After making himself well known on the Utah touring circuit in the outfits My Dad the Astronaut, MoonSugar, Doll and A 1/2, and Indie Seoul, Jayson HaslamBrock took to the centre stage and went solo in his new alt indie rock project, Reel Boy.
With authentic and intentionally imperfect vocals that will be a hit with Teenage Fanclub and Dinosaur Jr. fans and simple yet hooky pop choruses that transpire after the minimalist chord progressions, his sophomore release, Julissa, is just like honey – literally. The same sweetly sombre textural distortion that made The Jesus and Mary Chain hit so indulgently unforgettable becomes the central gravity in Julissa.
It isn’t your average earworm, but it will stick with you long beyond the outro all the same for Reel Boy’s tenaciously songwriting chops that are sharp enough to seal his illustrious fate in the industry.
Making an authentic mark on the Shoegaze landscape where so many chorally dissonant signatures have been scribed is no easy feat; Holy Gloam succeeded all the same with their latest single, Used for Falling.
The vulnerable vocal lines become the soft sonic underbelly of the sludged-to-the-nines single, which uses clamorously effect-laden guitars to visualise the rancorous paths of descent our minds can take us down and sweeten the vocal harmonies in texturally sublime contrast. Sharpening the teeth of the melancholy is lyrical diehard romanticism, which paints a portrait of unconditional affection which distance and disconnection can’t diminish.
With their ability to invite their listeners into such evocatively compelling soundscapes which play the heartstrings as intricately and intimately as the guitars, the North Wales/NW England five-piece clearly have a bright future ahead of them. They have already been making major waves since songwriter Julian Neale founded the outfit in 2021; they’ve become staples in the NW touring circuit and their debut album, Small Nothings, was longlisted by Welsh Music Prize. Watch this space for more major moves from the scintillating evocateurs.
Used for Falling was officially released on July 7th; stream it on Spotify.
The Brooklyn, NY brother duo snailosaur showed us exactly how they came about their moniker with the scuzzy Dinosaur Jr. tones and verbiage in their latest indie-rock evocative ride, Fake Cobblestone Alleys.
Reminiscences aside, the spoken word sermonics of the single bleed poetry into exhilarant guitars punctuated by the driving drum fills. Every aspect of the track was superlatively stitched together to become the sum of all its melodically fuzzy parts.
It is worth being part of the disenfranchised down-and-out masses just to tear the honey from this apathetically sweet projection of everyman blues. Snailosaur’s mark has been definitively left on the landscape of grunge via Fake Cobblestone Alleys; it’s a nihilist’s dream come to sonic fruition.
Stream & purchase Fake Cobblestone Alleys on Bandcamp.
It is a disillusioning and confusing era for pacifists to be enveloped in; substantial consolation ebbed and flowed from the Avant-Garde-tinged indie single, The Bullet, from Freak of the Sea (Christopher Jacques).
The anti-gun anthem, which lyrically revolves around the resonant reprise of “I’d rather take a bullet than shoot a gun”, is, unfortunately, a necessity given how we’re numbed to the horrors of gun violence through over-exposure to massacre.
While the guitar melodies run in a crystal-clear vein, dark and torrid effects disrupt the quiescence to a disarmingly conceptual effect. If you could imagine what it would sound like if Modest Mouse drifted into the waters of post-punk, you will get an idea of what the Portland, Oregon-based artist triumphantly achieved with The Bullet.
When Jacques isn’t crafting aural comfort, he runs the Dandy Warhols’ recording studio, The Odditorium. He’s worked with everyone from The Shins to The Dandy Warhols to Slash to Cowboy Junkies and countless other icons of alt music. Yet, notably, his associations are one of the least impressive facets about him.
The Bullet will officially release on January 26th; hear it on YouTube. The new EP, Out to Pasture, which The Bullet was taken from, will drop on February 10th.
Taken from their debut EP, Nobody Home, West Ridge Circle’s standout single, Stuck in This Chair, is an eclectic array of era-spanning rock nuances and modernist lyrical vulnerability.
Fans of Pavement, Pixies and Nirvana will want to drink up the 21st-century melancholy that drips through the lyrics and captures the frustration that lingers in unrelenting ennui. It’s tracks like Stuck in This Chair that prove there’s a beauty in collective misery, that now, we can hear lyrics, and it isn’t an Olympian stretch of the imagination to get on the same level. Granted, that isn’t always a given, but West Ridge Circle are thriving on the funk that is writhing through our existential hive minds.
With the J Mascis-style guitar chops, the despondent Americana blues-rock vocals that come with a tinge of the Seattle alt-90s sound and the eerily relatable lyrics, Stuck in This Chair has all the makings of a melancholy alt-rock playlist staple. We hope there’s another release nestled in the pipeline.
Stuck in This Chair is now available to stream on Spotify.
If Elliott Smith, Dinosaur Jr and the Beatles met in the middle, the sonic result would be starkly reminiscent of Louie Miles’ latest psychedelically warm and hazy single, Show the World. Instead of following the same old tropes with his tracks, he creates songs born entirely of his imagination. Based on Show the World, I would pay hand over fist to take a vacation in his mind. The sweetly psychotropic instrumentals paired with Miles’ magnetic melancholy-tinged vocals is practically an invitation to nirvana.
The Liverpool-based multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer made his solo debut in April this year; before that, he contributed to the Birmingham-based band, Sugarthief and Liverpool’s renowned outfit, Astles. At 21-years-old, Louie Miles already boasts the songwriting maturity that other artists have to wait decades for. We can’t wait to hear what follows.
Show the World is available to stream on all major platforms, including YouTube.
If Metrophobia’s 2021 debut album, Silent Treatment, was marketed as a lost relic from the alt-90s, I’m fairly sure that no one would raise an eyebrow. The best introduction to their sonic palate that amalgamates shoegaze, noise, indie and grunge is the nostalgically ethereal single, How Long.
Around the catchy hooks, the tender vocals fall into the discord that spills from the scuzzed-up over-driven guitars, allowing you to see a softer side to the discontent How Long was inspired by.
The two forming members of Metrophobia met in Geneva, Switzerland; they worked on various projects together before turning their attention to their bitter-sweet cocktail of alt culture that will be a hit with fans of Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, Teenage Fanclub and Sebadoh.
Metrophobia’s debut album is now available to stream on Spotify.
With their melodic themes that vary from no-wave to folk, Rouse the Boroughs is an exceptionally rare kind of outfit that can parallel the evocative output from nostalgia-inducing artists such as Mazzy Star, Elliott Smith and Neutral Milk Hotel. Those aren’t comparisons that I make lightly. The lead single, Tighter is the Rope, from their latest release, Cosmic Creatures – Part 2, is the perfect introduction to the Montreal-based art and music cooperative.
Instead of the cleverness of the soundscape capturing you through its vibrant dreamy -sporadically over-driven and sludgy, tones – it’s the emotion that the cooperative can express with their sound that leaves you affably hooked. The vocals allow you to imagine what Sonic Youth would have sounded like if Thurston Moore was as vocally sweet as Matthew Caws. You’d be seriously hard-pressed to find a more blissfully provocative single released in 2021.
The Cautionary Tale of Richard Manuel is the indie psych-folk debut single from Woodstock-based, California-born singer-songwriter Marc Delgado. If the styles of Paul Simon, the National and Dinosaur Jr coalesced, the sonic result wouldn’t be all too far from Delgado’s debut that pulls the storytelling roots of folk up through a sleek and modern production.
The kicking beat, lofty colourful guitars and spacy synths converge to create a psychedelic platform for Delgado’s instantly magnetic vocals that draw you in by the unapologetically unadulterated passion to provide 3:28 minutes of total aural escapism.
The Cautionary Tale of Richard Manuel is now available to stream via Spotify.
Decades may have passed since alt-rock outfit, Selfish Gene garnered rave reviews and joined Sonic Youth on their Washing Machine album tour in 1996, but the Tel Aviv-hailing artist’s despondently transfixing sound is just as transfixing in the 21st century.
‘After the Rain’ is the first single to be released from their forthcoming album, produced 20 years after the original line up disbanded. With vocals which carry reminiscence to Matthew Caws (Nada Surf) and J Mascis against distorted winding guitar hooks which may as well have been played on your heartstrings, the melancholically mellifluous single is as evocative as it is innovative. Anyone who can’t get enough of alt-90s indie may finally find themselves sated by this sweetly optimistic-in-spite-of-nihilism release.
After the Rain is available to stream via Spotify.