Catchy, hooky, easy-singalong-y (is that a word?), ‘No End’ – from debut album ‘Bedrock’ – is airy, dance-y shimmering electronic (as distinct from electro-) pop that sticks in your head from the first line of the first verse and refuses to leave again for a significantly long time.
If we say ‘a funky Lightning Seeds with maybe a touch of the Bluetones’, maybe even adding the song-writing perfection of Paul Heaton and the Beautiful South, you’ll immediately get the ball-park we’re in here; that instantly recognisable yet utterly fresh summery feel of irresistible, well-crafted timeless pop. That’s not to downplay it – it takes a disproportionate amount of skill to create something that sounds as effortless and easy-going as ‘No End’, with an instant familiarity that makes it sound both exciting and up-to-date and as comforting as a visit from an old friend, all at once.
Stylistically, the synths bring an obvious electronic vibe here – Daft Punk spring to mind – but there’s also heavy funk, disco, and 70’s pop influences, the Nile Rodgers staccato guitar and old-school Rhodes piano parts adding to the groove and loungey, nu-disco feel. Quite Vice might have just written the first perfect pop song of Summer 2021.
The Blooms have shown us the pinnacle of contemporary pop-rock with ‘Daydreaming’, the standout single from their debut EP, ‘Something’s Changed’, which hit the airwaves March 14th.
The Croatian artist consistently exhibits the versatility of their style from release to release; with Daydreaming, they submerge you into an artfully intense soundscape that allows you to swim through the infusion of soft tonal hues while keeling the adrenalizing baselines which mimic a frantic heartbeat. It’s a swoon-worthy feat of pop-rock that gives you little option in surrendering your consciousness entirely and being vocally serenaded.
Daydreaming is now available to stream via Spotify.
There’s no better breeding ground for power pop than NYC, as proven by the latest release, ‘Floating’, by Rebel Kicks. With similarities to evocative pop-rock outfits such as The Calling and Lifehouse, the brother-fronted duo welcomes you into a familiar soundscape before setting themselves apart with their angular indie jangle-pop guitar notes and the sincerity in their optimism.
Rebel Kicks’ tour plans may have been crushed by the pandemic, but they still endeavoured to lead their listeners to a brighter perspective after recognising the dangers of internal reflection. In short, Floating is an invitation to cut through the noise and reserve energy for positivity. It’s an invitation that you don’t get much of an option in accepting thanks to the infectious positivity.
Floating is now available to stream via SoundCloud.
Tom Tikka is no stranger to the recording studio; a youthful solo deal with Olarin Musiikki in Finland, nine years and three albums with SonyBMG as the band Carmen Gray, and Josie Award nominations with the FBP Records signees The Impersonators, is a pretty solid recording career by anyone’s yardstick, but that hasn’t stopped Tom releasing three critically acclaimed EPs with new band the Missing Hubcaps.
‘Turn Back The Time’ is the first of six tracks from the ‘That’s What Winston Churchill Said’ EP, a collection of vaguely AOR-driven rock tracks with great pop sensibilities and an eye on hook-writing and catchy choruses. There’s some excellent overdriven guitar work, a nod to alt-rock and touches of storytelling songwriting a la Crowded House and INXS, alongside some nice bluesy licks interplaying with Tikka’s occasionally falsetto vocal delivery. It’s a great track, and a perfect introduction to the EP; you don’t get to make music for as long, in as many incarnations, as Tom Tikka without having something a little bit special, and that experience and originality comes across very strongly on ‘Turn Back The Time’.
Check out ‘Turn Back The Time’ on Spotify, or from Tom Tikka & The Missing Hubcaps website.
Since making their debut in 2018, Indie Rock trailblazers, Michael Barrow & The Tourists have proven that they’ve got exactly what it takes to be the next iconic indie outfit. After amassing millions of streams garnering a hysteria-level of hype with their compassionately soulful earworms, it’s easy to see that as just the beginning. Especially on the basis of the first track to be released from their forthcoming album ‘Clover’.
After a tender prelude which pays nuanced odes to post punk, the title-single picks up the pace until it is as sonically strident as it is soulfully sincere. With relatable and exposing lyrics such as ‘I’m afraid I won’t get hurt this time’, and ‘heartbreak starts to feel like home’, Michael Barrow & The Tourists capture the fear of vulnerability and the necessity of it to navigate modern dating. It’s perception-shiftingly beautiful.
You can check out Clover for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.
Fans of Stevie Nicks won’t struggle to find the same appeal in the latest single to be released by trailblazing singer-songwriter, VIDA NOA.
Wild Woman is a cliché-free celebration of femininity. The single rings with the same empowering sentiment as Bikini Kill’s ‘Rebel Girl’ and resounds as VIDA NOA’s panoramic vocals work with uplifting guitar progressions which drip-feed euphoria with every bended bluesy note.
Wild Woman is a perfect slice of radio-ready Americana pop-rock which would attract you to the front of a festival crowd like a moth to a flame.
Massachusetts six-piece, The Tapples, has garnered plenty of local hype since making their debut with their 2019 EP ‘Bus Recovery’, with their most recent indie jangle pop-rock release ‘Where You’ve Been’ they’ve proven that their convergently electric sound oozes international appeal.
With a touch of Rolling Stones-style swagger to the guitars, punchy bass growls, rancorous percussion and nuances of 60s psych pop to the high-energy vocals, Where You’ve Been pulls together a myriad of different styles and eras to create a timeless hit which will always be happy to feed you aural ecstasy. These may be dark and trying times, but there’s no amount of ennui which the fuzz-laden optimistically sweet track can’t dissipate. Take my word for it.
You can check out Where You’ve Been by heading over to Spotify now.
With his catchy pop hooks, lyrics which act like sirens to the soul and the ardent air which drifts through his masterful sound, bonafide Australian singer-songwriter and alchemist of emotion, Rod Fritz, unsurprisingly hasn’t struggled to find international acclaim.
If you’re yet to be acquainted, their 2020 single ‘Stay with Me’ will make sure that it’s an introduction that you’re unlikely to forget.
Stay with Me may be sentimentally tinged with melancholy, but as you grapple with the emotions which transpire at the prospect at losing that person who you’d unequivocally fall apart without, the soundscape refuses you to feel any ounce of sadness. Instead, it captures the passion-driven determination which comes to fruition when you start to feel the gratitude for that irreplaceable human.
Any fans of Lumineers and Mumford and Sons will undoubtedly want to delve into this ardently sweet country pop rock release.
The official music video to Stay with Me is available to stream via YouTube.
Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Did I Hear Dare? smash out that brand of mid-Western alt-rock that seems timeless and at the same time bang up to date. ‘I Can Feel (You and I)’ could just as easily be from 2001 as the first month of 2021, and that’s no bad thing at all. Think Killers, Kings of Leon, and maybe a little Arcade Fire for good measure. There’s a definite Brandon Flowers touch to the vocal, a cracker of a bouncy lead guitar line, and a perfect pop-indie-rock lift coming into the chorus, itself an absolute earworm of a radio-friendly-unit-shifter.
The follow-up to their 2020 EP ‘The Ghost Stories’, ‘I Can Feel (You And I)’ is a perfect prelude to 2021 for Did I Hear Dare?.
With the evocative sensibilities of Thrice, the harmoniously enrapturing pull of The Beach Boys and the neo-psych dreampop inclinations of Beach House, ‘Patriarch’, the title single from Seven Layer Piano Cakes’ EP was never going to fall flat.
We’ve all had plenty more time to get in touch with our emotions recently, Patriarch will ensure that it is time well spent as it acts as an efficacious dreampop guide to meditative affable reflection. With the lyrical sparsity, there are plenty of opportunities to sit back and drink in the choral indietronica tones with a sense of optimism instilled by the harmoniously layered instantly enamouring feat of pop.
Seven Layer Piano Cakes is the project of LA law professor and attorney, Justin Hoyt. With his eclectic array of influences and his aptitude with atypical chord progressions and consoling vocal charisma, there’s very little getting in his way as a breaking artist. Get him on your radar.