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The term ‘indie’ in the music industry has become so ambiguous it has practically become as subjective as the meaning of life. Whichever way it is defined, it is still a massive part of the music industry in the UK and across the globe.

Originally, indie referred to how an artist distributed their music. Over the decades, it became a catch-all term for artists sharing the same sonic off-kilter edge; and, of course, the same moody yet inexplicably cool aesthetic. Indie, as a genre, only came around as the result of experimental artists in the 70s wanting to bring a new sound to the airwaves; instead of solely hoping for commercial success after appeasing one of the major record labels.

Indie artists adopted punk ethos they started to push the boundaries of pop. Instead of commercialising their sound, they pushed it into post-punk, shoegaze, synthpop, Britpop, avant-garde, noise rock and dream pop arenas. For all that separates bands such as Sonic Youth, the Cure, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Joy Division, Elliott Smith and Radiohead, there is still so much that ties them together, namely their attitudes and the loud discordant style.

Along with the bands, iconic venues such as the 100 Club in London, the Hacienda in Manchester, and King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow had a pivotal part to play in the traction of independent artists and music. New Indie labels, such as Rough Trade and Factory Records, were amongst the first record labels to truly embrace and encourage experimentalism and authenticity in the artists they scouted and signed – taking New Order and Joy Division as a prime example.

It may have been a while since there was an indie breakthrough act as successful as the Arctic Monkeys, but indie music has far from lost its resonance. Besides, Monkeys won over 42 awards and sold over 20 million records, so that’s going to take some beating, and they’re certainly not the only indie artists currently thriving.

The Welsh indie rock icons, the Manic Street Preachers, celebrated their first number 1 album in 23 years with the release of Ultra Vivid Lament in 2021. The Tarantino-Esque Liverpool outfit, Red Rum Club, released their debut album in 2019, and got to number 14 in the official album sales chart with their album, How to Steal the World, in 2021. Perhaps most impressively, the world’s first CryptoPunk rapper, Spottie Wifi, made just under $200k in album NFT sales in 90 seconds this year.

Clementine Java 84 feels his sad heart burning into pieces on emotion-packed track ‘Never’

Sensing that he has been let down rather badly by a former lover that shattered his heart so viciously, Clementine Java 84 shows us exactly what it feels like when you try to return to normal on ‘Never‘.

Clementine Java 84, aka Theo, is a London, UK-based indie alternative singer-songwriter and music producer who makes that deep music to reminisce with.

Guiding us through the fire and the tremendously devastating trauma, Clementine Java 84 shows us what crushing disappointment sounds like with a crushing display that will open your eyes to what the actual emotions translate to.

It is about heartbreak and I wrote it from the place of someone paralysed by grief, staring into the distance trying to come to terms with it.” ~ Clementine Java 84

Never‘ from London, UK-based indie alternative singer-songwriter and music producer Clementine Java 84 is a song that so many will certainly relate to. Feeling like he has just been thrown over into toxic waters after feeling so happy before is the feeling presented – that is sung in a rather deep tone – that will definitely catch your attention.

Love can be so harsh when it’s over, especially when you least expected it to end.

Listen up to this new single on SoundCloud and see his IG for more info.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Spotlight Feature: KAIS is artfully transcendent in his new EP, Hot Air Balloon

The alt-90s are definitively alive in the latest EP from the multifacetedly talented artist and songwriter KAIS. From his studio in Cyprus, the award-winning and BBC-favourite artist delivered three melodic singles that toe the line between artful ingenuity and meditative transcendence.

The opening single, Horizon, carries reminiscences of BETA BAND, but via a 25-year wormhole with its languid guitar licks, groovy trip-hoppy drums and blissful boyband-style vocals.

Track two, Turning to Gold, is enough to throw you right back to the not-too-distant nostalgia of Doves’ There Goes the Fear with its lush, laid-back, bluesy laments and heartbreaking swoonsome melodies.

The final and eponymous track, Hot Air Balloon, boasts a more dynamic, choppy funk, which echoes The Bends era Radiohead via Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ more melodic syncopations.

Putting the context behind his singles, KAIS said

“Horizon is a Citizen Cope / David Gilmor-esque inspired ode to tapping into one’s inherent free spirit, which commonly unearths in the lovers’ bond. It paints an image of a man that once swam with his beloved in the magic of a summer night’s sea and attempts to reconnect with the ubiquitous “baby how’s your day?”

Turning to Gold is a hymn of lovers as they traverse life’s highs and lows. It reaches into metaphysical spheres while weighing on the fact that bliss cannot be found when one is merely dreaming.

Hot Air Balloon is a metaphor for pregnancy. As the process unfolds, whereby a spirit permeates and rises into the boundless world, a Hot Air Balloon rises into the ether (where our thoughts drift and amalgamate).”

If any contemporary can unwrite all the false premises of capitalist romanticism and affirm that the beauty of love and life lies in the simplest of moments, it is KAIS. He knows just how to bring his epiphanous concepts to life so that the sonic end result is just as mind-bending as his laureate-like revelations.

The Hot Air Balloon EP is now available to stream on Spotify, Bandcamp and YouTube.

Follow KAIS on Facebook & Instagram

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Pennsylvania alternative artist Brem drops raw single to ponder life with on ‘Your Stare’ (EP ver.)

Taken from his recent 5-track EP called ‘4 Days‘, Brem feels like he’s the only one around but also knows that he is really isn’t on the deep track to gaze into with ‘Your Stare(EP ver.).

Brem is an 18-year-old Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania-based indie alternative singer-songwriter and music producer who makes that heartfelt connection vibration you can’t help but play loud.

For years before attempting to make contemporary music, he made music for small indie games in game jams.” ~ Brem

Showing us the world that has taken many away and instead just brought so much trauma, Brem shows us deep inside the darkly lit room that needs a smiling face to light up the ambience again to where it should be.

Because of this background, he developed a unique style in his production, with dark melodies, weird synths, and quirky vocals.” ~ Brem

Your Stare(EP ver.) from Northern Cambria, Pennsylvania-based indie alternative singer-songwriter and music producer Brem is a fascinating song that will have you thinking back to all the friends in life that you have lost. Sensing that invisible vibe that has wrapped a glow all over you, despite wanting to reach out, is the message here that will relate to many.

Sung with a true insight into the feelings that so many of us have felt lately, this is an underground track that will have you staring outside the window in deep thought.

Hear this new single on Spotify and see more via the Twitter music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Spectoral wonders if the intentions are pure on ‘LOVESICK’ (ft. Megadead and Tusanxmi)

After two years of building up his debut album that will feature 15 unique artists, Spectoral shows us what quality music sounds like in 2022 with ‘LOVESICK(ft. Megadead and Tusanxmi).

Spectoral is a Melbourne, Australia-based SlideUp Records-signed music producer and singer who has released 3 EPs and is now taking the next step in his career.

”The plants thrive off the music, and my creativity thrives off the plants, so we have somewhat of a symbiotic relationship.” ~ Spectoral

With soothing vocals, relatable lyrics, and a busting beat that you will inevitably find hard to forget, Spectoral might be one of the most lively artists to come out of Australia for ages. There is so much to like here as our minds are taken to the moment that will determine if we let our heart out of its safe box, or let it fly free like a curious bird looking for a permanent nest.

‘I also consider myself a collaborator at heart, which is why I’ve got so many underground names featuring alongside me on the album.” ~ Spectoral

LOVESICK(ft. Megadead and Tusanxmi) from Australian-Mauritian-Slovakian producer and singer Spectoral is a superb track that will pulse the very core of your veins. A story for all those who have slight trust issues after being let down before is on offer here and shall thud your whole soul awake. Sung with a heightened velocity and filled with excellent features throughout, this is a reminder that we need to be extra careful who we let into our lives.

Sometimes, people want us for their own selfish reasons after all.

Listen up to this hot new single on Spotify and see more news on the IG page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Enjoy the high life with Emil’s dreamy synthpop sonic story ‘Up in the Hills’

Escape reality with Emil’s latest feat of fusionist alchemy, Up in the Hills. At just 18 years old, the Sydney, Australia-hailing artist has already perfected the art of crafting soundscapes that scarcely seem of this world.

With the artful originality, which pairs dream pop with nuances of jazz and RnB, on par with the likes of Brian Eno and Kate Bush, Emil set himself apart from the rest with his hazy, smoky, summer serenade. The best part? The complete lack of pretence while the narrative lyrics are soulfully being run through. Up in the Hills is pure sonic expressive bliss.

Up in the Hills was officially released on June 26th, 2022. Check it out for yourselves on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ludwik Konopko shows us that true peace within is indeed possible with ‘All for Us’

After giving us a much-needed embrace with his previous effort ‘Up and Down‘, Ludwik Konopko returns with a superb instrumental track that might induce a merry whistle from your lips on ‘All for Us‘.

Ludwik Konopko is a Ukrainian-born Polish guitarist and composer who is known throughout the world as one of the best artists of his generation.

In 2022 Ludwik Konopko was a finalist of the 20th UK Songwriter Contest (UK), the 18th International Acoustic Music Awards (USA) and the 23rd Annual Great American Song Contest (USA). He also received a Special Mention from the jury of the International Songwriting Awards.” ~ Ludwik Konopko

Bringing us a sterling effort that shall lift your spirits up like a sail in the wind, Ludwik Konopko is at his classy best and takes us into a whole better mindset no matter what the current climates.

Ludwik Konopko had his first public appearance as a guitarist at the age of 19, when he performed in an orchestra at the Lviv National Philharmonic. In 1989 he co-created his first band Tea Fan Club (TFC), which is still considered today a legendary musical project in Ukraine.” ~ Ludwik Konopko

All for Us‘ from the esteemed Ukrainian-born Polish guitarist and composer Ludwik Konopko is such a tranquil song that might turn your frown into a smile and get you skipping a step again. Made with his signature classy style and bringing a groove that will shed the darkness away like it was yesterday’s skin, into a whole new world of possibility.

When you choose to see the glass as half full, anything is actually possible.

Hear this master unveil another gem on Spotify and see more release news via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Montana electro soul act Desperate Electric turns the past issues into positive vibrations with ‘Stay’

Knowing that despite the intermittent problems that occur in relationships, there is always that communication that leads to those good times again, Desperate Electric has dropped the disco gem to get involved with called ‘Stay‘.

Desperate Electric is a Montana, USA based indie alternative electro soul duo who makes music that is so catchy, it will be stuck in your head all day.

”’Stay’ is about not hiding behind your problems; staying, facing the music, and dancing through it. Breaking generational habits, while forging a creative career path, is quite the undertaking, but struggles are easier if we work through them together, and can move forward being the best version of ourselves for the people around us. It’s not about constantly beating yourself up for the mistakes of your past, it’s about growth, and leaving to love yourself and see your self worth even when you’ve made mistakes. Take your pain, learn, and then throw a dance party.” ~ Desperate Electric

Memorable bands have the extra edge that defines a generation. Desperate Electric is that band who has this rare quality in much abundance and shows their electrifying aura to maximum effect with a masterclass performance.

Stay‘ from Montana, USA based indie alternative electro soul duo Desperate Electric is a fine track made with a real energy that lets you know that life is best if you deal with any problems without fuss. Performed with a groovy technique that shall get your fingers clicking and your head nodding, this is a song that might get you into the mood to get dancing.

Laced with that sensational vitality that all excellent songs possess, this is a speaker sizzler you can’t surely forget easily.

Hear this wonderful new track on Spotify and see more news on the IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

esperr tries to figure out how to keep this flame burning bright on ‘It Feels OK’

Taken from his brand new 8-track release called ‘Foxes‘, esperr unlocks the door and shows us deeply into what he is sensing right now in a world that has been rather cruel lately on ‘It Feels OK‘.

esperr aka Benjamin Roberti is a 19-year-old rural Pennsylvania-born indie singer-songwriter, music producer and sound engineer.

Benjamin’s music focuses on deeply personal yet ambiguous songwriting mixed with digital and somewhat ethereal feeling soundscapes with texturized vocal manipulation.” ~ esperr

Loaded with analog synthesizers and a distorted output, esperr delights with a storming track that rains down with some aplomb, taking us into a studious place of ponder inside all of our relationships. With a searing sound that is truly his own, this is a welcome addition to our playlists when we feel like taking time out to meditate our worries away into the distance.

A lot of the subject matter in Benjamin’s music is focused on discussing feelings of isolation, and loneliness.” ~ esperr

It Feels OK‘ from Pennsylvania-born indie singer-songwriter/music producer esperr is an experimental release of epic proportions. Performed with a highly introspective style, this is a single that will shake your spine and make you unwind as you look inside your life and work out if everything will actually be okay.

Working out all the angles is so important, so that you can cut out anything that makes you unhappy.

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

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Yvngchxppa shows us inside the struggle to encounter stability in loving relationships on ‘Carmen’s Keep’

Lifting the lit on that constant game to stay real with yourself when you look into the mirror within the fake walls of this highly superficial society, Yvngchxppa strolls through the wild world that can have even the most calm human feeling rather anxious inside ‘Carmen’s Keep‘.

Yvngchxppa is a Nigerian-born, Toronto, Canada-based indie Hip hop artist and music producer who has been recognized for his frequent collaborations with quality emerging artists.

His recent collaborative album with fellow Toronto artist Badmanbead, Under Surveillance, has been burning up the streets since its early 2021 release.” ~ Yvngchxppa

Bringing us a catchy new track loaded with true life stories that many of us can learn from, Yvngchxppa is at his insightful best with a superb display that shall revive the truth inside us all.

If love is a drug, I’m an addict.” ~ Yvngchxppa

Carmen’s Keep‘ from Nigerian-born, Toronto, Canada-based indie Hip hop artist and music producer Yvngchxppa is an honest single that shall reflect the mood of many in this consumer-centric system. With our minds too busy and so much counterfeit noise bellowing out from the speakers when they should be calm, this is a reminder that we need to find the right connection. If not, the torrid turbulence might drown our precious soul out from fulfilling our goals and desires.

Hear this new single on Spotify and see his movements on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Caragold wants that peaceful equanimity for us all on their beautiful new single arranged with healing ‘Sunshine’

With their debut album set for release in July 2022, Caragold is in truly inspiring form with an enlightening single that compels us to look further than that meaningless material item that won’t make you happy on ‘Sunshine‘.

Caragold is a Glenwood, Washington-based indie rock 4-piece band who has such a divinely mellow style that might have you sliding those sunglasses on and getting back into nature.

The founding member, Ross Charland, would retreat to the cabin every couple of months to write in solitude. Enough trips to the wilderness laid the foundation for the band. Yes, you may say that this stereotypical mecca to the cabin in the woods proved fruitful.” ~ Caragold

Sending us into a water-filled world that is such a delight in all of our senses as you look to get in touch with our magnificent world again, Caragold shows us that peace and love that is such a welcome ear-hugger. Smooth vocals are on offer here with a band who seem perfectly in tune to what humanity needs right now.

Sunshine‘ from Glenwood, Washington-based indie rock 4-piece band Caragold is one of the harmonious singles on offer in 2022. They sing in unison and urge us to get out of those dusty boxes – that will never make your heart joyful – unless you break out and swim free. The calming energy is rather tremendous and will take you into a better place that only has good intentions.

The unpretentious message from Caragold is one of deep meaning and exactly what we all needed to hear today.

See this peaceful video on YouTube and see more news via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen