Aidan Verity is a breath of fresh air from Wellington, New Zealand. Her music, written in a retro time lapse, sends the listener straight to a 1960s prom. Classically trained, Verity uses her musical knowledge and intuition to walk between acoustic and electric soundscapes. Her latest release Believe in Meis thoughtful and clever.
Believe In Me was written from the pits of self doubt. Verity found herself swaddled in a blanket lamenting her inability to back herself. She explores her struggle with changing her own mind, and asks the question “how long until I can say I believe in me?” This question eventually fades away, unanswered.
Heavily influenced by Christine and the Queens, the track has a mesmerising, swaying feel to it. A quarter of the way through Believe In Me develops with epic use of affected backing vocals. Verity demonstrates her skill as a writer and performer, concluding the piece with an almost spiritual use of reverb.
Can’t Know All The Songs begins with an epic 80s drum fill and groovy synth. Once again, Gecko has achieved the near impossible of writing “comedy music you’d actually add to a playlist”. The track is characterful and well produced. He’s made such an impact with the song that Wheatus (remember Teenage Dirtbag?) tweeted about it.
Verse one jumps into a Gecko-style internal monologue. He strings metaphors together to paint a ludicrous picture of what it’s like to have the audience yell “play Wonderwall” during your original set. Can’t Know All The Songs is an anthem for anyone who’s ever played a gig.
We had the pleasure of seeing him perform this single at a Sofar gig early this year, and the audience was in stitches with laughter. Gecko manages to translate his personality into recording with flair. His comedic timing and tone of voice allow the jokes to translate to the recorded medium. The song pulls back for a mock emotional bridge before finishing with a final epic chorus. Don’t miss Gecko— he’s an absolute riot.
We bumped into an old friend from uni the moment we entered the bar. Much like the artists, we’re back in New Zealand while we give the other continents space to breathe for a while. It’s sort of comforting though, to be in my hometown while the world is crumbling. There was an electricity in the air; kiwis had been clawing at the walls to get out for a pint, and New Zealand was 21 days corona free. Time for a party.
Wunderbar is a local treasure— the beer taps light up like christmas, and the baby head lamps give it a certain je nes sais quoi. The bar was brimming with socially starved millennial, and the gig space was packed. We thought we might not find space in the room, but managed to weasel our way to front stage. It’s a good thing we did, because what followed was the most incredible, intimate acoustic set I’ve seen since sofar.
Eddie Kiesanowski of Pretty Stooked opened the gig like he owned the bar. New to solo sets but no rookie on the stage he seemed comfortable, and so stoked to be there. His stage presence is laid back and welcoming. Charisma aside, the man’s songwriting is phenomenal. He shared a smorgasboard of songs; some old, and some written over lockdown. It’s difficult to pick one facet of the performance to focus on— we were impressed by the sense of witty humanity in his lyrics, but perhaps most floored by the power in his vocal performance.
Pretty Stooked was a tough act to follow, but MIM rose to the challenge like a helium balloon. She too seemed incredibly comfortable on stage, and chatted to us like old friends. Her emotive voice had the audience leaning in to catch each detail as she regaled us with tales of introspection and mental illness. Moments later she would unleash her insanely powerful voice for a long held note that demanded applause. For the second half of the set MIM was supported by friend Seb Warren, who added another layer of beauty and colour to the evening with his guitar playing and backing vocals.
Few can capture hearts wearing a skivvy, but VALA rise to the challenge with enthusiasm. Following the success of the infectiously groovy Say You Want It (That Way), the 60s inspired 4 piece released Only One on the 5th of June. Set in the same vintage universe, Only One is the nostalgia fix we’re all in dire need of. Rustle up your dancing shoes, ‘coz she’s groovy.
Featuring those characteristic VALA vocals, the piece is driven by masterful drumming and summery guitar timbre. Only One is a sincere piece of writing. Its chorus features those specific little details of love. The singer wants to be the “only one”; say goodnight and then wake his love up with tea.
The song comes hand in hand with another retro music video destined to bring back memories of more simple times. You can also check out their live session of the track here. Don’t miss VALA and their contagious grooves– you can find them on Facebook and Instagram.
Stephen Cooper is a rising artist from Dublin, working under the anonym Fly the Nest. Boasting powerful vocals, convicting lyrics and impressive production, Cooper is a force to be reckoned with.
Fly the Nest’s latest piece released into the wild is an epic dedicated to frontline workers in these uncertain times. Superhuman is a triumphant anthem likening those risking their lives in the pandemic to the heroes we see on screen. The piece begins with an epic guitar solo and driving rhythm section. It melts into the lyrics “I keep on running till my legs give out”, an homage to the gruelling hours medical practitioners face. The line “against the odds we’re still fighting” inspires faith in the health system.
Cooper’s powerful vocal performance is moving. He was inspired by his family, many of which are working on the frontline. His “whole family work in healthcare… nurses, doctors, the works”. He sees Superhuman as “the least (he) could do to support the frontline.”
Indie artist Cam Holtet is a singer-songwriter and electronic pop artist from Norway. She began writing as a teenager, using music as a way to express herself. She moved to London in 2017 to chase music industry dreams, and has made a number of impressive achievements since.
Cam’s latest single Radio Silence rivals the likes of Tessa Violet and Halsey with its catchy hook line. The track begins with a spacey synth line and “talk-style” vocals musing about being ignored. It drops an 80s bass line for a sassy pre chorus demanding that they “pick a reason and (she) will move on”. The chorus is empowering. Cam’s self worth hasn’t been damaged, but she’s very reasonably expecting an explanation from her would be love interest.
Radio Silence is charming. It reminds me of some of the imaginative compositions brought to us by Adventure Time. The creative production builds a colourful soundscape, and showcases Cam’s personality. Cam already has an impressive discography of singles on Spotify, but make sure you find her on Instagram and Facebook to hear about what’s next too.
Georgia Maria is a musical veteran. With years of extensive experience as a writer and performer prior to the launch of her solo project, she has started with an audible bang. Red-Handed Man is just one of five singles on her debut EP, but she’s already got our attention.
The track begins with an ominous distorted guitar line before rolling into a campfire folktale. Georgia Maria’s whimsical vocals float over the top of the intro section, spinning a picture of the infamous red handed man. He is “baring (his) grudge like a hammer in hand…” The scene is haunting.
The second round brings a building percussion section and eerie folk harmonies before transitioning into a killer guitar line. Georgia Maria’s use of a repeating melody and the hook line “my red handed man” give the song the feel of a tale that has been passed down through generations. The song has strong undercurrents of celtic folk, driven by its fairytale lyrics and modal melody.
Georgia Maria refreshes the ear with a bridge, and sets the scene on fire with another epic guitar solo. The ashes fall in the soundscape for a final round of the melody. Wait for her next release with us on Instagram and Facebook.
In their latest track, Farewell, Flying Islands tells us to come together in these current apocalyptic times. The Lead singer asks us to raise our glasses together for the end of the world as we’re enveloped in the sound of swirling electric piano and ambient guitars.
The song is personal and intimate as we watch the lead singer William project his message face to face from a black backdrop as if we’re listening to these words in our own thoughts.
Farewell is a shift in tone from Flying Islands’ more fast and heavy genre benders like Loreto, but it is a refreshing and important message to share in this trying time. Thank you William for this sentiment. Find Flying Islands on Facebook, Bandcamp, Spotify and Youtube.
Iduna’s new single ‘Creeping In’ comes in quick and slams you with an off kilter groove and vocals playing with modal change through gritted teeth. The track ramps up into a high energy chorus with the joint vocals of Jason Craig and Trison Boyes. Creeping in keeps you engaged with constant development and a thundering rhythm section from bassist Tim Saulnier and drummer Craig Koziar which has you relentlessly head banging in your seat. The song finishes with blasting rhythmic flourishes and soaring vocals similar to Alterbridge, and that’s not a comparison to make lightly. The track is about letting go and welcoming the loss of inhibitions. The lyrics explore the vulnerable side of attraction and the emotional risk we all experience in putting ourselves out there.
Iduna stated they make “alternative rock music that wrestles with the question of what it is to be and who we should be to each other. Building on the sounds of The Smashing Pumpkins, Matthew Good Band, Biffy Clyro, and Kings of Leon with a political tinge”
Bryan Chua found his passion for performing in Singapore. His work released in 2017 tackled issues of mental health through honest songwriting. After moving to London in 2017 he has been active in the music community, performing regularly with a loop pedal. His latest single Found tells his own love story, and marks the start of his next journey in songwriting.
Found starts with an atmospheric synth, and rolls into a calm instrumental. Chua does a wonderful job of capturing the peace that comes from a happy relationship through soft electric. The piece features an impressive instrumental arrangement, with high quality production. All together the arrangement is polished and moving.
There is a sincerity in Chua’s vocal performance— he clearly feels deeply for his partner, and allows for vulnerability in the chorus in particular. Following the first chorus, an epic drum roll leads into a brief, passionate violin line. Overall Found is a sweet love song to accompany your butterflies. You can find Bryan Chua on Instagram and Facebook.