. Her role as both a songwriter and a producer, alongside sound engineer Dan Ponich, is evident in the meticulous crafting of this piece.

Bale’s relentless pursuit of new musical territories, experimenting with instruments, chord patterns, and genres, ensures a constantly engaging and fresh listening experience. For fans of Mitski and Lucy Dacus, Out of Deep Waters is an irresistible draw. The track exudes a sense of joy and creative liberation, evident in its playful composition style that knows no bounds. It’s an aural elixir, inviting listeners to savour its unique blend of sounds time after time. As for the lyricism, it could leave any of the great romantics weak at the knees.

Out of Deep Waters was officially released on February 15th; stream and purchase the single on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Welsh Singer-Songwriter, Samuel Evanson, changed the indie anthem game with ‘She Was Blind’

Samuel Evanson’s sophomore single, ‘She Was Blind’, is an intricate weave of sharp instrumental hooks and indie rock melodies that echo the infectious energy of The Vaccines. Yet, Evanson carves his own niche with a vocal performance that is both evocatively charged and endlessly affecting. His voice, rich in vibrato, effortlessly traverses a wide range, carrying the weight of heavy emotion with a finesse that is as haunting as it is exhilarating.

The track is more than just a wounded love song; it’s a raw, emotional outpouring that rages with a fervour akin to Sam Fender’s passionate narratives. His ability to convey deep-seated emotion while maintaining a distinct sonic signature is a clear sign Samuel Evanson has everything it takes to cut through the noise and climb the charts.

As a prelude to his upcoming debut LP, We Are Meant to Break the Rules, which is due for release in June 2024, ‘She Was Blind’ is a tantalising glimpse into Evanson’s artistic soul which was born in the heart of Denbighshire and honed in the vibrant music scene of Liverpool. Evanson’s journey resonates through every note of this emotionally charged anthem.

Watch the official music video for She Was Blind via YouTube or add the single to your Spotify playlists.

Review by Amelia Vandergast