With their latest release, (I Won’t Be Your) Christmas Turkey, the indie alt-folk artist, Winterbrook singlehandedly changed my perception of Christmas music. The sweetly scorned, festively spiced power-pop ballad doesn’t pander to the usual cliches; instead, it locks horns with seasonal heartbreak to soak the track in realism and resonance.
You can’t help warming to an artist that makes a vocal hook with “I won’t be your Christmas turkey again”. Better yet, Winterbrook didn’t fall into the twee trap; their stellar songwriting talent and boldly well-invested confidence made sure that there’s nothing novel about this earworm.
As Winterbrook was an early bird, you can catch Christmas Turkey on Spotify.
The Winchester, VA indie rock outfit, Azure Wolf, have released their debut album, Tensions. Within the ten tracks, they have practically covered the entire emotional spectrum.
After starting with the shoegaze masterpiece, Black Fur, which captures the alienation in dissociation, the album flows into affectionately strident poetry with the standout single, ‘You Belong to Me’.
Around the shimmering guitars, Victoria Backle’s vocals pour unadulterated emotion into the mix as she proves what unconditional love looks like in the indie power-pop ballad that leaves you with no question about the authenticity of this ingenuity-powered outfit. With the folk, rock, pop and indie nuances all seamlessly infused, You Belong to Me breathes visceral alchemy.
Azure Wolf’s debut album, Tensions, is now available to stream on Spotify.
Long Beach, CA fourpiece, Kilo Bravo, has released their scuzzy proto-punk single, Personality, which takes a cynical look at our soulless social fabric and makes a fiery yet self-aware and grounded stance against it.
With lyrics such as “I don’t know what I don’t know, but I’ve got soul” and “everyone has a white picket fence, and I’m still living with my parents, it’s hard not to be drawn in by the mindful candour. Personality truly epitomises the sense of hopelessness that is becoming endemic in Gen Z. We honestly couldn’t be more excited by the potential of Kilo Bravo.
Any fans of Teenage Fanclub, Weezer and Pavement will want to delve into Kilo Bravo’s debut album, Chew This Show.
Personality is now available to stream on Spotify.
After a line-up change that saw a female vocalist fronting the South East, UK outfit Picture the Scene. with their freshly refined sound, the heavy pop-punk powerhouse has come in with all guns blazing with their latest single, The Hang-Up.
The galvanizing power-pop choral hooks are broken up with heavy rock motifs and growled vocals that any fans of Job for a Cowboy or any other post-hardcore outfit will be familiar with. I can only imagine how intense the playful ferocity in the sticky sweet hit would be live. Picture the Scene. is for every metalhead who finds themselves with a guilty penchant for Taylor Swift. With The Hang-Up, Picture the Scene. established themselves as on par with BABYMETAL for the boundaries they broke with their sonic furore. Do I even need to tell you to save space on your radar?
The Hang-Up is now available to stream on all major platforms via this link.
Franklin Gotham’s latest single, Without Being Alone, is a tender power-pop embrace that you’ll want to fall into time and time again for the comforting vintage tones, dreamy doo-wop vibes and compassionate lyricism. If you can imagine what Pavement would sound like if they picked up the same romanticism as Syd Barrett, you will be able to get an idea of the sticky-sweet euphoria delivered.
Without Being Alone stoically explores the kind of love that leaves you on the sidelines exploring the infinite possibilities with impassioned impatience. If it’s been a while since you looked at love with rose-tinted glasses, the sweet succinct melodies in this synaesthesia-inducing single will efficaciously remind you.
Without Being Alone is now available to stream and purchase on all major platforms via this link.
Perth’s most promising alt-pop artist, Bad Weather, has released his stickiest earworm to date, Caring is Cool, which merges anthemic nuances of power-pop, pop-punk, 80s pop and contemporary indie-pop in the same vein as M83 and The 1975.
The sonic eclecticism is one thing, but Bad Weather (AKA Callum Robertson) has plenty more in his aural arsenal than just crumbling genre constraints with his sound. His ambition to bring the best out in people through his music rather than attempting to emanate the cool indie rock stereotype will leave you instantly enamoured. I can only imagine how hard the choruses of sticky-sweet high vibes, overdriven guitars and galvanising synths hit when hearing them live.
Caring is Cool is now available to stream via Spotify.
Modern Day Miracle’s sophomore release, Falling in a Dream, has already racked up over 370k streams on Spotify alone. The electronic indie pop-rock single errs on the side of melancholy lyrically but the feisty anthem energizes you away from apathy as you listen to the effervescent jangle pop guitars, playful synth-pop melodies and power-pop hooks.
If someone sugar-coated and stripped the years off the Strokes, we’re fairly sure that the aural result wouldn’t be all too far from Falling in a Dream. Even from just listening to one single, we’re filled with that instinct to back the blossoming powerhouse that could easily have main festival stage crowds eating out of their deft hands.
You can check out the punchy pop-rock hit for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.
Any fans of sticky-sweet vocal hooks and chaotic indie rock instrumentals will want to delve right into the latest release from the Birmingham-based raucous luminaries Mild Headache.
‘Near Me’ is a rhythmically fierce white-knuckle ride through ensnaring alt-indie elements, softened by the playful earworm potential of the anthem which is far reminiscent of the tones you’d hear from across the pond.
The last thing we needed was another indie-pop-rock assimilating act; Mild Headache put the unoriginal to shame. They have exactly what it takes to ascend in the ranks with Cabbage, SHAME, Gender Roles and Hot Milk and hit the same heights. If you get a chance to see them live, take it.
‘Float Away’is the latest inhibition-stripping garage rock anthem from the Calgary, Alberta based outfit NIKU they formed just before the pandemic hit and discernibly, none of their infectious aural energy was dampened at the time of working on their forthcoming album with the legendary producer, Casey Lewis.
Float Away is the first single released from their upcoming album; I can safely say that I haven’t been as excited by rockabilly guitars since I heard the Brains cover Lovesong by the Cure. The frantic punchy guitar progressions deliver gorgeously rich tones in Float Away while the vocals raucously exude a Jim Jones-style roguish charm. And based on Float Away, If NIKU started a cult, I wouldn’t hesitate in joining it.
NIKU deliver everything that you would want from a breaking luminary alt-rock outfit. The tones are nostalgic, while the energy is a firestorm of optimism despite existential inclination.
Float Away is due for release on July 15th. Check out NIKU via their website and Facebook.
Swedish power pop artist Hazy Weekends have made their debut with their stormer of an alt-indie pop, EP, Hurricane. With guitars that cut with the same angular precision of My Bloody Valentine’s introducing the lead title track, the usual cynicism you usually feel when hitting play on a new artist instantly slips away.
As the power-pop single progresses, the duo starts to come into their own through absolvingly vibrant instrumental melodies paired with the indie rock vocals that pay ode to the 90s Britpop era while the artist claims the sonic tones unequivocally as their own.
If you already have the Charlatans, The Stone Roses, The Manic Street Preachers or Inspiral Carpets on your playlists, Hazy Weekends will fit right in alongside them.