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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.
Born in Ethiopia, stylish songwriter Thehiz now resides in Washington D.C and is quickly becoming one of the most sought after US talents. His debut single 'SUBMARINE' made a huge splash in the Indie Pop scene back in February and he has now followed it up with an equally exciting new track 'All My Love'. What stood out in his debut release was the slick production that gives off such as a confident and crisp sound. It has the finesse you would expect from Silk Sonic and the melodic pop sensibilities that are laced into the fabric of UK Indie giants Foals and Blossoms.
The new single 'All My Love' has continued in a similar vain and has proved that Thehiz won't be a one hit wonder. He meticulously blends the euphoric vocal-led chorus' and dance energy that the Top 40 offers with the intricate song construction that makes the song so much richer and more rewarding to listen to. The funky guitar patterns and retro synth chords flash across the sonic surface of this song and, together with the commercial smoothness of the vocals, are reminiscent of The 1975. However, as it builds towards the chorus it becomes quickly apparent that the energy is a lot less low-key than the introspective atmospheres that Matt Healy's outfit normally sway towards. The big, echoed drum cascade initiates a joyful chorus that would be equally at home in your local Indie club as it would lighting up the poolside dance floors of Ibiza. If you're an Indie lover looking to let your hair down and dance away to some undeniably catchy poop melodies then Thehiz is a must listen.
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.
When you come across an American Rock band called Dirty Names you want filthy riffs, some Desert Rock swagger and plenty of feel good chorus' that you can sing back with a Jack Daniels in hand. Well, that is exactly what these guys offer in their single 'Run With The Pack'. This description could make you think that they sound slightly outdated however that is not at all the case. Following their 2021 debut album they leaped back into 2022 sounding as fresh as ever.
The guitar work is crisp and full of all the character you would associate with Rock legends gone by but with a modern tone injected to make a more vibrant 21st century sound. The guitars also offer a slightly more high-energy Surf-infused rolling quality while the slightly hectic tumbling atmosphere that ensues is reminiscent of Benjamin Booker. The perfect kind of music to shake the walls of your favoruite underground music haunt. Check the guys out on Instagram.
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.
Texas duo STRVCK derive their name from a nearly fatal accident in which singer Chelsea Seth Woodward was struck by a bolt of lightning while unlocking his car. He was subsequently rushed to the hospital, suffering a large cut on the back of his head, a concussion, and some short term memory loss. Miraculously he emerged from the event with no long term injuries. In early 2020, Chelsea and joined forces with Drew Walker to create this new creative partnership. 2022 has already been their most prolific year to date with three new singles hot off the presses.
‘Calling In Sick’ leads with an abstract array of electro pulses and textural layers. Musically it has tones that are like if Alt-J had been turned up to the max. It’s a spacey vibe with a huge pumping beat that radiates an infectious power. ‘After Hours’ is a deeper, more emotive cut. The thumping dance beat still perpetuates the constant energy however, the vocals lie warm and deep inside a web of of electronics. Yet, this is all part of the tension building before the song soars into a big pop chorus that uses synth melodies and echoed vocal lines to create a Foals esc sound. Their most recent release 'Pain Is Beautiful' is a bouncy, euphoric swirl of noise. Instantly catchy vocal melodies comparable to George Ezra sung with a crisp electro-pop delivery and placed over a danceworthy beat makes for an upbeat anthem made for summer!
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.
Davis John Patton
Davis John Patton released 'Forest Park', his first independent EP, in 2019. His lead single of the album, ‘Motives’, gained nearly 2 million Spotify streams and instantly raised his stakes in the US scene. Now, Patton’s latest release, ‘Vacant Airport’, has completed a promising run of singles in 2022 that are taken from his upcoming debut album, out July 22nd.The new track evokes a sense of memory that Rick Florino describes through the imagery of dusting down an old photo album. The music of Patton evidently makes listeners recall a certain nostalgia flooding them with memories from a lost place in their past. Although ‘Vacant Airport’ makes you nostalgic with a sense of melancholia, it is not discouraging at all. It urges you to take a pause from the rush of life and momentarily reflect on what it truly means to reconnect with ourselves in a society that does not wait.
In a way, ‘Vacant Airport’ is reassuring you to give that time for yourself and it projects a serene picture that helps you to re-evaluate the true values of life.The poetic approach that Patton takes in his music allows Folk to regain the depth it originally had in the early 1960s. Patton connects to a system of values of inner peace and a harmonious state of mind that is refreshing in our achievement driven society. He brings a new kind of understanding that is much simpler and natural to that of the performance-based lifestyles we live in. In a sense, this is what Patton’s folk represents, an authentic version of the individual. ‘Vacant Airport’ offers us a chance to reflect on our place in life in today’s rushing world.
When an emerging artist has just collaborated with Matt Higgens, the producer who was worked with the likes of U2, Adele and Glass Animals you know that there must be something truly exciting at play...and that is just the case for Indie Rock duo The Bergamot. After recently releasing their critically acclaimed documentary 'State of the Unity', they are gearing up for their brand new album 'Far Out'. So far they have teased fans with two new singles, 'Medusa' and 'Breakdown'.
The latter may confuse your sonic expectations as it disturbs the understanding between your audio receptors and emotional intelligence by somehow exploring the themes of having a breakdown in a trance-like atmosphere of loose Indie Pop serenity. The gentle vocal tones harmonise blissfully and sooth the impact of the lyrical content in triumphant style. 'Medusa' on the other hand is more direct and lands forcefully on the ears with its infectious Glam melodies that are delivered with a slick flair that brings to mind Miles Kane. There's a cool swagger to the delivery and an irresistibly catchy, powerful melody to the chorus that hints that the new album could be a belter!