Browsing Tag

Contemporary Rock

Cambridge’s LAY / BYE ignited the modern rock scene with their expansive earwom, ACTIVE!

If any up-and-coming band can kick Royal Blood off their throne, it’s the Cambridge-hailing three-piece LAY / BYE with the polished hooks, fiery intensity, and unflinching resonance in their debut single, ACTIVE!

The debut holds no prisoners when holding the worst archetypes of the human experience to account; the flaying lyrics pick up more volition through the catchy delivery that forces you right into the electrifying nucleus of the single that stands as a testament to the trio’s ability to vindicate the masses.

After a Velvet Revolver-esque intro, the buzzsaw riffs and snarling basslines rip through the dynamic modern hard rock atmosphere honed by Robin Schmidt, known for his work with Nothing But Thieves, the 1975 and Sam Fender. The juxtaposition between the scathing energy within the rhythm section and the pop-pinched vocal hooks creates a dynamic strong enough to carry a rock revolution on its back.

The explosively expressive release is a sure sign of big things to come for LAY / BYE; their ability to fuse integrity with infectious earworm appeal is superlative.

Jump on the ACTIVE! hype by streaming the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Fox 2 warped the lineage of rock n roll to define its future with their debut LP, Sidewinder

Sidewinder by Fox 2

Fox 2’s debut LP, Sidewinder, is a seismic shift in the rock landscape, a thrilling fusion of reverence and revolution. From the streets of Portland, Oregon, this dynamic duo – ex-fighter pilot Paul Shamy and drumming maestro Jason Van Abrams – have unleashed a debut that doesn’t just walk the tightrope between homage and innovation; it riffs right across it.

Imagine the raw, gritty essence of grunge, the soulful depth of blues, and the rebellious spirit of punk, all colliding in a supernova of sound. That’s Sidewinder. Each track is a masterstroke of musical alchemy, where classic rock sensibilities are not just revisited but reinvented. The album is a kaleidoscope of eras and styles, yet it remains unmistakably Fox 2.

Shamy’s vocals are a revelation. He’s a powerhouse of emotion that can whisper in one breath and roar in the next. His guitar riffs are incendiary, igniting each track with a white-hot intensity. And then there’s Van Abrams, a rhythmic juggernaut whose drumming is both a foundation and a force of nature, driving the music forward with unstoppable momentum.

From the haunting melodies of The Grey to the frenetic energy of Phila, each song is a journey in itself. But it’s in tracks like Fly where Fox 2’s genius truly shines, blending bluesy undertones with garage rock grit to create something entirely new yet timelessly familiar.

Following the release of Sidewinder, the outfit is expanding their sound by strapping in bassist Pierce Guderskiand and is set to release swathes of hits in Summer 2024. Ensure Fox 2 is on your flight radar for the drop.

Stream and download Sidewinder on Bandcamp and Spotify. Follow Fox 2 on Instagram to stay up to date with their latest releases.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

BONNE took rock to new emotional depths with their LP, execute


With the vocal lines resonating as a tour de force through the stylish rock reinvention, the standout single, Problems, from BONNE’s hotly anticipated LP, execute, the track is a hair-raising adrenaline shot to the heart. With as much reverence to rock as Joan Jett with beguiling Janis Joplin and Alanis Morrissette’s soul-driven vox, the monolithic melting pot is a soulfully pioneering juggenautical triumph.

Discovering a new sound is always an exhilarant experience, but when there is so much substance injected into the sonics, the experience becomes all the more gratifying. And there is no denying that the duo possesses an emotional depth that delves deeper than what the rock mould typically permits; by smashing through it with their authentic vulnerability, BONNE stepped away from the fray and veered towards unapologetic authenticity. With notes of Pixies, Muse, and Slowdive, within the virtuosic instrumentals, each new progression is a galvanising revelation.

By pouring the raw energy of 90s grunge and the catchy hooks of 80s rock into a future-proof production, the Iowa-hailing duo orchestrated an all-consuming aural experience that will grip you with its fiercely innovative gravitas.

Check out BONNE via their official website and Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Tower Circle offer consolation that you’re unlikely to refuse in their rock track ‘Carry On’

Ahead of the release of their debut album, US-based alt-rock outfit, Tower Circle, have released the title-single to tease their superlatively authentic style which can crush you and put you back together in the space of four minutes.

Carry On is the kind of track that you’d expect to hear in a soundtrack when the tragedy in the plot reaches its torrid peak. The melancholy is just as much in overdrive as the guitars as the track gears towards the outro, only after the quiescent melodies compel you to lean into the soundscape deeper while the vocals offer consolation that you’re unlikely to refuse.

