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Music Blog for Indie Rock Fans

Anxious affection resounds in The Good Neighbors’ synth-swathed synthesis of alt-pop and indie-rock, Room for You

The Good Neighbors borrowed a cup of earmilk from The Strokes for their latest single, Room for You, before pouring it into a synth-swathed production that eclipses the contemporary indie synthwave trend.

After moving away from their syntheses of alt-rock and punk, The Good Neighbors aligned their creative ambitions with their passion for painting across the alt-pop and indie-rock spectrum. Room for You not only exhibits the duo’s softer side; you can FEEL the authenticity, soul and delicious devil-may-care approach to constraint-less fusionism. The seminal single is uninhibited expression in scintillatingly melodic motion.

The jazzy neo-pop middle eight extends the experimentalism to the nth degree to assert the Buffalo, NY-hailing duo as genre fusionists that are a cut above the rest as they regale a vignette of anxious affection and explore the neuroscience of expanding our minds to accommodate people capable of turning our world’s upside down. Hit play and meet your new aural addiction.

Room for You will hit the airwaves on March 1st. Stream the single on Spotify.

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

In Tune with Matt Camillo: An A&R Factory Exclusive Interview

Dive into the musical mind of Matt Camillo, where the echoes of Americana Folk-Rock blend with bitter-sweet indie melancholy. From the romantic balladry of his latest single ‘Stop to Look Around’ to his explorations across Funk, Jazz, and Post-Punk, Camillo’s narrative is as diverse as it is profound.

Discover the inspirations behind his debut EP, his evolution from a MIDI-tinkering teenager to a multifaceted musician, and his aspirations to impact the music world.

Matt Camillo, welcome to A&R Factory! We’d love to know a little more about your latest single, Stop to Look Around, what’s the story behind the single, and what do you hope listeners will take from it? 

“It was the last song I wrote for my debut EP. It was written very quickly with the intention of writing a romantic ballad, but it turned into this Americana Folk-Rock thing or something Jewel could have written, though I got told several times that it sounds like Oasis for some reason.

This song is basically about doing the best with what you’ve got here and now, but once it’s out in the world it’s not up to me anymore to attach a meaning. The listeners can literally do whatever they want with it.”

Is Stop to Look Around reflective of who you are as an artist or are there more multi-faceted sides that will become exposed in your future releases?  

“I wouldn’t use it to describe who I am musically, but I feel like it’s a good representation of my Folk-y side. The songs I’m working on right now span from Funk to Jazz to Post-Punk even though I’m still working hard to make these different styles match together when it comes to an EP or Album.”

When did you get into music, and how has your relationship with music changed since the creative spark first ignited your desire to create? 

 “I started at 13 years old just writing instrumentals with MIDI in my bedroom. Then the guitar and the piano entered the scene, and eventually I found my voice (literally!). It’s always a discovery, this music thing. Every time I feel like I’m comfortable with a certain style or approach then I tend to move to new territory, but I always feel I’m still proving something to that kid in the bedroom.”

With such a wide range of influences, was it hard to create your own sonic signature? 

“Doesn’t matter how hard I try to find that sound, I’ll never catch it. I’m more focused on what’s naturally gonna come out of my failed attempts. And that should be good enough, I guess.”

What was the first and last single that had a profound impact on you? 

“The first Coldplay record (and the first one I ever owned) changed my life and helped me to bring out that same bittersweetness I’ve always felt as a kid. More recently I fell in love with ‘Live At Montreux, 1976’ by Nina Simone. She represents everything that an artist should be. Farless, honest and passionate. But she managed to be even more than that. So, I’d say ‘Trouble’ by Coldplay and ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free’ by Nina Simone.”

Where will your artistic journey take you next?  

“Right now I’m doing early attempts at my first album. Just experimenting and combining different worlds together until I feel something is moving. I’m taking my time. I’m giving way more space to the electric guitar, arrangements and production. Also messing around with my lower vocal range. It’s gonna be way different from what I already released, to say it short.”

If you could make one positive change with your music, what would it be? 

“I just want my music to help people connect more with reality and with who they really are or at least to offer them a new point of view.  Real music is so much more powerful than any other medium and that’s why the state of this industry is in such conditions.  Maybe I wanna prove that it can still free us or maybe I just wanna have my own fun. Music won’t stop tho.”

