Russian Baths first appeared on the alternative music scene back in 2016 with a two track release pairing their shoegaze anthem ‘Ambulance’ with the slightly more melodic indie/goth workout ‘Ghost’. It was immediately clear that the Brooklyn based duo were well versed in some great retro sounds, since the tracks conveyed a massive love for Jesus & Mary Chain, as well as slightly more melodic 4AD fare like Cranes and Slowdive. They were the kind of band that older indie fans could take to heart with immediate effect, but although their sounds drew strong links with a shoegaze past, they also seemed like a band who – much like A Place To Bury Strangers – would be able to take such heavily distorted drones seem wholly relevant in the present.
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.