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Best New Indie Music Discovery: “Fastracks” 19

SOUND KHARMA® | August 30, 2021

Discover & preview 5 of the best new indie tracks in less than 5 minutes f. Andrew Smith, Kitner, JATA, Jon Doe & The Velveteins.

You can submit a track for consideration (below).

ARTIST INFO & VIDEOS

Watch full videos and get more info about this episode’s featured artists below:

NYC-based indie pop artist Andrew Smith creates bright and nostalgic piano-driven songs that are undeniably catchy. His unabashedly honest lyrics are both humorous and melancholy, and aim to better understand complex feelings about life and purpose. The songwriter confides, “Many of my songs are born of reflections I have about my life, or discoveries made in therapy, etc.”

Born south of Boston in 1993, Andrew Smith grew up performing in theatre and writing short films at a young age. However, it wasn’t until he studied at Berklee College of Music that he began writing and producing original songs alongside longtime collaborator, Jackson Hoffman. From there, Andrew knew that music was his emotional outlet, oftentimes comforting him in times of uncertainty, fear, anxiety and depression.

Smith’s last EP, To My Therapist, addresses his journey to self-acceptance, the ups and downs of coming out, and finding romance in modern-day Manhattan. Inspired by his love of songwriters like James Taylor and Randy Newman, Smith pulls elements from 1970s piano pop, The Great American Songbook, and contemporaries such as John Mayer and Ben Rector.

With To My Therapist, Andrew thematically hopes to bring a deeper honesty and inspiration to the often challenging and confusing experiences we all navigate on the road to self-acceptance.

His new single “Twenties” was written in his parents attic during the pandemic. The poignant song narrates Smith’s feeling of being overwhelmed by his own path and feeling unaccomplished and unworthy.

He confides, “I spent many years of my twenties putting my personal life on the back burner. Am I falling behind!? When I’m being critical of myself, my demons say that I’m late to the party. I’m “falling behind. This has been a huge lesson as I navigate self-acceptance and self-love. Time and showing myself compassion is a theme through many of my songs lately.” Featuring sprinkling synths and warm tender vocals over 80s-dipped landscapes, “Twenties” is stunning, anthemic and intimate at the same time.

“Magic Mess” is about finding your true identity in a time of feeling lost and overworked. It also pays tribute to the “people who applaud you for being you.” Smith reveals, “I had so many beautiful people cheering for me as I fell on my face.

They dusted me off again and again. This song is really about people who applaud you for being you. I’ve always been a very clean-cut person, and the song is also about leaning into your wrinkles, messing up your hair, choosing the t-shirt over the tie.”

The song was co-written by Jackson Hoffman and Ryder Stuart who helped craft the indie pop bop. Shimmering vibrant synths float alongside funk-fueled bass and soaring layered vocals creating a release that is contagious as it is thought provoking.

It’s been a long and winding road full of stops and starts for Boston’s Kitner but after 6 years they’ve finally reached their destination with a debut full length record in hand.

Forming out of new friendships and a pair of romantic partnerships in 2015, the 5 piece quickly gained momentum both online and on stage following their 2016 EP of early Vagrant Records-fused, melancholic rock songs. However with members splitting duties in beloved melodic punk band Choke Up in addition to other member changes, Kitner took a temporary backseat.

Though it was hard to shake such a strong initial reaction from what began as a casual, Miller Lite-fueled collaboration sparked by James Christopher’s desire to share his love for the Get Up Kids to an unknowing co-worker (Conor Maier).

It’s perhaps the constant balance between James and drummer Will Buiel’s affinity to all things fast and overdriven with Conor’s mellowed melody-driven tendencies that lands the band into exciting mutually uncharted waters. That and a shared love for the Replacements.

Fast forward to the Summer of 2019 where the group finally found themselves back in the studio with Ryan Stack (The World Is, Tancred, My Heart to Joy) to record their highly anticipated and nearly left behind debut full length. Continuing in full Kitner fashion, more changes were made by co-vocalist Brianne Costa swapping out the fan-favorite keytar for a more accessible and versatile stand alone keyboard.

Studio notes reveal few sober moments during the sessions which often spill over into much of the lyrical content throughout the record. “I’m starving but not an artist/they say Pollack was too drunk to paint and that I’m too drunk to stand up straight/Too stubborn to ever try to change my ways”.

Many of the album tracks begin hushed over an acoustic guitar not unlike contemporaries oso oso before launching into an explosive, joyous shout-along almost as if the alcohol started working mid-song.

Shake The Spins has had the luxury of both marinating in its influences and allowing plenty of time for the band to meticulously explore ways to make their own nuances by including pitched string arrangements, swirling layers of samples, and harmonica solos – all of which together serve to build one of the most cohesive and impressive debut’s in recent memory.

With final touches by legendary mastering engineer Alan Douches (Saves the Day, the Promise Ring, Japandroids), Kitner have finally arrived with Shake The Spins and with plenty of gas left in the tank. Shake The Spins is out October 1st via Relief Map Records.

Italian indie label Seahorse Recordings has announced their latest signing, as well as the impending release of the debut album by singer-songwriter JATA (aka Gaetano Russo) on October 1.

Ahead of this, JATA will release the title track ‘Crazy Game of Phobias’, a statement about people’s fears about social contact that have developed throughout the current pandemic, lockdowns and social distancing rules. In the process of writing and recording this EP, JATA essentially reinvented his sound, exploring the use of electronics and early sampling technique, in a mix of pop catchy groove and harmonies.

JATA explores one of the most negative effects generated by the pandemic – a phobia about social contact, stemming from distancing rules and lockdowns, not to mention constant media hype. Exploring this fear by contrasting our recent past with today, JATA lyrics emphasize he need to take back the greatest and most significant human trait – the need for socializing and contact.

As an artist influenced by Depeche Mode, Planet Funk, Almamegretta, Blonde Redhead, Arcade Fire, Editors, Interpol and Block Party, it is no wonder this lead single is laced with a Depeche Mode-flavor.

On this EP, JATA takes us on a captivating electronic journey between the 80s and the present day. ‘Crazy Game of Phobias’ is a sonic springboard, from which you can explore one or more destinations of positive rediscovery, resilience, personal and collective rebirth. These traits are already within us and can be drawn to the surface through a path of sensation and atmosphere.

“The EP’s leitmotif starts with the current pandemic and the changes this new era has brought to the world. With its huge global impact, this crisis has encouraged me to think about how unstable and unpredictable our life is and how important it is to have the right approach to change,” says Gaetano Russo.

“The concepts of resilience, future vision and goals, personal growth and discovering loved ones are issues presented from my personal point of view. As a professional coach and NLP professional practitioner, I take the view towards developing the human potential inside each of us, breaking a 3-year writer’s block during which I had zero inspiration to write new songs.”

Enigmatic UK indie-rocker Jon Doe has shared the video for his latest single, ‘In My Dreams’ via Odd Grove Records. The video was directed by Mike Musanu.

For his previous release, the multi-instrumentalist crafted a 4 part story, in which he cleverly set the scene for his own universe of artistic vision. The first part of the story was revealed in his debut Summer Fling EP, which was released last year and the following expected releases will intertwine with this concept while delving into a more introspective direction.

Jon Doe was born and grew up in Hendon and he is currently based in Northampton, Northamptonshire after studying at the West Herts College in Watford. The self-taught multi-instrumentalist experiments with the guitar and the piano, as well as singing, writing and producing his own music, considering himself an explorer of an industry that none of his family has previously ventured into.

Drawing influences from numerous artists and genres, Jon Doe occasionally refers to the likes of The Weeknd, Tame Impala, The Neighbourhood, Dominic Fike and Tyler, The Creator as he creates his music. In turn, the alternative indie rock stylings call to mind the well-known likes of The Kooks, Tame Impala and MGMT.

Who was it that first spoke of the summer of love? Does it date back to the ’60s or is there an earlier origin story? For Jon Doe and his first music video, the origins are clearer, as we find ourselves drawn back into the warm dreamscapes of an ideal romance with an upbeat and cheerful indie soundtrack.

Jon Doe shares his excitement for the video: “This video was an absolute joy to make and being my first music video it’ll always have a special place in my heart. This is just the beginning. A new era has begun!”

Soaked in the bright psychedelia of the 1960’s and dipped in the indie rock explosion of the new millennium, The Velveteins are best described as a bridge between the two.

Inspired after living out of a camper van on the beaches of Australia for a year, frontman Spencer Morphy returned to Canada and started the band with co-songwriter Addison Hiller in 2014. Later joined by Dean Kheroufi and Danger Sedmak, the foursome have since made a name for themselves for their incendiary live performances.

Radiating hazy energy, “Cosmic Saturation” has a trippy, laxed aura with a structurally, pop-rock sensibility. The vintage twangs on the guitars surf over an ocean of edgy, quirky melodies and soft drums that lend to a more modern indie feel. The vocals maintain a relaxed feel allowing the subtle, psychedelic atmosphere to stand out next to charming, gritty guitar riffs.

While travelling across the USA, the band were exposed to a colorful palette of sights and sounds, with a fusion of delirium, euphoria and chaos spinning the web of inspiration for their new single. Morphy shares, “Cosmic Saturation was largely inspired by our lives at the time, being constantly travelling and the lifestyle we were living playing so many shows.

Driving across the country from the east to west coast, watching the interstates fly by in the dawn.” Keeping the themes of their tracks very much in the present day, their sonic taste buds draw them back to the classic flavours of the 60s, resulting in a throwback sound reminiscent of Babe Rainbow, Foxygen and Deerhunter.

Written by SOUND KHARMA®




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