Browsing Tag

90s Britpop

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  

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

Giant Killers delivered fatalistically sweet indie jangle pop blows in their alt-90s time capsule, Around the Blocks

Songs for the Small Places by Giant Killers

Tracks originally written and recorded in 1995 by Brighton’s Giant Killers when they were signed to MCA Records have finally reached the airwaves. The standout indie jangle pop single, Around the Blocks, from their forthcoming LP, is an authentically nostalgic dream. With hints of Coffee and TV within the R.E.M.-esque college radio rock production, which sees the choruses endlessly ascend and the verses pull you in deeper through the affectionately sharp hooks, Around the Blocks is a tonic for the melancholic soul.

With a frenetic closing sonic chapter which echoes the palpitating pacing of the hit Brimful of Asha, Giant Killers clearly know how to make an ever-lasting impression with their sound, which doesn’t go as far as sticky-sweet; there’s far too much indie rock renegade grit within their compassionately confrontational lyricism.

With their ‘songs for the small places’ LP, Giant Killers aren’t only delivering melodic salvation to the ennui-inclined. £2 of every sale of the LP will be donated to Campaign Against Living Miserably, a charity dedicated to saving lives through suicide prevention. Given the gravitas of Around the Blocks, which will see your soul sweep higher than the transcendentally tight melodies, you shouldn’t need any additional incentive to partake in the nostalgically euphonic bliss. But it’s incredible to see an artist not solely skating by on the signals of their virtue. Giant Killers are putting momentum behind real tangible change.

Hear Around the Blocks on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Steady Owl melancholically howled into the cosmos with his orchestrally elevated alt-90s hit, MOONDOG

If anyone has what it takes to reignite the mainstream momentum of indie, it is the melodic fire starter Steady Owl with their debut album, They Are All Bastards Except Us, which is due for release on October 20.

As an appetiser, the alt-indie revivalist revealed the single, MOONDOG, which pays a mellifluously fitting ode to the icons of the 90s Britpop era. The orchestrally elevated melodicism echoes the legacies of Mansun and the Manics while the cosmically compelling single drips in Transatlantic magnetism with the striking reminiscences to the more melancholic work of R.E.M.

It feels as though the entire alt-90s aural ecosystem underpins this gravity-defying release, yet at the same time, the superlative song crafter conjured something completely new to render the hearts of all indie rock nostalgists raw. Lyrically, it will throw you right back to when Pearl Jam broke your heart for the first time with their single, Black, while the cosmos is torn through by the stunning angular guitars, which know which evocative impulses to strike with every pitch and pace-perfected progression.

MOONDOG was officially released on September 14; stream it on Soundcloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Emerge from the Shadows of Toxicity with JW Paris’ Clamorous Call to Action Against Digital Subjugation, ‘You’ve Got Me’

Even after growing accustomed to JW Paris’ exhilarating amalgams of grunge and Britpop, their latest hybrid synthesis, You’ve Got Me, still struck me as an ensnaring feat of tightly unhinged volition, delivered with electrifyingly dark tones, and liberating intent.

The cutting social discourse against the more interpersonal vignette slices is an affecting affirmation that JW Paris delivered a verbatim narration straight from the antagonised and agonised soul. Imagine the haunting melodies in The Holy Bible augmented by the rancorous swagger of grunge, and you will be close to getting an idea of what JW Paris delivered with this anthemically unshackling elucidation to the toxicity within the grip of algorithms and the seductiveness of social media.

Discernibly, the London-based three-piece have perfected the art of gnarled high-octane hooks and choruses that draw you right into the centre of their distorted chaos, which still doesn’t hold a candle to the dystopic chaos that consumes us when we’re in digital arenas that leaves us with desperation for validation-derived dopamine.

After experiencing the visceralism, in retrospect, it is almost laughable that we are so pre-occupied with fears of AI advancing when we’re already enslaved by the technology that keeps us hooked to a mind-numbing sedative which comes with insecurity and polarised hostility as side-effects.

JW Paris Said

‘With lines like “Can you sit inside the silence, reflecting on the shame,” the song paints a vivid picture of introspection, urging us to confront the uncomfortable truths that we’ve ignored. It delves into the paradox of feeling unwanted and pushing for constant attention.’

You’ve Got Me was officially released via Blaggers Records on October 11. Stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

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

Andrew Bradley advocated for unity in the infectious grooves of his latest single, Everybody’s Welcome Here

Hot on the heels of his debut LP, All Things Considered, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Andrew Bradley is set to unveil his unifying funk-dripping pop-rock hit, Everybody’s Welcome Here.

After an 80s funk hop reminiscent intro, the single unravels as a kaleidoscopically groovy hit that will leave you itching to hit a dancefloor and move to the intrinsically rhythmic magnetism. With the attitude of Britpop and a perfect pinch of Beatles-esque 60s psych-pop, Everybody’s Welcome Here is a compellingly textured sonic TARDIS of a release that couldn’t be better timed.

In such a divisive era when it feels like the pot is being perpetually shaken to breed antagonism in the atmosphere, Andrew Bradley served an all too welcome reminder that acceptance is one of the highest virtues we should all find a little more time for.

Prior to releasing Everybody’s Welcome Here, Andrew Bradley has gained experience in the industry as an artist and producer. From The Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville to Abbey Road Studios, his multi-faceted talents have graced plenty of the bucket list studios.

Check out Andrew Bradley on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

JW Paris Leave It Alone Video Premiere

Teaming up with the video director and director of photography, Alex Estrella, the prodigal spawn of alt-indie, JW Paris, visually captured the same superlative swagger of their distorted to-the-nines sound in their latest single and music video, Leave It Alone.

JW Paris was hardly painting at the kids’ table with their former releases. But the exhibition of a freshly honed sound in Leave It Alone, ahead of the release of their upcoming sophomore EP, marks a fierce new frontier for the powerhouse who never lyrically play with their cards close to their chest.

With Glasvegas-esque choruses that raise the roof so high they leave the brickwork on another plateau, Leave It Alone is metaphysically mind-melting in its ability to balance anthemic transcendence with hauntingly grunged up rancour that adds oceanic depth to the melodies.

Lyrically, Leave It Alone peers into the human proclivity to question reality and look for redemption for past mistakes. In JW Paris’ own words:

“Leave It Alone is a deeply personal song that reflects our own inner journey of self-discovery and acceptance. It invites the listeners on an introspective exploration of identity and longing for inner peace. It is a heartfelt track that encapsulates the struggles and triumphs of self-discovery, reminding us to embrace our imperfections and find solace within ourselves.”

Splicing two facets of the iconic 90s epoch has seen the London-based three-piece comprising Gemma Clarke, Daniel Collins, and Aaron Forde establish themselves as a peerless outfit you will want to try out for size and never take off.

Their two seminal 2022 singles, Electric Candle Light and Runaway received extensive airplay from BBC Radio 1, BBC Introducing, Absolute Radio, and Amazing Radio. JW Paris also deservedly worked their way into the main playlist on Radio X, and numerous curated indie playlists.

Leave It Alone will be released via Blaggers Records on the 30th of June after being recorded at Buffalo Studios, produced by JB Pilon and mastered by the 2023 award-winning engineer at Air Studios, Cicely Balston.

Stream it on Spotify or watch the official music video on YouTube. 

Follow JW Paris on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


Tom Seth Johnson projected adoration through indie rock anthemics in Anywhere in the World Right Now

If indie rock n roll has a soul, it resounds in the magnetic sincerity of the latest single, Anywhere in the World Right Now, from Oxford’s prodigal son, Tom Seth Johnson.

With only an edge of 90s Britpop, there’s plenty of room for an Americana tinge that poured in the same foot-stompin’ vein as The Black Keys. So many postcards get sent to Britpop, but Johnson put his own swaggering stamp on his. Especially, through the sweeter-than-sugar line, “I’ve finally found a reason to play my guitar, ‘cos usually I’m down in Dixies midnight bar”. I legitimately shed a tear.

The rock n roll lifestyle is subject to prolific glamourisation; Johnson put that toxicity to bed and wrapped it up in soulful anthemics to prove all the vacuous sex and drugs in the world can’t parallel the high of coming home when it is a person that defines home instead of four walls.

Anywhere in the World Right Now is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Q-Days – Underboard: Alt-90s Nostalgia Has Never Been Kaleidoscopically Sweeter

The Brighton-based alt-rock outfit, The Q-Days, is driving nostalgia into the next generation of British guitar music with their dreamy kaleidoscopic 90s Britpop-kicked tones and cathartically honeyed vocal lines. Their latest single, Underboard, is sweeter than Sally Cinnamon under the duress of the choral progressions that lick anthemic soul into every honed note.

With escapism, freedom of expression and euphoria as their triadic ethos, they stand for everything we should be giving an ovation to in the UK right now. It’s the pits, but one thing is for sure, our polluted waters are the perfect breeding ground for prodigal sons of rock n roll that salvation seekers will want to flock to.

After spending their foundling days developing their craft before it reached the airwaves and live stages, The Q-Days were always going to be primed to make a killer debut. So far, they’ve opened for Youth Killed It, The Rifles, and Bilk, but if any breakthrough act is definitively headliner material, it’s The Q-Days.

Underboard will officially release on April 7th. Check it out on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast