Over the past few years, a clutch of great indie bands emerged that took influence from the 90s far more than most. A few real standouts, The Daysleepers sounded as if they’d been raised on a steady diet of The Cure circa 1990, while the brilliant Muncie Girls and Adult Magic would have been right at home on an Indie Top 20 cassette.
It must be hard having an older brother who is more famous than you. For Powerman 5000’s Spider One – younger brother of the legendary musician and film-maker Rob Zombie – it has meant constantly playing second fiddle in the rock press. Powerman have received some absolutely scathing reviews over the years – and most of them unfair. They’ve recorded some great work. Their ‘Blood-Splat Rating System’ full length (reissued as ‘Mega! Kung Fu Radio’ with the addition of a couple of earlier EP tracks) featured some cracking songs, even if it showed signs of a band still in need of some refinement. 1999’s mega-selling ‘Tonight The Stars Revolt’ remains an alternative metal classic; its riff heavy and hook heavy style could easily go head to head against Rob’s best work, and its sci-fi obsessed lyrics really helped to give PM5K a strong identity. Had the follow up ‘Anyone For Doomsday?’ not been pulled from release at the eleventh hour, the band’s quest for world domination would have been assured, but with shifting line-ups and varying musical styles dominating the next couple of releases, Powerman became very much more of a cult band.
“[It] touches on the importance of words, their meaning and their power. The lyrics reflect on how words can be used to comfort, empower and encourage. But it also reflects on how they can be used to agitate, hurt and destroy,” says The Phoenix Within’s frontman Omar Feliciano of the band’s new single ‘Tenfold’.
Tackling the themes of using words to build relationships and bridges instead of using them to hurt, ‘Tenfold’ is already a powerful statement, regardless of the music. The track’s arrangement, luckily, has almost an equal power with a set of riffs that very much hark back to the 90s emo movement – specifically bands like Sense Field and Shift – which, combined with a thoughtful vocal performance, results in a fantastic three minute alt-rock tune that should appeal to fans of 90s sounds as well as lovers of bands like Fall Out Boy.
A band who’ve been favourably compared to Don Broco and Deaf Havana, Dead Reynolds’ work typically combines an alternative crunch with pop hooks on tunes that have some really deep textures. Although this release comes only two years into their career, on the four tracks that make up their ‘Frontier’ EP show all the confidence of a band much longer in the tooth while clinging on to a fairly youthful sound.
Few bands have made such a dramatic musical turn as Radiohead between the release of their second album ‘The Bends’ and third album ‘OK Computer’. With ‘OK Computer’ Radiohead continued on a path of musical adventurousness and in looking to move forwards, they looked backwards in terms of influences. Instead of drawing from other indie and alternative sources, the album drew heavily from prog rock experimentation and made the band heroes to many fans of 70s experimental sounds.