James Qupid gets spiritual on ‘Holy Water’

James Qupid is a rising singer-songwriter from Florida. His incredibly smooth vocals come from a strong Gospel and R n’ B influence, while the production is fun and vibrant. This is evident on his new song, ‘Holy Water.’

‘Holy Water’ is a song that exudes spiritual enlightenment. With beefy bass sounds and summery vocals, there is versatility about his sound that helps him stand out. The song was written during quarantine, while the lyrics reflect his upbringing. It’s a ray of positivity that we need in these difficult times, and is a worthy inclusion for any summer playlist.

Listen to ‘Holy Water’ here.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Album Review: Atoms // Platon Karataev

Platon Karataev are a rising Budapest-based indie band. The band are extremely popular because they’ve got an accessible sound. Their song ‘For Her’ was streamed 4 million times on Spotify, mainly from the USA, UK, and Germany. On new album ‘Atoms’, the band have created an indie rock sound that reminds me of Arctic Moneys and Foals.

‘Atoms’ hints at a darker sound. The guitars on ‘Ocean have plenty of reverb which works well because they create a wall of atmosphere. It’s a technique that works well on ‘Aphelion’, as the swirling guitars could represent the introspective lyrics: “a spiral of nothing that pulls me down.”  The guitars are beautiful because they pull the listener into another world.

The clean guitar tone on ‘Wolf Throats’ juxtaposes with the urging call of the trumpet. This works well because it makes the listener feel like they’re ready for a battle, while the harmonies are a joy to listen to. The harmonies in general are very strong because they show versatility. The gorgeous minor chords on ‘Litmus Heart’ are a perfect backdrop for the fragile vocals. The harmonies towards the end can easily be sung in stadiums and arenas.  

‘Atoms’ is a beautiful album that contains singalong anthems. It’s an album that Platon Karataev should be proud of and boost their reputation.

You can stream ‘Atoms’ here.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Album Review: Mephitic // AHTME

AHTME are back with a brand new album, Mephitic. It follows on from their debut album, Sewer Born which was released in 2018. Their brutal crushing drums and pummeling guitars is an acquired taste but they’ve built up a strong following.  The band consists of Brent Turnbow (vocals), Craig Bruenger (bass), Dalton Harper (guitar) and Jordan Plumer (drums).

Death metal is a genre that focuses on extreme brutality. On Mephitic, AHTME have focused on neck snapping groove focused guitar riffs. It rushes straight out the blocks with the opening one-two of ‘Swarm of Fools and ‘Putrid Perforation.’ Both tracks are very fast, but have a gripping melody that keeps you hooked. Harper’s guitar playing is tighter and slicker.

‘Hair Of the Hog’ is reminiscent of old school death metal. The musicianship is tight, leading to a delicious colossal experience. There are some back metal elements, especially in the guitar parts, which show variation. ‘Valley of the Gourds’ is one of those songs where you will break your neck headbanging. The relentless groove and thrashy riffs are memorable because they’re very energetic.

Overall, Mephitic shows AHTME are able to stand out from the crowd. They’ve created infectious riffs and expanded their sound palette. This album should take them onto bigger things because it can appeal to any metalhead.

Mephitic released on July 26th on Unique Leader.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: I Never Left // Those Fantastic Things

Those Fantastic Things get all summery on ‘I Never Left’

Those Fantastic Things know how to write catchy pop bangers. They did this on last single ‘Don’t Feel’. And they’ve done it again on ‘I Never Left’ , their latest single. This is also the title of their upcoming debut album.

I think ‘I Never Left’ is everything you’d want in an upbeat song: summery guitars, a chorus you can sing along to, all wrapped up in under three minutes. What is intriguing about the song is its chord changes. These are brilliant because they’re unexpected and add to the song’s charm. It shows that Those Fantastic Things have a great ear for melody and creating unusual chord structures to their music.

I love ‘I Never Left’ because it makes me feel uplifted. If this song is anything to go by, then ‘Those Fantastic Things have the potential to be massive.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: Under // Bethany Ferrie

Bethany Ferrie is influenced by the likes of Lewis Capaldi and Ed Sheeran. I already knew her from her last single ‘Stayed’, which had a big sound. Its chorus could easily be sung in arenas. She wrote new material in lockdown, and is back with a new song, ‘Under’. The song will be released on July 10th.

