Browsing Tag

90’s Grunge

Jon Fritz – Cold Hard Rain: A Soulful Storm of Genre-Defying Rock Reverie

When it rains, it pours, and in Cold Hard Rain, the latest single from the singer-songwriter and touring troubadour Jon Fritz, the soulful rock reverie pours deliciously.

After an intro of layered gospel-esque harmonies, Cold Hard Rain sells vintage indie rock sanctuary; the bluesy guitar bends carve chemistry across the upbeat rhythm section as Jon Fritz vocalises in the middle ground beyond college radio rock and grunge. Vedder himself couldn’t have performed this release better.

There are expansive releases; then there are singles that refuse to inhibit themselves by following genre constraints and register as pure unbridled communications from the soul; Cold Hard Rain cascades into the latter camp with the blissfully constructed melodies that turn on a dime between 90s nostalgia, 80s soaring solos and 70s rock n roll stripes. It is within these cohesive confluences that John Fritz truly shines; try as you might, there’s no resisting being injected by the rugged euphoria which resounds in the rhythmic downpour of Cold Hard Rain.

Cold Hard Rain was officially released on April 4th; stream the single on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Alley of the Dolls earned a place in the pantheon of post-grunge with ‘Broken Skies’

Alley of the Dolls, Yorkshire’s alt-rock revelation, delivered a thunderous wake-up call with their single ‘Broken Skies’. The standout from their EP ‘Urethane‘, is a movement scribed through Jacob Stephenson’s and Adam Pickering’s shared passion for the gritty, grungy, and raw energy of 90s rock.

‘Broken Skies’ lyrically tackles a subject as delicate as it is devastating – the rising phenomenon of school shootings. Few artists have dared to go beyond lyrically mourning the tragedy, but Alley of the Dolls does so with a boldness that is both haunting and necessary. Their words don’t just skim the surface; they eviscerate the protagonists of these tragedies, demanding accountability for the senseless destruction born from unprocessed emotions.

The duo’s fearless approach to songwriting is matched by the sonic ingenuity within the bruising riffs and intense instrumental thematic textures in ‘Broken Skies’. Their determination to become architects of a new sound influenced by iconic Seattle post-grunge bands and legends like Guns ‘N’ Roses and the Foo Fighters is palpable in every viscerally affecting note of ‘Broken Skies’.

By using their music to punch upward against tyranny and stand for those struggling to survive and thrive, Alley of the Dolls’ discography is as essential as it is vindicating.

Broken Skies will drop on April 12th; stream the single on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Grunge Father Let His Demons Out to Play in an Exclusive A&R Factory Interview

In an evocative interview with A&R Factory, The Grunge Father delves into the soul-stirring depths of his debut album, ‘Demons‘, which unravels as a raw, introspective journey through the labyrinth of personal struggles and the relentless pursuit of clarity amidst life’s chaos.

With a nod to the gritty essence of Seattle’s grunge era, The Grunge Father weaves a tapestry of emotive narratives, each track a chapter in a larger story of battling and acknowledging one’s inner demons. His unique blend of melodic grunge, infused with introspective lyrics and acoustic warmth, offers a fresh perspective on the genre.

As he discusses the creative process, inspirations, and the cathartic experience of bringing ‘Demons’ to life, readers are invited to delve into a world where darkness is met with the resilience of the human spirit, a theme that resonates universally.

The Grunge Father, thanks for sitting down with us to discuss your debut album, Demons, what are the emotional themes which underpin this release?

Thank you for having me. With ‘Demons’ I wanted to create a strong theme throughout the album which all tied together. The album is mostly about my own personal Demons and the life experiences I have had with them. I try to shine some light on the darkness and mazes of life and our constant search for clarity among the chaos.

I am aware that everyone has their own Demons and I hope they can relate in some way. I think anyone of age has gone through some kind of personal struggle with their inner Demons. Whether it be with addiction, low points, vices etc. There will be voices in your head which have conflicting views trying to pull you one way and then the other. The Demon is always there lurking in the shadows but you always have a choice in what to do? Will you give in to the Demon or fight it and battle through? This is how I see life. It is a constant fight against the creatures which live inside you.

I wrote the songs and put them on the album in that specific order to tell the story that I have personally been through and tried to cover all the different angles from which I see life. Although the album is quite dark, I do hope people can take a lot of positivity from it with the main theme being ‘acknowledge that your Demons are there and then do your best to slay them or keep them at bay.

We love how the Seattle sound resounds through your uniquely melodic grungy sonic signature, what is it about the era that continues to inspire you? 

Grunge music and the bands which came out of Seattle in the early ’90s had a rawness which instantly resonated with me from the age of 8. I was hooked instantly and listened to cassette tapes on repeat. I don’t know if it’s because I listened to Grunge music so much growing up but whenever I write songs where I am trying to express an emotion through the lyrics, the songs have a gungey vibe and that is completely unconscious. I was in metal bands for years and also have played and written a lot of Jazz and Blues music but I find Grunge is the best way to convey an emotion or tell a story.

For your new listeners, where would you say your sound fits in the grunge genre?

I would like to say I take a unique approach to the genre while keeping the foundations as a baseline. Out of the big grunge bands, my music is definitely more in line with Nirvana and Silverchair than any of the other big Grunge bands. I don’t think I quite fit in with the ‘Post Grunge’ category that much, as I feel the bands which are labelled as this have more of a nu-metal sound.

The acoustic fingerpicked guitars bring swathes of warmth to juxtapose the evocative vocal performance of the lyrics, was this an easy stylistic choice to make? 

Yes to refer back to your previous question this is hopefully where my own style cuts through. Especially on this unplugged album where I felt it needed more depth. My approach here was slightly different to other music I have written previously because your standard power chords don’t round out the sound enough and get lost in the mix. There are a lot of fuller and melodic chords used to fill the space where the distorted guitars would normally sit and the guitar picking parts are opened up to interact melodically with vocals.

How long has the LP been in the making?

I spent a bit of time writing the songs with no real set period and just waited until it all came together organically before going into the studio. As I write and play everything myself, it does take a bit of time because the last thing you want to do is rush it. When I finished recording all the parts I took about a month or so to let it sink in and see if there were any parts not working. I then went back into the studio to mix and master it. All in all, it took about a year.

What was the most rewarding part of bringing Demons to fruition? 

This is my first unplugged/acoustic album to be released and that within itself is really rewarding to me. It was a challenge and a different recording process, but I feel the hard work has paid off. I am also glad that the story of the inner demons seems to have come through and resonated with people.

What’s next for The Grunge Father? 

So for the next few weeks, I will continue to promote the album and my first single ‘Seesaw’ then it will be straight onto the next album which is written with guide tracks ready to go.

While I get things sorted for the next album, I will continue to record some grunge classics. These will go up on my YouTube and social media platforms. I will also start to document and film more behind-the-scenes footage from the writing and recording process.

Stream Demons (Unplugged) on Spotify now.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

The Seattle Sound Came Back Around in The Grunge Father’s Acoustic Single, Introvert

The Grunge Father embodied the aura of the 90s Seattle sound in his debut LP, Demons (Unplugged). The standout single, Introvert, is diaphanous in one breath, cacophonously ensnaring in the next to echo the raw, unadorned spirit of the genre.

Fans of Nirvana’s iconic MTV Unplugged in New York session will find a familiar refuge in Introvert, where the Grunge Father channels the same rugged, scorned magnetism that defined a generation.

His vocal performance and instrumental work are a study in contrast as they find a rare equilibrium between melodic harmony and a deliberate, volition-fuelled discord as the lyrics reflect the weariness of introversion in an extrovert’s world. Despite being an introvert by his own admission, The Grunge Father emerges larger than life in this track, his voice a slice of vindication for those who find strength in introspection.

It’s safe to say that The Grunge Father cemented his place in the grunge pantheon with his debut LP. While other artists are busy leading the post-grunge revolution, this superlatively talented one-man powerhouse is proving that there is so much potential left to discover in the roots of the genre.

Stream The Grunge Father’s LP Demons (Unplugged) on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Elegant Chasers explored the trappings and torment of addiction with their maniacal alt-rock hit, The Hungry Ghost

The Elegant Chasers

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Mike Patton had formed a new side project after being exposed to the vocal dynamism and tightly controlled instrumental chaos in the latest single, The Hungry Ghost, from the London-based alt-rock originators, The Elegant Chasers.

The franticly alchemic production which echoes 90s Britpop and grunge entices you in through the urgency as the James Dean Bradfield-esque guitars shimmer and act as an anchor in the tumultuous storm brewed by the rhythm section. The lack of restraint is a conceptual sonic visualisation of the nefariousness of addiction, which the volatile lyrics explore influenced by the work of Gabor Mate.

There was no forgetting The Elegant Chasers after getting acquainted through their previous release, Running Around the Sun, but The Hungry Ghost is a million maniacal miles away from the mash-up of indie, Britpop and Psych Rock. It’s safe to say The Elegant Chasers can stop running because they’ve arrived at exactly where they need to be with The Hungry Ghost.

The Hungry Ghost will be officially released on March 15; stream and purchase the single on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

NEET and Tidy wrapped their grungy pop-punk hooks around the afflictions of modernity in their LP, Is This Progress?

If any band can advocate for the LP format in an era when our attention spans are shorter than a boardwalk, it is NEET and Tidy with their aural corridor back to the alt-90s.

The sophomore album, Is This Progress? is an unflinchingly reflective exposition of the afflictions of modernity. The sludged-up hooks in Pillow Talk, which captures the bitter taste of a love turned sour, carry all the infectious rancour of Jawbreaker and NOFX, before Play Me launches a straight-up attack on how far the industry has fallen since the golden era of indie and alt-rock. Lyrics in the vein of, “your favourite pop star is the latest infection”, and “another NFT, another stupid dance”, paint a damning portrait of how twisted the industry has come through the contortions of capitalism and narcissism-driven content.

Another standout release within the LP is the evocative evolution of pop-punk into the chorally reverb-swathed remit of shoegaze. Snow (Okay) is a harbingering lament on how the music industry revolves around ableism when it isn’t bleeding vulnerable people dry. From start to finish, the sophomore release from NEET and Tidy asserts the Nashville-residing outfit as one of the most relatable and essential bands in 2024. If you’re always looking for artists with the ability to cut through the static of your ennui, you will find one when you delve into this seminal release.

Is This Progress will reach the airwaves on February 23rd; stream the LP on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ramener exhibited the agony of empathy in their debut music video for their seminal single, In Her Hands

With the unveiling of Ramener’s debut album drawing closer, the grungy alt-rock evocators unleashed their first music video to complement their ensnaring lead single, In Her Hands, and draw fans a little closer into their tumultuously provocative world, which is redefining the contemporary nu-metal arena.

With a similar atmosphere and aesthetic to Nirvana’s iconic Smells Like Teen Spirit music video, Ramener succeeded in amplifying the visceralism within their seminal single. The rhythmics of the track mimic a fraught with anxious torment heartbeat in the intro until the single breaks into its first cascade of instrumental candour to complement the complete rejection of inhibition from the vocals, which harmonically tease you into the cacophonous outpour.

If you are yet to see Ramener live, the music video will give you an accurate view of what you can expect from the instrumentally tight outfit which becomes the sum of all parts when they’re using their agony, volition and razor-sharp songwriting chops to seduce you into soundscapes which transcend sound to become immersive expositions into the dark side of empathy. Keep Ramener on your radar. What follows will undoubtedly be just as groundbreaking.

Stream the debut music video from Ramener for their In Her Hands hit single via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Adelaide’s hottest post-grunge pioneers, The Yellow Wallpaper, prescribed volatile vindication in the chaos of their sophomore single, Run Your Mouth

The Yellow Wallpaper made an eternal impression with their debut single, Tell Me to Beg; their spiky attitude punctuated the ensnaring sphere of artful alt-rock, but that was nothing compared to the volition that went into as much overdrive as the guitars in their sophomore single, Run Your Mouth.

Veering more towards the 90s Seattle sound but still sinking their teeth into post-rock production styles, Run Your Mouth is a kaleidoscopic vortex of vindication. In a time when it feels like there’s a cacophony of vacuous contempt at every turn, every bark is worse than the bite and every bitch is in heat, sinking into the single, which delivers an exposition of the shallowness of the hypocrisy of public perception and the psychological effects, is as close to utopia as our dystopic epoch will allow.

Following the sold-out launch show of their debut single in mid-2023, the band is priming to do it all again by launching the single to their hometown crowd in Adelaide.

Run Your Mouth was officially released on September 22nd; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sleeping in Circles honeyed their indie-post-grunge seminal single, Grey, with beguilingly artful melodicism.

Sleeping in Circles

 The Little Rock, Arkansas outfit, Sleeping in Circles, bridged the gap between Smashing Pumpkins and Soundgarden in their honeyed-with-melodicism standout single, Grey.

With sludgy hooks by the smorgasbord and a gruff yet soulfully smooth vocal melody striking enough that it will continue to reverberate through your consciousness long after the quiescent outro, Grey is an unforgettable indie release that stands as a testament to the trio’s songwriting chops.

Grey is the first single to be released from the upcoming LP, which is due for release in September 2023. If the rest of the album carries the same evocatively arrestive beguile of the title single, Sleeping in Circles will be the creators of the most seminal post-grunge album of the year.

Grey will be available to stream on all major platforms from August 25; hear it via their website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

BlueMelt grunged up classic rock in his latest single, Fading

‘Fading (Surrounded by Stars)’ is the latest riff-charged rock reinvention from the London-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Vito Tardia’s one-man project, BlueMelt. After honing his talent in progressive rock and power metal bands, Tardia moved to the front of the stage with his monolithic talent and found his rightful place.

His bluesy rock guitar work against his grungy vocals, which carry a touch of Alice in Chains in their evocative dynamism, created a bold fusion that reinvented the rock revival wheel. Since making his debut as a solo artist in 2020, Tardia has received strong support from local, international and independent press. Seemingly, we’re not the only ones taken with his utilisation of his technical ability in his emotion-driven hits that tease you with nostalgia before tantalising you with innovation.

Stream Fading on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast