NEW MUSIC: Kidsmoke – The Bluest You

North Wales’ Kidsmoke released their single ‘The Bluest You’ back in April and it’s a wonderfully bright and sparkling slice of indie guitar pop that billows and cascades on the back of a pliable rhythm section and guitars that aren’t afraid to hit the effect pedals and soar above the clouds.

This song is a live favourite of ours. It is a fly on the wall look into a household where one person’s depression is affecting everyone else who lives there. The song doesn’t address the feelings of the person suffering with depression, it is a sort of commentary from the viewpoint of the rest of the family.”

The band have released EPs and a string of singles over the last few years, in the process gaining great recognition from the likes of BBC 6 Music and NPR, was well as an invitation to play at the Robert Smith (The Cure) curated Meltdown Festival. Kidsmoke also have a new single out called ‘Layla’s Love‘ which reminds us of the pure, pristine melodies of Prefab Sprout and The Boo Radleys.

Both singles appear on Kidsmoke’s debut album A Vision In The Dark which will be released on 19th June via Libertino Records.

NEW MUSIC: Koalra – Dear Daylight

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Hailing from Chicago Illinois, Koalra cut some fine indie rock shapes on this single ‘Dear Daylight’. There’s the rough and tumbling guitars – part jangle, part visceral screes – post-punk rhythms and a voice that hollers and sings with a beautiful melancholic angst. It all fits together just right on the single, one of many great tracks on their EP Surprise Lights.

Koalra call themselves a noise punk band and there’s undoubtedly that in the abandon and frantic pace of their songs, but they also dial into that sweet spot between energetic flailing and clever, twisting guitar shapes, in the lineage of Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and No Age.

ALBUM REVIEW: Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Sideways To New Italy

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever
Sideways To New Italy
Ivy League

Since the release of their debut album, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever have traversed the globe, playing numerous headline shows and music festivals. Now those experiences and the associated dizzying dislocation have fed into their second record, a consistently superb collection of songs that matches the hit rate of their debut.

All three singer/guitarist songwriters again contribute songs, managing to stamp their own style and  personalities without bending or breaking the symbiotic jangly guitar rush and heady pop clamour that defines their sound. You get a sense of homesickness – both geographically and emotionally, a searching for place and context after the last few years of the band. 

Joe White’s She’s There and The Only One are love songs, the latter introducing a 80s indie pop sound reminiscent of Prefab Sprout while the former tumbles forth with irresistible guitar riffs. Fran Keaney’s Cars In Space is both urgent and intricate, like The Smiths at their most nimble. Sunglasses At Night imagines itself as a lost You Am I ballad, while the guitars of Not Tonight swoon and dive before the band hits one of their most divine pop choruses to date.

The heady rush of the band’s sound is still intact but there’s an additional sense of wistful reflection and a wider musical palette on Sideways To New Italy that takes their sound to even greater heights. 

Chris Familton

New Media – Tunnel Vision

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New Media are an indie rock quartet from who channel a shoegaze sound reminiscent of Ride, the rhythmic influence of Manchester and the heavier guitar sounds of bands like The Cure.

Tunnel Vision‘, their second single of 2020, winds its way around knotty drums and guitars that squeal and squall, adding to the rising sense of tension before it jumps the tracks in the last minute and heads for the highest windswept sonic vantage point.

““Tunnel Vision”, is about the link between insomnia and inspiration. It’s that 3 o’clock in the morning feeling, when the subconscious mind is at its most active. Every car outside, every seemingly insignificant noise or stimuli steals your focus towards it, like a magnet. Watching (and hearing) the sound of traffic gliding up and down “rain soaked streets” from an obscured hotel window and that intellectual tug of war that plays out, between wanting to capture it and letting the thought pass. It’s that intense obsessive compulsion of chasing an idea to its creative fruition, that feverish intensity that can take on a kind of “tunnel vision”, where the mind has the desire to wade ever-deeper into the waters of the subconsciousness, while one foot remains in the shallow edge of the water.”

NEW MUSIC: Blue Canopy – St. Albans

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Here’s a really nice slice of 60s-tinged, indie guitar pop from Portland-based artist Alex Schiff who records under the name Blue Canopy. The vocal layering in particular grabbed our attention with their tripped-out Beach Boys vibe. ‘St. Albans‘ comes from his debut EP Mild Anxiety which is out now.

“St. Albans is about an old friend who I lost touch with, but consistently visits me in dreams. It’s probably my only falling out (outside of romantic relationships) that felt like a breakup. The relationship was a little toxic, but we were very, very close. We were also songwriting partners through college, and when I decided to end our band, he decided he didn’t want to ever speak with me again. The song is part reminiscent/memory lane and part my feelings about it now after all these years. I showed him the record (we communicate a little bit now) and that was his favorite song! It’s also a little bit Beatles-esque which is his favorite band, so that’s a little bit of a nod to him.”

NEW MUSIC: Elephant Castle – I’m A Loser

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UK psych and baggy indie combine with 60s melodies and 21st century psych-pop explorations on this new catchy and expansive track from Los Angeles-based singer and multi-instrumentalist ​Phil Danyew who played in Foster The People for six years before leaving to focus on his own music as Elephant Castle.

Danyew calls the song “A tongue-in-cheek anthem for the underdog.”

NEW MUSIC: Prudence – Heart Sways

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Last year we shared Prudence’s track ‘Smile & Nod’ and now the Sydney artist has released his first 2020 single in ‘Heart Sways’. It’s got a wonderfully immersive, dream-like quality with gently propulsive bass and climbing guitars. Think Ariel Pink in a hazy dream sequence with an 80s dream-pop/post-punk band. It’s that delightful blend of simple pop and arthouse sophistication – blurred and stirred.

Prudence is multi-instrumentalist Tom Crandles with Aleesha Dibbs (Divebell, Lorelei), bassist Kat Harley (The Laurels, Mezko) and drummer Steve West (Obscura Hail).