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Alt-Pop

Chelsea Silva reclaimed power in her vindicatingly catchy electro-pop debut, hades has a daughter

Alt-indie-pop singer-songwriter Chelsea Silva spilt fabled glamour all over the standout single, hades has a daughter, from her spell-binding EP, But What if You Fly?

Using Greek Mythology for her narratively clever exposition on how this mortal world puts kinks in our soul, the Sydney, Australia luminary newcomer proved that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Not even the god of the underworld can match a woman determined to reclaim power and question, “why do the happiest ones leave a trail behind?”.

The catchy, moody electro-pop beats playfully pop around Silva’s sultry theatrical vocal timbre to ensure that everyone who tunes into hades has a daughter gets a shot of vindication through the quirky arrestive sensation of a debut. She shimmers with all of the star power of Marina and the Diamonds while ensuring her own autonomy is the centre of gravity in the infectious hit.

hades has a daughter will be available to stream from November 30th. Catch the earworm on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Meg Chandler finds herself on the visceral side of ethereal in her intimately nostalgic indie alt-pop single, Woodland

Meg Chandler

Given that it has been a fair while since we weren’t living through a historical event of some devastating global nature, it’s all too easy to crave the uncompromised simplicity of youthful nostalgia. Meg Chandler brought it by the smorgasbord in her single, Woodland, which precedes her debut EP, due for release in 2023.

The 21-year-old singer-songwriter divides her time between a remote village in Shropshire, where she finessed her authentically out-of-the-smoke alt-pop style that will be a hit with any fans of Daughter, Adrianne Lenker and Phoebe Bridgers, and in Manchester where she enlists the help of the production/writing duo SOAP.

Never a truer line has been delivered than “now everything just seems to hurt” in Woodland, which flicks through the sepia-tinged memories of a childhood “chasing shadows by the lake”. Projected through intimately vulnerable indie pop vocals that resound on the more visceral side of ethereal, Meg Chandler, with her proclivity to hold nothing back in her lyrics, is set to make major waves with the profound consolation in her music.

Woodland will officially release on November 18th. Stream it on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

London’s True Being pulled us from polarity and put us ‘Back on Track’ with his alt-pop jam

True Being took us back in time with their latest single, Back on Track, which reminisces on the less polarised and partisan days when we could see the world in full colour instead of through the divisive prism of black and white.

What it will take for people to get back there isn’t quite clear, but Back on Track is certainly a step in the right direction. The quirky alternative single which plays with mystical eastern rhythms and playfully polyphonic electro-pop layers is an efficacious reminder that things haven’t always been this way, and there is no good reason why they are engrained in our modern cultures the world over.

The London-based artist makes a habit of holding a mirror to the absurdist facets of our world through his assertion that artists have a role to play in the shaping of our future to take the power away from Musk and his kin, politicians and celebrities. He’s been likened to LCD Sound System, Nick Cave, Talking Heads and John Grant, but all reminiscences in his flamboyantly eccentric sound are incredibly fleeting.

Stream Back on Track on YouTube and Spotify.

Review by Amelie Vandergast

Starleen cinematically exhibited what it means to be human in her debut art-pop LP, To Give In

After making her art-pop debut in 2020 with her beguilingly dark EP, Life is Strange, Starleen came into her cinematically ethereal own through the unveiling of her ceremonially humanistic LP, To Give In.

To Give In explores our desires to succumb to the forces keeping us on our knees while celebrating our unwavering determination to endeavour the myriad of storms that our chaotic world unleashes upon us. With soundscapes that spill a jarring sense of unease around the assuredly celestial vocals that moodily paint the imperfection of the human experience around the pulsating indietronica rhythms, anyone who accepts the idiosyncratic beauty of the human experience will find a wealth of resonance across the seven soundscapes.

All too often, lyricism paints humanity, as a collective, as what we wish we were, what we aim for; an endless series of pretences held up by scarcely anyone for any enduring length of time before perfectionism becomes a crushing weight. Starleen breaks the mould by upholding the truth behind the facades. Paired with the cathartically artful structuring of the soundscapes, her bold daringness to encapsulate the most harrowing facets of the human psyche in To Give In unleashes a wealth of emotion.

For me, the highlight of the LP came in the form of the penultimate single, Out of Touch, which efficaciously reflects the multi-sensory nature of disassociation. Before the album concludes on the tranquility of the reverb-drenched melodies in From Myself. Any fans of London Grammar and Chelsea Wolfe won’t want to skip it. Actually, that goes for the entire LP. It’s officially in my collection of sad girl playlist staples.

“With this project, I knew I wanted to create a dark world. The message I try to convey is that in life, we have choices. Although going back may tempting, we have to move forward. People and their strength to overcome life’s battles always has been an inspiration to me.

Lyrically I have always gravitated towards artists like Nina Simone, Tom Waits, and Leonard Cohen because they talk about what it truly means to be human. And that is something I try to bring in my music.”

To Give In is available to stream on Spotify.

Keep up to date with new releases via TikTok and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Amber Jade Smith offers ethereal redemption in the celestial avant-garde grace of her single, Chains

Alluding to the shackling nature of toxic dynamics to the tune of lush reverb over Avant-Garde pop synths, Amber Jade Smith’s single, Chains, painted her as the PJ Harvey of her generation.

The South Wales-born Devon-based artist takes influence from Stevie Nicks, Daughter and Radiohead, but evidently, her sonic signature has never been scribed before. Lyrically the artist that has garnered airplay from BBC Introducing, Remembering the 90s, XRP Radio, Riviera FM, and EatMusicFM finds inspiration from her early traumas and battles with mental health.

Based on Chains, Amber Jade Smith will undoubtedly help others process their own grief and trauma. Beyond the artistry and cleverly resonant wordplay, there’s ample opportunity to find redemption within the ethereal layers of Chains which practically operates within the realm of the sonically celestial. Her devilishly demure vocal presence is well and truly something to behold.

Chains officially released on October 28th; check it out on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

 

Tokyo’s Sumi has made her dark electronic debut with the hooky anxiety exposition, Closing In

Tokyo-based singer-songwriter Sumi made a strong debut with her dark electro-pop single, Closing in. By utilising metaphors that expose the most insidious aspects of anxiety in the imaginatively amalgamated soundscape that blends her sonic roots into the contemporary moody pop trends, Sumi became one of the most promisingly individual artists on the airwaves.

The emotions in Closing In may be intimately inspired, but in 2022, Sumi is speaking for the masses as we battle with the sharp claws of imposter syndrome and the claustrophobia of reality closing in, leaving our dreams in the rubble of the cortisol spikes.

Before making her solo debut, during her stint in LA, Sumi played with several bands and collaborated with artists and producers to create songs on network shows such as Naked and Afraid, Teen Titans Go and the Ellen Degeneres Show. We can’t wait to see how far her solo career takes her.

Closing In was officially released on September 21st and is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Life is but a melancholic dream in ALCHA’s candied cinematic alt-pop debut, Steady

‘Steady’ is stylishly cinematic alt-pop debut from the Parisian singer-songwriter, composer, and producer ALCHA (Alec Chassain), who amassed ample creative inspiration during his time in London before getting to work on his introspective dream pop project in 2021.

With the melodies containing blisters of Beach House and a touch of Grandaddy, ALCHA orchestrated a refreshingly original soundscape to pour his uninhibitedly honest vocals into, which will undoubtedly be a hit with any fans of John Grant. Although, admittedly, ALCHA boasts infinitely more affability than John Grant in his nuancedly quirky vocal delivery that rings with a sting of melancholy. Yet, Steady is the ultimate testament to his ability to pull luminous creativity out of dark spaces. If Steady doesn’t give you a soft spot for ALCHA, you’re officially made of stone.

Steady was officially released on November 4th. It is now available to stream on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Honeyyycrush has unvelied her confessional piece of Southern Gothic Slowcore, Belly Empty

Brooklyn-based Singer-songwriter, Honeyyycrush (Alexandra Antonopoulos) established herself as one of the most underrated artists of her generation with the launch of her hauntingly soul-stirring single, Belly Empty.

The dark Southern Gothic meets alt-pop single entwines shoegazey guitars with ritualistic percussion and, of course, the evocatively efficacious nature of her ephemeral vocal timbre that meanders with the grungy slowcore melodies.

By building Belly Empty into one of the most arresting crescendos I’ve heard in a long time after grippingly raw lyrical confessionalism which features a vulnerable reprise of “you don’t know me like I do”, this progressively beguiling single is one born of understood isolation and sheer innovation. We can’t wait to hear her forthcoming EP, Milk Teeth.

Belly Empty will officially release on November 4th. Check it out on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Elin Grace artfully enticed her listeners into meditation with the sophisticated tranquility of her alt-indie single, Breathe

Escape to the country with the rural poetry in Elin Grace’s latest quirky jazz-infused piano pop single, Breathe. With the same ephemeral grace of The Anchoress paired with her own celestially graceful beguile, the lullaby-esque single that artfully and unexpectedly entices you into meditation after a confessional outpour of emotion is a flawless triumph.

The mid-Wales-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who has mastered the piano, saxophone, cello, and ukulele, has been lauded by the likes of Adam Walton from BBC Radio Wales and has seen her music commissioned for London Fashion Week. Clearly, Elin Grace has a promising future ahead. She’s one of a kind, yet drinking in the tranquil sophistication of her melodies is, ironically, as easy as breathing.

Breathe is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Chris Koehn processed grief following the loss of his brother in his ethereal elecro-pop single, Melancholia

Embracing the perpetual promise of change, Chris Koehn composed his most introspective single to date, Melancholia. If there’s any lyric that truly epitomises the proclivity of melancholy while advocating mindfulness, it’s the poignantly rendered line, “It’s only life, everyday we die”, that reprises through this gentle dream pop exposition of ennui.

The atmospheric layering of the male and female vocal harmonies above the swirling electronic synthetics and intense percussion creates a sobering soundtrack for reflection. But the sense of soul that matches the contemporary gravitas of Perfume Genius and Cigarettes After Sex ensures that the ultimate effect is an enlivening one.

Inspired by the death of his brother, Chris Koehn is helping others through their grieving processes while processing his own grief. As someone that has recently experienced the loss of their mother, I can attest to the efficacy of this stunning reminder to live in the moment; while we still have one.

Melancholia is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast