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The term ‘indie’ in the music industry has become so ambiguous it has practically become as subjective as the meaning of life. Whichever way it is defined, it is still a massive part of the music industry in the UK and across the globe.

Originally, indie referred to how an artist distributed their music. Over the decades, it became a catch-all term for artists sharing the same sonic off-kilter edge; and, of course, the same moody yet inexplicably cool aesthetic. Indie, as a genre, only came around as the result of experimental artists in the 70s wanting to bring a new sound to the airwaves; instead of solely hoping for commercial success after appeasing one of the major record labels.

Indie artists adopted punk ethos they started to push the boundaries of pop. Instead of commercialising their sound, they pushed it into post-punk, shoegaze, synthpop, Britpop, avant-garde, noise rock and dream pop arenas. For all that separates bands such as Sonic Youth, the Cure, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Joy Division, Elliott Smith and Radiohead, there is still so much that ties them together, namely their attitudes and the loud discordant style.

Along with the bands, iconic venues such as the 100 Club in London, the Hacienda in Manchester, and King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow had a pivotal part to play in the traction of independent artists and music. New Indie labels, such as Rough Trade and Factory Records, were amongst the first record labels to truly embrace and encourage experimentalism and authenticity in the artists they scouted and signed – taking New Order and Joy Division as a prime example.

It may have been a while since there was an indie breakthrough act as successful as the Arctic Monkeys, but indie music has far from lost its resonance. Besides, Monkeys won over 42 awards and sold over 20 million records, so that’s going to take some beating, and they’re certainly not the only indie artists currently thriving.

The Welsh indie rock icons, the Manic Street Preachers, celebrated their first number 1 album in 23 years with the release of Ultra Vivid Lament in 2021. The Tarantino-Esque Liverpool outfit, Red Rum Club, released their debut album in 2019, and got to number 14 in the official album sales chart with their album, How to Steal the World, in 2021. Perhaps most impressively, the world’s first CryptoPunk rapper, Spottie Wifi, made just under $200k in album NFT sales in 90 seconds this year.

Embrace the chaos with Aimee Saturne’s alchemically ethereal dark pop single, Edge of the World

Dark pop alchemist, Aimee Saturne, proves that she’s still LA’s supreme in her latest single, Edge of the World, which incorporates her usual sultry air while encapsulating the same sense of trepidation that has been gripping us all a little too hard as of late.

Edge of the World finds an ethereal way to call out to anyone who is feeling trapped on our hell-scape of a planet where we can’t quite escape the unjustness or find an even footing within it.

The single starts with her smoother than smooth vocal timbre atop muted guitars; when the momentum begins to build in the electro-pop hit, there’s a tumultuous nature in spite of the arrestive pull of the moody melodies. Aimee Saturne deserves to be equally as revered as Billie Eilish, St Vincent, and every other pop visionary that is taking the future of pop into their deft hands. With her debut album currently in production, she is definitely one to watch.

Edge of the World is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Voices In My Head: Yasmine Gill is quite exceptional as she looks for that light again on ‘Feel’

Carefully encapsulating our frigid consciousness with something warm and genuine, Yasmine Gill leads us into the first of her new singles taken from her upcoming 4-track EP with a story that will strike home to many with ‘Feel‘.

Yasmine Gill is a sensationally gifted Italian-Canadian soul/jazz solo artist and pianist based in thriving London who sings with a rare quality that you will find incomprehensible to ever forget.

”’Feel’ is about losing the senses, such as touch, sight, and sound, at a very low point in life. A place that can often seem insurmountable.” ~ Yasmine Gill

Vocally and lyrically, there is so much to love about Yasmine Gill as her sensually classy air of innocence takes your tired mind away from all worries. This is an anthem that so many of us can truly relate to, as she shows us how it’s so easy to lose yourself in this overly-stimulated universe.

Feel‘ from the superb London, UK-based Italian-Canadian soul/jazz singer-songwriter and pianist Yasmine Gill is one of the best tracks yet of 2022. This is an artist who was previously on the floor as the world weighed her down so much it felt like a mountain was pushing her towards defeat. After looking deeper within herself and gritting her teeth to stand up tall again, she sings her way out of the previous world and into a brighter day with endless possibilities.

When you feel like everything is lost, music heals you into that path you want to be on after all.

Listen in as she shakes your soul awake on Spotify and gain a sense of her mesmerizing energy via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Red Bike By His Side: Simona-Valentina is quite wonderful on her latest nostalgic gem called ‘Love Is Written In The Tears’

From reminding us about that all-important true love that we should treasure forever on the stunning ‘Whispers‘ from August 2021, we are brought more beauty that is intertwined with much sadness by the wonderfully gifted Simona-Valentina via her new single ‘Love Is Written In The Tears‘.

Simona-Valentina is a multi-talented London, UK-based indie folk/pop singer-songwriter, one half of SVRPoole, painter, and dancer who was born in the intriguing lands of Victoria, Transylvania.

‘I decided to write a song and express my darkest fears of losing the ones I love most. I was contemplating on my childhood, my upbringing, grandparents that I loved dearly and whom I lost one by one with the falling of the trees and passing of times.
A song was born that day, “Love is written in the tears” which in essence is a song about family, time and love and my deepest desire to turn tears into years so I can enjoy more time with the ones I love.” ~ Simona-Valentina

Singing with her trademark compassion and sincere emotion, Simona-Valentina opens up the door to her heart and shows us into her picture of feeling that she wants more time to be with those who she truly cares for. In a sad world that has closed its doors for too long, this is an expressive masterpiece by a delightful musician and sweet spirit who is at her absolute best.

Love Is Written In The Tears‘ from the London, UK-based indie folk/pop artist Simona-Valentina, shows us a deeply caring soul who misses that vital family bond so much. She performs with so much love pouring out of her heart that purrs so sweetly throughout your enticed veins. This is that mirror-on-the-wall story about wondering if you do have that extra time to be with those that you love before it’s too late – as you gently gather your tears – and hope that you have many more years left to spend those priceless moments together.

Listen to her latest captivating new single on Soundcloud and see her travels via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

This Is How I Feel: Camberley rockers The Whiskey Knights let it rip on ‘Trashed’

With a booming start to proceedings that is guaranteed to knock off all the dust from the previously-lonely speakers, The Whiskey Knights show us how they really feel on the brawl-heavy new single all about sensing others who are mentally ‘Trashed‘.

The Whiskey Knights is a 4-piece indie hard rock band from Camberley, Surrey who were formed in 2013 and seem to evolve constantly throughout each release.

Their sound is best described as a mixture of hard rock, punk rock, indie rock and pop rock.” ~ The Whiskey Knights

With a sip-inducing single that has you knocking another one back to get into the mood again after all the recent heartache, The Whiskey Knights show us what hardcore rock music sounds like in 2022 with a tremendous effort that is sure to boost your immune system up to dominate the year.

Trashed‘ from the Camberley, Surrey-based indie hard rock act The Whiskey Knights, is a top-notch new single from a band who let it all out and couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks. Which is ultimately, just the way that they like it.

In a world filled with that fake stench that seems to be growing more horrid by the day in a confusing time for our precious world, this is a reminder to just let your hair down and vent out your true emotions. Bottling everything inside never works anyway.

Check out the single on Spotify and see more via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Into Some Trouble: SQUARMS take the leap on the wildly creative mind-bender ‘Could Do’ (feat. Kv$hnoodle)

As they wonder if the moves intended will actually help the struggle in this fake world that has suffocated so many smart brains away from the truth, SQUARMS bring us a track that is laced with so many layers of intrigue you might need a lie down after witnessing the future with ‘Could Do(feat. Kv$hnoodle).

SQUARMS is a UK-based alternative act that refuses to let their minds and hearts be controlled by anything that is greedily stealing their valuable soul’s moral fibre.

Dystopic dreamers, ethereal entities and Auteurs of reality – SQUARMS allow a look beyond the velvet curtain of corporate theatrics, and into the deep excess of the digital age.” ~ SQUARMS

Showing us into a galaxy that has their signature British accents brewing confidently from the speakers as they show us into their vividly exciting universe, SQUARMS are the type of group that is uniquely original and will never settle for anything less. They make the type of music that many will find unusual and that is exactly how they intend it, as they wonder why so many others make the same copycat music that sometimes tastes like sour milk.

They performed at a DIY blockchain ticketed livestream event using Ethereum test tokens in 2019, taking part in Kaneda Records co-founder Simeon Soden’s PHD thesis dubbed ‘Paypal for Punks’ in 2019, exploring how music organisations and practitioners may use blockchain to distribute, compose, present and perform music.” ~ SQUARMS 

Could Do(feat. Kv$hnoodle) from the UK-based free-thinkers SQUARMS is a new ear-educator that will certainly elevate your mindset to a whole level upwards from before. Their attitude is open-minded and they sense that this is their chance, to teach others that another way is indeed possible no matter what you have been force-fed on the television. Thinking for yourself is ultimately such a valuable vision that seems to be lacking for some odd reason these days.

Hear this electrically-charged new single on Spotify and see more via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Like The Back Of My Hand: Superb Irish artist Hallie tries to move on from the vicious heartbreak on ‘Impact’

With a captivating single that has you totally immersed into her story about trying to get past this inner pain, Hallie shows us what she has been going through lately with her 5th single called ‘Impact‘.

Hallie is an Irish indie-pop singer-songwriter who has dealt with many traumatic issues over the past few years and uses this incredible single to ease the past away as she regains her former self from the shadows.

It’s an honest, open conversation to herself while reflecting on a past turbulent relationship, with a plea for understanding and acceptance, following a breakup without closure and wounds that never seem to heal.” ~ Hallie

With the pop breakup anthem of 2022 so far, Hallie is at her vulnerable best with this mirror-filled effort that is so touching and rather tragic. She was madly in love and thought everything would fall into place so perfectly, as instead, she felt like her heart broke in half due to that evil former lover.

Impact‘ from the inspiring Irish indie-pop singer-songwriter and mental health advocate Hallie, is a moving single that will certainly shake your soul to the core. With soothing piano, emotional vocals, and honest lyrics that might have you shedding a tear for the unnecessary pain that was caused on this resolute young woman. Sung with a true grace from someone who knows that she needs to move on – but just can’t seem to currently – this is an exquisite effort that will have you thinking so deeply about that person who you thought would be around forever.

Listen to this excellent new single on Spotify and see more news about her life via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Spotlight Feature: Winchester 7 & the Runners shared their world-weary wit in their ukulele-led indie rock album, Catacomb Songs.

Get your nostalgia fix and your catharsis hit in one in the latest album from the internationally scattered outfit, Winchester 7 & The Runners. Catacomb Songs was just one of the lockdown-born albums conceived via Zoom in 2021; notably, few albums advocate for the future of remote collaboration better than this 9-track release.

The hazy, smoky and garagey vibes in the ukulele-led indie rock album are just as sweet as any album from the Zombies, the Beatles and the Stones. There may be nothing like delving into your favourite records from decades past, yet Winchester 7 & the Runners have their relevant and resonant ennui as an upper hand.

The thought of an indie ukulele rock album may send the blood pressure of music snobs through the roof, but if anyone can change the reputation of the electric ukulele, it is Winchester 7 & the Runners. They know just how to pull the rich, warm timbre from the electric uke to compliment the equally as mellifluous vocals.

The album starts with the quasi-morbid single, Dead Celebrities and New Beginnings, which questions why new beginnings seem impossible for ordinary folk while the famous can enjoy posthumous transformations. Once Dead Celebrities and New Beginnings has grabbed your attention, the album kicks things down a notch with the 70s rock reminiscent single, The Song That You Sing, which opens up a new level of lyrical intimacy that continues through the duration of the album that is tinged with satirical wit and the rare sense of compassion that can only be extended from world-weary soul to another.

Here is what Winchester 7 had to say about Catacomb Songs:

“We released our previous EP, Argos Holiday, last year on December 17th to limited fanfare due to the pandemic. In the following months, we made the best use of our time, took to our home studios and worked via Zoom to produce a follow-up. Catacomb Songs is certainly pandemic influenced in places, especially Riding High Again, which was written in memoriam of a good friend that succumbed to alcoholism during it. However, there is also a message of hope and inspired joy that is directly related to the normalcy we found playing together, albeit apart, amidst the lockdowns and travel bans.”

Catacomb Songs was officially released on December 17th. It is now available to stream on Spotify and Bandcamp.

Connect with Winchester 7 & the Runners to stay up to date with the 60s-inspired alchemy yet to come via Instagram and Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Starting Fights: TRNR wonders when they will listen and really ‘Change’ (feat. Miriam and the Tipsy Pandas)

As they struggle to keep the peace in a complex web of love that has been damaged by mental wars, TRNR shows us into a story about when two people need to step back for a moment and see through a new viewpoint on ‘Change(feat. Miriam and the Tipsy Pandas).

TRNR is a St. Louis, Missouri indie-pop solo artist and taco-lover who sings with a flamboyant innocence that has you gazing through your window.

”“Change” is the title of my new single about the fights in a relationship. It can be hard to see eye to eye at times but you can always work through things with a little bit of change.” ~ TRNR

With his smoothly-lipped vocals, bright blue hair, and honest nature that has you admiring his unassuming style, TRNR sings with a vigorous passion that helps us understand what it really takes to succeed in love in this rather odd world.

Change(feat. Miriam and the Tipsy Pandas) from St. Louis, Missouri indie-pop musician TRNR, is an honest track that will have many of us nodding at the picture presented. Sometimes two people love each other so much but forget to think about the other perspective that you have forgotten about. This is the call to grab that hand tight and sort out any silly differences, which are holding you both back from gaining that all-important special bond that moulds you together forever.

Listen up on Spotify and check out his moves via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Spotlight Feature: KAIS is stripped-back and spiritual in his latest acoustic indie-soul-folk single, Healing

KAIS

KAIS bared his spiritual soul in his latest release Healing. The Canadian Cyprus-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer allowed his acoustic single to explore the deep significance of the messiness of our existence and our ability to clean up through bleeding, breathing and healing.

It is thanks to artists like KAIS, that the conversations around trauma have moved past idiomatic ignorance. Remember when we were all under the impression that PTSD existed solely in the minds of those that had experienced war? Thankfully, we now see it as a common experience; every ego-blow and mental scar imprinted leaves us with the option of carrying trauma or moving past it, and that is exactly what Healing forces you to reflect on. It’s enough to make you step in front of the mirror and check for scars that have been pushed into the subconscious.

With KAIS’ effortlessly artful vocals atop the acoustic guitar strings and nothing else to get in the way of the evocative impact of his lyrics that find a meta way to resonate as confessional, it is easily one of KAIS’ most powerful singles to date. As the perfect example, “fall from grace at god’s own pace I’m travelling through the fire, victim of desire” leaves so much more between the lines than your average lyrical confession for the way it alludes to the conflict between our situational emotion and desire.

For KAIS’ fans enamoured by his new venture into psychy indie-soul-folk, stay tuned for his upcoming EP that is due for release in February 2022. Healing was officially released on December 19th, 2021. It is now available to stream on Spotify.

Connect with KAIS to keep up to date on his new releases on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Like Your Booty: Mr Relax (feat. D-Fish) wonders if she is actually the one with ‘Prisionero De Amor’

Translated from Spanish as ‘Prisoner Of Love‘, Mr Relax brings us a summer track to turn on loud as you show your new lover that your heart is in a flutter that has never been experienced before with ‘Prisionero De Amor(feat. D-Fish).

Mr Relax is a Colombian music artist and owner of SSL ProRecords who makes an entertaining blend of ravishing Latino melody that pulsates your whole body into a frenzy.

Featuring the Dutch/English manager/rapper and songwriter D-Fish, there is lust-lit energy here that has a bouncy beat included to really get involved with throughout this new sexy single.

The party-master himself Mr Relax returns with another glowing experience that has you wondering why you have fallen head over heels with someone so quickly. He lathers our mind into a world where anything is possible if you want to believe that your soulmate is there waiting for you to make the first move.

Prisionero De Amor(feat. D-Fish) from the well-known Colombian artist Mr Relax, is a loving track that will be relevant for so many who aren’t looking for a long-term romance at first but feel that they have met someone extra special. With that signature Latino flavour that makes everything better, this is a hot release that has you daydreaming about that girl who has left a real mark on you already. The problem is, however, is that she has left already and the chase is on to find her again.

Listen to this catchy new single on Spotify and see more via his IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen