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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

 

Alternative artist, GAINES, took us to the twilight of loneliness with ‘I JUST WNT YOU’

Somewhere between the Twin Peaks opening score and the tonal palette on Slowdive’s iconic record, Souvlaki GAINES’ latest single, I JUST WNT YOU, starts to unravel. Vocally and lyrically, the conceptually dark and disenfranchised single veers close to the emo genre. Yet, affixing that genre label to such a visceral triumph of a release that pushes the envelope further than most dare to feels derivative.

This abstraction of loneliness and almost primal pain exhibited is profoundly resonant. It is a testament to GAINES’ ability to execute his expression so that it translates into a strikingly artful demonstration of a sense of ennui that we can all relate to.

The synth sequencing towards the outro is an efficacious demonstration of the twilight of desperation that unrequited love can drive us to before the dandelion hands-Esque spoken-word verse delivers one final evocative blow.

The New Orleans-based artist has been writing and producing since 2020; the experimentation within his string of singles is definitive proof that his music is a project of deeply intrinsic passion driven by a desire for artistic connection. We can’t wait to hear what comes next.

I JUST WNT YOU is available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

 

Disco grooves through Jessup’s electronic alt-rock deadpan gem, Amusing

Alt-rock icon-in-the-making Jessup is on sardonically deadpan stellar form in his electro-rock hit, Amusing. The histrionic flair around the 90s/early 00s alt-rock energy and shimmering disco-pop grooves is an enlivening testament to his ability in orchestrating a distinctively expressive sonic score while making no bones about spilling plenty of authentic personality,

If the Offspring were a little more daring and tonally experimentalist in their heyday, the reminiscences between Amusing and Self Esteem would have been even more tangible. After an orchestral rock outro from the St. Louis, US-residing artist and producer, you can’t help delving right back into the snappy indie rock hit that absolutely sets the bar for other up-and-coming artists.

Amusing was officially released on December 16th. You can check it out for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Follow Jessup via Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

A Wolf Is Clawing At The Door: Raid the Quarry flash back into the light on S.O.S (feat. Logan Christopher)

Taken off their brand new album called Beyond These Castle Walls, Raid the Quarry shows us deep within the extremely vivid darkness that can break even the strongest minds on their excellent new single S.O.S.

Raid the Quarry is a USA-based indie alt/rock band who thunder in with a transformative style which shall rattle many ribcages with a hardcore energy.

The song explores the darkness of that experience, acting as an honest cry for help and a declaration of hope. Logan Christopher of Obsidian Darling is featured on the track as a guest vocalist.” ~ Raid the Quarry

With one of the most striking music videos anyone is likely to see, Raid the Quarry fights through the darkness and emerges through the destructive sewers of doom. Putting out the flames and rocking hard while doing it, we find a dark realm parallel story which is rich in intrigue and total honesty.

S.O.S from USA-based indie alt/rock band Raid the Quarry is that call that so many humans have felt lately. Roaring with that dreaded scrape against the door and loaded with so much quality, to shudder deep within the nightmare that refuses to depart.

When you need support, never be afraid to ask for that potentially light-filled help.

Listen up to this new single on Spotify. See more vibes on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

See It In Her Eye: Chiron Loxton wants it all right now on I’m with Everything

Taken from his incredibly audacious 24-track album Mixed Emotions, Chiron Loxton shall steam the windows all over town on his latest sexy single to dance all night with called I’m with Everything.

Chiron Loxton is a Somerset, UK-based indie alt-hip hop artist who is as entertaining as they come and is the kind of innovative soul who is at the top of his game right now.

He started out in creative writing as a kid, and soon moved into progressing himself as a music artist as he gained more confidence.” ~ Chiron Loxton

Pulsating with so much romantic energy and never letting go, Chiron Loxton has dropped one of the most passionate single the world is likely to hear this year or any other year.

I’m with Everything from Somerset, UK-based indie alt-hip hop artist Chiron Loxton is a late night sizzler when you want the night to heat up. Wrapped in so much self-assuredness and packed with a vehement energy, this is a rather astonishing release to hold hands with.

When you feel on top of the world, it’s best to enjoy the moment.

Hear this fine new single on Spotify. See more on the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Black Stone Brewers Distilled Excitement For Their 2023 EP Launch In Their Expositionally Expansive A&R Factory Interview

From the first shot of Perth’s hottest up-and-coming alt-rock outfit, Black Stone Brewers sound, we were intoxicated. Between their hectic tour schedule and priming their new singles to be launched, we sat down with the enthralling outfit to get a more intimate taste of their ingenuity. They’re quickly becoming our new favourite poison.

Black Stone Brewers, welcome to A&R Factory! You’ve been making major strides despite your relatively recent integration into the music industry. What has been the highlight for you so far?

