Last year I completed two round-up reviews based around music from the underground indie rock scene. I’m a big fan of the indie rock genre, so decided it was about time I got around to the third installment. Don’t forget to check out the full playlist at the bottom too!
Review by Jane Howkins
Picture by Georgia Maria
Georgia Maria – An Indian Summer
An Indian Summer sounds amazing from the start, with some intensemguitar licks kicking the song off in style. The track also has a folky vibe to it, in part due to the chord sequences used and the style of Georgia Maria’s vocal style. The chorus has a great melody to it, sounding simply haunting at times. Those into their folk rock should also enjoy this.
Aza Brown – For Real?
I featured Northern musician Aza Brown a couple of months ago in a different review series, so I was pleased to be able to check out his latest track, For Real? It’s an upbeat number throughout, with a surprising amount of brass instrumentation, which really works with the high tempo sounds. His vocals sound great, with different vocal dynamics being used across the course of the song, to great effect.
Sahara Beck – Stillness
Stillness is a track released last month by Sahara Beck, an amazing musician from the Sunshine Coast. Stillness is one of the best songs I’ve heard all year – it’s catchy, yet also has a rock sensibility to it, appealing to those into both pop and indie rock. The main guitar melody sounds amazing, with Sahara’s ethereal vocal tones bringing it all together nicely on the chorus.
Rachel Bard – Brooklyn
Brooklyn is one of the softer songs on this list, having more of a pop-rock vibe to it. What struck me about this song is just how gorgeous Rachel’s vocals are – she’s got an amazing voice, which is full of emotion. The piano is the star of the show here, providing most of the instrumentation, although the little guitar melodies that occasionally appear also sound great.
Anton Lewis – Hollywood Smile
Hollywood Smile has quite a poppy vibe to it, but there are still elements of indie rock in there. The bouncy rhythm is infectious, with a fantastic bass line running alongside the piano. Fuzzy guitar licks appear later in the track, with what sounds like a harpsichord showing up at one point, showing just how diverse Anton Lewis’ music really is!
Julience – Love Lies Cold
Julience is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist born in the Netherlands, who is currently based in Manchester. Love Lies Cold is more of a classic rock and roll song, but you can hear the indie rock influences in there, especially on the guitar licks. Julience’s vocals have a soulful quality to them, crooning through the catchy verses in style – the song has a huge amount of energy to it, right from the start!
Bosola – Ophelia Headstrong
Ophelia Headstrong is another catchy track, with the offbeat rhythm making you want to tap your feet along in style. Indie rock band Bosola have elements of punk, pop-punk and alternative rock present in their music – I also felt there was a bit of a 90s rock vibe. The synths that appear on the chorus sound almost orchestral, mixing things up nicely and making the song stand out from the indie rock norm.
Emblematics – Festival Door
Emblematics are an experimental indie rock band, also including moments of shoegaze, electronica and post-rock in their music. Despite their Canadian roots, the band have a definitive British influence, with hints of Britpop and classic British indie music being a major factor in their sound. It’s the sort of track that a casual listener will enjoy, but those into their more experimental indie will find more to love on Festival Door.
HÆCTOR – Chelsea
A throbbing bass melody kicks off HÆCTOR’s track Chelsea, drawing the listener in straight away. Percussion and the vocals soon appear, building the tension up until the huge chorus kicks in, having an anthemic quality to it. The backing effects are amazing – there’s a lot to unpack here, meaning the band’s audience will have to listen to the song several times over to fully be able to appreciate everything going on here.
Elektric Animals – Come Clean
We’ve featured Elektric Animals here quite a few times recently, so regular readers should have checked them out by now. If not, Come Clean is a great place to start. It starts off with a cool bassline, upping the tempo straight away. The track never lets up, with some nifty guitar work appearing every so often. I also loved the way the vocals change – on the verses they’re fairly low, with some falsetto emerging on the choruses.
Faith Low – Manic
Manic is possibly the poppiest song on this list, having more in common with the alt-pop and electro-indie genres. However, I still felt it belonged somewhere on this list – Faith Low’s latest is a must listen. It’s a captivating song with some fantastic production work going on – the vocals have a lot of effects, but they really work here. The synths help to create an amazing ambience, sounding almost ethereal at times.
Temperature Falls – Reach
Reach is quite a slow track, having a dreamy quality to it. The percussion continues at the same pace throughout the song, with an ambient bass melody providing the main chord sequence. Little synthy effects are added in the background as the music progresses, meaning there is always something new to listen to. Temperature Falls’ vocals also have a dreamy vibe, fitting the music well.
Jesse Grossi – Queen Of Spades
Jesse Grossi is another artist that I’ve featured a few times here, loving every song I’ve heard from him. Queen Of Spades is a great track for newcomers to Jesse’s work, being another catchy indie pop song. The music opens with the sound of a crowd cheering, as the infectious main guitar melody appears. Jesse’s vocals are fantastic as always, seeing him belting out the lyrics with pride.
The Prickly Pair – Rosemary
The Prickly Pair are a duo from California – their music has more in common with the Americana/folk rock genres, but there’s definitely still an indie vibe to it. The rhythm has that classic rock and roll form to it, with little guitar and bass melodies being added along the way. The vocals on Rosemary are stunning, with some amazing backing vocals appearing every so often to harmonise with the lead vocals.
Split The Dealer – Hard To Take
Hard To Take is more of a classic indie rock song – the sort of thing readers might typically have been expecting from this article. The song opens with a frenetic burst of energy, before the slower verse kicks in. The change in dynamics and tempo between the verses and choruses works really well, keeping the listener guessing over the course of the song. The vocals are also really strong, coursing through the track like magic.
The Rapports – Wanna Be
The Rapports are an indie rock band from Brighton, with Wanna Be being one of their latest single releases. The guitar riffs have a great rhythm to them, mixing well with the up-tempo feel of the song. The chorus changes things up a little, but the band’s spirit never lets up, showing a huge sense of enthusiasm. The vocals are used in a rhythmic manner on the verses, showing a huge range of versatility.
Brett Copeland – Cure For Me
Cure For Me is quite an interesting track – as well as the indie rock elements, there are also moments of pop, rock, electronica and even industrial music in there, making for an interesting listen. Brett Copeland is a great songwriter and an even better singer, also integrating some immense guitar riffs into the track. This is one of my favourite songs on the list – it’s a must listen!
Lucky Number You – Clown World Rises
Clown World Rises has something of an 80s theme to it, in part due to the synths and drum machines contained within the track. It’s a synth-laded indie pop song that will get you up and dancing in no time! Lucky Number You have crafted an amazing song here, featuring synths galore, as well as an intriguing drum section. The production quality is really impressive too, with the positive vibes of the music rounding this article off nicely.