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Seßler/Zeeb packed a lyrical plea for compassion in a pop-rock ballad with ‘If No One’

The superlatively soulful German pop duo, Seßler/Zeeb, sprinkled swathes of (Ziggy) stardust into the production of their 70s folk singer-songwriter-tinged rock-pop ballad, If No One, which implores the listener not to discard humanity and compassion in an era which is becoming increasingly hard to bear.

Over the gentle major piano keys, the lyrics find a way of directly engaging you, pulling you into the plea to bolster the strength of humanity by one act of kindness at a time. The reprise of “if no one really cares” affirms that feeling as though you’re all alone in your plights is one of the most devastating shots to the heart of the human condition. The duo’s handling of this tender subject matter stands as a testament to their ability to evoke emotion with their provokingly pure approach to classic pop songwriting.

Between the lyrical messaging, which will leave you questioning what you can do for someone else today, and the upbeat tones which carry the timbres of the gospel choir in the chorus until it’s time for the guitar solo to inject the release with euphonic zeal, If No One will stay with you, long after the final note has faded.

If No One was officially released on April 5th; stream the single on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Brikcs shattered boundaries and entered innovation’s nirvana with ‘King’

Brikcs, a visionary from the ethereal edges of music’s evolving landscape, delivered a profound auditory experience in his latest single, King. With a foundation laid by a Mogwai-meets-Portishead neo-classic intro of eloquent keys and phantasmically distorted vocal notes, the track boldly transitions into the dark territories of trap. If you went down the rabbit hole and instead of finding wonderland you entered innovation’s nirvana and met your demons, your trip would come a close visceral second to hitting play on King.

The artistic juxtaposition in King — between harsh, ensnaring bars and the enduring non-lexical harmonies that echo the transcendent terrain of Sigur Rós — crafts a captivating portal to an aural realm defined by authenticity. The single thrives on a blend of ornate classical notes and reverberating electronic effects, creating an installation of unparalleled emotional intensity.

The lyrical assertion of autonomy challenges listeners to disintegrate preconceived labels with every bar dropped. Acting as a nod to how the world attempts to shape us into archetypes, Brikcs resists them all, violently shaking them into the ether of this masterpiece.

Brikcs, an Icelandic multi-instrumentalist now based in Copenhagen, eschews easy classification, melding the raw energy of underground clubs with the refined grandeur of opera houses. King encapsulates his complex musical journey through haunting pianos, ethereal vocals, cerebral rap, and an electro-orchestral crescendo.

Accompanied by an experimental short film, directed by Vasco Alexandre and shot at ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, the track is not only a music release but a cinematic event, currently making waves in film festivals worldwide.

King was officially released on March 22nd; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Lolita Terrorist Sounds – Mind the Gap: A Devilishly Arcane Avant-Garde Post-Punk Reverie

Lolita Terrorist Sounds, the Berlin-based avant-garde ensemble, ensnared once again with their latest single, Mind the Gap, which pulls you into the audacious heart of Berlin’s artistic underbelly.

Fronted by the enigmatic Maurizio Vitale, the band continues to smash aural archetypes with devil-may-care panache by blending provocative themes with ground-breaking sounds. Mind the Gap is a vivid reflection of this ethos. The single, an aural equivalent of arthouse cinema, swaggers through the debauched realms of Avant-Garde post-punk with a Lynchian flair. It’s a track that doesn’t just play; it prowls and gyrates, consuming the listener in its dark, hypnotic embrace.

It’s a journey beyond the tourist traps of Berlin, delving deep into the city’s hedonistic cultural epicentre. The track’s spoken word vocals demand you escape from banality as they wind around dark psych guitars and tribal percussion. The juxtaposing pianos add a cinematic touch, elevating the track to a realm of high art while never eroding the brooding experimentalism.

The invitation to lose oneself in a devilishly arcane reverie drips with artistic liberation, tearing listeners from the trap of mundanity. Lolita Terrorist Sounds, with their rich history of collaborations and innovative projects like Lolita Kitchen Sounds, continues to push boundaries. Their trajectory from Shaved Girl to Prison Song and now to Mind the Gap showcases a band not just at their creative zenith but as torchbearers of a genre that refuses to be defined.

Stream the official music video for Mind the Gap on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ren Ashfield and the Magicians – Geronimo: A One Way Track to Nirvana

Genre fluidity is one thing, genre sorcery is quite another; find the difference by delving into one of the seminal singles, Geronimo, from Ren Ashfield and the Magicians’ unmissable LP, Sonic Creations.

Starting with a groove which melds Motown-reminiscent basslines with gospel-esque bluesy shimmering organs before rock inclinations are licked into the production by the audaciously brashy guitars, Geronimo is a riot of alchemic ingenuity before the first chorus hits. You’ll know when it does; the synths kick up a frenetically dance-y 80s storm before psych folk elements entwine with them to lace the polyphonic aesthetics with organic elements for a truly mind-melting experience.

It took a talented vocalist to tame the sonic beast which is Geronimo, but Ren Ashfield’s naturally commanding vocal lines blazed across the unchartered territory with unfaltering ease, pulling you deeper into the production, ensuring that by the time the guitar solo starts to tear through the atmosphere, it will lead you to nirvana as it endlessly ascends.

Stream the Sonic Creations LP on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Shred augmented annihilation in their hard-rock anthem, What They Say

Whoever said hell hath no fury like a woman scorned was proven a liar when Denmark’s prodigal sons of hard rock, Shred, unleashed their raging anthem, What They Say.

With an off-the-scale level of intensity to the hit that signifies the five-piece’s songwriting stripes, no one will be immune to the frenzied hook-rife volition when exposed to the single which goes beyond assimilating 80s-tinged hard rock and metal.

By leaning into the sonic influence of more contemporary bands including Foo Fighters and Avenged Sevenfold, and looking to more introspective artists for lyrical inspiration, Shred is one of the few hard rock outfits which goes beyond living up to rock and metal stereotypes.

They’re charting their own path through the razed ground of the hard rock landscape with the scintillating sustain on their monolithic guitars, the intuitively electrifying rhythm section, and the ensnaring vocals. Stefan Stimony knows exactly how to embody the emotional themes Shed’s profound lyricism exposits. If talk is cheap, What They Say is priceless.

What They Say will be available to stream on all major platforms, including Spotify, from March 29th.

Keep up to date with each new release and tour date via Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rookie – Resolve: A Volition-Charged Resurgence of Emo-Tinged Post-Grunge

Familiar enough to give you a sonic slice of déjà vu, fresh enough to leave you exhilarated by the trailblazingly emo-tinged post-grunge revival, the latest alt-90s single from the Italian renegades of scuzz, Rookie, is an anthem for the ennui-inclined that will leave you inclined to push your speakers to their limits.

Everything about the augmentation of hook-laden lament compels you to feel the full visceral force of the deliciously distorted earworm, which doesn’t just burrow down into your psyche; it bares its teeth and refuses to let go.

Fans of Jawbreaker, The Smashing Pumpkins and Dinosaur Jr won’t want to miss out on Resolve, which was released after a lengthy hiatus Rookie used to hone the volition in their sound. Now that the power trio is back in the studio recording their new EP, SHELTER, with Matteo Tabacco, they’re more than worth a spot on your radar.

Add Resolve to your Spotify playlists.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Pablo Laguna exposed the shadow side of neo-classical electronica in ‘Apnoea’

Madrid’s most striking composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Pablo Laguna, built on the foundation laid by the release of his 2019 debut album, Gradus Ad  Delirium, by unleashing his unnervingly commanding album, Is Not the Land, featuring the standout instrumental score, Apnoea. The haunting sonic narrative is a compelling dive into the depths of contemporary experimental music.

Born from the mind of a composer who seamlessly blends classical training with a punk ethos, Apnoea is a masterful fusion of neo-classical orchestral strings with unsettling electronic elements.

The disquietingly arrestive soundscape is far from the conventional cinematic neo-classical path; the horror elements are beyond Lynchian as they almost veer into baroque electronic folk territory. The synths quiver and shake as much as the electronic aesthetics to deliver a poignant reflection of our tumultuous times. Even with the jarring elements in this shadow side of neo-classical electronica, you can’t help but be hypnotised by the arcanely nefarious atmosphere.

Stream Pablo Laguna’s LP, Is Not the Land, in full via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Pauline Andres poured folk through a smoky Southern Gothic Lens with ‘Til the End of the World’

In a world teetering on the edge of uncertainty, Pauline Andres’ standout single, ‘Til the End of The World’, is an introspective goldmine of solace and melancholy. Born in France, the coal miner’s daughter has woven her diverse heritage and life’s tumultuous tapestry into a sound that pours folk through the sepia-tinged filter of Southern Gothic Americana.

Her voice regales through an amalgamation of sweet and smoky timbres while carrying the weight of an old soul, one that has seen the world in shades of grey while her life reads like a novel, rich with characters and experiences which bleed into her songwriting, inspired by everything from the candour of 3am drunks to Lovecraft.

With the end of days perpetually on our minds, there has never been a better time to tune into this stunningly rendered release which proves just how much beauty lies in humanity. We may not all be as superlatively talented as this highly-accoladed singer-songwriter, but within all of us lies a tender capacity for beauty; however that may manifest.

Turn away from your Patti Smith records and be consumed by Pauline Andres. Even if she was singing Acapella, she could send the airwaves out of kilter with the evocative gravity in this release.

Stream the Live in Studio version of Til the End of the World on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Swedish Soul Pop Firebrand, Nadine Randle, Has a New Chart-Topper on Her Hands with ‘Man Up’.

Nadine Randle’s voice has proven to be one of the most magnetic of this era; each of her hits goes down a soulful storm on streaming platforms and in the charts; her latest single, Man Up, is no exception to that rule.

Man Up revolutionises the 90s RnB Pop vibe, with all of the firebrand swagger you’d expect from an artist musing through that stylistically influential epoch. Exuding the same empowering edge as the iconic likes of Destiny’s Child and TLC, the Swedish singer-songwriter delivered a fiery anthem that will speak to anyone who wants to regain their power after suffering through a relationship that was beneath them.

Even though the title of the single has a slight misandrist undertone, when you hit play and sink into the soulfully melodious grooves of the release, you will realise that Randle versed this earworm to deliver vindication hand over fist to the women that need an affirmation that settling for less than what you’re worth is a recipe for destruction and frustration.

Man Up was officially released on February 9th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Grizzly Bird – Backpacker: A Soulful Sojourn Through the Indie-Folk Landscape

Grizzly Bird (AKA Hans Gnendinger) presents ‘Backpacker‘, an attentive commentary enveloped in a melodious indie folk journey. This single, nestled within the anticipated album ‘Creatures‘, stands out as a synthy, lyrically driven exploration of the backpacking subculture, infused with a wit and insight that is both refreshing and thought-provoking.

Gnendinger, a stalwart of the Berlin folk scene, brought his Bavarian roots and urban experiences to bear in this track. His storytelling, honed through years of songwriting and life’s vicissitudes shines through in the light-hearted track which delves into the essence of human nature and our quest for meaning, all while maintaining a lightness of touch that is characteristic of Grizzly Bird’s style.

The lyrical wit reminiscent of John Grant, combined with the tongue-in-cheek reverie akin to Alex Cameron, positions ‘Backpacker’ in a unique space within the indie genre. Gnendinger’s voice carries the narrative with an effortless grace through the Radiohead-esque soundscape which exhibits Gnendinger’s skill with the acoustic guitar and his ability to weave complex emotions into his compositions while the synthy backdrop adds a contemporary edge to the folk foundation

In essence, ‘Backpacker’ is a mirror held up to a generation that seeks meaning in the nomadic, Beatnik lifestyle. Grizzly Bird, through this track, offers a perspective that is both critical and empathetic, urging us to question the romanticism of backpacking while also acknowledging its allure.

The official music video for Backpacker will premiere on February 16th; stream it on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast