Tag Archives: indie

Subrosa – Solar, Lunar, Polar EP Review

New band from London, Subrosa, have recently released their latest EP, Solar, Lunar, Polar.

The Solar, Lunar, Polar EP sees this band introduce their explosive and soundscape sound in three perfectly formed tracks. Introductory track, Steal Our Love, demonstrates Subrosa’s soundscape qualities; it has a dramatic and filmic style. The vocals, “Steal our love/Out of their hands…” are catchy and melodic making it an attractive song to listen to. The only downside is that Steal Our Love does have slightly indecipherable vocals in places. But this isn’t always a bad thing as you’re drawn in by the instruments and the melody that’s carried through the song by the vocals rather than being hung up on the lyrics.

The second track Hands Around has a little bit of indie influences such as the likes of The Editors in it. Hands Around features a great drum beat that keeps the fast tempo. There’s a superb break down towards the end of the track where the drums take a back seat, the continuous scattering guitar slows to a soft guitar riff and the bass steps to the front. The vocals are the most clear here allowing those David Bowie influences to be heard.

The final song that features on the EP, Crests, recaptures that dramatic and filmic sound that began the EP. Crests thrives on crashing drums and desperate vocals, “We’re in this together/We’re coming to the end of each other/End of each other/End of each other…” It’s a song whose style mimics the start of the EP allowing it to end symmetrically.

Subrosa’s Solar, Lunar, Polar is out now.

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Introducing…Stormporter

Stormporter are two story-writing Brits making sweet, soulful, indie pop-rock noise. Tim, from England and Tones, a Scot, came together to share their stories, make sweet music together and share fun times in their adopted country – New Zealand.

Stormporter

Stormporter

Stormporter tell stories through their music; stories about life. We all go through storms in our lives – sometimes exciting, often turbulent and sometimes life-changing. Stormporter believe there will always be someone or something to carry you through the storm.They hope the songs will get under your skin, that you’ll be moved or touched in some way, that the songs will become part of the soundtrack of your life. Perhaps, these songs will somehow help you through life’s storms.

Stormporter are hitting the stage and taking their infectious brand of soulful, indie pop-rock to New Zealand and the world.

Their debut single was released on March 10 and has been well received. The song is ear-worming it’s way across radio airwaves in New Zealand and the video is also being screened on New Zealand national music television (C4 and Juice TV).

The debut single, Find Yourself and their second single (due for release late April) were produced by Kiwi legend, Ben King (Goldenhorse, Grand Rapids). King also contributed bass on the songs. You’ll also hear Matthias Jordan (Pluto, Gin Wigmore) tinkling on the keys and cooking up some crazy big Hammond organ sounds. Adam Tobeck (Jesse Sheehan) is grooving on the drums and the sultry sounds of Haddon Smith (The Checks, Ruby Frost) on horns.

Stormporter’s sound and the influence for their songs are rooted in British Mod culture and the idea for the video for Find Yourself was inspired by the Northern Soul movement, born out of Northern England back in the late 60s/early 70s.

The result of this is a sweet and unique, soulful, grooving indie pop-rock sound and a vibe that will get you up out of your seats.

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Introducing…Heart-Sick Groans

Heart-Sick Groans are a indie/folk band from Sweden. The members of Heart-Sick Groans were friends long before they became a band. The contagious energy of their friendship that transforms into detail-rich, timeless pop music is what has signified them since the start in 2007.

Often living in different cities, and often even on different continents, they work with extended periods of suspense-building separation– a tension that’s released by a few all-nighters filled with explosive activity once they get together.

It has been two years since they released new music but now they are back with the Black Hair Typography EP  which follows its predecessors with brilliant melodies, playful arrangements and epic storytelling.

The Black Hair Typography EP was released yesterday (April 10).

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The Crookes – Soapbox Album Review

Sheffield’s hard-grafting purveyors of incisive indie pop The Crookes have announced the release of their new album Soapbox on Monday 14 April via fierce panda records on CD, LP and digitally.

The Crookes consist of George Waite (vocals /bass), Daniel Hopewell (guitar), Tom Dakin (guitar) and Russell Bates (drums).

The Crookes

The Crookes Soapbox album artwork

Soapbox saw the band forego the studio-related home comforts of South Yorkshire and instead drive their gear and recording facilities to the Alpine wilds of Italy at the start of winter. If these pleasures were a wayward distraction then the band’s sense of isolation manifested itself in Soapbox, a record which is littered with put downs and push offs.

The album kick starts with recent single release, Play Dumb. Play Dumb has a brilliantly crafted chorus, “I’m under your thumb/I’m trying hard not to play dumb/But I don’t need you no more/I’m waking up dumb…” The thumping drum beat introduces the track and is bound to get you moving. Play Dumb is worthy of being a single release; its upbeat, fast tempo makes this song instantly irresistible.

Don’t Put Your Faith In Me has a slightly darker tone than the previous track. The vocals are more paramount on this track and the music more simplified. The bass riff carries this song. There’s a little bit of doo-wop style in this song. It sounds like a 1950s diner ballad.

The next track Echolalia has a 1980s sound to it. The music has a lot of 80s influences giving it that old yet modern soundscape style. The rhythm guitar is minimal whereas the bass is pushed to the forefront giving it that punch. Echolalia has layers of instrumentation which keeps this song interesting. The way Waite sings “Echolalia” is beautiful.

Before The Night Falls has influences of Pete Doherty in Babyshambles in the vocals. The Crookes’ indie sound is mixed with a doo-wop style and dramatic chorus making it the perfect indulgence. It has drama and emotion as well as a dance-able beat.

Holy Innocents is the ballad of the album. The vocals are accompanied by a simplistic yet tear-jerking piano melody and sad vocals where Waite’s voice cracks occasionally. The lyrics are beautiful and tell a narrative, “Maybe I remember every word you ever said/As day bled to night from the corner of your bed/I swear to God we were holy innocents/Your friends all bore me why can’t we be alone/I don’t want to speak to no-one else/I just want to hide like holy innocents/I met you at the fountain outside the station/Nothing else matters except dull conversation/Our whole world and holy innocents…” This song is entirely different from the rest of the songs on Soapbox and is a true representation of this band’s musical abilities and variety.

Marcy is the rockiest track on the record by far. It has punch and energy. The vocals have a distorted effect giving it that rock edge. The vocals are much less controlled than on the previous tracks, “Marcy my dear you got me strung out”. You’re bound to love this track instantly.

Soapbox, the title track of record, ends the record and what a song to go out on. Its fast tempo and high pitched, scattered guitar riffs bring energy and life to the end of the album. The guitar riffs almost sound like improvisation which gives Soapbox a unique feel.

Soapbox is a wonderful album full of lows and heartache yet the songs’ upbeat tempos and summery vibes help to give this record a pleasant feel. There’s a lot to be said for The Crookes’ sound. You’ll find something to love here.

The Crookes’ new album, Soapbox, is due out on 14 April via fierce panda records.

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Introducing…Mountain Bird

Mountain Bird are an ambitious dream-pop act hailing all the way from Stockholm, Sweden. Having just being signed to Universal Music Group, they are about to release their highly anticipated second single, Violent Night. The track is written, arranged and produced by their lead man, Adam Öhman, and is beautifully performed by his band consisting of Anders Erlandsson Öberg, Victor Jonsson, Dennis Fyhr and Sam Ekberg.

Violent Night is a beautiful follow-up on their debut single Don’t Mind and comfortably continues the path set by it.

The song starts with an epic intro which straight away sets a nostalgic and valiant atmosphere. Resembling Sigur Rós and M83 at their best, it is a grand sonic experience from start to finish.

Distant and ethereal production filled with atmospheric layers of guitars, pianos and synthesisers, is a signature sound of Mountain Bird. The ever so present eerie hauntology and concentrated pop splendor make Violent Night yet another successful sonic journey to the outer space and back. Despite the changes in the rhythm, every passage feels very natural and free and keeps moving bravely at its own pace.

There’s an overall cinematic and storytelling characteristic that proves Violent Night is simply worth listening and dreaming to. Violent Night will be available for sale and download on the April 6.

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Magpies & Vagabonds – A Compass To Guide Me Home EP Review

The sophomore EP from Birmingham four-piece Magpies & Vagabonds is available for free download at www.magpiesandvagabonds.bandcamp.com

A Compass To Guide Me Home is comprised of four tracks, built on positivity, goodness and strength. The reprise of The Hold Steady’s Stay Positive echoes throughout the EP – a mantra as much as an influence. Moments of Weezer, Rival Schools and Far also come together to create succinct and powerful pop-rock joy.

Magpies & Vagabonds A Compass To Guide Me Home

Magpies & Vagabonds A Compass To Guide Me Home EP artwork

Track one Sometimes has supremely catchy lyrics, “I told you once you were my everything/And you heartily conquered/In the last dozen years we’ve been through hell and back/Took each other at each other’s word…Sometimes/We were closer than brothers/Some bonds are thicker than blood is.” It has a danceable, happy and summery melody that lingers in your head. It’s an uplifting song about friendships that get better with age. Influences from The Wombats can be heard in this track.

Disappointment & Desires states the obvious with its name – it’s a song about expectations of relationships not being met,”Oh Juliet you’re making me work/I’m just trying to get to heaven this is hell on Earth/I keep on calling/You’re nowhere to be seen…And now I’m drowning you know I ain’t worth saving…”

The penultimate track Can’t Slow It Down is a punchy pop rock track with catchy lyrics yet again, “Better to underachieve than to overspend/Yeah it’s the best but your hearts not in it/I can tell by your face that you just can’t slow it down…Toe the line/The party line…” The vocals are raw, energetic and far from perfect but this is what makes this band so attractive. Their sound is American but their vocals are English rock. It’s a mixture that works really well.

The last song on the A Compass To Guide Me Home EP, Kiss Of Death, starts with a tribal drum beat which on first listen sounds very similar in style to the South American tribal drums heard on Paul Simon’s The Obvious Child before the soft guitar is introduced faintly in the background.

Magpies & Vagabonds, no matter how random their name is, are a solid pop rock foursome. They produce catchy, sing-a-long tracks that you’ll instantly fall in love with. It’s the sort of music that takes you back to your teens and ultimately ends up feeling like a guilty pleasure.

A Compass To Guide Me Home is out now.

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The Machine Room – Sweden EP Review

New label Disorder Recordings is set to release new material from Scottish skygazers The Machine Room this month. Disorder Recordings rises from the promoters behind the popular Old Blue Last club night. The Machine Room packed out many venues throughout 2013 including The Shacklewell Arms, Birthdays and The Bull & Gate as well as appearing at festivals such as T In The Park. It’s 2014 and they’re back ready to release new material that was only previously heard at their enthralling live shows.

Following the release of singles Sweden (Fierce Panda/Label Fandango) and Chances (Disorder Recordings), The Machine Room release their first EP since 2012’s Love From A Distance, entitled Sweden.

Last year the indie dream-pop five piece released the first single to be taken from their new EP, catchy lead track Sweden via Fierce Panda/Label Fandango. The release attracted a whole load of positive press including being made Track Of The Week by respected music/culture website The 405.

The second single to be taken from the Sweden EP is Chances which was unleashed to the world on 3 March. Having already gained airplay from BBC Introducing and Amazing Radio, the chances are this will be the bands most successful single to date.

The Machine Room from Edinburgh consist of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist John Bryden backed up by Adie Emanuel (drums), Cecilia Stamp (synths, keys, guitar, backing vocals), Ryan Marinello (guitar, backing vocals) and Scott Hitchings (bass). They exist in their own swirling world of heavyweight rhythms and featherweight melodies. Sweden EP is released on Monday 17 March 2014 on Disorder Recordings and is undoubtedly the mildly electro-fied dreamers most catchy and well produced work to date. They have truly found their dreamy shoe-gazing sound and built upon the success of their previous offerings with complex beats and swirling guitar treats.

The Machine Room

The Machine Room

The title track has electronic synth sounds which are reminiscent of  the 80s. It’s dream pop soundscape at its best which gives it a wonderful atmospheric sound. Sweden has faint vocals placing much more focus on the atmospheric instrumentation. The distortion of the bass notes on the synths adds a sense of drama to this song. The instrumentation calms around two thirds of the way through the song to prepare for a final build up towards the end of the track, creating a sense of tension just before it ends. You’ll find your head swaying along even if you don’t know what this song or band are about. Sweden is 100% worthy of radio play.

Persistent Suitor has a very different sound to the first track on the EP. The vocals are more dominant than in the previous song and carry the melody, “I was dancing in circles for you/And falling in love with you/And crawling all over you…” Persistent Suitor sounds familiar in its sound. Combining uplifting, light hearted guitar notes and bass notes with the indie drum beat gives it a danceable, fast paced beat. It’s quite a dramatic number, especially in the middle of the song. Alongside the melodic vocals, the bass riff carries this song making it something very memorable.

Lose A Friend is dark in comparison to the previous tracks. It features unusual vocals which start to show off the vocal range and abilities. The bass notes are paramount in this track presenting a haunting quality to this band’s writing. The drum beat suddenly kicks in giving this song its 80s pop feel and soundscape quality.

Chances was released earlier this month. Once again, the indie guitar carries the melody producing a pleasant and gentle riff. The lyrics, “I’ve had my chances…” is repeated but stays surprisingly fresh. It’s a hook that will stay with you.

The Machine Room’s Sweden EP is a wonderful snippet into the workings of this band. It will be released on March 17 via Disorder Recordings.

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