Browsing Tag

Elliott Smith

Simon Ewing serenaded through the eras in his acoustic indie folk triumph LULLABY

Simon Ewing’s latest single, LULLABY, artfully blends a spectrum of musical epochs with a mastery of guitar play that fans of folk and beyond will find irresistibly compelling. The track is a confluence of lo-fi charm and intricate guitar work that nods to The Maccabees’ Toothpaste Kisses while embedding a distinctly Americana vibe interlaced with blues’ soulful essence.

LULLABY won’t sing you to sleep; instead, it vibrates with life, signifying the Bristol-based troubadour’s knack for weaving narratives that affirm the sensibility of the soul. The song’s architectural simplicity in structure belies a complex, layered emotional resonance that hooks the listener from the first chord.

Ewing’s ability to synthesise swathes of genres into a seamless, flowing piece shows not just versatility but a deep reverence for the roots of each genre. Each note reflects a rhythmic exploration that feels both classic and innovative, making LULLABY a testament to Ewing’s ability to transcend traditional storytelling through music.

If Elliott Smith’s songs had veered away from melancholy towards this vein of succinct sweetness, they might have touched the same bright corners of the soul that Ewing reaches with this track.

Stream LULLABY on SoundCloud and YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rosso Rosso echoed the paradox of euphoria and ennui through their tender Tour De Force, Niamh

The Brooklyn-based fourpiece, Rosso Rosso’s discography could only be described as mercurially eclectic. When they’re not extending the legacy of NY punk, they’re enchanting the airwaves with their sticky-sweet evocations of melodic classic rock and conjuring aurally affecting alchemy in the same vein of the Kinks, Big Star, and ELO.

With their latest release, Niamh, the band that has been honing its sound as a collective since 2022, debuted a release that will tie your heartstrings in knots while allowing your soul to transcend with the endlessly ascending melodies that will be a hit with fans of the Beatles, Grandaddy and Elliott Smith alike.

With multi-layered vocal harmonies which give the Beach Boys a run for their money and lyricism that proves how deeply Rosso Rosso delves into the phenomena they explore, Niamh is a tender Tour De Force that will pull you back and forth between the brink of tears and the cusp of euphoria.

With the promise of more releases to follow in 2024, Rosso Rosso is more than worth a spot on your radar. Even if they can manipulate your emotions as efficaciously as a Patrick Bateman-esque narcissist.

Niamh is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Tyler Street’s latest indie-folk confession, ‘Faith, Wisdom, You’, is spiritual poetry in melodic motion

Candid, confessional, and captivating in equal measure, the latest single, Faith, Wisdom, You, from the Dallas-born, Napa-based singer-songwriter Tyler Street is poetry in melodic motion.

After the raw yet euphonic timbre of the acoustic guitar strings, the up-and-coming luminary cuts straight to the crux of the lyrical essence of the single, which resonantly explores a melancholic exposition of an inability to control the tides of emotion. The gentle vocal performance provides a scintillating juxtaposition to the lyricism, which carries the admission of uncontrollable anger.

With hints of Frightened Rabbit and The National within the indie folk production fused with the soulful warmth of Jack Johnson and the emotional intimacy of Elliott Smith, Tyler Street cultivated his sonic style to complement his soulful aura, which echoes the self-awareness and mindfulness inspired by his spiritual awakening. Take notes of the Eckhart Tolle-esque introspection while losing yourself in the transcendence of the guitar notes as they’re artistically amplified by the presence of chamber strings.

Faith, Wisdom, You was officially released on December 21. Stream the single on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Make your soul whole with Mark Braham’s introspectively compassionate indie single, Somebody’s Pain

Taken from his debut LP, After a While, the standout single, Somebody’s Pain, from the indie rock singer-songwriter Mark Braham seduces the listener into an Elliott Smith-esque tender sequence of compassionate consolation.

With the raggedly euphonic acoustic guitar chords flowing in complete synergy with the melodic lines projected through his hushed, honeyed and harmonic vocal range, Somebody’s Pain is a deeply affecting, artfully enticing score which unravels as a viscerally resonant exhibition of ennui and painfully conscious introspection of how we all have the potential to become someone else’s pain. From the first experience with Somebody’s Pain, you’ll stop, think, and feel the compulsion to hit repeat.

The Darwin, Australia-born artist has had music in his blood since a young age; his creative journey began by writing melodies on a cheap classical guitar before he joined a band. With enough talent to become a one-man powerhouse, he released his debut LP in 2019, opened his recording studio, Freestone Productions, in Canberra and turned his delectable talent to producing, mixing and mastering for other artists.

We can’t wait for the sophomore release, Authenticity, which is currently in the works. His ability to make your soul feel warm and whole is unrivalled.

Stream Somebody’s Pain on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

BLOCKED personified stoicism in her ethereal alt-indie single, I Don’t Mind


The Melbourne-based Singaporean singer-songwriter BLOCKED reached the epitome of ethereal magnetism in her artfully quiescent self-produced single, I Don’t Mind.

After some of the most accordant and assured acoustic guitar chord progressions I have ever aurally bore witness to in the intro, the single intensifies in ornate beguile through the introduction of quiescent chamber strings which swell around the shoegaze-y vocal lines, which will captivate fans of Cigarettes After Sex and Elliott Smith.

I Don’t Mind is just one chapter in the four-part story of growth and resilience told through the artist’s forthcoming EP, which encapsulates mastering the art of letting go. Socrates couldn’t have said it better himself.

I Don’t Mind will be released ahead of the highly-anticipated 4-track EP, no worries, which is due for release on November 17th. Stream I Don’t Mind on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Joel Porter made a plea for providence in his alt-folk masterpiece, Godsend

The North Dakota alt-folk artist, composer and producer Joel Porter’s fascination with the human psyche knows even fewer bounds than the experimentalism in his harmonic landscapes.

Art brings meaning to life; in Porter’s work, which includes his recently released single, Godsend, life also brings meaning to art as the quiescent neo-classic melodies complement confessional emotional exploration. With his signature sense of intimate longing, Godsend is yet another testament to his talent and introspective eloquence. With a sound so sweet it stings, the melancholic cries for providence in Godsend are so profound they resonantly overwhelm the senses.

Combined with the aesthetic desolation in the black-and-white music video which visualises the monochromatic hues of a forsaken soul, Godsend is yet another masterpiece in Joel Porter’s repertoire.

Over the course of his career, he’s worked with renowned artists, showcased his music on a national level, accumulated over 7.5 million streams, and secured sync placements with the television series The 100 and in the Grey Skies: A War of the Worlds Story video game.

Something tells us the best is yet to come for Porter and his ability to construct bridges between the pensiveness of Elliott Smith and the intricate ambience of Nils Frahm.

The official music video for Godsend will premiere on September 28; watch it on YouTube.

For more info, visit Joel Porter’s official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Foreign Saints is sonorously spectral in their debut shoegaze single, Here With Me

If you placed yourself in the middle ground of Elliott Smith and Slowdive, you would be in good company with the sonorously spectral debut single, Here With Me, from Foreign Saints.

With a slice of psychedelia written into the indie pop songwriting chops, Here With Me unravels as a hazy kaleidoscope of wistful colour. As the lyrics allude to what’s lost through time and distance, the dreamy instrumentals envelop you in their reverb-swathed cathartic tonality.

The bedroom pop project from the Brooklyn-based musician, Thomas Roberts, may not be far past its inception, but Roberts is already proving himself to be an unreckonable resonant force. Fans of The Japanese House, War on Drugs, and Day Wave won’t want to let the project slip them by, especially with the debut EP in the pipeline.

Here With Me is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Number One Babe Team delivered spiritual salvation in their alt-indie single, The Final Hallelujah

With subversive references to While My Guitar Gently Weeps in the lyrics and a touch of Neil Young to the lightly timbered sentimentality in the vocals, the standout single, The Final Hallelujah, from Number One Babe Team’s debut LP, See You Later, is a euphonic reverie of nostalgia, which more than has its place on contemporary airwaves.

As alluded to by the indie band’s moniker, Number One Babe Team doesn’t take itself too seriously, making their soundscapes, which also incorporate shoegaze-y guitars and touches of Elliott Smith in the songwriting, infinitely sweeter.

If Neutral Milk Hotel honeyed their soundscapes to the nth degree but still maintained the quaint humility, the result wouldn’t be too far removed from the sonic signature scribed by the Salt Lake City premier act, which has become an integral part of the touring circuit since their 2022 debut.

Stream the full LP, which hit the airwaves on June 9, via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Partisan Way gave hope to the hopeless romantics in their indie synth-pop sugar rush, I Know What You’ll Say

It may have been almost two years since we heard Partisan Way, but there was no forgetting the artisanal sonic sugar that emanated from their blissfully affectionate indie-pop hit, Borrow Me.

In 2023, they’re back on the airwaves with their single I Know What You’ll Say, which starts in the middle ground of The Beatles and Elliott Smith before there is a smooth transition into a synth-kissed summer bop, which celebrates the agonising pain of pre-emptive anxiety before a romantic proclamation.

Ultimately, I Know What You’ll Say is a waltz-y indie psych-pop invitation to embrace the beauty of vulnerability. The entire single is a testament to that very beauty; hopeless romantics may even gain some hope by the time the big synth outro comes around, following the honeyed high vocal lines atop the pop instrumentals that meld classic and contemporary songwriting. Wayne Coyne himself couldn’t have hit those notes better.

Just when we thought we couldn’t have any more predilection towards the indie outfit fronted by Dan Tierney, I Know What You’ll Say, in all its polyphonic synthy glory, allowed our soft spot to become infinitely softer under the duress of the unassured soul in the vocals.

Stream I Know What You’ll Say on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

MER reached the pinnacle of cathartic intimacy with ‘When I’m Alone’

With a touch of Adrianne Lenker to the vocals and a lo-fi ethereal guitar atmosphere which will placate the staunchest Elliott Smith fans, the NYC-residing singer-songwriter, MER’s latest artfully vulnerable single, When I’m Alone, reaches the pinnacle of cathartic intimacy.

The descent into Avant-Garde indie bedroom pop obscurity just before the track fades to a close gives you the compulsion to dive back into the passionately elevated arrangement while pulling in reminiscences to Mitski. But make no mistake, When I’m Alone is no feat of assimilation.

The visceral soul which emanates from the experimentalism is a testament to the originality of MER. The lyrical experience of fierce independence as a coping mechanism may be a relatively universal phenomenon, but MER is one in an expressively eloquent million.

When I’m Alone hit the airwaves on May 12. Hear it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast