If UK alt-rock five-piece Divisions had scripted 2020, they still couldn’t have come up with a more appropriate time to release their eponymous second album (due out March 12th). In preparation, they lead in with this, the opening single from the ten-track album, available via Bandcamp and with an accompanying ‘lockdown-special’ video on YouTube.
‘Quiet Frustrations’ is a powerful track, a statement around social division, post-truth politics, the frustrations of pandemic-stricken Britain, and that horrible over-arching ennui and exhaustion that’s seemed to blanket us all for the last couple of years. It’s a great song, potent, intelligent, thoughtful, and unusual yet with enough commercial nous to appeal to a wider audience; think Thirty Seconds To Mars with a little more introspection and inner-city tower-block feel, and you’re pretty much on the money.
See the lock-down video for ‘Quiet Frustrations’ on YouTube. Buy ‘Quiet Frustrations’, and pre-order ‘Divisions’, from Bandcamp.
Lockdown 2020 has generated a LOT of frustration and anxiety, and for most people – eye-test trips to Barnard Castle aside – have found that most of their interactions and experiences this year have come via social media. Now Drop Down Smiling are here, blinking and squinting in post-hibernation sunlight, to point out just how self-destructive those filtered ‘rose-tinted glasses’ choreographed lifestyles on Facebook and Instagram can actually be, with their red hot new single ‘The Fear Of Missing Out’. And it’s an absolute scorcher.
Launching with a subtle, melodic distorted guitar line before kicking in full overdrive-and-reverb style, ‘The Fear Of Missing Out’ is a slab of cracking alt-rock, a tasteful mix of B.M.T.H. and Biffy Clyro, with maybe a little Stone Sour or Architects and a dash of Interpol on the echoey picked guitar line. It’s a perfect blend of noise and melodic space, the dynamics in the track adding to the energy. It’s a powerful track, with some proper rock n’ roll groove in there, just enough electronica mixed in with the rock guitars and punchy drums to appeal to the radio crowd as well as the out-and-out rock fans.
‘The Fear Of Missing Out’ is out on the 8th January; check it out via Spotify, and follow Drop Down Smiling, via Facebook and Instagram.
Soft, jangly indie-pop is overdone at times these days, but ‘Redefined’, the first single from Shared Image’s new album ‘Who Decides Who Does What?’, is a cut above the usual ‘three lads with Telecasters from Crewe’, with a charm and style all of its own.
Shared Image – hailing from Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is a little more exotic than Crewe for sure – have pretty much answered their own album-title question here – this is the brainchild of Craig Delin, a 20 year veteran of bands now forging his own path by writing, creating, performing, and producing ‘Who Decides Who Does What?’ all by himself. So it seems he decides pretty much who does everything, and on the basis of ‘Redefined’, that’s working to extremely good effect.
Vocals, guitars, keyboards, drums and programming, and synth parts are all down to Delin, the whole track sitting together beautifully; there are elements of old school alt-rock indie goodness in the likes of Pavement, a little of Johnny Marr’s guitar work and certainly some Modest Mouse, coupled with a little of They Might Be Giants and maybe a touch of Crowded House in the mix too. That’s a pretty heady mix, and on ‘Redefined’ it works extremely well. Based on this, Delin deciding Who Does What is a pretty sensible plan.
‘Who Decides Who Does What?’ is out now across all major streaming platforms. You can hear ‘Redefined’, and the rest of the album, on Spotify, and follow Shared Image on Facebook.
After spending years successful touring bands, Minnesota-hailing artist, Nikola Hamilton, released their ground-breaking EP ‘Darling’ and established themselves as one of the most luminary singer-songwriters who have made their debut in 2020.
The standout track, Pink Lights, will allow you to imagine what would happen if Interpol chose to team up with Hozier. You get the cold, cutting sonic style with the almost celestial vocals which tear though the darkly atmospheric soundscape and speak directly to your soul.
If Nikola made a bigger impression with their sleek Darkwave debut, we’d have concussion.
You can check out Nikola’s EP for yourselves which was released on November 13th, 2020 via Spotify.
Brisbane-based singer-songwriter, Litters, has unleashed their fiery New Wave Indie track ‘Diamond Eyes’. If you could imagine what it would sound like if Arcade Fire and Jack Johnson collaborated, you’ll get an idea of how Litters pulled off the perfect balance of sonic energy and tender intricacy.
With an enticing rhythmic command complete with angularly hypnotic guitar, a smorgasbord of influences stylistically banded together and a significant serving of authentic aural ingenuity, Diamond Eyes is about as efficacious as a blackhole when it comes to pulling you in.
Diamond Eyes isn’t just radio-ready, it should be topping the Indie charts.
You can check out Diamond Eyes for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.
If you could imagine what it would sound like if Alanis Morrissette started an Indie Post Punk band, you’ll get a good idea of what you can expect when you hit play on the latest track by Dylan Taylor & Hippie Speedball.
“Don’t Think Twice” is a smorgasbord of delectable aural magnetism. Your attention is pulled in a myriad of different directions with every progression. The deftly produced single is as dynamic as they come. The stunningly distorted guitar solos, the engorging tight instrumental synergy and of course, Dylan Taylor’s transfixing vocal range, Don’t Think Twice is a track which truly spoils you. That’s before you even factor in the striking emotion which is projected through the vocals and lyrics. Your soul would have to be defunct not to register the viscerally ardent emotion in Don’t Think Twice.
You can check out Don’t Think Twice for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.
Indie artist KAIS has moved from strength to strength throughout their accoladed career, after quite literally putting their birthplace of Jordan on the map, they’ve started to garner plenty of International hype for their provocatively intuitive approach to production.
With every note placed to sting and draw emotion, their single “Take Me Home”, serves as the perfect introduction to the artist’s tenderly resolving sound.
With hints of Post Punk lingering in the progressive Indie Rock Ballad, there’s a chilling atmospheric air to Take Me Home which collides with the soft, reassuring vocals which use repetition of ‘take me home’ to quiescently emphasise the need to feel familiar ground beneath their feet.
If you’re not remotely teary by the outro, that has more to do with the state of your own soul rather than the talent of this truly exceptional artist who we’ll definitely be keeping on our radar to keep up to date with their progressively powerful aural prowess.
You can check out KAIS’ single Take Me Home for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.
LA Ambient Indie Pop artist Kiss Hello has released their endearingly experimental Lo-Fi single “Goodbye (Smiling My Way Home)”. It will be some time before we fully recover from the sonically sugar-coated feat of synth-led experimentalism.
With elements of Synth Pop, Post Punk and Shoegaze in the hypnotically prodigal track, it’s safe to say that you’ve never heard anything like this before. With plenty of bendy distortion obscuring the Jangle Pop guitar notes, you’ll pick up on reminiscences to the Smiths and The Cure along with plenty of the effervescent authenticity which radiates from Kiss Hello’s galvanizingly quaint take on Indie. There’s also a lot to be said by their resoundingly dynamic vocals which won’t fail to test your soul’s capacity to feel.
You can check out Kiss Hello’s single Goodbye for yourselves by heading over to Bandcamp now.
Any fans of The Cure won’t want to hang around with the latest release “Dreamed Bliss” by up and coming Alt Rock artist Pictura. They may be relatively fresh from their inception, but they’ve already achieved what many artists spend decades failing to do by coming up with an alluringly gripping sound that would be possible to find elsewhere.
Dreamed Bliss sweeps across the tonal palette, mixing light energetic effervescence with sludgy low tones to keep you grounded as you listen to the visceral vocals bleeding into the mix.
The complexity in the deftly orchestrated accordance practically makes Dreamed Bliss a dreamscape. Contemporary Shoegaze with kicks of Post-Punk doesn’t come much more mesmeric than this. They will have plenty more to drop throughout 2020. Get them on your radar.
You can check out the official video to Dreamed Bliss which dropped on August 25th for yourselves via YouTube.
Up and coming Alt Rock trailblazers ali3ns packed some serious charisma into their debut EP “Second Coming”. The perfect introduction to their enigmatic aural alchemy has to be the funky, bluesy track “In between”.
In between explores the full tonal palette with ease, sweeping across Old School blues licks before venturing over to cold Post Punk tones with plenty of funky melodious ingenuity for good measure. One thing which remains as a constant is the up-vibe intoxicatingly magnetic vocals which pour good vibes all over the experimental feat of Alt Rock.
It’s the kind of track you’d need a significant brain injury to forget. I feel like this exactly what Robert Smith would sound like if he took some happy pills and found an affinity for Funk.
You can check out In Between ali3ns by heading over to Spotify now.