Six emerging artists that are tearing up the American underground!
Nashville radio presenter Chelsea Gilliand has been working on our own music for the past few years, writing songs that showcase the rich but gentle power of her vocals. The swinging, vocal-led tracks have gained local attention but she wanted to take a more angsty approach. So, she has teamed up with a permanent band and they have written their first single together that packs more of a punch than her previous work.
The track 'No (Hard) Feelings' opens quite unassumingly with an intimate, melancholic guitar line. Chelsea's vocals are too dissimilar to her previous work either, landing with her trademark smooth tone. Yet, when the bass drum kicks in you can instantly tell that something different is on its way. The instrumentals patiently build until the 1:40 mark when they explode into a Garage Rock flurry.
This slightly meatier instrumental backing doesn't dominate over Chelsea's vocals. She holds the force and vocal swagger to compete, or more aptly, synergise with the energy of the instrumentals. There may have been a danger of the band taking over over, but instead they elevate the impact of Chelsea's songwriting and give her personal lyrical content a more direct impact reminiscent of the first few Lauran Hibberd singles. If this new three-piece format is sticking around then CHLSY have big things to come in 2022.
Seattle based duo Husbands are deep into their career with numerous albums under their belt and have established themselves over in the states. Yet, they have slipped under the radar in the UK and have a lot to offer. From their appealingly laid back song structures that leave a lot of space for the music to breathe to their overlapping harmonies and quirky artwork pretty much everything about the pair is inviting.
They build off lo-fi Indie sounds and pepper their tracks with sunny sonic subtleties. It is a formula that has led to countless sunshine bops like 'Mexico'. However, what is most intriguing is how some of their songs can dip between different emotions so quickly. This is fantastically showcased on their latest single 'Wishbone'.
The track enters the more mysterious Pysch side of their arsenal, opening with a sinister distorted spoken vocal and measured deep guitar riff that rumbles in the background. Yet, the vocals become more expansive and offer brighter sounds that contrast the early atmosphere. It is strange because nothing really changes apart from the slight shift in vocal tone, yet you find yourself in a totally different headspace when this happens; less on edge and more carefree.
The rhythm quickly becomes hypnotic which allows the duo to have fun and play around on top of it which leads to some of the track's best moments. The scratchy, slightly synthesized guitar jabs into the rhythm injecting it with a more infectious acid trip feel and is the standout element of the song. On the whole its a great single for showcasing their range and should be a good entry point to tempt you into their lush back-catalog.
Armed with his over-sized shirts and trademark soup strainer, Walt Phelan doesn't foster any kind of Rockstar charade. He appears just like your regular guy, and this comes across in his music. This is not to suggest that his music is mundane, but rather that it radiates a laid back freedom that can be lacking from a lot of over-serious artists. His uplifting Indie-Folk tracks are honest and are delivered without any over dramatised veneer.
His debut album 'Worlds Away' arrived last year and its standout track was certainly the blissful 'Pull My Hair'. It is a simple song in its construction but it is the manor if its warm tone that makes it so pleasing to listen to.
Right from the first word you know that the song is going to raise your spirits. It has that glossy sunshine feel perfect for a coastal summer roadtrip yet it maintains that honest charm to it. It is as if you are simply listening to one of your mates play a song sat in the back of your truck as your drive with the windows down sucking in the coastal air. The album maintains this down to earth character but is sprinkled by a few more introspective folky vocals and a few more electronic textures there's a lot to sink your teeth into.
Although LA's Shedonist are a four-piece you can instantly feel the ferocity of their vocalist and spearhead Jasmin Toubi. Their debut album 'Young, Dumb & Stupid' is far from what the name suggests but it does encapsulate the kind of scrappy aggression that fits that mentality. Jasmin's vocals have a deep resonance and power that points to influences from classic female Rock icons like Debbie Harry.
She often lures you in with an initial soft and tempting vocal tone like on 'Daddy' before coming out growling with huge forceful inflections, scraping every last corner of her lungs for air to channel it into her shattering delivery. She believes that Rock isn't just a genre, its an attitude and you can certainly hear this swagger in every line.
Jasmin's glaring charisma does not take away from the power of the instrumentals though. The album is littered with some groove-setting Blues Rock rhythms heard in 'Bad Decisions' and a few swirling atmospherics with heavy riffs and soaring lead guitar showcases like in the climactic last track 'Heroin'. For any classic Rock fans, Shedonist are a fantastic modern re-imagining who capture the spirit and tone of their predecessors but inject it with their own unique energy that is fronted by the female force of Jasmin Toubi.
The virtually unknown project Oritor's Pride delves between fuzzy indulgent instrumentals and folk-rock vocals. Their debut self-titled EP offers quite a range over its 6-track duration but it is the opening track 'Oritor' that pricks the ears. It acts as an instrumental introduction to the EP and dives deep into a whirlpool of distortion and thickly layered webs of guitar.
For an instrumental it develops really well, embarking on a proper sonic journey. It begins with a singular wah style guitar line before slowly building into a really dense fuzzy atmosphere with melodic and gritty guitars constantly competing for space. It is a grand opening and will surely tempt you to dig deeper into the EP.
From the opening 10 seconds of Outerloop's new single 'You Don't Get It' you may think you are in store for a full-throttle no-nonsense Punk track. It feels ready to fly out of the traps in high-octane 4/4 style but this couldn't be less true. These energetic Punk outbursts merely intersect their intricate rhythms that can be hard to wrap your head around at first.
In UK terms the intertwined instrumental passages ring of some of the more art infused acts on the new Post-Punk scene whereas the bitter female vocal calls and thick Rock backing have hints of Wolf Alice's most angsty moments.
The individual members that now make up the Art-Rock quartet were almost bolted together by drummer Patrick Gough who reconnected with an old friend, put an add in craigslist for a vocalist and recruited veteran bassist Mike Larmoyeux. However, they sound like one cohesive unit, as if they have been playing alongside each other for years.
'You Don't Get It' features on their debut EP which has a lot to offer over its 20 minute duration. From the rambling Art-Rock drum shuffle that drives 'Deep Down' to the more considered, vocal-led 'Sleeping Mirrors' there are a myriad of moments to impress lovers of technical musicality.
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