Creators Monthly

Creators Monthly (November)

Despite lockdown still looming over us, November has been yet another corker of a month for music submitted to us by our readers. Even while stuck inside, people are still writing great tunes, and so here are just some of our favourites this month. Press play and discover something new!

Elle León

Kicking off our list is Elle León, an Irish singer-songwriter living in Barcelona. Her alt-folk track The Spring In Your Step caught our attention from the very first few seconds, as you’ll experience too. Dreamy string instruments accompany her sweet voice, with a deep cutting synth bass to tie it all together. Seeing Elle dance around in this great lockdown video, we also get a feel for her warmth as a performer too – an aspect of going to gigs that we’ve sorely missed. For fans of Kate Bush, Stella Donnelly or Lisa Mitchell, Elle León’s new EP ‘Heart to Hearts’ is made for you and anyone else needing a spring put back in their step.

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Dolly Ave

Dolly Ave is a Vietnamese-American singer-songwriter who’s new single Florida is out tomorrow on the 1st of December, along with accompanying music video. Dolly gave us an exclusive listen and we thought we just had to say something about this brilliant new artist before the end of the month. Using elements of Pop, R&B, soul and electronic, her single ‘Birds’ (2018) reveals a more vulnerable side to Dolly. If you like what you hear from her old stuff, stay tuned for the new single out tomorrow.

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At just 15 years old, Flowerovlove (Joyce Cisse) is already taking her first strides in the world of music. At the same time as juggling her schoolwork in London, Joyce is pursuing her music dreams – to date having released three fantastic singles along with homemade music videos for each. Her latest single ‘Fat Wave’ is packed full of unexpected turns. What starts as a sweet indie tune soon becomes a rollercoaster of genre. Speaking as a magazine which emerged from a music school in London, we each have plenty of friends who have gone on to have great success with their music, but the successful individuals never come as much of a surprise, as that spark about them has been present from the very beginning. For this young artist, there’s no denying she has that same spark of talent.

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Daemes is a Brooklyn based songwriter who recently released her debut single ‘Riptide’ to an overwhelming response from her followers. The first in a series of ‘dark-pop songs’ focuses around themes of ‘vulnerability and desire’. The track was recorded back in 2018 and was, according to the singer, ‘shelved indefinitely’. Never knowing if the songs would ever see the light of day, and held back by the nagging idea that she could always do better, she’s decided that enough is enough, she needs to begin. We love that this song represents a fear shared by almost every creative person – the fear of putting something you’ve nurtured and cared for out into the world for all to see. Every artist is continually evolving, but being able to adapt and grow is one of the things which sets apart the good ones from the great. This single is the first of many collaborations between Daemes and producer Barb Morrison (best known for their work with Blondie). Daemes’ debut EP is due for release early next year, and we hope it’s the first of more to come.

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Misao McGregor

Misao McGregor is a DIY artist living in Los Angeles, CA. As a ‘queer, non-binary, indie-pop singer/songwriter’, Misao’s debut album ‘Kids in the Corner’ (out December 17th) is an autobiographical look back at the past 24 years of their own life. The album explores the many significant events, both good and bad, which have shaped them along the way. Originally having trained as a classical pianist, Misao uses a combined knowledge of music theory with a homemade approach to their work; from self-made music videos to performing at open mic events across the city, Misao does everything herself while thinking selflessly of how she can help others by doing so.

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Little Grim

Little Grim from South London are an underground alt-rock band inspired by the likes of Alt-J, Everything Everything and Glass Animals. With their own blend of hypnotic layered guitars, Little Grim has already caught a large amount of attention from radio stations and magazines alike. Experimental and bold, Little Grim have certainly developed a sound we can’t help but jump along to, and with fantastic music videos thrown into the mix, what’s not to love?

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Indoor Foxes

Scottish Indie songwriter Indoor Foxes looks set for a bright future with the release of her latest single ‘Peach Stone.’ Her 90’s bedroom craft style and tongue in cheek lyrics are reminiscent of artists such as Beabadoobee. Having already released a full album and gained the attention of BBC Introducing, there’s nothing in the way for this young artist on her journey upwards though music. With this song just a meer taster of great things to come, her unique sound and awesome voice have both made us excited for more.

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Breakfast for Dinner

Breakfast for Dinner may be a relatively new band on the scene, having only released their first single last year, but with three songs now under their belt, they already sound like Dirty Hit’s hottest new signing. A 4-piece indie-pop band based in New York State, Breakfast for Dinner’s latest single ‘Miss Our Love’ is a glitter-soaked mix of dreamy synths and otherworldly sounds. While they bare a lot of similarities to bands such as Pale Waves, their sound across the three of their singles is certainly varied. The group doesn’t seem to lack confidence when it comes to playing around with their sound just to see what’s possible. We’ll look forward to seeing just where this group go next.

Add to playlist (Spotify)

You can listen to all of our Creators Monthly artists over on this month’s Spotify playlist – save our playlist now, go out and follow these bands and keep supporting independent artists!

Thanks to all the incredible bands that submitted their music this month – if we didn’t feature you this time feel free to resubmit via our website, we try to listen to as much as we possibly can.

Make music? In a band? We want to hear from you! Submit now for a chance to be featured in next month’s Creators Monthly.

Can’t wait for more? Read last months issue here.

Stay groovy,

The Totally Wired Team x

Punk/Rock Why We Love

Why We Love: Billy Nomates

Billy Nomates, or Tor Maries to her actual mates, is a boyish and brave one-woman force of post-punk modernism. With her trademark deadpan vocal style and a bold, direct attitude, her new self titled album will snatch your attention right off the bat.

Tor Maries is no stranger to the music business, having been in several bands over many years before finding her recent success as Billy Nomates. Reflecting on her previous musical endeavours, Billy recalls many of her fellow musicians having to eventually concede to the painfully cold reality of “giving up and getting a mortgage” – an uncomfortably familiar story we’ve heard all too often. Thankfully, it was after one crucial gig that Maries found determination for one more stab.

Billy’s first single, appropriately titled ‘No’ is a testament to the power she has discovered that word has. Explaining that it was only when she started saying ‘no’ to people that things began to happen in her life, she’s found that the word has a certain power to ‘open doors’.

Maries’ lyrics focus heavily around themes such as the UK’s class structure, money, hardship, sexual and personal issues. And as someone who to say the least has had the ‘real deal’ when it comes to struggling to get by, you can tell that Maries’ lyrics around such themes come from a genuine place.

For what feels like a long time overdue, a post-punk artist has emerged with some real grit between her teeth. Just like the Joy Divisions, Happy Mondays and The Clash of generations past, the best post-punk music has always come from a place of hardship, and Tor Maries possesses all the right qualities and some good old-fashioned attitude.

Following three exceptional singles at the start of the year, Billy released her self titled debut album in August to much acclaim from the media. As for our opinion, everything which was seemingly promised in Billy’s earlier singles has surly been delivered upon. A blend of punk and electronic, inspired by some of her favourite artists but with an added touch of her own, Billy Nomates has undoubtedly crafted a truly addictive sound.

One song from the album ‘Supermarket Sweep’ features Jason Williamson of the electronic duo Sleaford Mods as a guest vocalist. This band of a similar vein has been highly influential in Billy’s career since very early on. From serving as first inspiration for her sound and giving her the confidence to pursue a new line of music, to having Billy support them at their online gigs this year, the duo has been helping bring Billy’s music, quite rightly, into the spotlight this year.

Now I know what you’re wondering – how does an artist end up with such a demeaning name as ‘Billy Nomates’? The comment was infact thrown at her by a common heckler at a Sleaford Mods gig no less. The man’s remark to Maries being on her own at the gig gave inspiration for the name. Maries admits it’s a moment she’ll ‘never forget’. Later on, and the man from the gig, and all the blokes of the world with too much to say, were immortalised in Billy’s song ‘Fat White Man.’

With this only the start of the Billy Nomates journey and with the stage already set for more great tunes, we can’t wait to see what’s next for this free-speaking voice and her fantastic sound.

Listen to Billy Nomates new album now on Spotify.

Indie/Indie Rock Punk/Rock Uncategorized Why We Love

Why We Love: Sinead O’Brien

Sinead O’Brien is the Irish ‘punk poet’ that thrives on the edge; denying herself of anything cosy or familiar and instead opting for a ‘heavy heavy, busy busy life’ consisting of travel and new adventures. 

Always doing things differently, her spontaneous attitude and lifestyle result in a lot to be grateful for; helping her to deliver marvellous songs, exploring the beauty in darkness, that we can’t help but love and believe that you will too.

Born in Dublin and raised in Limerick, the singer has never felt much of an attachment to a particular place but has always sensed a calling from further afield. This free spirit and ability to adapt to new ways and places feed their way into her consistently evolving songs. Using expansive language and sounds that vary from punk and folk to a hint of soul and funk, she expertly provides tracks that take you on a journey where, just like her, you’re kept on your toes every step of the way.

Despite her desire for re-location though, there’s absolutely no denying O’Brien’s Irish roots. The moment that she opens her mouth, she has you hostage; her divine accent delivering mesmerising words with equal parts grit and beauty. Painting a picture with every line, including desolate wonders like I feel like the daytime chasing the night” to relatable longings for motivation with “Days like this are the wildest way, to tame the flames, to get the head to higher…” she always leaves you longing for more.

O’Brien is currently living (but most definitely not ‘settled’) in London; the city where her real musical journey began. Upon her move, she fully embraced her desire for fresh experiences by taking a page out of Jim Carrey’s book and simply saying ‘yes’ to any opportunities that arose. Fortunately, for music fans, that included attending a spoken word night in Brixton where she first performed her poems up on stage. Subsequently, the natural lyricist joined forces with current bandmates Julian Hanson and Oscar Robertson and began to put her words to equally grand music; turning dreams and expressive thoughts into songs.

Her talent in doing so was undeniable right off the bat which led to Chess Club Records; the same label as fellow alternative rockers Wolf Alice, signing O’Brien up. She then began to release her hypnotising tracks with them, before stepping up a level from South London pubs when king of the punk poetry game John Cooper Clarke invited her on tour. The two immediately hit it off (which is no surprise when you listen to each of their gutsy works), and, thanks to JCC O’Brien was introduced to Mark E. Smith who she describes as one of her “most valuable references ever”. 

As well as meeting one inspiration (who showed her the work of another), the tour with Cooper Clarke was also an opportunity to try a stint of something different once again, as like him she performed solo. After doing so she was told by a gig-goer that they could still “hear the music in it” which both she and myself completely agree with. Even without physical music present, you’re always touched by its essence thanks to her rhythm and heart, which is testament to the skill she has for her craft; consistently turning words into something so much more.

Her gifts don’t just stop there either, describing herself as incredibly determined from a young age, she pushed herself to excel in a range of areas both academic and creative- which even resulted in her moving to Paris to work for Dior. Just like her Irish upbringing, this motivation and affinity for style are also evident in her music; producing ambitious tracks that are sleek and well-tailored with a real artistic edge.

A sparse feeling is present in Sinead O’Brien’s songs, similar to that heard on Unknown Pleasures where space is intentional and meaningful; a bold move that not many even attempt to pull off. Each track contains an aura of magic, whisking you away on a different experience, that can vary from a trip to the dance floor on the snappy rhythmed ‘Taking on Time’ to dark dreams thanks to the strutting guitar and twinkle of keys on ‘A List of Normal Sins’. In doing so, she has laid the foundations to progress in any direction she wishes and seamlessly built her way up to releasing recent EP ‘Drowning In Blessings’; which to listen to feels like exactly that. 

O’Brien’s intense voice cuts straight through the musical foundations of Drowning In Blessings’ tracks, her strong delivery inducing chills and making every word hit. Exploring the cynical side of modern culture in the likes of single ‘Most Modern Painting’ she generates such existential excitement with her observations on this and ‘Roman Ruins’ that you can’t help but feel riled up and ready to rock. She perfectly balances this edge and gloom with slightly more gentle elements though; resurfacing distant childhood memories of lullabies and carousels on ‘Fall With Me’ and closing with ‘Strangers in Danger’, her packed song on relationships between people and life- a perfect opportunity for reflection after the journey.

Filled to the brim with talent and creating songs jammed with ideas that are not only personal to her but can also touch each listener, O’Brien creates worlds within her work, and I firmly believe that it’s about time you’re swept away into them.

Take a listen to Sinead O’Brien on Spotify.

Indie/Indie Rock Why We Love

Why We Love: Katy J Pearson

Introducing Katy J Pearson, a dreamy singer-songwriter based in Bristol. Though her debut album was recently released on 13 November, she is no stranger to the music scene. She had previously been a part of a duo alongside her brother called ‘Ardyn’, but unfortunately, issues arose with the label. As a result, Katy took a lengthy break from music and songwriting as a whole, convinced she should become a gardener instead. Thankfully, she has made her comeback at long last, and people have already been captivated by the young singer.

Appropriately named, Return symbolizes her new chapter as a musician. The record consists of 10 tracks, each of which pull you into a trance that you don’t want to snap out of. Katy’s voice is simply mesmerizing, and like Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell, she is nothing short of a songbird.

Trading in the indie-pop style of Ardyn for a more folk-y, rock-and-roll sound that’s reminiscent of decades past, Katy has blossomed as a musician. She is now under Heavenly Recordings, and in an interview with NME, she states that she feels much more comfortable and confident with this label. 

Katy still writes with brother Rob, and their teamwork can be found in numerous songs on Return. “Take Back The Radio” and “Tonight” are two tracks that showcase their talents, and the pure, genuine magic they create is undeniable. When they were together as Ardyn, they credited Kate Bush and Kings of Leon as their influences, and some of those elements can be heard throughout the record. 

I stumbled upon the 24-year-old through an Instagram post from her label-mates, Working Men’s Club. Her 1970’s-esque album cover instantly caught my eye, and just by the look of it, I knew I had to stop what I was doing to give it a listen. Words are my forte, but I genuinely cannot describe how I felt as each track progressed. Her sound completely stands out in this modern age; she brings forth something new, something exciting, and something enchanting. 

I’m a massive fan of Fleetwood Mac, and Katy makes my heart absolutely flutter. Her music has that alluring Fleetwood-flare to it, but it’s still distinctively Katy. She flawlessly calls back to those sounds of the ‘70s while still staying true to herself and her own style.

Usually, I’m able to pick out my favorites very easily after listening to an album in its entirety. This time, however, is different. One moment, I’m set on “Something Real” as my top pick, and the next I’m telling everyone I know that “Waiting For The Day” is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. It’s somewhat of a cycle that repeats with every track. One thing I am sure of, though, is that this is one of my favorite releases of the year.

Within a week of Return’s release, it has already been picked as BBC Radio 6’s Album of the Day and Amazing Radio’s Album of the Week. With this in mind, I am so certain that Katy will rack up even more awards and mentions for this record, so this is just the beginning—mark my words!

I wholeheartedly believe that everybody should listen to Return. I cannot stress enough how stunning it is, and considering the fact that this is just her debut as a solo artist, I am so incredibly eager to find out what else the singer’s got up her sleeve.

“What a weekend it’s been,” Katy writes in an Instagram post. “I am so overwhelmed by everyone’s kind words. Having this album out in the world feels truly wonderful.”

To keep up with Katy J Pearson, give her a follow on Twitter (@KatyJPearsonnn) and Instagram (@katyjpearsonband).

Jazz/Blues Soul/R&B

Premiere: FAZE – Carried Away

Offering up a standout blend of Funk, Soul and Jazz with even more elements thrown into that mix, FAZE are a band proving they aim to sound like no one else with the release of their debut single ‘Carried Away’. A truly unmissable playing style along with some fantastic vocals, these young but extremely talented musicians wouldn’t seem out of place performing alongside some of the outstanding artists who first inspired them.

To find out a bit more, we caught up with the 5-piece neo-funk band from London just after the release of their new single. Be sure to expect many great things from this group, there’s no shame being Carried Away when it comes to FAZE.

J: Here with me to talk a bit about their new single is FAZE’s very own Yazmine, Ryan and Indigo. Hey, guys! How’s lockdown 2 been for you so far?

Yazmine: Hey, James! Lockdown 2 has been less of a nuisance than Lockdown 1 so far. I’m still at work, so not much has changed for me! A pain we can’t rehearse or record properly, but we’re hoping to be free December 2nd!

Ryan: Lockdown 2 has been a period of adjustability for me to be honest! Being under lockdown is not ideal but being able to adjust to circumstances is key.

Indigo: It’s been painful, just as musicians were starting to get gigs again! Luckily, we’ve still got a couple of function gigs lined up in 2021.

J: So for those only just finding out about you, tell us a bit about the music you’ve set out to create.

Yazmine: We write wacky, funk tunes with elements from 70s disco, neo-soul and classic rock. Expect rhythmic keys, groovy bass, sharp beats, lavish solos and cheeky lyrics! Everyone so far has had a different interpretation, so we’re calling it ‘neo-funk’!

J: Have most of you been in bands in the past, or is your first experience writing with other musicians?

Yazmine: Yes, we’re all pretty experienced musicians. I’ve been in jazz bands, orchestras and rock bands during my time at school and college! I also write solo stuff but FAZE is obviously my favourite 😉

Ryan: I have worked with quite a few bands in the past – my main role is behind the kit though!

Indigo: Yep, I started with youth jazz bands, and I’m now playing with many bands of many genres, including neo-soul, blues and big band jazz.

J: A big question; Why do you all enjoy playing ‘neo-funk’? What was it that inspired you so much that you just had to form a band?

Johnny: Neo-funk is something fresh and exciting. It’s not a well-known genre yet, but we’re setting out to change that!

Ryan: Neo-funk is a fusion of some of my favourite genres which also allows room for a lot of creativity – especially from a drumming perspective. When the opportunity came around to join FAZE, I was excited to get on board.

Yazmine: I got inspired to form a band whilst I was at college, I wanted to get into function work and started a band with some of my mates at school. We all got pretty busy, and the function work fell through so I thought ‘Screw it! Let’s meet some new people’. I downloaded this app Vampr which is basically Tinder for musicians, I met Ryan first, he had some crazy drumming riffs on his page and lived nearby, so we set up a rehearsal, and the rest is history- haha!

J: How would you all describe your music taste, was it tricky finding people who wanted to write in the same sort of style?

Yazmine: I think we’re all heavily influenced by R&B, Gospel, Jazz, Funkadelic and Disco tunes – it was very lucky that we all connected so quickly and had that in common. I grew up listening to CHIC, Parliament, Jackson 5, Erykah Badu and D’Angelo, and I love them all so much. When you’ve heard so much fantastic music, I think you become like a sponge and just soak it all in! The tunes just came bursting out when we started jamming together.

J: So tell me, how does a band even go about recording and releasing their first single in lockdown? Has it been harder/easier?

Ryan: It isn’t the most straightforward process, but we’ve all had to adjust to new ways of doing things. It would ideally be a lot easier without restrictions!

Yazmine: We were lucky that Carried Away has been waiting in the wings for a while before we decided to release. We had to finish up mixing and mastering which could be done remotely by our friend CHRIS XYLO (he’s an absolute wizard!) Planning the single release has actually been easier since I’ve had more time to stay at home and work on it. Since more people are at home, I think we’ve all had time to listen to more music/ read more books/ discover more art, so we’re grateful for that!

Johnny: We’ve successfully recorded three lockdown sessions during this weird time which you can find on our YouTube channel, that process was interesting and was easier than expected thanks to Ryan’s spotless drumming. We’re saving our new tracks for recording after Lockdown so we can get them perfect, we are certainly perfectionists!

J: Tell us all about your new single ‘Carried Away,’ why did you decide to start writing your own tunes and what gave you the idea for this track?

Timmy: After a couple of months playing covers and function gigs, I think we quickly discovered that we could write. During rehearsals in-between songs I’d often play these soulful chord progressions off the top of my head, and we’d go off on this wild jam tangent with loads of improv, different feels etc.! We were all feeling the vibes, so I think it was that first original jam was when FAZE started.

Yazmine: I wrote this track after coming home on the train one night after a fantastic gig. The crowd was wild, and we all went out afterwards and had such a great night. I pulled a bit of an all-nighter that night and woke up the next afternoon exhausted but filled with such excitement. That high you get after you come off stage is exceptional, and the feeling lasts for days afterwards! The lyrics just started coming out, and I sat at my piano and wrote the first draft. I put it to the boys a couple of weeks later, and they brought the vision to life!

J: So this new song is all about ‘life as a musician’ and the highs and lows that come with the job – is that something you’ve all felt an especially relevant subject at the moment?

Yazmine: We know none of us can hardly get carried away with anything at the moment! For us, it’s about fantasy and hope as well as reality. We want listeners to be able to listen to our track and escape from the current world at the moment as well as get inspired for the future. Soon it’ll be all of our jobs to get out there and support live music again. We ain’t going nowhere!

J: What sort of things can we expect to see next from you guys? Any hints?

Johnny: Trust me when I say Carried Away is only the tip of the iceberg! We’ve got so much music written – about to record our next two singles. Our next track will be called MALIBU – think palm trees, indulgent groove and holiday fantasy! Whilst sitting on our sofas at home in the middle of winter, we can only dream – so why not!

You can keep up to date with all the upcoming music from FAZE on their Instagram and Facebook @fazebandofficial

Find FAZE on Spotify here.

Punk/Rock Uncategorized

Interview: Outer Stella Overdrive

Capturing an essence of nostalgia whilst simultaneously looking to the future, Outer Stella Overdrive are a band that you need to be rocking out to, right at this very moment. The London lads Command your attention with contagious tunes, a charged vibe and an attitude that they’re ready to take on anything; stating that they want to ‘open up the industry’ when they checked in with TW.

Dazzling with a soon to be trade-mark grin, Raff Law thrashes lead guitar whilst belting out their passionate lyrics and is joined on vocal duties by Kelvin Bueno who also provides their bouncing basslines. Accompanying Kelvin on the heavy rhythm section is unwavering drummer Rudy Albarn, and Amin El Makkawi brings a magic flare on keys. Collectively, they’re creating a raucous sound that’s managed to tap into something we’ve been missing on the current UK rock scene; bringing a real boost of individual energy and undeniable excitement.

Channelling a proper rock approach, they have a raw and creative production sound that harkens back to the iconic music that they were raised on. In turn, this style helps to fuse their classic punk attitude with the fresh, forward-thinking injection that they bring to the table, thanks to growing up in modern London.  

The sound encapsulated is big and bold; spanning genres with rocking riffs, a funky rhythm and even surreal psychedelic jams. On top of this, they pack in witty but thought-provoking lyrics (as discussed below) in addition to erupting choruses that fill their songs with even more passion and leave you ready to both rave and revolt.

Their latest single Camel Blue is out today, and ahead of the release Raff, Rudy and Kelvin chatted to TW about their evolution, lockdown life and what else they have coming your way…

A: It’s hard for your music to be defined by just one genre as you seem to effortlessly integrate such an array of styles. How would you summarise your sound in a few words?

KELVIN BUENO: I would say two words. I’d say ‘Outer Stellar’.

RAFF LAW: A few words are so hard, especially when I’m writing it but I’d say ‘powerful’ and ‘imaginative’.

RUDY ALBARN: I would say ‘our life’. And ‘true’, true is also a big, big keyword.

A: There’s clearly a real variety of influences thrown into the mix, is this a conscious effort and do you take any inspiration from outside the world of music? 

RAFF: We’ve taken a lot of inspiration from just London, in the ‘Out + About’ video, we shot a few weeks ago, we touched on how London inspires us. In the project that we’re releasing in the form of singles at the moment, it’s like the epitome of what we’ve been living and breathing the last few years. Our experiences and things that don’t sit well with us. 

RUDY: What we’re going through at each point, I think it’s a collective feeling between all of us. We’re just throwing things out. It’s a natural exploration and just comes to us in whatever way it wants to develop.

KELVIN: It’s almost an unconscious effort. None of us try to make any music of a certain style. We just make what we want to make and do what we want to do.

A: Do you guys have a particular way of working and have the recent months had an impact on this?

RAFF: We have a formula but it’s changed because of lockdown. For the past two years, we’d write songs together three or four times a week. Outside of that, I’d be writing a few lyrics on my phone and shit, but I wouldn’t be playing much music outside. Lockdown forced me to have to play the acoustic guitar for like three months without the guys.

KELVIN: We found that balance of our process. We write in a setup, instrument environment, but we also go away and write in isolation, then come back with lyrics and build from there. It’s just the rawest form of songwriting there is; no technology, just vibing together.

RUDY: Oh yes, it fired us up in that time to be like, ‘shit, we got to do this’. A thing that was cool was when we started rehearsing, instead of playing the songs that we just recorded, the last time we were together, we were like, ‘let’s just write new ones’. 

A: How do Outer Stella Overdrive want to change the game?

KELVIN: First of all, put this music back where it needs to be, band music at the top. In the industry, everything sounds like it’s in one place, in one lane. We just want to open up everyone’s ears, open up the industry and opportunity. Inspire the next generation to be like- “I want to pick up a guitar”.

RAFF: I think the process that we have; mates writing music together, it’s so much fun. I personally think it lies in its enjoyment. Our shows are all about energy and positivity and having a good time which is especially true right now when we can’t play shows and the government are telling ballerinas to go cyber.

RUDY: I feel like a lot of music at the moment is solo artists and producers and I think having a group of musicians all play together is a completely different vibe that’s a special thing missing in the industry at the moment. I think it adds another element to our music, just the way we write and, like (Raff) said about everyone getting together, seeing friendly faces.

A: You’ve been putting out some class tunes the past few years now and it’s exciting to see that you’re regularly topping the ‘Punk List’ on Spotify these days. Could you tell us a bit about what the band has in store for us next?

RAFF: Three Piece has recently come out and we have some video content made with Luke Scully (the Creator of ‘Out + About’) to go with that coming soon. 

KELVIN: We’ve also got two more singles to come (the first being ‘Camel Blue’ that’s out today). Then we’re going to drop an EP which consists of these last four singles that we’ve dropped and a few more tracks. It kind of encompasses our journey up to this point.

Then next year, we’re going to have a proper project for you that we’ve just recorded. The first EP that you can look forward to is ‘Counting Self-Doubt’, which will come at the end of this year. And that will change the game.

A: How do you feel you’ve evolved in your musical journey so far?

KELVIN: I think we’ve evolved so much that it isn’t natural. It’s been three years and we’ve really been patient with it. We haven’t just been trying to pump everything out, go big straight away and sign to whoever, wherever we can. We’ve just kept ourselves to ourselves and grown. 

You’ll see the progression in the music from what’s out right now, to what we’re about to release, to those coming out next year. We’ll just let the music speak for itself in terms of that.

RAFF & RUDY: Amen.

A: If you could recruit any music musician dead or alive into the band would you go for why?

RAFF: I’m going for Peter Green.

KELVIN: So strong. Ah, shit. Yeah, it would be.

RUDY: Well yeah, I wouldn’t want another drummer in the band so I’m cool man.

KELVIN: I would recruit fuckin Janis Joplin just to do some squeals in the background.

RUDY: We could do a feature or a little project.

RAFF: Yeah, that would be groovy.

A: I haven’t been fortunate to catch Outer Stella Overdrive live yet but from videos I’ve seen, it looks like you create an insane atmosphere. Would you say that you’re more in your element performing live or recording the studio? 

RAFF: We’re in such different states of mind. In our live performances, we try to play our songs with as much of a high energy as possible and put on a performance. I love getting the crowd involved, whether that’s getting them to do certain dancing or callbacks. I think if you make everyone feel welcome and part of it, it makes it more memorable. You want everyone to remember that gig, that first time they saw you play.

KELVIN: In the studio, we’re actually perfectionists and so precise, so like Raff said we’re in such a different state of mind. Performance-wise we’re willing to sacrifice some of the details that only musicians would notice, to put on a show and just get everyone going crazy with us.

RUDY: I’d say from a live perspective, you’re in a different mindset where you’ve got something to do and that’s the goal at the end of the day. In the studios, you can be more open and absorb more without having to go to that certain place.

A: Many of your lyrics make bold statements that seem to come from a real personal place. Do you have any favourites that you’ve written? 

RAFF: Personally, I feel like the lyrical journey is a whole different experience in itself and I think the best lyrics that we’ve written are what we’ve done in lockdown. As a band, we’ve realised that if we write more fifty-fifty, our songs come from two different personal points of view and life experiences.

KELVIN: It’s much more interesting. Let’s pick a line of something you’ve written and I’ve written.

RAFF: Lost track of time, drowning my sorrows down the line, signing my life away for five minutes of comfort. It’s a fact of mine, that I much prefer the night when the darkness hides the light that shows discomfort’.

KELVIN: In terms of real powerful, moving shit, I think the starting verse in Three Piece-’Another day in London Town, where you can get stuck up and it can get gory. Feds pulling anything that’s brown cos they work for the Tories. So I keep my head right down cos they got it in for me’.

RAFF: To end on this, the lyrics on the singles and the project that we have coming out next year are so bold and the message is so clear. We touch on mental health, we talk about being locked up and not feeling free, our anger towards the government and how they haven’t been thinking about the youth and creatives…  

KELVIN: We talk about our personal philosophies and ways of viewing life, a lot of the tracks are quite reflective.

ALL: Peace out from OSO

Check out Outer Stella Overdrive’s brand new single Camel Blue and their other top tracks on Spotify now

Indie/Indie Rock Punk/Rock Why We Love

Why We Love: Low Hummer

When I first discovered Hull’s synth-tastic rockers ‘Low Hummer’ they were named Le Bête Blooms. Since watching their name and lineup change over the years, I’ve been absolutely fascinated by their almost in-between sound of Pulp’s ‘Common People’ and Joy Division’s ‘Isolation’. A complete throwback to 80s and 90s British music, but in the most relevant way for today. Sounds to drag you back and lyrics to push you forward.

Inspired by the likes of Elastica, Pixies, LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads, and with a tasty vocal dynamic from two lead vocalists Daniel Mawer and Aimée Duncan, Low Hummer deliver this beautiful contrasting sound of angst with snarky delivery, as well as taking the complete lead in some songs and really showing off what they’ve got to offer.

‘Sometimes I Wish (I Was A Different Person)’ is a brilliant commentary on modern consumerism and the way society affects things such as personal states and the way we take in mainstream media, with the band stating that “The song is about how we consume news from screens and the way in which this can detract from our personal relationships and real lives”. Musically it’s just so refreshing, which is weird to say about such a nostalgic sound but it’s such a dead-on specific sound that died with the age of the new millennium.

Take Arms is their latest single and my favourite. This is the track that got me into Low Hummer, or Le Bête Blooms as they were known back then. The fat synth line that carries the song, the fed-up and anger filled message, the devilish duo of male and female vocals and the characteristics of this small and skint northerner band, what’s not to like? The guitars that pick up in the chorus, thick distortion and the almost agitated synth-ish guitar lead that fills in the deeper parts of it, I can’t physically show a chef’s kiss right here but trust me, that’s what this song does to you.

Picture Bliss takes a bit of a different turn to the likes of the tracks I’ve glossed over above, but it’s all within the Low Hummer neighbourhood, a bit more traditionally indie, evoking some of those gorgeous Pixies vibes. You’d be forgiven for thinking this is a sweet romantic coming of age song upon first listen, however as said by Daniel in context to Picture Bliss; “I wrote the song about two strangers who find each other moments before the world self-destructs, they realise how lucky their lives have been, but still feel cheated to have only just met each other moments before the planet collapses. I tend not to write happy songs… but I’d like to think it serves as a nice optimistic song if you don’t bother to read into the subject matter!” However, if you read into the song, it’s clear to me that the band have a natural knack for writing great anthems for the 20th-century kid stuck in a dystopian 21st century now. 

I’ll wrap this up with the first single ever released under the name Low Hummer just over a year ago now, ‘Don’t You Ever Sleep’. Lyrically about the modernity of impulse buying, and how everything is marketed as the thing that you need and will change your life! When in reality it’s all just clever advertising. It’s somehow very apt for the quarantined life too. The repeated lines of “We are bored” really helps the narrative of society now and the way we consume things, and as soon as we’re done with that medium, that’s it, and move on. Drawing attention to this sort of issue with passion and anger would normally come off as a bit in your face, but Low Hummer’s attitude, with the combination of their sarcastic and deadpan delivery embedded within their lack of patience and real anger, makes the message come across a lot more subtle than most bands now would convey.

I have no doubt that being a group of people from the north of England helps the anger rooted in the words within the tunes, especially just from looking at the way the north has been treated during the current pandemic. But they use this fusion of moods to create hallowing tunes to get straight into your head, and really pulls off such an interesting and poignant practice for songwriting and getting their message across. 

Low Hummer is a band that would have absolutely thrived 30 years ago, yet after all that time, I feel they’re in the right time and the right place to do so now. Maybe a bit of old school is what we need to progress amongst the abundance of vast progression and future thinking. After all, sometimes history needs a repeat in order to learn a lesson. Fundamentally, Low Hummer is a band you should really keep a keen eye on because they’re bound to fly. I for one cannot wait for what the future holds for this band, a real needle in a haystack that’s slowly poking it’s way out for something grand.

Don’t forget to follow Low Hummer on Spotify.

Pop/Indie Pop Soul/R&B Why We Love

Why We Love: Biig Piig

Meet Jessica Smyth, better known as Biig Piig. Born in Ireland, brought up in Spain and now based in good ol’ London town, the neo-soul/hip hop singer has been gaining traction over the last couple of years with her silky smooth tracks and emotionally in-depth lyrics, taking inspiration from classical folk Irish music, Latin Jazz to modern indie and hip hop. But with that all in mind, you can’t hold Smyth’s music to just one style, I mean how could you with that diverse a range of inspiration? But her vibe is complete chill, as if you’ve stumbled into a run-down bar with the local jazz band pulling you in.

Smyth grew up in Spain and spent a lot of time in the Irish pub her parents owned there. Growing up around a pub setting definitely shapes you differently, as stated by Smyth before “I think you learn a lot about people when you’re surrounded by adults a lot of the time, they don’t treat you like a kid. Maybe that’s where the writing came from when I was younger.” And from living in Spain for so long, you start to learn the language which is where Biig Piig’s music gets interesting. Not only does deep classical Spanish music flourish throughout her work, but also slipping into the Spanish tongue giving her music this double-sided feel that’s irresistible. 

Biig Piig’s first single was dropped back in 2017 on Soundcloud, but that caught the attention of COLORS, who gave her a spotlight at their Berlin studios, helping her soon-to-be-fans find her sensual songs. Fast forward a year, and she released her debut EP ‘Big Fan of the Sesh, Vol. 1’ Further answering to the deserved hype and solidifying her fanbase. Tracks such as ‘Dinner’s Getting Cold Ft. Mac Wetha’, ‘Perdida’ and Flirt’ really demonstrated the talent Smyth has; lo-fi beats with velvet-like vocals to shatter dimensions.

Upon meeting Mac Wetha at sixth form after moving to London, the two have become good friends and regular collaborators within her own music and with their DIY Art Collective NiNE8. ‘A World Without Snooze, Vol. 2’ was released in 2019 and whisks you away to that special place in your mind where you can breathe easy and relax.

The track ‘Vete’ caught a lot of attention from the expansion of the smooth sound incorporating a cheeky bit of Sax to really hone in that chill Jazzy vibe. And thus Smyth signed to RCA Records, then immediately starting work on the final instalment to the trilogy. In November that year, she dropped ‘No Place For Patience, Vol. 3’. 

Really perfecting her sound here, it feels as if the journey had really taken you somewhere. The production of the song ties every little nook and cranny together into this ear-melting sound. Roses and Gold kicks off the EP, introducing some funky slap bass to shake things up whilst staying inside the proverbial box. Smyth does new things here but nothing feels out of place. ‘Lie to Me’ closes the EP and shows off some of the complexity to her lyrics; “I don’t wanna go, but this heart ain’t a home / Peace of mind, my peace is fucked. lucking out when he won’t listen / Risking trust to prove a point”. Smyth somehow just has this immense control of singing (in both English and Spanish) with such depth and on the flick of a switch completely nails these free flow rap verses which blend with her sound so perfectly.

Earlier this year, Biig Piig treated us to her political commentary of the 2019 snap election; ‘Switch’ which is a fitting title. This is a Biig switch indeed from her earlier work, fast-paced, angrier and with more drum ‘n’ bass inspiration. Smyth has said “I thought when I was writing it that it was about a relationship, but then I was like ​actually nah, it definitely isn’t. It’s that same hate but just for something else.” Switch is the kind of left turn an artist needs to take after solidifying their sound from 3 EPs worth of material. The track goes out of bounds but still suits Smyth’s voice, like something was suddenly realised inside her mind. The content of the song definitely needed a more prominent sound, so it all compliments each other ridiculously well really.

‘Don’t Turn Around’ was dropped in July this year and samples Love for the Sake of Love by Claudia Barry, more commonly known from being sampled in Montell Jordan’s Get It On Tonite. You may also recognize the directing style in the music video and you’d be onto something, frequent Beabadoobee video collaborator ‘Bedroom’ directed the song’s video, complimenting the sound of the track with a rich visual paradigm. Once again showing off her flow with some insanely catchy rap verses, bookended by delightful vocal hooks in the chorus. Lyrically being quite a jam-packed song as you’d expect with rap verses, but really shoving that emotion into the listener in a really exciting way. Smyth spoke about the song, saying it’s “my post-breakup, pre glow up tune. Finally getting to confidence through self-love and letting go of toxic relationships”. All we can take from it is that it’s such a good song and Biig Piig’s artistry really shaped it into something new and refreshing, leaving us with open arms for whatever her next outing may be.

Biig Piig is someone who needs no real introduction, just an open mind and a good pair of ears because no matter what the Irish-Espanol singer dishes out, it’s no doubt to be something that gets you hooked. In fact, Clairo and Billie Eilish have proudly announced themselves as fans, so why not join them? For once I can safely say that it’s right to believe the hype.

Like what you hear? Check out Biig Piig’s latest release and double single ‘Oh No / Liarh’ on Spotify.

Indie/Indie Rock Jazz/Blues Pop/Indie Pop Uncategorized Why We Love

Why We Love: Alexandra Savior

Gifted with a velvet voice that will make you swoon, lyricism to rival great literature and a ‘Mystery Girl’ aura that helplessly lures you in, Alexandra Savior is an enigmatic force to be reckoned with.

Not only a talented creative musically, she utilises her artistic capabilities to the full, bringing a personal touch to all elements of her work. Each of her aesthetic music videos that perfectly accompany her chilling tracks is self-directed and she even designs her own album covers and merchandise. Overall, she creates a coherent experience and is certainly proving that she really is a ‘Savior’ to modern female rock.

Born and raised in Portland Oregon as Alexandra Savior McDermott the 25-year-old immediately showed musical promise and received her first wave of attention at the age of just 17 when Courtney Love proclaimed “This girl is gonna be huge!”. Love clearly wasn’t the only one who thought highly of her as the following year a bidding war between labels started; with Columbia Records eventually snapping her up. Upon the deal, Savior moved out to Los Angeles and although she admits that she didn’t feel fully prepared at the time she evidently came into her own as this doesn’t show in her precise work produced out there. 

This flourishing development was partly thanks to Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner because fortunately, rather than someone pushing her in the direction of ‘Katy Perry’ like many labels intended she had the modern-day rock icon around to keep her on the right track. A huge supporter from the get-go, Turner first suggested she drop her last name and go by her middle instead, doubling the impact after initially giving the stage name Alexandra Semitone a shot.

In addition to helping her settle on a pseudonym, he also brought his well-known wit and wordplay to the table as a co-writer, as well as joining forces with his frequent collaborator James Ford to produce Savior’s debut record ‘Belladonna of Sadness’. Make no mistake though; this isn’t Alexandra Turner. Savior is one hundred per cent her own artist and had Alex collaborated with anyone other than the rising star an album couldn’t possibly come close.

Dark and brooding, Savior’s first LP was released in 2018 and chills you to your ‘Bones’ with rich, murderous tones but also has a ‘Girlie’ touch from its sweeter melodic notes. Thanks to elements such as her stand-out smokey voice; even backed with faint screams and wicked laughs on tracks like M.T.M.E to spooky organs, thudding drum beats and shredding guitars she creates an eerie cinematic aesthetic reminiscent of glamorous old Hollywood with a desert twist.

Influences she cites seep their way into tracks, with a prominent example being the late great Amy Winehouse whose characteristics are not only present in the soul Savior sings with but also her strong stance and powerful attitude on songs like Shades, as well as Jack White whose essence is felt in the American ‘Rock n Roll’ grit of the bluesy instrumentals. She also takes inspiration from outside the realm of music with comedy legend and filmmaker Terry Gilliam being a creative influence that not only reveals itself in her artsy music videos but also in the lyrical magic delivered by her haunting vocals.

Proving that she can paint a picture in more ways than one, vivid imagery is evoked in all songs with lyrics like ‘Dress me like the front of a casino, push me down another rabbit hole, touch me like I’m gonna turn to gold’ standing out in opening track Mirage. Alongside Turner, she projected her own feelings onto stories and characters, displayed beautifully in Girlie; the analysis of females trying to make it in the industry featuring lines like ‘Until her eyeballs start to bleed, she don’t wanna go to sleep’ and in Mystery Girl’s tale of infidelity singing ‘Hush now, don’t explain. Wound up with a heavier heart, from waiting in the rain’.

Belladonna of Sadness truly provides listeners with a whole world. Even songs that didn’t make the cut such as ‘Miracle Aligner’ now best known for being recorded by Turner and Miles Kane as The Last Shadow Puppets are packed with a punch but the perfect tracks were chosen; all piecing together to create a dark dream that you’ll never want to awaken from. 

At the beginning of this year, Savior followed up ‘Belladonna’ with the release of sophomore album ‘The Archer’ and although she found such a distinctive style with her first album, it was exciting to hear that she didn’t play it safe and stick to the same recipe (despite it being devoured by many). Instead, she delivers a heart-break fantasy that hypnotises you into floating along on her fresh journey, with the darker side only creeping in rather than being at the forefront.

An even more personal endeavour that her first, Savior was truly left to her own devices for this record after being dropped from Columbia, her manager quitting and receiving no aid from Alex Turner. None of this held her back though and only resulted in an album that’s soaked in assertive independence and is every bit her own.

Opening with a melancholic piano solo and heartfelt words she embraces the title of the track ‘Soft Currents’ throughout, delivering more vulnerable emotion in songs like this and The Archer. As a whole, it feels more of a woozy, gentle daydream in comparison to the dangerous vibes radiated previously but as mentioned, the darkness lurks. Harkening back to the ‘Belladonna of Sadness’ days are the thick riffs and thumping rhythm of Saving Grace and the suave single Howl with its strong synth and delivery. In addition to this, she further boasts her range by delivering a tune made for the likes of Mad Men with Send Her Back featuring a wonderful big brass intro and even takes you to the seaside with the beach swept Can’t Help Myself.

Although the overall direction is a departure, the key elements that make a Savior track remain. She doesn’t disappoint on effortlessly cool sounds, oozing vocals and of course those lyrics such as ‘The wilted edge of a lonesome mattress, I lay my head there until the feeling passes. It’s sinking in just as time relapses’ that I ‘Can’t Help Myself’ from quoting.

Although she might seem like an impossible ‘Mirage’, Alexandra Savior is as real as ever. So, if you’re looking for some dreamy desert rock, the perfect revenge soundtrack or spooky psychedelic pop then she really is the ‘Saving Grace’ that you’re looking for.

Listen to Alexandra Savior on Spotify now.

Indie/Indie Rock Reviews

Review: Oscar Lang – Antidote to Being Bored (Single)

Slacker rock superstar Oscar Lang is back with a brand new track that really nails in the new psychedelic gritty rock combo we were gifted with in Hand Over You Head in September. The cosmic hobo soundscape here completely lifts you out of your shoes, a wall of noise to rock your body till the cows come home. Lang announcing a brand new EP (with ‘Antidote..’ being the title track), was exactly what I needed to hear amongst the misery of the UK’s second lockdown.

The track definitely lives up to its name, after listening to it, I was the complete opposite of bored. Whatever Lang does to mix his music is always astounding and the new track is no exception. Something in the way his voice becomes buried within the instrumentation just blows your mind. ‘Antidote’ has a heavier and more brooding vibe, expelling so much nostalgia for mid-90s rock with such a filthy sound.

Lang said in a recent interview about the upcoming EP “I wanted to get a little darker with this EP but continue with the sound of the previous one. I feel like with the last one I really found a style of music that I love and am just excited to play. So this EP was all about developing that sound further.” And thus the stadium rocker Antidote to Being Bored was born and the EP to follow on December 4th. I think we’re all praying this will be the soundtrack of a post lockdown life, a glimmer of hope to look forward to.

There’s not much I can say aside from the fact it’s an absolute banger, the guy knows how to write a mega tune. I’ve had this song on repeat for about an hour now and my sandwich has gotten cold as I’ve been so immersed in the rapid ecstasy of ‘Antidote’. Just listen to the song, it’s a beautiful thick mess of noise. If you could fuse the sounds of Oasis’ ‘Morning Glory’ with Interpol’s ‘Marauder’ and put them in the Oscar Lang blender, you’d have this masterpiece.

So start adding to your playlists, and check out your local record shop to see where you can pre-order your copy because it’s going to be a stomper you’ll have to own.

‘Antidote to Being Bored’ Tracklist:
1. Antidote to Being Bored
2. That Wasn’t What I Said
3. Pretty Princess
4. Red Cherry Chapstick
5. Something Has Changed

Listen to the title track on Spotify now.