Browsing Tag

Art Rock

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

UK Art-Rock Agitators, Gated Estates Have Made Their Diaphanous Debut with ‘A Letter’

‘A Letter’ is the first single from Gated Estates, and it’s a diaphanous masterpiece. After static and strobe-y synths and harsh electro beats lead into the gentle melodicism, artfully intersected with nuanced waves of synthesised discord, the evocative grip takes hold and refuses to loosen throughout the experimentally awakening release.

With slight echoes of Don’t Fear the Reaper between the artfully contorted crescendos built from appreciated synths and detached guitar notes, the soon-to-be icons of ‘agitated art-rock’ from the Brecon Beacons are easily one of the hottest acts I’ve heard this year.

A Letter hit in ways JJ72 and Julian Plenti usually only know how to strike an intrinsically emotional chord. The first single from their eponymous debut album explores the relationship we all have, whether we know it and acknowledge it or not, with our inner child and how they are one of the biggest influencers on our future.

Under the duress of Dan Linn-Pearl’s vocal lines which weave through the climactic progressions, carved by Shane Dixon (Nick Parker, Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners), Rose Linn-Pearl (Peiriant), Jonathan Morgan (OCTO-PI) and Darren Beale (The Caves, The Boomtown Rats), it is impossible not to fall in to A Letter hook, poetic line and sinker.

Watch the official music video, created by Martin Whittaker & TCLD, for A Letter on YouTube.

Follow Gated Estates via Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Koyama gave classic art rock a modern psychedelic twist in ‘Desolation of America’

The Desolation of America is the second album from the multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Koyama, who fuses classic art rock tones with modernist sound designs. The Radiohead influence is tangible through the complexity of the percussion and the ebbing and flowing vocals that drift in and out of focus around the psychedelic synthetics, especially in the politically melancholic single, Desolation of America.

If Koyama is this talented at 18, he has an exceptionally bright future ahead of him. Especially with his gift of lyrically gnawing away at socio-political themes while psychedelically stripping the dismay from the equation with his artful vocal pitches that complement the colourfully kaleidoscopic chords and droning keys. It’s almost impossible to believe that Koyama only started to write and produce songs in his bedroom during the pandemic. He is definitely one to watch.

Desolation of America is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ember Rev has unveiled their grungy art-rock shanty, Dives & Lazarus

The synthy, innocent playfulness of Grandaddy meets the indie country twang of Modest Mouse in the latest spacey feat of experimentalism from Ember Rev, Dives & Lazarus.

After the synthesised shanty vibes, towards the outro, the Alt 90s Seattle sound seeps into the kaleidoscopic off-kilter production that also starts to pick up reminiscences to Queens of the Stone Age. Similarities to iconic sonic palettes aside Ember Rev is evidently a trailblazer in their own right.

With their new album, Isophilia, due to be released in July, it is well worth saving a spot for the self-proclaimed “nervous and neurotic accordion-driven” art-rock UK-hailing outfit. I knew there was a reason why the obscurity of Dives & Lazarus was so enamouring in its resonance.

Check out Ember Rev’s latest release by heading over to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Spotlight Feature: Andy Hobson brought ascending melodicism to sonic meditation with his latest single, Rise

The London, UK-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and spiritual teacher Andy Hobson is so much more than a diamond in the rough. With his latest single, Rise, he is the calm in the ever-calamitous storm that can’t seem to break away from our shores.

From the outro, you will feel some Nick Drake nostalgia. From there on out, the ethereal orchestral strings under the vibrantly ascending acoustic strings deliver heightened emotion exclusive to Hobson’s meditatively inventive take on alt-rock.

If you merged the plaintive sting of The Verve, the unrelenting compassionate tenacity of Nada Surf in their Let Go era with Radiohead-style gravitas and a burning sense of responsibility to spill the equanimity, the end result wouldn’t be too far away from the profound alchemy in Rise.

Here is what Andy Hobson had to say on his latest single:

“This is a bittersweet song about the passing of time and seeing the ups and downs of life as the same thing. Both can lead to new adventures. The song started as a dance track with big drums and a groovy bass line, but the emotion of the melody and lyrics didn’t really fit, so I stripped it back to acoustic guitar and wrote a haunting string section to give a final lift in the outro.”

Save a spot on your radar, as Hobson’s debut LP is due for release in 2023.

Rise, which was mastered by Stefano Ferracin and features Tom Meadows (Kylie/Will Young) on drums, is due for official release on July 8th, 2022. Check it out on Spotify & SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


Spotlight Feature: KAIS is artfully transcendent in his new EP, Hot Air Balloon

The alt-90s are definitively alive in the latest EP from the multifacetedly talented artist and songwriter KAIS. From his studio in Cyprus, the award-winning and BBC-favourite artist delivered three melodic singles that toe the line between artful ingenuity and meditative transcendence.

The opening single, Horizon, carries reminiscences of BETA BAND, but via a 25-year wormhole with its languid guitar licks, groovy trip-hoppy drums and blissful boyband-style vocals.

Track two, Turning to Gold, is enough to throw you right back to the not-too-distant nostalgia of Doves’ There Goes the Fear with its lush, laid-back, bluesy laments and heartbreaking swoonsome melodies.

The final and eponymous track, Hot Air Balloon, boasts a more dynamic, choppy funk, which echoes The Bends era Radiohead via Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ more melodic syncopations.

Putting the context behind his singles, KAIS said

“Horizon is a Citizen Cope / David Gilmor-esque inspired ode to tapping into one’s inherent free spirit, which commonly unearths in the lovers’ bond. It paints an image of a man that once swam with his beloved in the magic of a summer night’s sea and attempts to reconnect with the ubiquitous “baby how’s your day?”

Turning to Gold is a hymn of lovers as they traverse life’s highs and lows. It reaches into metaphysical spheres while weighing on the fact that bliss cannot be found when one is merely dreaming.

Hot Air Balloon is a metaphor for pregnancy. As the process unfolds, whereby a spirit permeates and rises into the boundless world, a Hot Air Balloon rises into the ether (where our thoughts drift and amalgamate).”

If any contemporary can unwrite all the false premises of capitalist romanticism and affirm that the beauty of love and life lies in the simplest of moments, it is KAIS. He knows just how to bring his epiphanous concepts to life so that the sonic end result is just as mind-bending as his laureate-like revelations.

The Hot Air Balloon EP is now available to stream on Spotify, Bandcamp and YouTube.

Follow KAIS on Facebook & Instagram

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Unwanted Guest morbidly went for baroque in their debut album, Grave Metallum

With an intro consisting of news broadcasters announcing the deaths Cobain and Winehouse, Unwanted Guest certainly knew how to make an instant impression with the title single to their debut album, Grave Metallum.

The morbidly carnivalesque hard rock hit puts a baroque spin on grunge while carrying reminiscences to Fable Cry and Abney Park around percussion that would make Mudhoney dizzy, the frenetic bounce of the basslines and doom-harbingering guitars.

Yet, the true beauty in the title lies in the nuanced way Unwanted Guest present our ‘icons’ as the line-up in a freakshow that we voyeuristically watch in the hope we see their rise AND fall. With the media frenzy that whipped around Taylor Hawkins this month, Unwanted Guest was definitely onto something.

Grave Metallum was officially released on March 21st. It is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Weimar started an art-rock riot in their off-kilter ode to the glamour of the American Dream in ‘The Girls of LA’

Manchester’s most Avant-Garde art-rock collective, Weimar, came in with all glamorous guns blazing in their latest single, The Girls of LA, which increased the anticipation of the things to come in their eagerly awaited debut album, Dancing on a Volcano.

With a shift from their usual baroque post-punk style, The Girls of LA is a departure from what the airwaves acquiesced to before but Weimar knew exactly what they were doing by bringing this riotous bop-worthy track to the aural table in turbulent times. Sonic escapism doesn’t come much sweeter than when its off the back of the sunset strip.

The energy parallels that of the most enlivening tracks by the Ramones but with their signature artful gravitas, its proto-punk as you’ve never known it before. As the lyrics reflect on the high-class American dream, the endlessly off-kilter instruments drive up the discord into infectious heights. It has all the makings of an alt-rock earworm paired with the finesse of a muso’s Achilles heel.

Girls of LA will officially release on March 25th; you can check it out by heading to SoundCloud and Weimar’s official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Oxford act Shaven Primates decimates those dark demons with inspiring single, ‘Answers’

After searching for help to rid the halls of those scary ghosts that can clutch onto you like poisonous sludge in the river, Shaven Primates join forces within and aim to heal from those mental scars which need to be remedied on ‘Answers‘.

Formed by Mark Elphinstone, Shaven Primates is an Oxford, England-based 5-piece dark-wave, art-rock, post-punk band. After a 17 year hiatus from music, Mark decided that he needed to fully heal from all the trauma from his tough childhood and has used music for therapy purposes, with results that are quite bone-tingling.

Our music is a narrative of human emotion and experience: fear, love and anger resonate through the orchestration, giving our audience a deeply cathartic release.” ~ Shaven Primates

Bringing us their vivid story to life while sending a groovy ear-booster with some aplomb, Shaven Primates show us that you can indeed retrain your mind and destroy all past memories that are holding you back from doing what you love in life.

Answers‘ from the Oxford, England-based band Shaven Primates, is a breaking-the-walls thunderbolt that gets your eyes to widen and your thoughts to break those rusty bars with your mind so you can regain control of your destiny. Blending in with dynamic forces that is almost superhero-like, this is a must-listen for all those who have suffered from disgraceful abuse growing up. Music heals if you join together with those who get it.

Hear this rocking new track on Soundcloud and see more via the IG music page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Juliya – Power Lines: A high-vibe lo-fi alt-90s fever dream

With two EPs under their belt, the up and coming alt-indie sensation, Juliya, has unleashed their fever dream of a high-vibe low-fidelity track. Power Lines is as sonically boundary-less as Sonic Youth and Radiohead, and just as ruggedly sweet as Neutral Milk Hotel and Elliott Smith. And there is plenty of room for their garagey no-wave alchemy in between the reminiscences.

There’s scuzz by the smorgasbord, yet, that doesn’t get in the way of the grip of the angular indie guitar notes atop of all the discord. It may be a short and sweet track, but it’s also a sure-fire hit of serotonin in a sentimentally blissful alt-90s time capsule. With enough tracks in the same vein as Power Lines under their belt and the right attention, there is no reason Juilya couldn’t climb the indie charts with ease. Give them a hand on their ascent and stick them on your radar.

Power Lines is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast