Hey everyone, so this is one of my best friends from high school, Caitlin Flaxman, she’s putting out an EP very soon, and I promised her I would get the word out. She is seriously one of the most amazing and natural singers I’ve ever heard, please listen to the video and if you fall in love with her, please “like” her Facebook page.
England knows what they doing. It’s not a secret that I’m an insane anglophile, but more often than not the music being released in England is superior. Signals, a four-piece piano indie rock band from Southampton is no exception. Asked on my music tumblr if I would listen and review their music, I instantly agreed—their sound is refreshing and harkens back to an early 2000’s time of indie/alternative music. Much like Eisley or The Hush Sound, the piano driven music compliments singer, Ellie Price’s subtle but almost haunting vocals. Much like another British band I blogged about before, Daughter, both songs have subtle melodies and rhythms but almost out of nowhere, the songs progress and create swooping anthemic power-ballads that just kind of take your breath away. For some reason, British songstresses are infinitely more powerful and Price’s gorgeous voice makes you wish she sang every song in the world. However, the most important part of this band that may or may not be overshadowed by the wonderful music, is the lyrics. Especially within, “Square Wheels”—Price sings, “and your bed’s now dirty and my lips are sealed and I said from the start that I’m in with this deal and we tried to work and rise above but all that we did was fall out of love”. A non-love, love song. A great premise that is often attempted, but normally falls short. But, between the mixture of sweeping melodies and harmonious vocals, the lyrics are successful. Releasing their debut EP soon, Signals should be watched carefully, if they continue the path of piano indie rock, they will most likely make themselves stand out amongst other indie musicians. Stating inspiration from Bon Iver, Local Natives, and Manchester Orchestra, it could be very soon that Signals makes their mark as well.
In an age where Adele and Florence and the Machine rule the female diva world, chantress Alex Winston provides a rivalry. Undeniably and irrevocably full of life, King Con proves that Winston can pack a punch in the indie pop genre. With a voice like a louder Joanna Newsom and a tamer Paloma Faith, Winston takes the soul and upbeat tempo of a Danger Mouse production and creates an inspiring album throughout. It’s the Top 40 sound without being overproduced and fake. Each song can stand alone and be its own anthem, but together it creates a power album that never stops its ride of hooks, turns and downright fun. There is no doubt that Alex Winston is full of soul, but she contains it in a way that makes it more intense yet subtle to the listener. The whole time while listening to the album, you are waiting for her to explode in power and vocal range much like the previous diva’s mentioned to. But she concentrates that power and puts it against a more lush background than her predecessors. Her melodies recreate the same idea, waiting to dominate the song but keeps its punch restrained. This does not mean that this album isn’t explosive in sound, in fact, that’s quite the opposite. Every song is its own creature, and each allows the listener to show the range of Alex Winston as a singer, songwriter and performer. From anthemic songs like “Sister Wife” to the more Grimes-esque high pitched electronic “Guts”, this album has a song for everyone and while that may not sound cohesive by any means, it works. And only a woman like Winston understands the power this kind of indie pop has over listeners in this day and age.
Better Off Dead-ZZ Ward
Damn. Venturing around in my iTunes since my “startup disc” is full (aka I have too much music), I went down to my Z’s and am so glad I put this on. Damn. This is full of funky, dirty beats with a neo-soul singer belting her damn heart out. It’s good to listen to music that goes against the fads. However, she’s like a dirty, flirty, soul version of Lana Del Rey. I also think I fell in love with her. She has a new EP out that I’m excited to check out. You can download the mixtape for free at her website.
If people thought Zooey Deschenal was quirky, I have found her a queen. Singer, Cherilyn MacNeil absolutely takes the cake in her catchy indie pop that is often more humorous than serious. From Johannesburg, South Africa, Dear Reader instantly captures the heart with their hooks, lyrics, and melodies. From pop ballads to weird electronic loops—this band pretty much does it all, but they do it with an odd sophistication that may not be evident on a first listen. Mostly every song title has something to do with an animal, but in parentheses, perhaps the songs “real” title. Perhaps a more realistic title that allows Dear Reader to give the audience something real instead of all the silliness—which is still, truly wonderful. MacNeil’s voice is absolutely darling, reminiscent of Regina Spektor’s but with much more power and stability. Put together against equally darling melodies full of pianos and violins, the one thing that shockingly puts it together is the use of electronics in the album. Never brash or harsh to the ear, it is another example of how electronics can be used for good within music (and not for the bad…*coughAutotunecough*). While most of the songs are simplistic when everything is taken away, they are like She & Him songs—easy 50’s songs beats, but Dear Reader builds upon that, creating lush sounds that creates a dynamic sound that masks the simplicity but also allows it to be recognizable at the same time. Just quite a a fun listen, I can’t use the word darling enough, but it is just nice to listen to something that is what it is.
Check out Dear Reader-Idealistic Animals