Best New Rock – virgin orchestra, Tape Runs Out, Marni, Sugar Horse

Gothic Post Punk with Shoegaze flavoring can be heard on fragments, the exciting debut from Icelandic rockers Virgin Orchestra.  They embrace the sentiment, citing influences ranging from MBV, to The Cure and Delia Derbyshire.  Like all of them they have a penchant for emotionally eccentric punk inspired theater, a complimentary trait bred from their disdain for the routine and regular.  Their singer embellishes that theater with a dusty sultry sexy dark delivery full of inspired conviction and believable decadence. 

That contrast, where they tempt horror with dark melodic beauty, also recalling multi faceted projects like Massive Attack.  That influence is heard on  trip hop moments like give in and off guard.  They counter that with the punk appeal of on your knees and the shoegaze appeal of bond.  There’s also the dark pop ballad that is skin and their most pop moment, the closing rewind.  Everything is graced with their unique sonic presence and their singers trademark style, a consistent detail throughout that shows they’ve found their sound.   Collectively it’s a killer debut that bears a wide scope of influence, guaranteed to melt your face in concert. 

virgin orchestra is featured on our Best New Rock Playlist.  

Tape Runs Out bear an influence from Radiohead’s most treasured creative period on their exotic new single Ark.  The associations are undeniable but presented with some clever alterations, it’s heard early on in the breakout from the first verse.  The sonic design with the tickling piano recalls a contemporary influence from projects like The Bad Plus, who interestingly adapted Radiohead’s catalog themselves with exciting piano lead instrumental arrangements.  Ark bridges the gap between those two versions effectively, hear for yourself. 

Hear Ark now on our Best New Rock Playlist.


Sugar Horse brings intriguing sonic fury with every release.  Immersive garage grunge with shoegaze cinematic brilliance, the music is harmonious but undeniably vicious.  This is how we hoped alternative and hard rock would evolve, absorbing elements of hardcore and commercial alternative projects like Deftones to a new progressive framework.  That association is best exemplified on their new single Thrash Music, an instant classic that should put them on the map. 

For contrast and to tease their broad scope of influence, they also recently released an inspired cover of Head Over Heels, the unassuming Tears For Fears throwback.  A guaranteed show stopper, it shines the song in a new light, one that shows that like any great song it slays in any framework.  Sugar Horse is a treasured hard rock discovery.  

Sugar Horse is featured on our Best New Rock Playlist.

Marni makes gorgeous melodic shoegaze.  There’s an emo punk instinct heard in their compositional tendencies.  They tweak that influence with immersive rich distorted layers.  On their new single Manny’s Song, they add some hardcore influence in the closing energetic screaming section.  It thrashes while retaining an undeniable melodic catchy essence.  Marni connects with recent grunge shoegaze inspired breakthroughs like Draag, MILLY, and Ridgeway. 

Hear Manny’s Song now on our Best New Rock Playlist


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