‘Nightmare’is the first synthesis of acoustic indie and alt-rock to spill from the debut EP, Aren’t You Proud?, from Denver Colorado’s most nostalgically euphonic drop-dead stunning duo, Culture Bloom.
If Placebo penned bitter-sweet symphonies in the same vein as The Verve and mainlined a little Death Cab for Cutie into that vein, the alt-90s melodiousness would hit with exactly the same force of impact as Nightmare.
The emotional weight carried within the harrowed and haunted layers of vocal harmonies as they collide with the stabbing guitar lines resonates as infinitely more than the sum of all parts, allowing Nightmare to stand as a testament to the song-crafting capacities of the duo that should be on every alt indie fan’s radar.
Stream Nightmare on Spotify and stay tuned for the EP release on October 20th.
Lose yourself in the dusky twilight of the latest electronic folk serenade by the Oxford-based sound designer Mosa. His scintillating single, The Night Sets In, is a plaintively compelling composition that could be easily compared to the artfulness of Radiohead, Mogwai, and Low; although those comparisons can allude to the diaphanously sonorous atmosphere of his sound, they don’t do Mosa’s intrinsic authenticity much justice.
His unique ability to infuse the dusty soul of blues into his sound design around the neo-classic keys and ethereal motifs establishes him as one of the most authentic artists around in 2023. We were hooked after hearing his single, Helicopter, earlier this year, after hearing The Night Sets In, which could easily rival the beguiling gravitas of any of the releases on the Westworld soundtrack, we are even more assured that Mosa is one to watch.
The Night Sets In will be officially released on October 7th. Hear it on all major platforms via this link.
Silence the maleficence of your inner critic with the latest interstellar indie space pop escapade, Think Gently of Yourself, from Dream Optimist. If Do You Realize by The Flaming Lips never fails to pull at your heartstrings and stir your soul with unabashed positivity, the same viscerally sweet reaction awaits when you hit play on the seminal single from Dream Optimist’s 15-track LP, Seven Day Love Challenge.
Atop the twinkling Grandaddy-esque keys and around the chamber strings, the questioning and pervasive with doubt lyricism leads you on an affirming odyssey of a journey through the cosmos, with the consolingly compassionate vocals acting as a star-roving guide.
The Oakland, CA-residing songwriter and composer, frequently voyages between synthpop, bedroom pop, chamber pop and a myriad of other genres when penning his hits for his ‘low head count collective’. Before breaking into song crafting for the airwaves, the collective’s head honcho, David Marc Siegel, honed his talents in art-punk outfits and as a composer for ad music, theatre music, musical theatre, and short films, which goes a fair way in explaining how he settled on his cinematically spirited sound that will take you as high as the transcendent register on the vocal harmonies.
Stream Think Gently of Yourself by heading over to Spotify.
Many things in the UK feel absurd right now; you can add Elias Kopp’s underground status to the list of nonsensically baffling things. His latest single, Low, is the epitome of a melancholic melodic masterpiece.
The moody synths and the sweetly lamenting vocal harmonies pull together to make all the mornings you have woken up with the metaphorical black dog beside you fleetingly worth it. As the lyrics yearn for serotonin, Low ironically delivers.
The Brighton, UK-based artist remains committed to proving to people struggling with mental health that they’re not in the minority and that it is possible to come out the other side stronger. From an artist with a fraction less finesse in their sound, that may come across as a little cliché, but Kopp’s sound is always soaked in sincerity. With an album in the pipeline, there has never been a better time to save space on your radar.
I recently attended a De La Sol set at a festival in Queens. I enjoyed an interlude in which a voice from the trio said that sometimes you just need to let the beat play. It’s always nice to hear how artists feel about the things they make and how they make them. It’s also nice to see how artists whose styles vary greatly can agree on certain sentiments. Such is the case with Crow Quilled Confessions. Their track A Human Being on the Planet Earth perfectly demonstrates a group who know how to let the beat play when it needs to.
For the first half of the song, there are several elements introduced that seem to orbit around the catchy, strongly-mixed beat. You might miss some details along the way if you aren’t careful, but one thing is for certain, you will feel that beat. It doesn’t seem like a drum part that needs much elaboration. It may not have much to say. This doesn’t stop Crow Quilled Confessions from letting it lead the charge into the second half, which quickly but organically reinvents its status quo with fuzzy guitars and a bass that triumphantly makes its presence known.
From here, the track becomes a ride. Suddenly the beat has taken a backseat for the exploration of all the other themes that had previously been allowing it to lead. For such a dramatic change in priority to occur while holding onto the mood and tone of the song is a major challenge. Even as the song fades out in its last 30 seconds, you can’t help but feel the beat play on in your mind. This is a song that leaves the speakers and really does affect your mind for moments at a time. It’s not overly complicated, but it’s certainly a fascinating track.