Underground USA: 5 of our favourite emerging American artists!
Independent artist and producer Sister Jack is back for the second time this year with his follow-up single ‘Come Apart’. The Seattle-based musician produces all of his work on a computer in his bedroom with a just few guitars by his side. The gritty and raw production contributes to his Post-Punk sound, along with his exploration of other similar genres: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, and perhaps even Grunge revival.
This track is both gloomy and energetic, through its prominent basslines and rhythmic guitar passages. The interjection of a synthesised riff among the vigorous guitars divides up the instrumentation and brings the listener back to an underground Punk club; where this genre originated and is best enjoyed. Sister Jack’s guitar tone is nostalgic of the late 20th century, spanning from New Wave to Grunge, from Joy Division to Nirvana. However, he manages to put his own spin on the sounds of the past, bringing them into the 21st Century. His incredible musicality and distinct sense of style are exciting, to say the least, and we know many Punk and Alternative Rock fans are looking forward to his next release!
Words by Isabel Marquez
Introducing San Diego's fiercest femme-punk quartet, Doll Riot, who have sprung onto the scene in rapid fire this year. Their debut three-track EP was full of high-energy, Garage-Rock chorus' that were instantly appealing with their simplistic construction and purposefully scrappy delivery. It showcased the Doll Riot manifesto clearly, channeling all their pent up frustrations into short and sharp direct hits of Riot Grrrl fury.
Now, their new single 'Get A Life' has followed up in the same vain. At only 2 minutes and 20 seconds, this track wastes no time in getting its message across. Thick riffs barrel out of the traps and ring of true 70s Punk before the harsh vocal tones of Elena Olszak spit a venomous angsty flow of lyrics on top. It is proper, raw Garage Rock at its purest and it is audibly evident that this can't have been written anywhere else than a cramped basement. Despite the harsh, rebellious enslaught and uncompromising lyrics, the band still leave room for a punchy chorus with big drum stabs and a unified call of "Get a life, ride a bike" that will make you want to chant the words back at the top of your voice. These guys aren't for the faint hearted and they have more music coming soon...
Ever dreamt of a scrappy Punk supergroup made up of members of some of the most exciting new Garage Rock and Alternative band across America? Well, if so, new outfit Reckling have answered your prayers. Featuring members of Paramore/HalfNoise, FIDLAR and Together Pangea, this new high-energy concoction of instrumentalists is about as raw as it gets, channelling nostalgic Punk euphoria on their new EP 'Human Nature'.
The EP opens in lighting speed, with the vicious single 'Spitter'. The frantic Punk rhythm provides the energy while the joint vocal performance of the chorus actually adds a very uplifting and catchy vocal line that makes it the perfect, scrappy sing-a-long to kick off the EP. 'In My Hair' switches to a more frustrated and unoptimistic atmosphere with more sunken vocal tones while 'How Low Can a Punk Get?' is an unaplotigacally aggressive, high-tempo barrage of angsty attacks. They then close the EP with the more considered and layered track 'Verbalize' which carries a bittersweet feel, reminiscent of The Subways. A quite warming, nostalgic guitar riff tries to make itself heard through the dense wall of percussive noise. Meanwhile, the vocals are introspective and contemplative, building into a whirling stream of consciousness that then makes way for a fantastic instrumental finale filled with hope, passion and grit. A beautiful way to close their new project.
The artist ren
At just 16, Californian Bedroom Pop songwriter Lauren V, AKA the artist ren, is already building up a lot of momentum as she heads towards her debut EP. Her debut single 'Not The Clones!' offered more of a gloomy and sunken hearted atmosphere than you would often expect from a young Indie Pop songstress. It demonstrated her clever control of sonic aesthetics and showed that she will be giving us much more than sunny, bubblegum tunes about summer romance. It was a really mature debut EP full of considered rhythms and a vast range of vocal and instrumental emotions.
Now, she has returned with her second single 'sleepstuff' which, as the name suggests, is a little more dreamy than her debut. Guitar lines tangle loosely with her melancholic vocal contemplations that are comparable to Phoebe Green for our UK readers. The lyrics "I'm scared to be alone" and "I climb into my parents bed" paint a brutally honest picture of her mental state. The instrumentals are densely layered with baselines and winding guitars dancing on top of a rolling drum beat and background harmonies that, together, perhaps depict the cluttered state of mind that she is going through in the song. A guitar / synth hook provides the real ear worming element of this song and combines catchy pop finesse with a deeper, natural feeling of Indie Pop melancholia. Good signs for the EP!
It seems America have their answer to Post-Punk heavyweights Fontaines D.C. in the form of new solo songwriter Jack Moody. Making heavily layered tracks in his bedroom has resulted in an incredibly insular sound that is audibly self-analytical. Sonically, the tracks are full of distortion and purposefully fuzzy so that there is never an empty space throughout any song's duration. This creates a droning, immersive experience that you can easily get lost in.
His latest single 'Demons' is, as the name suggests, drenched in melancholic self reflection. Somehow you can just hear how this song was constructed. It will have started with some testing riffs that are drenched in a washy Post-Punk tone. Then, once the multiple layers of gloomy bass and guitar lines were finished, a intentionally loose and messy drum pattern was inserted to provide the background force. Finally, when all the instrumentals were complete, he will have approached the mic with just a few words in mind and repeatedly sang along to his sonic construction time and time again until his truest thoughts and feelings revealed themselves to him from his subconscious. Now, the final product is full of the strangely appealing, down trodden spirit that lies at the heart of Post-Punk. Hopefully there's more to come soon.
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