“123, won’t you dance with me?” is the summer bop you didn’t know you needed

Becca Rogers is an electro-pop producer and songwriter based in Washington, D.C. Her latest creation ‘123’ featuring Joe Bills is a summery bop with a catchy chorus, driving beat and nostalgia infused synths all wrapped up in a flawless production.

The song starts with a plucked synth/marimba ostinato that is simple enough to already be memorable, and engaging enough to carry through the whole first verse, before the chorus comes in with a punch. The arrangement knows when to drop elements to build up for a more impactful chorus. It’s a pop production that stands up to any other pop productions out there.

The vocal production is also great overall, with doubles and octaves addded in at the right times, vocal throws and harmonies that build up effective layers and progress throughout the song to keep the arrangement alive.

Becca shares this story about the inception of the lyrics:

I ran into the bedroom to tell my girlfriend about the song, and she said “with the marimba, this song should NOT have sad lyrics! This sounds like a beach club.” She thought the song should be about a guy asking a girl to dance (we’re a female couple, so we tried to get into the mindset of what a guy might be thinking by channeling how we felt when we first met in NYC!). We sat in bed and knocked out all of the lyrics more quickly than I’d ever written a song. 

Joe’s vocals work great on the track, with just the right amount of vulnerability in the performance to suggest the nervousness of inviting the girl he likes to dance. This is not about someone out looking for a one night stand, but a someone pulling up the courage to make a move and find love. It adds a fresh spin on the typical ‘dancing in the club’ narrative, and is endearing at first listen.

Becca is clearly a very talented songwriter and music producer. While ‘123’ is the first release on Becca’s Spotify, she also produces for her pop duo Strawberry Aqua – go check it out!

Follow the socials to stay up to date with her next creations:

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Emily Parish doesn’t need much to captivate with delicate new EP

London-based singer-songwriter Emily Parish makes alt-pop infused with folk sounds. In 2020 she released her debut album ‘How I Feel Now’, and 2022 has just seen the release of her newest EP, ‘Don’t Need Much’.

The EP is a collection of four tracks, mostly written throughout 2021, with the addition of a reworked older song. As the singer-songwriter puts it “it embraces everything from love and relationships to working life and wanting more from my 20s.”

The title track ‘Don’t Need Much’ is an atmospheric alt pop offering, centred around Emily’s distinctive vocal, a guitar riff reminiscent of Daughter, and a slow electronic beat. Emily’s wispy vocals (which bring to mind artists such as London Grammar or Tusks) impart a certain kind of vulnerability, as she sings about love and the longing for human connection. The arrangement is sparse but the crafty use of reverb creates a vast sonic space where the parts come together to create an enveloping soundscape with beautifully dark tints. The strong and memorable melodies of the chorus make this rightfully the title track of the release.

The second track, ‘Moonbeam’, is a more intimate folk pop affair, with closer, drier vocals and a sparse arrangement of acoustic guitar, bass and drum and the occasional sparkle of glockenspiel. With echoes of Billie Marten or Lucy Rose, it’s a song with sad lyrics about emptiness and loneliness, in a major key. This juxtaposition seems to work well, especially when coupled with the quirky lyrics. Talking about this song, the musician explains:

The overarching theme is mostly about how I worry that I’ve made a lot of wrong decisions in my work life and how my 20s are passing me by. Plus how capitalism is crushing us – that’s why it’s spelt capital hill not Capitol Hill.

With ‘Didn’t See You Leaving’ the fragile sensitivity of Emily’s voice is showing at its best, echoing the heartbreaking lyrics, impactful from the very first line: ‘you were just a disappointment’. The simplicity leaves space for the emotion to blossom into naked vulnerability with a heartbreaking ending. The word play ‘didn’t see this coming/didn’t see you leaving’ is cleverly devised to make the choruses memorable, and with the soaring vocals and soft high notes, this one is sure to tug at the listener’s heart strings.

Photo credit: Colleen Lee

Going around in full circle, the EP closed with an alternate version of ‘Don’t Need Much’, an acoustic piano version that is perhaps even more touching than the full version. The melodies and the vocal rendition are so strong that they literally ‘don’t need much’ to hide behind in terms of accompaniment. When the guitar comes in towards the end of the song, it’s exactly what the song needs to grow, showing that when the songwriting is strong enough to stand on its own, less can be more.

‘Don’t Need Much’ is a collection of songs showcasing a well-rounded sound, delicate and intimate, simple yet sophisticated, and above all, always conveying honest emotion. An artist that we are glad to have discovered, and whose journey we will be sure to follow.

Emily Parish on Instagram

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Emily Parish on Bandcamp

Shafkkat and Rojaz merge influences in classy electro lounge single ‘Her’

‘Her’ is a collaboration between London based producer Shafkkat and electro pop artist Rojaz.

Shafkkat (the moniker of Taz Hussain), has previously released an EP of electronic music that has resulted in various radio plays and a guestmix on Reprezent Radio. Spanish born Rojaz started releasing music in 2020 and has currently over 115k monthly listeners on Spotify, with support from BBC Introducing in the South and others.

‘Her’ is an eclectic mix of genres and elements, brilliantly brought together into a release that could be played both into a club or used in chill mix. It feels like an ambient track, in that it plays extensively with mood, tone and textures, on top of a driving club beat propelled by 808s, a snappy snare and melodic toms. The verses are sparse and enveloping, with a lounge jazzy piano creating a classy, relaxed atmosphere. The instrumental captivates the listener’s attention through the skilful manipulation of sounds, glitch elements, chopped and processed vocals, which play a predominant role in creating the distinctive sound.

An interesting addition is the use of a sample of Rojaz’s grandmother, who was a Spanish voice actress in the 1950s. This can be heard on the transition two thirds into the track, adding a unique details and acting as the perfect homage to Rojaz’s roots.

The arrangement is clean, clear and spacey; despite the variety of elements, they have a well-defined place in the mix at all times, and of course, leave plenty of room for the vocals to shine.

Rojaz’s topline is the linking glue towards which the track converges. Her voice is fluid and soulful, a silky timbre delivering a natural but controlled performance, adding colour and emphasis where needed, with a wispy gentleness reminiscent of Billie Eilish.

‘Her’ beautifully brings together the influences and creative blueprints of two very talented musicians, and makes for a stylish collaboration that is sure to find its place in a broad variety of playlists.

Follow Shafkkat and Rojaz on socials:

Shafkkat on Instagram

Rojaz on Instagram

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Rojaz on Facebook

Maddy Storm plays with danger and sensuality in ‘Mattress’

UK singer-songwriter and producer Maddy Storm recently released ‘Mattress’, a vibrant pop tune with a distinctive sound and a daring production.

Maddy’s confident vocals draw the listener in from the very beginning. With a delivery reminiscent of Lana del Rey, but a vocal register closer to FKA Twigs, Maddy’s poised performance is the driving force of this track. With a hint of Kate Bush’s haunting quality and the hushed tones of Billie Eilish, the vocals exude playful seductiveness with a dangerous edge.

This is also reflected in the arrangement. Driven by a dense, hard hitting drum beat, the production packs a lot of detail and ear candy elements that add constant movement to the track and command the listener’s attention. These whimsical, playful elements are juxtaposed with grittier sounds which bring in that edge that we mentioning earlier. The hyper pop touches such as the variety of pitch shifted or processed vocals, distorted drums, glitch elements and ‘8-bit’ synth runs are what pushes ‘Mattress’ away from the generic pop song label, turning it into an exciting track that showcases Maddy’s creativity and imagination.

However, the single stays in the realms of electro/dark pop, which is for the best, as it has a serious topic: “that feeling in a relationship where it seems like you’re the practice for the one they really want”, as Maddy explains. 

In a world where only about 2% of music producers are not men, it is worth emphasising again that this is a self-produced single. What is even more awe-inspiring is that Maddy wrote and produced it in one night, in her childhood bedroom.

The whole thing happened so quickly that I ended up recorded the final vocal takes on holiday in an airbnb in Brighton – there are certain takes where you can hear the southern seagulls in the background, she explains.

Seagulls or no seagulls, we think that it sounds incredible, not to mention that it manages to be super catchy, without being predictable. A well-rounded songwriter, singer and producer Maddy Storm is definitely one to watch.

Speaking of watching, you can watch below the newly released music video for ‘Mattress’:

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Kevin Rieth tackles metaphoric insomnia with idiosyncratic single ‘When I Sleep’

‘When I Sleep’ is the third single from San Diego singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Rieth’s album ‘Up and up’. On the album Kevin plays guitar, keyboards, bass, horns, harmonica, and charango, with percussion courtesy of Rob Hanzlik, lead guitar performed by Gage Markey, cello by Jake Matthew Rivers, and Aaron Russo on drums.

‘When I Sleep’ is a quirky burst of timbres and melodies presented in a package of soft rock crossed with baroque pop. From the very introduction, the cello sets a sophisticated tone, talking us to the realm of chamber pop pop, echoing the likes of Belle and Sebastian or the Divine Comedy. The tracks retains an old school vibe through the guitar solo, the vocal production and the classic fade out outro, but treated to a modern touch.

Driven by a groovy bass and steady acoustic drums, the track achieves contrast between sections through careful arrangement. The sparse and dry verse gives way to a dreamlike soundscape in the choruses, with lush synths and vocal ‘pads’ providing an ethereal, eerie background. We loved the use of the voice as an instrument in the choruses, and also the bass line that emulates the vocal line – it is small details like this that show the musical experience and prowess when arranging a song. Kevin’s vocals are natural and personable and display an impressive range, which becomes apparent when the falsetto backing vocals are introduced in the chorus.

This is a colourful track that is not afraid to explore the joy of musicality in both arrangement, structure and production. It’s almost as wacky and liberating as a lucid dream, where things feel real but are not quite as they should be. This was the first impression when listening to the song, and it all made sense when realising that it is about insomnia. ‘When I sleep’ perfectly evokes the dreamlike state between being awake and asleep, with an unsettling pang conveyed through repetitive, fractured guitar chops.

Diving deeper into the meaning of the song, Kevin explains that the song details the anxiety and frustration surrounding the police violence and political unrest in the United States. As the narrator attempts to calm their troubled mind and get some rest, the song laments, “What am I supposed to be doing now?”, referring to bigger questions such as ‘how can we make the world a better place?’ and ‘what can we do to make a change?’.

The whole ‘Up and Up’ album is available on Spotify, and we recommend that you dive in Kevin Rieth’s sonic world.

Follow the socials below:

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Delujn releases outstanding debut single ‘Ride in Chains’

Delujn (pronounced as ‘delusion’) is the brand new musical project of Canadian multi-instrumentalist John Sklove.

A cinematic trip driven by spaghetti western guitars, hazy vocals and exquisite lyrics, ‘Ride in Chains’ makes for the enthralling debut single of a project that is already owning up to a strong stylistic identity.

Clearly a work of love, the ‘desert-dream pop/rock’ piece (as self-described by the artist) runs over 6 minutes in length, a trait rarely encountered in songs these days, when attention spans of audiences are so short and pop songs now tend to reach for the under 3 minute mark. But Delujn’s music is not meant for those audiences. It is intricate and tasteful, with inspiration drawn from a melange of class acts, such as Beach House, Cat Power or Neil Young, and appeals to a listener that is not in just for a casual fling.

With lines of imagery as strong as ‘For a drunkards bail, you’ll ride in chains/ and you’ll crush each other just to stay in the game’, ‘Ride in Chains’ reads like a refined epic poem with the fractured sensibilities of modern poetry. Perhaps another ‘poet of brokeness’ like Cohen, Sklove sings sings about intense emotion in a despondent way, which only accentuates the magnitude of the hollowness and disappointment he is portraying.


The song was mixed by John Goodmanson and mastered by James Trevascus, and the drums were performed and recorded by John McEntire at Soma Studios. But other than that, all vocals and instruments were by John in his furnace room studio, and he has achieved a well-crafted arrangement in which details are meaningful and no parts are superfluous. The sounds fit together like a holistic mechanism, with details such as brisk punctuations of percussion, small bursts of acoustic guitars and synth interventions turning it into a vivid arrangement of its own flavour. To fully understand what we are talking about, one should also listen to the instrumental version, which is also available on Spotify.

A compelling piece, ‘Ride in Chains’ makes for a finely polished aural experience that deserves to be listened actively and enjoyed as an intellectual experience.

To keep up with future releases, follow:

Delujn on Instagram

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Delujn Website

RYAL share a story of actuality in a retro package, with ‘Skyscraper’

Synth pop duo RYAL release ‘Skyscraper’ – a love letter to NYC written in response to the COVID-19 mass-exodus of young people, in a retro 70s package.

In March 2020, the youth scattered from metropolitan centres to suburban and rural settings, or back in with parents due to the cost of living crisis and economic strain brought on by the pandemic. Some preferred the quiet after busy city life, others were more reluctant to go, and it was this that inspired RYAL to write ’Skyscraper’, a tribute to those that had to leave their cities during the pandemic.

The 70s revival synth-pop duo, comprised of singer/songwriter Jacque Ryan and producer/writer Aaron Nevezie, remark:

“There was a point it felt like we were going to be the only people left here” – Ryal says. “Friends were leaving, heading to new towns or moving back in with parents. Some exited willingly and were glad to escape the insanity of NYC, March 2020. Others left kicking and screaming with a whole lot of tears. The latter felt they were leaving their dreams behind and being forced to throw in the towel. It was a painful thing to watch. Good friends are tough to come by in a city like NYC, so they were doubly hard to lose. One friend in particular really inspired the lyrics of this song – like me, she feels the city raised her and saying goodbye was like ending the longest relationship of her life”.

Photo by Laura Russell

The group recorded the track entirely in the analogue domain – tracked to 24 track then mixed down on an SSL mixing console to 1/2” stereo. This recording process makes sense, given that the group takes influence from Blondie, Talking Heads and The Clash, and their music also has hints of Fleetwood Mac and Abba.

What is refreshing about this track is the sophisticated use of instrumentation to build an interesting arrangement, rather than relying on computerised production techniques – extra thought has been put into the drum part, bass line, synths and guitars to keep the track interesting and engaging, with a few surprising key changes thrown in for good measure. Essentially there is more of a focus on music and composition, rather than production, the latter often being over relied on my modern artists.

The recording sounds great, and was recorded by Nolan Thies, with Aaron Nevezie on guitar, John Davis on bass and Dan Rieser on drums. It was mixed down by Nevezie and Davis. Aaron says, “I was really excited to record a song that’s not a computer construction project”. Jacque echoes “The constant isolation and creating music digitally and in separate rooms for the last two years has been weighing on us – we are really fortunate that we have this opportunity and option to record this way”.

‘Skyscraper’ is a refreshing listen, and an excellent offering on all fronts: a thoughtful subject matter delivered in a stellar package of analogue production, interesting songwriting, memorable synth hooks and a beguiling vocal with a timeless quality, that is sure to be relevant for years to come.

‘Skyscraper’ is available to stream on all platforms now. You can also keep up-do-date on RYAL’s released via the social links below


Ryal on Instagram

Ryal on Facebook

Ryal on Twitter

Ryal on Spotify

Angela Sclafani re-writes ‘The Bell Jar’ in comforting new single

Angela Sclafani is a New York based singer-songwiter and theater-maker, writing and performing a mixture of pop, folk and americana. She has independently released three original EPs before recently getting signed by up and coming Rhode Island label Pitch & Prose.

‘Bell Jar’, her latest single, was inspired by Sylvia Plath’s iconic novel, but with an optimistic twist: the singer encourages the listener to shatter the bell jar that stops them from connecting with the people around, and to escape self-imposed limits.

‘Bell Jar’ packs 3:18 minutes of classic pop rock with a timeless sound, of the likes of Natalie Imbruglia, KT Tunstall or Dido. Angela’s vocals are pleasantly sultry, blending warmth and energy in an effortless performance that draws the listener in from the first line. It helps that the lyrics address the audience directly, with an encouraging message of hope and human connection, which, to the right ears, could turn into a life-line.

This seems to have been the musician’s intention, as Angela explains:

“This song is about overcoming the dark spaces of your mind by taking physical space from the people and structures that drive you there. I hope that audiences can lean into the hope that comes from setting boundaries and practicing coping skills.”

The single features production and instrumentation by Katie Buchanan. At Indie Gems, we are strong supporters of women in music, so it’s only right to recognise a production that sounds great.

The vocal arrangement is also worth mentioning: the backing vocals parts are masterfully layered in varied array of ethereal ‘uuhs’ and ‘aahs’, harmonies or thoughtful calls and responses, dotted around in the exact right places to engage and satisfy the ear.

The instrumental arrangement follows a well-treaded path, but it does it right, embedding that sweet tinge of the 90s that is becoming the new trend in modern music, with the polished crisp quality of a 2022 production. With hints of Cranberries, The Corrs and Sixpence None the Richer, it does a great job at complimenting Angela’s songwriting and singing, which are both first-rate.

It’s not wonder that Angela’s songwriting has earned her a finalist spot in both the 2021 Unsigned Only Competition and the 2020 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and she was a 2020 semifinalist in the International Songwriting Competition.

Photo by Jules Miranda

Angela Sclafani is currently working on a new album under her new label, Pitch & Prose. To keep up with her journey and future releases, follow the socials:

Angela Sclafani on Instagram

Angela Sclafani on Facebook


Lunarcode take us on an outlandish trip with ‘Parasite’

Los Angeles-based alt rock band Lunarcode have formed in 2020 and have been quick to gain recognition, taking home awards such as “Artist Revelation of the Month” and “Rock Song of The Month” with their first releases.

“Parasite” is their third single and a worthy follow up to the previous two, “Cutting the Cord” and “Heartbreak”. In fact, all three songs seem to follow the theme of coming out of a destructive relationship and breaking ties with what turned out to be a toxic person.

What makes Lunarcode so distinctive is how incredibly catchy their songs are, while retaining the energy of a true rock band.

In “Parasite”, pop melodies mix with rock energy, powerful vocals and dramatic chords progressions in a tight arrangement adorned with Spanish guitar interludes and quirky alien-synths, to create a memorable and compelling piece.

We don’t know what the band’s influences are, but they seem to be varied. To our ears, “Parasite” sounds a little bit like Muse, Nothing But Thieves, King of Leon, with a little bit of Ricky Martin to spice things up.

The song starts with a brief-static noise, introducing the scene. The tone is further set with a high-powered guitar riff and an outlandish synth that is bound to draw attention, and reminds us of ‘Exo-Politics’ from Muse. The whole song seems constructed, lyrically and musically, with the aim of conjuring a dynamic imagery, almost like a condensed action or spy movie, with Vincenzo’s powerful vocals driving forward the narrative.

The vocals showcase great strength and range, particularly in the choruses, where the sustained high notes reveal a subtle tinge of classic rock vibrato, and in the ad libs at the end.

The varied sections are effective at keeping the listener’s attention engaged, in a song that is almost 4 minutes long. For example, the second verse turns briefly into an acoustic affair, with the kind of back beat strummed guitar, often found in mainstream pop, before returning to the full band arrangement. Generally, the instruments have well-defined, melodic parts that fit together like a puzzle, and don’t overplay, which is a sin that sometimes bands can find themselves guilty of, but not Lunarcode.

The band have also released a high-quality music video, that does a great job at complimenting the song:

Follow Lunarcode on the socials to keep updated with their releases:




Greg Bounce imparts confined melancholy with ‘People in Their Houses’

British singer-songwriter Greg Bounce, now based in Portugal, has just released “People in Their Houses”, a dream pop number with retro vibes, and his third single as a solo artist.

As the musician explains, the song is “about the past couple of years, where our homes have held all of our highs, lows, nights out, job interviews, funerals – and endless Netflix.”

Indeed, the song does a great job in sonically representing the idea of our worlds becoming smaller.

“People in Their Houses” feels almost like an ambient piece, with vocals. This is absolutely not a bad thing, it only means that with its carefully selected melange of synths and textures, lounge-like electric piano, laid-back beat, and soft, mournful vocals, it manages to create an engulfing mood of intimate, confined nostalgia.

Every home is a weird, unknown world.”

The song starts with electric piano chords, a gentle introduction, like the morning light easing in through half-open blinds. A dreamy falsetto soaked in reverb sets the tone – a lot of space – then suddenly the walls are closing in, with the close and dry vocal – a forced intimacy that verges on stifling.

But the atmosphere of the song is not one of desolation or gloom – it leans more towards blasé – quietly resigned – which is how most of us (if we were lucky) experienced the pandemic. And despite the subject matter being about enclosed spaces and the worlds behind closed doors, the backing track is plenty wide and spacious, almost vast enough to convey loneliness.

It is in fact this juxtaposition between the very intimate, in your face vocal and the open space of the instrumental, that makes the song unique, and delivers the message that something is amiss.

Produced by Samuel Jones, with Brendan Williams on guitar, drums and Rhodes piano, the song was recorded in Manchester at Low Four Studios. The capturing of real instruments (particularly drums), contributes to the song’s feeling of authenticity and compliments the earnestness of the singing. The song features some excellent, groovy guitar playing, and a catchy synth hook, with Greg’s heartfelt vocal flowing in and out of the seamlessly tied together sections.

Great lyrics, great performance, great mix – one thing’s for sure: more people should play this in their houses.

Greg Bounce on Instagram

Greg Bounce on Facebook

Greg Bounce on Spotify

Added to the Indie Gems Spotify Playlist.