Any fans of Social Distortion will want to turn their attention to the frenetic feat of Punk Rock ‘Spinal’ from Five Hundred Bucks’ aptly explosively titled latest release ‘This Welcome Mat is a Landmine EP’.
The turbulently high-octane hit delivers a relatable sense of indignation both lyrically and vocally, affirming with the listener that yes, it is okay for the fuzzy feels to be flowing when the massive chorus hits; it is possible to feel some semblance of euphoria while the world falls apart around us.
Philadelphia’s tenacious sons and their realism-soaked punky pop rock earworms are exactly what the airwaves in 2021. As they have plenty in the pipeline, you’ll want them on your radar, sooner rather than later.
You can check out Spinal for yourselves by heading over to Bandcamp.
While the lack of lockdown giggery has seen any number of recording projects take shape in home studios the world over, it takes a different kind of boldness to write an hour-and-a-half of brand new rock opera. That, however, is what The Fortunate Few present us with here and…well, it’s ace. Screeching guitar, a perfect Hammond organ part, and stunning male and female vocal parts, this is the opening track to an eighteen-track extravaganza and it sets the tone perfectly; the story begins with Mr. and Mrs. Todd at home, watching television, when a commercial comes on for Bendall’s Clinic…and…we’re off and into the Fortunate Few.
In the not too distant future, babies are grown in clinics and bought like cars or household appliances – sure, it’s easy to draw comparisons to Rocky Horror or Little Shop Of Horrors, although this is closest to the soundtrack to the awesome Circus Of Horrors (there’s perhaps a ‘horror’ theme, here), this is proper bombastic, overblown, 1970’s-style rock pomposity, and frankly it’s absolutely stellar.
‘Crooked Teeth’ is the latest all-consuming offering of aural solace from New Jersey-born artist, Mike Freund: the progressively cinematic soundscape is transfixing from the first sepia-tinged mellifluous verse to the last.
The single runs you through stunningly delicate finger-picked acoustic guitar solos, organ notes hitting like celestial sunrays, and that gorgeously rare feeling of wanting to sing the lyrics before you have them fully memorised when the chorus hits.
The masterful soundscape exhibits the affable authenticity of Mike Freund with his blues licks which come with a meditative kick and his sonorous imagery-projecting vocals which will leave you seriously inclined to keep hitting play.
With their influences ranging from The Allman Brothers to Guns and Roses, Mike Freund is set to enamour fans of both and anything between.
While most of us spent the summer of 2020 in enforced sun-and-over-drinking (the lucky ones with gardens, anyway) or locked down indoors, it seems Musicismost were not just forming in Chiswick, West London, but recording this, their first single.
‘Pheromone Too’ is a fast-paced, high energy rock track in the style of the Chilli Peppers, Muse, or Royal Blood, with maybe a little funky Lenny Kravitz vibe thrown in for good measure. It rocks hard, distorted guitars vying with up-front breathy vocals for attention. Releasing your first single all about pheromones – something invisible which can’t be detected but which influence our behaviour – is a pretty bold stroke, but it seems Musicismost can just about pull it off.
26-year-old singer-songwriter edja’s self-released debut debut single ‘Happy’ (released 3rd January) is a crashing, contemporary upbeat rock track taking the pain and destruction of a relationship breakdown and turning it around, highlighting the strength and growth which comes with change and personal resilience.
The track perfectly showcases edja’s voice, marrying her vocal delivery and excellent lyrical storytelling to the excellent guitar and piano work of collaborator (and fellow Italian) Luca Chessa, who arranged, mixed, and mastered the track along with edja.
It’s a great debut single, upbeat, catchy, and modern, reminiscent of The Cardigans, maybe a touch of Texas in the arrangement, or the Cranberries, edja’s vocal powerful and distinctive over the chugging guitar and thundering drums. ‘Happy’ really does bode well for edja for 2021.
The Star Prairie Project – named as a portmanteau of the village of Star Prairie in Minneapolis and the Alan Parsons Project – is the project of songwriter Nolen R. Chew Jr along with a collective of musicians and producers from around the US and Europe.
‘Sea Of Change’ is the first single from the project’s second album ‘Surreal’, released on the 18th December. The Star Prairie Project’s first album, released in July, has already ratcheted up over 1,000,000 streams on Spotify, with the single ‘Frantic Mind’ reaching #36 on the iTunes Top 100 Rock Chart.
Fresh, light, americana-meets-rock, ‘Sea Of Change’ is part-Lemonheads, part-Jayhawks, with a touch of Tom Petty guitar jangliness thrown in for good measure. It’s catchy, poppy without being disposable, with a nicely wah-driven guitar solo and a cute little middle-eight before the sing-along chorus carries you away once more.
Check out The Star Prairie Project’s latest release via Spotify.
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.
Brooklyn, NY-born, Houston-residing singer-songwriter, Catterina, is set to make her unmissable debut with her heartache-inspired single ‘Wasted Time’, with an eclectic array of influence behind her accessible radio-ready Pop style, if anyone’s got what it takes to break into the charts in 2021, it’s Catterina.
Through a combination of blues, folk, indie and pop, Wasted Time is a track so fresh you can almost feel the breeze, and with the ability to make her lyrics as empowering as they are absolving, one hit of Wasted Time will affirm that Catterina is one to watch.
The production may be polished, but the lyrics run through unfiltered, bleeding sincerity and vulnerability in pitch-perfect harmony. I feel like if I heard Wasted Time when I was 16, I’d be much better prepared for life.
Wasted Time is due for official release on January 15th. You’ll be able to check it out for yourselves by heading over here. In the meantime, follow Catterina via Facebook.
After a successful 2020 debut, Italian guitarist and compositor under the moniker of M.O.S. 73 Project released their third soul-infused indie rock single ‘Don’t Speak to Me’. The track title may set you up for confrontation and dejection, but it contrasts the amorous soundscape which carries the same passion as tracks by Seal, Beck and Billy Ocean.
With elements of old school rock and soul spilling from fresh talent, you’ll be simultaneously hit with nostalgia and awe at the virtuosic modernistic prowess which seems so effortlessly exuded by M.O.S. 73 Project.
If you don’t feel something when you hit play, you may be dead from the soul down.
You can check out M.O.S. 73 Project’s latest release via Spotify.
Lockdown 2020 has generated a LOT of frustration and anxiety, and for most people – eye-test trips to Barnard Castle aside – have found that most of their interactions and experiences this year have come via social media. Now Drop Down Smiling are here, blinking and squinting in post-hibernation sunlight, to point out just how self-destructive those filtered ‘rose-tinted glasses’ choreographed lifestyles on Facebook and Instagram can actually be, with their red hot new single ‘The Fear Of Missing Out’. And it’s an absolute scorcher.
Launching with a subtle, melodic distorted guitar line before kicking in full overdrive-and-reverb style, ‘The Fear Of Missing Out’ is a slab of cracking alt-rock, a tasteful mix of B.M.T.H. and Biffy Clyro, with maybe a little Stone Sour or Architects and a dash of Interpol on the echoey picked guitar line. It’s a perfect blend of noise and melodic space, the dynamics in the track adding to the energy. It’s a powerful track, with some proper rock n’ roll groove in there, just enough electronica mixed in with the rock guitars and punchy drums to appeal to the radio crowd as well as the out-and-out rock fans.
‘The Fear Of Missing Out’ is out on the 8th January; check it out via Spotify, and follow Drop Down Smiling, via Facebook and Instagram.