indie pop

NYLON SMILE - "Angel of Doubt"

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Nylon Smile - "Angel of Doubt"

(Citrus City Records)

This short and sweet pop rock EP from Los Angeles based musician Nylon Smile is a fine collection of 3 minute indie radio ditties. Each selection is built from gauzy electric guitar fills, low fi drums, and harmonized vocals. 

On tracks such as Rise and Release, driving bass lines and reverb heavy guitars form a sonic crater that the voice of Nikolas Seolter settles to the bottom of - creating undulations of dreamy, shoegaze mood that washes across the mix like a puddle of warm rain water filled with dead leaves. 

On the closing track, Younger, Nylon Smile mixes things up with warbling piano and pitch shifted lead vocals and an ominous bass line for a deep, contemplative dip into indie buzz & fuzz. 

The operative word here is mood. Nylon Smile takes melancholy, after-school joyrides and endless ripples of casually emotive mood and wraps them up in a cassette-sized package.

Gray Lee

https://citruscityrecords.bandcamp.com/album/angel-of-doubt

[Album of the Month] BENJAMIN SHAW - "Megadead"

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Benjamin Shaw - "Megadead"

(Audio Antihero)

"Ive' got things to talk about/ I've got hell to pay" - Benjamin Shaw

Megadead may be the name  of the latest release from lo-fi indie pop artist Benjamin Shaw, but don't let the morbid name fool you. There is a lot of vulnerable, depressing shoegaze to behold here, but there is also a lot of light and hope. This is certainly one of those occasions where the cover art perfectly fits the content. Sure, there's a skeleton - but look at all that glorious daylight streaming through the window!

The production of this album blends found sounds, field recordings, and carefully executed lo-fi, indie pop songwriting to create a varied listening experience propelled by interest and sustained by detail. Much of the release feels instrumental and ambient, a sound collage of answering machine tapes, and clips of old radio broadcasts, synth compositions, and occasional inward-looking, lonely lyrics delivered by Shaw.  

Benjamin Shaw is a poignant songwriter, who favors a straight-forward exploration of personal feelings over storytelling, or metaphorical meanderings. I have recently decribed his past works as "depression rock," which was said partly in jest - but it actually fits those works pretty well. In this release, however, we see Benjamin flexing his artistic muscle, with heartfelt writings that address homesickness, boredom, weariness, loneliness and a variety of other very human feelings, all with a lightly morose and sometimes humorous air. 

Overall the subtleties and depth of Megadead superseded my expectations of what it was going to be, and I recommend you take a listen when you get a chance. It's definitely Benjamin Shaw's best release to date.  

Gray Lee

https://bnjmnshw.bandcamp.com/album/megadead

ILLUMINATI HOTTIES - “Kiss Yr Frenemies”

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Illuminati Hotties - “Kiss Yr Frenemies”

(Tiny Engines)

L.A. studio whiz and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Tudzin has created an indie jewel with its very own fun and fresh sound.

Kiss Yr Frenemies fuses sounds from complimentary genres like pop punk, lo-fi pop, and skater rock in order to take standard indie fare and make it a cut above the rest.   

On the one hand, Tudzin fills the album with tracks that that are peppy, straight-up indie pop like the hit single (You’re Better) Than Ever.

On the other, tracks like Cuff and For Cheez(My Friend, Not the Food slow burn with ambient, shoegaze guitar work and gentle, whispery vocals before bursting into fiery conflagrations at their respective choruses.

Pressed 2 Death keeps you guessing with fun breaks and surprising musical twists and turns.

Lyrically, her songs deal with the growing pangs of reaching adulthood and finding out no instructions are included. She entertains love interests and struggles with feeling rudderless all the while having a blast with parties, couch surfing and skateboarding.

Illuminati Hotties occupy a special level above most indie bands today thanks to Tudzmin’s fertile musical imagination and studio wizardry. She will keep us waiting with bated breath for her next studio release.

Theron Willis

https://illuminatihotties.bandcamp.com/album/kiss-yr-frenemies

Check out Illuminati Hotties' Hit Single!!!