Following the release of Dead Wolf Club’s excellent ‘Healer’ EP in 2013, the band’s vocalist Jon Othello launched a more goth and new wave inspired side project, West Wickhams. Before the year was out, the new band shared a demo online, but then seemed to disappear. Jon resumed duties with his DWC bandmates the following year, and they seemed to tour relentlessly before calling it a day prematurely in 2015. Their demise left a massive hole in the world of noisy indie rock. For a time, they seemed to have a hugely reliable presence as a support act, and ‘Healer’ had very much promised bigger things to come.
Keeley’s debut EP ‘Brave Warrior’ proved that it was possible for a band to have a retro sound without sounding like a complete throwback to the past. Its four songs had a 90s electronica/dreampop heart, but there was enough about its feel and song writing that felt very contemporary. In terms of alternative pop, it was broad in its appeal, and the praise gained from high profile industry faces like Stuart Maconie and Steve Lamacq was more than deserved.
Following their debut single ‘Sea of Thieves’ Boston’s Nightspell have returned with a great new track ‘Pegasus’. Going even deeper into the band’s world of swirling, dark riffs, the track is a perfect throwback to the sounds of 90s shoegaze.
The enigmatically named Keeley was formerly the vocalist with Session Motts, a band that fused bubblegum melodies with chopping guitars and frivolous lyrical concernes, creating a quirky hybrid of garage rock and disposable pop. They gained a following around their native Dublin, but it seems their time was short. After a couple of years away, Keeley returned with a new eponymously named project for 2021 and although a couple of the songs from this debut EP occasionally sound like a distant cousin to the Session Motts by way of an aloof vocal, it’s very often a different animal. There’s a strong call back to the 90s at all times, but the material itself doesn’t always have the clearest identity.
If you spend time poking around on the internet, chances are you’ll find very little about New York’s R. Missing. Not only does this musical project boast a less than friendly name for search engines, when you do track them down, their social media accounts give no real sense of history or any kind of backstory. It seems that the self-confessed “darklings” are happy enough existing somewhere on the fringes of social interaction; always content to creep out of the shadows from time to time when they have something important to share. When you finally get to hear them, you realise that this is all very deliberate, as there’s plenty about their darkwave sounds and bleak synth based tunes that suits their aloof approach perfectly. The blankets of synth pop/alt-pop that filled their 2017 EP ‘Unsummering’ suggested a musical interest that fell somewhere between Cocteau Twins, Lana Del Rey and the much overlooked Smoke Season – all very strong building blocks – but their second release, the ‘Placeholder For The Night’ EP (released in the death throes of a troubled 2020) promises even more musical detachment.