Stream Matt Camillo’s latest single, Stop to Look Around, on Spotify.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

The West Midlands era fusionists, Three Mile Island, triumphed once again in ‘Sidearm’s House of Games’

What do you get if you mix 70s rock with Americana and add a dash of brashy and swaggering 90s Britpop? Hit play on the latest single, Sidearm’s House of Games, from Three Mile Island and find out for yourselves.

The uniqueness of the sonic imprint is far from the only achievement in this minefield of indie rock hooks, which proves how tight the West Midlands-hailing prodigal sons are despite their influential differences – each element gets room to breathe and transcend into something completely new in the release that proves that time isn’t always linear; multiple eras can exist cohesively under the sonic duress of those talented enough to amalgamate them.

Having garnered attention on BBC Sounds and Planet Rock Radio, ‘Sidearm’s House of Games’ is a testament to the band’s skill in crafting songs that are not only enjoyable but also resonate with a deep understanding of rock’s evolving landscape. It’s a compelling addition to the indie rock genre, highlighting the band’s potential to leave a lasting impact.

Sidearm’s House of Games is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast  

Royston Vasie – Creeping: A Melodic Renaissance in the Indie Landscape

If you have had your fill of indie landfill, cleanse your sonic palette with the latest release, Creeping, from Melbourne’s most affecting melodicists, Royston Vasie.

With synth melodies sweeter than honey/Grandaddy, soulfully sludgy ennui in the same vein as Dinosaur Jr, sweepingly angular guitar licks that give Johnny Marr a run for his money and a modernist touch as a courtesy of the Jaws and Peace-esque indie accordance, Creeping is a smorgasbord of influence which amalgamates to portray Royston Vasie as one of the most promising up-and-coming artists on the airwaves in 2024.

After releasing their first two albums through Courtney Barnett’s now-defunct label, Milk! Records, Creeping marks a shift in their musical style, which previously oscillated between the garage ethos of Black Lips and the shoegaze of early The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

If the outro leaves you aching for more, mark your calendar for the release of the fourpiece’s upcoming album, Through the Canopies, which will arrive on May 15.

Creeping will inch its way onto the airwaves on February 15; stream the single on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Molly Ferrill unclipped her wings in her emboldening sonic rebellion, Born to Fly

Molly Ferrill’s debut single, ‘Born to Fly‘, is a clarion call to unshackle the spirit. The potent blend of rock ‘n’ roll fervour and pop sensibility echoes the raw energy of Joan Jett and the unapologetic boldness of Courtney Love. But the real earworm appeal lies in how the National Geographic Explorer turned musician infused the single with a sense of unbridled freedom, mirroring her own life’s journey across the globe.

Recorded in Mexico and produced in the U.K., Born to Fly is a testament to her multifaceted creativity, seamlessly blending visuals and sounds that resonate with her deep connection to the natural world. The accompanying music video, set against the rugged backdrop of Tlayacapan, Mexico, features a Harris’s hawk, symbolising the song’s core message of liberation and empowerment.

The track itself is a masterful reinvention of 90s nostalgia for the modern alt-rock scene. Ferrill’s vocals oscillate between the soulful pop tones reminiscent of Texas and the gritty edge of the Riot Grrrl era. The guitar licks may pay homage to the classic rock era, but they are distinctly contemporary in their execution.

Ferrill’s message in Born to Fly is clear: liberation is not just a dream, but a tangible reality, attainable through the sheer force of will and the joy of living.

As Ferrill continues to traverse diverse creative landscapes, from the streets of Mexico City to the urban sprawl of Bangkok and New York City, Born to Fly is a strikingly catchy elucidation of her artistic vision – fearless, unbound, and relentlessly uplifting.

Check out the official music video for Born to Fly on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sugar Crease – Lemon Cake: A Histrionically Vortexical Indie Neo-Pop Odyssey

Lemon Cake by Sugar Crease, extracted from their sophomore LP, Lemon Warhead, is a neo-pop odyssey that redefines the boundaries of indie with its baroque-esque indulgence and kaleidoscopic layers, which transform the mundane into a fever dream of sonic extravagance.