‘Under’ is about a relationship breaking down and the heartbreak that follows it. The sad guitars work well with Ferrie’s tender vocals because they pull you into her situation. This allows the listener to feel the emotions with Ferrie, creating a peaceful atmosphere.

I really enjoyed listening to ‘Under’ because it is a beautiful song. The lyrics resonate with anyone who is in a difficult period of trust, while Ferie’s emotional delivery will reach more people.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: Bill Murray // Half Decent

I’m a big fan of Half Decent because his lyrics are insightful and make you think. On his latest single, ‘Bill Murray’, the Oxford-based rapper and producer raps about how days blur into one. When you listen to the lyrics, they make you want to do something with your life. “Gotta find a new hustle, new strength new flex and improve my muscle.”  I love how he plays with these words because they create an emotional impact. The production is strong because he raps over a boom bap beat that’ll make you nod your head. The chopped up piano in the chorus is refreshing because it is reminiscent of a new start.

‘Bill Murray’ is another track that will resonate with listeners because it offers something that everyone can relate to. It is a brilliant piece of storytelling that should boost Half Decent’s already growing reputation.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: I Can Be // Bryony Williams

Bryony Williams’ emotional take on indie-pop is captivating and enthralling. The singer-songwriter, from Wolverhampton, signed to London based record label Beth Shalom Records, and will release her new single ‘I Can Be’ from her third EP ‘State I’m In.’ The EP will be released in September. In addition to this, Bryony is also a founder of Grrrl Groannn which is a fanzine that covers womxn artists.

‘I Can Be’ is a song about being anything you want to be. The song features massive guitars which remind me of Courtney Barnett and lyrics concerning anxiety. For example: “How do I reveal what’s inside of me? / How do I take time to have fun?” These lyrics relate to me because I’ve had days when I’m struggling for inspiration during lockdown. As a result, I feel uplifted when I hear this song.

Beth Shalom Records is one of my favourite discoveries this year. Bryony Williams’ music is proof of this, and I can’t wait to hear more from her.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: International Space Station // Enjoyable Listens

Enjoyable Listens have wowed me because their songs have an emotional quality to them. The fact that they’re super catchy is even better. Their new song, ‘International Space Station’ is a perfect example of this summery atmosphere.

‘International Space Station’ is packed with sugar sweet harmonies. The vocals are reminiscent of The Divine Comedy while lyrically it’s full of nostalgic references: “I’m so glad that I found you / I love Tony Hawks on PS2.” This sends a big wave of nostalgia over me because I remember rinsing Tony Hawks Pro Skater 3 on my PS2, and I’m sure it’ll make people reminisce.

The sunny backdrop of the guitars helps fuel this atmosphere, resulting in another fine tune from Enjoyable Listens.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: Blue Fire // Bugeye

‘Blue Fire’ is the latest single from London indie-rockers Bugeye. Bugeye’s disco punk caught my eye when I heard their previous single ‘When the Lights Go Out’ because it was very energetic and had some melodic synths. It reminded me of Bis and Kenickie at their best.

Bugeye opted to go for something different on ‘Blue Fire.’ The song features a pulsating disco bassline and synths that remind me of an air raid siren. I like how the synths turn spooky and eerie in the middle because it captures the song’s dark atmosphere. The “wooah’s “ in the chorus remind me of Weekend Recovery which is great because it’s easy to sing along to.

‘Blue Fire’ shows that Bugeye can incorporate different styles in their music whilst retaining a strong energy. I can’t wait to hear more from them because listening to them always makes me happy.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

Track Review: Don’t Feel // Those Fantastic Things

Sometimes when you have an off day, you hear a song that brightens your mood. I’m currently experiencing this, but on hearing ‘Don’t Feel’ by Those Fantastic Things, I’m feeling more positive.

Those Fantastic Things are an indie pop band from Liverpool. They combine synths and jangly guitars to create an energetic banger. The synths are infectious because they stick in your head from the moment you first hear them.  Clocking in at under three minutes, ‘Don’t Feel’ keeps your attention and flies by. It’s a song that captures ‘Those Fantastic Things’ potential and ensures that they’re ones to watch in the future.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos