Category: indie rock

After finishing a sold out tour, opening for The Pale White, the Newcastle, UK-based indie rock quartet FEVA have amassed a rapidly growing profile in their native UK — thanks in part for the band’s ability to craft anthemic rockers. Interestingly, the act’s latest single “Undone” as the band explains in press notes “is another step toward us finding our sound. From the beginning, we’ve wanted to write huge, heavy tunes that remain upbeat and have a hook, not dissimilar to soul and pop songs, and we feel as though we’ve done that here and hopefully have a chorus that’ll be stuck in people’s heads for days.” And goddamn it, does the song have a hook — an enormous and rousing hook paired with blistering, arena rock friendly power chords that bring 90s Brit Pop and alt rock to mind.

Building upon a growing profile, the up-and-coming Newcastle-based indie rock quartet will be making a number of UK festival appearances with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and The Vaccines during the summer. Along with that the band will be releasing new material over the next few months.

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Over the past 15-16 months or so, I’ve written about the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays, Russian Baths. And with the release of their debut single “Ambulance,” the act comprised of Luke Koz, Jess Ress, Evan Gill Smith and Jeff Widner quickly received attention locally and elsewhere for a sound that the band has described as nodding at Big Black, 70s space rock, Big Muff and British post punk among others. The band released their debut EP Penance last year through Good Eye Records and from EP singles “What’s In Your Basement,” “Slenderman” and “Poolhouse,” the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays established themselves for brooding 90s alt rock 120 Minutes-era MTV-like sound.

Building upon a growing profile, the band will be releasing their full-length debut later this year, and the album’s first, official single “Parasite” may arguably be the one of the most muscular and grunge-like songs of their growing catalog, as the song is centered around distortion pedal-drenched power chords, thundering drumming, a mosh pit friendly hook and male-female harmonizing within a tried-and-true, alt rock, alternating quiet, loud, quiet song structure. And while bringing Nirvana and others to mind, the song has a deeply unsettling and violent air, capturing someone on the verge of destroying themselves.

“Have you ever had an insect burrow into your brain and force you to drown yourself? Cured a headache with a hand grenade?” queries Koz, aptly reconstructing the same violent energy converted to guitar-driven noise rock on the single. “This song is about these legitimate questions.”

New Video: Detroit’s Ritual Howls Release Creepy and Unsettling Visuals for “Alone Together”

Over the course of three full-length albums and a number of EPs, the Detroit, MI-based trio Ritual Howls, comprised of Paul Bancell (vocals, guitar), Chris Samuels (synths, samples, drum machine) and Ben Saginaw (bass) have developed a reputation for crafting a cinematic twangy and dance floor friendly industrial post-punk — although last year’s The Body EP found the trio employing the use of more expansive arrangements paired with a sculpted sound and production.

Interestingly, the trio’s forth, full-length album Rendered Armor is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through felte records continues in a similar vein as The Body; in fact, the upcoming album’s latest single “Alone Together” is centered around twangy guitar, ominous atmospherics, shimmering synths and a dance floor friendly thump — and while sonically bearing a bit of a resemblance to acclaimed post-punk duo VOWWS, the song is the tale of a classic love song, set in a doomed world, much like our own. But at its core is a longing that verges on an increasingly perverse obsession. Created by Kirill Slavin, the recently released video for “Alone Together” features some incredibly creepy and unsettling footage from the short film Witch Zombies & The Lightbox Rave that helps to emphasize the obsession at the heart of the song. 

Live Footage: Sam Fender Performs “Hypersonic Missiles” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”

Newcastle, UK-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sam Fender has received attention both nationally and internationally over the past couple of years for crafting rousingly anthemic, arena rock-like material that broadly focuses on hard-hitting social issues and draws from his own experiences growing up in Northeastern England.

Last year was a big year for the Newcastle-based Fender, as she was featured on BBC Sound of 2018‘s shortlist, which he promptly followed up with a sold-out headlining UK tour. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Fender ended 2018 with the release of the Dead Boys EP, an effort that featured the attention-grabbing “That Sound,” a power chord-based arena rock friendly track that featured enormous raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along worth hooks, soulful vocals and a bluesy vibe that brought  The Black Keys, Slaves, Royal Blood and others to mind — and “Play God,” a politically-charged song that openly talked about how special interests and the 1% really control the world as we know it, paired with an self-assured, ambitious bit of songwriting.

Interestingly, the rousing, Springsteen meets Modern English‘s “Melt With You“-like “Hypersonic Missiles” is the JOVM mainstay’s first bit of original music this year, and while centered around arena rock and classic rock-inspired hooks, reverb-drenched power chords, thunderous drumming and Fender’s urgent and impassioned vocals, the song is an unconventional love song about two star-crossed lovers making the best of whatever time they have left while the world burns down — and an incisive commentary on our apathy and confusion in the face of our self-destruction that cries to the listener “hey man, wake the fuck up and do something!”

“This song started out when I saw the term ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ in a newspaper. It’s a newly developed Russian missile that travels at something like nine times the speed of sound, which is essentially unstoppable,” Fender explains in press notes about the song’s inspiration. “America currently has no defence against such a weapon, they would be helpless in the wake of an attack, as you have roughly six minutes from the time it is launched to the time it strikes.

“In many ways, Hypersonic Missiles is an unorthodox love song. It’s main focus is on the world around the narrator, who is a complete tin foil hatter. They are convinced the world is on its last legs; they know that it is rife with injustice but feel completely helpless and lacking the necessary intelligence to change it while remaining hopelessly addicted to the fruits of consumerism.

“Amongst all the chaos is love and celebration, there is this glimmer of hope that runs through the song, a little notion that no matter what happens, these two people are gonna have a fucking good time regardless of the tyrants that run their world, and regardless of the imminent doom from these ‘Hypersonic Missiles.’”

2019 looks to be a breakthrough year for the Newcastle-based singer/songwriter and guitarist — he recently made his US network TV debut, performing “Hypersonic Missiles” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and he will be playing his first North American headline shows with stops in Toronto, Los Angeles — and a sold out Rough Trade show on March 20, 2019.  (You can check out tour dates below.) Fender will also be playing several sets at this year’s SXSW, which I’m sure will catch quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere. 

New Audio: Seattle’s Versing Releases A Woozy and Pummeling New Single

Comprised of Daniel Salas, Graham Baker, Kirby Lochner and Max Keyes, the Seattle-based quartet Versing will be releasing their full-length debut 1000 through Hardly Art Records on May 3, 2019 and the album’s latest single, the woozy “Offering” is centered around whirring feedback, pummeling drumming and an infectious pop-leaning hooks. And while reminding me a bit of Nirvana’s “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter,” and Thee Oh Sees, the song as the band’s Daniel Salas explains in press notes is ” a fantastical song about traveling through a mystical portal to stop an encroaching force of evil, and the feedback is like the whirring sound the portal makes. Really it’s about making the ultimate sacrifice for the benefit of others, and thinking about what you’d want to be remembered for after you die.”

New Video: Follow Bad Sports’ Orville Neely on a Drunken and Lonely Spree in Video for “Don’t Deserve Love”

The Denton, TX/Austin, TX-based trio Bad Sports, comprised of Orville Neely III (guitar, vocals),  Aniel Fried (drums) and Gregory Rutherford (bass) featured some of their home state’s most accomplished musicians — Neely is the frontman of the acclaimed OBN IIIs, while Fried and Rutherford have played together in Video and Radioactivity. Now, as you may recall, the band released their fourth album Constant Stimulation through their longtime label home Dirtnap Records last October, and the album which marks the band’s tenth anniversary, also found the band pushing their sound and songwriting in a new, more mature direction. centered by a leaner, tense production meant to evoke a decided sense of frustration, tension, and world-weariness.

Constant Stimulation‘s first single “Don’t Deserve Love” further cements the trio’s reputation for crafting power chord-based punk but there’s a decided power pop bent, as the song reveals a deliberate and thoughtful attention to rousingly anthemic hooks and earnest emotion. Sonically, the song manages a contemporary take on a familiar sound without being soulless mimicry. But interestingly enough, the song may arguably be the most personal song they’ve written and released as it’s fueled the crippling self-doubt and insecurity of a vulnerable adult, who has openly and freely admitted that while life has made them a survivor, they’re lonely, desperate, broken, fucked up, confused, and afraid — of connecting with others and getting heartbroken and having to start again; of being a failure and a fraud; of a world that’s going up in flames and not caring or not knowing what to do. 

Directed by Z.W.Sprague and written by Orville Neely, the recently released video for “Don’t Deserve Love” stars Neely as a self-conscious, lonely, and somewhat awkward man, who acts in an out of control fashion — drinking way too much, doing way too much coke, smoking too many cigarettes and takes jokes way too far. And as a result, the video’s protagonist winds up frustrating and annoying everyone around him. After being discovered vomiting in a bar bathroom, Neely gets tossed out of the bar, stumbles off to a convenience store for more booze, vomits once again and ends the night drunkenly passed out, disappointed and alone. While being profoundly sad, the video illustrates a much bigger point — that for many of us, we’ve been that lonely, drunken slob, lost in their sadness, self-flagellation and inability to do anything about it.