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Lia Woods bleached the airwaves with her indie pop hit, Blonde

Lia Woods’Blonde’ is an indie pop sophomore release to die for; fans of Lucy Dacus, Big Thief, Angel Olsen, and Mitski will be consumed by the raw visceralism of the emotionally turbulent release which sonically heightens the profound experience of soaking in confessionalism.

The LA-based singer-songwriter’s aching narration of striking lyricism filters into the dark, melodic, and broodingly intimate atmosphere of the single to depict the jarring emotional tumultuousness of going through the motions of heartbreak and the compulsion to tear yourself away from the person you were in that relationship to abstract yourself from the agony of being a person worth abandoning.

Lia Woods couldn’t have feasibly built more anticipation for her debut EP, Teething, with her follow-up to her debut single, Fevering. From the juxtapositions between indie, pop, rock, and shoegaze and her own signature ‘bubblegrunge’ synthesis to how her voice feels sharper than being impaled by a thousand knives, Blonde is a phenomenal release which will stand the test of time.

Blonde hit the airwaves on March 22; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

NEET and Tidy wrapped their grungy pop-punk hooks around the afflictions of modernity in their LP, Is This Progress?

If any band can advocate for the LP format in an era when our attention spans are shorter than a boardwalk, it is NEET and Tidy with their aural corridor back to the alt-90s.

The sophomore album, Is This Progress? is an unflinchingly reflective exposition of the afflictions of modernity. The sludged-up hooks in Pillow Talk, which captures the bitter taste of a love turned sour, carry all the infectious rancour of Jawbreaker and NOFX, before Play Me launches a straight-up attack on how far the industry has fallen since the golden era of indie and alt-rock. Lyrics in the vein of, “your favourite pop star is the latest infection”, and “another NFT, another stupid dance”, paint a damning portrait of how twisted the industry has come through the contortions of capitalism and narcissism-driven content.

Another standout release within the LP is the evocative evolution of pop-punk into the chorally reverb-swathed remit of shoegaze. Snow (Okay) is a harbingering lament on how the music industry revolves around ableism when it isn’t bleeding vulnerable people dry. From start to finish, the sophomore release from NEET and Tidy asserts the Nashville-residing outfit as one of the most relatable and essential bands in 2024. If you’re always looking for artists with the ability to cut through the static of your ennui, you will find one when you delve into this seminal release.

Is This Progress will reach the airwaves on February 23rd; stream the LP on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Slip into a chorally Lynchian delirium with Milk Bar Gang’s latest orchestration, The Accident

Hitting play on the latest single, The Accident, from Milk Bar Gang, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve slipped into a chorally Lynchian delirium as you allow the cultivated hazy dream pop tones to wash over you, submerging you in ethereal Avant-Garde surrealism.

The song’s sonic landscape is a complex tapestry, weaving together elements of Shoegaze’s choral dreaminess and the experimental edge reminiscent of Glenn Branca while the incorporation of jazzy rhythms and darkwave elements contribute to its rich and diverse texture.

Lyrically and thematically, The Accident delves into profound concepts. It reflects on the uncontrollable circumstances of birth and the ensuing struggle against oppression, as well as the emergence of resistance. This philosophical depth is matched by the music’s atmospheric synths and sharp guitar riffs, underlined by a rhythm section that couldn’t be further from archetypal. The unsettling melodies and chord progressions further enhance its impact, creating a sound that is simultaneously bleak and beautiful.

Recorded at home and refined by professionals in Melbourne, the single is a testament to Milk Bar Gang’s commitment to their craft. The band, formed in 2021 by Felix Chapple and Bianca Cao, brings a diverse range of influences and experiences. Chapple’s history with various Melbourne bands and musicians, combined with Cao’s background in dance and visual art from Beijing, contribute to the unique identity of Milk Bar Gang. If this is how they chose to end 2023, we’re aching to hear the artfully cohesive orchestrations that are lurking in the pipelines.

The Accident will debut on New Year’s Eve; hear it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Debbie Christ is scintillatingly affecting in her advocacy of authenticity and resilience in We Carry On

Taken from her I’ve Got Time / We Carry On double A-side single, We Carry On by Debbie Christ is a scintillatingly affecting extension of the Shoegaze genre, which spills all the reverb and chorus effects your heart could possibly desire while adding new arcane layers to the intricate tapestry of a production that will consume you down to the last atom of your being as you’re absorbed in the experimentalism.

The defiance of categorisation within the synthesis of femme garage rock, folk, punk and indie not only invites you into a dream-like aural experience but compels you to embrace your own authenticity and walk your unique path, away from the shame of exhibiting your eccentricities.

After overcoming loss, addiction, cancer, and rebelling against her evangelical upbringing, I can’t think of a better voice to help you chart your own path with resilience than Debbie Christ. She’s an icon, not for all she’s endured, but for her determination to emancipate others from their suffering and embolden them.

Towards the outro, We Carry On moves away from the Angel Olsen-reminiscent choral accordance to deliver rancour in the same vein as Big Thief and Lucy Dacus around the Grandaddy-esque synths that add yet another dynamic to the release that is far too infectious to encounter just once. If there’s any justice left in the music industry, Debbie Christ will be one of the biggest names in indie in 2024.

We Carry On is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Kaleidoscopic melodicism courses through Dons of Youth’s single, Rush

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.

Stream Rush on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Therum etherealised existentialism in his psychedelic darkwave score,  Mirror of Stars

Therum searched for identity in the cosmos in the standout single, Mirror of Stars, from his psychedelic darkwave album, Darklines Within Us; in the process, he added a new ethereal trajectory to the evolution of existentialism.

Through croons, which call out into the void of the alien soundscape that would be on a plateau beyond our perception if it weren’t for the huge bass adding weight to the release, are resolvingly efficacious in their interstellar mission of drawing you right into the melancholic soul of the art rock Tour De Force.

If you have ever struggled to make sense of the material and social reality we’re confined to and feel an even greater sense of alienation when you try and situate yourself in the context of the twisted tapestry of existence, Mirror of Stars is proliferated with apt consolation.

VNV Nation once declared that this world is just an illusion trying to change you. Therum’s more astute observation of disillusion, duality, and the mind being as unchartered as the galaxy feels far more nuanced.

Mirror of Stars will be released as part of Therum’s LP, Darklines Within Us, on November 3rd. Stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Space out with the rock-licked soul in Church Burglars’ kaleidoscope of psychedelic shoegaze, Fairy Tale Ending

If you take your rock classically cut with a twist of spacey psychedelia, explore the riff-carved cosmos in the standout single, Fairy Tale Ending, from Church Burglars’ debut album, Subconsciously Conscious.

With soaring riffs as strident as the licks orchestrated by Slash’s fair hands fused with the soul-lavished euphonic sensibilities of the Flaming Lips and Pink Floyd, Fairy Tale Ending is a prog-rock meditation on the highs and lows of diehard romanticism. The endlessly caressing vocal lines which have more in common with the Shoegaze pioneers than your average rock outfit draw you right into the gravity of the bitter-sweet release, which stands as a testament to the LA-based outfit’s determination to make real music for real people.

After the founding members met at Berklee College of Music in Boston shortly before the COVID pandemic, frontman Mike Foltz used the international live music breather to travel to LA to record the debut LP independently with the exception of a few lead guitar parts laid down by Alec Grugel. With the full line-up finalised, Church Burglars are making waves in the live circuit; grab any opportunity to see them in an intimate setting before you have to join legions of fans filing into arenas to witness the virtuosity of Foltz.

Fairy Tale Ending is available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

It’s all about the instrumental and mental breakdowns in Jeff from Work’s shoegazey grunge rap hit, Stand Up

Imagine the Beastie Boys augmenting their sound with the anthemics of Nirvana and accentuating the intricacies of the melodies with elements of post-punk, and you’ll almost envision the snarky sharp alchemy which bursts through every (instrumental and mental) breakdown in Jeff from Work’s seminal single, Stand Up, which also forcefully feeds nuances of the Smashing Pumpkins and Joy Division.

Taken from their concept LP, Overtime, which chronicles the oddities of the human experience through the eyes of Jeff, a ready-to-break slave to the rat race, the single is an exhilarant manifestation of rage, corporate disdain, shoegaze etherealism, and pure juggernautical experimentalism.

Their schtick starts to make all the more sense upon learning that the band formed after meeting at an LA ad agency and discovering they had more in common than their workplace angst. It’s an unlikely aural antihero story, but we’re here from it. They have exactly what it takes to become one of the biggest icons of the alternative scene in 2024.

Stream Overtime with the rest of the debut LP which dropped on October 5th on SoundCloud and Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


NTHN versed vulnerability for Mental Health Day in his shoegaze-hip-hop mash-up, The Meaning

For Mental Health Day, the UK songwriter, cloud sampler, and producer NTHN debuted his most introspective shoegaze and hip-hop-influenced track to date, The Meaning, on October 10 and subsequently delivered the most compellingly dark single of the year.

It has been a while since a rap track hit so hard it made an impact on my tear ducts, but NTHN’s command over evocative ambient melodies and the intimate vulnerability within the lyrics and delivery proved that there’s power in dragging your demons out of the closet and vanquishing them for all to hear.

Rather than keeping his sound solely in the hip-hop arena, NTHN uses hip-hop composition, sampling, and percussion around his influence from emo, shoegaze and metal genres to keep his sonic signature scribing authentically absorbing and always emotion-driven atmospheric alchemy.

“I started writing it when I was at my lowest and I am now releasing it when I’m much more in control of how I feel, and I am in a much better place. It’s my journey to accepting my own mental health issues and learning to live with them, not just exist, by looking for the meaning in the everyday. I would like to raise awareness of the need to speak out and, by sharing my vulnerability, hopefully, connect with listeners who might be able to use the track as a way of relating to how I feel and not feeling so alone in dealing with things.”

The Meaning is now available to stream on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Pomaa – Wide Eyed: Painfully Sober, Sonically Celestial Indie Dream Pop

With a transfixingly astral vocal register layering harmonies over the retro reverb-swathed synths, Pomaa’s latest single, Wide Eyed, bridges the gap between Siouxsie and the Banshees and cutting-edge outfits in the vein of Wolf Alice and Desperate Journalist while allowing you to linger in a kaleidoscope of dreamy psych-pop tones.

From the first immersion, the artist’s unique talents in blending the spirit of her own hypnotically authentic expression with the mixer of era-spanning signatures from shoegaze, post-punk, psych, pop and indie to pour the perfect sonic mocktail becomes immediately apparent.

Through Wide Eyed, Pomaa narrates the isolation of being the only sober person at a party; starved of connection and wracked with unshakable sensations which embed the loneliness of growing at a different pace to everyone around you.

Wide Eyed will be available to stream on all major platforms from October 11; stream it on Spotify & SoundCloud. If you like what you hear, stay tuned for the release of her debut EP, Bridge to Somewhere, which will drop on November 15.

Review by Amelia Vandergast