It’s strange that the lasting impression left by Rachel Johnson’s new single is so different from the one you initially start with. As the song ends, you’re left with a rhythmic, epic chorus ringing in your ears. However, press play again and you’re reminded that everything starts very differently – with subtle melodies and simple instrumentation.
It’s remarkable that the song moves from one to the other without lurching clumsily, instead building in an organic way towards its huge finale. ‘Safe Island’ is out today on iTunes, and proves that Rachel Johnson certainly has a way about her.
If there’s one mistake that independent rock bands make too often, it’s trying to give their songs ‘energy’ by simply launching into them at a haphazard pace. Those bands could do a lot worse than check out the debut album from Tablefox. Out now, ‘Objects’ is a collection of songs with its own unique energy, but which controls it throughout without losing control.
Some tracks do motor along, don’t get me wrong, but there’s always a feeling of sleek control to the interlacing of guitar and synths. On their slower, more contemplative tracks, there’s arguably even more energy in the shape of a dark atmosphere and bare emotion in a lot of the lyrics.
Good music is often the marriage of two fundamental elements – strong lyrics and good instrumentation. It seems simple to say it, but it’s surprising how many independent artists don’t get that balance quite right. Strong lyricists are often let down by their lack of musical inspiration, while excellent composers struggle to match the qulaity of their music with their words.
However, songwriter Theo Mak and his group E Mute have the balance right.
Passionately written by the politically motivated Theo, the songs reflect with wit and verve on the current state of the nation and the world beyond it. The subtitle of the EP – A Collection of Songs for the Current Political & Socio-economic Crisis – gives a strong idea as to what to expect.
But this proto-punk style of lyricism would fall flat if the music didn’t back it up. And thankfully, this EP is a shining example of edgy, gritty indie, effectively delivered.
You can find all this out for yourself, for less than a fiver, on iTunes.
Released on September 25th as lead track to their new ‘Rocket’ EP, the video above is the latest offering from longstanding indie stalwarts The Mexanines. Something of a cult band with a strong following, they’re one of those bands that you hear and wonder why more people haven’t heard of them.
With any luck, the moody monochrome video and the track attached will garner the attention they deserve, because an independent band rarely turns out material which is as high concept as this. The song has an assuredness which you usually only hear in bands which headline arena tours, and perhaps is another result of having been together for so long.
What sets it apart though isn’t the basic things. The vocals are effective, the guitars sear through the speakers well enough. But it’s little touches, like the counter melodies underpinning the chorus, that really brings this up a level. The rest of the EP should be a very good listen if it’s anything like the title track.
Apologies for the perjorative headline – Essex has never been a particularly good or place band for an indie band to come from. However, in recent years, the growth of programmes like The Only Way is Essex have give the county a bad name.
Thankfully, now comes a perfect antidote to the airheaded idiots of that particular show. The Lowriders are an indie band on the rise, proud of their hometown of Clacton-on-Sea and also, rightfully, proud of their self-titled debut album.
The track above is taken from the album, and demonstrates brilliantly the solid, chunky sound of the band. But there are quieter moments too, ones which waver and shift in front of your eyes (and ears), but in a good way. It’s hard to know from one track to the next on this album what to expect. But one thing’s for sure – all of it works.
If you like the track above, you owe it to your ears to experience the rest:
A three piece based in London but originally from South Africa, Irvine are a band who are proud of their homeland but have decided to chase their music dreams in London.
The creators of high velocity indie rock, the trio have apparently drawn huge crowds in their home country thanks to an epic live show, one which they’re hoping will also garner them a reputation in the capital. Their music is characterised by their energy, some lovely rock melodies and tracks which don’t always follow where you might expect. It’s this willingness to change direction, as well as their raw pace, that set them apart.
Buy the album:
UK iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/irvine/id665004407
Starting out on a brand new musical journey after some enforced time out of the industry due to illness, Spirals is the working title of excellent songwriter John Aziz.
His new mix tape (or mini-album) is a real statement of intent – self-written, recorded, produced and mastered. Written with the ambition of creating an epic, brilliant psych-rock album like classic Pink Floyd or Kraftwerk, Spirals draws from and blends together elements of classic song writing and musicianship with modern production techniques.
You can get a taste of what the self-titled debut release has to offer here:
In spite of his retro musical preferences, Spirals is heading down a modern route for the release, making the music available via BitTorrent Bundles in similar fashion to Thom Yorke’s recent surprise solo album.
So focussed on the music that he abandoned a job writing about economics and business to begin playing again after his enforced break, this release is the first in what looks likely to be a versatile string of music from the songwriter.
Not one to rest on his laurels, he already planning and writing his next release, an acoustic folk mixtape. Ambitious and innovative, this is the work and mind of a true music lover.
Posted in Independent, Psych Rock
- Tagged alternative, BitTorrent, debut, indie, John Aziz, mini-album, mixtape, psychadelic, rock, self-titled, Spirals
Manchester trio Partisan are set to embark on a string of live dates taking them from Manchester to Edinburgh and back again.
Risen from the ashes of Six10Repeater, Partisan are ready to lay waste to the music scene. The first track off their self-titled 3 track EP, Juggernaut has been picking up views on YouTube and is currently playing on SubTV:
The live dates start on the 23rd August at Ducie Bridge, Manchester – their first date of a residency – and end on November 21st at Manchester’s Castle Hotel, with a trip to the Edinburgh Fringe festival on August 30th thrown in for good measure.
Full dates are as follows.
August 23rd – Ducie Bridge, Manchester
August 30th – The Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh. As part of the Fringe Festival
October 4th – Dry Bar, Manchester
November 1st – Ducie Bridge, Manchester
November 21st—The Castle Hotel Manchester
For more Partisan,