Best New Indie – C.S. Fulp, Soft Set, Cristal B. , Paul Vinson

C.S. Fulp conjures a sonic masterpiece with his new single Burnout.  Employing crunchy guitars in new innovative ways, Burnout is full of fresh bright textures and sonic brilliance.  The record brings the warmth known to analog and pro pre-amps tweaked to life by the artists attention to their craft.  The guitar layers mixed with slices of electronica recall mid career works by Wilco and Phosphorescent.  There’s a semblance to bedroom pop in the songs chill affect, but it bypasses the lure of cheap production in exchange for a rich sonic presence.  The pop presentation and vocal design conjures memories of Pete Yorn and his impressive unexpected hit musicforthemorningafter.  You can trace Burnout’s lineage to the swagger and pomp of Velvet Underground and T Rex up through the annals of early 2000’s indie rock glory.  

C.S. Fulp is a singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist from Lindale, Texas.  He’s been dripping out singles and expanding his sonic world since 2018.  With a string of solid releases under his belt, and an impressive stream history to boot, he deserves a spot on your indie rock radar.  His music fits right in with acts like Del Water Gap and Field Report. 

Dig in to Burnout now on our Best New Indie Playlist 

Soft Set

Get lost in Diamond, the new single from Soft Set.  The catchy new release drips with new wave appeal and post punk sensibility.  It starts with the bright melodic guitar work, as the pumping backbone of driving bass and stomping drums rumble beneath.  The passionate vocal turns dreamy and whiplashes back again, as the singer brings style and swagger to the beautiful chord design. 

There are hints of shoegaze and dream pop in their melodic ethos.  They’re students of the 80s alternative movement, an era which quite possibly had the biggest influence on modern indie rock. They celebrate influences as diverse as The Smiths, the under appreciated Factory rockers The Happy Mondays, the Stone Roses, and shoegaze pioneers MBV and Ride.  They fit in well with modern indie hybrids like Editors and Real Estate who draw from a similar influential well. 

Soft Set’s minimalistic design gives them additional authenticity.  The songwriting at its core allows them to bring a bare arrangement, as every instrument offers something essential to the overall sound.  In that way they share traits with modern icons like The XX and Radiohead.  With similar melodic appeal and originality, they cast a wide net in the world of indie. 

  The band is lucky enough to employ some of their influences in the record’s creation.  Their debut EP was mixed by RIDE’s Mark Gardener.  Their upcoming debut full-length Still Life,  is being mixed by Shae Brossard (Arcade Fire, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and mastered by Slowdive’s Simon Scott.  

  Believe it, jump into Diamond now on our Best New Indie Playlist

Cristal B.

Short, sweet, and to the point.  Cristal B. grabs you right from the start with her new single Happy Instead.  The indie pop get well anthem brings both an intoxicating vibe and an encouraging message.  Cristal B. embraces the indie pop sound of the moment, with a style that reflects recent hits by Holly Humberstone and Phoebe Bridgers.  Cristal also flashes a subtle twang to her vocal delivery in the spirit of Brandi Carlile.  A Florida native, there’ a slight southern attitude mixed into an indie pop package.  Mixed crisp with vocals to the front, Happy Instead has mainstream potential.  It should also please fans of underground indie with its stomp and holla swagger and intricate harmony production.  

Cristal B. admits that she’s not afraid to get real and honest with her audience.  With past releases like “My Therapist” and “Broken Heroes,” she has shown herself to be an important ally in the effort to spread mental health awareness.  It’s important to have works like Be Happy. They chip away at the stigma that talent and beauty can’t come with anxiety and depression.  The lyrics are direct and hauntingly familiar, “They tell me not to be so sad, other people have it worse than I do, but honestly that makes me mad, don’t know my misery the way that I do.”

Dig Happy Instead now on our Best New Indie Playlist

Paul Vinson

Paul Vinson is a revelation on Keep Up.  The new single is tailored to his impressive natural croon, with a solid mix of variation and surprise to the songs composition and arrangement.  On the outset Keep Up is groovy blue eyed soul, but as the song picks up it flirts with an alt-country sensibility known to part time southern rockers like Jason Isbell, Dawes, and Hiss Golden Messenger.  Artist’s with an elusive temperament to delve between the worlds of indie and traditional in fresh personal ways. 

Vinson always sounds in the moment, like this songs been stashed away in his head all week, waiting for that Friday night release that a live performance offers.  Produced wonderfully and mixed to perfection, it’s as if you’re watching the band from across the room.  Vinson dresses it with an elegant minimal arrangement where every instrument brings purpose and value.  Subtle but effective harmonies add to the songs developing dreamy aura. 

  Hailing out of Nashville, Vinson enlisted a local team of fellow Indies to bring Keep Up to life. He teamed up with Nashville Producer Bobby Dubray of the indie outfit Future Crib, and also enlisted the mixing expertise of Bobby Knepper of the band Dreamer Boys.  Teamwork makes the dream work, and Keep Up reflects their collective chemistry.  A pro effort front to back, its on the fast track to NPR’s hot list, seemingly destined for World Cafe. 

  Hear it first, check out Keep Up now on our Best New Indie Playlist 


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