INsiders Guide: ASTRID, Blushing, Sia Shells, Niall McNamee, Dela Kay, IDLES, Snøw, Miynt, Damien Styles…

A swirling cyclone of cloud-busting psychedelic pop, the Glasgow-formed, Isle of Lewis-based band tap into the far-out adventures of The Byrds or The Pretty Things in their mesmeric comeback cut.

Accompanying mystical musicality with lyrics dabbling with the occult, “Through The Darkness Of Your Life” finds frontman Charlie Clark reflecting on this mortal coil and the supernatural too. Speaking about the new single (which is also released on his No Big Deal label), Clark says:

“”Through The Darkness Of Your Life” in some ways about getting older and using past experiences and knowledge gained to really start applying it to your life. During the pandemic I revisited a lot of Occult literature, power of positive thinking type books and lots of lectures by the likes of Alan Watts, Ram Das and Bob Proctor that I was interested in as a teenager. One book in particular, The Kybalion, which is a really small book but filled with all these amazing ideas and principles.”

With its vortex vocal harmonies, loping basslines and spiralling guitar-arpeggios, “Through The Darkness Of Your Life” sees Astrid return in trippy, technicolour form. Alongside founding members Charlie Clark and William Campbell, the single was written in collaboration with Paul Quinn (Teenage Fanclub/Soup Dragons) on drums and James “Cliffy” Clifford (Cosmic Rough Riders) on bass, the latter of whom is now a full time member of Astrid. The single was recorded and produced by No Big Deal Music house producer Jason Shaw (Cambodian Space Project).

Arriving with an official video that finds the band returning to their roots, the accompanying visuals for “Through The Darkness Of Your Life” were filmed at Glasgow’s Dystopia Studios in the West End and on the Isle of Stornoway – watch here. The band have also created a whirlwind potted history of their journey to date, tune in here.
“Through The Darkness Of Your Life” will be streaming on all services from 21st January, with a limited run of 300 7-inch vinyl records available exclusively through mail order or at Astrid’s upcoming UK tour dates. The vinyl will also feature the B-side: “Opposites Meet”, a live fan-favourite that was originally written by William Campbell back in 1999 during the recording sessions for their debut album, but has remained unfinished and unreleased until now.

In tandem with the new release, Astrid are very pleased to announce their return to the live stage, plotting a string of shows around Scotland. Tickets for Astrid’s January / February tour are now on sale. Support at all dates comes from special guest: Ewan MacFarlane.

Blushing return with the brooding new single, “The Fires. The release serving as the final hint of what is to come on the group’s Possessions album, which arrives on February 18th via Kanine Records. On “The Fires”, we find Blushing reaching into some of their darkest tonal territory, delivering a track and visual that weighs heavy with haunting vocals and monochromatic imagery.In many ways, this track serves as a counter strike to the bright single that preceded it, “Sour Punch”. While “Sour Punch” flirted with 90s indiepop and the imagery of golden-era MTV, “The Fires” reaches into Christina Carmona (vocals, bass) and Michelle Soto’s (guitar, vocals) goth, post punk and cold wave influences.

Sia Shells is a Toronto based singer and songwriter that rhymes about the everyday magic we find through relationships, self love, reflection and dreams.

Her emotive contralto vocals juxtaposed against upbeat dream pop sounds instantly transport you to another world.

Sia has played large crowds, opened for notable artists such as Lil’ Debbie and headlined various performances including Nuit Blanche at The Royal Conservatory.

Credit: Paul Sheedy

Niall McNamee is an Irish singer-songwriter and actor, known for his own passionate, thoughtful and full-blooded songs. He has starred opposite Pierce Brosnan, fought with Jackie Chan, played comic foil to Bono, and romantically duetted with Imelda May. He also landed a starring role in the feature film Love Without Walls, which saw him performing his own compositions, as Niall’s art and life comes together. 

A self-taught musician, Niall has been immersed in music his whole life. Throughout years as a struggling young actor, Niall supported himself performing Irish folk songs, resulting in his knowledge of traditional music growing rich and deep. But all the while, he was writing his own material, drawing on that heritage but pushing into contemporary rock and pop territory. He finds inspiration from artists like Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, The Pogues, Christy Moore and more recently The Undertones. 

Following the release of his EP Step By Step, Niall has unveiled the stunning and heart-wrenching “All I Need”. Narrating the story of a man in his last moments before death, we see his life flashing before his eyes. The songwriter shares, “He sits in the pub of his mind and looks around at his friends (all going off to war soon) with the knowledge they’ll not return the same. But ultimately it’s about an impossible promise. To get home safe and make his way back to Edinburgh from London where his sweetheart waits for him.” 

Written when he was just 18 years old, Niall had been reading about wars and all the working men that died needlessly. Inspired by the anti-war song “Willie McBride,” Niall felt compelled to write about the loved ones left behind and the young men who were changed forever. Over the years, “All I Need” became a fan favourite and almost a national anthem for his friends and supporters. Finally taking the leap to record and release the song, the artist graces us with the  beautifully emotional track. 

Niall has garnered notable acclaim from the likes of Wonderland Magazine, American Songwriter and Rolling Stone to name a few. He also co-wrote and duetted a song with Imelda May off of her #1 album. Niall has built a devoted fanbase and performed sold-out concerts at notable London venues including The Dublin Castle, Dingwalls and The Water Rats.

 Nashville native turned LA local, Dela Kay is releasing her first single of 2021. “The Worst Part” debuts a new, darker sound she found after spending time rediscovering herself amidst a global pandemic. Using this single to close out both 2021 and her musical hiatus, Dela Kay is excited to give fans a preview of what is to come in 2022.The new alt-pop track opens with a reoccurring guitar riff and angst-filled lyrics, immediately setting itself apart from Dela Kay’s previous releases. The chorus’s catchiness pairs perfectly with each low-pitched riff, allowing it to strike boldly and land with a sense of confidence. She adds honest commentary, pausing the song and further including listeners in her thought process– “shit” she interjects, realizing she’s falling for someone again.“The Worst Part” shares a deeper side of Dela Kay that was previously overshadowed by electronic beats and rose-colored lyrics. Inspired by her own fears regarding vulnerability after a series of toxic relationships, the single is about allowing yourself to be vulnerable in love and overcoming fears of potential rejection and abandonment no matter how many times you have been burned in the past.Having always considered herself a songwriter first, Dela Kay feels this more connected and represented by the music she plans to release in the upcoming year. This new project will heavily feature her own experiences in life and love, opening up to her fans and showing them the most intimate and authentic version of herself.

“I feel like a lot of people can relate to this song. Everyone wants to be loved and accepted for who they are, but we end up pushing people away for fear of being rejected when they see all of us- not just the good but also the flaws. When the harsh reality is that we can’t experience the wonderful joys of falling in love without exposing ourselves to potential heartbreak. It’s really hard to let people in, especially after being hurt, but you have to remember- there is always beauty in pain, and sun after rain.” – Dela Kay

Last month saw IDLES release their brand new album CRAWLER – their fourth in as many years and the follow-up to their first No. 1, 2019’s Ultra Mono. Met with widespread acclaim, the album was produced by IDLES’ Mark Bowen alongside Kenny Beats and marked a real turning point in the evolution of the band, adding a whole new dimension to the music the Bristolian five piece make. Following the soul soaked comeback single ‘The Beachland Ballroom’ and the abrasive ‘Car Crash’ today they release new single ‘When The Lights Come On’. With it’s motorik rhythm and propulsive bass lines the track harks back to the days when frontman and lyricist Joe Talbot would DJ in Bristol clubs until the early hours, chasing the party into the night only to be confronted by the harsh realities that turning the lights on can expose. Speaking about the track Talbot writes: “When the lights come on. Our third offering from Crawler. A poem of light and sound exploring the cold light of day. Thank you x”

Photo Credit: Rebecca Wade

Salem artist Snøw masters the art of tough love towards himself in new single “Another Lie” out now via Amuse. Co-produced with Skinny Atlas, the slow-burning piece is weaved with lambent guitar chords and smooth, humming vocals that are attuned to his desire to accept his inner battles and weakness rather than masquerading them. “I don’t wanna speak another lie no / Tell me aren’t you tired of lying saying you fine huh?” he chants. Hopscotching between frustration and hope, the track exudes a laidback moodiness where Snøw prosaically breaks the self-saboteuristic pattern of denying one’s own reality. With “Another Lie”, he channels his yearning to be closer to the truth while also acknowledging the burdens that come with it. 

(Photo Credit: Miynt)

Stockholm artist Miynt has released a brand new single titled “Station station.” The song is out now via B3SCI Records. Listen to the song here + watch the video here.Blending minimal production with a chugging guitar riff, interlaced with Miynt’s signature ethereal vocal, “Station station” is a taste of what’s to come from the rising artist. The song is also a precursor to Miynt’s new album, which is nearly complete and is expected to see an early 2022 release.Her second release of the year, today’s song follows spring 2021 single “Nothing personal,” a nostalgic slow-burner that saw love from KCRWDummy and FLOOD Magazinewho called it “one of her strongest tracks yet.” Listen hereMiynt’s 2021 output follows the release of a string of 2020 singles, including “A bite of papaya,” which drew love from Spotify including the Oyster playlist cover as well as adds to several New Music Friday playlists, All New Indie, and OFF POPThe Line of Best Fit loved the track’s “cinematic style and slick, light-footed melodies,” while DIY coined it “a dazzling psych-soaked dance-pop number.” Vogue Paris added the track to a monthly playlist and the song also saw a recent sync in the Netflix show EliteMiynt also released a 2020 AA-side “Give me palm trees and inner peace” / “Lovesong,” along with a self-produced, stop motion video for “palm trees” hereThe release saw support from BBC Radio 1 / Jack Saunders, who named Miynt a ‘Future Artist’ as part of their ‘Next Wave’ series. 

Wichita, Kansas-born and Los Angeles-based singer, artist, Dropout Klub Founder, and sonic disruptor Damien Styles releases his debut full length project For All The Times I Fell On My Face via 10K Projects. Get it HERE.


Accompanying the project, he also drops the official video for “Good Job !” Watch it HERE. The song was released earlier this week to help celebrate Damien’s birthday.

“This project is for anybody who’s ever been through shit,” Damien explains. “It’s my life story so far, starting with an audio recording of my mom’s response to my 5th grade teachers telling her I would end up dead or in jail and working its way through the peaks and valleys of my heartbreak, self-acceptance, fears + doubts and the bittersweet breaking of generational curses. From detention to a trap house, from the trap to a church, and from a small Kansas town to the place where dreams can bloom; this is a story of triumph. This is my story. This is our story. This is For All The Times I Fell On My Face.

What do you think?

Written by Neill Frazer

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