With Blue Monday safely out of the way for another year, Venice’s Ren Ashfield and the Magicians have brought the sound of summer in their latest single, Sunny Day Smile.
After an intro which allows you to imagine what Echo and the Bunnymen would have sounded like if they embraced warm tonal hues instead of coldly monochromatic textures, Sunny Day Smile strides into a classic rock crescendo, which does far more than pay homage to the past.
By bringing all of the stridence of the Manic Street Preachers with the endlessly affecting soul of Journey and wrapping the production in a kaleidoscopic haze of psychedelia, Ren Ashfield and his outfit of instrumental alchemists delivered the ultimate hit of aural serotonin with this luminous leap into the evolution of rock. The band’s moniker is so much more than a shtick; there’s nothing gimmicky about the evocation of alt-rock sorcery within Sunny Day Smile.
This single, which resounds with a message of hope and resilience despite the world’s weary weight, is just a prelude to the band’s much-anticipated sophomore LP, Sonic Creations, which is set to be unveiled in February.
Sunny Day Smile will illuminate the airwaves on January 26th. Stream the single on Spotify.
Even though you probably don’t need a track to affirm that we’re living in an era as twisted as Shaun Ryder’s melons, there’s no understating the vindicating catharsis in Heavy Salad’s tropic psych rock cocktail, Weirdest of the Weird Shit.
The track transcends sonics to deliver a mind-melting invitation to get high on the dystopic delirium as part of a collective experience and let the hallucinogenic waves within the ebbing and flowing guitars crash over you and brighten the psyche’s palette. The multi-layered harmonies play an even more crucial role in embodying and imparting vividly hazy hues as they alchemise with a synergy that Heavy Salad has meticulously honed since their 2019 debut release.
With mantras to live by flowing throughout lyrical surrealism in the beachy Lynchian fever dream, you’re free to explore brighter corridors of perception, safe in the knowledge that logic has become an extinction event and the only thing you can really change is the way you engage with our shared illusion.
Weirdest of the Weird Shit is now available to stream on all major platforms via this link.
She Was Angelina by djamesk13 is a captivating piece that solidifies the artist’s position in the realm of grungy, bass-driven psych rock. This single is a masterful blend of raw energy and haunting subtlety, showcasing djamesk13’s adeptness in creating a soundscape that is both gritty and ethereal.
The track opens with a deep, resonant bass line that immediately sets a dark, immersive tone. The distortion is cranked up, not just as an effect, but as a statement, echoing the grunge era’s love for raw, unpolished sound. This choice pays off brilliantly, as it adds a visceral edge to the song.
Lyrically, She Was Angelina is a poetic exploration of a film noir femme fatale figure. The character is painted as both innocently sweet and dangerously alluring, a combination that is as intriguing as it is unsettling. The reference to the Jesus and the Mary Chain not only situates the song within a specific musical lineage but also adds a layer of depth to Angelina’s character, suggesting a complex individual with a rich inner world.
The melody, dusky and lingering, perfectly complements the lyrical content. It’s a siren song, drawing the listener deeper into the narrative and the emotions it evokes. The use of lo-fi elements by the London-based solo artist adds a personal, intimate touch to the track, making it feel like a glimpse into a private, almost secret world.
She Was Angelina was officially released on December 10th; stream it on SoundCloud.
“No Time”is a sonic meditation on temporal experience, a nudge to wake up to the present and to prioritise what truly matters. djamesk13’s unique blend of grungy guitars, atmospheric psychedelia, and introspective lyricism creates a powerful commentary on the human tendency to let life’s precious moments pass us by.
By encapsulating the elusive and fleeting nature of time and serving as a poignant reminder of the moments that slip away unnoticed as we get entangled in the minutiae of everyday life, the theme of No Time is universally affecting as it reflects on the complicated tapestry of the human condition.
The instrumentals weave together the dark tonal shades of grunge with the introspective swirls of psychedelic rock. There’s a weight to the sound that mirrors the gravity of the song’s message, creating a soundscape that’s both haunting and intimate. As the music unfolds, it lays down a dark and reflective atmosphere that perfectly captures the essence of the lyrics, encouraging a deep, inward look at the listener’s own personal timeline.
djamesk13, with this track, asserts why there’s always space for his artistry on our radar. His lo-fi expressionism has a rawness and authenticity that strikes a chord with his audience, tapping into emotions that are often left unexplored. His music doesn’t just pass through the ears but lingers in the mind, igniting thoughts and feelings that resonate on a deeply personal level. The gritty authenticity of the production enhances the song’s message, allowing the listener to feel the immediacy and the urgency of the present moment.
No Time was officially released on November 19; stream it on SoundCloud.
Hersham’s hottest indie rock act, The Elegant Chasers, swathed their latest single, Running Around the Sun, with lashings of kaleidoscopic psychedelia to indulge their ever-growing fanbase in a mind-bending sonic experience which finds the perfect balance between heavy and sludgy rancorousness and melodicism to keep you locked into the innovation which drips from every progression.
Running Around the Sun is the first single to drop following the critically acclaimed success of the band’s long-awaited debut album, Sentimental Dust. Following a significant stint of soul-searching, The Elegant Chasers, who always live up to their moniker via the cultivated gravitas in their hits, struck aural gold once more whilst exploring a bigger and bolder sound that rings with reminiscences of the Seattle Sound and subverts all expectations by industrialising 70s rock synthetics.
Running Around the Sun will be officially released on December 1st; hear it on SoundCloud.
“Guess I’ll Be Alright” from Denim Dan is a portal back to the smooth and rich tones of 70s rock and the vibrant psychedelic colours of 60s pop. While it marks a daring step in the band’s sound, it maintains the comforting and straightforward vocal style fans have come to adore from the outfit, which banded together in Boulder, Colorado, in 1996.
There’s an unmistakable soulfulness within the smoky layers of the music, with nods to Northern Soul and a subtle jazz influence that Denim Dan integrates seamlessly; the resulting sound is both nostalgic and fresh, an ambitious blend that pays homage to the past while forging its own path.
Following the international recognition with their sixth album, their seventh, Santa Maria’s Dome, from which Guess I’ll Be Alright is prised, resounds as a cultivated new beginning. A track which focuses on two friends trying to get the other over addiction could all too easily become a sombre sonic feat, but via the depth of the storytelling, the texturally upbeat musical backdrop and the signature vocals, which always portray melancholy as an option you need not take, Guess I’ll Be Alright is a realm of captivatingly uplifting intrigue.
Stream DENIM DAN’s latest album, Santa Maria’s Dome on all major platforms via this link.
Adelaide’s most endearingly audacious artist, Buddy J Francis suited himself in pink and his sound in psychonautic scuzz for his latest installation of Avant-Warped-Garde psych rock, Paralysed by Fear.
Each of the kaleidoscopically fuzzed instrumentals you hear on the release was individually tracked, giving the progressions plenty of mind-melting volition to captivate listeners within the lo-fi production, which laments the stagnancy that being afraid to take life-altering leaps breeds.
Even with so many experimental layers to his work between his instrumental experimentation, tongue-in-cheek guises and lyrical conceptuality, it is all too easy to get on the same level as the artist, who has transcended parody to deliver deliciously delirious subversion.
If Paralysed by Fear racks up 10k streams on Spotify in the first week, Buddy J Francis has vowed to get his nipple pierced, allowing his staunch fanbase to get their sonic and sadistic kicks in one swing.
Thankfully, there are fewer conditions attached to the imminence of his forthcoming LP, which Paralysed by Fear snuck out of prematurely; it is set to arrive in early 2024. Keep Francis on your radar for it, and undoubtedly other outlandish antics via Instagram.
For their sophomore LP, the Barcelona trio Speaker Cabinets spun ‘Tales from New Babel’ over an indie aesthetic that will ricochet you right back to the 00s alt-indie rock era with reminiscences of Kasabian, The Futureheads, and The Courteeners.
With an additional layer of Euro folk in the opening single, Ghost Town, there will be little deliberation as to whether Speaker Cabinets stamped down a distinctive sonic signature within the anthemics of their dance-worthy and constraintlessly daring concept EP. When you’re not ensnared in the hooks, you’ll be immersed in a sci-fi tale of retribution. The standout single, The Fall, is a straight-up space rock attest to the imaginative ingenuity of the powerhouse, who will seemingly go to any mind-altering length to deliver euphonically augmented escapism to their fans.
The band’s electro-heavy sophomore LP was released on October 20 along with a 6-episode podcast, which shares the story of their zany creation. Delve into the sonic sci-fi franchise, you’re unlikely to regret it.
Stream the Speaker Cabinets sophomore LP by heading to Spotify.
Therum searched for identity in the cosmos in the standout single, Mirror of Stars, from his psychedelic darkwave album, Darklines Within Us; in the process, he added a new ethereal trajectory to the evolution of existentialism.
Through croons, which call out into the void of the alien soundscape that would be on a plateau beyond our perception if it weren’t for the huge bass adding weight to the release, are resolvingly efficacious in their interstellar mission of drawing you right into the melancholic soul of the art rock Tour De Force.
If you have ever struggled to make sense of the material and social reality we’re confined to and feel an even greater sense of alienation when you try and situate yourself in the context of the twisted tapestry of existence, Mirror of Stars is proliferated with apt consolation.
VNV Nation once declared that this world is just an illusion trying to change you. Therum’s more astute observation of disillusion, duality, and the mind being as unchartered as the galaxy feels far more nuanced.
If you take your rock classically cut with a twist of spacey psychedelia, explore the riff-carved cosmos in the standout single, Fairy Tale Ending, from Church Burglars’ debut album, Subconsciously Conscious.
With soaring riffs as strident as the licks orchestrated by Slash’s fair hands fused with the soul-lavished euphonic sensibilities of the Flaming Lips and Pink Floyd, Fairy Tale Ending is a prog-rock meditation on the highs and lows of diehard romanticism. The endlessly caressing vocal lines which have more in common with the Shoegaze pioneers than your average rock outfit draw you right into the gravity of the bitter-sweet release, which stands as a testament to the LA-based outfit’s determination to make real music for real people.
After the founding members met at Berklee College of Music in Boston shortly before the COVID pandemic, frontman Mike Foltz used the international live music breather to travel to LA to record the debut LP independently with the exception of a few lead guitar parts laid down by Alec Grugel. With the full line-up finalised, Church Burglars are making waves in the live circuit; grab any opportunity to see them in an intimate setting before you have to join legions of fans filing into arenas to witness the virtuosity of Foltz.
Fairy Tale Ending is available to stream on Spotify.