Expanding on their impressive indie sound. Latest single ‘Early Dreamer’ sees Cardiff-based Twin Stranger introduce a refreshing twist on the genre, with a reflective and brooding, yet melodic breakaway track. As waves of psychedelic rock and power pop burst through, creating music that is both vibrant and immersive.
Opening lyrics battle the ever-tempting pull between saint and sinner, with lead Alex McConnachie enthralling us in the story of ‘Early Dreamer’. Interwoven among cool crisp guitars, and percussion hooks that latch onto its ever so catchy chorus. The single feels hypnotic and transportive, whilst lyrically able to explore the daily grind that everyday life can entail.
‘Early Dreamer’ really puts a spotlight on the fascinating capabilities that Twin Stranger have, to delve into such open and meaningful lyrics. Whilst maintaining a music style so uplifting, it scorches us with rays of hypothetical sunshine. This glorious contrast is often unseen at such an early stage in a band’s career, giving listeners an intriguing unique perspective, fuelling the momentum of what Twin Stranger are all about.
Placing emphasis on strong artistic collaboration from start to finish. McConnachie describes how Twin Stranger passionately craft every aspect of their music to perfection, including its artwork:
“The artwork for each release and visual aspect of things is very important, Joe comes up with a concept usually in the form of a little drawing or painting. It really feels like we’re building up to something.”
Building up to something, they certainly are. With ‘Early Dreamer’ affirming Twin Stranger as the up-and-coming band that you will certainly want to keep your eyes and ears on throughout 2021.
Hopes of an EP release are surely on the horizon, as this latest single continues on paving the road to success for Twin Stranger. Arriving off the back of a string of sublime singles, that firmly cemented their foundations in 2020. Anthemic debut ‘Tears of Joy’ was closely followed by summertime scorcher ‘Crushed’, preceded by the cathartic ‘White’ mid-year. All of which received high praise locally, and even gained the four-piece oversees exposure from US radio stations KROQ and SiriusFM. It is beyond inspiring that what initially began as a bedroom project for McConnachie, has grown to become so much more.
Twin Stranger are Alex McConnachie (Vocals), Joe Tobin (Synth/Guitar), Eric Karvik (Drums) and Josh Newington (Bass).
Stream ‘Early Dreamer’ on all platforms now via Rose Parade Record Co.
Cradling tender emotion in the palm of their hands, is a skill that Cardiff indie-pop band Rosehip Teahouse have completely perfected. Boasting a back catalogue of gorgeously cathartic music. Latest EP ‘Fine’ merges old and new tracks, entwining memories, thoughts and feelings into just shy of a blissful 15 minutes.
Swooning vocals from lead singer Faye Rogers glide ever so delicately across a soundscape of lightly placed instruments. Twinkling keyboards shimmer among a subtle pop of synths. While guitars nip, and drums dance, adding just enough grandeur to collate that “full band” sound. Rosehip Teahouse carefully ensure their blend of instruments is not overpowering, but instead provide a sound that is wholesome and pleasant to the palate.
It is a delight to rediscover gems such as ‘No Gloom’ and ‘Summer Sleep’ from very early demo recordings, alongside new singles ‘I Meant What I Said’, ‘A Million Times’ and ‘I’m Not Whole’. We hear a progression in songwriting style as Rosehip Teahouse have grown, yet cherish the emotions forever present within their music. Embodying such poignant pleasure, from their very conception as a band.
Of Rosehip Teahouse’s latest EP, Faye expresses; “The fine EP is a collection of moments that span from 2016 to now. They cover love, losing love, fighting an eating disorder that wanted to take me over completely, my unregulated emotions, dreams (both literal and metaphorical) finding some sort of meaning amongst it all and coming out the other side, slightly stronger as a result of it. A lot of the songs are re-arrangements of the very earliest Rosehip demos and it’s been really cathartic and really special to let them free with the help of the rest of the band. I hope people can relate to the songs, give them a home for a bit and feel at least a little supported in the struggles we all have staying grounded in this overwhelming world.”
‘Fine’ is without doubt, another firm favourite, more than capable of capturing hearts and bottling heartbreak. Exquisite in its fragile delivery of unwavering lyrics, Rosehip Teahouse share a true depiction of our innermost self-doubts and worries. Swathed within the most beautiful music.
Stream ‘Fine’ on all platforms now via Big Indie Records
Infusing tender romantic blues with light guitar work. Pascxl (pronounced Pascal) creates an atmospheric soundscape of acoustic pop, that simmers against deep vocal hues. Latest single ‘The Moon Is Not Enough’ is a woefully tender love song, that pairs longing lyrics with a soothing sound. Perhaps a subtle nod to baroque pop. The track dreams of crushing melancholy moments, with slight echoes of jazz adding a subtle jolt to wake us back up again.
Caressing and rousing in equal measures. Pascxl cleverly combines blushing indie-pop with a splash of lo-fi magic, to create music reminiscent of a canvass of stars, lighting up the nights sky. Both innovative and alluring, Pascxl self-records and produces tracks from a garden shed studio setup. With an inspiring DIY approach, met by a profound passion for music. There is such an indescribable charm, surrounding this mysterious musician.
Perfecting a delicate balance of heartbreak to self-assurance. On latest track ‘The Moon Is Not Enough’, Pascxl strings along lovelorn lyrics, to enchant any listener. Whilst remaining unwavering, bold and beautiful, rooted by an underlying vocal strength, as romantic notions glide effortlessly throughout the track.
Setting a sultry atmosphere, the song is a story, as much as it is sound. A captivating collaboration of music and lyrics, setting a scene to cradle us back to those memories of long lost lovers, that we had kept locked away in our hearts, until now.
Allow yourself to be transported away, within Pascxl’s otherworldly track ‘The Moon Is Not Enough’. Bathed in aching lyrical romance, gentle rhythmic acoustics and tantalising pops of percussion. It is a lo-fi gem, just yearning to shine. Crafted by the tender vocal and musical talent, of multi-instrumentalist Pascxl. A very promising muse, who is certain to capture the hearts of anyone who hears their music.
Stream ‘The Moon Is Not Enough’ on all platforms now
Ahead of the release of their debut single Key Largo. I caught up with Cardiff-based indie pop band Angel Hotel, to find out how life has been for them since lockdown and what their plans are for the future!
Hi Guys! So first of all, I have to ask how are you all coping during lockdown? I hope you’re alright and staying safe and well!
Hiya Becky! We’re great thanks and thank you so much for including us in your blog!
How have you found the current situation? Has it impacted your music and how you all create as a band? Or have you managed to find a way to make it work?
Like a lot of bands dealing with the current state of the world – we’ve been doing our very best to make the most out of a bad situation. Not being able rehearse as a full band, let alone play live shows, has been detrimental to so many of us but on the plus we’ve been using this opportunity to write as much new material and refine our live set to the best of our ability given the bizarre restrictions. Simply put, we are VERY excited to start playing live again!
Eagle-eyed music lovers would have noticed that you have recently made the decision to change your band name! Formerly known as Apostle, you are now the newly formed Angel Hotel!
What were your reasons behind this? Can we expect an exciting new sound from Angel Hotel?
The change in name primarily came from an evolution in sound. The initial concept of Apostle would be a solo project, but as the music developed – and so did the band – we no longer felt that it was a suitable name to call the outfit. In addition to this we felt that the name Angel Hotel was a better representation of our sound, branding and artistic vision. As well as it being our new name, Angel Hotel is also a famous Cardiff landmark that’s housed a litany of international artist. It’s a Welsh icon, and is as Welsh as Bara brith! We’re inspired by our city and we’re proud to represent it.
Who would you say are your biggest influences in music, both previously and going forward?
