Best New Rock – Fantømex, SLATER, Nat Dempsey & The Near Strangers, Bosola

Fantømex recently dropped their sophomore release, Terraformed.  The Asheville experimental punks are raucous calculated chaos.  There’s a cloaked discipline to their design, an attention to detail masked beneath the ferocious captivating performances.  The opening track Fantomcatz superbly navigates the variable depths of influence. 

Descending from Math rock with the indie sensibility of The Kills and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, its all to get you to the post hardcore impassioned scream only to swing you back around again.  Fantømex should please fans of post punk looking for a hint of hardcore influence when it makes sense.  There’s definitely a musical component to the scream lost on some indie rock fans.  Fantømex might break the trend. 

On Gaslight the vocal recalls the swagger delivery of Chrissie Hynde, and indie loves nostalgia.  But this math riff foundation brings something completely different.  It’s the trademark contrast that will put Fantømex on the map.  You’re girlfriends will dig it, and your Math friends can still geek out.  With the hard hitting drums pushing every performance forward, Fantømex never relents.  But what gives them widespread appeal are the strong vocals from an impressive lead.  You can’t break through without them, and Fantømex has the the front person to get it done.  

Dig in to Fantomcatz now on our Best New Rock playlist


SLATER is charming on their new release I’d Ghost Me Too.  The 3 song EP is classic catchy.  There’s just enough of a pop punk influence to make it snappy, but the group is more Aught Indie with Brit Pop drizzled in.  These tunes go down easy, and could draw similarities to breakouts Maneskin in the mainstream scene.  But they also show hints of the underground, acts like RFA and The Libertines who enjoyed cult attention for their cool kid appeal. 

SLATER comes radio ready with an industry standard mix.  They sweeten the pot with 3 tight, energetic performances, and a convincing presence from their vocal lead.  Their songs have the right amount of variation and surprise, like the epic build at the end of Winston.  There’s sneaky hints of nostalgia like on the impressive Boyfriend.  It connects with classic cuts from The Replacements and Gin Blossoms.  With sharp execution, the comparisons can only grace the full presence of their style.  SLATER is doing something fresh in the world of pop rock, and it’s been a minute since the style got a proper update.

Enjoy Boyfriend now on our Best New Rock Playlist  

Nat Dempsey & The Near Strangers

Fresh out of University, Nat Dempsey & The Near Strangers cut their teeth at local clubs before dropping their first full group single.  The word of mouth buzz is now revealed with the new release Run & Hide.  The group has set the bar high right out the gate.  The initial attraction is their youthful energy and tight execution.  What’s unexpected is the raw clear presentation on the naked vocal.  Mixed dry and true to form, it presents in stark contrast to the overproduced vocal mixes known to today.  The affect is bold, a reckless approach in contempt of the modern mainstream machine. 

The bending swells of the lead guitar and hard hitting thrash of the band erupt in tandem with the vocal lead.  It’s not so much angry as it is an exhuberant release of bottled up energy.  These kids are ready to mix.  They’ve harnessed more than their share of pandemic blues.  An understated tragedy of the collective restrictions, young people were robbed of a treasured time in their life they can’t get back.  

  The attitude of Run and Hide suggests they intend to take their generation with them.  The idea is to hide away from everyone whose gonna mellow their party.  The band admits the track is a commentary on political media.  With the constant onslaught of performance activism and all-knowing keyboard warriors, there’s been a heavy resurgence of kids who just wants to f*ck and fight.  As long as no one gets hurt, we’re not mad about it.  The kids are alright. 

  Nat Dempsey could draw comparisons to Sam Fender, Arctic Monkeys, and early Kings of Leon.  With a catchy foundation they’ve got mainstream potential.  The upbeat jams fit well in the club scene, but could just as well cause a fury on the festival circuit.  Young and ready for fun, their future could be bright if they can keep it together.  

  Cut loose to Run & Hide now on our Best New Rock Playlist.  


“You’re still in love with a boy you’ve left behind.  As you got older, got wiser, got colder, and it hurt so much when he didn’t stay in line.”

The powerful lyrical statement that opens up Space & Time, the new single from Newcastle four piece Bosola, is a fleeting trickle of melancholy before the angst takes over.  Built on a rock and roll shuffle that embellishes their alt country influences, Bosola bring punk sensibility to the Nashville circuit. 

They drop a proper jam for the beer can punks who appreciate the lineage of John Prine and how it inspired acts like Bright Eyes and Kurt Vile.  They take vocal cues from the gutter of black leather brit pop, just enough to give them a sense of mainstream appeal.  But Bosola’s lyrical design is more Conor Oberst than cherry pie, with interwoven real people problems puzzled together elegantly.  Space & Time recalls how some people grow into the worse version of themself.  Paradigms of your past, the person you desire no longer exists. 

  Besides the impressive wordplay, Bosola just straight up rocks.  The guitar players jam around, but never on top of eachother.  The well calculated tones offer just enough grit to make it dirty, but still legible.  The rhythm backbone of shuffling drums and steady bass push Space & Time like a runaway train.  The stylistic combination of alternative, punk, and classic country could please fans of Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown, and Old 97’s.  Bosola, however, exists in many shades.  Past releases have leaned more post punk with new wave influence.  In the world of indie, eclecticism is a plus.  

  Enjoy Space & Time now on our Best New Rock Playlist. 

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