Sanctuary is the highly evocative latest track by Digital Garden Party, the track quite literally made the hairs on the back of my neck stand to attention and almost demanded my eyes to tear up. I can genuinely say that without a hint of exaggeration. The poignantly soulful Alternative Indie Electro track is an absolute emotional rollercoaster around the resonance from the reverberated guitar. The track combines all of the hype of Electronica-minded acts such as M83, PEACE and Alex Cameron. Instead of using the usually a bit too squeaky vocal style to bring the pensive lyrics to life, they utilise Luke James grittily soulful gruff melancholic charms. I adored how Digital Garden Party managed to keep the instrumentals sharp around the synth beats to maintain the harsh snares of the drum as they rattle under the soaring guitar riffs. It’s an absolute mystery why Digital Garden Party hasn’t been snapped up by Rough Trade records yet.
Listen to Digital Garden Party’s latest track Sanctuary on SoundCloud now and tell me that isn’t the most beautiful track this year:
LA based singer-songwriter and award-winning poet Kara Bean wasn’t content with her lyrics falling flatly onto a page, so she took to the mic to produce some sonorous sounds that make her lyrics truly come alive. With a Courtney Barnett/Kate Nash sensibility, Kara creates tracks which will no doubt empower the modern girl. With her resounding sound she illustrates her deep connection with the written word around the harmonious melodies in Indie Pop styling. Days of Milk & Honey was her first EP release and each of the 5 tracks are as perfect as the last.
I’m stoked to see what Kara Bean pulls out of the bag next, she’s promised some new sounds for 2018 from a new persona. Personally, I fell a little bit I love with the persona behind Days of Milk & Honey, but I have no doubt that everything Kara touches will turn to gold.
You can stream Kara Bean’s debut EP ‘Days of Milk & Honey’ Via Spotify now:
Indie-rock as a genre has been pretty well defined for a while now. A meeting of the two musical forms not quite tipping into the latter’s cliched quagmire not getting too caught up in the former’s fashion led excesses. Having evolved from its original political meaning within the music industry to become a genre label in its own right, it generally indicates pop aware melody and musical adroitness, that fine line between commerciality and underground cool, between accessibility and integrity. But what does the indie-rock artist of 2018 do to stand out from the pack?
One answer is to do what Jeffery Zalta has done with Super Hero. Forget warping the genre and kicking down generic barricades or cross-pollinating your sound with the tricks and trappings of other genres, and trying to gene-splice indie into some sort of modern musical Frankenstein’s monster isn’t the answer either. It isn’t about subverting expectations, it is about feeding them. It is about doing what the rest of the pack do but just doing it so much better. Underline – so much better. The result of such an attitude is exactly what runs through Super Hero.
Proudest Ever’s debut track ‘Fresh Kill’ is harmonious Indie Synth Rock masterpiece that simply cannot be ignored. The New York based act was formed upon the melodic intellect of songwriters Kelly Jackson & Phil Maves; the ingenuity that they pour into each track creates some of the most succinct cacophonies of sound I’ve ever heard.
Fresh Kill is a female fronted Pop hit that any fans of the Riot Grrrl movement will want to take note of. Kelly’s voice and infectious attitude has a resemblance similar to acts such as Sleater Kinney, What Would Tilda Swinton Do, Le Tigre and Courtney Barnett. Then there’s the beat, which couldn’t be more perfect through its transgressions of Pop synth and prog-rock guitars. This emerging act won’t be around on the underground for long with their instantly iconic sound that exudes warmth with subtle angst infused in their passion for creating sensational sounds.
With you is just one of the intricate Soulful hit’s from Psytrus’ 2017 album T Shirt Kinda Guy. I had to pick my jaw up from the floor after hearing this dulcetly melancholic rendition that comprises of raw lyrics and poignant melody. As soon as the soundwaves hit me I was pulled in by the reminiscent to the iconic sound of The Verve. Yet, the Psytrus pertains his own angelic sensibility that creates his own unique pioneering sound. The whole album is packed with heart wrenching wonder that creates a wave of rhythmic empathy that washes over you. Psytrus’ experimental sound is heavily influenced by the Art Alt Rock that came out of the 90’s which he recreates with his psychedelically melodic guitar melodies. Once you listen to his track With You it’s clear that all of his music comes straight from the heart.
Malaysian Singer Songwriter Psytrus has been writing and producing his own music for almost a decade, aside from his own creations, he’s the cornerstone of the Malaysian Indie scene after creating his own record label Pulse Soundworks.
Check out With You on Spotify using the link below:
Trying to fit Cheyenne Benton into a box to describe her zealous sound is almost an impossible task. The emerging artist has an infectious aura over her which makes her experimental Jazz Pop Soul track one of the most pioneering sounds that I’ve heard in a long time. Cheyenne’s vocal prowess puts her in the same league as vocalists such as Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin and Lady Gaga. Yet with her sound, she’s orchestrated a completely new sensation, infused with a little Jim Jones style pious Jazz. The instrumentals have an awesome funk edge, that makes Dead & Gone ironically inspiriting, yet they almost pertain a Pop Punk edge similar to acts such as Paramore. It’s a universal sound that reputably deserves recognition, even my flowery words can’t do Dead & Gone justice, It’s more than just a track, it’s a ethereal experience that enthrals you through every blast of the trombone, every tap of the keys, every blast of the bass, and every celestial word.
You can check out the vibrant official video to Dead & Gone on YouTube:
Songs should grab you from the off, entice you, draw you in and wrap you up in their own musical plane of existence. Quiet Hours are aware of this, even if they are not aware that they are aware of this, because from the opening bars, this salvo of hazy loveliness will have you in its thrall. Its blend of gentle, shimmering ambient textures hung over more solid beats and skittering percussion, cascades of indie guitar and understated nature seem like time travel. They take you back to a host of great bands from the formative post-punk days, when Bunnymen echoed, Icicles worked, The Church were surprisingly anti-establishment and (early) Lush were just that.
But neither is it a backward glancing, rose-tinted nostalgia fest, Kate and Sawyer also sounds very much part of the here and now, a lo-fi cinematic piece of modernity with one foot in today and another striding out to pop pastures new. Music as time travel…how great is that?
Staten Islanders Youth Moose have an interesting line in titles, not only their own band name but a song called Yogurt Hair does get you wondering about the world they live in, though in reality they live in the largely moose free environs of Staten Island. And if, given the somewhat crazy and hippyish titles involved you are expecting some sort of Syd Barrett induced neo-psychedelic anaphylactic shock, then I am happy to report that Youth Moose at least runs on a smoother, soothing alt-pop vibe.
It neatly repackages a slightly flower power image but channelled through a rawer 90’s alt-rock busk capturing the essence but not the excess of both eras and serving it up expertly for a modern audience. In short, it’s pop and it’s great, not something you hear said much these days, but it is. It isn’t so much the pop that was, more the pop that might have been but more importantly it is the pop that could be again when our love of slick sophistication and over production has run come to its illogical conclusion. Now isn’t that a comforting thought?
You have to love an artist that comes with his own inbuilt high-brow joke in their name, and knowing that Ardvark Felon is actually an anagram of his real name, if you can live with the poetic license of the spelling, is an immediate tick in the box. And musically the ticks keep coming. Where is Home is a nostalgic inspired by some old home videos and is a subtle mix of psych-pop and folky balladry.
Normally found ploughing a trippy, jazz-rock furrow, here he takes a more understated path, tugs at heartstrings, serenades the simpler pleasures and the people that matter, it is a paean to the past, our collective youths and the transition from innocent dreams to adult realities. It is a ballad at heart, built of emotionally driven personal narratives and rich vocal tones but never cliche or syrupy and there is some wonderful sonic augmentation. Nothing too dominating, just additional details, which gently colour the musical landscape, enrich the flavours of the song and add some extra depth. Less is indeed more…much more.
“Ochos” is a single from UK based up-and-comer Gid Sedgwick. Featuring a unique blend of indie spoken vocals, deep poppy synths, and heavily reverberated beats give us a glimpse into the mind of an artist who transcends the typical idea of what a genre is. Sedgwick takes what we traditionally know as Pop music and adds his own fresh and unique blend of sonic creativity to create a new monster which is going to be a true force to be reckoned with very soon.
“Ochos” is already making tons of noise in the UK, receiving rave reviews from Clash Music, EQ Music and Indie Biscuits, and it is only a matter of time before more people start taking notice. Combining very pop-centric melodies with electronic production and finalizing the craft within the indie songwriter formula creates a special blend of sonic stew which is unique and refreshing. An innovator within his own right, I would expect to hear a lot of noise from “Ochos” and Gid Sedgwick on Pop radio stations across the UK and beyond very soon.