• James Booton

Underground USA - Volume 4




The Technicolors


Although The Technicolors (and that's colors not colours UK readers!) are probably best known for their lo-fi bedroom pop single 'Space Cadet', that track can be a bit misleading as a representation of the Arizona band's overall style, especially that of their most recent activity. This is not to say that 'Space Cadet' is not a fantastic song, it really is and is a great entry point to attract them the attention they deserve. However, on the whole they are a lot more vibrant and, as their name suggests, colourful.



This year has seen them arrive with three new singles in the build up to their fourth album 'Cinema Sublimina' which is set for release on October 22nd. The stand out track of these new singles has to be the most recent offering, 'Nightvisions'. The feeling of the song is probably best captured by the opening lyrics "Your florescent mind bleeds into my mind". This captures the vibrant instrumental sound that is packed with flavour, adding cowbells, synths and background shouts that almost sound like barking, all to enhance the modern Rock sound that lies at the core and to prevent the track from ever stagnating. The chorus is a thumping one that sees the gravelly riff battle it out with the cocky streamlined vocals, all driven by the pounding drum sound. This combination creates a vibe that wouldn't be out of place on the most recent Royal Blood record, offering similar vibes to tracks like 'Oblivion' and 'Who Needs Friends'. In the states they certainly can't be considered as underground but they have yet to receive their recognition in the UK, yet these confident new singles might force this fact to to change.


Mothé


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. 2020 saw them pour out the ideas they had been working on into a stream of singles, establishing what the new project was all about. The standout track 'It's OK to Be Lonely' tackles sensitive issues with honest lyricism in typical Spencer Fort style, matching the vocals with bittersweet Synth Pop sounds designed for dancing around your bedroom at night without a care.



2021 has followed in the same vain with a selection of singles building up to the new EP 'Summer's Almost Gone' which takes a turn down a more coastal road, reflecting the rolling surf sounds you would expect from West Coast America. The title track is a dreamy one, evoking the emotions that it says on the tin, that almost melancholic feeling that summer is ending but with the calming, joyful undertones that still linger from when it was happening. The jangly Johnny Marr esc guitars and light synth inputs aren't dissimilar from our local lads SPINN and give off the perfect soothing soundtrack to a sunset chillout with friends. However the highlight of the EP has to be the grittier 'Debt Collector' that, again, 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.

Nick Wagen


Working solely out of his home studio in North West Indiana, solo Indie songwriter Nick Wagen has arrived with his debut EP 'Bug Garden'. The first sample of this that we received was the internal bedroom contemplations of 'Stay With Me'. The first thing you notice in this track is the vocals. They emit a really warming, soulful quality and an audible honesty that is comparable to Sam Fender. Nick brings that kind of rich tonal effect that transcends the actual lyrical content. You could honestly listen to him singing about the most mundane of topics and still feel a deeper emotive reaction purely because of the underlying character and element of sadness in his voice.


Instrumentally, the track is quite understated with that distinctive bedroom Pop style, consisting of layered textural elements that are pretty continuous. Yet, this repetition becomes hypnotic as the song progresses and the chorus carries more and more intensity each times it arrives. Even though the final chorus is the same as the first at its core, after hearing it the first few times you become more and more eager to hear it again. By the final moments you are fully absorbed in the sound and can't help but sing along. The EP's ender 'Redshift' is slightly more lo-fi and an apt track for closing 'Bug Garden'. Sonically, it feels like those melancholic moments walking back from a house party in the early hours of the morning with its drifting vocal patterns, steady down tempo beat and bittersweet synth melody. Yet, the final 45 seconds see the crisp lead guitar take over with a fantastic lowkey solo that brings a lasting smile to the track and closes the debut EP in a comforting style. It is as though for a brief moment that post-party depression is replaced with a few warming memories from the night you've just had. It really completes the four-track release and as a whole 'Bug's Garden' is a great indicator for the bittersweet bedroom pop that Nick Wagen will be perfecting in the years to come.

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