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Indie

Music

Leopold Medley asks us all to touch his pretty ‘Picture On The Wall’

Laid back, trippy, vulnerable, gentle, arty, and honest – all words which could be used to describe Brooklyn artist Leopold Medley’s debut album of folk-pop, ‘Picture On The Wall’. This, the first single and title track, is a perfect introduction to Medley’s spacey, stream-of-consciousness lyric writing and calm fingerpicked guitar.

Anyone who ever played the teen-soap-cum-time-bending video-game Life Is Strange will know immediately the sound of ‘Picture On The Wall’, that sort of ‘Pooka-esque’ gentle Nick Drake-with-electronics, trippy bedroom-ness that’s questioning and calming all at the same time.

‘Picture On The Wall’ – the album – is ten tracks of soft, beautiful psych-folk that uplifts the soul and brings a smile to even the most jaded of faces; ‘Picture On The Wall’ – the single – is the perfect introduction to that.

You can check out ‘Picture On The Wall’ across all major streaming platforms from the 12th February, and follow Leopold Medley on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Moon Museum show us all the ‘Pleasures Of Peace’

In a time where gender seems to have become more politicised and polemic than ever before, ‘Pleasures Of Peace’, the first single from San Franciscan shoegaze quartet Moon Museum, is that sought-after magical spread of masculine and feminine, yin and yang perfectly balanced between Olivia Barchard’s epic, soaring vocals and Ryan Joseph’s wash of swooping guitars. Swathes of dreamy psychrock, awash in Gretschy 12-string and echo sit atop reverb-soaked pushing drums and driving melodic bass. There’s obvious Slowdive influences, but Lush and Belly too, Swallow, the softer parts of My Bloody Valentine, and, of course, the all-straddling Cocteau Twins Liz Fraser, and gentler elements of Curve’s Toni Halliday in the vocal mix too, alongside the Doves and Chameleons guitars.

It’s a delicious, heady, atmospheric mix of dreamrock, arcing back to the 4AD shoegaze heyday of the late ‘80s and 1990s; hypnotic and entrancing, energetic and yet calming, all at once.

Moon Museum have two further singles slated for release in 2021; on the basis of ‘Pleasures Of Peace’, we can’t wait to hear them, too.

Hear ‘Pleasures Of Peace’ on Soundcloud; check out Moon Museum on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

The Leafs spliced classic rock with 90s Britpop in their latest single ‘Mr. Coffey’

Classic rock conservationists, The Leafs, dug up the roots of 70s rock and spliced them with elements of 90s Britpop in their latest single ‘Mr. Coffey’. With driving guitar tones as vintage as Keith Richards himself, the preservation of classic rock is safe in the deft hands of The Leafs – and so is the future of alt-rock.

With vocals which are sweet to the point of seduction, a psychedelic kick to the synthy euphoria-spilling instrumentals and tenderly romantic lyrics, you can expect your soul to be filled and your rhythmic pulses to be arrested while this earworm crawls in.

The Berlin-based artist may have only made their debut in 2020, but you’d be hard-pressed to find another 2021 release containing more commercial potential than Mr. Coffey. It’s an obsession-worthy track.

Mr. Coffey is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Manchester’s smoothest synthpop outfit MODELS will send you swooning back to the 80s with their latest single ‘Thriller’

Manchester-based newcomers, MODELS’, latest single, ‘Thriller,’ will send you swooning right back to the 80s. With glassy synths, RnB-style romanticism and intimate indie vibes, the three-piece were successful in creating a sweetly elysian soundscape which would have dancefloors swaying – if they were accessible right now. But the extended sax solo and the smooth rock n roll crooning is just as enamouring when hitting you through a pair of headphones.

The level of passion contained in Thriller could convert cynics into hopeless romantics. It’s a stunning release which will undoubtedly stand MODELS in good stead when venues in Manchester are safe to house their honeyed retro sound once again.

Thriller was officially released on February 14th you can check it out via SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

The John Michie Collective – Nothing to Die For: Existentially Relatable Indie Psych Rock

There was no forgetting multi-instrumentalist, The John Michie Collective, after hearing their 2020 release, I’ll Write Your Constellation’. After the release of their latest single, Nothing to Die For, their psychotropic experimentalism is permanently etched in our freshly altered minds.

With a touch of 70s rock in the spacey dreamy alt-indie single, you get the same feeling of ascendence as when you hit play on Lou Reed’s most psychedelically sweet tracks.

The romantic-in-spite-of-nihilism touch to the vocals and lyricism acts like an emotional sucker punch. For the aurally sensitive out there, don’t be surprised if Nothing to Die For has a bruising impact. It perfectly captures the collective sense of futility which breathes throughout our locked-down society and illustrates that your outlook can be as sweet as the tones in this enrapturing relatable release.

Nothing to Die For is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Take a walk with me: Alpina Noise sneak us underground with the mind-blowing ‘Coat Check Girl’

With their moody honesty pounding through the fragile speakers with abandon, Alpina Noise takes us into the underground club of mind-blowing temptation with ‘Coat Check Girl’.

Canada and California-fused indie dark-post rock act Alpina Noise, are the type of band you turn up loud and jump around in unwavering delight. Their pulsating energy transfixes your mind and never even gives you the chance to let go, as they maraud gleefully in your head until they are done with you, such is their mesmerizing presence.

This is the ear-tingling story of a girl who has your coat behind her, as you try and work out what she is into after a wild night. Your body is swaying around, as you chat to her and try to find out if she will go home with you. The evening has been adventurous but your heart is beating so fast when you look into her cheeky eyes, as then suddenly you feel strange as she has other ideas in mind.

The incredible eight minute experience is a true throwback experience to the proper cinematic music, that gives you chills in your whole spine, as you throw off your shirt and stomp around the lounge, in unadulterated joy from listening to this sweaty classic.

”A fusion of multiple musical genres, with dark echoes of post rock, punk, alternative, shoegaze, metal, noise rock, trip rock, and electronic-tinged pop confections.”- Alpina Noise

Coat Check Girl‘ from Canada/California dark-post rock outfit Alpina Noise, is the sensational song you knew was missing from your heart, as they take you for a riveting ride that you never want to escape from.

Head this heart-stopping track on Spotify and find out more via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Music

Michael Barrow & The Tourists – Clover: Sonically Strident Alt Indie Rock

Michael Barrow & The Tourists

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.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

 

Music

Menachem Weinstein – Highway: Anthemically Progressive Indie Pop Rock

Florida-residing, London-hailing singer-songwriter, Menachem Weinstein, has released their artfully momentous single, ‘Highway’, if it’s been a while since you’ve felt any discernible emotion, this passionately strident single will deliver an efficacious reminder.

By fusing elements of future pop, indie jangle pop and Americana rock in the track which creates an incredible parable between the people who come into our lives and end us pulling us in the right direction and people who literally help us through storms.

When the classical strings start to quiver behind the anthemically progressive pop rock production, your soul’s capacity to feel will be well and truly tested, but in unexpected uplift in the soundscape, you’re thrown headfirst into a final burst of magnanimous energy from Menachem Weinstein. It’s a track which stays with you long after it has faded out.

You can check out Highway for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Kyriakos Gabriel Varnava is set to release their artfully intimate indie ballad ‘Tonight’

Kyriakos Gabriel Varnava

‘Tonight’ is the latest single from Cyprus-based singer-songwriter, Kyriakos Gabriel Varnava, if you’ve felt like you’ve been left in isolation with disappointment and broken promises recently, you’re sure to find resonance in the artfully intimate indie single.

Tonight may have been their first ballad, but it exhibits an uninhibited songwriting style which doesn’t fail to draw you into the relatability of their music. It becomes so much more than just listening to one man’s account of suffering, through the lack of vocal and lyrical restraint, you experience a call for connection which allowing this single to run through answers.

Wistful emotion resounds within the glassy distorted classical guitar progressions, art-rock keys and Kyriakos Gabriel Varnava’s vocals which transition from low reverberant quiescence to arresting highs in turn with the progressive instrumentals.

Producer, Ant Tarrant, left a nuanced bedroom-indie feel to the soundscape, inviting you into the same room where the inspiration for Tonight struck. Tonight captures the loneliness of AM hours where all you have for company are empty promises. Any fans of Kaz Hawkins, RY X, Anathema and Radiohead will want Kyriakos Gabriel Varnava’s name on their radar – especially with the promise of a forthcoming debut EP.

Tonight will be available to stream on Spotify from March 6th, 2021.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Emma Hunter formidably extended the conversation around domestic violence with ‘Here I Go’

Singer-songwriter, Emma Hunter, has been the voice of popular Oxford-based bands such as AmberState and the Halycons, and since 2019, she’s worked alongside drummer, Tom Bruce, putting her own formidable spin on alt-indie-pop.

With vocals which pull you in with the same strength as Florence Welch’s or Marina and the Diamonds’ coalescing with instrumentals which veer from mainstream archetypes while retaining all of the commercial potential, it’s impossible not to become consumed by her viscerally poignant releases. The single which caught our attention and refused to let go was her latest single, ‘Here I Go’, which demonstrates how seriously Emma Hunter takes her responsibility of creating light from the dark.

Here I Go artfully extended the conversation around domestic violence by a perspective-shifting length. It exhibited the weakness of perpetrators compared to that of survivors who have been psychologically crushed or physically abused by ‘romantic’ partners. For the first time as I watched the nuanced video unfold, I contemplated the unlikelihood of abusers being able to endure what a victim does, concluding that intimidation through power is the ultimate form of weakness.

With lead guitar tones which insidiously creep throughout the soundscape, the trepidation leaves you transfixed from start to finish, it’s a track which keeps your breath bated until long after the prelude. I honestly couldn’t have more respect or admiration for Emma Hunter and her classy controversial sound.

The official video to Here I Go is available to stream via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast