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Indie/Indie Rock Why We Love

Why We Love: Blac Rabbit

Psychedelic rock band, Blac Rabbit from Rockaway Beach in NYC, are phenomenal, and from a place literally named Rockaway, they certainly live up to the name. Sometimes you listen to a band, and from the completely developed and slick production you assume they’ve got a massive presence with multiple albums and touring huge arenas around the world. However, upon discovering deeper into the lifeline of Blac Rabbit, I was incredibly shocked to find out they’ve yet to release their debut album and that they’ve made fame from busking in the New York subway, performing Beatles covers. 

Think of combining the influences of greats such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd along with the contemporary magnificence of bands such as Tame Impala or MGMT. Formed of Bassist Josh Lugo, Drummer Patrick Jones, Keys player Justin Jagbir and fronted by guitarists, singers and twin brothers Raheim and Amiri Taylor. Blac Rabbit quench the thirst after listening to modern bands such as Tame Impala or Post Animal, psychedelic music is well and truly making its resurgence and taking it’s a stand against the flow of typical indie bands these days. Their song ‘Mindspace’ starts off and you can really hear that ‘Innerspeaker’ flair and the tightness these guys have for playing their hearts out is fantastic.

After spending their days playing Beatles songs to New York commuters, the guys of Blac Rabbit quit their day jobs to pursue music full time. Releasing their debut self titled EP around Christmas 2017, the band have gained some pretty stellar traction amongst like-minded music lovers, within fanbases of bands such as Tame Impala and of course The Beatles. The bands work definitely evokes the stylistic choices of The Beatles but definitely gives it a natural twist for it to fit in the modern streaming world, as well as really specifically nailing that psychedelic 60s sound for a modern audience. With the psychedelic rock genre, it’s hard to go about without getting references and comparisons to Kevin Parker’s Tame Impala slabbed all over the place, but Blac Rabbit seems to relish in that, actively saying that Tame Impala is one of their biggest inspirations. In this day and age, it’s almost a trope for young bands to list all the classic artists from decades gone that they admire, and forget about mentioning current relevant artists that may have had the same effect on them. So to see Blac Rabbit admittedly praise recent contemporaries is actually quite a refreshing and honest thing to do.

I first heard ‘Over The Rainbow’ last year and immediately fell in love with the sound of the band. Because of such a diverse range of musical inspiration, the blend of classic and modern production and songwriting feels so current and important for the indie scene today, to be able to break out of its repetitive nature of the last decade. I’m a big sucker for Psychedelic rock I have to say, but hearing this track for the first time really did transport me to another dimension, and all I needed was a pair of headphones. In their live performance of the track on Paste, you realy get a taste for the rawness of their playing as it really feels live.

Twin brothers Raheim and Amiri announced their debut album just before keyboardist Justin Jagbir joined, subsequently dropping the lead single ‘Seize The Day’ in 2018. Between then and now though, the band seem to have had quite the number of false starts in terms of getting the record done. Being such a new band, as you can imagine, getting the funds to get an album made is no easy feat. The band set up a crowd funder but unfortunately didn’t reach their goal, a trope that far too many up and coming bands have had to face. But after some publicity online and a couple of Ellen show performances, the band got signed, put together their own home studio, and their debut album Interstella managed to get recorded and mixed, just waiting on the mastering process as of July this year. Still awaiting an official release date, we’re pleased to know it should come sooner rather than later.

The most recent drop from the band is the mind-melting Windy Cities. The clash of the phaser driven guitars, the grounding drums, slick lead guitar and the ethereal vocals make for an out of body listening experience. The teasers from the new album and the concrete polished production compared to some of the rawer sounds from their self titled EP just make me so ecstatic for Interstella. Desperately wanting to hear it NOW! But good things come to those who wait, and from what we’ve heard thus far, the album will be well worth the wait.

Check out Blac Rabbit on Spotify, and keep up with them on social media such as their Instagram.

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Indie/Indie Rock New Wave Pop/Indie Pop Uncategorized Why We Love

Why We Love: The Orielles

Evoking space-age dreams with their bright bops, The Orielles are a funky fresh band that you absolutely need to be listening to. In fact, scrap that. I’d say the word ‘experiencing’ is far more apt than simply ‘listening’ as their tracks are so engrossing, they’re a vessel for escaping reality…

Taking you on an adventure through the decades they stop off in the bright psychedelic 60s, have a boogie in the 70s and even a cheeky trip to explore 90s acid house, as well as blasting forward into another time and dimension with their futuristic synth sounds.

It’s no wonder that Heavenly Recordings; the same label boasting talent we love from Saint Etienne to Working Men’s Club, have these guys added to their fantastic roster. The Orielles boast the sweetest sounding melodies since Sarah Cracknell and a perfect balance of modern and classic just like WMC, whilst keeping everything uniquely their own; ticking all of the boxes for another Heavenly band destined for greatness.

The group consists of sisters Esmé Dee Hand-Halford on lead vocals/ bass and Sidonie B Hand-Halford on drums alongside friends Alex Stephens on Keys and Henry Carlyle Wade on guitar and backing vocals (providing a deeper undertone to Esmé’s gentle singing approach). Hailing from Yorkshire, they’ve been putting out singles since 2015 which really helped them to gauge direction before releasing debut album ‘Silver Dollar Moment’ in 2018.

Vibrant and charming, their first LP stands out in the sea of standard indie. Their key to doing so appears to be teasing you with that familiar formula we’re so accustomed to hearing but giving it a twist; thus subverting your expectations. Take Sunflower Seeds, for example, kicking off with a strong and cheery riff followed by thumping drum beats, it instantly captures your attention (in a way that almost seems too good to be true). However, it doesn’t stay linear and instead fades into a slow psychedelic squish that bands like Post Animal would be proud of, flipping the happy-go-lucky intro on its head. 

They further prove their capability of making their mark on things by not only giving you brit-pop dreams like Mango but also more mellow notes in the laid back Liminal Spaces. As well as this, they also display great lyricism inspired by life, literature and philosophy on their tracks, with an abundance of stand-out lines on Henry’s Pocket. A song about trying to start afresh but being trapped by the past, it features vivid lines like “Trying to eat a moment and regurgitate it back up like you used to. We just hang in a web connecting us to past, present and future”.

Silver Dollar isn’t all that The Orielles have to offer either; displaying a real growth in confidence upon the release of their second album ‘Disco Volador’ put out earlier this year. Although I’d never bore of hearing Esmé’s melodies complimenting their funky sound the bands first record doesn’t quite boast the greatest exploration in tone. However, their follow up puts this point to bed with more variance in the delivery of lyrics and exploding instrumentals. Each track truly comes to life, all effortlessly cool with an airy quality. Further deviating from the mainstream sound produced by many current bands there’s a real retro essence at its core, layered with a forward-thinking distortion to create their own vibrant universe.

The album starts with Come Down On Jupiter, a song starting with a hint of Pulp’s darker records à la ‘This Is Hardcore’ that’s then perfectly juxtaposed by the soft melodies introduced into the mix. Sneakily, they then go on to build the track until you find yourself listening to a pop song that still maintains an edge with strutting guitars and more assertive vocals. Continuing to defy your initial anticipations, Memoirs of Miso’s simple lyrics of ’Falling in love’ float around as you drift away into a technicolour vortex. You’re then caressed by a gentle rhythm and drifting saxophone before it bursts back, bringing you into the room, ready to dance again.

Speaking of dancing, Memoirs certainly isn’t alone as single Bobbi’s Second World is bound to have you on your feet; delivering a groovy strut with its bopping bassline, throwing in some fun backing vocals and a sprinkle of sound effects. It’s a tale of turning a blind eye to reality and getting lost in your own head; something I often find myself doing in general but even more so to The Orielles tracks which are pure fuel for the imagination. Summarising Disco Volador is its own ‘theme’ Space Samba which captures the essence of the whole album; beaming and euphoric with a bit of sass to ensure that you don’t fall too far into the dreams induced.

Not only are the band ahead of their time with their indie evolution, but they also look like they truly have a gift for seeing into the future with the line ‘Isolation, room for creation’ being repeated on Sugar Tastes Like Salt; their single released back in 2017. The song that originally caught my attention, ‘Sugar’ not only predicted our 2020 life but also hits with attitude. Featuring upbeat punches, trippy guitar and sinister beats it’s an 8-minute exploration that showcases their capabilities in producing cosmic soundscapes and is a great introduction to the group.

With every one of The Orielles tunes encapsulating a little bit of celestial magic, I’m more than keen to see what else they have coming our way. Sadly, I don’t appear to have their seeming power to do so but based on merit have great faith that it will be something special, so watch this space.

Listen to The Orielles on Spotify

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Indie/Indie Rock Why We Love

Why We Love: Post Animal

If you’ve ever experienced the psychedelic odyssey of sounds produced by Post Animal then I’m sure you’ll be happy to join me in this celebration of their cosmic creations. Alternatively, if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of delving into their discography then I strongly urge you to find out a little bit more about them right here and join the trip…

I can still remember feeling as if I’d hit the jackpot when I discovered Post Animal in the same week that I moved to London back in 2016. At this point, they only had a handful of songs on their Spotify but those few special tracks were enough to recognise the gem that I had on my hands and have me hooked. Played out on repeat, their merging melodies became the soundtrack to my new adventure, discovering their rich sounds as I discovered my way in a new city.

Best described as ‘current psychedelic meets classic rock’ the six-piece progressive outfit formed in Chicago two years prior to my discovery. A variety of members contribute to vocals and consist musically of Dalton Allison on bass, Wesley Toledo on drums and Jake Hirshland on keyboard and guitar; joined on the latter by Javi Reyes, Matt Williams and Joe Keery (a name that you might recognise from a little-known Netflix series called Stranger Things). 

Around the time that I discovered the guys, Keery’s breakout acting gig almost brought everything to a halt, but fortunately, they managed to work around scheduling and were able to carry on producing more of their sonic soundscapes. However, as his role (and hair) on the cult show began to get bigger and some time was set aside to pursue solo project Djo (check out the album ‘Twenty Twenty’ for another fantastic listen), Keery decided to take a break from touring with Post Animal. Since his partial departure, the band have continued to go from strength to strength, flowing along like their music and realising second full-length album ‘Forward Motion Godyssey’ earlier this year.

Although collectively coherent, Animal’s songs span a broad range of sounds and an extensive array of influences creep in across tracks. Upon initial listen, it’s hard not to feel like When I Get Home is cut from the same cloth as many well-loved Tame Impala tracks- but it’s by no means a copy thanks to the incorporation of some 70s rock elements. There’s also a Reckoner-Esque sound driving their eponymous track as well as songs like Safe or Not; kicking off with an initial acid house hit and transitioning into something reminiscent of Two Door Cinema Club and funk-fuelled How Do You Feel all on the same album. Not to mention the poppy stand out single Ralphie from the first album ‘When I Think Of You In A Castle’ and the likes of earlier track Lonely Jones that at times evokes a hint of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ (I could go on but I think you get the gist).

It’s hard not to shout about all of their songs, as each holds a place in my heart but it is clear to see that the band have grown over their years together. Certain elements of their self-produced tracks like captivating hooks and arpeggios came naturally to the guys from the get-go. However, a determination to cover such wide experimental ground meant that some of their earlier work was lacking a little lyrical direction. There was never an issue with this as their songs were still strong and got the ball rolling; it’s just more evident since they’ve truly come into their own. Progressing with a real ‘forward motion’ they’re now displaying more introspective lyrics whilst channelling a slightly darker sound which makes for an engrossing departure from the dream-like one fans were used and really dazzles.

It’s exciting to know that Post Animal have the self-awareness and skill to evolve as they have. This, combined with their ability to transport you to a summertime by a lake in the States (even during British autumn) and distort the lines between genres proves that they’re a class act and provides me with the faith that you’ll love them just as much as I do.

Check out Post Animal and Djo