Formed in 2010, the original members of Night Riots met in middle school and began playing as a band in high school. After high school the band split up, but quickly reformed with a new drummer. The band self-released their debut album “Into the Roaring” in 2010, under the moniker PK, and have since released another two albums, with their most recent effort, “Love Gloom,” hitting shelves late last year. Though Night Riots’ discography is composed mostly of synths, it’s no surprise that the band count punk rock as a major influence. Their towering new wave sound is dark and extravagant, all plaintive vocals and shadowy ambience. On tracks like “Nothing Personal,” thick shoegaze, raw vocals, and ominous melodies give off a distinctive AFI feel. But unlike most punk rock, Night Riots’ sound blends together, the vocals melting into the brooding ambience, giving the whole affair a sense of mystery that is only compounded by the arcane lyrics. Listening to “Love Gloom” feels like wandering around a city at night, packed full of bright lights and emotion, with a healthy dose of mystery and uncertainty to keep things exciting.
Favorites: “Don’t Kill The Messenger,” “Nothing Personal,” “Oh My Heart”
Similar to: DREAMCAR, COIN, Midnight Divide
Related – Discover: Midnight Divide
Jacob Banks’ voice is seemingly designed to convey emotion as eloquently as possible. The power of his voice propels the songs forwards without hesitation, imbuing them with depth and passion. The sparseness of the songs reads as a strategic decision, Banks acknowledging that with a voice like his, instrumentals and ambience serve as emphasis rather than focus. Banks credits growing up in Nigeria (he moved to England as a teenager) with his use of heavy, foot-thumping beats, which only accentuate the singer’s tumultuous delivery and intimate lyrics. These forceful rhythms, fused with smooth R&B and electronic elements, result in a sound that just might be the future of soul. From the vulnerable, electro-pop lament of “Chainsmoking” to the defiant entreaty of “Unknown (To You),” each of Banks’ tracks is chock-full of grit and spirit, each new single more anguished and anthemic than the last.
Favorites: “Unknown (To You),” “Monster 2.0,” “Worthy”
Similar to: Kwabs, Rationale, RKCB
Related – Album Review: Rationale’s “Rationale”
The new EP features acoustic versions of “Regeneration,” “Treats,” and “Drift,” off the band’s debut album, along with a cover of Ride’s “Vapour Trail.” Listen here.
The holidays may be the highlight of winter for some, but that doesn’t stop them from causing impressive amounts of stress. So it seems like the perfect time for some nice, relaxing tracks.
“No Vacancy” – Nightly
“Ivy” – Frank Ocean
“With Me” – dvsn
“Summer’s Gone” – NoMBe ft. Thutmose
“At All” – The True Blue
“Long Time” – Somme
“Get You” – Daniel Caesar ft. Kali Uchis
“Focus” – H.E.R.
The video follows the routine of Greg, a friend of the band’s who is also colorblind. The single is taken from the band’s most recent album “Lost In Translation.”
Born Alexandra Ashley Hughes, Allie X began her career in Toronto, and later moved to LA to work fulltime as a songwriter. Soon after, she began releasing songs under the moniker Allie X, and gained traction with her sharp-edged electro-pop sound. And it’s no wonder why. Her tracks are fresh and buoyant, blowing through like a quick gust of fresh, sun-drenched air, but with added bite. The effortlessly catchy “Paper Love,” with its nonchalant whistling and gently-delivered lyrics like “oh, I cry until I just dissolve” establishes an alluring tension, giving the impression that Allie X is balancing on a knife-edge in order to maintain her outward composure. This dark-edged breezy pop has been Allie X’s style from the start. Her debut single “Catch” is a sparkling alt-pop gem with a satisfyingly accusatory undertone. From the beginning, the Canadian singer/songwriter knew what she wanted to convey: real emotion atop fairytale ambience, allowing the listener to indulge in the songs’ dark emotions with anthemic delight.
Favorites: “Paper Love,” “Casanova,” “Old Habits Die Hard”
Similar to: Ellie Goulding, Lights, EXGF
Related – Why Lights’ “Skin & Earth” changes alternative music’s entire landscape
Moose Blood announced the release of a new album, “I Don’t Think I Can Do This Anymore,” out March 9th and available for preorder here. Watch the video for the first single off the upcoming album, “Talk In Your Sleep,” below.
OUTLYA released their own take on MUD’s “Lonely This Christmas,” with some help from Fraser of The Tin Pigeons.
Boston Manor released their dark new single “Drowned In Gold” with a corresponding music video.