A totally random, whatever came to mind first, selection of the latest additions to our
New Music Monster
Music Reviews written by Tobi Davis
UK-based Independent Artist and superstar in waiting, Indiana delivers a sultry cool slice of synthpop sizzle and stand out songcraft with new single, “Caroline”.
Having parted company with Sony in search of artistic freedom, self-confessed narcissist Indiana has thrown herself into the life of an Independent Artist, making music and music video alike with a pronounced single-mindedness and single focus, to work her own way back to the top of the charts on her own terms.
Latest single, ‘“Caroline” represents Indiana’s first new material of 2019. Framed by glorious synth sonics and fizzing ever-shifting ambient drenched in delay, modulation, and sweet saturation, the 3 minutes 34 seconds track hustles to a bit snipped hi-hat and Linndrum dry kick snare/kick snare. Well placed stutter and glitch adds further syncopation and excitement, as Indiana’s soulful pop vocals soar. The talented vocalist working an impressive range from rich soulful tones to breathy and brittle pop laments.
Impressive production enhances the emotional dynamic with smart use of arrangement and FX, opening up and closing down the track in an ever-changing phonic dynamic. Vocals FXs are applied with taste, as imaginative use of pitch, synth, and echo create harmony, double and foreshadow. For all its qualities, it is the elegance and integrity of Indiana's songwriting that stands “Caroline” apart from the weekly slew of dance-pop offerings. Where her contemporaries so often fall short, Indiana excels. Reminiscent of the great pop songs of the 80s, “Caroline” tells a cautionary tale by successfully pairing compelling melody, both mournful and engaging, with lyric rich in image and idea. The result is nothing short of a modern pop classic, quietly operatic and softly spoken poetic.
With a backlog of material to release and a highly active presence on social media, Indiana looks set to take 2019, and take it, very much on her own terms. Without access to mainstream distribution channels afforded to major label artists, Indiana will have to move the mountain to her by sheer force of will and talent. Fortunately for fans of her music, she’s not lacking for either.
Track: “All My Friends are Rich” (Hindsight 20/20 EP)
Indie pop rising star UPSAHL releases her debut EP, ‘Hindsight 20/20’; rich in soul, swagger, sarcasm, and the sardonic, typified by the opening track, “All My Friends are Rich”.
Having only released her debut single, “Can You Hear Me Know” in 2018, UPSAHL has enjoyed a rapid rise to the impressive heights of placements on both Spotify and Filtr playlists, the attention of tastemaker publications, Consequence of Sound, Indie Shuffle and Ones to Watch, and #1 on the Hype Machine Charts. The young artist’s follow up singles, ‘Kiss Me Now’ and ‘Rough’ were produced by Max Frost and Tim Pagnotta & Brian Phillips respectively.
Drawing upon an eclectic range of genres, ‘Hindsight 20/20’ features a dazzling range of musical influences and delights for the listener. Each one successfully and seamlessly blended together across the five track EP. While Indie Pop remains the constant at the heart of each song, in turn, each one arrives, with its own unique flavor; the second track, ‘Stressed’ explodes into life with a sumptuous and swanky eruption of brass, the following track, ‘Drugs’ trading on Enimen-style loop ‘n’ sample.
Quirky and insightful, odd and ill-tempered, UPSAHL’s inspired use of lyrics catches and engages the ear from the get-go. Her singular use of phrase and expression, both familiar and, paradoxically, alienating at the same time. A refreshingly honest degree of obnoxiousness is present throughout; although UPSAHL has no interest or need to appear anything like ‘perfect’ in our eyes. Her vocal delivery works the beats well, moving from strut to rush with effective ease.
An intoxicating mix of smartly produced, creative instrumentation and arrangement, coupled with UPSAHL’s uniquely compelling songwriting makes for a highly enjoyable and original debut EP. Hindsight 20/20 exceeds the considerable expectations upon its creator’s young shoulders.
Catch the new video for ‘Drugs’.
Track: “Beverly Hills”
DIY pop producer Madge drops glorious electro on the most excellent lo-fi with her stand out rendition of Weezer’s 2005 smash hit, “Beverly Hills”.
Born and raised in Utah, now based in LA, Madge’s 2018 debut was an inspired cover of Sum 41’s ‘In Too Deep’. The MTV-friendly indie rock bop cast anew as a melancholic oddity of drawn-out guitar riff, willfully unrefined saw wave, and deconstructed drum machine fill. Madge managing to find depths in a track few had any idea existed.
2019 and Madge makes a welcome return to the art of the cover song with Weezer’s Grammy-winning MTV rotation all-conquering mega-smash, “Beverly Hills”.
Stripped down beat, bit and stab and chunky, cumbersome monolithic synth bass spit and grind; Madge tackling the opening verse in hushed rushes of double-tracked whispers, opening up to wonderful indie talk vox through the chorus. Sonic strangeness floats in the ambiance; modulating, escalating, auto-saturated, sequence and synth fizz, ripple, and squish. The track building in uneven lunges and bursts.
Stubbornly alternative and bold testament to the underproduced, untidy, wonder of the home brewed and truly independent, Madge’s reimagining of Weezer’s “Beverly Hills” will delight and dismay in equal measure. Refreshingly unapologetic in its intentions, the track is by no means for everyone; nor is it meant to be. Clearly indifferent to indifference, Madge is making music for you to love or for you to hate. A compulsion shared by all genuine Artists.
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About Tobi Davis (BRASH! Magazine/Blog Writer)
Good producing is like good plumbing. If you do your job right, no one notices. Mix, Remix + Master. Run @monsterthread w/ Singer Songwriter Jon Magnusson. Host Thursday’s @musichouruk. Music Reviews for BRASH! Magazine. Promote. Occasional Lyricist. Love my beagle Enzo + fav bands Little Empire and Moxi.
Check out Tobi Sonics – Mixes + Remixes!
About The Monster Thread
The #MonsterThread is a community of Independent Musicians, Bands and Artists supporting each other in making and sharing Indie Music.