The writing process behind Angel Hotel songs have always been inspired and in part influenced by existing films soundtracks, while also adding our contemporary twist to a classic sound. We love 80s films! We are trying to encapsulate the way they make you feel rather than the way they are sonically – It’s the sound of nostalgia. It’s the sound of hearing something for the first time as a kid and falling in love the way it made you feel. The easiest way to categorise our genre would be under the umbrella of power pop, with the audience likening us to that of alternative pop and even grunge. Others have said that we have a sound reminiscent Bruce Springsteen crossed with the high energy Blink-182. Whatever the comparison, we hope people enjoy it.
Your debut single as Angel Hotel ‘Key Largo’ will be out very soon!I’d love to hear all about your ideas behind writing it, and what fans can expect to hear from your new single?
It’s a contemporary love letter littered with introspective reflections and a poignant hindsight, combined with a drinking sesh haha. The song isn’t our most energetic recording recently, however I think it showed a coherency that was more representative of our overall direction.
With the release of a new single, a new sound, and a new band name to go with it! Are you hoping to record your debut EP soon?
Our EP has actually already been recorded! We are beyond excited with the results and it was an absolute honour to be able to record at the legendary Long Wave Studios earlier in the year. We’re just so happy that we not only got to work with producer Tim Woodcroft but we also managed to finish the whole thing in two days, long before lock down restrictions were enforced so we are undoubtedly counting our blessings. The plan so far is to release the EP as individual singles – possibly three our four – and then release another full EP a little later down the line. Artists tend to release one song at a time because of how Spotify has taken over! Wish we could go back to the old days of releasing a full album! We’re chuffed nonetheless.
As well as being the lead vocalist of Angel Hotel, Sion has also just released a brilliant single as a part of Taf Rapids Stringband, and his own solo music! How are you finding juggling different musical projects with being in a band? It must be a lot of fun, but a lot of hard work too!
I [Sion] have found it a lot easier with the introduction of lock down to be honest. Since I lost all of my gigs I have found time to write. Taf Rapids Stringband is a blue grass venture completely different to my other projects but a style of music I’ve always loved playing. There hasn’t being a huge amount of other stuff to get on with so it’s been a fantastic excuse to get stuck in with as much music related work as possible.
It is clear to see how much love and passion you all have for music! Looking back over just a short space of time, you’ve had your own tour, have supported the likes of Dan Bettridge and most recently performed for free in aid of flood relief in our South Wales valleys, which was extremely kind hearted of you! What would you say has been your favourite show to date?
To be honest we’ve only had four gigs! We had a lot more planned this year with festival season looming. But sadly due to the virus all the festival plans were inevitably cancelled. Sad times! However, back in February we were fortunate enough to play a headline slot at The Moon on Womanby Street [In Cardiff]. It was great to see so many faces in attendance and gave us a taste of what’s to come and a great motivator to focus on the band going forward. We’ve definitely put all of our energy into writing the past few months and have managed to put together a library of new potential tunes, hot and ready to record.
It was also great to see so many local bands coming together for a great cause during the flood fundraiser. Cardiff is host to a plethora of fantastic bands and the Moon Club has always been one of the best places in the city to discover new grass roots bands.
What are your ideas for Angel Hotel after lockdown? Can you share with us any hints of your dream album in the works, or any future tour plans?
We’d love to work more with Tim [Woodcroft] and it would be an honour to do loads more recording at Longwave Studios. We plan for making up for lost time, and we intend on doing this by booking as many gigs as we can as soon as lock down is lifted. The long-term plan is to continue to produced music of a high quality and live performances of an exciting nature. We are looking to forward to catching up with as much live music as we can as soon as restrictions lift. With so incredible local bands to pick on, we’re spoilt for choice! We’re willing to bet there’ll be plenty of shows in the pipeline.
The Debut Single from Angel Hotel Key Largo will be out on 14th August
Follow Angel Hotel on their socials below
If you enjoyed what you read, and want to keep up to date with my writing. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! @beckyandthebands
MojoJNR is the alias of South Wales Musician Josh David-Read. Pairing the dreamiest of summer soundscapes, with husky vocal musings. His canvas of creativity spans far and wide, crafting music that will surely delight any listener. With a deep and unique approach to indie-pop, composed from the world around him. Josh harnesses a brave expression of his own thoughts, feelings and emotions. Utilising a vibrant spectrum of personal experience, to share his colourful musical universe with us. Friends and those he meets along the way may play a helping hand in what finally culminates as Mojo JNR. Yet the driving force, evoking and breathing life into the project, truly is Josh himself.
Sophomore single Peach Out is a clever play on words. Written about holistic methods of coping with anxiety. The idea for the track was originally derived from a text sent by Josh, with Peace Out, having been auto-corrected to Peach Out. This little quirk looped around in Josh’s mind, and together with a bit of research, he stumbled upon a crystal called peach aventurine. Discovering its benefits to soothing stress and worry, the concept behind Peach Out was born.
Josh explains how “Peach Out is essentially a light-hearted bedroom-pop track, focusing on how difficult it is to relax, even when you are doing nothing.” With swirling thoughts around anxiety, coupled with lockdown. Josh found himself determined to write the lyrics for the track, record, and self-release it by the end of July. Achieving that and more, Josh has proven himself to be a complex and motivated musician. It is truly awe-inspiring to behold his creative flow, from start to finish.
Peach Out pairs husky soulful vocals with simmering instruments and synths. With lead vocals from Josh harmonising exquisitely with backing vocals of fellow-musician Ci Gofod (Jack ThomasDavies) who features on the track. As the two vocals gently brush off one another, their overall warmth combined with keeping the pitch fairly low, results in a sultry summer-time track. Peach Out will perfectly resonate with fans of folk-rock singer Paolo Nutini, as well as the power-pop musings of an 80s Bowie.
Instruments are not overbearing, but instead infuse with the gorgeous vocal musk concocted, to create a soft yet rousing track. Without being raucous or loud, Peach Out is a woozy exploration of self-expression, evoking imagery of moody sunset blues.
Peach Out swiftly follows Mojo JNR’s debut offering Miles Away, which was released back in May. A brooding and slower guitar-fuelled love song, Miles Away stirs our senses, bringing to the forefront that one person we all need to move on from. With a smooth ability to easily transcribe a breadth of emotions, into lyrics. Josh is a remarkably keen songwriter, and it is clear to hear this talent reflected through his music. Miles Away is a marriage of music to lyrics, and a strikingly beautiful debut.
Mojo JNR is certainly one to watch, and amongst many others, I find myself incredibly excited to behold what the future has in store for this musical muse.
Peach Out and Miles Away are available to stream on Spotify
3:00am. Despite the stillness of the night, you find yourself lying awake. Looking again for the hundredth time, at the hand crawling around the clock. “Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock!” rattles through your brain like a dull ache. Bleary eyed and tired. Your inner monologue just won’t stop tonight. Sleep would be nice, but the thoughts are too loud.
Latest single Thought Number 3 from Rosehip Teahouse embodies those lonely hours we share with the moonlight. Basked in nothing but our own thoughts. Sleep will not come, because we are too exhausted by our minds.
Peering in through the glass of Rosehip Teahouse, we steal a glimpse at the thoughts keeping lead vocalist and songwriter Faye Rodgers awake. What begins as gentle musings, soon spiral.
Wrapping sincere lyrics within soft, delicate sounds. Rosehip Teahouse create emotional music, without any crushing weight to it. Instruments are kept light, and twinkling synths sparkle throughout the track like stars.
The woozy, dreamlike soundscape sets a scene of calm and tranquillity. Lyrics highlight Faye’s gorgeous song-writing abilities, and flawless vocals remain perfectly harmonious. The soft nature of the song, almost for a moment, allows for an escape from the sadness behind the words sung to us. Until we are jolted by the poignant finale.
Pairing opposing elements, of deep sadness and soothing music, together so beautifully. Fragile emotions are cradled and vocals lullaby soft. As though warming us with a comforting glow in the darkness.
At just over a minute and a half long; Thought Number 3 is a tender little indie-pop track, with huge emotional, poetic, and personal reach. For Rosehip Teahouse to have conveyed music so moving and resonate within such a short duration of time, is truly wonderous.
Thought Number 3 is available to stream now via Sad Club Records
Grasped by a guitar riff, we dive straight into latest single Can’t Go Back from London-based indie outlet Medium Love. Despite its initial heaviness, the biting riff soon softens when accompanied by an unexpected but glorious, pop of synths. Adding a light-hearted twist to the track.
Swaddling a mean guitar riff with synths could seem an odd combination at first. However the brilliant mixture of instruments Medium Love harness, showcases a unique sound, setting them apart from the very get-go. A ripple of personality breezing through within the first 5 seconds, certain to hook anyone in.
Can’t Go Back pairs perfectly with summer sunshine. As a snaking bassline pulses throughout, drums clash with guitars, creating a raucous rhythmic dreamscape. Pop-punk vocals from Kacey Underwood lift the track to dizzying heights, and once met by co-vocalist Heather Eaton, the duos varying harmonies combine to provide a rich vibrance. Reminiscent in sound to Childcare and The XX.
These vocal harmonies contrast exquisitely, not just with one another, but with their own individual tempos. Matching breathless woozy moments with intense shouted sections. Again, we see a build on that medley of sound Medium Love are delivering throughout their debut.
This mash-up of genres could risk coming off speckled and jarring, but Medium Love manage the balance just right. To present a track that is polished and professional, with just a dash of DIY-bedroom-pop vibe, which we all love!
Perhaps their professionalism spans from experience, as Medium Love are not entirely new to the music scene. Founding member Kacey Underwood was formerly of BigDeal, a band who achieved success amongst the grassroots movement between 2013-2016. Based between California and London.
Striking out anew with Medium Love, we feel that all involved are really beginning to channel their own unique styles. It truly is wonderful to behold! Especially when compared with the pure punk-rock that dominated the sound of Big Deal.
This flair and spark of individuality now at home within Medium Love, will surely stand them in good stead and I highly anticipate their upcoming EP release in just a weeks’ time.
Rory Wynne is the next shining star to burst out of Manchester’s flourishing music scene. Showcasing a unique blend of indie-pop, Rory is not shy in taking charge of his own music career. You’re saying hello to the writer, performer, recorder and producer of his own music, which is certainly impressive.
Already championed by the likes of Radio 1 and NME, Rory is making a bold impact, and his music speaks for itself. Upon embarking on his headline UK tour, Rory wowed avid gig goers. Since then he has secured a string of residency nights in Manchester, as well as playing a show at iconic venue, Jimmy’s.
Echoes of summer nights, and carefree fun scorch through Rory’s whimsical tracks. His latest single ‘Roses’, is another undeniable indie hit. Dusky vocals scatter like petals throughout, but Rory’s sharp lyrical capabilities soon scar us with their thorns, as the track embodies that peculiar sting from lust for love, and ghosts of mistakes that are capable of entrancing us all, especially when they relate to that one person we adore most.
Driven by want and desire, ‘Roses’ is as lyrically dreamy, as it is catchy. Rory’s passion for music is clear to hear; the track is so brilliantly put together. Each verse, chorus, and even the song’s breakdown, are meticulously crafted to grow a truly beautiful track. 80s synth and modern indie clash, as Rory presents us with a singalong hit you’ll be blasting through your speakers in no time.
Rose-tinted by name and by nature, ‘Roses’ really does bloom. Lustful lyrics and vocals are charged by captivating music, that really emphasises the charm of this track. Lyrically and musically, Rory has got it spot on here, and I’m very excited to hear more from him in the future.
‘Roses’ is out now on Very Clever Records, and is available to stream through all platforms