Browsing Tag

Alt Indie

Freak of the Sea provided the ultimate fix of pacifistic solace in his alt-indie anti-gun anthem, The Bullet

It is a disillusioning and confusing era for pacifists to be enveloped in; substantial consolation ebbed and flowed from the Avant-Garde-tinged indie single, The Bullet, from Freak of the Sea (Christopher Jacques).

The anti-gun anthem, which lyrically revolves around the resonant reprise of “I’d rather take a bullet than shoot a gun”, is, unfortunately, a necessity given how we’re numbed to the horrors of gun violence through over-exposure to massacre.

While the guitar melodies run in a crystal-clear vein, dark and torrid effects disrupt the quiescence to a disarmingly conceptual effect. If you could imagine what it would sound like if Modest Mouse drifted into the waters of post-punk, you will get an idea of what the Portland, Oregon-based artist triumphantly achieved with The Bullet.

When Jacques isn’t crafting aural comfort, he runs the Dandy Warhols’ recording studio, The Odditorium. He’s worked with everyone from The Shins to The Dandy Warhols to Slash to Cowboy Junkies and countless other icons of alt music. Yet, notably, his associations are one of the least impressive facets about him.

The Bullet will officially release on January 26th; hear it on YouTube. The new EP, Out to Pasture, which The Bullet was taken from, will drop on February 10th.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Niky Pasolini has unleashed her illuminating indie dream-pop single, Light On

Alt-Indie singer-songwriter, Niky Pasolini, will release her debut album, Update, on January 20th. We were lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the standout dream-pop single, Light On; from the first ring of the alt-90s guitars and bleeding Shoegazey vocals, we were hooked into the vulnerably delicate self-produced hit. With engrossing reminiscence to Sixpence None the Richer in the guitars and the sense of sentimentality Light On is as illuminating as the title alludes.

The London-based artist wrote, created and recorded the entirety of the album in a makeshift studio in her basement to provide a refreshing antithesis to the extensively produced plastic pop that does little more than scratch at the superficial surface lyrically.

Light On will be available to stream with the rest of Niky Pasolini’s debut album, which documents her coming-of-age story, on January 20th via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Chris Cosmo sings the ‘Oblivion Blues’ in his kaleidoscopically melodic alt-indie debut single

Asbury Park, NJ-hailing solo artist Chris Cosmo set the bar for 2023 debut singles transcendentally high with his single, Oblivion Blues. In contrast to the titular melancholy, the alt-indie pop earworm unravels with dreamy, colourful accord spilling from the jangle pop guitars and vocal harmonies reminiscent of his main influence, the Beatles. Don’t worry; you’ve never walked down the yellow brick road in quite the same way as Oblivion Blues pushes you through. Lyrically, the single takes the opportunity to ponder the mechanics of doubt and its tendency to lead us away from our true paths.

Staying true to his motivation to drive infectious melodies and thoughtful lyrics into his music, Cosmo leaves stardust in the soul when he’s had his melodic way with you. With just enough of a contemporary kick behind the 60s psych-pop tones, you’ll be on a sonic plateau before the kaleidoscopic chorus runs through.

After falling head over heels for music at a young age, which left him inseparable from his guitar, he formed bands through his teenage years before his passion became an obsession following the disillusionment that ensued after graduating college. We can wholly relate, which goes a fair way in explaining the sticky-sweet resonance in Oblivion Blues.

Oblivion Blues will be available to stream from January 13th. Catch it on Soundcloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Erika Levy blurred the line between grief and joy in her indie Avant-Garde single, Chicken and Rice

LA singer-songwriter and classically trained pianist Erika Levy closed 2022 with the release of her elevated alt-indie single, Chicken and Rice, which captures the desolation of the world in the absence of anchoring connection. Haunting and affirming in equal measure, your soul won’t know what’s hit it once you delve into the monochromatic sorrow flowing through her filmic vocals that establish her as a 21st-century chanteuse.

“I’ll get higher once I hit the ground, just takes a little bit to find me, Hey lonely, come buy me another round” is a lesson in heart-breaking lyricism; projected with such grace and finesse, the vulnerability is flooring. In place of pity, you’ll find appreciation for the strength she amassed to lyrically blur the line between grief and joy.

Any fans of Tori Amos, Amanda Palmer, Kate Bush and Fiona Apple will be disarmed by the sheer originality of Levy with the baroque nature of her descending piano melodies that become the off-kilter centre of her 70s folk-pop sonic world.

Chicken and Rice is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

UK Trio The Horizons Brought in a New Wave of Punk with ‘Just Friends.’

The Plymouth UK indie punk-rock trio, The Horizons, single-handedly brought in a new wave of punk with their latest hit, Just Friends. The sweeping choruses are as animating as Reel Big Fish’s cover of Take On Me, while nuances of 90s pop-punk bite away in the same vein as The Offspring’s Hit That in the backbeat. The frenzied grungy instrumentals are dusted with a sugar-coated post-punk snarl that immediately arrests you in the intro before they bring in the silky pop harmonies. Some bands need an entire LP or discography to establish their dynamism, not The Horizons.

Once the fear subsided that this wasn’t an incel-y track bemoaning the friend zone, the euphoria in the upbeat indie punk hit quickly became infectious. The hit becomes infinitely sweeter when you register the self-awareness that allows them to traverse around commitment issues while pertaining to a roguishly modern brand of romanticism.

Just Friends. was officially released on December 28th. Check it out on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


Ye Angst – 15: A Superlatively Succinct Alt-Indie Rock Remedy for the Soul

The indie singer-songwriter Ye Angst is renowned for sharing his artistic vision through the looking glass of youthful angst. In his evocatively enriched discography, which dates back to 2011, the perfect example is his exemplary single, 15. The jazz-blues piano keys around the Americana folk-rock body unravels as a superlatively succinct remedy for the soul.

In the same way, Cohen, Cat Stevens and Lou Reed emanate elevated grace, Ye Angst is in the habit of implanting ethereally cathartic instrumental accord in his singles that will effortlessly take you to a higher plateau while the lyrics and vocals pull you back down to our ennui-imparting earth.

Nearly a decade has passed since the release of 15, but the timeless single still resounds with glistening gospel for the impiously disenfranchised. Even around the complex instrumental interludes that give way to Journey-Esque heart-in-throat vocals, you’ll be caressed by the upliftingly melodic single, which perfectly rounds itself with orchestral strings for a filmic touch.

Succumb to the soul in 15 by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

EMRYS gifted compassion with her EP, Christmas Songs 4 Sad People

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.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Deadpan indie rock icons in the making, Hairpin, walk ‘The Line’ in their latest earworm

Fans of deadpan indie in the same vein as John Grant, Spector and Jack Ladder will be just as hooked on the sardonic candour in Hairpin’s earworm of a sophomore single, The Line.

With a funk-riding indie disco beat as the backbone to the track that allows angular guitar melodies and gravelly post-punk-Esque basslines to form arrestive progressions under the magnetic indie drawling vocals as they lament the frustrations of contemporary connections, it is all too easy to succumb to the grip of the snappy, swanky hit.

The NYC independent five-piece, fronted by Nate Pozin, self-produces all their material, allowing it to retain its autonomy, which has seen the up-and-coming outfit make short work out of making their mark in the industry.

So far, they have sold out every show in New York by word of mouth alone. In a time where alt-indie rock success stories are tragically few and far between, it speaks volumes of their revolutionary capacity to win over a crowd and forge playlist staples from their home studio.

The Line is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Steve Twinley – Time Has Always Been a Friend of Mine: Hear the Latest Collision in Indie Electroclash

Sunsneezer (2022 album) by Steve Twinley

Taken from his 2022 album, Sunsneezer, Steve Twinley’s standout single, Time Has Always Been a Friend of Mine, is an indie electroclash earworm awash with 90s nostalgia. With a beat that pulsates with the same ferocity of Emerge by Fischerspooner paired with melodic choral increments that allow you to appreciate Twinley’s softer side, his seminal single inspires you to delve into it time and time again to re-appreciate the seamless shifts in tone and emotion.

The DIY Alt-Rock singer-songwriter hails from the South Coast of the UK and takes his influence from the alt-90s greats, including Weezer, Radiohead, Green Day, Eels and Feeder, but clearly, their inspiration was just a fraction of the creativity of the single that concludes on a psytrance-Esque outro in the same vein of Infected Mushroom.

Stream and purchase Steve Twinley’s single, Time Has Always Been a Friend of Mine, on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


Spotlight Feature: Glimpse Behind the Scenes of Gated Estates’ Agitated Art-Rock Debut Single, A Letter, with the Live Studio Music Video

Breaking out of the Brecon Beacons, Gated Estates released our favourite debut single of the year with their agitated art-rock release, A Letter. Now, there is a glimpse of how the single was orchestrated; no magic was lost in the live studio version.

The video filmed in their home studio within rural wales provides a voyeuristic view of the gently tensile keys artfully pushing against the angular notes spilling from a Fender Jazz Master while the synths and loops in the background complexify the soundscape to create an alchemic exemplification of music that is greater than the sum of all parts. Christmas came early for the Neil Halstead fan in me as each guitar note transfused choral reverb into the single while the lyrics and vocals resounded with amplified ephemeral grace.

Just when I thought I couldn’t love Gated Estates more, they gave a bird’s eye view as they pulled the rabbit out of the proverbial hat in the compassion-encompassing single that navigates the bitter-sweet relationship between our present selves and our inner child.

Usually, music can only resonate with a subset of people that have experienced certain dynamics. As we have all grown from innocent vessels with naïve views of the world and optimism for the paths we will walk, A Letter speaks to everyone.

We can’t wait for the intellectualism bound to ensue from their sophomore release.

Watch the live studio video for A Letter, which premiered on December 9th on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast