Bournemouth based singer songwriter Carley Varley is a captivating musician with powerful heartfelt vocals entwined with an alternative indie vibe. “Musician, Baker, Polaroid taker” as she describes herself on her twitter bio, Carley sings affectionate songs telling stories of emotions that many of us have experienced. Upon first listen, I was really taken with her unique English accented vocals but clearly inspired by the likes of Hayley Williams of Paramore. Her acoustic based tracks are cleverly mixed with an American pop/punk vibe with flavours of British alternative indie. Her single ‘Since you left’ from her ‘Captured Memories EP’ encapsulates all these sounds. Thanks to echoing “woos” reminding me of artists such as Jess Glynne, Carley has woven classic song writing techniques with contemporary sounds creating something which would sit proudly with anything on the radio today. Her heartache songs such as ‘Since you left’ show off her impressive lyrics too; “I’ve been betting myself that things will change, but this love for you it never goes away.” This perfectly sums up the feeling of losing someone you care about, waiting for that feeling to pass but the rawness means the feeling just grows. Music like this hits a chord with listeners. Her songs help you connect with the feelings that she sings about. As gigs are on hold at the moment, be sure to tune in to Carley’s online Vlog series via her Instagram and keep an eye out on social media for live performances. Whatever feelings you may have, stream Carley Varley and let her music soothe your emotions.
Determined rapper, singer songwriter Ollie Douglas from Bristol is an exciting prospect. I first came across his music earlier this year and, though it was not what I would usually listen to, it opened my eyes to different genres. Previously focusing on mainly rap, Ollie has recently delved into a genre not too familiar with me which is emo/trap/alternative. This changing of genres for the Bristolian really shows off his chameleon like talents in songwriting. Mainly writing about personal concerns, Ollie composes witty lyrics that can go from light hearted to serious in one line. Take his latest release ‘Latched to you.’ Ollie sings “I travelled the world to get back to you, you’re the only one I just want to chat to you” pouring out his heart to a girl he feels connected to. This almost innocent style of connection is dramatically met with a more serious tone later in the song. “I got issues I can’t hide, love you I can’t lie, weed smoking, fast rides, won’t let it pass by… Looking for a sunny day, I’ve had so many grey.” These contrasting lyrics portray a complex song writer, someone with experience, someone listeners can relate to. His music goes from expressing pure joy in love to darker images admitting personal struggles. Alongside music created by Vallious Beats, Ollie has found a sound that really suits his voice and writing style. The style is one that will no doubt take Ollie Douglas to another level, with meaningful lyrics and melodious deep throbbing bass, the market is dying for something fresh like this. Always having an eye on a big future, Ollie is focusing on writing and recording day and night, so expect lots of new music from the dream filled musician.
Now this is one of my greatest finds this year. Illinois based producer and composer, P’like weaves dance and electronic sounds with dark enchanting, ethereal tones, taking you to another platform of macabre, atmospheric calmness. This music project from “Mad Madam Em,” as she describes herself on social media, creates beautiful cinematic soundscapes. Her celestial harmonies, almost operatic like, draw you in with awe. Her track ‘SYZYGY’ feat. The Fair Attempt is a precise example of this magic. With no actual discernible lyrics, you can interpret the song in any unique way. With her magical flavour of cinematic sounds, such songs are highly moving, with this particular track accompanied with an equally chilling video of AI’s and futuristic phenomenons. I highly encourage you to check out this video. P’like’s peaceful and flowing vocals glide through her music like a cloud of atmospheric peace, perfect for movies. You transcend on a journey with the music, letting it mold with your emotions however you feel. Exploring the darkest insights in our minds, P’likes natural voice interlaced with electronic beats is mesmerising. Art in its truest form.
Nigel Philip Davies
Hailing from the tropical valleys of South Wales, Nigel Philip Davies is a folk/rock singer songwriter. Classically trained from an early age, Nigel writes with empathy, power and experience. Having played with the likes of Tarrafolk and The Strawbs, Nigel’s back catalogue of gigs is just as impressive as his array of songs. Many of the songs are written from a personal perspective, allowing Nigel to delve into storytelling mode as he captivates his audience with songs such as ‘When this war is over.’ Accompanied with a spine tingling 12 string acoustic, played on many of his tracks, his stripped back style is exclusive to his sound. Along with his determined vocals, he creates a powerful emotional vibe, almost melancholy. With lyrics of him believing he will go ‘insane’ to ‘living in a cardboard box’ where his ‘own sanity will go drifting down the drain;’ Nigel has the rare ability to draw you in, hanging on every word he sings. A clever songwriter with witty, dark lyrics but entangled with humorous tales, Nigel is an entertainer in the purest form. An exceptional multi-instrumentalist with strumming ear worms, he has built up a loyal fan base throughout the UK and continues to do so. He really has the full package and one to catch live as soon as you can.
Welcome the Psych Powerhouse Trio from Sheffield, FUS. Raw fretless sub bass hammers through your body helping create one of the most exciting acts I’ve seen in a long time. As their Bandcamp page reads, FUS have been “turning this shit-show into a freak show” by being wild, energetic but on top of it all, extremely talented at what they do. “Chaotic slabs of sweaty psych, injected with childish absurdity.” This is what you read on their Facebook page and I could not have put it better myself. I had the absolute pleasure of seeing this band play live in Swansea, Wales late last year and they honestly blew me away. Their energy on stage was something to behold, something not many could touch. Jack Northward’s powerful yet precise gritty bass playing hits you in the face like a bazooka. His slapping technique is world class and reminds me of Les Claypool from Primus. Absolutely extraordinary. Jumping up and down the stage with the music, you can’t help but get up and jump around like a mad man too. Marc Bernard’s guitar playing is a classic rock, dirty, sweaty sound. Think Led Zeppelin but more fun. With perfectly timed, almost jazz breaks in the songs that even the most trained ear wouldn’t expect, it is evident that these guys know the intricacies of music very well. Bernard’s vocals remind me of Wolfmother, anguished powerful screams, perfectly fitting the frenzied music. Joe Carter’s rhythm playing is exceptional. The aforementioned breaks evident in songs such as ‘Freakshow’ and throughout their idiosyncratic EP ‘Delirium’ help you groove with the music, like a kaleidoscope of swirls, notes and beats striking your body as you dance to the manic sounds of FUS. A hard working outfit, you must keep an eye out for this wild powerhouse. Their psychedelic bliss will leave your ears ringing, and heart pumping, yearning for more sweaty loudness.