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Underground USA Vol 6: Vevo one to watch JAWNY, Indie Pop Rapper Arden Jones & Whoop's debut album!
Fuzzy riffs, tightly packed high-energy drum beats and a wide range of vocal extremes pepper the unmistakably modern blended sound of JAWNY aka Johnny Utah. Including this modern Rock project in an article titled 'Undergound USA' is a stretch as JAWNY is by no means unheard of and has some huge tracks in the states such as the single 'Honeypie' which has amassed over 180 million streams. Yet, despite the massive online attention some of their tracks have earned, they remain a relatively allusive name on the lips of UK taste makers. However, following the latest EP 'The Story Of Hugo' this may be about to change. The EP feels like a statement piece and has gained global attention with many tipping JAWNY for big things in 2022. Most notably, VEVO, who named them as one to watch for the new year.
Following this VEVO attention, JAWNY was invited to perform a live version of the track 'Take It Back'. As you can watch above, he didn't let up on this opportunity to be noticed and delivered a supercharged rendition of the rousing Indie-Punk anthem. All dials are turned up to the max, his vocals have an extra dose of swagger and his guitar has an even more distorted and crunching effect. The chorus goes back to basics by creating a seemingly simplistic concoction of united chanting, punchy drums and a memorable hard hitting riff. Yet, it is easy to underestimate the skill needed to pull this kind of energy off. You need full cohesion among the band, you need technical ability of course, but most of all you need passion. You need to posses that rockstar spirit that transcends the recording and seeps out of the speakers making every thumping note irresistibly infectious...and that is exactly what they do. If this video isn't an advert for what JAWNY has to offer, particularly in the live setting, then I don't know what is. Let's just hope that we can see him bringing his insatiable music-loving energy over to the UK before he gets too big!
In a similar sense to JAWNY, Arden Jones can't be considered 'underground' in US terms as his single 'Parallel Parking' from earlier this year has racked up in excess of 10 million streams. However, the Indie Pop rapper has yet to be picked up by UK audiences but with the recent success of upbeat genre benders such as NOISY it seems like the perfect time for Arden to jump across the pond. Vocally he is distinctively American, carrying that smooth soaring feel as if he is constantly trying to hype up a small basement venue crowd in a style that is sometimes comparable to Twenty One Pilots. Yet, at other times, like in his popular release 'SMILE', his vocals take a more angsty twist, becoming more direct and forceful.
His latest release 'either way' is a pure injection of positivity written about ignoring all the little things you feel are dragging you down and appreciating the many beautiful things in life we take for granted. It begins with just Arden's raspy vocals and a piano which together make quite a poignant atmosphere. Yet, it is not long before a pounding electro drum beat joins the party and transforms the track into an anthemic and uplifting experience. It a song designed to be sang, with the numerous chanting melodies that have that irresistibly catchy quality. In UK terms his music is comparable to Bad Sounds, full of uplifting energy, fun big beats and a dose of mental introspection.
Indie Rock quartet Whoop are underground in the truest sense of the word. With their debut self-titled album less than two weeks old they are a very undiscovered group that are appreciated by their few hundred followers. However, this is no indication of their quality! Their album has an audible confidence and showcases a songwriting ability that far outweighs these numbers. On the whole their album offers an impressive range, drifting from the lo-fi Indie vibes of 'Smile' to the gritty angst expression of 'Care' to the laid back lounge style of 'Jump' with ease.
The opening track 'What I Want' sets out their stall perfectly with its slick Indie dance riff and vocals that are delivered with a cool swagger. Its bold without being over the top and demonstrates the balance between calm and crazy that runs throughout the whole record. 'Feel Good' takes on this more angsty side of things and runs with it making my personal highlight of the album. It isn't too complicated but it is punchy and generates a fantastic energy that feels like a must-see live. The chorus is built around the in-your-face female vocal line "I wanna feel good". Yet, with the rambling Garage Rock riff and the scrambly drum tone the song demands to feel good rather than asking for it. Whoop certainly have a lot of talent ready to be channeled and they are by far one of America's brightest uncovered gems.
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