Words: Karl Johnson
The discovery of Blush Club is something special, the Glasgow band fuse jangling pop guitars with something more rigid, angular and heavier. The unique semi-spoken word/sing vocal approach on new single ‘Spices’ cuts through a complex instrumental strut perfectly, lyrically never getting lost in the slow-burning alternative rock fury of the track. There’s certainly a timeless New York City influence in the sound, anything from Parquet Courts, Television to BODEGA – but with the dry modern British vocal performance, Blush Club could be the romantic art-rock explorers to take 2023 by the hand and lead us into a new realm of exciting guitar music.
New Zealand-based, Australian born dream pop newcomer Mayzie crafts the type of guitar jangling, lo-fi-leaning hazy pop melodies that twist and turn their way to your soul on a first listen. Lyrically ‘Socialite’ tears at the seams of escapist thoughts, and freedom from the boundaries which our hometowns create within us, the track arrives with a deep and driving bass groove and glistening guitars that offer to glimpse into an alternate reality that we often crave for. Taking a page out of the book of acts such as Canadian outfit Alvvays or kiwi legends The Chills, Mayzie arrives as seemingly the complete alternative pop package. UK shows anyone?
Ahead of their EP ‘Ecstatic Oscillations’, which arrives September 23rd, Automotion return with new single ‘The Dicethrow’. Opening with a touching and subdued vocal passage, the momentum in the driving drums and sparkling guitar parts move us into dreamy, thought-provoking territory. On the 1 minute mark, the vocal turns to spoken work intimacy as the instrumental charge takes a turn – melding building, glacial post-rock with a flurry of alternative rock urges. The beauty in ‘The Dicethrow’ comes from it’s dynamics, never letting the listening rest for too long before changing the formula, the end result is one of a heartfelt heavyness yet propulsive and journeying in equal measure.
‘Lonely Town’ (Nice Swan Records)
Brighton newcomers Shady Baby assumed the ‘Ones To Watch’ label from their debut single, released in May this year on Nice Swan Records. Now they’ve returned with ‘Lonely Town’, taking it’s cues from anything happening on US soil in the 90’s alternative rock and indie movement that dominated airwaves worldwide. The quartet don’t shy away from big rock riffs and have a way with vocal melodies and lyrics that place them securely on British soil, not a huge leap from the type of tight-knit raucous indie rock that catapulted Spring King to the name on everyone’s lips a few years back. ‘Lonely Town’ is an escapist anthem in the making, carefree guitar music for anxious times.
‘Never Felt The Morning Sun’ (Nothing Fancy Records)
Today we enter the world of Lichen, who release their debut single ‘Never Felt The Morning Sun’, the track offers windswept vocal melodies to a backdrop of heavenly violin. Written while vocalist Michael Clark was was still living in Cornwall in a flat on the seafront, ‘Never Felt The Morning Sun’ certainly stirs up memories of feeling the tranquillity of the ocean around you. Built around a patient underlying groove and drum structure, all focus is on the delicate and warm vocal melodies that fuse with gentle, minimalist folk influences. Lichen is the vehicle of South London-based artist Michael Clark, his debut offering feels like a long-lost songwriters gem from time ago – classic yet telling a new tale of solitude in the chaos of a 21st century existence.