Polar States is a four-piece guitar band from Liverpool, UK (seriously, is there something in the water over there? Is it the Mersey?) that in all likelihood will become the next big British band to take the world by storm. The group got already a cult following despite releasing their first EP less than 3 years ago. They describe themselves as a ‘dark pop’ band but I think their genre is spot on alternative rock.
The band released just last week a new single, 2020, which is extremely catchy and already a musical crush of mine. It has huge potential to become a big hit and if you hadn’t listented to it before, this is your opportunity to do so before it does!
I can’t believe it was recorded in their own houses…
You probably know Mélanie Laurent for her famous role in Quentin Tarantino‘s film Inglorious Basterds or from any of her many other films (with my favourite one being this one), but it is a lesser-known fact that she’s also a musician. In fact, back in 2011 she released her first and only (so far) album, En t’attendant, to moderate success. It was basically a French pop album, with many of those pop songs co-written with Damien Rice. However, the reason why I decided to highlight Mélanie’s album for this week’s Throwback Thursday, is because of the two wonderful piano solos that open and close the record: Début and Fin.
I decided to feature here Début, but I might just as well have chosen Fin. Both songs are incredibly beautiful and delicate, the type of tracks you can listen on repeat without getting tired of them. Unfortunately, there is no “official” video on Youtube, but you can listen to Début on the mixtapes below (or the one on the sidebar here). Enjoy!
I think Tom DeLonge is the type of person who gets easily bored by routine and repetition. One of the reasons he got into arguments with Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker, was that he wanted to experiment with a more “atmospheric” sound while his friends wanted to keep doing what had been successful for them so far. The bad news is that this is what eventually caused him to leave Blink-182, but –luckily for us– that is also what prompted him to form Angels & Airwaves (stylized AVA). The group is basically a cinematic rock band with a punk-rock flavour, and there is nothing wrong with that.
AVA had been relatively quiet since 2017, partly because DeLonge had been busy looking for UFOs (for real, he co-founded this company), but they are now back on track to drop a new album soon, having released three new singles already since December. All That’s Left is Love is the latest one of them and is also the one that resembles the most the band’s previous work (this is not a complaint, I liked the other two singles as well, especially Rebel Girl). All the proceeds the band makes from this single will be donated to the charity Feeding America to help with the economic impact of COVID-19.
All in all, it is a great song from one of the most curious minds in the music business today.
Lizzy & the Fanatics is a dream pop band from Montreal, Canada, that after playing shows around the region for three years, released last month a bilingual EP with 6 indie pop tracks that taste like candy from your childhood. You can sense some 80s and 90s vibe on the record as well with its nostalgic synths and pastel color melodies.
Even though I don’t speak French (I know barely enough to understand that the name of the song featured here means “dead flowers”), I didn’t have to in order to connect with the song being highlighted here: Les fleur mortes. Music is universal, after all. However, rest assured, the EP has also 4 tracks in English that are just as good. Obviously, it is a matter of personal taste, but if you like dreamy 80s flavored indie pop, Lizzy & the Fanatics will be right up your alley.
‘‘I wrote Les fleurs mortes while riding my bike in
the dead of November last year, while missing the
summer. The song is about nostalgia; how it can
simultaneously make you feel the sad feelings of
losing something from the past, at the same time
as feeling content of remembering something
that was good. I find that this ambivalence of
feeling is a bit like drying dead flowers, preserving
Maybe the name Amelia Warner does not ring a bell to you, but it’s quite probable that you have listened to her work before. Perhaps it was back when she used the moniker Slow Moving Millie and her gorgeous song Beasts was everywhere after it got featured on a popular Virgin Media ad. Or more recently when she started to score movies such as Mary Shelley . If nothing else, you for sure must have heard about her husband, the actor Jamie Dornan, a.k.a. Christian Grey. Since 2017, Amelia has released a few EPs and one album under her own name, consisting of beautiful piano melodies.
Last month, Amelia put out a new EP: Haven, with Drawing Room being its first track. It is a touching and melancholic piano song that is the perfect soundtrack for a moment of solitude on a Sunday afternoon. Check it out at the resources below.
Eletronic music is a very broad genre, with more subgenres than I can be aware of. So, I have no idea how Flotron‘s exact subgenre is called, all I know is that it is emotional instrumental electronic music and that I like it. Particularly, Local Symmetry, which belongs to Flotron‘s Antinormal album, and I’ve been playing on repeat for a while now. I just find it soothing.
There is not much personal information about Flotron online, other than the fact that he’s based out of Austin, Texas. I understand this might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but if you happen to like this kind of music, please make sure to give Flotron a try.
I had the pleasure of listening to the debut single of strawbey last week and was looking forward to its official release today so that I could share it with you here. Play pretend is the kind of indie/dream pop that hypnotizes you and leaves you wanting more. Amazingly, the song was written, produced, recorded and released entirely in lockdown; which you wouldn’t know because it sounds as if it had been recorded in a studio by a top-notch producer.
strawbey is the stage name of 19-year-old Norwich singer (and friend of The Alternative Mixtapes), Ruben Pope, who won first place in 2019’s Young Norfolk Writing Competition and has received the support of the likes of the BBC, who featured play pretend in their LGBTQ+ Records of the Year Pride Playlist 2020 for the Norfolk region. Ruben’s debut EP will be released in August but, in the meantime, we can enjoy this honest and raw song about the struggles of playing pretend just to fit in. There is no video yet but you can listen to play pretend in the mixtapes below.
Without a doubt, strawbey is the kind of talent we should all support.
“There are times where we all knowingly ‘play pretend’ and although we often fail to acknowledge this, we’d all rather ‘fake it ‘til we make it’.”
With the news this week that Semisonic is back together with their first song out in 19 years (which is okay but not great), I thought it would be appropriate to reminisce about Semisonic’s great 1998 album, Feeling Strangely Fine, as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday. The record, which was the band’s second album, was without a doubt one of the best ones of 1998. It had three singles, with one of them being a massive success. In fact, some people might think that the band led by Dan Wilson was a one-hit-wonder because of Closing Time, but that would be wrong. The other two singles were also really good and got decent airplay (I do have a soft spot for Secret Smile). However, the song I wanted to highlight here was never a single. It was the sixth track on FSF: DND.
If you have listened to DND before, you probably agree with me on that it is a great tune with that memorable acoustic intro. And if you haven’t, please do yourself a favour and do it here now. Welcome back, Semisonic!
I love cover tracks that are not just karaoke versions of the original songs. In particular, when the artist manages to bring the song to his/her own style in a way that makes it sound as a brand new track (and even better when the styles are very different). This is exactly what flor accomplished with their cover of Coldplay’s iconic song: Yellow, for which they had a bit of help from Mandy Lee from MisterWives.
flor (they don’t use a capital F) is a pretty well-known band in the indie circuit, but in case you don’t know who they are, they started in 2014 in Oregon, US; and have released two studio albums so far. This cover of Yellow, however, is part of a EP, reimagined, that the band released in February this year, containing new versions of two of their most popular songs plus the song being featured here. All three songs come recommended and deserve a listen, but you can start with Yellow here:
If you listened to Back On Earth without knowing anything else about the band, you would be tempted to bet on that they are a band from South California whose members spend the time surfing when they are not playing gigs. I really doubt you would guess they are actually from Paris, France. I, for one, would have lost that bet.
The band plays perfectly good punk rock (or pop-punk, if you prefer to call it that way) and was formed in 2009. However, they were on a hiatus from 2014 until last year, and they have been pretty active since then. Save Me is a fun and extremely catchy (especially that chorus) tune that the band released earlier this year. If Back On Earth continues to release songs like this (and they have plans to put a new song out in July), their future looks very bright.
Please give them a try if you weren’t a fan already, I promise you that it will be fun.