Underground USA: 10 emerging American artists who may just be about to break into the UK!
Quarters of Change
New York alt-rock quartet Quarters of Change have exploded in 2022 with four new releases (Without counting their contribution to the soundtrack for Netflix original series Race: Bubba Wallace) that have shot them to the next level! First came 'Kiwi', a winding, guitar led number that flicks between entranced dream states, filled with layers of soft vocal harmonies, and sections of soaring guitars that cascade over one another build for a impressive instrumental finale that is worthy of finishing any live set. This was followed up by 'Jaded' which begins relatively introspectively with audibly heartfelt vocals before bursting into an alternative anthem that captures the best elements of Weezer and adds a modern angsty twist with huge instrumental stabs and crisp, powerful vocals.
'T Love' came next and really cemented their place as one of the most exciting upcoming acts from the states. In what is becoming trademark style, it starts off with a relatively mellow indie sound. The vocals are smooth and melodic while the guitar flicks and mini-hooks just flavour the atmosphere with tuneful splashes. Yet, it builds with each chorus and by the final minute or so the track is driven by pounding drums, thick riffs and infectious vocal shouts that make this perfect for singing back live. 'Chloe' has recently completed this string of new music and again, it offers something slightly different. It is there most high-tempo track, opening instantly with a driving high-energy drum rhythm that gets you wanting to move from the first second. The blend of high and low vocal notes creates a tangled web of harmonies. There is less development in this track but this makes for a hypnotic effect as the words and rhythms continuously grow on you and provides a fantastic, danceworthy addition to their consistently high-quality discography.
It is hard not to be instantly awoken by the first few seconds of the new single from Texas outfit Wild Party. Self described as "face-melting pop music", their sound fuses the catchy melodies and crisp instrumental hooks of pop with a an extra sharp dose of Punky spirit. Last year they released 'Coexist', a bright, summer ready Indie anthem that uses a dense production to full effect, adding in layers of funky guitars and playful percussion to create a fun-loving sonic base layer for the upbeat vocals to sing out their carefree lyrics.
However, their new track 'Hall & Oates' has a bit more bite behind it, so if you love the angstier side of Indie then this one is for you. Gritty Pop-Punk riffs explode the first moments of this track. The bright summer elements are still present throughout as the multiple vocal lines from different band members creates the impression of audible camaraderie. Yet, the heavy riff gives the track thick Alternative twang that leaves the song fit for an MTV pool party video. It manages to be clean and funky as well as gritty and in-your-face at the same time, a tricky balance that only increases its appeal to a wider audience.
Currently honing their sound in the Indie Punk underground in Maine, Snake Lips radiate all the venom that their name suggests. Following their debut EP ‘Melt The Sun’ at the end of last year, they have kept up their momentum with a double-barrel hit of two new singles in 2022.
February’s release ‘RIPPED’ offered a short and sweet, tongue and cheek return. A scrappy, unserious Garage track that comes in just over one minute. It is a clear taking the piss basement jam, but this kind of track helps to get through the personality of the band and they have an endearing care free attitude, delivering fun high energy tracks without taking anything too seriously. Although the latest single ‘Happy Anxious’ is a short number too, it is a little bit more considered and musically adept. A coastal, Garage Rock groove lies underneath with a few guitar tones that have a sinister Nirvana esc edge. The vocals are simple yet hugely appealing. Quite honest, unpleasant lyrics are delivered with a calm melody. This contrast creates a beautifully abrasive clash of emotion that all culminates in the instrumental Grunge finale perfect for your local sweaty basement show.
After their previous band Moth Wings disbanded, Spencer Fort moved to LA and began writing for other people. However it was not before long that they decided the time had come to get back to releasing their own tracks and thus Mothé was born. designed for dancing around your bedroom at night without a care. 2021 came with a selection of singles but now, we have finally been hit with the debut album and it is a fantastic conglomeration of sunny tracks that reflect the journey the Mothé project has gone on.
The album is peppered with some introspective slower numbers that showcase their vocal talent. 'Summer's Almost Gone' takes a turn down a more coastal road, reflecting the rolling surf sounds you would expect from West Coast America. Meanwhile, 'Somewhere In Your Dreams' has a more contemplative feel as its vocals and bittersweet Synth Pop sounds create a coming-of-age like story. The finale to this track is one of the biggest moments on the album as crashing cymbals splash over the warm sonic beaches made up of layered synth chords. The highlight of the album has to be the grittier single 'Debt Collector' that has that strange vocal blend of uplifting melancholia similar to Spector. This track really dives into that warm coastal sound with a good dose of angst injected into some vocal lines and the chorus holding a really rich fuzzy texture with the vocals lying on top with a smooth sunny disposition comparable to the likes of Aaron Taos and Fuller. Definitely one for the summer!
Powerhouse duo Child Seat made up of Madeleine Mathews and Josiah Mazzaschi formed last year and recorded their debut album remotely. The record is now completed and set for release this Autumn. In March they treated us to the first taste of what is to come with their debut single 'Fever Dream'. The track was driven by Madeline's bold vocal style that could easily accompany a retro Rock anthem with its breathy, dramatized delivery and crisp, catchy melody. However, Josiah's instrumentation completely flips this idea on its head. Instead, her captivating voice is met with echoed 80s drums, thick grooves and expansive synth textures. For our UK audience the bittersweet tones and well layered blend of honest vocals and electronic subtleties is reminiscent of Johnny Lloyd.
Next, 'Burning' offered up a more haunting sound that will be a good fit for all the Kate Bush newcomers following the resurgence of 'Running Up That Hill'. The vocal backing and crisp guitar tones swirl around, teasing that they will drown out the soft expressions of Madeleine's vocals, however her voice always holds firm. Their latest track 'Is This The End' set for release on June 24th, suppresses any final doubts about their talent. It is based of a denser, less clean electro beat and fierce vocal attacks comparable to The Mysterines. It oozes with a confident swagger throughout and will make you want to stand up and fight your corner! The huge synth hook steals the show at both ends of the track and completes a trio of tracks that show really promising signs for the debut album.