Browsing Tag

dark pop

Raven Ives scribed dark poetry through her artful alt-pop installation, Reprieve

With her standout single, Reprieve, the self-sustained DIY artist Raven Ives delves into an introspective journey, channelling her creative vulnerability into a brooding synthesis of trip-hop, dark pop, and a touch of neo-classical ambience.

Reprieve pulsates with a lifeblood of nuanced emotions, each beat and lyric paving a path deep into the heart’s recesses. This single is a testament to Violet’s refusal to blend into the pop milieu, avoiding the pitfalls of sonic assimilation with a bold, unyielding voice. Her approach to music, deeply rooted in emotional and artistic exploration, avoids direct comparisons. Yet, if one were to draw a parallel, her poetic lyricism and the evocative depth of her compositions might nod to the likes of PJ Harvey, marking Raven Ives as a standout voice in this artistic generation.

The track itself serves as a canvas, painting a sombre and tender narrative of isolation that resonates universally. Here, Raven Ives manages to capture a universal sentiment—the profound sense of inner desolation that pervades even the most crowded spaces. The music sweeps across this landscape of a shattered psyche with elegance and a raw, piercing clarity.

Stream Reprieve with the rest of Raven Ives’ EP, Dancing Shadows, on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

ZERONIRVANA unleashed the alt-pop debut of the year with her arcanely affecting triumph, Lucid Drama

The orchestral alt-pop priestess, ZERONIRVANA has made her affectingly arcane debut with her single, Lucid Drama. The striking statement of artistic identity from the Bangalore-born, Boston-based artist defies the conventional boundaries of alt-pop.

The track opens with a haunting piano melody, each minor key striking a chord of introspective depth. The orchestral strings, sharp and poignant, weave through the layers of turbulent electronica, crafting a soundscape that cuts to the core of the melancholic themes explored. It’s in this complex musical terrain that ZERONIRVANA’s voice finds its home – a voice that carries the weight of classical training yet resonates with the relatable essence of a modern pop icon.

Lyrically, ‘Lucid Drama’ is a poignant exploration of resilience in the face of relational adversity. ZERONIRVANA navigates the nuances of emotional strength and vulnerability with a deft hand, her words offering both a mirror and a map for listeners grappling with similar struggles. The song becomes a beacon of empowerment, encouraging a steadfast hold on one’s ground amidst the tempests of life.

ZERONIRVANA’s artistic vision, as showcased in ‘Lucid Drama’, transcends mere musical performance. Her commitment to creating a therapeutic, almost theatrical experience for her audience is palpable. This track is a journey through the avenues of mental health and personal growth, set against a backdrop of captivating visuals and storytelling that ZERONIRVANA masterfully curates across her digital platforms.

In ‘Lucid Drama’, ZERONIRVANA doesn’t just launch her career; she invites us into a world where music is a catalyst for self-discovery and empowerment.

Lucid Drama was officially released on February 18th; stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Areeyedee’s latest single Insomnia is a waking industrial trap pop nightmare

With a sound as dark as the mise en scene from The Machinist, Areeyedee’s industrial trap pop single, Insomnia, conjures the disjointing and reality-warping nature of the depression symptom which creates 48-hour days where we’re left to replay twisted thoughts on a loop.

By capturing the nature of the beast and refusing to downplay the psychological downfall of the rabbit holes insomnia can take us down, the Kansas-born and raised, Darmstadt, Germany-based artist created a razor-sharp cutting exposition of mental disquietude in his lyrics and his aptly maniacal vocal delivery. With every line, he washes away the stigma while the branding of his sonic signature glows red hot through the release.

After fronting a rock band in the ’90s and landing the role of a hip-hop artist in a feature film, which made him fall in love with the genre, Areeyedee effortlessly melds the alternative with urban aesthetics in his discography, which includes tracks created with the multi-platinum producer, Freek Van Workum (21 Savage, Tech N9ne).

Insomnia will drop on January 1st; stream the single on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Freyja Elsy embodied the sentiment that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned in her single, Over It

Freyja Elsy’s latest single, Over It, from her upcoming EP, Modern Artifice, is a mesmerising blend of trip-hop, dark pop, and innovative electronica that resonates with the chillingly arcane Southern Gothic air of Chelsea Wolfe.

The single, which premiered on BBC Radio Wales on Adam Walton’s Introducing show, has been aptly compared to the likes of Massive Attack and Portishead, with a nod to the acid house genre in its production. The multi-layered auditory journey reflects the despondency of being cast into the harsh realities of adulthood and forced to contend with the seemingly arbitrary monotony which stretches for decades before those coming of age. Elsy’s voice, both haunting and commanding, unravels this narrative against a backdrop of spiky dream pop and leftfield electronica, creating a sound that is as visionary as it is haunting as it oozes the divinity of female power.

Elsy, who has had a remarkable year, opening for acts like Death & Vanilla and Welsh artists Eädyth, Ani Glass, and Small Miracles, never fails to showcase her ability to create a cohesive and clear vision in her music. Her previous singles, Lungs, Requiem, and Golden Hour, have already garnered international attention and BBC recognition, setting a high bar for her upcoming EP.

Over It hit the airwaves on November 17; stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Xther opened Pandora’s Box with the bloodlust in his experimental debut EP, A Disaster at Last

Pandora’s Box opened when Xther unveiled his seductively macabre standout single, Delicacy, taken from his debut release, which came in the form of his inaugural EP, A Disaster at the Least.

With bloodlust in place of the banality of lust, Xther, envisioned by the inventive Davin Casey, created the ultimate protest to the cultural quietude of Southwest Missouri; Davin’s musical metamorphosis stands as a vivid declaration of artistic tenacity and fervour.

After the stabbing piano keys tease a pop ballad, the throbbing synth lines send ravines of reverberance through the synthesis of dark electronic pop progressions and alt-rock manifestations of visceralism. If Deftones make you horny, I don’t even want to know what delicacy will do to you. The sultrily dark magnetism of She Wants Revenge creating friction against the future-ready production which highlights the dust on IAMX hits is a potent aural cocktail which will intoxicate you to Xther’s sonic reawakening which follows the dissolution of Davin Casey’s former hard-rock project, Story of a Ghost.

Stream Delicacy with the A Disaster at the Least EP via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Star-rove through the desolation in Othenic’s latest single, SUPERSONIC LIGHTSPEED

By using dark and spacey tones as a metaphor for the desolation of alienation and emptiness and pairing them with pensive lyrical iconography, Othenic proved his worth as an evocateur in his latest single, SUPERSONIC LIGHTSPEED.

The trappy nuances that bleed through the backbeat and the sharp delivery of his quasi-harmonised vocals become a sense of gravity in the reverb-swathed atmosphere of the star-roving single that instantly immerses you within the melancholy of the exposition of how inhospitable Earth can be when you’re forced to go through the motions without another soul as a compass.

Emanating the same sense of heart-on-sleeve deeply affecting appeal of Blue October and Porcupine Tree, the Kentucky/Cincinnati-hailing artist, who is quickly becoming our favourite discovery in 2023, is establishing himself as a song crafter with superlative tenacity when it comes to sonically locking into the darkest facets of the human experience.

SUPERSONIC LIGHTSPEED was officially released on November 2nd; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Ojay put devil horns on their latest pop-rock earworm, Creep in the Night

This isn’t Thriller, but the Bad Guy by Eilish-esque swagger in the recently released macabrely magnetic pop-rock hit, Creep in the Night, from the prodigal sons of accursed experimentation, Ojay, is one of eeriest infectious earworms you will meet this year.

With their ability to bring the funk in the basslines, the grooves in the razor-sharp guitar cuts and wear the devil may care horns all too well in the vocal performance, the high-energy Australian outfit knocked it out of the seventh ring of hell with Creep in the Night.

Between the exemplary modern production which puts Highly Suspect to shame, the swathes of chilling charisma and the efficaciousness of the vocal hooks which seduce you into the dark heart of the release, I’m struggling to see how I will leave this hit alone.

Creep in the Night was officially released on Friday the 13th; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jennifer Jess conjured reclamation in her dark-pop hit, Dark of Night

For her latest single, Dark of Night, the Atlanta, Georgia singer-songwriter Jennifer Jess artfully darkened her pop signature to deliver the ultimate aural reclamation of power. Anyone who has experienced losing themselves in a relationship, which proves that no monster can match the insidiousness of a narcissist, will find fistfuls of resonance within Dark of Night.

The cinematic synthesis of hammering ballad-esque piano keys and the turbulence of the electronic aesthetics, which push Jess’ sound far beyond the contemporary curve, created an arresting platform for her vocals that switch between sultry allure to gravely to strident and back again to deliver an authentically well-rounded hit.

After racking up over 1 million streams on Spotify alone and amassing an engaged audience of 18,000 on Twitch TV with her live pop performances, Jennifer Jess is rightly reigning supreme with her captivating song crafting and vocal range that lingers within the angel-devil dichotomy.

Dark of Night was officially released on October 13; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jessamine Barham exhumed a ‘Shallow Grave’ to speak on the violent oppression of women in her latest single.

Jessamine Barham released her most striking single to date when she read the harrowing tale in her latest single, Shallow Grave. The haunting vocal harmonies atop the staccato acoustic guitar strings and as the centrefold within the quiescent orchestral swells of chamber pop strings brought the solemnity within Shallow Grave to spectral life in a way that assures us that even though Jessamine Barham’s dark pop stylings are niche, her talents of a sonic narrator of feminine tragedy should never be underestimated.

The days of the Salem witch trials and being sectioned with hysteria may be behind us, but the violent oppression of women will always be a tale as old as time. It was no feat of hyperbole to lyrically infer that feminine acts of rebellion can incur the death penalty. Some may say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but life hath no tyranny like the men determined to keep us chastised.

Shallow Grave was officially released on September 24; stream it on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jessamine Barham melodised marionette melancholy in her compelling vignette, Puppet Girl

Every time the dark indie folk singer-songwriter Jessamine Barham turns her creativity to the composition of a new baroquely imaginative piano score, complete immersion in her archaic vignettes is non-optional.

In her seminal avant-garde single, Puppet Girl, the San Diego-hailing artist melodied marionette melancholy by inviting you into a world of powerlessness, subjugation, and betrayal.

Taking the single at face value, you will enjoy a jaunty Evelyn Evelyn-esque cabaret tune; look a little deeper at what is written between the lines, and you will lock into an exposition on the limitations life can find a way of imposing on us. No matter how free we think we are, we all come with strings attached, making Puppet Girl a resonantly dark reflection of reality.

Puppet Girl is now available to stream on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast