John Mayer once referred to a budding alternative rock vocalist as “the great orange hope” in reference to her hair color at the time of the Riot! album cycle; Mayer was nodding to none other than Paramore’s eccentric powerhouse, Hayley Williams. It can’t be a coincidence that those who hit the ground running don fiery locks that set the stage ablaze – LA’s pop-rock duo Honey Revenge has poured the gasoline and they’re holding a lit match.
Coming off the buzzed about ‘Nowherer’, it was interesting to speculate where Portland’s Victory Over the Sun would go next. Vivian Tylinska may have just “a girl who makes noise” on her Bandcamp bio, but that deeply undersells the scope of her enthralling work as a composer, thinker, and multi-instrumentalist.
As confessed in the song ‘Volcano Girls’ the seether is clearly Louise Post. Even after stepping out from behind the name Veruca Salt for Post’s debut solo album Sleepwalker (El Camino Media), the DNA of the band can be heard all over this album. The youthful enthusiasm that drove the nineties band still empowers this album, making it clear that she still has it.
Alison Goldfrapp is best known as half of the synth-pop duo Goldfrapp. Following more than twenty years and seven albums alongside Will Gregory as Goldfrapp she is finally releasing a solo record under her own full name. The Love Invention (Skint / BMG Music) was co-written by Goldfrapp in collaboration with production luminaries Richard X (Pet Shop Boys, M.I.A.), James Greenwood (Daniel Avery, Kelly Lee Owens) and Toby Scott (The Gossip, Annie).
The multicultural and multi-talented Adanowsky has turned his hands to many things – acting, directing, producing, and making music. Written during the pandemic and taking inspiration from tarot cards, is his latest album The Fool (Universal Music Mexico). This is the French-Chilean-Mexican polymath’s tenth album and it is a down-to-earth one; a soft and melodious melting pot of pop, indie, folk, funk, and his Latin American roots.
How often can it be said when speaking of supergroups that its individual members are at the peak of their powers? The only reason it perhaps cannot be said of the members of boygenius is simply that it feels like the trio is on the ascent if anything.
From the crashing chords, Greg Attonito’s emphatic vocal style, and taut melodies of the title track you know exactly what The Bouncing Souls’ new record Ten Stories High (Pure Noise Records) is all about; raucous, to the point, Pop Punk. This is their twelfth album and it definitely does not outstay its welcome – these ten songs are all wrapped up in under twenty-six minutes.
Music lovers that find themselves doom-scrolling on TikTok are likely to have stumbled into Alex Melton’s amped-up pop-Punk renditions of Country icons like Chris Stapleton and Garth Brooks, or more subdued country takes on the likes of A Day to Remember, or Green Day.
Following the departure of drummer and founding member Josh Morgan, and an eight years gap between albums, comes The Subways fifth offering Uncertain Joys (Alcopop! Records). A lot has happened during this time, the dreaded c word notwithstanding, frontman Billy Lunn took three years out to study English at Cambridge University. The personal and personnel changes refreshed the band, with the introduction of synthesisers and pop to their brand of indie rock resulting in a textured and more interesting sound.
‘Love Waiting On You’ is a jolly little number with effervescent flourishes of synth, a great marriage between crunching chords and an upbeat pop melody. The title track is a triumph, with a bouncy melody straight from the pages of eighties pop, eased along by the silky smooth backing vocals of bass and keyboard player Charlotte Cooper. It is not just a collage of synths though, as in ‘Lavender Amelie’ they are in the background and complemented by a lush acoustic melody and a soft, XTC style hook.
They are still moments of no frills rock n’ roll, but it is tempered by the lighter moments and stands out all the more for it. The loud love letter to music ‘Black Wax’ blows away the cobwebs, with its punchy, almost primal riff reminiscent of Muse’s big rocker ‘Psycho’. The brash ‘Fight’, about standing up for the oppressed, is a spikey little number with a punk-like simplicity. ‘The Devil and Me’ motors along thanks to its nimble bassline and the propulsive drum beat of new member Camille Phillips. This is followed by the measured pace, alternative sound and subdued melancholia of ‘Joli Coeur’ – showcasing the balance on show and the progress made since the simpler, meat and potatoes like indie of their self-titled album eight years ago.
With Uncertain Joys, The Subwayshave come on leaps and bounds, mixing bold synths and bouncy pop to their straightforward Indie Rock to great effect.
In the wake of the pandemic, and after nearly two decades together, Circa Survive had to take a look at themselves and reassess their existence as a band and direction musically moving forward. Two Dreams (Rise Records) is the culmination of this journey the band took. Unfortunately, it came alongside the tragic news of the group going on an indefinite hiatus as well, as the members venture into new creative avenues.