Starting his single with clips of Donald Trump’s cognitive dissonance was a bold choice, but his obnoxious tones will always evoke a visceral reaction from the minds Greg Barnett aimed to compel with his standout single, The C-Bomb.
Taken from his massive 30-track debut LP, The Flat White Album, the single reminds us of the role we all need to play in salvaging the planet before it burns hotter than the temper of a right winger when expected to find a modicum of empathy or awareness.
The orchestrally laced alt-indie-folk soundscape that will make any Elliott Smith fans feel instantaneously at home delivers a shot of vindication through the affirmation that you’re not alone in your climate anxiety. Which is as warranted as it is a necessity if we want to take back our world from the disaster capitalists who would be happy to walk in the ashes as long as there are enough 0s in their bank balance before the curtains close on humanity.
Following the success of her debut album, Downstruck, the independent singer-songwriter EMRYS has launched her refreshing antithesis of a Christmas EP, Christmas Songs 4 Sad People.
For anyone who can see through the capitalistic ploy the festive season has become and are reluctant to feign superficial joy because the calendar demands it, the five singles on the compassionately quaint EP will prove that you’re not alone in your seasonal pessimism.
After the harp strings in track one, Merry Christmas to the Miserable, have lulled you into a state of catharsis and assured you that you’re not isolated in your misery, EMRYS utilises her 2020 single, Christmas Will Be Silent This Year, to take us back to the frustrations of COVID deniers waving restrictions to celebrate a holiday as though it’s their God-given right.
Not Great, But Grateful is an exposition of what it means to be grateful while enduring a not-so-perfect life with humble grace. Serotonin for Christmas is a haunting reflection of how consumerism does little to quell the pain of mental health issues.
The concluding single, O Lonely Night, is a quiescently orchestral lullaby which instrumentally encapsulates the phenomenon of Christmas amplifying the isolation for anyone not at the centre of a picture-perfect nuclear family.
From start to finish, the EP is a gracefully elevated release, which definitively proves that true artistic beauty always lies in quirky creative autonomy. As someone who shares a similar mindset to EMRYS, I can fully attest to how seminal the EP is. Amanda Palmer couldn’t have said it better.
Christmas Songs 4 Sad People is now available to stream on Spotify.
The alt-indie-folk-rock newcomers, Winternom, are set to bring souls in from the cold with the standout single, True, from their sophomore album, The Cold or the Crowd. Sonically, the hazily sweet single sits between Elliott Smith and Pavement, with a few proto-punk-meets-psych-pop nuances.
Lyrically, the Ottawa, Canada-hailing artist comes into their own with their witticisms that walk the line between existentialism and affection in a way that pays ode to the Alt 90s while still delivering emotive modernism. Despite its overarching lo-fi vibe, the dreamy textures in True never resonate as brash. Instead, they keep the tones bright to contrast the less than sunny, deeply relatable vocal disposition.
True is now available to stream along with the rest of Winternom’s triumph of an album, The Cold or the Crowd via Spotify.
Southampton-born artist and producer, Mr Hidden Treasure placed another gem on the airwaves with their sophomore single ‘By the River’. With a touch of Pete Doherty-Esque. swagger to the vocals and high-vibe staccato rhythms in the stripped-back folky alt-indie single, you can’t help but embrace the warm tones; the energy in By the River radiates.
By the River which was inspired by the artist’s late wife was released on the first anniversary of her funeral on February 10th, it perfectly depicts the power of perception and resilience. In a time where the smallest first world problems are enough to send us over the edge, By the River exhibits true perception-shifting strength.
If you need anymore convincing to put Mr Hidden Treasure on your radar, their debut album is due for release in 2021. On the basis of By the River, your sanity may depend on leaving your mind open to the artist’s inspiring introspection and ability to overcome tragic adversity.
Discernibly, it isn’t just the artwork for The Home Stretch’s album ‘Ocean Boy’ which Neutral Milk Hotel inspired, the same lo-fi psych folk sound resounds right through the debut album from the Birmingham-based newcomers.
The seafaringly sweet album starts with the title-track which allows you to wade into The Home Stretch’s cathartically panoramic signature sound which will undoubtedly be a hit with any fans of Deerhunter.
There’s nothing ambient about the intricate art rock guitar progressions which pop with bluesy pronunciation, but you’ll feel serenity wash over you as you let this mellifluously stunning soundscape arrest your rhythmic pulses and offer indulgent aurally-derived escapism.
With their headphones on loud to block out the noise and the trusty skateboard under foot, The Verdis cruise through the tricky streets with the reflective gem ‘Bus Stop Blues‘.
Laid-back Sheffield, England four-piece act The Verdis, are an impressive indie alt-folk band who fuse together that easy-on-the-ear music, that calms your beating heart and puts you into a mellow zone, to get through your day without getting involved in any unnecessary drama.
His effortless voice takes you into the world that is has changed so much, the usually-thriving streets are quieter and without the life they had before. The main aim is to get to where you need to go without missing the bus to work, the same old journey is the only way to survive right now and the band thrill the ears with a sound that has your feet stomping, as you smile knowingly to a song that you can relate to.
‘Bus Stop Blues‘ from mellow Sheffield indie folk band The Verdis, is a real sign to the currently cloudy times, as we all try to get through the day and avoid human contact as much as possible. Their authentic gaze-like soundscape is a pleasurable listen, the soulful style is a meaningful escape and you feel thoughtful inside their music that is an enjoyable ride through the cobbled and obstacle-filled roads of 2021.
Hear this terrific single here on Spotify, see the video here on YouTube and find out more via IG.
The musical vehicle for London-native singer-songwriter Neil Phillimore, Brave New Broken Hearts Club new single – released on the 29th January, and the first track from the forthcoming new album – is a delicate, melancholy semi-acoustic number; a tremolo-laden picked guitar part sits atop closed hi hats and Phillimore’s unapologetically character-filled vocals. Think of a ‘Country House’ era Damon Albarn, a North London wash delivering a evocative narrative of tainted love and shattered expectations.
It’s a great track, pretty and self-aware at the same time, downbeat without being downtrodden. Phillimore’s Suggs-like delivery perfectly suits the lyrical content, there’s some beautiful harmonies courtesy of Peckham folk singer Pearl Fish, and the repeating guitar motif adds weight throughout the track. Overall, ‘Love Is On Its Way’ is heartfelt, hopeful, and emotive, a perfect introduction to Brace New Broken Hearts Club – with two more singles scheduled before the release of the debut album later this year, it looks as though success, for sure, is on its way.
Love is On Its Way is available to stream from January 29th, you can pre-save the single on Spotify via this link.
After the release of her second album, there’s never been a better time to indulge in Jessamine Barham’s captivatingly devastating Alt-Indie Folk Pop sound.
The perfect introduction to her melancholically arrestive style is “Marching On” which compassionately addresses the very real fact that globally, we’re suffering from a loss of faith. Not just in a religious sense, but a loss of faith in our futures, ourselves, our leaders. The list is endless, but, as Jessamine Barham so poignantly alludes in this haunting release, it’s not easy to pull yourself out of a depressive hole, but that doesn’t mean that it is an impossibility for you to see more than just futility.
This track isn’t for the fainthearted. The directness of it may rub some salt in the wound, but just as with that tired old analogy, the salt (track) can heal after it stings.
I don’t make a habit of expressing personal gratitude in my reviews, but Jessamine Barham deserves so much more than fancy adjectives, she deserves recognition for this truly priceless record, for how candidly she approached the lyrics, for how cathartically resolving the soundscape became. So, thank you.
You can check out Marching On by heading over to YouTube.
Rhode Island Indie Alt Rock artist Mark Ramsey released their accordantly pensive single “January Rough Times” on August 21st and left us seriously bruised by the contrast of ethereally atmospheric instrumentals and their softly morose vocals gently finding synergy.
Is it blasphemy to say that Mark Ramsey’s semi-orchestral single may even be more viscerally captivating than Elliot Smith’s haunting singles? Probably, but I’d take the risk of a stoning to pay a fitting ode to the tender soundscape which becomes more intimate with every listen.
Every lyrical line draws you into the narrative deftly set up by Mark Ramsey. You’d have to entirely void of empathy not to be stung by poetic lyricism such as “You’re starting to sleep through the night, I’m starting to think that you missed the point and now there’s no telling what’s right but let’s not pretend it wasn’t your choice”.
January Rough Times is available to stream on all major platforms via this link.
Whispers & Whistles is the 5th single to be released by Alt Indie Folk Pop artist René Le Feuvre. The serenely comforting soundscape stands as a testament to the Australian artist’s matured and organic nuanced sound.
They may draw influence from the likes of Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran, but there’s nothing assimilative about Whispers and Whistles. It’s a sticky-sweet ambient earworm which was served straight from the soul.
With some artists, music is just something they do. While with artists like René Le Feuvre, you can tell it’s who they are. Their soulful melodic abilities are as much of a part of them as the blood the passion runs in.
Whispers & Whistles is available to stream via Spotify now.