Browsing Tag

Independent Pop

Olen Filipe – Home 17: Authentically Augmented Indie Pop

Swiss-based Portuguese artist Olen Filipe’s latest alt-indie-pop single, Home 17, is a firestorm of evocative momentum, alchemised through a stridently lush blend of introspection, innovation, and unflinching soul.

The exposition of the complexities of love and self-discovery is guided by Filipe’s tender vocals and mapped with his candour-fuelled lyrics which transpose aching emotion into nuanced storytelling. The stylised and authentically augmented production ensures that the only thing that’s raw about Home 17 is the visceralism within the expression, which has earned the singer-songwriter a devoted following since his debut.

Filipe’s subtle harmonies leave a profound impact as they juxtapose the oceanic evocative nature of the release, which echoes the pain inflicted by self-conflict. There’s no understating the affecting nature of the production as it simultaneously stirs and comforts your soul.

Influenced by artists like Bon Iver and Neil Frances, Filipe stands out with his distinct sound in Home 17, which stands as a testament to his commitment to crafting music that not only resonates with listeners but also invites them on a passionate, introspective journey.

Home 17 was officially released on February 9th; stream the single on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Arden – I Don’t Sleep: A Poignant Alt-Pop Symphony of an Exposed Heart and Soul

The London-based alt-pop pioneer, Arden, found the inspiration for his latest single, I Don’t Sleep, through the fear that once you have laid your soul bare, there’s no covering it up to the ones you exposed your vulnerability to.

There’s sweetness in the sentiment “there will always be a part of me that’s yours” but the bitterness of that part of you becoming redundant in the wake of a breakup is a cutting juxtaposition. Lyrically, it is powerful enough to make you view relationships through a brand-new cautious lens. Still, within the blossoming swells in the piano melodies and the orchestrally carved crescendos, there’s a scintillating atmosphere, full of spirited passion – stirring enough to make you want to take the dive into inevitable pain.

I Don’t Sleep is a testament to Arden’s ability to blend poignant lyrics with lush musical arrangements. The song achieves a cinematic quality, panoramic enough to be part of a blockbuster soundtrack, yet intimate enough to tug at the heartstrings with every note. Arden’s cultivated songwriting, reminiscent of Owl City, shines through in I Don’t Sleep. His soulful vocal performance, memorable melodies, and sophisticated production showcase a maturity beyond his years.

As he opens 2024 with this energised and refined sound, Arden solidifies his place as an artist to watch, captivating audiences with his honest and witty songwriting.

I Don’t Sleep will hit the airwaves on January 5th; stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Berto served an exotic elixir for the soul with his debut single, papi guapi

Berto’s debut single papi guapi is a striking entry into the synth-pop landscape, marking him as a promising new talent to watch in 2024. Hailing from the vibrant locales of Los Angeles and Orange County, Berto brings a refreshing and eclectic sound to the table, one that defies the constraints of a single genre.

The track stands out for its seamless blend of bilingual Spanish and English vocals, which Berto croons with a captivating finesse. His voice, an evocative elixir, gracefully flows over the new wave instrumentals which break free from the monocultural mould. The production is richly layered, featuring reverb-drenched motifs that infuse the track with an exotic 80s-tinged flair.

The track possesses an almost magnetic quality, seducing listeners into a dreamy haze reminiscent of the era’s best synth-pop offerings. Yet, it remains distinctly modern, thanks to Berto’s innovative approach to music production and his skill in blending traditional and contemporary elements. As the final track of Berto’s debut album Relampago Romantico, papi guapi holds a special place in the album’s narrative arc.

Papi guapi is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast 

Fallyn weaved a cautionary tale into her debut pop track, Love Bomb

Fallyn’s debut single Love Bomb is a masterful blend of nostalgia and modernity, an ethereal journey that bridges the gap between the distinct pop sounds of the 80s and today’s contemporary landscape. The track is a melodious odyssey, laced with dreamy, choral textures that are as captivating as they are introspective.

Love Bomb opens with a celestial ambiance, immediately setting a tone that is both haunting and enchanting. Fallyn’s voice, reminiscent of icons like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, carries a delicate power that lures the listener into the intoxicating atmosphere of the single. Her vocal prowess is evident as she navigates through the layers of sound with ease and emotion. The genius lies in the track’s thematic depth. Fallyn delves into the complex phenomenon of love bombs, a manipulative tactic often employed by narcissists at the onset of relationships.

Fallyn and her collaborator, Trenton Michael, skilfully intertwine 80s pop elements with contemporary sounds, creating a track that feels both familiar and fresh with each element, from the ethereal synths to the layered harmonies, meticulously crafted to enhance the overall experience. Notably, she is one to watch.

Love Bomb dropped on December 1st; stream it on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Sean Daniel swept up the cosmos in his intricate tapestry of pop chords with ‘Counting Stars’

The Cambridgeshire, UK-hailing songwriter and composer Sean Daniel has veered away from his alt-rock inclinations to make his debut in the pop arena with his latest single Counting Stars.

Immerse yourself in a celestial experience with this starry piano-driven pop ballad from Sean Daniel and the phenomenally talented female vocalist who brought swathes of soul to the release, which uses each note to weave an intricate tapestry of chords that hint at a profound understanding of musical storytelling and showcases a maturity that belies the artist’s novelty on the scene.

The track’s dreamy star-roving atmosphere is crafted through delicate yet powerful piano melodies, perfectly paced to lift listeners into the cosmos. The artist’s skill in chord progression shines brightly, offering a transcendent journey through space and emotion. Delve in for a shot of sonic visceralism.

Counting Stars was officially released on November 7th; stream the superlative single on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Rukudzo called time in her fiery pop hit, Big Things

The Hertfordshire, UK singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rukudzo exhibited what a perfect pop hit should sound like in 2023 with her latest hook-rife and soul-lavished single, Big Things, which allows indie guitars to weave an intricate melodic tapestry across the lush layers of reverb and the Afrobeat rhythms that give the genre-fluid track a solid backbeat.

The sonic ingenuity, which also leaves room for Rukudzo’s signature rock attitude, is only matched by the poignant lyrical message which unravels as a fiery vignette of a depiction of the necessity of knowing when to be forbearing in a relationship and when to draw the line and call time.

In every conceivable way, Rukudzo made an unforgettable impression with Big Things. You’ll be humming the melody for days and revelling in the introspection for even longer.

Big Things will drop on November 3rd, stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Anike stylised the archetypal perennial pop earworm in her sophomore release, Victorious

Following the success of her debut single, Beautiful Fate, the unforgettable electro-pop originator Anike took a year to hone her sound and sharpen her sonic signature before unleashing her superlatively stylised sophomore earworm, Victorious.

With as much experimentation in her sound as Warpaint, Cherry Glazerr, and Blonde Redhead fused with a sticky-sweet bubblegum pop sensibility, Victorious bridges the gap between two pop worlds with her synth-carved melodies and rhythmically arresting progressions. The track is an overpass you’ll want to revisit time after time for the feel-good factor which has all the euphoria of a guilty pleasure and all the gravitas of an artful pop-hooked Tour De Force.

Victorious was officially released on October 20; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

tonka._.b has made her bedroom pop debut with the sticky-sweet indietronica single, Me & U

The bedroom pop artist tonka._.b has made her debut with the indietronic pop hit, Me & U. Right from the prelude you will be invited into a dreamy, almost ethereal electronically crafted universe, which shares a few proclivities with the tracks orchestrated by the likes of Shiny Toy Guns, Metric, and Kill Hannah. Just when you think the single is about to border on twee, bassier dance elements work their way into the progressive mix that delivers a barrage of curveballs to keep you on your toes right to the outro.

It may be rough around some of the songwriting edges in some parts, and transitions between the verses and chorus could be smoother, but the up-and-coming artist clearly has an ear for a melody, and there is no telling where it could take her in the future – stay tuned and keep her on your radar.

Me & U was officially released on August 21; stream it on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Gemma Felicity ignited 00s pop nostalgia with ‘Come Back to Me’

Gemma Felicity

Gemma Felicity ignited early 00s pop nostalgia with her latest single, Come Back to Me, which is set to drop on the 4th of August.The muted and choked-up guitars at the start of the single set the tone for a hair-raising feat of pop-punk. But the London-based singer-songwriter chose to run through with a moody slice of synth-pop with reverb-heavy keys and a danceable melody beneath her viscerally soulful vocal lines that will spark an evocative fire between your synapses as you lose yourself in the adrenalizingly progressive single that will leave you simultaneously wanting to hit the dance floor and wanting to drunk text your ex.

Following a mystery illness that left her physically and mentally drained, the songwriter studied for her Masters in Music Performance in Leeds before dropping her first singles, This Place and Better Without You, in 2022. Her upcoming EP was penned to explore her unhealthy romantic relationships and her journey back to herself and self-sourced peace. Keep tuned for it.

Check out Come Back to Me on Spotify and iTunes via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Dream Baby Dream with Cati Landry’s indie pop installation of etherealism, Mind’s Eye

With vocal lines that hypnotise as they harmonise, Cati Landry’s indie dream pop single, Mind’s Eye, will instantly put you under its ethereal spell. As the lead guitars bend licks of Americana into the notes, the rhythm guitars keep the 90s indie dream alive in their steady spills of instrumental romanticism.

The Canadian singer-songwriter set to create the ultimate anthem for the diehard romantics who find themselves consistently contending with the juxtaposition between dreams and reality; given that she made romantic expectations all the more unrealistic with her butterfly-releasing release, it is safe to say she succeeded in her enchanting record, which deserves to be just as revered as Swift’s latest LP. I highly recommend investing in Cati Landry’s promising career before you have to take out a second mortgage for her gig tickets too.

Mind’s Eye was officially released on July 14; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast