Single Review: “The Last American Virgin”

“The Last American Virgin” is the latest single from KATZ, a trio from Manchester, UK, self-released this New Year’s Day, as the first single of their upcoming EP to be released on February 3rd.

The band consists of Ben Williams on vocals and guitar, James Bradbury on lead guitar and bass, and Archie Wilkinson on drums.

The track is a bittersweet tale of lovesickness, inspired by the film of the same name, with an energetic mixture of surf-rock, indie pop and, punk, proudly DIY and Lo-Fi, as it was recorded “in an attic bedroom of a shared student house” according to the band, directly into cassette on a TASCAM 244, the venerated 4-track portastudio.

KATZ – fLTR: James Bradbury, Ben Williams, Archie Wilkinson.

It starts with a frantic guitar strumming of 2 chords for a short while, an almost metronomic drum joins in, then the first verse comes, summing up the song for us:

Dreaming of her

Wishing I could be with her

She sees other guys

Wish I could make her mine

The pace of the song is energetic, the urgency emanating from it is nothing short of infectious, standing in sharp contrast with the melancholy and disillusionment found in lyrics, like the chorus:

Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m not your type
why’d you have to tell me you’re mine
Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m not your type
why’d you have to feed me these lies

Towards the end of the song, the drums play a machine-like staccato and Ben lets out a wistful falsetto, almost like a lament, before ending the track with a final chorus.

The end result is a lively tune, a song that contains elements of a potential classic: a universal pop song theme, a relentless tempo, and tight musicians whose sound seems embarked on a mission, we won’t hear the last of them for sure.

Single Premiere: “Well Understood”

“Well Understood” is the latest single from Superflaw, the side project of Anthony Cunard, lead vocalist of Blanky, collaborating with Edward Madill from the band WYLA and Daniel Ryan, released Today January 25th as the last single from their upcoming album “Fictitious”, to be released this January 29th on Manor Records.

The track is a dirty slow waltz with a heavy bluesy edge, guitars take center stage and keep elbowing even while it’s Anthony’s turn to show up and share with us a cautionary tale of longing for the wrong person, almost as he’s headed into a deliberate car crash and he makes his best effort to keep his eyes open, as he sings in a raw, visceral howl:

and I tried so hard to avoid dependence throughout my childhood.
but I’m here with you now always up to no good.

Anthony delivers the lines in a somewhat drifting fashion, showing little regard for lyrical structure, giving the tune a stream-of-consciousness feel, as if he’s exposing an inner dialogue with us, the listeners:

and I tried so hard to show you that I could be anything you wanted.
but I’m here with you now and it’s well understood that we’ll be more later if were less in the meantime.

Superflaw – fLTR: Anthony Cunnard, Daniel Ryan, Edward Madill

In conclusion, the single is a wicked yet alluring slowcore ballad, the raw emotion overflowing from the murky guitars and vocals have a strange charm in their special, untidy way, and hard as we might try, we cannot help but keep coming back for more of this.

Single Review: “The Idea of Having a Boyfriend”

“The Idea of Having a Boyfriend” is the latest single by Post Rome, a 3-piece band from Sunderland, UK, self-released last December, 14.

The trio is composed of: Jasper Watson on bass and vocals, Ben Goodfellow on guitar and vocals, and Jamie Martin on drums.

The track is an expansive indie-rock anthem, with big choruses, big hooks, and big harmonies, served with a big helping of righteousness, it has to be one of the biggest indie hits of 2021, on second thought, let me rephrase that, it’s going to be one of the biggest indie hits of 2021, even if it was released last year.

The track starts with a bang, the chorus in all its sheer width kicks in, letting us know that this band means business and they’re not fooling around:

The idea of having a fucking boyfriend

It leaves you needy

You don’t need us

You need Jesus

Please believe us

The chorus is repeated several times throughout the song, as if they want to grab us by the shoulders and make themselves clear about their message: to stop people yearning for some ideal romance, or any ideal for life not grounded in reality and get a grip on themselves, or, to put it simply: get a life.

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Post Rome – fLTR: Jamie Martin, Jasper Watson, Ben Goodfellow.

The main verse also deliver a similar message of disapproval, taking into account the  overload of social media in our lives:

I need another escape from you

Here is the reason why

9 forms of social media

Is too much for this guy

Towards the final third of the tune, a break takes place, the tension slowly builds up until it reaches its climax right at the final line, ending the song with the same intensity as it began.

The final result is a highly satisfying tune, as mentioned before, it has “hit single” written all over it, the production is crisp, and all of us should get used to the idea of this band aiming for even higher goals.

EP Review: “twomoonsaway – EP”

twomoonsaway, the 4-piece indie-rock band from Hillsborough Township, NJ are back with an eponymous EP, self-released last December 21st.

The band is composed of: David Panarese on vocals and guitar, Brandon Chu on bass, Carlee Ahart on guitar and Justin Tanis on drums (replacing Jake Laifer who’s playing on the EP), David and Brandon also share songwriting duties.

The EP is a collection of their distinctive sombre, short (ranging from 1:19 to 2:37 mins.), and deeply personal songs, exploring the painful and often sorrowful aspects of romance from a first-person perspective.

The opening track, “darkgreenspirits”, their debut single which was discussed here in detail before, deals with the end of a toxic relationship, and the pain that follows.

The following track, “Numbers”, takes a snapshot of a moment of anger and frustration at oneself, the writer feels anchored to a past the he cannot escape no matter how hard he tries.

The 3rd track, “Bullets” is a different take, the tempo gets slower, and we’re listening to a story of a missed opportunity, a seemingly random encounter that could have the potential to blossom into something, from the writer’s perspective at least, and for whatever reason it didn’t happen, all the while the song is shrouded in a big dark cloud of “what if”:

i guess it doesn’t matter

you were only there for a hour

i can’t remember your last name

but i can’t forget your face

My Highlight of the EP is the closing track, “Fall”, which takes a more voyeuristic approach, the tempo gets faster, more urgent, and the writer reads a log of sorts detailing the moves of a person he’s apparently watching, in a mix of pity and vindictiveness, from the moment the subject shares a decision with the writer, drunkenly stumbles home, to middle of the night, wondering whether to contact the writer or not, while the writer makes it clear that either choice will only torment him, leaving an open ending.

As expected from this promising band’s debut single, the music played here is clean and precise, the production of Mike Morello is well balanced as usual, the outcome of all of the above is a record that shows the band’s intentions in a wider, clearer way and is definitely a step in the right direction.

Single Review: “Wired/Weird”

“Wired/Weird” is the debut single of Beige Banquet, the project of London-based musician Tom Brierley released Today on the Just Step Sideways label.

Tom, formerly of Australian noise-post-punk band Noughts, brings us a first taste of his upcoming debut solo album, due to release in early 2021.

While still rooted in the post-punk territory of his previous work, this time Tom takes a smarter art-punk approach to his music, an angular track with repetitive guitar lines, sharp rhythm section, machine hand clappings and stream-of-consciousness lyrics such as:

Breath from last night gone

Indented bed sheets,

Stained with sweat,

And dark grease marks

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Tom Brierley – Beige Banquet

Keeping with the artsy approach, the chorus mirrors the verses, the music gets much denser, bringing the song to its climax while the lyrics are cut to a bare minimum:





The track ends with another climactic chorus only to reach an abrupt silence, finishing it with the same intensity as it began, leaving you wondering what hit your ears.

The outcome is a fascinating art-punk gem, an aural display of light and shadows, Tom serves here as an illusionist, hiding and showing elements at will, keeping us wondering what other marvels are still behind the curtain, just waiting to be exposed for all us to listen, I’ll keep waiting on the front row in anticipation.

EP Review: “II”

“II” is the latest EP from Dead Rituals, a band based in Naples, Italy, self-released last October.

While this is not a one-man band, Dead Rituals is centered around its frontman Andrea Caccesse, who also serves as its sole songwriter, producer and engineer, with a cast of collaborators, most notably vocalist Brita Penfold, who is featured in a couple of tracks.

The EP is composed of 3 tracks and an acoustic version of one as an added bonus, the 1st track, “Broken Memories” starts with an anthemic ambience, a driving and punchy drum kicks in, minimalist guitar lines join, and Andrea introduces himself, telling us a story of overcoming a negative and hurtful relation, punctuated by lines such as:

I don’t care if we lose it all.

‘cause after we’re gone, we’ll fade in the dirt.

After such intensity for the first to minutes, the track closes with a minute and a half of a slower, introspective segment, as if he teller is experiencing a brief period looking back in quiet reflection.

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Andrea Caccesse – Dead Rituals

The following track, and IMO the Highlight of the EP, “Slow Down”, is a more mellower tune with in an unusual 5/4 time signature, the mood is a little more upbeat, from the ethereal synths, and the plea for a respite with a sneaky twist between the lines:

I am taking my time Slow down,

slow down and come to me.

I need to lie down

I am already over the edge.

The 3rd track, “When The Lights Are Out” takes a turn into a broody direction, acoustic guitars come to the forefront to add to the melancholy of the tune, the ethereal synths keep lurking in the background but in a more sombre vibe.

The final (bonus) track is an acoustic version of “Slow Down”, not much to add to it, perhaps Andrea wanted the effort to end in a lighter note, who knows?

Each track was created in a different style and mood, at first glance, they appear to be seemingly mismatched, but what keeps it all together is the thematic thread, about the ups and (mostly) downs of being with someone, giving the listener a conceptual feel, and making the effort more cohesive in the process, the musicianship is top-notch, and combined with the decent production skills of its creator, the end result is a highly satisfying record from beginning to end.

Single Review: “Grace”

“Grace” is the debut single of Nate Adamson, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Vancouver, BC, self-released last October 2nd.

The relatively lengthy (5:32) track is an anthemic country-flavored indie-rock ballad, with gorgeous melodies, acoustic and lead guitars that strike the ear gently, providing a fitting background for Nate’s breezy vocals, singing subtly cryptic lyrics that maybe can be read as a love song, or a self-assurance declaration, or both:

What am I supposed to say?

Asking me why I ran away

Its better now, I’m glad you’re gone

Grace won’t be steering me wrong

The climax of the song is an intricate guitar solo at the final minute and a half of it, fading out into silence.

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Nate Adamson

The production values are well above average, every element is very well balanced, the guitars, the drums and the keyboards lie in harmony and give plenty of room to the vocals to flow.

The single brings to the forefront Nate’s multiple hats and talents, as a composer, as a vocalist, as a multi-instrumentalist and most importantly, as a producer, all done with flair that seems effortless for some reason, and all of it is condensed here into song for the world to listen, and it should.

Single Review: “Blackbird”

“Blackbird” is the latest single from Crying Beauty Queens, an indie-rock trio from Manchester, UK, composed of guitarist and singer Jordan Price, drummer Paddy Murphy, and bassist Alex Hurlstone, self-released this past November 20th.

The track is an intense brew of goth-infused indie-rock with marked post-punk elements thrown in for good measure, descending minor chords presage a gloomy mood.

The song is a goodbye letter for a departed friend, bringing images of graves, funerals, unanswered questions and the all-ominous symbolism of the blackbird:

The blackbird settles on your grave,

Whilst the priest calls out your name.

The heart’s dead, the mind’s alive,

Wondering how she survived.

The reason for the death of the person is not stated, but it’s stated between the lines that she was taken too soon from this world.

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Crying Beauty Queens – fLTR: Alex Hurlstone, Jordan Price, Paddy Murphy.

The track also presents a series of interesting contrasts, the verses and choruses keep the dark themes while Jordan sings in a soft and melodic voice, and they’re followed by surprisingly uplifting interludes of spiky and twitchy post-punk, where Paddy’s hyperactive and frantic drum fills shine through those segments without missing a beat.

In conclusion, the single is a big step forward in their progression, the band brought to our attention what appears to be their best release to date, a very intense and focused effort that hints at a promising future for this band.

Single Review: “Take Back”

“Take Back” is the latest single from The Kintners, a husband and wife duo from Henrietta, TX, featuring songwriter Nathan Peter Illes, to be self-released this November 24th.

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The song is a Folk-Rock gem with a harder, bluesy vibe where acoustic guitars coexist successfully with slightly distorted electric jabs, a Hammond organ provide a melancholic tone, setting the stage for singer Keri Kintner’s clean, melodic voice and Kelly Kintner’s backing vocals to join in sweet and melodious harmonies in the chorus.

The sweetness in the vocals and harmonies mask the lyrical subject of the aftermath of a painful heartbreak, and the struggle to overcome it:

You’re mistaken if you’re thinking you can come back to me

you can’t take back my love once you break my heart like that

I don’t wanna talk about it

I can’t see the point anymore

The production is well above average, the vocals were given a proper and noticeable care, the different instruments (especially the acoustic guitar) are well balanced and don’t drown the vocals, the attention to detail is well noted.

The song is a lovely homage to late 60s pop, especially in its more rocking sides, it’s a single that you won’t stop listening repeatedly and loving it all over again.

Album Review: “First Animal”

“First Animal” is the debut album of Trevor Bates, a musician from Little Rock, AR, self-released November 13th.

The Album is a one-man effort, as Trevor wrote, composed, sang and played all instruments, in a messy and heavy celebration of good old-fashioned Garage Psych, with lyrics that range from innocent, to cryptic, to mythological, with a background music where loud guitars, both lead and rhythm take center stage.

The opening track, and the album’s Highlight, “My Baby’s Cryin'” with a heavy riff in the opening bars that serves as a statement, as if to say “I arrived, and there’s nothing you can do about it”, with surprisingly innocuous lyrics about a significant other:

Let me hold your hand

Let me dry your cheek

Baby I’m around

You gotta tell me what you need

The following track, “Words”, is more of a split-personality affair, with stanzas alternating between raw screams and subdued vocals, with a start stop musical structure.

Trevor Bates, indie music blog,

The 6th track, “Mother” uses an unusual 3/4 time signature with a somewhat bluesy feel augmented by an organ, with lyrics that seem taken form a book of an unknown mythology:

Four thousand years

Nine un-worthies appear

Field, valley, reap

Wakes the mother from sleep

The 9th track, “(Don’t Put Out) The Candle” takes a detour toward a weirder direction, with slightly distorted vocals, strange guitar sounds in the background and a short fuzz guitar part.

The closing track, “All Along The Way” is the most accessible song, a folksy tune with minimal percussion and acoustic guitar, serves as an appropriate way to end the listening experience on good terms.

The album feels a bit uneven musically, but the overall result is a record packed with good tunes and no boring moments, the production effort is noticeable, the vocals are well recorded (the first thing on my checklist), and signals a very interesting musician that’s worth keeping an eye and an ear on.