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US Indie

Spotlight Feature: Melancholy Goes Pop in Castle KYD’s Alt-Indie Single Melatonin

After leaving us infatuated with the brevity in “The Mess You Leave Behind”, the Rexburg, Idaho alt-indie artist, Castle KYD, has rekindled our penchant for his artfully affectionate sonic signature with his latest release, Melatonin.

Melatonin may have started as a proclamation against people who push you towards progress that you’re not ready for do more harm than good. But the jangly up-vibe single easily carries Castle KYD’s innocently defiant soul in the nuances of shoegaze and no-wave indie.

Castle KYD is by far one of the most promising artists on our radar. His artful inclination that reads in his sonic textures is one thing, his un-bittered sense of enlightened and reflective soul is another thing entirely. Melancholic indie-pop has scarcely been more infectious. Which goes a fair way in explaining how the independent artist has amassed over 54,000 streams since making his debut with ‘Menagerie’ in 2021.

Here’s what Castle KYD had to say on his latest release

“Most of the growth I’ve had happened when I just let the hurt flow through and let time do its healing.
I chose Melatonin for the title and overarching metaphor because it’s much like the hormone, or when you take melatonin pills. For me, I don’t want to move until it’s out of my system after I wake up, I usually wait, but it doesn’t help when I feel rushed, that’s how the concept for the song.”

Melatonin will officially release on April 8th, 2022. You can check it out for yourselves on SoundCloud or Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Klo transcends the ‘Small Town’ mentality in his latest alt-indie track.

There’s nothing like small towns for dragging us down; anyone relating to that sentiment will undoubtedly find the resonance in Klo’s latest single, Small Town, produced by Splashgvng.

With reminiscence to Lil Peep in the melodies and vocals, Small Town is instantly familiar but Klo easily sets himself with the quintessentially Midwestern indie vibes which allow Small Town to unravel like an accordantly candid dream.

The single grooves through every consideration when it comes to cutting the ties with our hometown roots – the suffocation imparted by small-town mentalities to the faces that we will regret leaving behind. It’s a gorgeously well-rounded track that proves Klo is well worth a spot on your radar.

Small Town is now available to stream on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Chandler Poe shows us a sign of our world-weary times with his latest single, decay.

https://soundcloud.app.goo.gl/kVN7bhCJDVLPUdRn9

By starting with the resonant admission, “Every day I wake up and I’m already exhausted”, Chandler Poe’s latest single, decay, is a striking sign of our world-weary times. With the same artistic dejection shared by the likes of Arab Strap, John Grant and Jack Ladder paired with the blisters of soul that yearns for something sustaining and real, Chandler Poe taps into the collective loss of meaning to give us a tragically rare visceral emotion hit.

The Bukowski-style downbeat barfly lyrics become infinitely more powerful through Poe’s deep, gravelly vocal timbre that practically oozes sex appeal around the fiery beats and reverb-drenched keys. With more hits in the same vein as this, Chandler Poe has all it takes to become the next alt-indie icon.

Chandler Poe’s latest single, decay, is now available to stream on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

New Jersey indie outfit Rabbit Dream delivered swathes of alt 90s nostalgia in their debut album, The Golden Gone.

New Jersey’s most promising alt-indie rock outfit, Rabbit Dream, have released their debut album, The Golden Gone, which pulls in nuances of grunge, indie, art rock, garage rock and unravels as the ultimate alt 90s fan’s aural wet dream.

The standout single, Stander, is the perfect introduction to Rabbit Dream’s indulgently distorted tones, massive stadium-filling guitars that are just as robust as the licks in the National’s most anthemic tracks and the vocals that embed authenticity in the progressive single. Before the first instrumental buildup, the vocals are honeyed and sweet; after, they start to gather reminiscence to Julian Casablancas as the guitars dial up the frenetic energy. It isn’t your average indie rock earworm, but you’ll be more than inclined to return to it and give it repeat attention. Rabbit Dream is definitively one to watch; for your own sake as much as theirs.

Stander is now available to stream along with the rest of Rabbit Dream’s debut album via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Franklin Gotham has released their stoically stellar single, Without Being Alone.

Franklin Gotham’s latest single, Without Being Alone, is a tender power-pop embrace that you’ll want to fall into time and time again for the comforting vintage tones, dreamy doo-wop vibes and compassionate lyricism. If you can imagine what Pavement would sound like if they picked up the same romanticism as Syd Barrett, you will be able to get an idea of the sticky-sweet euphoria delivered.

Without Being Alone stoically explores the kind of love that leaves you on the sidelines exploring the infinite possibilities with impassioned impatience. If it’s been a while since you looked at love with rose-tinted glasses, the sweet succinct melodies in this synaesthesia-inducing single will efficaciously remind you.

Without Being Alone is now available to stream and purchase on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Azure Wolf depict internal conflict in their alt-indie single, ‘Chateau’.

Winchester, VA-based ethereal indie rock artist Azure Wolf brought their haunting tones to the airwaves once more with their double a-side release, Chateau / Honey Rush.

Emotion and the potential for honest human connection run at the forefront of Chateau; the delicately angular shoegaze guitars bring an air of fragility and vulnerability to the release while the lyrics find powerful meta ways to relay the complexities of pain. With lyrics such as, “I’d drink that poison just to swallow that pill”, Azure Wolf artfully illustrate how much internal conflict lies in each of us.

Founding member and vocalist Victoria Backle’s vocal timbre effortlessly establishes Azure Wolf as a distinctive artist that wouldn’t be out of place on a lineup with Slowdive, The National, Interpol or Editors. Yet, she leaves you in awe of far more than her vocal range. With every release from Azure Wolf, you get a sense of the bravery it took for each of the members to throw themselves in completely.

Azure Wolf’s latest release is now available to stream via Spotify and Bandcamp.

Connect with Azure Wolf via Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Azure Wolf orchestrated the ultimate alt-indie pop-rock anthem with their single, ‘Honey Rush’.

On May 21st, 2021, Azure Wolf released their most visceral work to date with their double a-side single, Chateau / Honey Rush. Both of the singles are fervent exhibitions of the Winchester, VA-based alt-indie artist’s authentically accessible experimentalism. Yet, with Honey Rush, Azure Wolf orchestrated a dark pop-rock anthem that unequivocally affirms that they need to be on your gig bucket list.

With pop elements creating an all-consuming chorus constructed with sweeping sonic progressions, anthemic production and catchy lyrics that you’ll probably need a serious concussion to forget, Honey Rush is the ultimate anthem for anyone whose mentality errs on the side of melancholy.

The breaks that follow the tension-fraught build-ups offer a serious amount of catharsis as you get caught up in the tumultuous momentum of the radio-ready single. It is one of those tragically rare singles that becomes more impactful and meaningful the more you listen to it.

Azure Wolf’s latest release is now available to stream via Spotify and Bandcamp.

Connect with Azure Wolf via Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Junebug delivers meditative empowerment in her debut indie-pop single, ‘cut you loose’,

If you’ve been putting off severing toxic ties, the debut melodic indie-pop offering, ‘cut you loose’ from up and coming Cambridge, MA-hailing artist Junebug offers plenty of extra incentives with a stunning melding of easy guitar chords and playful synths.

There’s intrinsic innocence to cut you loose. Usually, tracks in the same vain spin the same archetypal, spiteful, ‘better off without you’ narrative. Yet, cut you loose is meditative in the way it reminds you that you’re worthy of inner peace with the cool choral tones.

Any fans of Kate Nash and Big Thief will appreciate Junebug’s airy yet ardent style which is heavily inspired by Joni Mitchell and Laura Marling, paired with her conversationally narrative lyrics that bring her voice as a queer artist into the conversation.

cut you loose was created in collaboration with instrumentalist Chris Howat, who added more depth to the cathartically connectable single that was written, recorded and mixed by Junebug (AKA Carolyn Fahrner) who has been part of the intrinsic fabric of the Boston music scene prior to her Junebug debut.

With her debut EP, ‘Turncoat’, in the works, which promises to be her most vulnerable material yet while exploring queer experiences and growing pains, Junebug is well worth a spot on your radar.

cut you loose is now available to stream via Spotify.

Connect with Junebug via Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Jangle Pop Meets Grungy Garage Rock in Juniper Avenue’s Latest Single ‘Disfunction’

With an intro that could rival the poppy jangly energy in This Charming Man, you’ll fall head-first into Juniper Avenue’s latest single, ‘Disfunction’.

It doesn’t take long before the feat of new wave indie quintessence slips into a darker, more despondent indie styling that takes hold of the same biting energy exuded by The Strokes.

Beyond reminiscence, Disfunction sits right on the contemporary trend of finding no shame in stating that you’re fairly close to losing the plot. With a touch of grungy garage rock to the vocals which still bleed soul despite their raucous nature, Disfunction offers everything you could ask for and more.

With vocals that will be a hit with any Chris Cornell fans, eclectically wild instrumentals and the raw lyrics which don’t just scratch at superficiality, Juniper Avenue is definitely worth putting on your radar.

Disfunction is now available to stream via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Speak, Memory – Trails: an instrumental art-rock exploration of unrequited love

Speak, Memory

Oklahoma-residing alt-indie artist, Speak, Memory are set to release their highly-anticipated EP ‘Adirondack’, which allows the listener to see the beauty in shared experiences – no matter how harrowing they may be to endure on a personal level.

‘Trails’ is the first of three singles on the live-recorded EP to explore the torrid emotions surrounding unrequited love through instrumentals alone. After waves of spiritual reverb ease you into the soundscape, angular jangly indie-pop guitars start to cut through the accordance until the track builds up an all-consuming wall of guitars that could rival My Bloody Valentine’s sonic constructions.

It’s a track that you can’t help getting caught up in, making it impossible not to get excited about the future of this artfully astute outfit.

You’ll have to wait a little longer before you can check out Adirondack for yourselves. In the meantime, head over to their official website.

Review by Amelia Vandergast