Blending 90’s/00’s alt-pop/punk with some tidy guitar work and pushing, urgent drums comes ‘Liplock’, the debut single from Stopnowstartagain; swamped in overdriven, distorted guitar, the track takes its cues from the guitar-led indie of Dinosaur Jr., Husker Du, and Bob Mould’s follow-up project Sugar, all vocal harmonies and catchy pop sensibilities over Superfuzz pedals and Tube Screamers delivered into the front end of cooking amps.
It works, too – catchy pop-rock vocals, chiming picked single-note guitar lines, and those layered swathes of distortion; it’s one of those sounds you didn’t realise how much you missed until you heard it all over again; I’m gonna go and dig out ‘Bug’, ‘Green Mind’, ‘Copper Blue’, or ‘Beaster’ now, too. Cracking stuff.
When the prelude to a previously unheard track demands maximum volume, you know you’ve just stumbled across a gem, which is exactly what happened when we dove into the cataclysmically superlative single ‘Ghost Trap’ by Alt-Rock artist Quentel the Cryptid.
Fans of the darker side of the Alt 90s sound will definitely want to indulge in Ghost Trap which offers the same atmospheric effects as Cradle of Filth, the same progressive momentum as Porcupine Tree and vocals carrying the cutting reminiscence of Brian Molko. But that isn’t where the dynamism ends, the heavy use of psychedelically-laced synths allowed Quentel the Cryptid to well and truly stamp down their ensnaring sonic signature sound in Ghost Track.
It’s an obsession worthy track from the first hit.
You can check out the official video to Ghost Trap for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.
It was only a matter of time until an alt-rock artist simultaneously exuding influence from Sigur Ros and At the Drive caught our distinction-seeking-attention. The latest progressive post-rock hit ‘an offering.’ from ourfarthers. has left us ensnared.
Admitting that tracks by emo artists appease your angsty soul may be met with all manner of snobby pretension from insufferable aficionados, but an offering. isn’t a track easily torn apart. Maturity can be hard to find in tracks which deliver burning unbridled emotion, but discernibly, an offering. is the needle in the evocative haystack.
With quiescently melodic increments sidled next to rip-roaring breakdowns when all restraint is thrown away with visceral abandon in sonically anthemic style, an offering. is enough to make your soul quiver.
an offering. is available to stream and download via Bandcamp.
If prizes were handed out for the most conceptually evocative release of 2020, it would go to Croatian Experimental Post Rock artist, heyiloveyou, for their 2-track EP ‘Everybody’s Got 2 Sides’.
It’s a nuanced nod to the multi-faceted nature of our personalities with Side One a depiction of melancholy-tinged contemplation and side two an experimental electronic rock traversing of intensely urgent despair. When I say ‘experimental’, I mean Fantomas-level experimental with caustic noise replacing lyrics but saying all that there is to say all the same.
With Okay, the artist paid ode to the agony of being told that you no longer matter through silence instead of words. The experimentally ambient track drives you through the sweaty shaky trepidation of realising that the love which held you together is being withdrawn to the tune of voicemail answering messages.
Needless to say, we’re all too excited to hear what kind of subversive alchemy heyiloveyou serves up next.
You can check out the latest release from heyiloveyou by heading over to Bandcamp.
Anthemic American Rock, Darkwave Electronica, Indie and Rap all collide in JKR’s phenomenal single ‘Disaster’. If it has been a while since you’ve felt any discernible emotion, hit play and feel the evocative weight of this relentlessly progressive feat of aural dynamism.
Disaster is just one of the singles to feature on the Seattle-born, China-residing artist’s 2020 genre-obliterating album ‘Star Crossed’. The soaring vocal hooks combined with the sonically cutting reverb-laden guitars ensure that listening to this track half-heartedly isn’t an option.
JKR’s ability to orchestrate tracks which carry as much appeal to fans Soul Asylum to fans of Linkin Park will undoubtedly stand him in good stead. He’s undoubtedly one to watch.
You can check out Disaster for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.
Kicking off with a beautifully overdriven, edge-of-break-up Tube Screamer-esque guitar tone and kicking drums, Godzukey’s ‘Alibi’ is a proper old-school grungy rock track, all laconic vocals and doomy, portentous bass and guitars. There’s an occasional hint at Mudhoney in the voicing of the fuzzed-up repeating guitar motif, some gentle nods to early Pearl Jam or Mother Love Bone, and a serious bit of guitar-hero shredding from Conrad Bylsma on the playout solo from around 3’30”. Singer/songwriter Jonas Briggs has a perfect early Foo Fighters/Nirvana/Alice In Chains vibe going on around the vocal delivery, but it should be said loudly and clearly: this isn’t simply a retro-reworking of Seattle’s great and good.
There’s a freshness here, too, a contemporary take on that West Coast sound which presumably comes from the creative kick of new connections and neoteric projects. Briggs and Bylsma reconnected to form Godzukey recently, after years of not playing together, recording the EP from which ‘Alibi’ is taken from the ‘music Briggs was carrying around in his head’, and that novel vibrancy comes through in the rawness of the track’s delivery. In Godzukey Portland, Oregon, might just have spawned a new baby monster.
Birch Riley gave us a taste of their highly-anticipated album with the monster of an Alt Rock hit “One Life to Live”. If you need frequent reminders that the sands of time are always slipping, this sonically electrifying hit from the Washington-based powerhouse will gladly hammer home the temporary state of your existence.
Despite the ferocity, there’s plenty of soul to be found in this viscerally enticing hit which was made for radio. With the vocals soaring as high as the guitar solos in the chorus, you can expect to be as adrenalized as the soundscape when you hit play.
There may be some Classic Rock touches to the single, but indisputably, there’s enough distinction and nuance in the deftly crafted track to assure you that Birch Riley are as authentic as Rock acts get in 2020.
You can check out Birch Riley’s single One Live to Live along with the rest of their interstellar album Fragments of Space and Time via Bandcamp.
Alt Rock trailblazers When Dark may have only made their inception in June 2020, but the collective of experienced artists brought all of their prowess to the aural table to form one of the most promising powerhouses currently contributing to the airwaves. Yeah, that includes Mr Bungle too.
Their latest single, Madness, perfectly captures that tempestuously frustrative state which you teeter on while on the brink of madness. Trent Holcomb’s vocals offer all the sniping rage you’d want to meet in a feisty high-octane Metal hit. More pertinently, the vocals affirm that their undiluted soul fell into the orchestration of their standout single.
With massive choruses which will catch in your throat alongside colossally visceral instrumental breakdowns, you really couldn’t ask for more from the darkly electrifying track. You hit play and you’re instantly left sharing in the ardent potency of the stylistically ensnaring release.
Any fans of Killswitch Engage, In Flames and As I Lay Dying will definitely appreciate this monstrous Metalcore gem.
You can catch When Dark’s track Madness via YouTube.
With ‘Thinking Too Much’, Paravida deliver a four-minute slice of insanely catchy electronic-indie rock in this, their sophomore single. Kicking off with some beautiful old-school TR808 drum sounds and a set of vocal samples before dropping in fully with the electronic dance-cum-rock track proper, ‘Thinking Too Much’ sounds a little like Gorrilaz dueting with Mika, but in an updated, modern way, a perfect blend of ‘proper’ instrumentation and electronica.
Catchy, dance-y, and altogether upbeat, there’s some beautifully comped, Celemony-style vocal processing on the chorus contrasting elegantly with the up-front straighter verse lyrical delivery, a bouncy staccato bass-line carrying the whole track and squirming its way deep into your bones. If ‘Thinking Too Much’ doesn’t stay in your head for days after that first listen, then it’s entirely possible that you’re already clinically dead.
Portsmouth, UK-based Multi-Instrumentalist, Composer, Artist and Producer Samuel H James has released their entrancingly chilling darkwave murder folk single “Summer”. Considering the Summer we have all just endured, the despondence and tender nihilism ensure that Summer is one of the aptest new releases that you’ll hit play on this year.
Any fans of the macabre lyrical styling of Nick Cave, Arab Strap and Jack Ladder will definitely want to give the cutting Post Punk track a listen. As the powerful beats retain tribalistic rhythmic momentum, Samuel H James seeks dramatic vengeance for the loss of a fictional lover, allowing you to get wrapped up in the atmospheric imagery which is crafted from the verses which run through as pensively cutting meta poetry.