Tag Archives: indie

New Music Mondays: Muse, Machine Head and Much More!

We have a fun addition to New Music Mondays this week. Our newest team member Max has given me a hand in writing this, as I was away for the weekend. Give him some love as he saved my ass and did a great job! I’ve covered a few of them and he’s done a few, and if I had any more thoughts on an album I added them on too!

It’s another week another list! A fun set of albums have been released this week so join me in exploring them all.

Muse: Will of the People

Max: So where to begin? This is Muse’s 10th album if you don’t include the two live albums and the anniversary version of Origin of Symmetry. I must say that it is my favourite since the resistance. There are so many things to say about this album and I wish I had more time for it, from the amazing grooves in the bass to the solos spaced throughout. However, Matt’s voice is utterly outstanding.

If you only have time for a couple of songs I highly recommend ‘Ghosts (How Can I Move On)’ which is a beautiful piano led song which gives me chills every time I listen to it, ‘You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween’ which has a brilliant groovy and feel to it which makes me want to get up and move each time and then ‘Kill Or Be Killed’ which is definitely more inline with some of Muse’s heavier music. All in all, a great album and an easy 8.5/10.

Machine Head: Øf KingdØm and CrØwn

Max: Machine Head are back, and they want you to know what they’re about again. It has been four years since Catharsis, their last album. It’s clear in that time that they have been working hard on perfecting their art . All I can say is wow. It is heavier, it is intense, and it is brilliant. From ‘Slaughter the Martyr’; their ten and a half minute opening song is kickass from the slow intro to the filthy riffs and the solos. There is so much in this song to digest however there is more to get through. ‘Become The Firestorm’ and ‘No Gods, No Masters’ are must listens and as potentially controversial as this might be, I think this album is better than Burn My Eyes, their seminal first album. This is a 9/10 but if you rate it higher there is no contest because this is a phenomenal album.

Joe: As a HUGE fan of Machine Head, especially their output from Ashes, Catharsis and a couple of singles afterwards were a pretty big let down. I enjoyed last year’s EP, though (all of which ended up on this album). My god does this build on that perfectly. Right from opening on a 10-minute heavy epic with a good three minutes of slow-build to start, I knew the Machine Fuckin’ Head I knew were back. I’ve seen a fair few journalists comparing this to The Blackening. While I think that’s a bit of a stretch, it’s definitely a step back in the right direction. I agree with Max on all of his highlight tracks, and would also like to add the venomous ‘Rotten’. 9/10

Embrace: How to Be a Person Like Other People

Joe: The Yorkshiran rock band released their eighth studio album last week. While I was sceptical it would make it onto this list at all with the slow piano intro, it build into a cracking, stadium-filling ballad in ‘Death is Not the End’. While the rest of the album was still good, it’s in a similar style to the opening track and never quite reached the same lofty heights. It’s a blend of British and US indie rock which was perfect for a background listen or a long car journey, but I found it not holding my attention too well when listened to intently. If you’re into indie you’ll enjoy this a lot more than I did,. I feel like I’d ‘get’ this a lot more if I saw it live. For now, it gets a 5/10 from me!

Excuses Excuses: Listen Up

We’ve covered this already last week, and you can find the review and score here.

Sigh: Shiki

Max: The Japanese cult black metal band Sigh are back also after four years. For a first venture into this band, Shiki is a great place to start. It is a difficult listen if you are new to black metal, but their somewhat eclectic mix of styles can be a saving grace if you find the raw and intense vocals a little hard. This is not the best album ever made but I think it is a must listen for anyone wanting to explore more music and expand their genres.

I found it difficult to pick out which songs were the best in the album. But, after a couple more listens, the strange, almost jazz-break in the second track of the album, ‘Kuroi Kage’, just sticks with me even now. Its one for all to explore if they feel brave enough to which brings me to give this a solid 7.5/10 and I am excited for what might come next.

Joe: What has this company done to me? I loved this. I’ve somehow gotten pretty into the more epic side of extreme metal, and I kinda like it. Whether it was the balls to the wall track above or the more up and down ‘Mayonaka No Kaii’ there was a lot I enjoyed here. I do however agree with Max in that it’s a 7.5/10. Good stuff!

Brymir: Voices In The Sky

Max: The Finnish metal band are here with another packed album. It’s difficult to say what their plan for this album was as it felt to cross many layers. All in the band pushed their art to the next level with each song feeling quite different from the next. This being said I would not say this is the best album on the list. It was constantly punchy and energetic, and I found myself listening to it in the background through out the day but I truly struggled to find one song that was the best.

With all this said, however, I do think everyone should check it out. I am excited to see if they explore a but more of the melodic/death metal side that they can clearly do. I’m going to have to give this an 8/10 but that could change once I’ve got to grips more with this band who were completely new to me.

Manifest: The Sinking

Max: Here’s a band that I doubt many of you have heard of before. This is the bands fifth album, and it is a hard one. Whilst some of you may question me on this considering I liked Sigh, I really could not get past the Stian’s vocals and there was not much for me in the album. I implore you to check it out for yourself but I struggled to get past the fourth track so there is not much more to say. It is a 5/10 for me.

Joe: The mixing on this was pretty meh. It felt like a punch in the face, but that may have been the intention. However, I didn’t mind this aside for that. The elements are there of a good album, it just needs a fair amount of polish. It reminded me of a more biker Hatebreed, the same aggression and speed but with some catchy choruses thrown in at times. However, the cleans aren’t all that great, and the extreme vocals could be little stronger. I preferred when they stuck to the hardcore stuff as opposed to jumping to black metal or their slower stuff. 5/10

Lacrimas Profundere: How to Shroud Yourself with Night

We’ve got a review coming out of this album in the coming days. It was delayed due to being ask to react to some of their singles. While you wait, check out our reaction to their latest single, ‘To Disappear In You’, below. And check back in a couple of days for the link to the review!

Dynazty: Final Advent

Max: This one definitely ends the list on a high. Its hard to say exactly what this album makes me feel because wow its good, exceptionally good. They are top of their field, all the members of this band. There is so much pure and lovable energy in this band, and you can see how much they love making music. Each of the songs remind me of why I do this and how much I love music. There is one song that everyone needs to hear: ‘Yours’. Its an utterly beautiful songs and the chorus with its great hook and amazing vocals hits me somewhere deep. Its is a top song of the year so far for me and I am definitely going to try and see them live some time soon. It’s great to be surprised by music no matter what you hear, and this album hit in all the right places so I can’t see any reason to not listen to it because I really do think its inviting enough for everyone 9/10.

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Casual Abrasive: Are Feverjaw the Next Big Indie Band?

The Cardiff based alt/indie rock band Feverjaw have been going for a little while now, having put out their debut album last year and now added to that with this new 4-track EP. While it isn’t usually my sort of music, I’m excited to check it out as I have seen the buzz getting up around this band!

‘Midsommar’ (also one of my favourite movies) opens on a pretty fun riff. It builds up slowly with the vocals and drums. It all culminates in a massive chorus, the backing vocals and harmonies adding some depth and catchiness to it all, making it all sound huge. The bridge after the second chorus is awesome, feeling like it builds up the epicness well heading into a final chorus. However, overall while it was a good, enjoyable track, it felt a little simple, it didn’t really go anywhere. Still, as an opening track it was fun!

‘Free Fire’ is a little more up my street. The lead guitar line during the opening riff felt punk AF. That feeling continued through the verse as it was pretty bass and drums lead, the guitars coming in with big chords at the start of each line. It also builds into a big, catchy, fantastic chorus, again the backing vocals adding a lot. There’s even a bit of a guitar solo in there, a little repetitive but that comes with the genre really! It dropping out to just guitar and vocals heading into the final chorus is always fun and works very well here. This was more my sort of thing than the opening track and it makes the playlist. Good stuff!

The punk vibes continue through ‘And the Machines’, it being probably the heaviest track on the EP. It gives off pretty heavy Misfits vibes actually with the chuggy verses and huge, cymbal-heavy choruses. It drops down a bit for a fun bridge, focussing more on the bass and drums. Then, it builds up into a huge final double chorus. Another good track!

Then finally we have ‘Freeze the Frame’. It’s the slowest and most indie track on the EP by quite a margin. It’s a slow track filled with a repeating clean guitar riff with some higher, very US indie-style vocals over the top. I kept waiting for it to drop but it didn’t, staying chilled throughout. I have to admit, I loved it. The simple nature of the track won me over big time, and it felt full of emotion. It reminded me a lot of Lumineers, which is definitely a good thing!

Overall: This grew on me a lot throughout. After a rocky opening track it honestly just got better and better. The band are very talented musicians and songwriters and will go a long way if they keep putting out stuff like this!

The Score: 7/10

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Lyoness: The Silence

Lyoness is a band that has been around for a few years now but really broke out as soon as they released their first tracks in 2019, earning themselves a fantastic slot supporting the awesome Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes. The band has so far only put out singles, but that is all set to change with their upcoming EP. The first song of said EP, ‘The Silence’, was released today, so we thought we’d check it out and see what it’s like!

The track opens on a drumbeat that had a pretty strange yet interesting effect on it, it sitting far back in the mix and sounding muddy. We then get the guitar and bass coming in with a brief, low riff before Gillian’s low, indie/punk vocals come in over the top. It’s dripping in attitude and swagger, especially with the minimal instrumentation behind it. The second half the verses are cool too, the guitars coming in with an interesting riff that, if it was any less palm-muted, would be pretty damn heavy, but it works pretty well in this sort of setting too.

It all builds into a huge, pretty heavy chorus. The drums go cymbal heavy, opening out the track loads, and the guitars hit some huge chords. Meanwhile, the vocals get a little higher and harder, with Gillian coming up with a pretty damn catchy vocal line that repeats throughout. It then heads into an awesome little bridge part after the second chorus, with another heavy, awesome riff from the instruments while the vocals hum and ‘woh’ perfectly over the top. It reminds me a lot of Dorothy and that sort of American level of pop-rock heaviness, catchy and great. It also then swings into a final chorus to end things with a bang.

Overall: it was an awesome track, and one hell of a good choice to make as the first single for their EP. It was simple yet perfectly catchy and heavy for the band’s sound, as well as for wide-reaching radio play. You cannot ask for anything else really, and I cannot wait to hear what the rest of the EP has in store! 

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Baby Strange: Loud and Direct indie rock music from Glasgow!

Baby Strange are a Scottish indie rock band from the wonderful city of Glasgow. The band have been going strong for nearly ten years and have gained quite the following in the UK due to their mashup of influences – be it rock, punk or even hip-hop. Frontman Johnny Madden describes their sound as ‘high energy, loud and direct.’ The three band members met at a community centre when they were kids, partaking in a seminar that encouraged children to get into music. It later inspired them to form the band Baby Strange. We got the chance to speak to them a little about their music, the industry today for a grassroots band and their plans for the future. 

So, firstly, we had to ask the same question as we ask everyone we interview here at Overtone: What is the one song that Johnny Madden wished he had written?

“Teenage Kicks by The Undertones! Surely that’s everyone’s answer?”

Obviously the last year or so has been very hard on the music industry  with the seemingly endless stream of lockdowns. Baby Strange used the unusual time to produce their latest release.

“It was really weird at first. We’re used to making music together week in and week out so not being able to do that for a while was a strange feeling. We did write the majority of our new EP over lockdown though and we’re really happy with the way it’s turned out.

“There’s a lot of things [we miss] but one that comes to mind is walking out to a packed room and diving into the first song of the set and seeing the place go nuts. It’s a feeling I’ll never get tired of.”

Speaking more widely about the music industry, Johnny listed his most liked and disliked parts:

“We’ve never really seen ourselves as part of the industry to be honest. We just do our own thing, but the best thing about being in a band is getting to play in front of people every night on tour. We love being in the studio recording too, it gives us a real buzz.

“I wish bands and artists were given more time to grow and develop. It’s mostly a major label thing; you get signed, put out a few singles and if it’s not clicking straight away, you’re dropped. I’ve seen it happen too many times and I wish it was different.”

The band released their much-anticipated new EP, ‘Land of Nothing’, back in March of this year. Speaking about the experience, Johnny told us:

“It was recorded at Castle Of Doom studios in Glasgow with Chris Marshall. The major difference this time round was the location, we’d never recorded in Castle Of Doom before, it’s amazing.

‘’There’s Something There’ from our new EP is one of my favourites. Lyrically I pushed myself to talk about things I’d always hid from, such as my struggles with mental health in the past. It was quite freeing, putting pen to paper and doing that. Lyrics aside, the music is next level.”

They have an upcoming UK tour towards the end of the year which are the first shows they have been able to play in months. They also revealed to us that they are planning a European tour for the beginning of next year, although they were unable to divulge any specifics. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram to keep up to date with them and be the first to hear about their tour when they announce it!

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