Nostalgically running in the grungy vein of Soundgarden’s Rusty Cage, the primal outpour of compassionate rancour, Know You’re Not Alone, by iODYNES is a hard-hitting sign of the alienating times and one of the strongest alt-rock debuts we’ve heard this year.
To diminish the melancholic tinges within the vignette that offers a high-octane olive branch to the ostracised, the North Scotland-hailing three-piece threw in a few punchy Paramore and Biffy Clyro-esque pop-punk hooks and blended them with melodic rock increments that reminisce with stylings popularised by Foo Fighters.
The recording of their debut single is as viscerally animated as you could possibly hope for with the gravitas in the tightly knit grooves and punchy breaks. We can only imagine how exhilarating a live set from iODYNES would be. Grab your tickets while you can still see them in intimate venues.
Know You’re Not Alone is now available to stream on Spotify.
UK-based, internationally-comprised indie alt-rock powerhouse SOHLER sparked an instantaneous obsession with their scathingly seminal single, More Blood Than Sweat or Tears. With one taste of those high-octane riffs, their superlative devil-may-care swagger and anthemic instrumental hooks, we knew we were onto a winner. They will never fall into the arena of indie filler.
“What is a priest without a whore, are we just circumstantial?” is one of the most philosophically-sharp lyrical expositions of the current state of our society that decides who is sacrificed depending on our proximity to the breadline.
Line after line, the A-side on the single, SOHLER I, allows you to sapiosexually fall for the four-piece who direct their anger with pinpoint precision through this sludgy melodic indie alt-rock masterpiece. It is easily the filthiest earworm you will accommodate all year. With their faint reminiscence of Biffy Clyro, Hundred Reasons, and Arcane Roots with a touch of post-punk in the monumental rancour, it’s only a matter of time before the underground can’t contain their ingenuity.
SOHLER I was officially released on January 6th. Check it out on Spotify.
London-based alt-rock newcomers THE BIGGER PICTURE is set to make a sonic debut with, ‘Sparkle’; a single that parallels the anthemic energy in tracks by Muse, Arcade Fire, Editors and Biffy Clyro and sets the bar high for the debut EP.
The full-bodied release will take you back to the days when rock artists would master theatrical aural experiences, designed to completely blow your mind when the crescendos and guitar solos come around. It is hardly a stretch to say that, given the chance, THE BIGGER PICTURE could offer the same command of a festival crowd as Queen did in the 80s.
The dual vocals practically make Sparkle effervescent with collaborative chemistry, and the guitar work is enough to give James Dean Bradfield a complex.
Lockdown 2020 has generated a LOT of frustration and anxiety, and for most people – eye-test trips to Barnard Castle aside – have found that most of their interactions and experiences this year have come via social media. Now Drop Down Smiling are here, blinking and squinting in post-hibernation sunlight, to point out just how self-destructive those filtered ‘rose-tinted glasses’ choreographed lifestyles on Facebook and Instagram can actually be, with their red hot new single ‘The Fear Of Missing Out’. And it’s an absolute scorcher.
Launching with a subtle, melodic distorted guitar line before kicking in full overdrive-and-reverb style, ‘The Fear Of Missing Out’ is a slab of cracking alt-rock, a tasteful mix of B.M.T.H. and Biffy Clyro, with maybe a little Stone Sour or Architects and a dash of Interpol on the echoey picked guitar line. It’s a perfect blend of noise and melodic space, the dynamics in the track adding to the energy. It’s a powerful track, with some proper rock n’ roll groove in there, just enough electronica mixed in with the rock guitars and punchy drums to appeal to the radio crowd as well as the out-and-out rock fans.
‘The Fear Of Missing Out’ is out on the 8th January; check it out via Spotify, and follow Drop Down Smiling, via Facebook and Instagram.
If opening stages for The Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, The Cribs, and Hot Chip, isn’t pedigree enough then I’m not sure what is, and that live-playing, song-writing craft-honing experience is certainly standing singing drummer Vardy in good stead here when it comes to ‘Final Disco’.
Here joined by bassist Sam Hubbins, ‘Final Disco’ is a glorious, bouncing, joyful mix of post-punk indie and alt-rock in the style of Royal Blood, Biffy Clyro, or Mallory Knox, an energetic, gleeful celebration of a final night of partying before growing up and slowing down, a passion for dancing, drinking, sunny beaches, and hallucinogenic rock n roll.
The beautifully overdriven guitar riffs and surges, the bassline funks and wanders, and the drums push the whole track along in an upbeat, dancing-party mood, Vardy’s vocal delivery easy and fun and the lyrics humorous and insightful.
‘Final Disco’ is a sublime, brilliant indie-pop tune, catchy as hell with a narrative that will be instantly familiar and sympathetic to everyone who’s ever felt they need to grow up without growing old.
Metasonics set out to change the landscape of the Pop genre in the 21st century, through their debut self-titled album, which was released in 2019, it’s safe to say that they have the perfect aural arsenal to wage the war on the superficial Pop genre.
I’ve probably heard more love songs than I’ve had hot dinners, but rarely, do they leave me as amorously sated as the standout track ‘I Love You’ from the Scottish artist. There’s a profoundness in the simplicity of the candid lyrics which centre around a direct, unfiltered proclamation of love which hits harder with every repetition.
With elements of Indie Folk ringing in the polished production, Metasonics will undoubtedly be of appeal to any fans of Frightened Rabbit, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Twilight Sad.
You can check out Metasonics’ debut album for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.
In a pre-internet world being hemmed in by the rough waters of the North Sea in the isolated Shetland Isles might have meant that bands such as Forgotten Sons would have been exposed only to more traditional sounds and taken a very different path. The fact that their heavy riffing, rock urgency and muscular deliveries sound just as much the product of the other side of the Atlantic as they do from the wilds of their own highlands and island location says something of the connectivity of the world.
But even though they fit into the broad genre of alt-rock, they, like any band worth its salt, are also a unique end result of influences and references. You can hear the wild Celtic rock that pumps through their veins, the more anthemic stadium sound of various more recent New Jersey bands and the martial power of classic rock all being used to create their own signature sound. Forgotten Sons? These island rockers will prove to be anything but.