Best New Indie – Jackie Marchal, Route 500, Roxy Fae, Mehltau

  Born and raised in NYC, and currently a student at Columbia, Jackie Marchal has been prolifically releasing one gem after another, choosing recently to compile them together on an EP called Juniper.  The shape shifting songstress has a big bag of tricks, as her songs adapt in evolutions with cinematic twists around every meter.  Marchal studied violin and sang in the choir in her youth, and her understanding of theory shows in her dynamic arrangements.  Her grace provides the ability to see beyond the charts and into the soul of a song.  The productions are masterful, progressively pieced together compositions spanning a wide breadth of influence.  60’s Motown undertones intersect with Laurel Canyon folky breaks, and always giving way to Indie rock aesthetic.  All catering to Jackie’s smokey tenor, which sits somewhere between Lana Del Rey and Norah Jones, but mostly rich with her own personality and timbre.  

Jackie Marchal – Open Wide

  “Used to think my songs are beautiful, even when I play them wrong.”  These are words that introduce Open Wide, the lead song on Juniper.  Beneath the groove there is a lurking melancholy enhanced with lyrical revelations, a slow burn as a young adult uncovers the little lies of her upbringing.  A bit of disappointment, a familiar feeling everyone knows about careless young lovers who drift away in expected convention.  The acquired wisdom of that moment is felt in Jackie’s songs.  The pensive musical arrangements reflect the complications of the soul of a person, and manic sways in how these rhythms are delivered lend to dreamy contemplations.  Jackie demands your attention, but it’s all here for you to get lost in.  

  One of our favorite discovering of 2021, Jackie Marchal has four song on Spotify and they are all worth your attention.  Hear Open Wide and Rhubarb Fields now on our Best New Indie playlist

Route 500

  Hailing from Brighton, UK, Route 500 honors a tradition of innovative art pop on their new single Hit Zero.  The track drips with Thom Yorke inspired electronic drums and dissonant chords.  The artist contrasts the Radiohead vibes with a more reserved soft crooning vocal, and when balanced with the acoustic guitar, provides an idea of what Nick Drake might have sounded like with Nigel Godrich as producer.   Route 500 delivers this gift in a dark and dreamy lo fi package.  The production is further enhanced by an inspiring and convincing music video for the release.  

Route 500 – Hit Zero

  Filmed and Directed by Route 500 and featuring Alice Kavanagh, the video chronicles the songs inspiration, a reflection on a monotonous period where the artist found themselves living in a hotel room earlier this year.  The insanity of this trapped space is felt between Alice’s performance and frantic camera cuts. Kavanaugh gyrates to exhaustion, bourbon in hand, donning an array of costumes in a drunk game of dressup. Occasionally pausing to contemplate the absurdity of the moment while staring in silent tormented reflection.   It’s both beautiful and weird, much like the aura of Route 500, a perfect piece to puzzle this vision together.  

  The artist lifts the moment with abstract lyricism.  “spinning like the ceiling fan – showing no sign of slowing down – always something to stay bad for.”  

  Dig in to the dark pop of Route 500, and hear Hit Zero now on our Best New Indie playlist.

Roxy Fae

Indie sensibility and ethereal orchestration come together on the new single from Roxy Fae, Been Too Long.  An epic arrangement descends in violent measured strokes from dueling violins, taking inspiration from classics like Eleanor Rigby, but blending in more atmosphere and spacey guitar throughout.  Roxy enters like a melodramatic actor in mid thought, “Put on a little make-up, you don’t want to feel uncertain.  Committed when you wake up.  Act like you make the big bucks.”   

   Consistent with her prior releases, Roxy displays again an affinity for theater and drama, with vocal inflections that portray conviction and put you directly in the moment.  Having a theater background and currently moonlighting as a voice actor, Roxy has a flare for the dramatic.  

  Lyrically, Been Too Long is full of reckless revelations throughout, as Roxy admits “you tell me you’ve been sober, I tell you the magic is gone.”  The apathy comes full circle, as the songs second half transcends from orchestration to dark indie pop, with Roxy pleading, convincingly, ‘I want a ticket to the end, is there a ticket to the end?”  

  Roxy possesses both the indie charm of Feist and the ASMR vocal depth of Billie Eilish.  She blends the catchy dark pop of Kate Busch with the playful mischief of Madonna.  She is a modern musical shapeshifter who flaunts her abilities as an impressionist through both acting and song.  The new single is a great addition to her varied catalog, as it highlights yet another variation of her extensive palette.  

  Hear Been Too Long now on our Best New Indie playlist


  Rock was born out of an attitude as much as it was relative to a style of music.  In a time when music was meant to be appropriate and proper, rock was seen as rebellious and threatening.  “The Devil’s music,” sent to corrupt the youth, and destroy the sanctity of Western Civilzation. 

… but Alas.  Here we are, 60 years later, and Rock is a fragment of its former self.  Now, in some ways, the most regular thing you can do as an artist, is play rock and roll.  In its roots, as an evolution of the blues, it is seen as traditional music.  Then there’s the 90’s alternative version, or worse, Modern Rock.  

  And of course a lot of it is pleasing, but the essence of those original songs are mostly lost on modern rock bands.  That is the magic of the new single from Mehltau.  “Wo gehn wir?” captures that essence, and more.  The indie punk attitude, pumping bass, and straightforward beat are elevated by the fact that the song is not sang in English.  

  The song is highlighted by the chorus, where the music transcends to cut time, creating anticipation and emotion through the arrangement.  The energy is infectious, and resonates with the frenzy Rock originally caused when it descended on unsuspecting communities many moons ago.  It makes you want to get up and shout, dance, break things, lose all inhibition.  It helps you let go, as Rock was always meant to.  And to connect it all together, the titles translation, is “Where Do We Go? “ 

  Hear Wo Gehn Wir? Now on our Best New Indie playlist.




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