Nick Costa believes in the art of the album. In the new world revival of never-ending singles he’s been churning out full length records complete with rich production and solid arrangements. His last three years have proven prolific, they had to be. Nick Costa was all about doing it raw, releasing a LIVE record in 2018 before the pandemic boxed him into the studio. Costa embraced the opportunity to carve out his own indie rock island, and his sound is fully realized on his new album Sunbleach. Mixed and mastered by August Ogren (Tame Impala, Ondara) it’s double dipped in indie chic, with crisp analog warmth that breathes sonic life into every instrument. It’s all there to support his elegant writing, as catchy melodies of voice and instrument call and respond around innovative chord evolutions.
The comparisons are flattering and abundant. Costa possesses the charming wordplay of Jeff Tweedy. He employs the poor man’s orchestral arrangements of Andrew Bird within the subtle under synth nostalgia layers known to Phosphorescent. This undeniable indie comes with a tint of twang in the vein of Delta Spirit, Houndmouth, and The Tallest Man Alive. He marries a little of all of it on his trademark single, Do Better, Man! He dresses the difficult lyrical content into a feel good Cali-indie vibe that should fast track him to the front of the line as our next NPR fresh find. The contrast of story and vibe is trademark to this genres sensibilities, as inescapeable worlds collide with a life immersed in musical obsession. Costa is likely a student of popular rocks songwriting masters. Some combination of McCartney, Young, Simon, and Petty has a stake in these works. He lets those influences shine through, just enough to hear where he came from, but always true to himself.
Enjoy Do Better, Man! Now on our Best New indie playlist.
Vocalist Laura V and producer Yujin Matsutoya join forces on their exciting new project, Rumara. Both accomplished songwriters and versatile multi-instrumentalists, they bring a culmination of diverse influence and aesthetic. Altogether they create a dramatic cinematic sound that is uniquely theirs. Stylistically it connects with an array of acts from dark pop to trip hop. The emotional, poetic vocal stylings of Laura V, when paired with these dramatic soundscapes, recalls indie icons like Florence and The Machine and Lorde, as well as classic soul seekers like Sinead O’Oconnor who captured the world with bitter conviction. The vibe is rooted in the ethereal retro pop of Kate Bush, and how she inspired last decades bounty of dark electro pop acts like Polica’ and The XX.
Their new self titled EP Rumara is a conceptual journey through their dark mood pools. Rumara can alternate between introspective ambient soundscapes or infectious experimental pop, like their undeniable single Crown. On Crown, textured synths intersect Laura’s rich vocal drenched in atmospheric reverb. Organically, she needs none of it. A naturally strong singer, the echo is all about a vibe, and Rumara aims to transport you to metaphysical musical dimensions.
Lyrically, the Crown brings heavy meaning, and the duo shapes this dark musical landscape to match the songs difficult content. “Doctor don’t resuscitate,” she pleads, before lamenting, “they say a Woman makes a man.” A budding superstar, she sings with the bitter of emotion as if to say that she knows you assume you have all the answers, and her reference will do little to build empathy within you. Defeated, broken, but inherently strong. She knows how she can make men weak with her magnitude and intense sex appeal, the strength of a lioness that commands a room. She also knows that they will never fully accept it, so she takes it. With this, her vocals command your attention, engulfing you within this intoxicating erotic beat and entrancing you into submission. That is her power, that is why she wears The Crown.
Hear it now on our Best New Indie Playlist.
Australian songwriter Maisy Taylor writes wonderful melodies that are equally captivating and beautiful. On her new single Be My Baby, she captures a dreamy vibe with bright echoey guitars to dance around her signature vocal. She matches artists like Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus who deliver strong innovative guitar work to match their sugar sweet voices. The arrangement is interesting, vintage indie in how these chords evolve, but not derivative. It’s just familiar enough to remind you of an intoxicating aura in indie pop we all can’t get enough of, but it retains enough originality to feel unique.
Taylor claims both Maggie Rogers and Joni Mitchell as influences. She will also easily connect with fans of Clairo, Feist, and Kathleen Edwards.
Be My Baby is a summery invitation for next seasons vacation lover. It emotes that graceful love that only exists in one fleeting, free moment, before life’s impending dramas have a chance to misdirect holiday freedoms. To romance Taylor beneath summer’s grace could win you attention as her creative muse, celebrated in song and poetry that lives eternal. Taylor captures the essence of summer romance masterfully, and bids to be this summer’s feel good discovery. Everyone can get caught by this intoxicating vibe, but Taylor really is the ideal candidate for Australia’s next songwriting sweetheart. She’s got the sweet licks and youthful charm that girls everywhere can look up to, and boys can anonymously admire. I’ll take two tickets to win my next crush over with a chance to see her perform live.
Enjoy Be My Baby now on our Best New Indie playlist.
Dream pop has a new dynamic duo in Elison. The productive collaboration of Marissa Kephart and Scott Yushimara is a match made in heaven. Their musical personalities compliment each other. It appears to start with Kephart’s introspective songwriting. Like diary entries documenting outwardly quiet moments of inner fiery turmoil, she pens pretty prose like their recent Little Lies. Her whispery delivery, the perfect focal point for Yushimara’s lush soundscapes. Scott’s own patient humble voice settles elegantly behind her, adding an extra layer of octave depth and support to her quiet fire. Atmospheric synths are textured with healthy doses of live guitar, bass, and crisp analog tones.
The music video, highlighted by conceptual choreography and vintage cinematography, provides a fitting visual to match the musics dreamy aura. Rooted in trip hops first movement, the combination of introspective songwriting, vibey production, and dreamy instrumentation evolved out of Thievery Corporations turntables and into the Beach House. Elison embraces a lot of that, adding a notable tab of trippy psychedelia burnt crisp to pacify the tamest impala.
Little Lies exists to claim all of your auditory headspace, to reach deep into your psyche and tap melatonin from its dormant well. These intoxicating melodies ironically grab you to lose yourself to them, as you are totally engulfed by Elison’s immersive dream world. An iteration of dreamy shoe gaze indie pop, its no wonder they are winning praise from fans of all these genres.
Find truth in Little Lies, now on our Best New Indie playlist.