Rock music is one of my passions, although it’s a very varied style of music, with many different sub-genres present in the music scene at the moment. As such, I decided to get to grips with the pop-rock genre, as there really are some fantastic underground artists playing music within that style that really deserve more attention. All the acts listed here are a little different from one another, ensuring fans of the pop-rock genre should find something of worth.
Review by Jane Howkins
Photo by Mimi Pretend
Mimi Pretend – God Damn
Los Angeles artist Mimi Pretend kicks things off in style with the dreamy God Damn – it’s not what you might call a typical pop-rock tune, but it certainly belongs here! It’s got a fairly slow beat, as the jangly guitars play in the background, drifting through the track with ease. Mimi has a lovely voice, elevating the track to a wonderful level. The backing effects are pretty cool too, making this one song that you’ll need to listen to several times over to fully appreciate everything. The different layers really add something special to God Damn.
SANSOM – Sandy
Sandy starts out in a mellow fashion, with an intense guitar motif, building the tension up as SANSOM’s lush vocals pour over the top. Some heavier guitar chords are thrown into the mix on occasion, raising the music up and creating a cool atmosphere. After the halfway point, the song changes completely, adding in a frantic beat and guitar riff, turning the track into more of a punk rock tune. It makes for a really lovely dynamic shift, creating a song that will appeal across the genre spectrum. Keep an eye on SANSOM’s music!
The Bergamot – Roll It Up
It’s been over a year since we last shared music from indie-pop group The Bergamot, so Roll It Up is very welcome indeed! Roll It Up is upbeat from the start, opening with a lovely, playful clean guitar riff, before the soulful vocals kick in. Both sets of vocals work exceedingly well together, creating some lovely harmonies here. It’s an extremely summery song, making you feel the warm vibes of that season, even at this time of year! If you want a relaxing tune that will really lighten your mood, then The Bergamot’s latest release is perfect for you!
The Trusted – Marrow
The Trusted is another act we’ve featured before, releasing fantastic new tune Marrow in September. It’s a classic sounding pop-rock tune – whilst it’s certainly catchy, there’s nothing too commercialised about it. The guitars have a lovely jangly quality, typical of the indie rock sound that became so prominent in the 80s. However, the production is much more modern, really making this into a gorgeous sounding piece of work. The vocals are a little quiet in the mix, but the low tone really works wonders here, creating something beautiful on the chorus.
Masha Jana – Let Go
As well as the pop-rock vibes, I also felt that Let Go had something of a folky vibe, due to the acoustic guitars utilised here. The guitars follow the same minor chord progression throughout, but they work really well, creating a bittersweet sound that is both melancholy and catchy. Masha Jana’s vocals are really on point here, adding a lot of soul as her vocals keep up with the urgent pace, alongside the fast beat and basslines. There isn’t too much variety here, but in all honesty, this haunting track doesn’t really need much more, sounding perfect as it is.
Love Ghost – Human Error 404
Glendale band Love Ghost return to these pages with amazing new release, Human Error 404. It’s one of the heaviest songs on this list, having a pop-punk/emo vibe at times, due to the vocal styles on offer. One of the things that really struck me here is that the vocals are sung in both English and Spanish, appealing to speakers of both languages. The drums have a hip-hop vibe on the verses, adding another interesting quality into the band’s musical armoury. It’s a perfect genre-bender of a tune, showing one of the main reasons why I love this band so much!
Scotty Hollywood Band – The Ricochet
Taking thins in a more Americana/country-infused direction is the Scotty Hollywood Band, with upbeat new track The Ricochet. The guitar licks here are immense, carrying through the tune in a bluesy manner, alongside the strummed acoustic guitars. The vocals are strong and soulful, fitting the rootsy sound of this track perfectly. The backing vocals are also rather lovely – they’re prominent, but they never take too much away from the lead vocals. The organ is an extremely welcome surprise too, fitting this upbeat number appropriately.
Easton – End Times
End Times opens pretty slowly, with some mellow guitar lines played in the background, as Easton’s vocals drift along in lovely style. However, the rhythm section soon appears, really ramping the energy up and magnifying the true power of the track. The production is a little raw, making the drums seem a bit busy, but there’s still a lot of talent here, utilising some intriguing guitar riffs in the mix. The choruses are much heavier than the verses, although they still retain a nice amount of melody. The vocal distortion may take some getting used to it, but it certainly makes for a unique piece of work!