The way the vortexical instrumentals weave through the track is reminiscent of a grand ‘let them eat cake’ gesture, opulent and unapologetically bold. At the heart of this auditory vortex lies the crooning indie vocals, serving as a gravitational pull amidst the whirlwind of sound. As a cohesive whole, the track is so compelling that it could make even Mike Patton’s work seem pedestrian by comparison.

Despite the histrionic effects, Lemon Cake possesses a deep, compelling quality. It’s a sugar fix of an indie single that appeals to a wide range of listeners, from fans of the Walkmen to devotees of Magazine. The track is a testament to Sugar Crease’s ability to blend the whimsical with the profound, creating music that resonates on multiple levels.

Sugar Crease, originally a musical therapy group, has evolved into an indie powerhouse. With their recent decision to push their music and prepare for live performances, they have added a new dimension to their artistry. The addition of guitarist Mark Finch, instrumentalist Andrew Preston, and drummer Richie Gradwell has completed their lineup, leading to sold-out gigs and a growing fanbase. We can’t wait to hear where they go from here.

Stream Lemon Cake on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The modern malaise in KEEF’s ‘Adela Road’ is sonorously close to home

In their latest single, Adela Road, KEEF masterfully encapsulated the essence of 90s Britpop while infusing it with a modern indie rock spirit and extended the sonic timeline further with the psychedelic soul of the 60s to pay a vibrant homage to the past while allowing the release to resonate profoundly with the present.

The echoes of Britpop are weightlessly carried in the kaleidoscopically colourful melodies as the crooning vocals emanate the same indie rock raconteurial soul as The Walkmen. As past and present combine, parables for modern times entwine within the rhythmic allegory of how bitter-sweet footfall on paving stones can be when it brings back the memories of brighter days gone by. The sonorousness of the vocal performance as it finds complete synergy with the richly textured instrumental arrangement ensures that every line hits with bruising precision.

While music is subjective, I can safely say that Adela Road will be close to home for many. It’s thick with the modern malaise that makes it so easy for days to slip away without any tangible meaning. It’s a fucking stunning release, which shines a light on how high the calibre KEEF’s output is. “I’ve been counting the gravestones to pass the time, so many memories, so many lines” may just be one of the stunningly haunting lyrics I’ve heard since The Holy Bible first tore my soul in two.

Adela Road will be officially released on January 26; stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Get high on the dystopic delirium in Heavy Salad’s tropic psych rock cocktail, Weirdest of the Weird Shit

Even though you probably don’t need a track to affirm that we’re living in an era as twisted as Shaun Ryder’s melons, there’s no understating the vindicating catharsis in Heavy Salad’s tropic psych rock cocktail, Weirdest of the Weird Shit.

The track transcends sonics to deliver a mind-melting invitation to get high on the dystopic delirium as part of a collective experience and let the hallucinogenic waves within the ebbing and flowing guitars crash over you and brighten the psyche’s palette. The multi-layered harmonies play an even more crucial role in embodying and imparting vividly hazy hues as they alchemise with a synergy that Heavy Salad has meticulously honed since their 2019 debut release.

With mantras to live by flowing throughout lyrical surrealism in the beachy Lynchian fever dream, you’re free to explore brighter corridors of perception, safe in the knowledge that logic has become an extinction event and the only thing you can really change is the way you engage with our shared illusion.

Weirdest of the Weird Shit is now available to stream on all major platforms via this link.

Follow Heavy Salad on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Evolution 9 went interstellar with their nebulous synth-pop harmonies in Tell Me Something

If Grandaddy’s polyphonic melodies never fail to stir your soul, consider the latest single, Tell Me Something, from Evolution 9 as an unmissable sonic event. The unbridled synthesis of sound and emotion resonates with exhilaratingly rare depth. The rock-amplified synth-pop hit, which shares the same rhythmically cosmic air as Inspiral Carpets will envelop you in a kaleidoscope of colour as it vibrantly through its meticulously carved progressions.

The Beach Boys-esque vocal harmonies are a standout feature, adding layers of warmth and nostalgia to the track. These harmonies intertwine seamlessly with the synth melodies, creating a sound that is both familiar and fresh. The effect is akin to rediscovering a beloved classic while experiencing something entirely new.

Evolution 9’s ability to balance complexity with accessibility will undoubtedly see them go far in the current climate that necessitates singles that exude as much zeal as this dynamic, almost serendipitous gem.

Stream Tell Me Something on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast