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Music Blog for Indie Rock Fans

Juniper Avenue created a seismic shift in the alt-rock landscape with their upcoming single, Lavender

If grunge ever had a clandestine rendezvous with garage rock, resulting in an offspring raised on a diet of 00s indie and the timeless essence of classic rock, then that progeny would undeniably share the same sonic DNA and unyielding spirit as “Lavender,” the latest single from North Carolina’s tempestuous pathfinders, Juniper Avenue.

This trio has already carved a niche in the hearts of their fans with their eponymous debut LP and the follow-up, “Chuck Rock.” Now, they’ve managed to encapsulate the raw, unfiltered essence of their live performances into this studio release. It’s a feat akin to capturing lightning in a bottle, with their overdriven, alchemic sound engineering transporting listeners straight to the front row of an electrifying gig.

In an era where even the most discerning music fans, those who tirelessly delve into the indie scene’s depths, find themselves craving originality, Juniper Avenue burst onto the stage with a sound revolutionary enough to ignite a new wave in the music scene. Lavender is for anyone yearning for a sound that breaks the mould, offering a fresh perspective in a landscape often plagued by the mundane.

Lavender is due for release on July 14; until then, check out their earlier releases, including the viral hit, Judy Byrd, on Spotify.

To stay up to date with the latest releases from Juniper Avenue, follow the band on Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

AFTERDRIVE augmented introspection in their curve-transcending indie pop-rock hit, Stick Around

If you’re a sucker for catchy indie pop-rock hooks, evocatively sonorous vocal versatility, and complex layered arrangements, you’re going to want to save a space for the UK’s hottest breakthrough artist, AFTERDRIVE, on your radar. Their standout single, Stick Around, which augments melancholic introspection to anthemic stadium-filling levels, is a testament to the outfit’s ability to craft music with swathes of cross-over appeal.

Opening with choral, reverb-drenched guitar lines that hark back to the dreamy soundscapes of Slowdive, Stick Around immediately sets a tone of profound contemplation. This serene beginning soon gives way to a burst of energy as the song transitions into an electrifying chorus.

With the vocal performance bearing resemblance to the impassioned earnestness of Matty Healy, the single comes charged with emotional depth, which gives even more power to the uplifting and poignant melodies. Even though their music is perfect for live performances where their energy and charisma shine the brightest, Stick Around has all the makings of a playlist staple.

With over 30 gigs in 2023 and a growing presence in the festival circuit, AFTERDRIVE is clearly on an upward trajectory. Their music, as Connor Bennett of BBC aptly put it, is the start of something big. For those who yearn for music that combines the best of indie pop and rock, look no further than AFTERDRIVE’s latest offering.

Stick Around is available to stream on Spotify and all major streaming platforms.

Keep up to date with the latest releases from AFTERDRIVE via Facebook & Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Slip into a rock noir fever dream with Call to the Void’s latest single, Blow

South London’s Call to the Void delivered a smorgasbord of style in their synthesis of garage rock, proto-punk, post-punk, and grunge in the track they crashed onto our radar with earlier this year. Their previous release, Uncontrollable, was one thing; their latest fervid feat, Blow, is another entirely. The vice-like rhythmic grip will drag you down the shadowy rabbit hole in the rock n roll fever dream, where a séance is held with the sonic aesthetic of Jim Morrison, Cobain, and Lux Interior.

By driving innovation through the rancorously electric vintage tones between the melodic increments used to ensnare you in the jaws of their shaking, rattling, and rolling cultivated panache, there’s no getting out of Blow alive once you experience the dark rock noir atmosphere, which twists and turns on a knife edge to impale you on the spikes of innovation that proliferate this nefariously dark hit.

Blow will be available to stream on all major platforms from January 5th, following the pre-release on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Call to the Void

Leah Nawy has unleashed her iconic indie pop rock playlist staple, Friend of Mine

We’ve been obsessed with the NYC pop rock pioneer Leah Nawy ever since sinking into her lusciously groove-pocketed debut single, NUISANCE, which has racked up over 46k streams on Spotify alone since its release in 2023. In the opening verses of her sophomore single, Friend of Mine, the singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist exhibited a softer and more vulnerable side in her confessional release which alludes to how opening yourself up to people is only priming for the scars that will be left when you inevitably part ways.

When there’s little to separate realism and pessimism after life experiences have taught you that optimism is the outlook of the naïve, sentiments which unravel with the same pensive sting as the lyrics in Friend of Mine are inevitable. Yet, by the time the track reaches the midway mark, it transcends into a soulful power ballad before metamorphosising into an indie rock anthem for the disenfranchised but tenacious despite the bruises masses.

By bursting the bubblegum pop bubble with spikes of cultivated indie rock, the melancholy within Friend of Mine adopted a brand-new ferocity as an attestation to how you can reflect on your shortcomings without falling into a trap of self-pity. With a voice as indomitable as Lady Gaga fused with a cutting-edge indie pop rock signature sound, she’s a rare artist whose work merits her being referred to as an icon. We can’t wait to hear what follows.

Friend of Mine was officially released on December 22. Stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Jesters borrowed from Pavement in their reinvention of the 90s DIY sound in ‘Magnet’

The standout single, Magnet, from The Jesters may have been released in the Summer of 2023, but it is the perfect hit to place on your playlists as we move into the new year with the underpinning themes of pining for personal reinvention that, on some level, we all know we’ll never achieve because the force of our habits is far too strong to resist.

The grungy pop-punk pierced aura of the track, which finds the middle ground between Fidlar, Pavement and Dinosaur Jr, was the perfect atmosphere to pour the self-disdain into to ensure it rings with relatable and rogue down-and-out blues. Veering away from self-pity and right into the inner trappings of the human condition that compels us to tread the hamster wheel as creatures of idiosyncratic convention enabled Magnet to unravel as every antihero’s feel-good hit.

When it comes to reinventing the DIY sounds of the ’80s and ’90s, few do it better than the Philadelphia four-piece, whose sound falls under the new wave retro alt-folk punk banner while spilling out into other nostalgic avenues to lead you to the sounds you adore via a route never taken before.

Magnet is available to stream with the rest of The Jesters’ three-track release, Mental Model, 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

Take an indietronica trip between dreams and reality with Jespfur’s latest single, strapped

Jespfur’s latest single, strapped, is a mesmerising journey through a soundscape that defies the ordinary by sonically blurring the lines between consciousness and the ethereal realms of dreams. Jespfur, known for his unpredictable musical trajectory, has once again surpassed expectations, delivering a piece that resonates with the innovative spirit of Jaws, Peace, and M83, yet stands in a league of its own.

Strapped is an intricate amalgam of indietronica, grunge, new wave, and dream pop. Each layer is meticulously woven, creating a rich texture that envelops the listener. The track begins with a subtle grungy guitar rhythm that gradually builds into a crescendo of lush, dreamy tonal beguile. Jespfur’s genius lies in his ability to marry these diverse genres into a harmonious blend, making Strapped a testament to his artistic versatility.

The song’s brilliance is further amplified by its ability to evoke synesthesia. As the melodies unfold, they paint vibrant colours across the mind’s canvas. This tonal sublimity is Jespfur’s signature, a unique quality that makes his music resonate on a deeper, more visceral level.

With Strapped, Jespfur continues to redefine the boundaries of modern music. His fearless exploration of sound and texture makes each release a revelation. As we eagerly await Jespfur’s next creation, strapped emits a signal of his limitless potential. Prepare to be transported to a world where dreams and reality converge in a symphony of sound.

Stream the official music video for strapped on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Horizons lose all meaning in the ennui of Hello London’s indie rock reinvention of pop-punk, Garden

Patterns by Hello London

How infectious can melancholy be? Hit play on the latest standout single, Garden, from the Buffalo-hailing indie songwriter Hello London (James Froese) and feel the earworm burying into your psyche.

Embodying the same lamenting energy that made I Miss You by Blink-182 a cult phenomenon while experimenting with a fusion of pop punk, power pop, jangle pop and 00s indie ensured that Garden is a modernised sonic sign of the disenfranchised times.

As we all mourn that the landscapes of our lives appear the same but no longer bring us the same sense of meaning, we can all find ourselves in the resonance of the work of the solo artist, who has remained prolific since his 2021 debut.

3 EPs, an LP and a series of shows across the Northeast opening for the likes of Crimson Riot, Sincere Engineer and Covey down, the only way is up for Hello London and his command over nostalgically reinvented melodic lines. With a new LP in the works and ready for release in 2024, everyone who never fully grew out of their emo phase will want to save a space for Hello London on their radar.

Garden is now available to stream and purchase on Bandcamp as part of the Patterns EP.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Liya Shapiro delivered darkwave decadence in her debut single, The Thing

Fuse the dark decadence of Lydia Lunch, PJ Harvey, and Siouxsie Sioux with the electronic southern gothic beguile of Chelsea Wolfe, Interpol-esque guitar lines and the trip-hop aesthetic of Massive Attack, and you’ll alchemise a sound as scintillating as the atmosphere within Liya Shapiro’s debut single, The Thing, which officially released on December 15.

After a sequence of stabbing synths that could have been torn from a John Carpenter score, post-punk synthetics start to bleed into the hypnotism of the production which leaves discordant effects to linger in the shadows, harbingering a forboding energy, as striking as the avant-garde tones within Glenn Branca’s The Ascension.

Once you’ve torn yourself away from the grip of the instrumental magnetism, you’ll lock into the lyrical poetry as it elucidates the intangible nature of love. By using dark, almost nihilistically macabre, imagery between the sweetly abstract sentiments, dualism drives through the debut from the London-based singer-songwriter, whose lyrical ambiguity opens a labyrinth of corridors in the mind as you attempt to extrapolate meaning.

The abstractions within the poetry also serve to prevent the single from becoming a derivatively paradoxical debut. To speak of the unspeakable and pretend to possess a firm grip of an incomprehensible emotional and spiritual phenomenon would only cheapen the track which pays a true ode to the ephemeral and constantly in flux constructs of love.

We can’t wait to hear what Liya Shapiro has in the pipeline for her sophomore release.

Stream The Thing on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rooftop Screamers metamorphosed nihilism into euphoria with their power pop hit, Dead in the Water

With angular echoes of Interpol-esque lines feeding into the palpitatingly anticipation-rife instrumental arrangement, the prelude and opening verse in Rooftop Screamers‘ latest single, Dead in the Water, throws you into the depth of the earworm headfirst before the subsequent verses veer from Placebo reminiscence to exuding the fervid electricity found within the Manic Street Preacher tracks that know exactly how to melodically ignite the soul.

It is a significant sonic shift from the sound Rooftop Screamers used to gain our attention earlier this year. They’ve left the dreaminess and romanticism of Another Life behind the anthemic 90s Britpop adrenaline, but you’ll still be enveloped by the scintillating synths as they add colour to the guitar lines which may as well have been riffed by James Dean Bradfield himself.

The track featuring Rob Daiker is an impossible-to-ignore attestation to the cultivated gravitas of the Portland-hailing award-winning singer-songwriter who alchemically metamorphosed nihilism into euphoria for superlative power pop catharsis.

Dead in the Water was officially released on December 15; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast