Browsing Tag

the xx

Elias Kopp advocates autonomy in his hooky indie synth-pop single, No One Knows

Elias Kopp declared “normal is the dirtiest of words” in his latest breakbeat synth-pop single, No One Knows; we wholeheartedly agree. There’s nothing quite as tragic as the thought of so many minds coming of age while striving for an ideal that isn’t reachable. But the Brighton/Southeast UK-based artist more than played his part in ensuring that fewer souls tarnish by the quest for normalcy that strips autonomy.

No One Knows isn’t the first single from Kopp to thrive upon dark narratives and came to life through his evocative vocals. Since making his debut, his hooky became a firm fixture on BBC Introducing and BBC Radio 6. We would put money on a bright 2022 for Kopp. His tendency to put his emotional intelligence before his ego is addictive. Save a space on your radar.

No One Knows will officially release on March 15th, 2022. You can check it out for yourselves by heading over to SoundCloud and the artist’s official website.

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.

Holly George – Alaska: A chill worth acclimatising to.

The seasons have finally turned, which means we can move away from the euphoria of summer and into eloquent conversations with tragedy, such as the one found in up and coming pop artist Holly George’s latest cinematically raw release, Alaska.

Any fans of Neighbourhood’s iconic track, Sweater Weather, or any soundscape from Warpaint or Tom Odell will definitely want to acclimatise to the climate in this chillingly ardent single. The comforting dark and cold tones are the perfect contrast to Holly George’s endlessly imploring vocals which have a poignant way of stripping hubris away when the lyrics grip you.

The official music video for Holly George’s seminal single premiered on September 8th. You can stream it for yourselves via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Dennyiah have seared the airwaves with their fiery Indie Pop debut album “Human Aspect”

Indie Slovak-based Pop duo Dennyiah have released their lockdown-born debut album, Human Aspect. It would be no exaggeration to say it is one of the most viscerally pioneering albums to drop this year.

The authenticity is only matched by the artist’s ability to utterly consume your consciousness through the sheer intensity of the sound. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have found any discernible emotion hard to come by over recent months. I think I practically overdosed hitting play on Dennyiah’s debut album.

The potency of the emotion carried in the vocal notes is overwhelming from the start. There are some Florence Welch reminiscences within the high notes, but then raw vocal power which parallels the likes of Cyrus while emitting the same evocative magnetism as Sharon Van Etten kicks in. Don’t be surprised if you’re choking back the tears listening to these succinctly colossal singles run through.

With Grammy-award-winning artists such as violinist Adam Baldych joining the collective of instrumentalists who contributed to the track which was mastered by Dave McNair (Bowie, Springsteen, Hole and Maroon 5), it’s no great surprise that Human Aspect borders on the celestial while offering promising modernity.

You can check out Human Aspect for yourselves by heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

A Hope For The Future – Loaded Gun: Wake Up To The Future Of Dream Pop.

Ironically the band Hope for the Future does just that for its genre with their debut hit Loaded Gun.

A Hope for The Future are a futuristic collective of musician’s which hail from Stockholm, Sweden with their effervescent Alternative Dream Pop Sound. Their New track Loaded Gun alludes to their musical influences. The female lead vocalist has all of the powerful synergy of fellow singers from The Cardigans, and The XX whilst the minimalist in part, monstrous in others is a slight nod to other contemporary Alternative artist such as M83 and Arcade fire.

They create an enriched harmony throughout the track through the effect of the jingling guitar which rattles charismatically all through the track to lead it up to an explosive sound in the chorus. A Hope For The Future have definitely created an anthem through Loaded Gun that wouldn’t be out of place on a Made In Chelsea soundtrack.

The collective have created a universally lovable sound with their relatable and resonant styling that shines with euphoric charisma.

You can check out Loaded Gun, and their other new single Friend on the links below!

https://soundcloud.com/ahopeforthefuturemusic/loaded-gun

A&R Factory Present: Fake Sibling

https://soundcloud.com/fakesibling/bring-me-here

FAKE SIBLING are three Melbourne-based musicians – Adam Beath, Dave Gillan and Sophie Officer, set to debut their single ‘Bring Me Here’ on Friday 17th February. This marks the first single release from their upcoming album, which the trio are planning and currently writing for, set to be released in 2018.

With hints of, The XX, Aurora and London Grammar, ‘Bring Me Here’ is an understated track with an electronic chill accent. Sophie’s vocals are hauntingly beautiful and create a hypnotic pulse throughout the song, which gently builds and creates a well-rounded and luminous sound, polished with clear and precise production.

Sophie captures the moment in a psychedelic ambience, creating a mystical illusion through a hollow attitude, essentially bringing the magic into reality. The sturdy beat of the drums collides quickly with the philanthropic core of Sophie’s silk like vocals, portraying a jungle atmosphere in the track. There are elements of a predatorily manner, the inevitable profound emotions catching up with her, “You bring me here/And run away”. Swinging away from the darkness, Sophie’s poignant voice reveals a reverie in the track, ultimately portraying a beautiful aesthetic illusion.

The eerie undertones that follow the darkness of the track is what makes the song so spectacular. An outstanding combination of sensual vocals with the fast-paced, experimental rhythm brings Fake Sibling forward to success within the electronic underground scene. The most promising aspect of ‘Bring Me Here’ is the striking anonymous presence that materializes with Sophie’s velvet articulation.

With 20+ years of live performance and studio experience between band members Sophie and Dave and third member Adam’s experiences as a producer and successful sound engineer, FAKE SIBLING are currently rehearsing for two live performance sets. One being an intimate acoustic set and the second a full, live band performance.

Coming together initially to discuss their future music plans, FAKE SIBLING went on to write and record their first finished track in four hours. With access to Adam’s studio, FAKE SIBLING are enamoured and addicted to writing new music. Continually sharing new ideas and songs, they’re able to produce even the smallest ideas in-house which is a great omen to the upcoming debut album.
Sophie recalls,  “When your band members create a zen den of wonder so you feel  comfortable, it’s pretty wonderful!”

‘Bring Me Here’ was almost lost in the digital wasteland after being 70% complete and still not capturing the sound they envisioned, but FAKE SIBLING pursued. Stripping it back, they re-wrote and recorded the track multiple times and in the end it was mixed from scratch by Adam. Their writing process varies and is innate to the band’s relationship with each other. Each member brings their individual sonic signature to the track, and their dedication to sonic perfection will put FAKE SIBLING amongst 2017’s artists to watch.

Fake Sibling
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Words: http://alymchugh.com/