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Indie

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Sethro – It Ain’t Nothin’: Palpably Fluid Indie Hip Hop

I know I can’t be alone feeling the hype around Alt Indie Hip Hop artists at the moment. There’s just something so overwhelming about hearing beautifully pensive Indie style vocals laid down over a rattling Trap beat. With his latest track It Ain’t Nothin’ the Eugene, US based Hip Hop artist created he perfect vibe with the mid-tempo flex. There was no weak moment within his latest single, each second was just as ethereally resounding as the last. Sethro’s rap bars are absolutely relentless, in part they run like spoken word poetry captivating you with every rhyming couplet. The lyricism in the track was fuelled by Sethro’s palpable angst which collided with the trickling, gibing, multi-layer Trap beat which moves with a palpable fluidity.

You can check out Sethro’s quite literally genius new mix It Ain’t Nothin’ which was released on February 28th, 2018 on SoundCloud now. I wouldn’t stop there either, his earlier releases are just as resounding as It Ain’t Nothin’. I’ve definitely stumbled across my new favourite Indie Hip Hop artist.

Keep up to date with Sethro’s latest releases by following him on Facebook

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Sam Keenan – Close: Hauntingly Pensive Lo Fi Indie

For some, the Lo Fi sound can be off putting, for me, it’s compelling, it’s raw, it lets the natural tones of the sound spill through the bleeding soundwaves in an infinitely more resonate way.

The soundscape to Sam Keenan’s latest single Close was just as evocative as the pensively penned lyrics in the haunting Indie track which was bordering on Shoegaze through the stunningly composed instrumentals. The wavering sounds succinctly progressed in the background under Sam Keenan’s frankly stunning voice. The amount of melody brings Close to a whole new level, if you could imagine a more indie approach to bands such as Warpaint and London Grammar, you’d get close to imagining the dreamy yet chilling soundscapes which Sam Keenan creates. Considering Close was the first track that Sam Keenan has put out to date, it’s hard not to be bowled over by his stylistically pensive sound, he’s stamped down his unique style with just one track. I already can’t wait for the second.

You can check out Sam Keenan’s latest single Close on SoundCloud now, while you’re at it, give him a like on Facebook.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Quinn Henry Mulligan – Mulligan’s Island

Sitting somewhere between the relative conformity of Simon and Garfunkel and the increasingly meandering and distant haze of Nick Drake, The Island is the perfect blend of minimalism and structure. There is just enough of a musical safety net in place, one built from the most minimal of musical vibes created by gently chiming guitars, which ensures that the gossamer vocal threads don’t drift away on the breeze. It is an approach which Damien Rice used to put himself on the map and whilst, on paper at least, it seems like a simple approach, there are few other artists of recent times, except perhaps Bon Iver, who navigate such calm waters whilst creating so few ripples.

The song, a times, feels as weightless in its musicality as it is heavy in its nostalgic sentiment, just the sound of a man with his guitar and his memories yet somehow sitting in the space between musical expression and private rumination. For all its simplicity it is a powerful song, built up only occasionally by gentle beats and additional instrumentation as it makes its way to its conclusion and as is usual, less is definitely more. Much more.

Music

Slamnesia – Leading The High Life

A song called Too Broke to Get Stoned may sound like it is going to be a hippy anthem or a punk paean, but musically it comes at you like a strange, quirky indie-pop song. You have to love a curve ball, but the open and spacious nature of the song seems to fit the subject matter perfectly, more fittingly that some pseudo-hippyism psychedelia or ranting, snarling disaffected rabble rousing chant.

Musically it sits in that classic singer songwriter canon, wandering between English folk, mid-Atlantic acoustic pop and American roots influences, taking none of them too seriously but never slipping into the comedic realms that this subject matter often becomes when it tries too hard and seemingly delivered with a wry smile and a knowing wink. It blends the often overdone “guy with a guitar” vibe with some wonderful instrumentation and musical backdrops, enough sonic detail and wonderful design to keep things interesting but enough space that the song is accessible, honest and a bit strange. Kookiness, it would seem is next to Godliness.

Music

Owen Gallagher – Come out feat. Tom Crouch: Organically Sonorous Indie

Where has Owen Gallagher been hiding all this time? Why is he not already up there in the Indie hall of fame? With a voice like that, is he related to Liam & Noel? As I drank in the rhymical blissful new release ‘Come out’ featuring Tom Crouch, those were just a few of the questions bumbling around my head. The track had a slight reminiscence to acts such as Interpol and Editors, yet it was so much more than just an assimilation of sound which contemporary Indie acts can’t seem to help making in recent years. Gallagher has his own succinct edge which I have no doubt Radio 2 will quickly jump on. Every element to Come Out is flawless, the lyrics punch you in the stomach, the instrumentals have a hauntingly sonorous, yet anthemic vibe, and Gallagher’s organic vocals are bordering on perfection.

You can check out Owen’s latest track Come Out on SoundCloud now

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

TenAntenna – Hanger Queen; A Rhapsody Of Indie & Alternative Rock

The Tokyo-based Band dropped it once again like it’s hot. ‘Hanger Queen’ is not a heavy metal kind of rock song but rather it’s a super cool alternative rock song.

Tenantenna’s ambient style takes on a character of its own as the vocal explores ways to blend in tastefully as a lyrical instrument, the guitar applies heavy delay effect in the mid-hi range to create majestic open space, progressive and melody-driven bass lines challenge traditional low-fi limitations, and all the while the drums provides a solid rhythmic flow to intricately combine all the elements.

Although the band members come from a variety of background, the melodic harmony of the song still was unbesmirched.

Hangar Queen is a cinematic and epic post alternative rock song. The song also marks the band debut single release. With an international and variety of musical backgrounds, Tenantenna looks to bring new creative energy to the Tokyo indie music scene.

This is indeed a perfect soundtrack kind of song, and more importantly a very good concert song. TenAntenna could do what they do indefinitely, which is great news for concertgoers who love to be walloped in the ribcage with the output of a dozen bespoke guitar pedals. It will probably always be fun to see this band live, just as it’s always fun to see a great character actor put on a show even when there’s no plot and no dialogue to speak of.

Music

Tekla Waterfield – Original Lies: 90’s Nostalgic Pop

I grew up on the iconic sounds of 90’s female Pop acts; Texas, Garbage, Catatonia and The Cranberries to name a few. So, when I checked out the fresh new track Original Lies by the sensational Pop act Tekla Waterfield I was blown away by the nostalgia that is entrenched in the sound. She has a unique sensibility to her vocal style, however her vocal range is somewhat reminiscent to one of my favourite current artists Courtney Barnett. Yet it’s clear, that Tekla Waterfield is more than any sound that has been orchestrated before. The singer songwriter found her own essence within her poignantly palpable harmonies which she’s infused with the roots of her Seattle sound. Her sounds tend to bounce between Folk, Jazz, Indie and Blues through her discography proving that she’s one of the most eclectically talented underground artists around today.

With Original Lies, Tekla has created an anthemically catchy Pop hit, complete with an irresistibly catchy chorus that even Kim Gordon would give 5 stars.

Check out the sensational Pop hit Original Lies on SoundCloud:

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

CHILDREN – True Believer: A Pious Masterpiece of Guitar-Driven 80’s Electro

I’m not the biggest fan of children, they tend to be highly abrasive and they send my blood pressure through the roof. Thankfully CHILDREN’s latest single True Believer invokes quite the opposite reaction. CHILDREN is the brain child (pun intended) of Gil Thomas, Jeff Steiskal, Trevor Wallace & Mark Yates. The Californian based quintet create a transcendental mix of guitar-driven melodies and iridescent, sharp Electronica.

True Believer will be available to stream via SoundCloud from April 12th, 2018. In the meantime, you can check out their latest Alt Electro hits such as their debut ‘Feel Time’ EP here.  Feel Time was the first full length album created by CHILDREN. Yet, with True Believer they truly created a pious masterpiece. The multilayer sounds that the record comprises on is a labyrinth of synergetic instrumental and digital sounds. It’s safe to say I wasn’t expecting such a soaring guitar riff to be thrown into the mix.

Through their upcoming album ‘It’s Okay to Die’ CHILDREN promise to keep redefining the boundaries of contemporary sound acting as an inspiration to all the other recording artists out there who like to keep their sound squarely fitted into one genre. If you know of anyone who constantly questions if new sounds are possible in music, simply point them towards CHILDREN. Not actual children though.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Classical Synth-Pop Meets Ambient Dance?

There is a strange juxtaposition that lies at the heart of Atlas Fell’s music in general, and Chartalist in particular. On the one hand the beats and drive are punchy and vibrant, creating an upbeat mood and a groovesome vibe, on the other there is so much space in the track that sits above them that it comes across as chilled, purposefully laidback and almost lazy. And then you throw in vocals which carry the ethereal qualities of a classical delivery  and you have something a bit special. It means that it manages to sit in two worlds, both as a minimalist dance floor track all sultry groove and hypnotic, skittering hook lines and as an after club, early hours, chill out, future classic.

The charm is that Atlas Fell know where their most effective sonic bench mark is and even stopped short of that, allowing space and atmosphere to fill in the gaps between the beats and bars as instruments in their own right. Whereas most musicians would have piled on the layers of synth, doubled up the pace of the beat and overloaded the song, they are instead masters of musical understatement. The result is an elegant, intriguing, wonderfully clean-limbed and totally original dance track that fits into the club night at any point from that first drink of the evening to the après-club, after party wind down. Clever, very clever.

Music

Mining New Musical Seams

Lots of conflicting references seem to be conjured in the mind when Brain Training springs into action, but that is the sign of interesting and eclectic music if ever there was one. Vocally it seems to combine a blend of jazz lounge close harmony, the mercurial voice of Yes’ Jon Anderson and a barbers shop quartet who have eschewed tradition and gone down an ambient, chill out, apres-dance route. So on reflection not really the sort of thing that you stumble across every day.

The instrumental input seems mainly to act as a platform for the lyrics, which carry most of the melody and rhythm, leaving the music to add interesting motifs and weave intricate sonic designs around their border. In a world where most musical seams have been explored and mined for all their worth, Laure do that rarest of things and offer up something that, even in this modern age, seems new, different and coming from a place that you didn’t even know existed.

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