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Synthpop meets pop-punk in Crashes’ elementally augmented anthem, Living in the Future

Crashes may be ‘Living in the Future’ in their latest single, but there are plenty of ties to sonic nostalgia in their pop-punk meets jangly new wave indie synthpop hit that electrifies from the first synth-charged note.

The elementally augmented anthem is dynamically intense enough to run a power grid off, make you lose your head and the dancefloor and become your new favourite adrenaline-fueled earworm. If there were any more boxes to tick, Crashes would brandish their sonic signature right through them.

Living in the Future is a clear sign of how honed Crashes’ songwriting has become since their debut in 2017; you just can’t help getting swept up in the tumultuously hooked momentum. Following the success of their 2022 EP, Infinite, the track is set to seal the Glasgow-hailing band’s illustrious fate in the industry.

While other artists stop with new wave assimilation, Crashes are pouring their innovative volition, achingly honest emotion and curveball-throwing creativity into the high-octane mix, to a dizzyingly euphoric effect. Even with the antagonism and agony projected into the performance of Living in the Future, the ecstasy isn’t just heard, it resounds.

Living in the Future was officially released on January 26th. It is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Bag of Cats ignited a firestorm of twisted genre contortions in their dance-punk hit, Devil at My Houseparty

If you never got over the disbanding of the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, wipe your tears with the kinetic rhythms in the seminal single from the Welsh dance-punk duo, Bag of Cats.

Devil at My Houseparty, featuring Will Griff, is a mind-mashing blend of psych, garage rock and proto-punk, all pulled together by punk-pierced guitar loops and alt-electronica synthetics that augment the anthemic track to the nines.

Between the rolling rhythms, distorted blues riffs, and caustically infectious electronic elements inspired by the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Jamie T, Devil at My Houseparty is a firestorm of twisted genre contortions that will make your pulse pound and get the adrenaline flowing.

The magnetic appeal of the duo comprising Sophie Holliday and Barney Williams doesn’t end there; lyrically and vocally, Bag of Cats, couldn’t be more ensnaring. They’ve perfected the formula of playfully roguish swagger. The mischievously jocular vibe is definitively rock n roll, just not rock n roll as you’ve known it before.

In the process of giving the Welsh music scene more than it bargained for, Bag of Cats has garnered a staunch fanbase which only seems to grow with every release and livewire performance.

Devil at My Houseparty is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Strange Cities bled a kaleidoscope of light and soul through the monochromatic prism of post-punk with ‘Where Stars Collide’

Just when I thought I’d seen every scene in the post-punk landscape, Strange Cities appeared on my radar and shattered my aurally jaded heart with Where Stars Collide from their debut album, Moments Stolen.

With the Interpol-esque angular guitar lines cutting through the warmth in the atmosphere that proves post-punk melancholy doesn’t always need to be monochromatic, the San Francisco-hailing visionaries amalgamated a soulful new trajectory of the genre, giving it a definitive place in the contemporary music industry.

As the palpitatingly sweet melodies in the dynamically sepia-tinged production evoke energy and give you kinetic rhythms to move to, the vocals make no bones about relaying the achingly raw lyricism and inciting bitter-sweet desolation in your soul. Versing about cheating death, watching your friends taking their final breath and seeing their faded faces framed in memories was always going to hit hard, but the impact in Where Stars Collide is a collision you’ll never forget.

Imagine if Editors in their An End Has a Start era hired Marin Hannett as a producer and radiated the hues of New Order’s Temptation, and you’ll get an idea of what Strange Cities constructed in Where Stars Collide. Or, you can get acquainted with the band renowned for their live performance, who have recently opened for Sisters of Mercy and Gene Loves Jezebel.

The Moments Stolen LP was officially released on February 2nd; stream the album on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

FLIPPIN’ GOTHIC FABP unleashed urban surrealism with ‘JUST HOW OPEN MIC’

FLIPPIN’ GOTHIC FABP’s latest single, ‘JUST HOW OPEN MIC‘, is a feat of unorthodox brilliance. Hailing from, New York, this artist, formerly known as Fabp aka Fabpz the Freelancer, makes a habit of defying convention by merging the gritty essence of urban life with surreal, almost otherworldly dimensions.

The track is an audacious leap into the avant-garde, where spacey, experimental beats collide with a hypnotic rap cadence. FLIPPIN’ GOTHIC FABP’s lyrical prowess is akin to a cosmic navigator, guiding listeners through a sci-fi cinematic universe, yet firmly rooted in the raw, undiluted essence that has been his hallmark. His voice, a blend of rhythmic precision and melodic undertones, weaves through the beats with an almost ethereal quality.

This is not your typical hip-hop fare. ‘JUST HOW OPEN MIC’ challenges the listener, demanding attention and contemplation. It’s a bold statement from an artist who has worked over 2,000 tracks into his discography; a testament to his relentless creativity and dedication to his craft.

Watch the official music video for JUST HOW OPEN MIC by heading over to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rob Russell antagonised the airwaves by unleashing his alt-rock debut LP, What It All Meant

Rob Russell’s single ‘Carried‘, extracted from his debut LP ‘What It All Meant‘, is a striking genre synthesis that boldly defies the conventional boundaries of alternative rock. The track is an audacious blend, merging the defiant spirit of contemporary skate punk with the wistful echoes of 90s pop punk, all while embracing the gritty essence of grunge.

Russell’s approach to production is refreshingly unpolished, allowing the song’s inherent rawness to shine through. This choice pays off, as it accentuates the emotional gravity of the track, making ‘Carried’ a lesson in volition.

The single resonates with a sense of rugged honesty, a quality that is increasingly rare in today’s alt-rock landscape. Russell’s vocal delivery is both poignant and powerful, weaving through the dynamic soundscape with a balance of aggression and vulnerability. The instrumentation complements this perfectly, with guitar riffs that are both sharp and melodic, underpinned by a rhythm section that drives through the track with relentless energy.

‘Carried’ stands as a testament to Russell’s ability to channel the ethos of alt-rock’s past while forging his own path. We can’t wait to hear what follows.

Check out Rob Russell’s LP, What It All Meant, on 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

Matt Camillo – Stop to Look Around: A Transatlantic Synthesis of Americana-Tinged Folk-Rock and UK Indie

Matt Camillo’s seminal single, Stop to Look Around, is a striking synthesis of 90s-tinged UK Indie and American Folk Rock which proves that aged 23, the London-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist possesses a maturity in his music that belies his years.

The track resonates with the melodic influences of Travis, Stereophonics, and Beady Eye, evident in its steady indie rock chords. Yet, it’s the subtle infusion of Americana into the rhythmics that sets this song apart, creating an uplifting yet bittersweet sound that is quintessentially English in its melancholy.

Lyrically, ‘Stop to Look Around’ carries the essence of a love song, yet it’s imbued with a level of artistic ambiguity that allows listeners to find their own meaning within its verses. This narrative flexibility ensures that the track leaves a lasting impression, regardless of how one interprets it.

Camillo, who began composing music at 13 and has since dabbled in Electronica and Pop before settling into the singer-songwriter genre, shows a keen understanding of his musical influences. His experience, including opening for acclaimed acts like Never the Bride and playing at notable venues shines through in this single.

The song’s production balances simplicity with sophistication, allowing Camillo’s vocal delivery to take centre stage. The instrumentation supports without overpowering, creating a harmonious backdrop that complements the lyrical journey. As a precursor to his upcoming acoustic debut EP ‘(Would You) Believe?’, this track cements Camillo’s status as a rising star in the indie scene.

Stop to Look Around was officially released on February 9th. Stream the single on Spotify

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ava Valianti Became a Matchless Entity in the Music Industry with Her Turbulently Fervent Single, Middle Ground

Ava Valianti set the bar plateau-high with her debut single, Bubble Wrap; with her sophomore release, Middle Ground, the Massachusetts-residing singer-songwriter exhibited how honed her evocative approach to song crafting has become.

The striking tour de force starts with piano keys that would be right at home on a Radiohead LP or the Westworld soundtrack before the instrumental arrangement builds into a synthesis of moodily turbulent electronica and ornate orchestral motifs to reflect the disquietness of emotional upheaval.

The lyrical refrain of “I’m a broken record but at least I’m playing, music blaring louder than the pain” within the monumentally progressive release is a testament to how easily Ava Valianti reached the epitome of affecting alchemy.

Her vocal lines become an anchor in the instrumental storm and fervently resound through her artistic authenticity and determination to pour visceralism into every note of the intensely augmented release. She’s a matchless entity in the music industry, it’s only a matter of time before she ascends through the charts if she keeps producing tracks in the same phenomenal vein as Middle Ground.

Middle Ground will hit all major streaming platforms, including Spotify, on February 23rd.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Isabelle Mettle charted new constellations of soul with her interstellar track, Jupiter and Mars

Isabelle Mettle

In the cosmos of contemporary RnB, Isabelle Mettle’s latest single, ‘Jupiter and Mars’, is a celestial defiance of the ordinary. From the outset, the track asserts its uniqueness with stabbing synths and spacey euphonic iconography. The influence of Erykah Badu, Prince, Jill Scott, and Blood Orange is palpable in Mettle’s work, yet she transcends these inspirations to assert herself as a firebrand of a visionary.

Mettle, a London native, brings the city’s rich musical heritage into play in her latest release by weaving the rhythmic beats of RnB with the smooth sophistication of jazz. Her soulful sound is a reflection of an artist who has not only mastered her craft but also knows how to push boundaries. The track’s transition from a strikingly future-embracing intro into a melodious groove is seamless, with Mettle’s divine vocal lines adding a touch of classic soul to the stylistically rich composition.

What sets ‘Jupiter and Mars’ apart is its ability to straddle genres effortlessly. The track sits comfortably between the raw, unfiltered energy of Brooke Combe and the ethereal, dream-like quality of Warpaint. Mettle is not just following trends; she is setting them in constellations of her own making.

Jupiter and Mars will come into Earth’s orbit and hit the airwaves on February 23rd.

Stream the single on all major platforms via this link.

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