Aaron Taos is ready to seize his own parcel of the indie pop-rock landscape in 2018 — and Night Thoughts, the Brooklyn resident’s sophomore EP, serves as the blueprint for his takeover. The seven-track effort sees the self-taught artist’s bedroom noodling explode into a full-blown studio project with bolder sounds and bigger production. However, getting to this triumphant phase in his career was no clear-cut task.
Aaron Taos received his first guitar at only five years old. The New Haven, Connecticut suburbanite kid’s affair with the instrument was fleeting as he became more interested in hip-hop and a promising soccer career, even playing in the state’s Olympic Development Program. It wasn’t until he encountered bands like Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes in high school that music re-established its magic hold on his creative aspirations.
“My first instinct is to write songs,” Aaron Taos says of his artistic drive. “When I first got a guitar when I was little, the first thing I wanted to do was write songs. I didn’t want to learn covers; I wanted to make something new. I really like making tangible things out of ideas.”
As a 16-year-old, those ideas first manifested as a garage rock band with some fellow jocks. Still, athletics remained his primary focus — until he took those talents to college. He quickly found enthusiasm for soccer quashed by too much structure and a lack of creativity, so he resolved to turn fully to his true muse: Music. Between classes, Taos holed up in his school’s computer lab, instructing himself in the production arts. “My friends would make fun of me because I was always there watching tutorial videos, learning how to use Logic,” he recalls.
Literally learning as he went, he was resolute in his passionate pursuit. He moved home before relocating to Brooklyn for a Sony Legacy internship, all the while forging his debut EP, 2015’s GUITS. Lo-fi by necessity, the project “was really a bedroom experiment with guitar in a way I wanted to do it,” he says. “Just looping. It was my first time mixing anything from scratch.” Despite its novice DIY nature, GUITS drew attention from publications like Consequence of Sound, The FADER, Brooklyn Vegan, and Pigeons and Planes; it even landed Taos a manager. With minimal assistance or formal musical education, Taos felt himself fast-tracked to pop success.
Until the reality of the situation slowed everything down. His recordings’ homegrown nature made them intriguingly sincere, but ill-prepared him for the actuality of the industry. Taos went from training himself to being thrust into writing rooms from LA to Sweden and shown all sorts of contracts and licensing deals. It was a lot to absorb for someone who just wanted to create.
“It was a double-edged sword,” says Taos of his quick come-up. “It gave me a reason to say, ‘I can actually do this. I’m going to do this.’ But it also stopped my progress in some ways. I met a lot of cool people, I became a better songwriter, but I wasn’t making anything tangible for me.”
Throughout that year of fruitless co-writing sessions, he nevertheless kept learning, refining his craft while awaiting that serendipitous spark to reignite his artful ambition. Without warning, it returned full force when Taos found himself in the right room with the right song and the right producers. The production team was LA duo TÕN and the song was his early 2017 single “Off My Mind”. A hook-riddled groove of yearning desire mixing GUITS‘s guitar sound with “hard-hitting hip-hop-ish drums,” the track catalyzed a new flurry of writing, recording, and releasing.
Yet, just as his music was becoming more dynamic, his personal life was stagnating. His relationship with his girlfriend, who had been there since the beginning of this journey, was coming to a crossroads. Taos now had to find a way to explore his new sonic growth while simultaneously dealing with a broken heart. Ever self-aware, he determined the best way to progress with both was to capture it all on Night Thoughts.
“This EP, for me, is to conceptualize what I am and what I’ve done, what this time meant to me,” Taos reflects. “It’s me retrospectively making sense of my life at that time personally and musically.”
As a result, Night Thoughts plays through the timeline of a relationship. The sleek, sexy tones of opener “Amazing” capture that first rush of attraction. Driving and syncopated, the hard-thumping “Twisted” expresses the dumbfounding anxiety of obsession with psychedelic licks nodding to Taos’ love of Tame Impala. Straightening himself up, Taos gets lost in the cool, carefree joy of true love on “Only One”, only to wistfully stumble on the dance floor as he recognizes a potential end with “Not Over Yet”.
More than just romantic contemplation, though, the EP is truly a time capsule of Aaron Taos’ last three years. It’s the result of a burgeoning musician’s quest to become the type of recording artist he knew he could be. Although it stands as validation that he’s succeeded, it also marks the end of this chapter in his life. It places this young songwriter on the edge of darkness, just stepping forward to meet whatever comes next. There, in those moments before the breaking dawn, live twilight ruminations rich with vulnerability, pleasure, and heartache — the Night Thoughts.
“With their raw riffs and politicised lyrics, Concrete Caverns epitomise the attitude and pure essence of punk music perfectly. Their sharp licks of spirited punk rawness blend with a riotous youthfulness, giving the band a sparked demeanour.”
– Sahera Walker, Some Might Say Zine, Issue #2
Concrete Caverns are a London-based four-piece punk rock band. Endless gigging and writing since formation in October 2014 has lead the band to secure main stage festival slots at Village Green Festival and Wilkestock Charity Music Festival. They’ve also had the pleasure of supporting Otherkin at their biggest London headline show at Camden Assembly. Their debut single, ‘Unforgivable’, was released on October 27 2017, and was instantly playlisted by Indie Central Music and Vibe 107.6FM. Ahead of 2018, it was added to Indie Central Music’s ‘Sound of 2017’ playlist.
Concrete Caverns second single, ‘Open Your Minds’, was released on January 31 prior to two Independent Venue Week 2018 performances. On Saturday February 1, they supported Essex based band, Asylums, at Chelmsford’s Bassment Bar. Art Will Fall gave a rave review of their set, stating, “Concrete Caverns are finding their place with their exhilarating live performance, raw sound and brutal honesty.”
Songwriting duo Chris (guitar/vocals) and Andy (bass/lyrics) had been writing together since high school, but they were still in search of an identity. With the addition of Chris’s brother Pete (drums), armed with a new sound and named after a pair of shoes, Delphina Kings was born.
The combination of a barista, a baker and a university dropout proved effective. Their first single ‘Lovestruck’, produced by Sugar House (Pale Waves, Viola Beach), earned a feature on E4’s Made in Chelsea and the support of BBC Introducing in both Merseyside and Manchester. They have also shared the stage with Starsailor and Razorlight.
The group opted to self-produce their new single Electric, a jagged flurry of erratic guitars and eccentric embellishments punching in at barely three minutes long. It’s a cocktail of everything the band has absorbed in its short existence, and is accompanied by a surreal music video.
Grandson is a 24 year old alternative artist hailing from Toronto, Canada. Born in New Jersey, he relocated to the cultural melting pot of Toronto at a young age, and grew up surrounded by music ranging from jazz to rock and roll to rap, dancehall and electronic. He began playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager, and experimented with hip hop and trap production.
Adopting the Grandson moniker while living in LA, he met guitarist and collaborator Kevin Hissink and dove deeply into rock influences such as Rage Against the Machine, Nirvana and Led Zeppelin, while also listening to rap and soul music emerging out of Toronto as well as alternative acts such as Twenty One Pilots and Hiatus Kaiyote. He found a small community of musicians to work and perform with in Los Angeles. The live set creates a frantic, mosh pit inducing cathartic release of energy for concert goers, influenced by early punk and grunge music.
Grandson’s lyrics confront the most pressing issues of his generation through his songwriting, such as governmental transparency, economic accountability, climate change and social justice, giving these topics a soundtrack with a genuine sense of urgency and frustration. The music also touches on adolescence, relationships, and the insecurities and difficulties of growing up.
Half Alive, releases their music video for the highly anticipated track, aawake at night. Following their debut EP release titled 3, and corresponding music video, the fall, the band attracted significant online attention, reaching nearly 400k views on the music video in 3 months, and accumulating over 1.5M streams from their EP via Spotify and YouTube.
Aawake at night is their newest single; an electro-soul track with smooth vocals and fulltoned synthesized bass. It carries a refreshing mix of both organic and electronic sounds, produced by Grammy nominated producer, James Krausse. The audio comes complete with a highly polished visual: a music video shot primarily inside a shipping container, directed by Josh Taylor, the band’s leader and principal songwriter.
Half Alive formed in 2016 in Long Beach, CA. The independent band is made up of Josh Taylor, Brett Kramer, and J Tyler Johnson. With the help of Grammy nominated producer James Krausse, the debut EP 3 is now available exclusively online.
Music Video: https://youtu.be/HGy9wdgCWEk
Mellor consists of Gary, Sam, Kris, and Josh. The indie 4 piece hailing from Reading have had a whole host of national and regional media support from the likes of Absolute Radio, BBC6 Music, BBC Berkshire, BBC London, and BBC Introducing. Labelled by Alt Reading as “one of Reading’s most exciting acts”, they bring a live show packed with high energy, raucous vocals, big guitar riffs, and pounding drums. The bands dedicated following is steadily on the rise thanks to shows up and down the UK sharing and various press have described the Reading lads sound as a mash up between Arctic Monkeys, The Smiths, The Coral and The Libertines. You can expect one thing from Mellor’s material and live show; a feeling that will leave you wanting more.
Reading indie quartet Mellor have released their new single ‘Tri-State Blues’. Having recently been tipped by promoters ‘This Feeling’ and Subculture to be ‘Big in 2018’, Mellor’s music has gained exposure from Amazing Radio, BBC 6 Music along with inclusions on Spotify playlists ‘Hot New Bands’, ‘The Indie List’ and ‘Transistor’ (which have a combined following of over 250,000 listeners). The band have had previous gigs playing alongside The Kooks, Bay Rays, Carl Barat & The Jackals, Flyte, and Blaenavon and have now released another catchy banger to wrap your ears around.
“A shrilling suave guitar as Mellor introduce ‘Tri-State Blues’ with a choppy steamy swagger that commands your attention. Once that drum kicks in, your hooked. This boisterous panache-soaked track is steeped in adrenaline rushing guitars, punchy drums and dynamic vocals to create a thrilling roller-coaster ride. It’s slick and polished with ear worm melodies that are so smooth and delicious its like they are soaked in honey just to tempt and lure us music mad little bees. The electrifying guitar quivers are riveting while neck snapping hefty elements insure a sweaty, frenzied live performance. Its frenetic yet at the same time cool and chilled as a cucumber. Another sing along ready smasher from the Reading quartet”. (Indie Buddie)
Andi is an independent singer, songwriter, and recording artist based in Toronto. Her original music referred to under the burgeoning genre of alternative or progressive pop. It draws from many varied genres, blending modern sounds of pop, electronic, alternative, rock, RnB, jazz, and soul. This eclectic mix makes for energetic, diverse soundscapes and catchy choruses that hit with a wall of sound.
Andi is passionately involved in all aspects of her music, bringing her singular vision to the production of original tunes, the conception and creation of her music videos and to the design and delivery of all associated visuals that represent her music.
In 2016, the 22-year-old artist released her first EP “Sketches”, which includes her debut single and music video “Caffeine”. That same year Andi was nominated as one of the top 4 independent artists nation-wide by CBC’s Searchlight Competition. She also has performed with legendary Canadian producer, David Foster.
Andi is now ardently writing and producing a full length record inspired by issues she sees in herself and in the world. Subjects include women’s empowerment and autonomy, toxic/pervasive views on masculinity, LGTBQ+ issues and her lived experience as a bisexual woman. Her relatable music communicates everyday experiences of self-conflict, emotionality, and love, qualities that characterize the human condition. Her songwriting also champions the individual’s journey to acceptance and empowerment.
Her next single and music video will be released in August 2017, followed by a Canadian tour with her 9-piece live band – consisting of Humber jazz program graduates and juno nominated musicians such as Joey Martel of the Jazz Exiles – playing in 6 different cities across Ontario and Quebec.
Weekend Wars see their first 2 self released singles released as a double A side 7” as part of the prestigious `Flying Vinyl’ series June edition. Flying Vinyl send subscribers 5 limited edition 7” singles per month from whom they consider to be exciting new artists to watch.
Since forming late in 2015, Merseyside based five piece Weekend Wars have made impressive strides. From very early and continued support by BBC Merseyside Introducing (Dave Monks), the band have seen airplay from 6 Music (Steve Lamacq and 6 Music Recommends), Amazing Radio, BBC Radio Scotland (Billy Sloan), and the newly relaunched Virgin Radio (Jon Jackson), amongst a whole host of other specialist shows, stations and student radio.
From performing at Liverpool Sound City, to recording their first interview and acoustic session with Dave Monks, BBC Merseyside Introducing, via being playlisted by (amongst others) Spotify Australia & New Zealand. The band continue to tour around the North West and add to their fanbase.