Instant Empire is a rock group from Denver that formed nearly eight years ago. Since then, they have released three EPs and a couple LPs, the most recent of which – 'Last of the Lovers' – will be released this August. The five-piece crafted the album with a concept centering around “the relentless march of time … consumed with finding grace and beauty in life’s tiny moments.”
The band's sophomore album is a beautiful listen, with a fairly dark theme complemented by bright and wonderfully contagious melodies. One of many highlights off the release is “Slow to Reveal”, a track with multiple vocal layers rising in intensity over shimmering guitars and an ’80s-tinged polish. The hook that features the lyrics “whispers and sideways glances” is full of intensity and supremely melodic songwriting, a great demonstration of the band’s talents.
“The initial spark for this song came after spending one too many days in Vegas, and all the heat, booze, gluttony and sickness that comes with that town,” vocalist and lyricist Scotty Saunders explains. “But the song eventually took on a larger rumination on how easily we let addiction and darkness into our lives. Depending on the situations you put yourself into, or the people you surround yourself with … evil can sometimes feel tangible. ‘Slow to Reveal’ explores that idea a bit.”
Based out of San Bernardino, California, Manuel Joseph Walker started his synth-tinged, jangle-pop project Foliage at the age of 16. He released his debut LP 'Truths' on Bandcamp the week before his 17th birthday. The record sold out in less than a week on physical. The recording, songwriting, and production for Foliage is all done by Walker, who is now 19 years old.
Foliage's new record is called 'Silence', and tells the story of an abusive relationship he was in. The song "Dare" is about trying to find an escape, but being held back. "Dare" is the first official single from the release.
Starting in 2011 when Johnstown, PA artist Jake Dryzal was only 12 years old, Blue Navy was conceived through his love of indie music and surrealism. Crafting fictional stories that dealt with relationship strife or dreamlike circumstances, Blue Navy released several demo EPs between 2011 and 2013. Jake took a hiatus from Blue Navy in 2014 to focus on his post-metal project, Pallor, and later returned to Blue Navy after the breakup with a girlfriend. Influenced by slowcore, dream pop, and shoegazing music, Jake released his debut album, "Mine" in early 2016 to critical acclaim. Another bout of unrequited love hit Jake in early 2017, resulting in the production of his newest album, "Ours," which was released that May.
"Ours" is Blue Navy's sophomore LP - another concept album that covers topics such as heartbreak, loss, and memories following the destruction of a meaningful relationship. Along with introspective, confessional lyrics, "Ours" contains balanced elements of stripped-down acoustic folk, as well as dense layers of lush, ethereal, and reverberated ambient soundscapes.
Northwest is one of the most promising musical projects in the independent scene. They gained media attention because of their ethereal and cinematic sound, their nostalgic and mysterious image and their diverse blend of influences (from bands like Radiohead and Portishead to composers such as Debussy and Robert Wyatt).
Northwest was formed in 2015 in the UK by multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Ignacio Simón and visual artist, composer and singer Mariuca García-Lomas They gained attention with three home recorded singles (Reflection, Wind and Look At Me) which were released independently and with very little promotion, accompanied by three artistic videos directed by Mariuca García-Lomas herself.
The duo Northwest moved from Spain to the UK and spent half of the year traveling around England and Scotland. Inspired by these trips, they started writing their debut album in 2016. This album has been almost entirely writen and recorded in less than a year while the artistic couple locked themselves in a country house outside of London.
Northwest has managed to create an original and otherwordly atmosphere thanks to their unique blend of experimental jazz rhythms, ethereal and enigmatic layered vocals, classical orchestration, delicate production and nostalgic lyrics. Their upcoming debut album is one of the most awaited and promising projects of the independent music scene.
Crafting a concept album is an incredibly difficult task. Tying together a cohesive narrative across a record’s worth of songs isn’t just daunting, it’s an endeavour that even some of the industry’s finest have failed to do memorably. This task, however, becomes notably more difficult when you’re dealing in the abstract via instrumental soundscapes. That is what Chronotope Project, the moniker of composer Jeffrey Ericson Allen, attempts to do with his latest project, ‘Ovum.’
NAAL is an eclectic music project led by Chicago composer Dave Mantel. This talented musician has a true passion for great melodies and haunting musical textures. His blend of ambient, shoegaze and experimental drone music feels personal and unique, echoing the work of artists such as Slowdive, Boards of Canada or Sigur Ros, just to mention a few.