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Alt Indie

Music

Fake-Bit Rebel gave chiptune the melodic touch in their latest indie single, ‘Stolen Summer’.

Chiptune may not be your first choice of genre to delve into when looking for melodic and evocative tracks, but Fake-Bit Rebel with their latest single, ‘Stolen Summer’, may be set to change that.

Behind the choppy full-bodied lo-fi guitar, you’ll hear the indistinguishable beeps and boops which could only have transpired from 8-bit. When the two seemingly contrasting textures merge under the indie power-pop vocals, Stolen Summer becomes a track worth holding a lighter in the air for. Remember when that was a thing?

Given the track title, you can guess what Stolen Summer lyrically tackles, but what it doesn’t do is warn you how hard it hits emotionally. To give you an idea, it parallels what you’ll feel if you hit play on Third Eye Blind or Taking Back Sunday.

Stolen Summer is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Azure Wolf opened up about trauma-induced disassociation in their latest haunting indie-rock single, ‘Black Fur’.

‘Black Fur’ is the latest single released by the Winchester, VA-based alt-indie-rock four-piece Azure Wolf. The ethereal emboldening earworm carries nuances of the alt 90s, especially in the cool and cutting guitar tones which carry reminiscence to Neil Halstead’s (Slowdive). You’ll also pick up on grunge textures in the dark layers of the driving and all-consuming release that tackles a subject rarely spoken of, let alone sung about.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. That’s exactly what you’ll be reminded of as you listen to forming member, songwriter, rhythm guitarist and lead singer Victoria Backle use her powerful command of harmony to draw you into the track that was inspired by personal experience.

Her rich and warming vocal timbre is the perfect contrast to the chilling instrumental tones. If Paul Banks threw away the apathy and emanated strength in spite of suffering, Interpol would carry the same feisty atmospheric air found in Black Fur.

Black Fur is the fourth release from Azure Wolf since they made their debut in 2020 with the single, Dancing Bears. Their debut LP will arrive in the fall; before that, you can expect new singles to land regularly from this luminary artist.

Black Fur is now available to stream via Spotify. Follow Azure Wolf on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Judge Silver is coming off the bench with ‘Angeline’

‘Angeline’ is taken from Judge Silver’s debut album ‘Still On The Bench’, nine tracks of relatively gentle alt-flavoured-rock with a lyrical bent and a certain nod to football-related metaphors here and there. There’s some synth and dancey bass across the album, along with the more ‘rock’ flavoured guitars – think Orange Juice and Edwin Collins, a little of the Presidents of the USA, and maybe a touch of Tin Machine-era Bowie, and a little of Amigo The Devil in the vocal delivery.

It’s perhaps a little self-consciously ‘self-effacing’ when it comes to the lyrics, but in between the tongue-in-cheek there are some killer couplets, and in ‘Angeline’ an albeit unconventional love-song.

You can check out ‘Angeline’, and the rest of Judge Silver’s debut, on Soundcloud. Follow Judge Silver on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Giant Buddha give us all the hurry-up with ‘Better Do It Now’

7 More by Giant Buddha

There’s a rich vein of ‘the right bands’ running through the Giant Buddha’s bio – Oasis, The Cure, Bauhaus, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and the Stones. Now, that by itself doesn’t guarantee a killer track – owning a great record collection doesn’t, of course, automatically translate to creating great original music – but what we have in ‘Better Do It Now’ is a trippy, hippie, stoner grind full of layered guitar crunch and hazy vocals, snippets of harmonica and a droning, driving wall-of-sound groove that’ll be familiar to anyone brought up on B.R.M.C. and Black Market Karma.

There’s a little bit of Velvet Underground garage rock in all of us.

Check out Giant Buddha on BandCamp and Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music Pop

Katanak want us to be their ‘Valentine’

After supporting Pete Murray on his 2019 Summer Seasons Tour, Brisbane indie-pop artist Katanak was having a pretty stellar growth year prior to Covid-lockdownery; a ‘People’s Choice Award’ at 2020’s QUBE Effect awards, working with LMSUKmedia in the UK, and international radio play for his last single ‘Take Us Back’ are all justly deserved rewards for this upcoming indie-groove roller.

There’s a definite pop-influence to ‘Valentine’, like someone’s distilled all those harmonising boy- and girl-bands of the 90’s and 00’s, mixed them all together, and pushed them all through a blender of Wombats, 1975, and Vampire Weekend. With a beautiful, jangle-pop chocky-strummed guitar part and some delicious stop-start keys, all underpinning Katanak’s bouncy, upbeat vocal. Lockdown’s ending, spring is springing, and Katanak might have just delivered the first of this summer’s big indie-pop hits.

Check out ‘Valentine’ on Spotify; follow Katanak on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Paul Marotto showcases his new ‘Chemical Compound’

‘Chemical Compound’ is a clever little mishmash of a showcase song, starting off with some elegant picked guitar and bass parts before adding dreamy, ephemeral synths and a wonderful little phased and distorted guitar lead part, before dropping into total strummy acoustic guitar singer-songwritery-ness.

With less talent, that might all sound a little disjointed, but in the hands of Paul Marotto, it’s skilfully woven together into a cohesive, clever little whole all held together with a lazy, languorous, Plain White Tees-style vocal that perfectly fits that track. It’s reminiscent of those North-East US college radio indie-rock tracks that seem to permeate consciousness every so often – They Might Be Giants, Bare Naked Ladies, or the Presidents of the USA. That’s a very, very good group to be a part of, and Paul Marotto is in some very clever company with ‘Chemical Compound’. We can’t wait to hear more.

You can check out Paul, and his ‘Orange Crush’ recording set-up at Haunted House Studios, here; listen to ‘Chemical Compound’ on Spotify.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Troubled Traveller has released his psychedelically despondent art-pop debut, ‘the lucky ones’

Canadian singer-songwriter Troubled Traveller has made their debut with the all too resonant single ‘the lucky ones’, created in collaboration with Floridian space pop producer Brian Squillace and vocalist Amber Nicole.

With shimmering guitars cascading down melodies first heard in 70s psych-rock finding synergy with deadpan vocals, everything in the lucky ones pieces together like a perfect jigsaw that you never want to tear apart.

Troubled Traveller succeeded in lacing the lucky ones with the same despondence that we’ve all been in bed with recently without making it a self-flagellating melancholy fest. He’s set the bar with his seriously strong debut, but we’re more than assured he’ll exceed expectation with their upcoming releases. Don’t be surprised if Troubled Traveller ambles onto your radar when you hit play on their debut.

the lucky ones is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Darling Overdrive sprinkle some magical songwriting ‘Stardust’ with new EP ‘Cosmic Autumn’

Denver’s Darling Overdrive describe themselves as ‘rekindling the fire of late 20th Century Rock & Roll’. ‘Stardust’ initially has a little bit of a Goo Goo Dolls feel to it, opening up with some gently picked clean guitar over closed hi-hat sixteenths, before building, holding a little suspense before rocking out on the chorus with some nice staccato guitar chords and drum fills.

It’s reminiscent of The Calling, Hoobastank, or Lifehouse, that subtle blend of rock that’s an absolute shoo-in for acres of epic radio play right through the summer. That’s no criticism, either – it takes a very special kind of songwriting skill to maintain rock & roll credibility whilst generating mass-appeal, and to hit that perfect niche without falling into overblown Guns n’ Roses balladeering pomposity or Nickleback cheese takes some doing. Darling Overdrive seem to have done that effortlessly with ‘Stardust’, and the second track on the ‘Cosmic Autumn’ single ‘Surf’; top notch stuff.

Hear ‘Cosmic Autumn’ on Spotify; check out Darling Overdrive on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Sam DeMartino put a modern indie twist on alt-folk with their single ‘The Ring’

Sam DeMartino

Drift into alt-folk nostalgia with singer-songwriter, Sam DeMartino’s recently released EP ‘Not Soon Enough’. If Cat Stevens and Elliott Smith always hit the tender sweet spot, the standout single, ‘The Ring’ may just hit harder.

Sam DeMartino has been honing-in on their signature blend of 70s folk, 80s post-punk and 21st-century indie since high school, based on the ethereal tonal alchemy in The Ring, it’s safe to say that he’s already reached virtuosic heights. The semi-orchestral single possesses a sense of vulnerability that is potent enough to shift your romantic perceptions.

You can hear Sam DeMartino via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Giant Sky show us the meaning of ethereal with their latest post-punk dream-pop single ‘Snow’

Brace yourself for the sonic sting in London and Bristol-based alt-indie powerhouse, Giant Sky’s latest single ‘Snow’ which showcases Olivia’s ethereally evocative vocals which share propensities with the likes of Desperate Journalist, Cocteau Twins and Wolf Alice while the instrumentals pull in post-punk and shoegaze dream-pop tones.

As the release affirms the fragility of our mortality with lyrics such as ‘we’re lucky to grow old’ followed up with ‘I don’t want to go into eternity without you’, it’s lyrically crushing, but the kaleidoscopically colourful instrumentals nicely cushion the blow as they throw you into walls of dizzying noise.

Snow is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast