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Music

TWOFEW – Dreamin’: The Soaring Alt Rock Soundtrack to Your Escapism

‘Dreamin’ is the sophomore single from US-based newcomers TWOFEW which would definitely be worth burning your thumb for when sparking a lighter at a festival. Ahh, remember those? It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if TWOFEW were headlining them by the time they’re a thing again.

Even if you don’t venture further than the kitchen today, hitting play on Dreamin’ will give you a sanity-saving dose of escapism. The track instils a sense of optimism which reminds you that your current circumstances aren’t forever and escapism is always a possibility; the journey starts in your mind.

With an infectious chorus which could rival Bryan Adams’ ‘When You’re Gone’ and an almost overwhelming offering of whiskey-soaked soul, we’re stoked to have TWOFEW on our radar. We have no doubt that TWOFEW will continue releasing tracks which make life feel infinitely more endurable.

You can check out Dreamin’ for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Church on Sunday – Destiny: Boisterously Eclectic Contemporary Punk

https://churchonsunday.bandcamp.com/track/destiny-2

With an opening riff reminiscent to ACDC’s ‘Thunderstruck’, Church on Sunday’s feisty new single ‘Destiny’ kicks off before evolving into a high-octane feat of boisterously eclectic contemporary punk rock.

The Toronto-based artist found the perfect balance between connectable angsty energy and raucously playful charisma with Destiny. With a massive chorus, a plethora of rhythmically-binding hooks and the sheer relentless talent exhibited, it isn’t hard to see why Church on Sunday have shared stages with the likes of Cancer Bats.

With elements of hard rock, pop punk and skate punk all influencing the insurgent matured track, it’s distinctive enough to grip you by its authenticity alone. The volatile euphoria and optimism which Destiny instils is the cherry on the cake. You can assume the cake has been left in the gutter in this instance.

You can check out Destiny on all major streaming platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Martin Paul Cuthew has released his soul-saving feat of Indie Pop ‘Stand Tall’

With harmonies which find themselves somewhere between the timbre of Blur and the Beach Boys, Martin Paul Cuthew’s progressive soul-saver of a single ‘Stand Tall’ starts to unravel. By the time the hooky chorus hits, Indie Punk Folk influences start to fall into the mix in a way that would leave any fans of Frank Turner enamoured.

The lockdown-born single was orchestrated to instil optimism and determination in the downtrodden. It’s a powerful Pop Rock reminder that growth is something to take hold of with positivity instead of grief and fear. It’s a nuanced way of saying that life is too short to fill it with salty tears.

You can check out Stand Tall for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Music

Shared Image Redefines Who Does What on their superb new single.

Soft, jangly indie-pop is overdone at times these days, but ‘Redefined’, the first single from Shared Image’s new album ‘Who Decides Who Does What?’, is a cut above the usual ‘three lads with Telecasters from Crewe’, with a charm and style all of its own.

Shared Image – hailing from Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is a little more exotic than Crewe for sure – have pretty much answered their own album-title question here – this is the brainchild of Craig Delin, a 20 year veteran of bands now forging his own path by writing, creating, performing, and producing ‘Who Decides Who Does What?’ all by himself. So it seems he decides pretty much who does everything, and on the basis of ‘Redefined’, that’s working to extremely good effect.

Vocals, guitars, keyboards, drums and programming, and synth parts are all down to Delin, the whole track sitting together beautifully; there are elements of old school alt-rock indie goodness in the likes of Pavement, a little of Johnny Marr’s guitar work and certainly some Modest Mouse, coupled with a little of They Might Be Giants and maybe a touch of Crowded House in the mix too. That’s a pretty heady mix, and on ‘Redefined’ it works extremely well. Based on this, Delin deciding Who Does What is a pretty sensible plan.

‘Who Decides Who Does What?’ is out now across all major streaming platforms. You can hear ‘Redefined’, and the rest of the album, on Spotify, and follow Shared Image on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Lewis Shepperd’s ‘This Blood Is Yours’ – modern yet retro emo-tinged rock single takes us to the dark side.

There’s a distinct ‘Police’ feel to Lewis Shepperd’s bass-heavy driving new single ‘This Blood Is Yours’, a modern-yet-retro pop-rock style delivered courtesy of Regatta De Blanc or Outlandos d’Amour-style guitar and syncopated, off-beat bass work.

Luke Shepperd’s vocal is reminiscent of Sting on ‘Message In A Bottle’ or ‘Roxanne’, mixed in with some serious emo-cred through the track’s vampirism stylings, and with maybe a contemporary Ed Sheeran or Jamie T vibe thrown in for good measure. It’s mature but not jaded, classy without being elitist, the mastering genius of Pete Maher (The Killers, Liam Gallagher, The Rolling Stones) clearly adding a smattering of indie-rock sparkle to the track.

Shepperd’s debut single, ‘Me’, has already received over 25,000 views on YouTube, and was featured in Music Week Presents as well as being the ‘Tip of the Week’ on BBC Solent radio upon its release. On the basis of this, there’s every likelihood ‘This Blood Is Yours’ will outdo it.

See the video for ‘This Blood Is Yours’ on YouTube. Follow Lewis Shepperd on Instagram and Facebook.

Music

‘Just Dance’ with Action Doll Joe

Hailing from ‘the dusty deserts of California’, Action Doll Joe – AKA Elijah Barrera – has just dropped his debut EP, ‘Hello!’, from which ‘Just Dance’ is taken. It’s a bouncy, frivolous, affair, all good fun and light-hearted, story-telling lyrics, with heavily fuzzed-up guitars and keyboards and punky, cracking drums. It’s a great playful-sounding record, and ‘Just Dance’ is a perfect leader from it, a great introduction to the four songs on offer – a storytelling piece, led by whispered and charmingly spoken vocals, a sing-along chorus, and a bass-line that simply won’t go away once the track’s ended.

It’s quirky, it’s silly, it’s reminiscent of early Green Day or Blink 182, and it’s simply jolly good fun.

Check out ‘Just Dance’ on Spotify. Follow Action Doll Joe on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

The Ruby Tears launch their first ‘Satellite’ and are about to hit orbit

https://therubytears.bandcamp.com/track/satellite-2

Formed at the start of the first Covid 19 lockdown in March by Manchester musician and former frontman of John Peel punk-pop picks The Bloody Marys John Goodfellow and Jeff Skellon (former bassist with 80’s Liverpool favourites Lalabambam), ‘The Empty Heart EP’ – the third (yes count ‘em) release from The Ruby Tears – shows just what can be achieved by ‘remote working’, Goodfellow and Skellon not (yet) actually having met in the flesh.

Working instead from their respective home studios during the pandemic, with ‘Satellite’ the pair have crafted a piece of classic, seventies-styled-yet-updated New Wave pop-rock in the vein of The Attractions, The Stanglers, or Magazine.

There’s some stellar guitar work from Skellon, all percussive muted strumming and mellow, ‘woman-tone’ lead, Goodfellow’s vocal laid-back and gruff in the way that all good rock music should be, the ‘with the words you never said’ refrain sticking around long after the final notes of Skellon’s guitar have died away. ‘Classic’ is an overused word these days, but ‘Satellite’ is a slice of classic New Wave in the best possible way; climb on board with The Ruby Tears, because there’s every chance this is going to go stellar.

The ‘Empty Heart EP’ drops across streaming platforms on the 4th December. You can listen to ‘Satellite’ on Bandcamp, and follow The Ruby Tears on Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Stranger Girl show us their ‘Bad Side’ on their glorious new single.

Stranger Girl

Last year’s trio of singles from South East-based indie darlings Stranger Girl saw them, amongst other accolades, hitting BBC Introducing’s Track of the Week. Now, despite Covid, lockdown, and the dearth of gig opportunities currently threatening the music scene across the UK, they’re back with 3’10” of gorgeous, glittering alt-pop in the form of new single ‘Bad Side’.

Take a large portion of Sleeper and Elastica and a little of an imaginary female-fronted Candyskins, mix them up in a huge Britpop cauldron with a liberal helping of Blondie and The Strokes, and add in some ‘21st Century’ flavouring for good measure, and you’ve pretty much got the recipe for ‘Bad Side’. It’s sublime, an absolutely perfect slice of classic, chart-ready indie-pop. Singer Melissa sounds like Louise Wener with a side-order of Saffron from Republika and a little of the obvious Debbie Harry, the guitars shimmer and sparkle, and the sparse-but-snappy rhythm section powers and bounces the track along. There’s rawness but humour in the lyrical storytelling, but amidst the melancholy and geekiness there’s a hook that sticks in your head alongside the shouty gang vocal chorus. It’s upbeat, poppy, and just a little bit fantastic.

Check out Stranger Girl on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Wynona Bleach deliver distortedly euphoric feel-good Alt-Pop with ‘Glimmer’

Hailing from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Wynona Bleach have, under a previous title (R51), already had the kind of impact alt-rock bands dream of, releasing two critically acclaimed EPs and playing the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds, supporting Feeder and Alice In Chains, performing on the BBC’s Introducing anniversary show at Belfast’s Ulster Hall, and embarking on a 12-date headline Russian tour before adopting their new moniker and decamping to an abandoned warehouse in central Portugal to record their debut album under the production oversight of The Coral’s Bill Ryder-Jones.

Lead single ‘Glimmer’ is a gorgeous sliver of distorted feel-good alt-pop, all searing-yet-bouncy guitar and thumping bass ‘n’ drums stunningly capped by Melyssa Shannon’s killer vocal take. There’s a touch of the Hayley Williams there, for sure, along with some Smashing Pumpkins, a smattering of Wolf Alice or the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, and maybe even the poppy harmonies of Haim in places, with a definite blast of old school swirling, swooping indie like Garbage, Curve or Swervedriver added into the melting pot for an extra measure of cool.

Shannon’s delivery is delicious, alternately fragile and raucous, merging effortlessly with guitarist Jonny Woods’ backing vocals, poppy and dreamy on the verses before the belter of a stadium-anthem chorus kicks ass with its gang-vocal shoutiness, the twin-pronged guitar of Woods and Aaron Black delivering both a crunching, overdriven power-chord belter and an insanely catchy single-note melody over the crashing tightness of Carl Gilmore and Matty Killen’s rhythm section.

Wynona Bleach’s debut album ‘Moonsoake’ is released next month, and available to pre-order now; the self-filmed video for ‘Glimmer’ can be viewed from Wynona Bleach’s website, or via Facebook.

Review by Alex Holmes

Music

Tearsun proves that there is beauty in vulnerability with their Alt Pop Rock Earworm “Soul of Glass”

Vulnerability and beauty always seem to sit hand in hand. If you’re looking for proof, hit play on the latest single “Soul of Glass” from Alt Pop Rock artist Tearsun.

There’s no bravado, just bravery in the unfiltered nature of the expression. You’ll feel your soul swell with each and every momentous groove in Soul of Glass. Any fans of Bryan Adams will definitely be able to appreciate the soundscape which has been influenced by the likes of Matchbox 20, Rob Thomas and Vertical Horizon.

But there’s no disputing that Tearsun brings plenty of distinction to the airwaves, you’ll find it in the inventive reverb-laden distortions of the guitar tones which allow Tearsun to contort mellifluously striking melodies which sit in perfect synergy with his constantly evolving vocals. From crooning to viscerally ardent wails, you’ll find all that and more in Soul of Glass.

You can check out Tearsun’s single for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast