Alt Pop

Holly Halliwell

Indie Christian Pop singer Holly Halliwell has released her first two singles, "Before Me" and "Your Love", this month. Both tracks are filled with a much needed positivity and hopefulness that should transcend genre or classification.

She collaborated with her husband Walter Halliwell and producers Seth Mosley and X O’Connor of Full Circle Music for these tracks and seems poised for something big in the coming months.

   

Similar Kind ushers in the good stuff in new single "Maria"

Hop on, Connecticut’s Similar Kind is taking us on a ride towards the weekend, and it is magical. The beautiful ambiance created by lingering guitar chords, a twisting bassline, and lead singer Julia Breen’s exquisite vocals in the band’s latest single “Maria” engulfs you and transports you to your place of choice. The music has that blend of fierce modern rhythm and ‘80s dream pop that is catapulting acts like Tennis to the top of the charts, it is tasteful, and so cool-retro you cannot help get lost in it. In a time when any dose of endorphins will do, this Norwalk quintet is delivering a heavy dose to the masses. Stream the new single below, and see you on the other side of the weekend, New England. - Rene Cobar

   

PREMIERE: Amy Rage's singular pop vision explodes on debut "Doin' It Right"

Jersey City songwriter and producer Amy Rage debuts her maximalist sound on new anthem “Doin’ It Right,” a dazzling showcase of synth-driven indie pop with nods to 80s femme forerunners such as Madonna and Blondie. A singular product of the artist’s existential crisis earlier this year, induced by the slog of the 9-5 and feelings of office-bound inertia, Rage turned to a small MIDI controller and a makeshift home studio to craft a vibrant sonic escape from the malaise. Hammering synthesizers and a strong emphasis on larger-the-life vocals, alongside emotional lyricism stressing how the right person can render the world’s sanity inane, propel this saturated electronic bop forward, delivering a single evocative of pop’s past and present stylings. Recommended for fans Charli XCX and Perfume Genius, stream our premiere below, and keep an eye out for Amy Rage’s forthcoming debut EP out later this year.

   

PREMIERE: Bandits on the Run soundtrack modern love in new short film "Love in the Underground"

The baroque-pop sensibilities of New York trio Bandits on the Run well make for cinematic music — with vivacious cello lines intertwining with acoustic guitar, and three part harmonies as a centerpiece, there’s a goosebumps-inducing element to their tunes, a plethora of hair-raising moments wherein the band’s distinct parts emerge from quietude into a full, sunny sound. It’s fitting then that their newest single, “Love in the Underground,” was released alongside a nine minute short film for which the track serves as score (and in which the band serves as background players), enabling listeners and viewers to become swept up by the band’s dynamic, driving performance. Visually charting two strangers (actors Jason Gotay and Michael Hartung, themselves a couple IRL) falling in love on the subway, their dialogue is told primarily through choreography and music, a conversation which spans several station stops along the L and the East Williamsburg streets, before settling in at an atmospheric speakeasy — where the film visually enters its second act. Transitioning from an upbeat, primarily string-forward approach to the tone of a piano-driven ballad, Bandits on the Run re-emerge in the bar to perform a slower, more somber rendition of the track, creating a visual and sonic B-side to the entire production that builds to this featurette’s heartfelt climax. An impressive endeavor by any metric, aided by production from veteran companies Chucklehead and Must B Nice and choreography from co-director Lane Halperin, it’s required, sweetly succinct viewing in a time where love might seem far away — though it could just be one train car over. Watch it below. Photo by Fletcher Wolfe

   

Dance like nobody's watching to Dream Machine's "Sarajevo"

After sitting around in your house for too long, you might crave for something to get your blood flowing. Dream Machines have a new EP out called Trust/Desire with five tracks to get you out of your quarantine-induced stasis. Jamming out at the intersection of Prince, Hall & Oates, and Queen, Dream Machines take 80s rock and mash it with the future pop sounds of today. "Sarajevo", the lead track, introduces the EP with a heartbeat drum riff to get your body pumping. Then it throws in the energetic vocals of Harry May Kline and Luke Burba, along with some soulful synths and fiery guitars to send a shockwave to your brain. Fans of Ariel Pink, Drab Majesty, and Tame Impala will want to take a listen to "Sarajevo" below. - Will Sisskind