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

Majesty Palm bring out atmospheric energy with new single ‘Peace of Mind’

Majesty Palm release ‘Peace of Mind’, a vibrant blend of indie-pop, new wave and funk. The Glasgow-based duo, comprising of Olivia McCosh and Cameron Robertson, take influences from the likes of Sigrid, The Japanese House or The 1975.

‘Peace of Mind’ opens with a thumping, almost hypnotic club bass, topped with Olivia’s dreamy vocals, treated with atmospheric reverb and delay. It builds up with gritty disco claps, to take a different direction in the pre-chorus, with Cameron’s indie guitar.

The track excels at creating contrast between the moody verses and the big, electrifying choruses, with a dynamism that keeps the listener involved throughout. The chorus blossoms into a high-energy wall of sound, with a full dance kit, tight backing vocals, enveloping synths and a guitar part that provides a perfect complement to the vocal hook, filling in the gaps in a most gratifying way.

Majesty Palm self-produce their material and experiment with combining a variety of different musical styles to create something new. This certainly leads to interesting and unique results which stand out amongst the crowd, as heard in their new single. The production is polished and actual, with plenty of low end, saturation effects and a pushed limiter, giving the track a kind of satisfying lo-fi effect, but with a fresh, pop quality and plenty of energy evocative of the club.

Olivia’s vocals, soulful with a crisp edge, have that mainstream appeal, the kind that turned Dua Lipa or Rita Ora into super stars. Add into the mix a catchy top line, driving beats, big synths and a super funky bass, and you’ve got yourself an excellent banger.

The band have got three singles lined up for the year, starting with ‘Peace of Mind’. With promises of live sessions featuring two stripped-back tracks, we will be keeping a close eye on Majesty Palm’s socials, and suggest that you do too:

Majesty Palm on Instagram

Majesty Palm on Facebook

Majesty Palm on Twitter

Majesty Palm 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.

Chris Caulfield delivers emotional grit in ‘Stockholm Syndrome’

Chris Caulfield delivers an emotional and gritty performance in powerful alternative single ‘Stockholm Syndrome’.

The Canadian singer-songwriter has been influenced by a mixture of styles, which is apparent in his music. Rock, pop, grunge, emo, hip-hop create a distinct blend with a unique Chris Caulfield flavour. Having hopped back into making and releasing music in 2021, Chris has been coming strong with a bunch of singles (plenty enough to make an album!) that have been doing well on Spotify and other outlets. That should come as no surprise, as he seems to have a way with conveying intense feelings into music that sounds good and is relatable.

His latest single is no exception.

‘Stockholm Syndrome’ starts strong, straight into an emotive falsetto that is prone to draw attention. Chris performs as if his life depends on it: from passive, resigned lines to resolute, pugnacious rapping, from words sung as through clenched teeth, to angry rasp or wailing falsetto, his performance showcases a diverse vocal range that is fuelled by emotion.

The backing track is cleverly crafted, as it doesn’t stick out in any way, just compliments the vocals and allows them to take the spotlight. Wherever a a line needs accentuating, or a section needs an energy injection, the backing vocals, doubling layers and ad libs are there to fill the space and to support the delivery.

The sparse but heavy beat drives the song forward, building up throughout the song, with the piano punctuating a dramatic chord progression. The omission of the snare in the first chorus is an ingenious way of making for an impactful section, and proof that less can definitely be more.

Talking about ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, Chris explains:

It’s written from the perspective of navigating things that can help and hurt, in this case prescriptions and how they can be helpful in, for example, managing pain, but cause other undesired effects, and the conflict within that.

We can clearly hear that this project is a work of love, fired by the desire to share experiences through music, and to experiment with sounds and styles for the joy and art of it.

If you feel like diving into a catalogue of music that sounds like 21 Pilots mixed with Bush, Nirvana, Lola Blanc and Breaking Benjamin, go ahead and check out Chris Caulfield’s songs on Spotify – who knows, you might become addicted!

Follow Chris Caulfield on socials:





Ear Candy’s debut single is three minutes of indie-pop done right

UK-based indie-pop producer and singer-songwriter Jamie Jordan is the mastermind behind Ear Candy – a new music project hitting the ground running in 2022 with a January debut entitled ‘Over You’.

Self-described as like if “day glow had an inappropriate love child with panic! at the disco”, the artist promises to deliver indie pop enthusiasm and an energetic alternative edge.

‘Over You’ is about heartbreak, but in a light, “beat myself up about it” kind of way. On the subject of the song, Jordan remarks:

This track is about how i would constantly let myself be led on by girls that were no good for me. It would leave me stuck getting over them and I would have no one to blame but myself.

The track opens with a modern, warbly vocoder and a lead vocal autotuned as an intentional effect that instantly grabs your attention and satisfies the eardrums. The classic descending-bassline chord progression is like some kind of robot daft punk Beatles mashup, a mixture of modern and familiar. When we hit the verse, the doors open to dreamy indie guitars and punchy drums and we are firmly in indie-pop territory.

Jordan’s voice soars up to an earnest falsetto for the chorusses which sounds great, and provides contrast. We hear more of his falsetto in the later ad libs, which showcase a crazy vocal range. The backing vocals are cleverly crafted, especially the use of short vocal interventions drenched in reverb to add an enveloping, nostalgic vibe.

The second verse is different to the first one – it’s a snappy, almost-spoken section, reminiscent of 2000s pop punk, that lifts up the energy after the chorus and again, provides a nice contrast before the second chorus kick in. What follows is a middle-8 with a return of the robo-Beatles, followed by a half-time almost-breakdown (this song has everything!).

We actually thought the surprising song structure to be very effective: the short and varied sections help to keep the energy up, and constantly engage the listener. The wordless hook at the end cleverly ingrains the melodies of the chorus to memory, and cements the status of this song as ‘ear candy’.

‘Over You’ is definitely an exciting debut, and we look forward to what is coming next!

Check out Ear Candy’s socials using the links below:

Ear Candy on Insta

Ear Candy on Facebook

Ear Candy on Twitter

sautereau asks ‘what if’ with new zippy pop gem

Swiss-born and New-York based sautereau releases a bright and lively pop single infused with optimism and possibilities.

“What if” is one of those songs that just have that radio-quality. It packs a punch in only 2:37, with a condensed structure that flows seamlessly and is exciting and engaging all the way. This effective conciseness is a testament to sautereau’s songwriting, and so are the lyrics, which manage to tell a whole story and evoke images and sensations in snappy, succinct lines that vividly paint the picture of an exciting encounter. (And of course, we have to appreciate someone who can so seamlessly throw in a reference to “Logic Pro” in the lyrics!)

sautereau is not only a great singer and songwriter, but was also involved in the production of the song, along with Toby May, with the mix and master done by John Arbuckle at Cove City Studios.

The production of the song is ingeniously simple, a sparse arrangement centred around sautereau’s lively guitar playing, a nimble beat that tightly follows the guitar rhythms and of course, the vocals. This straightforward arrangement only works so well because the vocals are so strong. sautereau sings efortlessly, with a natural zest, a crispy tone and a pitch-perfect intonation – the kind that was performed like that, and not tuned to death in post production.

Nothing less to expect from someone who had songs on national radio in Switzerland before relaunching with this new project.

Photo by Miranda McDonald

Talking about the song, sautereau explains that it is about “that moment you hit it off with someone for the first time and relive all those little memories that are crisp in your mind.

“It’s about evoking new experiences and discovery, but also an ode to New York City and its little wonders that we often overlook.

We wish sautereau the best of luck with this brilliant new single, and if you’d like to see what else she’ll come up with next, be sure to follow the socials:

sautereau’s website

sautereau on Instagram

sautereau on Facebook

sautereau on YouTube

Carley Varley reveals emotional pop-rock tune ‘Fall’

Carley Varley releases ‘Fall’, an exciting pop rock ballad about a lost love, and falling in love again – perhaps a little too fast.

The track is so convincing in its American pop qualities, bringing to mind the likes of Taylor Swift, Michelle Branch or Kelly Clarkson, that we were surprised to find out it originates a lot closer: Bournemouth, England.

Carly not only captures the sound that made Taylor Swift famous, but she hits the balance of energy and emotion that makes songs like “All Too Well” become an instant fan favourite. The lyrics come across as natural and relatable, revolving around the pun of ‘fall’ in love, and ‘fall’ – the American way of saying ‘autumn’. This is even more fitting, as the single is part of an EP called ‘Seasons’.

The first verse is built around ballad-style piano chords and Carly’s sensitive vocals, to grow into a big chorus with a driving beat that reminds us of Carley Rae Jepsen’s underrated gem ‘Run Away With Me’. This is where ‘Fall’ shines: in the combination of warmth and emotion, and, despite the slow tempo, maintaining a driving energy and excitement throughout the song.

The choruses are followed by a stripped down section, which is possibly our favourite part. With only sparse piano for support, a beautiful arrangement of layered vocals emerges, revealing soft, well-controlled high-notes, repeating a short, memorable hook. The section is further proof that Carly is an accomplished vocalist, with crystal clear delivery and imaginative use of backing vocals.

Talking about the process of writing the song, the singer-songwriter said:

“Fall was the hardest song to write of all of my singles this year. I wanted to tell a very specific story, so it took a long time, but I finally got there !I think ‘Fall’ is some of my better writing as a Pop artist and I am hopeful the song will do well.”

Two previously released songs from the Seasons EP (‘Going Under’ and ‘Miss Me?’) have already been played on BBC Introducing, so we have no doubt ‘Fall’ will do well too!

Carly is currently working on new music and hopes to release a brand new EP this year. To keep up with her releases, follow the socials:




The Pink Nostalgia captures hearts with wistful love song, ‘Kodak’

The London-based artist – and it is an artist, not a band – has just released ‘Kodak’, a single featuring graciously melodic vocals reminiscent of The Smiths’ Morrisey, over a sonic bed of soft guitars and keys and driven by a crisp drumbeat. The song is about capturing a fleeting moment with a loved one, living in the moment and cherishing it by capturing it on an old Kodak camera. 

The project is headed up by talented multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Joseph James, who sat down in his home studio with one thing in mind: to write a catchy love song for people to sing back to him:

“It is a bright indie pop song for those newly in love, and sounds like a fusion of The Smiths and The 1975. It’s about taking a photo, and saving that memory or moment you shared with that person forever. Nothing feels purer than that.”

The track has a timeless quality to it, with an understated and not overcomplicated arrangement, straightforward structure and production that lets the vocals and the lyrics speak for themselves. This 1980s Madchaster-nostalgia combined with some modern sensibilities really defines The Pink Nostalgia as an artist, as does the retro imagery that accompanies this single (lo-fi analogue black and white photography).

The clue is in the name of both the single and the artist – having this clear direction for the project really works, and will certainly turn the heads of many fans of 1980s indie looking for fresh meat. It is a refreshing contrast to the often overused 80s revival we have seen in recent years that leans more toward electronic synthesiser and drum machine based tropes that defined the decade (looking at you, The Weeknd!).

Keep up with future releases from The Pink Nostalgia by following the socials:

The Pink Nostalgia on Instagram

The Pink Nostalgia on Facebook

The Pink Nostalgia on YouTube