Browsing Tag

PJ Harvey

Post-Punk Pulsates Through Dissolved Girl’s Latest Alt-90s Spectral Sonic Shadow, I’m a Beast

Dissolved Girl is back for round three; the gloves are off, and teeth are bared in their latest single, I’m a Beast, which blasts past alt-90s pastiche and scathes the rhythmic pulses with killer hooks, sharp enough to tear through the monochromatically cold atmosphere of the release which aches for redemption.

Ornate gothic instrumentation carves its way through the production while the basslines pulsate with post-punk volition under the vocal lines which blend raw power with haunting vulnerability. If Garbage released this single at the zenith of their career, the spectrally sensuous soundscape would have darkened the top of the charts for weeks. We may be living in a new sonic epoch, but the London-based four-piece is unflinching in their determination to keep bands relevant in the modern music industry.

With their refined approach to bending minds through esoteric alchemy and their ability to linger in the psyche for long after the final shadowy note, it’s only a matter of time before they take the alt-music underground by storm.

I’m a Beast was officially released on June 14; stream the single on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Locian became the architect of art-rock therapy with his sophomore single, Power

Artistic intensity is tempered by the dialectical quiescence in the stormily tender confluence of art-rock and trip-hop in the sophomore single, Power, from Sydney’s most promising breakthrough artist, Locian.

Aching reverberations course through the lush architecture of the syncopated progressions, providing the ultimate juxtaposition of discomfort and ease to pay a fitting tribute to the complex interplay of ennui and self-imposed affliction. Locian’s vocals, caressing with each whispered breath, provide the ultimate permission to surrender to the therapeutic virtues of this flawlessly poignant release.

By building into a corrosive industrial electronica sequence towards the outro, which becomes a sonic visualisation of the disorientating soul-tearing nature of self-destructive internal narratives, Locian ensured that Power hit with maximum impact.

If your introspection is more torturous than waterboarding, break free from the poisoned rumination through the resounding philosophy within Power; it’s far cheaper than therapy.

Power will be available to stream on all major platforms, including SoundCloud from May 10th.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Raven Ives scribed dark poetry through her artful alt-pop installation, Reprieve

With her standout single, Reprieve, the self-sustained DIY artist Raven Ives delves into an introspective journey, channelling her creative vulnerability into a brooding synthesis of trip-hop, dark pop, and a touch of neo-classical ambience.

Reprieve pulsates with a lifeblood of nuanced emotions, each beat and lyric paving a path deep into the heart’s recesses. This single is a testament to Violet’s refusal to blend into the pop milieu, avoiding the pitfalls of sonic assimilation with a bold, unyielding voice. Her approach to music, deeply rooted in emotional and artistic exploration, avoids direct comparisons. Yet, if one were to draw a parallel, her poetic lyricism and the evocative depth of her compositions might nod to the likes of PJ Harvey, marking Raven Ives as a standout voice in this artistic generation.

The track itself serves as a canvas, painting a sombre and tender narrative of isolation that resonates universally. Here, Raven Ives manages to capture a universal sentiment—the profound sense of inner desolation that pervades even the most crowded spaces. The music sweeps across this landscape of a shattered psyche with elegance and a raw, piercing clarity.

Stream Reprieve with the rest of Raven Ives’ EP, Dancing Shadows, on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Liya Shapiro delivered darkwave decadence in her debut single, The Thing

Fuse the dark decadence of Lydia Lunch, PJ Harvey, and Siouxsie Sioux with the electronic southern gothic beguile of Chelsea Wolfe, Interpol-esque guitar lines and the trip-hop aesthetic of Massive Attack, and you’ll alchemise a sound as scintillating as the atmosphere within Liya Shapiro’s debut single, The Thing, which officially released on December 15.

After a sequence of stabbing synths that could have been torn from a John Carpenter score, post-punk synthetics start to bleed into the hypnotism of the production which leaves discordant effects to linger in the shadows, harbingering a forboding energy, as striking as the avant-garde tones within Glenn Branca’s The Ascension.

Once you’ve torn yourself away from the grip of the instrumental magnetism, you’ll lock into the lyrical poetry as it elucidates the intangible nature of love. By using dark, almost nihilistically macabre, imagery between the sweetly abstract sentiments, dualism drives through the debut from the London-based singer-songwriter, whose lyrical ambiguity opens a labyrinth of corridors in the mind as you attempt to extrapolate meaning.

The abstractions within the poetry also serve to prevent the single from becoming a derivatively paradoxical debut. To speak of the unspeakable and pretend to possess a firm grip of an incomprehensible emotional and spiritual phenomenon would only cheapen the track which pays a true ode to the ephemeral and constantly in flux constructs of love.

We can’t wait to hear what Liya Shapiro has in the pipeline for her sophomore release.

Stream The Thing on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Artistic Evolution: Embracing Change in Music

Evolution

In the ever-evolving landscape of music, change is not just inevitable but essential. The journey of an artist is marked by an incessant quest for creativity and innovation. As we delve into the stories of bands like PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode, and Fleetwood Mac, we uncover a shared narrative of transformation. These artists, once confined to their original sounds, dared to venture into uncharted territories, thereby cementing their places in the annals of music history.

The concept of ‘selling out’ is often debated in the music industry. When artists deviate from their original sound, they are often accused of abandoning their roots for commercial success. While it may be the case that record labels push artists in different directions to maximise the profits banked by the oligarchs, it is ludicrous that independent and up-and-coming artists are also greeted by the same accusation. Especially if they have complete creative freedom over what they innovate and orchestrate.

Any real music fan will be aware of how difficult it can be for independent artists to create a comfortable living without seeking other means of income. Just take a recent interview with Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs in the Guardian on how their fans are amazed to hear that they are back in the office after playing shows and they have been fired for taking time off for touring. It is time for music fans to gain perspective and view transformations as acts of autonomous expression, where independent artists exercise their creative freedom to explore and grow, rather than conforming to external expectations.

If you have been caught between feeling compelled to replicate your earlier material and daring to metamorph your sonic signature for your next releases, this article, which demonstrates the detrimental nature of assimilating your older material out of obligation, may give you a clearer view of which avenue to take your future releases.

Loyalty vs Innovation

The music industry often presents a dichotomy: remain loyal to your original sound or innovate and risk alienating your fan base. This dilemma is particularly poignant in the cases of bands like Radiohead and Fleetwood Mac, who dramatically altered their musical directions. Radiohead’s shift from the grunge-inspired “Pablo Honey” to the experimental sounds of “Kid A” and Fleetwood Mac’s evolution from blues-rock to the pop-rock anthems of “Rumours” are testaments to the rewards of embracing change. Their success stories challenge the notion that loyalty to one’s original sound is the only path to enduring relevance.

The Adage “If It Isn’t Broken, Don’t Fix It” Doesn’t Apply to Art

In the realm of art and music, stagnation is akin to regression. The musical journeys of PJ Harvey and Depeche Mode provide inexplicable examples. Harvey’s transition from bluesy punk-rock to a more accessible indie-rock style, and Depeche Mode’s evolution from upbeat synth-pop to a darker, more atmospheric sound, demonstrate the artistic necessity of breaking free from the ‘if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it’ mindset. Their willingness to reinvent themselves not only kept their music relevant but also allowed them to explore new depths of their artistic potential.

The Muse Isn’t Always Found in Chartered Territory

Exploration beyond familiar boundaries often leads to the discovery of a muse that redefines an artist’s work. The Beastie Boys’ transformation from a hardcore punk band to hip-hop icons and Nine Inch Nails’ journey from synthpop to industrial music highlight the importance of seeking inspiration beyond the comfort zone. These shifts not only revolutionized their respective genres but also opened up new avenues for creative expression.

New Material Doesn’t Obsolete the Old

A common fear among artists is that their new work might overshadow or invalidate their previous creations. However, the evolution of these bands shows that new material can coexist with and even enhance the appreciation of their earlier works. The new sounds do not erase the old; instead, they add layers to the artists’ narratives, enriching their musical legacies. You may receive backlash from your fans who find a sense of pride in saying that they have been following you from the start and have grown accustomed to a certain style, but you can’t please everyone’s subjective view, attempting to do so will only serve as an inhibitor to your creativity. That’s the same creativity that drew them to you in the first place.

How Fans Can Decree Music Is ‘Terrible’ When It Is Made with the Same Talent That Produced the Art They Fawn Over

The reaction of fans to an artist’s evolution can be complex. While some embrace the change, others may be quick to criticise, forgetting that the talent and creativity that endeared them to the artist in the first place are still at play. It’s crucial to recognise that the same spark of genius that created the beloved early works is driving these new explorations, even if they take a different form.

Conclusion

The stories of these iconic bands serve as a powerful reminder to musicians and artists everywhere: the pursuit of creative evolution is not just a right, but a responsibility. Embracing change, exploring new horizons, and challenging the status quo are what keep the flames of creativity burning. As artists and fans alike, we should celebrate this journey of evolution, for it is in these changes that the true essence of art is found.

If you have a brand-new sound you want to showcase, submit your music today to see your music featured on our top 10 UK music blog.

Article by Amelia Vandergast

Mike and Mandy – Caught the Bug: PJ Who?

He was a (ska) punk (singer), she didn’t do ballet but came damn close with her time spent singing with an Opera Children’s Chorus and featuring in musicals before the duo, Mike and Mandy, met professionally in LA while working in Shakespeare play and married three years later.

Notably, the duo didn’t let their time spent in the theatrical trenches go to waste, going by their latest poetically magnetic leftfield trip-hop track, Caught the Bug, which takes the iconic styles of PJ Harvey and Massive Attack and the edge of She Drew the Gun and Black Honey and entwines the two sonically delicious facets to deliver a cinematically immersive hit that will entice you with the force of a tornado.

With both sides of the power couple bringing swathes of influence to the table, their genre-bending tracks don’t discriminate where they pull motifs from. Between them, Mike and Mandy have an affinity in everything from acid-jazz to funk to alt-country to rock n roll to art rock; listen closely when you tune into Caught the Bug and you’ll hear signatures in all that and more around the hypnotically demure vocals which will give you a lesson in demure vindication.

Catch the fever by streaming Caught the Bug via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Grace Woodroofe dialled the up beguile her latest single, You Call That Love?

PJ Harvey will want to eat her heart out to the latest orchestrally raw single, You Call That Love? by the Australian songstress, Grace Woodroofe, who always dials the beguile up until it is off the scale.

With the ‘Fever’ of Peggy Lee, the dark gyrating rhythmics of Nick Cave’s Red Right Hand and arcane layers of etherealism lending themselves to the artful scintillation, the Perth-born, Melbourne-based artist blended light and dark to prove that emboldenment is always a possibility after your power has been nefariously stripped away by someone who needed to weaken you to gain control.

With the line “You call that love? How does it feel to call that love?” worked into the mix, lyrical blows scarcely punch harder. Even if her abuser doesn’t acknowledge how she efficaciously disempowered them by holding a mirror to them for a stark reflection of their sociopathy, the rest of the world is listening and learning.

After supporting Ben Harper on the Italian leg of his tour, Woodroofe primed herself to exhibit her freshly honed sound after an eight-year release break; You Call That Love is only a taste of the commanding alchemy that is set to come in the form of her upcoming sophomore LP release. In a bid to help more women find their voice following emotional abuse, she has also written an essay to accompany her latest single.

You Call That Love was officially released on August 17th; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Relinquish control and uphold the unknown with Laura Brehm’s latest electronica single, Wonder, featuring Nikonn.

Portishead and PJ Harvey can scarcely hold a candle to the electronica songstress Laura Brehm after the release of her latest single Wonder, featuring Nikonn. Ethereal yet tangibly resounding in equal measure, the track is scintillated through the domineeringly demure vocal lines to sonically prove how sweet life is if you maintain an innocent sense of wonder. All too often, we’re caught up in the obsession of seeing the full picture and understanding every stroke that created it; Wonder, in all its artful ingenuity, gives you permission to relinquish all-encompassing knowledge and softly uphold the unknown.

In addition to creating her own music, Brehm has released almost 100 collaborations on labels including Universal, Electronic Bird Records and NCS; the innovatively sophisticated writer, singer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist has turned her hand to swathes of different genres, but whatever she touches always turns to philosophical gold.

Check out the official music video for Wonder on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Amber Jade Smith offers ethereal redemption in the celestial avant-garde grace of her single, Chains

Alluding to the shackling nature of toxic dynamics to the tune of lush reverb over Avant-Garde pop synths, Amber Jade Smith’s single, Chains, painted her as the PJ Harvey of her generation.

The South Wales-born Devon-based artist takes influence from Stevie Nicks, Daughter and Radiohead, but evidently, her sonic signature has never been scribed before. Lyrically the artist that has garnered airplay from BBC Introducing, Remembering the 90s, XRP Radio, Riviera FM, and EatMusicFM finds inspiration from her early traumas and battles with mental health.

Based on Chains, Amber Jade Smith will undoubtedly help others process their own grief and trauma. Beyond the artistry and cleverly resonant wordplay, there’s ample opportunity to find redemption within the ethereal layers of Chains which practically operates within the realm of the sonically celestial. Her devilishly demure vocal presence is well and truly something to behold.

Chains officially released on October 28th; check it out on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

 

Nasty Geographic tracks the descent of the pedestal-placed icons of culture in his jazzy trip hop single, Canceled

Taken from his latest album, Crooner, Nasty Geographic’s seminal single, Canceled, is a glitchy synth-driven, jazz-spliced triumph of a societal dissection which sinks its claws into the destructive egotism of the fame-obsessed.

If there was ever a male equivalent to PJ Harvey, it is Nasty Geographic in this trippy, rhythmically grooving descent into the dystopia of the modern age which starts with a euphoric glow which sonically dims with the diminishment of renown and respect. A journey that most pedestal-placed icons of culture eventually take.

By day, the solo songwriter is a social-justice-driven lawyer, freeing the wrongly convicted from life sentences imposed by racially biased juries. By night, he pours his passion for social justice into his art, with all proceeds going to the International Bipolar Foundation and the Promise of Justice Initiative.

Canceled is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast