Best New Indie – Lilies In My Brain, Small Black Arrows, Rhona Macfarlane

  French natives Lilies in My Brain are an exciting new eclectic project from duo Alex and Nadja.  Currently based in the UK, they coast between poppy indie rock, shoe gaze, and post punk.  Its smart bedroom pop with punk sensibility.  At times it is reminiscent of Wilco’s more raw punk derived songs.  At other times, like on After Dark and You Bet I Love You Now, you can hear Springsteen or The Killers.

After Dark is a revelation.  Singer Nadja sings with passion and conviction.  She has the true emotion seen in modern indie greats like Sharon Van Etten and Feist.  You can only sing like this if you’ve been through something real, and you’ve got to keep moving because its always creeping behind you.  

  The band admits, that Alex is into punk and Nadja is more of a pop lover.  To us, it sounds like a match made in heaven.  The combination of aesthetics mixes for an awesome vibe, and the most authentic version of what most identify as the “indie sound.”  

  Dig into the new album 21 = 2a + 7, and check out After Dark & You Bet I Love You Now, now on our Best New Indie playlist.  

Small Black Arrows

Small Black Arrows is Luke Bailey and Jim Hanley.  The duo credits contact restrictions over the last couple of years as creating an opportunity to nurture this new project.  Their music has that haunting aura that can be heard from artists like Jose Gonzalez and James Blake.  It’s a sound derived from some ancient world, released from the depths of tribal instinct.  There’s subtle inspiration of what some describe as world music, it pulls from multiple musical cultures, but also simply acknowledges all that is available within the realm of musical possibility.  This music is well versed in the understanding of the instruments and various modes and modals around a melody.  But not in some learned contrived way, in a more natural process of musical discovery, developed from careful listening and patience with the craft.  

  Small Black Arrows are proud to embrace their working-class roots and their affinity for DIY culture.  Multi instrumentalist Jimmy Hanley is an award winning musician.  Luke Bailey is a screenwriter and accomplished actor with several screen roles.  Small Black Arrows was bred out of a respect for each others artistry and a mutual passion for this kind of music, as much as it is a byproduct of Covid restriction, creating free time for a project like this to take shape.  Together they aspire to build orchestral arrangements using non traditional instruments, such as Dulcimer, Mandolins, and Lap Steel.  They also pay homage to an array of inspiration and style including Radiohead, TV On the Radio, Zero 7, and Ben Howard. 

  The duo recently released a 3 song EP in tandem, unveiling each track individually before packing them altogether on the final drop.  Hear Waves now on our Best New Indie playlist.

Rhona Macfarlane

Glasgow based singer songwriter Rhona Macfarlane stole our hearts with her performance on the new single Better When You’re Around

Emotion.  Conviction.  Authenticity.  Rhona has tapped into a feeling through her songwriting, and the arrangement is dreamy and inviting.  

  Her music exists somewhere between Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake.  She has lyrical prowess, channeling Kasey Musgraves as she charts her way around a story while keeping it all about a feeling.  And that’s what Rhona brings.  Something genuine we all know in her hearts.  Like Drake, the chords are dissonant and fleeting. Like Mitchell, catchy melodies intersect direct phrasing.

  She’s always aware of her roots, she can’t shake them.  She sounds humble, but not timid.  It’s a respect thing, a nod to her hometown. She’s not afraid to let you know that she’s ready to write the next part of your collective story.  And that’s how she draws you in, with masterful seduction, knowing that her affection sits on the Mt Everest of lovers.  That’s how she knows, “life’s better when you’re around.”  You’re bringing it out honey, and Rhona knows how to make it last.  

  Get lost in Better When You’re Around, now on our Best New Indie playlist.


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