Browsing Tag

The Smiths

Pulse Park went sub-zero in their off-kilter new wave indie single, Sine Wave

Phonac Music by Pulse Park

Canadian alt-indie newcomers, Pulse Park, have sent us right back to the golden age of new wave indie with their latest release, Sine Wave. I’ve long been fascinated with the bleak tales of Shackleton and other Arctic explorers exposed to bitterly cold untold misery. To stumble on a three-piece that first met during an arctic expedition in Canada and started to learn their instruments under the unrelentingly dark skies, was nothing short of serendipitous bliss.

All of Pulse Park’s music is an effigy to the less than temperate expedition that led to the development of their morosely arresting take on off-kilter new wave indie rock. The sweeter than sweet vocals are just as melt worthy as the vocal timbre from Tiger Army, The Smiths and Slowdive while the instrumentals kick up a hypersonic storm around the emotion-driven harmonised vocals. As far as we are considered, Sine Wave is the epitome of the indie earworm.

You can check out Sine Wave for yourselves by heading over to Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Schoolboys have released their very 2022 new-wave-meets-proto-punk love song, Think About It

So many of the greatest songs have been written on hard and fast infatuation. The Schoolboys evaded all the usual tropes that have long since been outdated in their latest new-wave-meets-proto-punk single, Think About It.

If I told you the track itself was as sweet as the lyrics, “Isn’t this just what you asked for? I see you give up too fast, you should never walk away when there’s still something you want” would you even believe me?

The Schoolboys originally formed in 2021 as an alt-rock band in Reading, England, under the influence of the Strokes and the Smiths. Based on Think About It, the nostalgically-minded outfit had no trouble finding their own warmly overdriven sonic signature. Any fans of the Violent Femmes, Joy Division and Modest Mouse will undoubtedly want to pay attention.

Think About It is now available to stream on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

How to Define Indie Music?

There are no short answers when it comes to the definition of indie music. While some use indie to describe where artists of all genres are at in the industry, it has also become synonymous with an edgy guitar-based pop sound over the years.

Today, indie is an extension of the music that the indie pioneers created when they started to break away from the big four record labels (EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony). To definitively understand the definition of indie music, we have to get to grips with how it came around and became a descriptor for a particular off-kilter sonic style

A Micro History of Indie

The indie uprising started in the 1970s – although the roots of independent music go back to the soul, blues and Motown independent labels in the 50s. In the 70s, distinctions arose between artists on major record labels and artists independent of them.

The new wave, post-punk and alternative music releases in the late 70s started to fall under the indie category while picking up traction amongst music fans eager to hear music that was far more visceral, real and experimental. This new aural hunger led to Tony Wilson creating a roster at Factory Records, Daniel Miller establishing Mute and Chris Parry following suit with his label, Fiction, in 1978.

The Manchester-based outfit, The Smiths, were a pivotal part of UK Indie history; once they were on the Rough Trade roster in the mid-80s, they created a cultural movement with their politically aware, socially conscious and poetically morose lyrics. The Smiths inspired countless acts keen to emanate the jangle-pop guitars and the hooky despite the melancholy energy. Just a few of the indie acts that are under the influence of the Smiths are Blur, Pulp, The XX, Frightened Rabbit and The Killers.

Indie started to manifest in the industry in plenty of other ways from the 80s onwards, from indie dance to indie folk to indie hip hop, swathes of artists started to adopt the DIY ethos after watching the success of indie pioneers, such as Joy Division and Depeche Mode. Although indie artists are experimental as a default, the genre amassed characteristics over the years, such as bands having a cultural identity, almost existentialist mentality and being heavier than pop but lighter than rock.

The indie acts springing up under Sub Pop in Seattle in the 80s were far noisier and more discordant than UK indie acts. The independent label, Sub Pop, signed Soundgarden, Mudhoney and Sonic Youth and gave way to the grunge era that defined the 90s in America.

Technically, when independent artists, such as REM and Nirvana, signed multi-million-dollar record deals with major labels, they should have lost their indie status. Instead, their indie status remained for the culture that all of the indie bands since the 70s collectively created.

Today, indie music isn’t *quite* as popular as it was when it peaked in the 90s, but there are still thriving independent grassroots music scenes all across the UK and across the globe. In 2021, independent artists can take advantage of countless indie music blogs, indie playlists, indie radio stations and indie magazines to grow their fanbases away from major labels.

Louise Aubrie has released her soul-filling hook-laden indie rock earworm, ‘Last’.

If it has been a while since you encountered a truly authentic indie rock artist, hit play on the latest single from London and New York-residing artist Louise Aubrie.

The pop choruses make an earworm out of Last as the definitively jangle-pop guitars earn Last its indie rock stripes. It has all of the soul-filling appeal of Umberto Tozzi’s ‘Gloria’ track paired with the enliveningly energetic progressions found in the not-so-morose hits by the Smiths.

Blondie references are easy to make, but discernibly, Louise Aubrie has her own authentic voice; it just happens to exude the same ability to leave you utterly captivated by the imagery in the lyrics.

So far in her career, she’s pulled in acclaim from BBC 6 Music, recorded in Abbey Road Studios, played in multiple big-stage-venues in New York and London and worked with some of the biggest names in Indie Rock including Andy Woodward, Tom Edwards, James Knight, and Dave Collins. We’re fairly sure that the accolades won’t end there.

Whichever side of the pond you’re on, you’ll want Aubrie on your radar for her live performances. You can follow her via Facebook.

You can check out the official video to Last by heading over to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

 

ATMIG – Ah Hah: The Baroque Alt Folk Equivalent to John Carpenter’s ‘They Live’

Escape the 21st-century and slip into the sepia-tinged tones in Detroit-based alt-indie rock luminaries’, ATMIG’s, latest release ‘Ah Hah’ which chorally attacks the nature of consumerism and unfolds as the indie alt-folk equivalent of John Carpenter’s ‘They Live’.

Any fans of Amanda Palmer, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Smiths, The Cure and Echo and the Bunnymen will undoubtedly want to delve to cigarette smoke-stained indulgent single which spills alchemy through the infusion of shoegaze, rockabilly, indie rock and traditional folk.

If Ah Hah was any more absolving, I’m pretty sure I’d be antimatter right now.

Ah Hah was released on December 31st, you can check it out for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jangle Pop Meets Americana Rock in JimmyJimmy’s Latest Single ‘With You Soon’

US singer-songwriter JimmyJimmy released their latest single ‘With You Soon’ on November 24th, hit play, and you’ll appreciate Marr-Esque jangly upraising Indie intricate guitar licks which will lift you just as high as This Charming Man used to before Morrissey decided to make himself public enemy no.1.

The 80s New Wave Indie sound may radiate in With You Soon, but there are also rhythmic hints of Americana which make choruses as infectious as the reason we’ve all been deflated during 2020.

It’s no stretch to say that With You Soon is easily one of the most enrapturing Pop Rock singles we’ve heard this year. For your sanity’s sake, get him on your radar.

You can check out With You Soon for yourselves by heading over to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Brat Pitt Has Released Their Unmissable Indie Dream Pop Debut Single “Wallow”

Singer-songwriter Brat Pitt has made their debut with their unforgettably stunning Lo-Fi Indie single “Wallow”. If you could imagine what it would sound like if you put the Beatles, Elliott Smith and The Smiths in an aural blender, you’ll get an idea of just how distinctively mesmeric Wallow is.

The intimate bedroom Pop feel amplifies the accessibility of the candidly connectable single which has plenty of earworm potential. While the nuances of Surf Rock, Psych Pop, and Indie Jangle Pop ensure that you’ve never ingested dreamy melodic alchemy quite like this before. With an upcoming EP in the works, Brat Pitt is definitely one to watch.

You can check out Brat Pitt’s debut single Wallow for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

LOVEBREAKERS RELEASE THEIR SINGLE ‘EYE ROLLER’

You can never say that the Britons can’t rock, it’s actually very much their cup of tea!

Lovebreakers set the example with their first single ‘Eye Roller’, an easy-listening alternative rock ballad that hints to a full-length album that apparently the Birmingham quartet is currently working on.

If you like Oasis’ and The Replacements’ open chords, ‘Eye Roller’ will satisfy you with its crunch strumming and melodic riffs overlaid on an upbeat pop tempo that makes your head cheerfully swing back and forth to the rhythm. Indie-ish (dare I say) vocals and honest and straightforward lyrics, you can’t help but sing along “guess what’s over, your eye-roller.”

Head over to Spotify and hit play on ‘Eye Roller.’

Review by Jim Esposito.

Marco Lippini – Acceptable Theories: Sex Appeal and Sun-Soaked Romance!

Well, well, well!

Marco Lippini is that guy! He is the guy that stands in front of a microphone, plugs in, and keeps you mesmerised for an hour in a darkened room without breaking a sweat. No bells, no whistles, no antics required. ‘Acceptable Theories’ is an album that is bound to keep you transfixed. His vocals are raw and honest, reminiscent of Jim Morrison at the height of his career, and his songwriting skills are superb.

Each song is eerily enchanting and his stories are weaved in a complex but pleasing way. Like The Smiths, his thoughts are often delivered satirically, without detracting from his powerful and heartwarming message. Mastery always seems effortless and Marco Lippini’s laid back, drawling storytelling is classically understated whilst remaining musically pure and impeccable.

‘Acceptable Theories’ is a timeless treasure that oozes sex appeal and languid, sun drenched romance. It isn’t often that you find an album of songs that flows so well that you don’t feel the need to skip some songs but, you can rest assured, there will be no need for your thumb to hover!

Listen to ‘Acceptable Theories’ by Marco Lippini on Spotify and have fun. Let us know what you think.

Review by Susan Harriott

Crow Quilled Confessions Release Fascinating Track ‘A Human Being on the Planet Earth’

A Human Being on the Planet Earth by Crow Quilled Confessions

I recently attended a De La Sol set at a festival in Queens. I enjoyed an interlude in which a voice from the trio said that sometimes you just need to let the beat play. It’s always nice to hear how artists feel about the things they make and how they make them. It’s also nice to see how artists whose styles vary greatly can agree on certain sentiments. Such is the case with Crow Quilled Confessions. Their track A Human Being on the Planet Earth perfectly demonstrates a group who know how to let the beat play when it needs to.

For the first half of the song, there are several elements introduced that seem to orbit around the catchy, strongly-mixed beat. You might miss some details along the way if you aren’t careful, but one thing is for certain, you will feel that beat. It doesn’t seem like a drum part that needs much elaboration. It may not have much to say. This doesn’t stop Crow Quilled Confessions from letting it lead the charge into the second half, which quickly but organically reinvents its status quo with fuzzy guitars and a bass that triumphantly makes its presence known.

From here, the track becomes a ride. Suddenly the beat has taken a backseat for the exploration of all the other themes that had previously been allowing it to lead. For such a dramatic change in priority to occur while holding onto the mood and tone of the song is a major challenge. Even as the song fades out in its last 30 seconds, you can’t help but feel the beat play on in your mind. This is a song that leaves the speakers and really does affect your mind for moments at a time. It’s not overly complicated, but it’s certainly a fascinating track.

-Paul Weyer