Thanks so much for having us! A few of us have been playing together for several years, with Simon (bass, ridiculous good looks) and Luke (lead guitar, memes) coming on board for this iteration of the band. So having played together for so long, probably the best thing for us right now is landing some shows on some bigger stages in front of more people! We love and believe in our music, and it really makes it real when a few people you’ve never set eyes on before in your life come up after a big set and honestly tell you how much they loved it.

With five of you within the band and your sonic style being so fluid, how often do creative differences crop up?

Often enough to talk about, that’s for sure! I remember a few instances where a couple of us got fixated on one or two notes here or there and argued back and forth about which way it should go, while the rest of the guys shrug and say does it really matter? They’re usually right, but you get so caught up in exactly how you want a certain part to sound that you’re prepared to get into fisticuffs over it! Nothing a cold beer can’t solve, however! But really, we’re usually pretty aligned in the overall feel and direction each song takes as it comes together, where there’s usually one driving idea and everyone gets behind it. If no one seems to know which way a song or melody is going, we tend to find those are the tunes that fall by the wayside anyway.

What’s the secret ingredient in your evocatively Kryptonitic melodies?

What’s the secret in your fabulously worded questions?! You’ve got us stumped here. If by Kryptonitic you mean our melodies are the downfall of superheroes everywhere, then I guess one of the key things we strive for is the perfect blend of heavy, prog, and metal influences, with catchy pop hooks and sing-alongs. Jono (guitar, keys, vocals, any other instrument he can get his grubby mitts on) has some really solid pop foundations and just pulls these incredibly catchy melodies and chord progressions out, whereas Rob (guitar, vocals, beard) is always just sitting around in a corner (when he’s supposed to be working) agonisingly putting note next to note in the rhythmically weirdest spot, trying to create something unique. Throw that at a wall with one of the most solid rhythm sections around in Simon and Blair (drums, cigarettes), layer some well-thought-out leads and Strymon effects on top, and voila! How’s that for Kryptonite?

What led to your two battle of the bands wins in 2020 and 2021 respectively, and how has your stage presence transformed since?

The first battle of the bands we played in 2020 was a little local one at a pub and was the first gig this iteration of the band ever played. It was fun, and we managed to pull enough mates to score the win and a few dollars in the bank. We were nervous, someone was incredibly late and disorganised, and we just about pulled it off. By 2021 we had a solid set of shows under our belt, were working on newer, better material and our stage presence had actually turned into something. We pride ourselves on not just standing on a platform plucking at a few strings, Black Stone Brewers shows are energetic, they’re sweaty, they’re loud, and they’re often punctuated with sub-par banter. We’ve never watched one, but we imagine it’s pretty entertaining to watch. It’s more fun and exciting watching a band play when it looks like they’re having a real good time too. Let’s get sweaty together!

What particular line of philosophy does your latest single, Cut the Cord, lyrically tie in with most closely?

Now that’s a doozy! You’ve done this before! Cut the Cord was a back-and-forth lyric trade-off between Rob and Jono over messenger a while ago, exploring the role religion has played in our formative years, and how different that is to the instant gratification social media mess that a lot of life is today. It’s a bit of a bleak message and a reflection on some things we see around us, but it also has that little undertow of hope – how can this be the next evolution? Let’s cut the cord, clear all these illusions that are blinding people and set a new course. It’s time now to make it right.

It has been a while since rock music has been one of the most popular genres; what do you think it will take for the rock appetite to make a ravenous comeback?

It’s true on the face of it, but there’s still an incredible amount of heavy rock music out there, you just have to look a little harder. Hopefully, with Covid out of the way, the big rock festivals start up again and some of the bigger names in the scene kick off a bunch of tours, and people can get back in the pit and remember how great it feels to be part of a loud, moving mass of people singing along to their favourite tunes, and head banging to their favourite riffs. Nothing get’s you like a brutal riff! And hopefully, we’ll be right there alongside it all, so keep an eye and an ear out!

You worked with the nationally renowned producer, Matthew Templeman, on your forthcoming EP that is set to release in early 2023; how much creative licence did you give him over the EP?

This was such an incredible experience. Matt is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and an absolute wizard at his craft, we’re totally thrilled to have been able to spend as much time working on this EP with him as we did. Matt initially approached the project relatively hands-off, as the songs were already finished, and we hadn’t worked together before. But as we got into the studio and started getting more comfortable with each other, we saw some more of his production mastery. Matt has an incredible grasp of how a song fits together, what each musician needs to get the best performance at any given time, and an innate sense of what just sounds plain old good. We threw all our messy ideas and hopes and dreams at him, and he helped us craft them into a finished product that we couldn’t be prouder of. As far as we’re concerned, the next time around Matt can do whatever he wants!

What else do the Black Stone Brewers have in the pipeline?

So, our focus right now is obviously releasing a couple of singles and building into a big exciting EP launch. We’re working hard to build our brand and get the best of our music out into the world as far as we can get it. If you like what you hear, please give us a spin, sling us a follow-on social media and tell your mates! Other than that, we’ll be pulling together a line of merch with some great local artists and vendors, and then knuckling down to write the next set of straight-up bangers. Our sound is still evolving from the first EP, and we can’t wait to get back into the studio and get the next thing out into the world! Until then, keep on rocking!

Listen to Black Stone Brewers on Spotify, YouTube and Bandcamp.

Give them a follow on Facebook & Instagram.

Interview by Amelia Vandergast

The alt-rock originator, djamesk13, struck again with his grungy proto-punk single, And That’s Where It Ends, And So It All Begun

And That’s Where It Ends, And So It All Begun” is the latest tonally sublime single released by the London-based alt-rock originator djamesk13 (David Kemp).

If Dinosaur Jr veered away from grunge and towards proto-punk and made a pit stop at 90s Britpop to pick up a bit of extra guitar swagger, the sonic result would be in a similar vein to this nostalgically produced hit.

The distortedly and poetically orchestrated single provides a definitive discourse on the nature of our lives which runs through like pre-determined chapters of destiny. Lament it or live it to the max, but that’s the nature of being, captured in the lyrical hooks in this epitomisingly sludgy earworm.

And That’s Where It Ends, And So It All Begun was officially released on November 19th. Catch it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Crystal Water: Swedish band Loveflowers sees the beauty within on Sea of Hope

Looking for the right way in the webs of illusions underwater, Loveflowers try to decipher the paths of cold and warmth in this vast ocean via the ear-tingling new release Sea of Hope.

Loveflowers are a Swedish alt-country/Americana 5-piece band who make those authentically wrapped smoothies we can all sip on with love.

Some of the most important things about their music are the rhythm, feeling and the sound of a particular song. The lyrics is hopefully something the listener can relate to in their own way.” ~ Loveflowers

Gleaning with hope and soothing vibrance which shall set your heart alight with so much radiant energy to swim inside, Loveflowers are that loving mood to deliver us a lofty delight which has come at precisely when we needed it most.

Sea of Hope from Swedish alt-country/Americana outfit Loveflowers is a calming soundtrack to when you just need to float away from the bad times and find that happy stream of contentment. Performed with care and love, whilst truly stimulating the soul, we are blessed by a fine experience to feel reinvigorated by.

When you see a welcome path open up, it’s best to take that gap when you can.

Lather yourself into this song on Spotify and see more news on their IG page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Turn Me Back: Lewisham’s Sketchdoll feels so stuck right now on Hourglass

Wishing for things to change quickly before the hands of time destroy everything forever, Sketchdoll return with impressive aplomb on their terrific new release called Hourglass.

Sketchdoll is a Lewisham, London-formed indie alt-punk band who is certainly progressive and vitalizes our senses with rather ear-catching sounds to heal with.

Packed with a delightfully extraordinary style that is steaming to the brim with an excellent vibration, Sketchdoll might be our new favourite band. They mesh together like a glove and seem to only get better throughout, to send our minds into a contemplative state of ponder.

Hourglass from Lewisham, London-formed alt-punk act Sketchdoll is an emotional roller coaster that might cause your whole soul to feel in a reflective wonder. Wrapped together rather sweetly and loaded with a genuine message so many need to hear, we find a single that will certainly get those eyes wide and seeing clearer than before.

Performed with such stunning precision and laced with that world class vibe, this is a sizzling song to turn up loud and proud.

See this fab vid on YouTube and get a sense of their vibes on IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Found Someone Special: Han Abbasi takes a cruise inside a city filled with hope on When In London

With his first release since 2018’s 11-track full release, The Polar Route, Han Abbasi, returns after his hiatus and reminds us of his brilliance with the quality single When In London.

Han Abbasi is an experienced Putney, UK-based art-rocker who makes those catchy melodies that will get your fingers clicking.

Virtuoso violin, Stones-y swagger, roaring guitars, soundscapes ranging from tango to Eno, lyrics about the spiritual future and the material present.” ~ Han Abbasi

Holding our hand and taking us through all the hustle while sliding on the underground, Han Abbasi found that special soul who was ready to take a leap of faith. Showing renewed hope that everything shall be okay again, guiding us through the struggle and into happier times again.

When In London from Putney, UK-based art-rocker Han Abbasi is a promising song that will take your breath away. It is filled with a superb vocal alignment that shall warm your heart and set you free into a daydream that will find you counting red buses and soaking in so much history.

Breathing that fresh air of a new adventure will always awaken your heart.

Hear this terrific song on Spotify and see more via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen