His name may not be instantly familiar, but singer songwriter Mo Troper has a fairly sizeable back catalogue. He began cranking out fuzzy indie and power pop tunes in 2016 and has gradually built a cult audience. Mo’s debut full length ‘Beloved’ is brilliant. Although very much the kind of record aimed at listeners who still feel nostalgic for Superchunk and reach for Guided By Voices’ ‘Isolation Drills’ on a regular basis, its peppering of stronger melodies could also call to mind the kind of tunefulness the younger Brendan Benson might’ve enjoyed when in a noisier mood. Each of Troper’s further releases work a similar fashion, each with a slightly more commercial angle (‘Freebin’ from 2017’s ‘Exposure & Response’, especially, has the feel of something that could lapse into an old Teenage Fanclub tune, and the whole of 2020’s ‘Natural Beauty finds Troper in full on home-recorded, yet clean power pop mode), but whatever the outcome, the performer’s DIY heart can always be heard beating furiously. In terms of retro cool, he has the potential to be remembered as one of the greats.
Although the name Atomic Bronco may not be familiar to you, the band creates the kind of sound you think you’ve known for years. Their current single ‘Cruel’ blends acoustic guitars with a light power pop sound, creating the perfect backdrop for a natural vocal. …And then, once you’ve become used to a sound that falls somewhere between the work of Brendan Benson and the vastly underrated Gus Black, the chorus hits with a barrage of fuzz, to drive home that ultimate 90s nostalgia hit.
To look at Gabriel and The Apocalypse, you could be forgiven for thinking they’d be a band who valued style over content, especially when taking into consideration the fact that their videos have been heralded as hugely stylish, visual feasts. An image means nothing if the material isn’t good enough to back it up; there are a lot of gothy and industrial bands out there guilty of spending far too long cultivating an image and then forgetting to invest the same kind of importance into their song writing. Luckily, that doesn’t apply here: Gabriel and The Apocalypse’s 2019 LP ‘Alpha Bionic’ was a fine work. Its ten songs fused goth, metal and industrial grooves with massive choruses and served up something almost guaranteed to please old fans of Orgy and early Disturbed, as well as offering lovers of Lacuna Coil an interesting alternative. A heavy-ish cover of Midnight Oil’s ‘Beds Are Burning’ peppered with vaguely industrial beats and retro synths added something instantly familiar to a selection of already great material.
At the beginning of 2021, Black Pistol Fire released their sixth album ‘Look Alive’. A hugely welcome return for the garage/blues rock duo, it was their most commercial recording to date with a fuller sound drawing more influence from The Black Keys than their previous Jack White obsessions.
A new band for 2020, The Loose Chains brings together the talents of drummer Sergio Benedi (previously of the band Gunpowder) and singer songwriter Jimina Villena, a performer who has previously shared her recordings on social media. With a really meaty sound and a couple of hook laden rock numbers, this debut release marks a huge step forward for both artists.