Love or hate Lo Fi music, it’s part of the tapestry of the current music industry. I can imagine that in years to come, we’ll be hearing a lot more from up and coming artists independently releasing their own music free from the limitations which traditional music production places upon the authenticity of their sound. Which, no one can deny is a bad thing.
Seattle-based Alternative Folk-Rock artist TrustDarkness has undoubtedly mastered the art of independently creating emotively sludgy Lo Fi music. His narrative lyrical style has reminiscence to bands such as Levellers and the Dropkick Murphy’s yet, there’s an undeniable emo edge which comes from the complete lack of lyrical restraint. Usually, most artists tend to skirt around issues of longing and wistful retrospect but with “Secret Cigarettes” you’re treated to a no holds barred account of juvenile growth “I’ll masturbate until I go blind, drunk dial old friends then press rewind”. Catchy, right? The fuzzy guitar melodies around the cacophonous drum rolls perfectly round off the single from TrustDarkness’ latest EP “Red Flags”.
You can stream and download Secret Cigarettes for yourself by heading over to BandCamp now.
Review by Amelia Vandergast
There are very few contemporary Indie recording artists who can create the same intoxicating vibes as iconic acts such as the Strokes, the Zombies and the Kooks. Yet, with his latest single ‘Delicatex’ Joab Nevo proved that with his deft acoustic command that the archaic resonant sound that we have all come to love is one that can be brought back to life with a conceptually fresh new approach.
Joab Nevo’s inventive use of spatial effects in the sound design hits you straight from the prelude as the sporadic bassline sets the perfect tempo for the track around the reverberation of the deep moreish beats. Whilst the track is instrumentally and lyrically flawless I would love to hear just a touch more emotion from the vocals to really allow the sentiment behind the track to resonate. The muddy reverb which swamped the track made the connection to the vocals a little difficult to maintain. Having said that, Delicatex has a captivating way of drawing you into the melody and simultaneously offering waves of pure catharsis.
You can check out Joab Nevo’s latest single Delicatex on SoundCloud now.
To keep up to date with Joab’s latest releases connect with the Lo Fi artist via Facebook.
Review by Amelia Vandergast
It is a common misconception that making music which falls into brackets such as chilled, ambient and understated is about taking a song and stripping back to merely leave lots of space. Actually it is about using the right few musical statements, just the right notes, the most effective and concise melodies to encase that space. Knowing that, Marilyn Joy’s Blackhorse Road is more about using music to create musical bubbles around the existing atmospheres and intangible feelings that naturally linger around us all.
The tangible elements of the music are a blend of classical ballad, 70’s folk, wonky recorder breaks and lo-fi production but the art is that beyond, behind, above and below those sparing and carefully chosen notes, deft and sparing riffs and plaintive piano lines the atmospherics and emotions seem to just hang in the air. There is a wonderful innocence to the simplicity of the song, a charming naivety which flies in the face of the big production and epic sounds that the modern music world is known for. More than anything it is the sound of music being made just for the love of it and that has to be the best and obviously most honest reason there is for any creative endeavour.
Aiden Jansen’s title track from his new 2018 EP Raw quite honestly gave me chills. There aren’t many vocalists that I would positively compare to Paul Banks (Interpol), but Aiden Jansen has a beguilingly fascinating vocal style that just melts through you. The Lo Fi effect over the vocals was a genius move on Jansen’s part which added to the charming allure of the angsty lyrics. There were clearly no corners cut when it came to any aspect of Aiden Jansen’s title track Raw, the lyrics are poetic perfection. “I cut so visceral”, there was never a truer word said. The Indie Electro beat is hook heavy with all the drops that you’d expect in a Pop track, but then again Raw is no average Pop hit. The instrumentally heavy, yet synthy progression of the track against his contemporary crooning vocals is utter perfection thanks to the tantalisingly poignant Funk which comes from the blissfully harmonic rhythm of Raw. The rest of the 4 track EP is just as stunning as Raw.
Aiden Jensen’s 2018 EP Raw is now available to listen to via Spotify.
Review by (a slightly in love) Amelia Vandergast.
I’m struggling to see who couldn’t fall in love with NYRE’s sweet experimental Lo FI approach to their sound. The San Francisco 3-piece band have been on the scene since 2014 with their dynamic array of sounds bumbling from Garage to Psychedelia, every single track in their back catalogue is as astounding as the last. There’s a beautifully un-abrasive nativity to the sound, no grandiosity, just an imperially uplifting exploration of the human psyche. The fuzzy multi-layer synth Trap sound reverberated beneath the sonorous vocals that sung through brutal unashamed honesty with similarity to bands such as Fidlar, Wavves and Pavement.
Is Love A Thing is well and truly in the running for one of my favourite track titles of all time. Those who haven’t pondered it, probably should at some point in their lives. The anti-romance of the track held infinite appeal to me as an avid Oscar Wilde reading nihilist. So, if you’re not feeling the romance, feel NYRE’s pioneeringly poignant new track instead on SoundCloud.
Review by Amelia Vandergast.
With an opening track as charismatically glorious as ‘You Drive Me Insane’ it’s hard not to fall in love with Jon Worthy’s Lo Fi softly raucous album Only A Dream. Sanity (or lack of) seems to be quite a strong recurring theme throughout the album which may be why I found it so easy to develop such a strong affinity. I have an infinite amount of respect for recording artists who let their lyrics run with the creative chaos that echoes around their beautifully deep psyche. Better yet, Jon Worthy encapsulated the creative insanity through his naturally enigmatic talent that allows him to create such succinctly sweet anthemic tracks. Yet no track on the album hit me as hard as the title track Only A Dream, which nods to the disparity within current political disparities. Even the deeper issues that are explored on the track are brought to life through the upbeat jangle of the guitar, that makes Jon Worthy’s sound a pleasure to soak up.
To any fans of Fidlar, Pavement and Lower than Atlantis, Only A Dream is an album you definitely don’t want to miss out on. You can check out John Worthy’s 2018 album which was released January 12th on Spotify.
Review by Amelia Vandergast
If you imaged a Lo Fi version of the Black Keys, you’d get a pretty good idea of the Fuzzy reverberations from Uncle Einar’s latest Psychedelic Blues Rock track Carnival. The New Jersey, US artist has just released his debut album Find Me in the Twilight, Carnival is just one of the stand out tracks from the pioneering album. The soaring guitar riffs are still clear cut, creating an ethereal sound against the synth to sit above the heavy distortion and it’s just genius. Almost Joy Division genius with the way he throws that haunting chill into the mix. Uncle Einar’s sweet, unabrasive vocals fade into the track as you’d expect with any good Shoegaze mix. Somehow, Uncle Einars has taken all of my favourite genres and put them together in one sweet 5-minute progressive mix. With such a seamless progressive sound I have no doubt that Uncle Einar will be signing the dotted line on a record deal in no time.
You can stream and download Carnival along with the rest of his new album on BandCamp
Connect with Uncle Einer & stay up to date with his latest releases on Facebook
Review by Amelia Vandergast
At a point where music bleeds into pure emotion, where sound becomes atmosphere, where songs are as much about sonic structure and lyrical message and more about painting washed out, emotive musical colours you find the music of the enigmatically named SM. Those who like labels might toy with acoustic dream-folk, cinematic soundscaping, ambient pop and a whole host of irrelevant labels, irrelevant because this is music so unique, so of its self, that whatever clever and convoluted label you could come up would only ever be needed to encapsulate this one unique artist, so what’s the point?
Try evokes 60’s baroque pop and modern anti-folk and everything in between, it revels in lo-fi charm and drifts rather than is delivered. SM uses sounds in the way that watercolour painters use colour, sparingly, gently blending one musical hue with another, merging them together often by washing them out and just as often leaving space so that a blank canvas of atmosphere and expectation sits in their place.
When musical aesthetics come together, people come together. Bossa Nova swagger and lo-fi sensibility go together like…well, to be honest, how many times have we tried this? Warm by Mohe is a song that’s carefree and yet glum-sounding. Not quite melancholic but not frantic enough to be happy by the standards of EDM or modern pop. It’s simple yet completely unlike most other songs you’ll hear throughout the day. It’s not something you’d expect yourself to feel, but that’s exactly why you should be listening. You don’t need to be a fan of the Magnetic Fields to understand this brand of comfortable pop.
Mohe’s vocal approach isn’t monotonic, but it carries a certain sense of doldrums in a way that is pleasant. This is a song you could nap to while swaying in a hammock. It’s also a song that you could play on a long drive through Autumn. It’s also…well, very accessible in just about any situation that doesn’t require heaps of energy. This song embraces casualness. There won’t be a bass drop or an intense solo or a sudden, ear-shattering scream. If you feel your foot tapping, let it tap! If you find yourself swaying, sway away! It’s always good to have a reminder that we don’t need to dramatize our moods, especially our good ones. Warm is warm and Mohe is a fine choice for a slow mood.