Carry On is one of those gorgeously rare singles that only allow you to realise how profound of an effect it has had on you when it has faded out. With their influences including everyone from Pearl Jam to Led Zeppelin to Bob Seger to Tom Petty, the commercial potential resounds in Tower Circle’s sound.

Carry On is now available to stream via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Star Prairie Project exhibit their eminence in their overwhelmingly evocative Alt Rock ballad ‘The Crying’

After their debut album, ‘Pancea’, amassed over 1.1 million streams and the standout single hit the iTunes UK Top 100 Rock chart at #36, Wisconsin-hailing alt-rock artist, The Star Prairie Project, unleashed their equally as compelling sophomore album ‘Surreal’.

The standout single, The Crying, demonstrates the evocative potential which Rock has always possessed but few have managed to achieve. With a sense of grief running deep in the veins of the classic rock-inspired single, it is safe to presume that plenty of people will find resonance when they hit play, given the 2020 we’ve collectively endured.

With the soul of a rock ballad and the monumental impact of a rock anthem, The Star Prairie Project allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds while introducing you to a brand-new realm of emotionally explosive rock.

The maturity and nuance delivered by The Star Prairie Project with The Crying definitely isn’t something which we encounter frequently. If they’re not on your radar, we’d recommend making room.

The Crying is available to stream now via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast


Hard rock newcomers Musicismost have made their distortedly electric debut with ‘Pheromone Too’

While most of us spent the summer of 2020 in enforced sun-and-over-drinking (the lucky ones with gardens, anyway) or locked down indoors, it seems Musicismost were not just forming in Chiswick, West London, but recording this, their first single.

‘Pheromone Too’ is a fast-paced, high energy rock track in the style of the Chilli Peppers, Muse, or Royal Blood, with maybe a little funky Lenny Kravitz vibe thrown in for good measure. It rocks hard, distorted guitars vying with up-front breathy vocals for attention. Releasing your first single all about pheromones – something invisible which can’t be detected but which influence our behaviour – is a pretty bold stroke, but it seems Musicismost can just about pull it off.

Hear ‘Pheromone Too’ on Soundcloud; follow Musicismost on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

edja’s debut single makes us all very ‘happy’ indeed

26-year-old singer-songwriter edja’s self-released debut debut single ‘Happy’ (released 3rd January) is a crashing, contemporary upbeat rock track taking the pain and destruction of a relationship breakdown and turning it around, highlighting the strength and growth which comes with change and personal resilience.

The track perfectly showcases edja’s voice, marrying her vocal delivery and excellent lyrical storytelling to the excellent guitar and piano work of collaborator (and fellow Italian) Luca Chessa, who arranged, mixed, and mastered the track along with edja.

It’s a great debut single, upbeat, catchy, and modern, reminiscent of The Cardigans, maybe a touch of Texas in the arrangement, or the Cranberries, edja’s vocal powerful and distinctive over the chugging guitar and thundering drums. ‘Happy’ really does bode well for edja for 2021.

You can follow edja on Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Dylan Koski – I’ve Got Mine: Scorching Guitar-Driven Modern Rock

From the four-tracker “Sour Milk and Cigarettes”, Dylan Koski’s “I’ve Got Mine” is a modern, searing, scorching guitar-driven rock track which easily showcases Koski’s virtuoso guitar skills alongside his bourbon-burned vocals. With a guitar tone to die for, reminiscent of Santana and Rory Gallagher, rich in old-school ‘woman tone’, the guitar perfectly compliments Koski’s unique lyrical take on the ‘old school love song’.

Featuring Brandon Pettiford on drums and Tony Harpon on bass, and recorded at Sonic Lounge Studios, “I’ve Got Mine” is the absolute real deal of a track – Driving and powerful, modern yet familiar, slick and stylish, riff-driven yet with real songwriting style, “I’ve Got Mine” is an absolute stormer of a song.

Check out the “Sour Milk and Cigarettes” EP on Spotify, and the “I’ve Got Mine” video on YouTube.

Review by Alex Holmes

EIN has made a sonically powerful Alt-Rock debut with “Shifter”

Blow the cobwebs off your speakers with the colossal debut single “Shifter” from Glaswegian Alt-Rock trio EIN.

Their stadium-filling sound nicely pairs with their stylistic energy which finds the perfect balance between abrasive and accessible.

With the atmospherically high-octane debut, EIN is already boasting that crucial maturity and synergy within their sound. If their sophomore release is equally as exhilarating, EIN won’t stay an up and coming act for long.

If someone asked me to point them in the direction of the best of 2020 Alt Rock, I’d point them in EIN’s direction. With the lacerating instrumental hooks, juicy ecstasy-dripping choruses and their own scuzzy stamp on the high-energy release, you really couldn’t ask for more from a Rock hit.

You can check out EIN’s single Shifter for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast