Discover: Carah Faye

The most common complaint about modern pop music is that it’s fake. The lyrics are engineered for maximum relatability, the sound is sugar-coated, the songs written for any artist who cares to commission a potential hit. Carah Faye avoids this trap elegantly. The Californian singer’s soaring pop is smooth and stream-lined, with broad-stroke lyrics delivered over anthemic melodies. So what separates Faye’s lovelorn pop from the rest? It’s not completely separate from the glossy melodies of pop stars like Demi Lovato or Taylor Swift. But the frontwoman for Shiny Toy Guns breathes a breath of fresh air into mainstream pop with her sharp-edged new single “Gold Plated,” a step forwards from the tame tranquility of her first solo effort “Don’t Say A Word.” The track feels personal and honest, stark lyrics delivered with an exquisite vengefulness, over a background of extravagant electronic ambience. “Gold Plated” is, indeed, gold plated – it’s polished to a fault, so shiny and shimmering you could see your reflection in it, but with an outsider energy and real feeling behind the words.

Listen to: “Don’t Say A Word” and “Gold Plated”

Similar to: Lights, Dua Lipa, Pvris

Related – Why Lights’ “Skin And Earth” Changes Alternative Music’s Entire Landscape

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Discover: Wave Break

Newly formed Boston band Wave Break have only been around since April. Nevertheless, their first single “Deadlock,” released October 20th, isn’t a softball. The four-piece are diving in headfirst and pulling no punches, with a single that takes on the polarization between the two major political parties. “Deadlock” is reminiscent of “All We Know Is Falling”-era Paramore: fairly standard, dark pop-rock, but impressive for a first effort, and showing huge potential for the future. The instrumentals drive the song along, providing a dark ambience, though the vocals blend into the background noise a bit too much. That being said, it’s an intriguing lyrical topic, and a solid base both instrumentally and vocally for Wave Break to build and expand on for the future. The group already have dates lined up around Boston this November, and they hope to have an EP out by early 2018.

Listen to “Deadlock” here.

Similar to: Inheaven, Paramore, Valeras

Related – Discover: Valeras

Discover: Sundara Karma

UK indie quartet Sundara Karma are all ease and breeze. The band established themselves with a slew of blithe indie pop singles centered around shimmering riffs and sincere lyrics. With plenty of the nonchalance and energy typically associated with indie rock bands, coupled with ambient pop sensibilities, Sundara Karma set themselves up for success. Their debut album “Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect” took all the band’s fun, spirited indie pop-rock and mixed it in with deeper, more enigmatic elements. On tracks like “Happy Family” and “Deep Relief” Sundara Karma try their hand at social commentary, backed by swirling guitars and dark ambience. While “Flame” may still be the band’s stand-out track, on their debut album they show an ability to mix things up topically and musically that will serve them well.

Favorites: “Flame,” “She Said,” “Deep Relief”

Similar to: The Night Café, Coasts, Blossoms

Discover: Light You Up

These UK pop-punkers got together in 2012 and released their debut album “All We’ve Ever Known” in 2015. Gravelly vocals give their sound a grittier edge than most pop-punk bands, which has the effect of making their lyrics sound darker than they actually are. Their lyrics deal with everything from moving on to searching for the light in a situation, and are granted extra weight by the vocal delivery. Because pop-punk instrumentals tend to have a thick, gruff sound, and Light You Up are no exception, the vocals and instrumentals blend into each other. Both are husky and rough, and the vocals act as another instrumental line, creating a mesh of interlocking melodies that complement each other. This causes the listener to get lost in the overall sound of a song, rather than focusing on the lyrics. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Light You Up have a rich and resilient pop-punk sound that’s plenty unique enough to be memorable and worth listening to.

Favorites: “All We’ve Ever Known,” “Foxfire,” “Breathe”

Similar to: WSTR, ROAM, Seaway

Discover: The Wild Feathers

The Wild Feathers may prefer the term American over “Americana,” but either one is accurate in its description of the band. It is only fitting that The Wild Feathers have participated in tours headlined by Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. The Nashville group’s sound incorporates the slow-and-steady roll of roots-rock, polished modern-day production elements, a country twang, and strong hints of blues. They bring a new sound to an old genre. It is impossible to listen to The Wild Feathers and not think ‘this is American.’ And while there is something old-fashioned about it, the songs are smooth and clear-cut, with just a touch of grit and gravel to make you want to drive down some dusty back-roads.

Favorites: “Overnight,” “The Ceiling,” “Left My Woman”

Similar to: The Apache Relay, The Shelters, Andrew Combs

5 Reasons You Should Be Listening To Julie Elody

1. I can guarantee that you know someone struggling with mental illness: The Lighthouse is a song about pretending to be alright when you’re not and about confronting the dark spaces that exist inside you. If you can’t relate, chances are you know someone who can. Take a moment to try and understand, you won’t regret it!

2. Julie is real and her music is real too: She doesn’t sugarcoat anything and even when she feels like she has no idea what she’s doing, she’ll tell you that. It’s the breath of fresh air in this stuffy industry that you need.

3. She loves New Orleans as much as you do: When she moved here in 2010, Julie knew it was her home. But you won’t see her on Bourbon! Julie’s favorite NOLA spots include The Fly, The BullDog on Magazine, Snake N’ Jakes, Buffa’s and Gasa Gasa.

4. She’s going places: After several years as the lead vocalist of a funk-rock band and one year of a solo career under her belt, Julie has written so many genres of interesting and meaningful music. There’s no doubt this lady-boss will be making waves in no time.

5. I mean, why not? What else are you doing? Tell Netflix you’re ‘not still watching,’ put down the Candy Crush and give it a try. What do you have to lose?

Julie’s single “The Lighthouse” came out yesterday, and the artist had this to say on her new song:

 “I think we all have moments where we feel unhinged and The Lighthouse is a song about being okay with being a little broken.  My favorite line from the song is “there’s a lighthouse in this room I watched it go dark.  But there are matches everywhere what distracting spark.”  Even when everything feels like it’s falling apart, there’s always another way.  It may not be the healthiest thing to do, but we do what we need to do to survive and sometimes that’s enough.”

Interview: The Time Framed

The Time Framed’s music is an eclectic mix of genres, a collision of styles that perhaps shouldn’t mesh together, but end up working out. Their single “Bombshell Baby” is drenched in shoegaze and grunge, while single “Weird First” sounds as though it were designed for Guitar Hero, all corkscrewing riffs, but slathered in effects that turn the whole song into a strange and ambient landscape. The Time Framed don’t limit themselves to genre, instead preferring to incorporate every type of music they can find into their own sound. The Time Framed are the answer to the prayers of anyone who has found themselves disappointed by their own constantly roving tastes, and who has never before been able to stay interested in an artist for a long period of time. This is a band that never do the same thing twice.

Favorites: “Tiny Wolves,” “Bombshell Baby,” “Weird First”

Similar to: The Real Clash, Consider Me Dead, AFI

Interview:

How did you guys meet?

We all ended up meeting about a year ago originally. Our drummer, Brandon, was in another band and we talked a bit at a mutual friend’s show. Fast forward to February of 2017, we started doing music with the mutual friend but needed a fill-in drummer. Brandon ended up getting suggested and filled in on shows. Eventually the mutual friend left to pursue other music projects, but we loved Brandon so much we wanted him to stay. Ever since then, we’ve been playing shows, recording our EP, and planning the band’s future as a group.

You aim to combine aspects from a huge array of genres into a ‘post-rock’ style. What got you interested in this sound?

Overall, we think the main interest in this kind of sound is that it’s not very common. Considering our various levels of ADD, we couldn’t pick a general genre to stick to as we like all kinds of different music, playing and listening. We also wanted to avoid the notion of “sounding like band x” and try to find ways to stick out from the crowd. Using a lot of guitar effects, melodic bass, and progressive drumming, we wanted to go for a theatrical video game sound with music theory concepts and see how far we could push those boundaries.

Do you use certain genres to evoke certain emotions? How do you choose which to incorporate in your music?

Definitely. One of the ideas we work with is the use of multiple sets depending on the overall mood and lineup of a show. If we are booked on a heavy rock or metal show, we’ll pick songs that have a more darker egyptian style tone, faster punchiness and heavier progressive riffs. If we’re booked on a more alternative set, we’ll pick generally more “happy” and upbeat songs, and slower, dreamier songs.

What record has had the most influence on you as a band?

We all have many albums that have influenced all the music we do. These albums range from artists like Underoath, Mars Volta, Tera Melos, A Perfect Circle, Tool, Nothing More, and more.

What’s a favorite lyric that you’ve written?

The rest of the guys might feel differently about this, but me (Britt, bassist), personally, I love the Bombshell Baby lyric “Laser-guided llamas leaving craters on our love.” But to dig deeper, I also really enjoy the lines (from the same song) “Sing me a love song like bombs falling down. We’ll land in pieces cause nobody likes this town. I’ll leave the speeches with the broken hearted wreckage. You can light a candle for the alarm that never sounds.”

What do you think is the perfect environment for listening to your music?

The best environment would probably just be with lights low, some incense going, and a giant pink salt stone lamp (we’re a bit on the hippie side).

Your website says you believe the world would be a better place if people who made music did it with the intent to make the world a better place. How do you see yourselves helping to improve the world with your music?

A lot of our music pulls from traumatic events. Our song, Ifrit, was written about my surviving domestic violence. One of the biggest causes we fight for is to help victims and survivors of domestic violence and by having this song, we want to promote more open discussion about DV and how I used music as therapy. Another thing we like to do is volunteer to play for charity events. Sometimes musicians can get lost in the need to make an income and wanting to play for the sake of playing, but we strive to make time to volunteer to play for any charity events in need of musicians. It may not seem like much to some, but music itself can be healing, raise spirits, and connect humans together and that’s what we want to do as a whole. As well as play, we like to speak to the charities at these events and collect advertising materials from them to advertise at our other shows and spread their message.

You have an upcoming EP “Chrono Dementia” set for release sometime soon. What’s the process been like preparing for that?

Our EP is set to release everywhere on November 4th. It’s been a very fun, a bit stressful, but overall rewarding process. We spent many, many hours together, recording, tweaking the songs the way we want them, adding interesting effects and just had fun with the whole process. Our drummer recorded, mixed and mastered everything as part of Dreamlab Recording Studio and he’s just done an amazing job with it.

What are your plans for the near future?

With the EP release, after that’s out, we’re looking forward to start recording the next EP and planning short-run tours with the overall goal to start touring regularly.

Listen to “Weird First” here.

Related – Interview: Staircase Spirits