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Music Blog for Indie Rock Fans

MODEL CITISIN – Been and Gone: Manic Street Preachers Fans Will Glue Themselves to This Debut

Proving that time isn’t linear, the London-based outfit, MODEL CITISIN, fronted by Nick Swettenham, brought the 90s Britpop era right back around with their debut single, Been and Gone.

Muso nostalgists are hardly in short supply, but nothing about Been and Gone even comes close to antiquated. The resurgence of the brassy euphoria, psychedelically tined guitar tones, and crescendos carved from violin strings will tempt the souls of the most world-weary indie fans out of repose.

Unravelling as a mash of the signatures of the 90s, with enough room for authenticity in the high-octane melodic hooks that could ensnare a stadium, it’s impossible not to get excited about the foundling outfit’s potential.

With superlatively orchestrated guitar solos that could give James Dean Bradfield a run for his virtuosic money augmenting the sentimentality of the single, which throws in a few Grandaddy-esque synth lines for good measure, Been and Gone is easily one of the most promising debuts I’ve heard in 2023.

Been and Gone was officially released on September 22; stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Marygolds transcended space and time with the blues in their indie Americana single, Time Machine

The Louisville, Kentucky-hailing indie Americana outfit, Marygolds, made light melodic work of stripping away the past few decades and bringing a bygone era back to life in the standout single, Time Machine, from their eponymous 2023 EP.

Everything rests mellifluously easy on the timbre of the vintage bluesy guitar chords, which shimmer with early ’60s nostalgia as they drive the evocative instrumental arrangement under the gospel-esque vocals which reach the epitome of old-school soul. With the intimacy infused into the massive roots-wrapped production that could rival Father John Misty’s masterful work, Time Machine is so much more than an ode to the past; it’s a ticket back to soulfully sepia-tinged sanctity of it.

Perhaps even more remarkably, even though Marygolds left no clues to their 21st-century habitation behind in the cinematic gravitas of their work, their reverence for roots music didn’t come close to resounding as archaic. The outfit comprised of progenitors of modern blues is definitely one to watch.

Time Machine is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The masters of funked indie rock melodicism Kinda Joke questioned ‘Where Is Home’ in the shimmering nostalgia of their latest single.

Kinda Joke brought a touch of playful panache and lashings of shimmering 80s nostalgia to their standout indie funk pop single, Where Is Home, taken from their debut LP, Cat Alarm.

If you can envisage the middle ground between Reverend and the Makers and the Midnight, you’ll get an idea of what awaits from the masters of indie rock melodicism and funky rhythms. With an atmosphere that enraptures from the first groove pocket-carving bassline and enough hooks to necessitate the hook, line and sinker metaphor, Kinda Joke’s ear candy couldn’t be more radio-ready.

Where Is Home is the sixth single to be released by the international trio; the German, Italian and Spanish flags all fly under the banner of the outfit which originally formed in Munich, where they discovered after jamming with each other that their sessions were somewhat reminiscent of an intoxicated Phil Collins-Coldplay-Dave Grohl amalgam.

Where Is Home is due for official release on September 15; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Movment made us pious to the post-punk rancour in their latest single, I Believe in Noise

If you fell for the rancour of the Fall and Public Image Limited, prepare to be consumed by the latest darkwave post-punk hit, I Believe in Noise, from Ireland’s most ensnaring powerhouse, Movment.

With the manifesto-esque lyricism, the unfaltering conviction in the vocal lines and the sirening synth lines that effortlessly coalesce with the angular stings from the lead guitars, Movment bred a dark and murky atmosphere within I Believe in Noise. But as the track title would lead you to believe, there’s salvation oozing from every chord.

If you have a hard time believing what you hear and see in our post-truth reality, I Believe in Noise will give you a place to put your faith that resistance isn’t futile. Adam Curtis couldn’t have written the hit better himself.

I Believe in Noise follows two successful studio LPs and the Red Death Sessions EP and harbingers the disquietness to come in the third album, Reinvention, which will be released on the 24th of November via EPITRONIC.

I Believe in Noise will be released on September 15; hear it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

McKay exhibited cybernetic sickness in their indie folk punk single, Plugged

If the Beatles psychedelically strode across Pavement’s indie rock obscurity and checked into the Neutral Milk Hotel, the sonic result would groove in the same vein as McKay’s single, Unplugged.

The indie folk punk outpour of raw striking rancour inhibits nothing as the track veers from kaleidoscopic psychedelia to gritty instrumentation and lyrical volition that allows you to feel the inward visceral frustration that encompasses our inability to be a perfect portrait when the landscape that surrounds us warped by increasingly digital dystopia.

I’m pretty sure we can all relate to the exposition of how toxic dopamine habits compel us to stay hooked up to all the wrong lifebloods and leave us at further odds with ourselves. Given the evocative immersion Plugged provides, it is no surprise that McKay has become one of the hottest indie acts in the Nashville scene.

Plugged will debut on September 14; stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Northern Arms lifted the veil on Americana alchemy in ‘This Thing Called We’

An amalgamation of influences from Bowie, Nick Cave, Arcade Fire, Velvet Underground and Pulp was always going to transpire as a cosmically compelling Tour De dark melodic Force, but what wasn’t a given was how much This Thing Called We by Northern Arms would stir the soul to such a viscerally amorous degree.

Northern Arms lifted the veil on Americana alchemy in his latest single, for which the Philadelphia-haunting song crafter enlisted the help of a stellar lineup of instrumentalists, who all brought their own profoundly deft touch to the art-rock installation.

If This Thing Called We came before Bowie’s Heroes, the single that will never be lost to history would easily be considered derivative. That may sound blasphemous until you’ve drenched yourself in the decadently morose romanticism; feel free to hit play and argue with me, because the way the single encapsulates the heart-wrenching pain that true love can leave us to linger in couldn’t be closer to the agonising mark.

Stream This Thing Called We on SoundCloud now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sentia released the most seductive synthscape of the summer with ‘Make You’

Sentia’s latest single, Make You, kisses you through a cosmic installation of smooth analog synth-swathed rock grooves, comprised of velveteen guitars and basslines that funk up the seductively seminal reimagining of alt-rock just enough to put you on a proggy star-roving plateau of pure euphonic appreciation.

If you gave Editors the sex appeal of Alex Cameron, you still wouldn’t come close to what Sentia have crafted in their hit that encompasses the kind of carnal desire which leaves your psyche rife with indecision as the prospect of taking a chance leaves the line between right and wrong obscured with wanton lust.

With their consistently evolving discography, the iconic anomalies of the Australian alternative scene are increasingly hard to pin down, but considering that all their synthscapes are underpinned with sheer sonic beguile, fool on you if you want to force them into a pigeonhole choked with uninspired assimilators.

Make You hit the airwaves on August 18; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Skittish became the ultimate purveyor of folk-rock nostalgia with ‘Mannequin’

The LA-residing indie folk-rock artist Skittish is fresh from the release of their eclectic era and genre-spanning seventh LP, Midwest Handshake. Genre-fluidity may have become the default position for artists in the 21st century, but few succeed in making a smorgasbord of style as cohesively electrifying as Skittish.

Midwest Handshake is a route back to the golden era of emo via a road never taken. Jeff Noller’s vocation in film sound production in recent years allowed him to sonically visualise his concept in panoramic colour.

This time, Skittish enlisted Ben Etter (Deer Hunter, Kaiser Chiefs) to mix and master the album in his analog-centric studio, resulting in a project that draws you in with nostalgia and quells modern malaise with lyrical resonance that could have only been rendered in our blighted with dystopic blues era.

With the Weezer-esque guitars lending themselves well to the earwormy hooks and the drawling with deadpan attitude vocals in the verses evolving into adrenalized harmonies in the standout track, Mannequin, you couldn’t ask for more serotonin from a single. The raucously riled deliverance of unity is the ultimate olive branch to the disenfranchised by ennui outliers. After one hit, you will want to devour the cinematic album whole.

Mannequin hit the airwaves on August 25; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Dictator stood at the vanguard of social action in their psychedelically funked indie-rock single, Enough is Enough

The latest single, Enough is Enough, from the Scottish four-piece, Dictator, is a grooving odyssey of indie synth-rock socialist rancour. Socialism may have become a dirty word as of late; Dictator wore it as a badge of honour in their track that pushes back against the political elite and supports strike action, knowing it’s better than having late-stage capitalist blood on your hands.

They may have taken a different approach to the Manics to prise eyes and ears open to the hypocrisy that could easily be obliterated if there was enough momentum for a Masses Against the Classes movement. But by opting for a synthy and sugared with shimmering pop hooks arrangement and pouring as much soul into the indie croons as humanly possible, they efficaciously got the message across their rhythm section that reminisces with the Happy Mondays and their brand of psychedelia that was delivered with as much colour as hits from the Zombies.

Enough is Enough was officially released on August 30th, and we’re officially obsessed. Get hooked by heading over to SoundCloud or Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Bathe in the shimmering catharsis of whitewood drive’s distorted Tour De Force, cosmic hero

whitewood drive

While shoegaze bands that can cut through the derivative reverb-drenched tones don’t come around all too often in this era, whitewood drive proved that there are still creative ways to push through the washed-out choral distortion with their latest mellifluous-with-malaise single, cosmic hero.

By emanating the darkness of Bauhaus and following the Vapour Trail laid out by Ride, the Connecticut-hailing three-piece succeeded in crafting a single that lends itself well to the traditionalism of the genre while ensuring you have a reason to turn your attention away from your MBV and Slowdive records. The intricately evocative single may stir plaintive emotions, but the accordance lets you bathe in shimmering catharsis in the next breath. It’s a stunning release that harbingers even greater tonal triumphs to come.

cosmic hero is due for official release on September 1st; stream it on Spotify or download the track on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast