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Brighton Indie

John Jackson burst the complacency bubble with his authentically electric Britpop-esque hit, Hero

John Jackson’s single, Hero, from his debut EP, Tomorrow, is a tour de force in alt-rock, weaving together scintillating organ tones akin to Inspiral Carpets with the harmonies reminiscent of Paul Draper. By adding the unmistakable energy of Blur and the percussive swagger of the Stone Roses, Jackson crafted a track that is authentically electric to its core.

Based in Brighton and Hove, yet carrying the spirit of his Hackney origins, Jackson delivered a sound that directly confronts the listener with its poignant lyrical messaging – “If you’re not dancing you might as well march”. The production is sharp, ensuring every word resonates with a clear call to shake off complacency. It’s a rallying cry for the outsiders, the overlooked, and those yearning for a figure to redefine the current narratives. The nostalgic elements are cleverly used as intrinsic thematic devices that highlight our tendency to bury our heads in the sand when facing future uncertainties, only to look back on the past with rose-tinted glasses.

Hero is a powerful start to Jackson’s series of planned releases, promising a blend of personal, political, and social themes delivered through his eclectic musical style. It’s a track that not only stands out for its compelling composition but also for its capacity to engage and inspire, making John Jackson a name to watch in the alt-rock arena.

Stream Hero from May 1st on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Doolallys augmented the tribulations of banality in the indie rock anthem of the year, How Long Will This Go On?

Imagine how affecting a synthesis of the most stirring elements of Editors, Audioslave, and Arcade Fire would be, amplify the infectious appeal of that amalgam to the nth degree, then you will get an idea of what awaits you when you hit play on the single, How Long Will This Go On? From The Doolallys.

If any guitar-based outfit with deadpan lyricism deserves to reach the same heights of success as The Reytons, it is this Brighton-based trio, which is already making all the right waves in the industry.

After winning over BBC Introducing in 2018 and snagging a live radio slot in 2019 before honing their sound into a cultivated augmented with anthemics sonic signature, The Doolallys got to work on their upcoming debut EP; months after wrapping up the recording, the band suffered the tragic loss of their founding member and bassist Connor Kilbane in October 2022. After a hiatus, the band decided to honour Connor by moving ahead with the EP; if How Long Will This Go On, is a taste of things to come, it won’t just be a part of the band’s legacy, but UK indie’s legacy. Between the aching relatability in the lyrics which speak of relentlessly monotonous banality and the kinetic chemistry that cuts through the release, How Long Will This Go On deserves a perpetual place in the indie charts.

How Long Will This Go On is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Giant Killers delivered fatalistically sweet indie jangle pop blows in their alt-90s time capsule, Around the Blocks

Songs for the Small Places by Giant Killers

Tracks originally written and recorded in 1995 by Brighton’s Giant Killers when they were signed to MCA Records have finally reached the airwaves. The standout indie jangle pop single, Around the Blocks, from their forthcoming LP, is an authentically nostalgic dream. With hints of Coffee and TV within the R.E.M.-esque college radio rock production, which sees the choruses endlessly ascend and the verses pull you in deeper through the affectionately sharp hooks, Around the Blocks is a tonic for the melancholic soul.

With a frenetic closing sonic chapter which echoes the palpitating pacing of the hit Brimful of Asha, Giant Killers clearly know how to make an ever-lasting impression with their sound, which doesn’t go as far as sticky-sweet; there’s far too much indie rock renegade grit within their compassionately confrontational lyricism.

With their ‘songs for the small places’ LP, Giant Killers aren’t only delivering melodic salvation to the ennui-inclined. £2 of every sale of the LP will be donated to Campaign Against Living Miserably, a charity dedicated to saving lives through suicide prevention. Given the gravitas of Around the Blocks, which will see your soul sweep higher than the transcendentally tight melodies, you shouldn’t need any additional incentive to partake in the nostalgically euphonic bliss. But it’s incredible to see an artist not solely skating by on the signals of their virtue. Giant Killers are putting momentum behind real tangible change.

Hear Around the Blocks on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

NKem went heavy on the poetic confessionalism in his alt indie debut, Ergo Sum

NKem describes his debut single, Ergo Sum, as a short, swift pact of artistic poetry; that is exactly how the production sombrely resonates. Opening with Elliot Smith-esque softly fingerpicked guitar notes, the single seamlessly transitions into a spoken word piece, with hints of melodicism in the raw confessionalism.

Attempting to pigeonhole Ergo Sum by genre is an act of futility. NKem lets his spilt ink lyricism lead the way and lets the instrumentals contextualise the expression. For Ergo Sum, there’s a monochromatic blend of ennui pop and indie with nuances of new-wave hip hop.

Recently signed to Quartz Collective Management, the Brighton-based model and artist has a bright creative future ahead of him on the basis of the emotion-evoking capacity of Ergo Sum.

The official lyric video was released on June 23rd; you can check it out here.

Review by Amelia Vandergast