If anyone has what it takes to reignite the mainstream momentum of indie, it is the melodic fire starter Steady Owl with their debut album, They Are All Bastards Except Us, which is due for release on October 20.
As an appetiser, the alt-indie revivalist revealed the single, MOONDOG, which pays a mellifluously fitting ode to the icons of the 90s Britpop era. The orchestrally elevated melodicism echoes the legacies of Mansun and the Manics while the cosmically compelling single drips in Transatlantic magnetism with the striking reminiscences to the more melancholic work of R.E.M.
It feels as though the entire alt-90s aural ecosystem underpins this gravity-defying release, yet at the same time, the superlative song crafter conjured something completely new to render the hearts of all indie rock nostalgists raw. Lyrically, it will throw you right back to when Pearl Jam broke your heart for the first time with their single, Black, while the cosmos is torn through by the stunning angular guitars, which know which evocative impulses to strike with every pitch and pace-perfected progression.
MOONDOG was officially released on September 14; stream it on Soundcloud.
With a soundscape sweet enough to appease fans of Mogwai, Radiohead, and Sigur Ros, the latest single, Titan, from the Durham-based alt-rock trio, Outerrings, is an ethereal lesson in melodicism.
By using the consistent presence of the gentle yet rhythmically compelling guitar chords as an anchoring point in the release in place of percussion, Titan is as antithetical as alt-rock singles come, but it is all the more mesmerising for it in its reverb-drenched gravitas.
By underpinning the release with the vulnerable fragility of the vocal lines that cry out to those laden with ennui and burden, it is an evocatively artful ride everyone alienated by modern culture will want to strap themselves in for.
Titan was officially released on July 2nd. Hear it on Spotify.
Keeping the soul of grunge but stripping back the sludge, the Oxford, UK-based alt-indie rock outfit London Graffiti unleashed the ultimate aural eye-prickler with their latest single, These Words.
If you melded the pensive folky panache of Frightened Rabbit with the art-rock arrangements of Radiohead and the progressively dark atmosphere of Porcupine Tree, you’d get close to the evocative mark made on the indie rock landscape by the band that has already won the favour of plenty of mainstream radio stations, including BBC Introducing.
It is impossible not to be choked by the emotion-fuelled energy in the single, which also pays tribute to the National, Joy Division, and the Doves. Originality oozes from every effortlessly cool pore of These Words, yet never to the detriment of the projection of frantically inhibited dejection.
These Words was officially released on March 16th; hear it on SoundCloud.
Following the resounding success of his former releases, the Minneapolis composer, musical sound designer and producer Jeff Goldsmith unleashed the lamentfully arrestive atmosphere of his latest score, Tied to the Track.
With the art rock nuances of Radiohead, the progressive feel of Fear of a Blank Planet era Porcupine Tree and deserty Josh Homme-Esque vocals bleeding into the darkly ambient neo-classic electronic arrangements, succumbing to the cinematic melancholy of Tied to the Track is non-optional.
Goldsmith started his venture into creativity aged four at the Suzuki Music Academy, where he learned to play the violin by ear. In 2020, he made his debut with the album, Vodu, subsequently followed by his poetically titled scintillating sophomore album, May You Find the Light Before the Devil Knows He’s Right, in May 2021. In addition to his solo work, Goldsmith scores for TV and film and works with a myriad of other artists, such as Austin Texas’s Sparta.
After hearing Tied to the Track, I know I will never stop turning to Goldsmith’s visceral sonic proclivities which innovatively amalgamate ambience with exultant ingenuity. He isn’t just one in a million, his presence on the airwaves can’t be quantified. I can’t recommend him enough.
Tied to the Track is now available to stream via Spotify.
The Desolation of America is the second album from the multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Koyama, who fuses classic art rock tones with modernist sound designs. The Radiohead influence is tangible through the complexity of the percussion and the ebbing and flowing vocals that drift in and out of focus around the psychedelic synthetics, especially in the politically melancholic single, Desolation of America.
If Koyama is this talented at 18, he has an exceptionally bright future ahead of him. Especially with his gift of lyrically gnawing away at socio-political themes while psychedelically stripping the dismay from the equation with his artful vocal pitches that complement the colourfully kaleidoscopic chords and droning keys. It’s almost impossible to believe that Koyama only started to write and produce songs in his bedroom during the pandemic. He is definitely one to watch.
Desolation of America is now available to stream on Spotify.
The angular indie ambience in the latest single, Enso, from the Philadelphian bedroom producer Fleeting is something for every alt-90s fan to get excited about.
Beyond the Gorillaz and Radiohead influences are the hazy textures of dream pop and Slowdive-Esque shoegaze guitars spliced with the trippy discord of the downtempo artfully placed breakbeats that keep you centred in the mostly instrumental mix. For even more catharsis, turn to the other 24 artfully orchestrated hits in his 2022 self-titled album. We know we will. Repeatedly.
On the basis of their latest single, Again,Glass Image is the entire pensively intellectual alt-rock package. With the artfully evocative gravitas of Radiohead, the monolithically melodic guitars and the raw yet honeyed indie alt-rock vocals, it’s enough to aurally lull you into an emotionally heightened state of intense appreciation of their candour and signature brand of riff-heavy alchemy.
After forming in 2018, the NY-hailing outfit got to work on their debut 2019 EP, which stood as a testament to their proclivity to always weave a meaningful narrative around melodic riffs. Following the release of Again, they are set to release their debut LP in 2022. Notably, they’re one to watch.
With two EPs under their belt, the up and coming alt-indie sensation, Juliya, has unleashed their fever dream of a high-vibe low-fidelity track. Power Lines is as sonically boundary-less as Sonic Youth and Radiohead, and just as ruggedly sweet as Neutral Milk Hotel and Elliott Smith. And there is plenty of room for their garagey no-wave alchemy in between the reminiscences.
There’s scuzz by the smorgasbord, yet, that doesn’t get in the way of the grip of the angular indie guitar notes atop of all the discord. It may be a short and sweet track, but it’s also a sure-fire hit of serotonin in a sentimentally blissful alt-90s time capsule. With enough tracks in the same vein as Power Lines under their belt and the right attention, there is no reason Juilya couldn’t climb the indie charts with ease. Give them a hand on their ascent and stick them on your radar.
Power Lines is now available to stream on Spotify.
The recently formed avant-garde powerhouse, The Gold Supply, consists of ex-major label artists exploring outside capitalist confines; their debut EP, Completely Underwater, unravels as an ethereal art-rock-meets-trip-hop masterpiece.
The catharsis-laden standout single, Cold Water, sonically sits between sounds you will be accustomed to from Radiohead, Portishead, Interpol and Trent Reznor. What you may not be used to is the meditative effect of the tranquil electronic soundscape and the chilling vocals that give Cold Water even more cold dark atmosphere for the listener to swim through.
The Gold Supply formed during the pandemic, with the intent of reflecting the turmoil of the world at it through ambient sounds; depending on your current mentality, it will either comfort or disturb. David Lynch would be proud.
Delve into Cold Water yourselves by heading over to Spotify.
It is practically a given that any artist drawing influence from Radiohead, Portishead and Norah Jones and pouring the inspiration into an ambient acoustic pop-jazz soundscape is going to leave you floored but Lucy Burke’s latest single, Please Stay, surpasses all expectation.
The haunting grip of the intimate single breathes through the entire duration. The gentle melodic guitar and piano notes cradle the Sydney-based singer-songwriter’s succinctly urgent vocals that hit with bruising evocative impact.
Please Stay is now available to stream on Spotify.