Best New Indie – See Plus, Hybrid Kid, Principe Valiente, De Arma

Hailing from the garden state, See Plus soaks it all in on their new single The Sun.  The catchy, upbeat release is complete with California harmonies and bright dreamy guitars.  A dirty soaring lead contrasts The Sun’s summery design, bringing some beautiful chaos to enhance the sonic aura.  

  Jersey is a hotbed of house shows and post-emo indie rockers.  See Plus embraces emo’s alternative movement and how it inspired bands like Build To Spill and Band of Horses.  They also have the catchy oft-pop charm of Vampire Weekend and the youthful energy of Del Water Gap.  They join an influx of intelligent Jersey based emerging bands like Dummy and Sweet Pill who create innovative punk and emo influenced indie rock. 

  Lyrically, The Sun unravels like a farewell letter to a departing friend.  The relatable experience as lifelong classmates graduate high school and venture off to college, often never to return to the towns and boroughs that nurtured them.  Jersey’s the kind of place that inspires most to move on, while simultaneously trapping some eternally.  Most don’t intend to make Jersey their forever home, it usually comes with the twist of circumstance that made it impossible to leave.  

  “You told me goodbye, so I sat there and stared sober and aware now.”  It hurts to find out that what you had wasn’t enough for everyone, and The Sun progresses to an intense freak-out in the songs closing section.  An anthem for high school and college grads alike who know the threads of their cherished friend-groups are unraveling when careers, goals, and kids takeover.  

  Get straight into The Sun, now on our Best New Indie playlist

Hybrid Kid

UK indie trio Hybrid Kid reimagine acoustic rock with their new single Change Your Mind.  For the past 4 years the trio has been releasing eclectic singles that cast a wide indie net.  On Change Your Mind, they bring all of the energy and and angst of their past work with a subtle twist, a melodic cascading acoustic guitar.  The new single recalls upbeat acoustic works by Grizzly Bear, Big Thief, and Radiohead.  Bands that leaned on the texture of the instrument and played to its strengths, rather than retreat to soft rock restrictions.  

  Drummer Fabio brings a refreshing, percussive approach to Change Your Mind.  The main pattern utilizes each drum and cymbal in expressive ways, with catchy toms carefully placed to enrich the songs dramatic appeal.  Bassist Tim is equally vital to the songs flowing melodic design, as timely fills play to the drums variable movements.  

  Singer Danny’s emotional performance alternates between an emphatic croon and heartfelt falsetto, full of desperation to match the songs lyrical intent.  Change is difficult, even when it’s wanted, it brings a sense of fear and uncertainty.  Danny sings with the presence of someone who knows how much change is often unwanted, and hard to come by.  

  A subtle production palette of dramatic strings and soft synths bring a dreamy aura to Change Your Mind.  An exciting addition to Hybrid Kid’s growing catalog, it may be their most versatile work yet.  

  Enjoy Change Your Mind now on our Best New Indie playlist

Principe Valiente

Swedish retro rockers Principe Valiente impress with their new full length release Barricades.  The expansive 10 song release should appeal to fans of new wave, dark pop, and alternative.  Singer Fernando Honorato has a distinctive tambre rich with nostalgia.  It exists somewhere between David Bowie and Bono.  His well placed syncopated delivery is littered throughout the record, as he colors the musical canvas in stylistic fervor.  

  Chorus drenched vibrato guitars drip with wave nostalgia, rich in Jonny Marr style overtones and harmonious presence.  Like the Smiths and U2, the cornerstone of the musical writing is in how the melodic guitar layers contrast the changing root notes, as the bass carries the chords lower movements.  The drums lead the rhythmic variations, as Barricades employs an array of interesting patterns committed to retro grooves and gates snares.  Subtle synths only arrive to enhance the lush soundscapes with analog texture.  Like the Killers, Principe Valiente is a rock band first, while always referring to dance pop.  Valiente, however, is more committed to Darkwave than disco pop, and at times also leans into disconnected indie vibes similar to Arcade Fire.  

  Equally dark and beautiful, Barricades is overall intoxicating, as you will lose yourself to these cinematic retro vibes.  In the spirit of Interpol, they bring an indie sensibility to the classic post punk sound known to icons like The Cure, Echo and The Bunnymen, and Bauhaus.  But all comparisons aside, Principe Valiente really adds their unique flavor to the movement, a testament to this bands productive collaboration.  Every instrument compliments each other while finding their own space within the mix.  The execution front to back is flawless, and every tone is crafted with care.  Altogether Principe Valiente comes complete.  They are a dark wave machine, and a force to be reckoned with in the growing international scene.  

  Enjoy the title track Barricades now on our Best New Indie playlist

De Arma

For the last decade multi-instrumentalist Andreas Petterson has been redefining rock with his project De Arma.  Joined by drummer Johan Marklund, the duo has several dynamic releases the display a breadth of influence.  Their musical genealogy is rooted in black metal, and they carry that ethos as they transcend into retro dark wave worlds.  Their new massive single After Dark, You’re There is a convincing combination of dark wave and retro pop. 

The progressive, 9 minute epic hits like a single, as it delivers from start to finish.  The distorted guitars are buried deep into the mix and serve to provide atmosphere often known to soft synths, as brighter chorus heavy guitars are overlayed expressively to accentuate the rich overtones and harmonious chord structures.  Petterson’s vocal delivery exists somewhere between Peter Murphy and James Hetfield, a fitting compliment to this combination of wave and metal. 

  De Arma recalls how acts like Deafheaven and Mastodon can effortlessly shift from pure metal to masterfully beautiful.  There’s evidence of classic infectious dark retro rock in the vein of The Cult and Sisters of Mercy.  It also leans into the post punk dark pop vibes of Killing Joke and would sit nicely next to emerging Swedish occult rockers Pink Milk, who also reference a classic dark wave aesthetic with modern indie sensibility.  But what makes After Dark, You’re There vintage nostalgia is how Marklund has injected a sonic electric drum palette known to retrowave and synthwave.  Fans of Trevor Something and Perturbator should connect with how De Arma evolves retrofuturistic wave with dark rock appeal.  

  Enjoy After Dark, You’re There now on our Best New Indie playlist.  

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