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  • Writer's pictureIt's Indie

Inappropriate Places For A Listening Party - vol. 3

It's been a fraught couple of days at the It's Indie office, as Big Charlie in accounts was arrested under suspicion of stealing a frozen turkey from the local branch of Tesco's shortly before Christmas. I decided to wait for him while he was being questioned and so this week's edition of Inappropriate Places For A Listening Party comes from the waiting room at Wakefield's police station.

modernlove "unfamiliar ceilings"

In the wake of a whirlwind 12 months, Irish pop-rockers modernlove unveil their latest musical endeavor, "unfamiliar ceilings." A band that has traversed continents, sold out shows, and shared stages with the likes of The Vamps, their journey unfolds as a testament to their meteoric rise in the music scene.

four men sitting on the floor, the view is from their feet. They are the band modernlove. As featured on It's Indie and we know it
modernlove - photo by Daniel Harris

This single serves as a departure, a venture into the softer realms of pop-rock, showcasing the band's versatile capacity for crafting relatable lyrics and singalong choruses. Produced and mixed by the seasoned Tom Leach (Col3trane, AntsLive, Tribes), and mastered by Kevin Tuffy (Alfie Templeman, Sundara Karma), "unfamiliar ceilings" is a statement from a band ascending from strength to strength.

The track navigates the tumultuous waters of a phase familiar to many—an era of veering off the beaten path, where hedonism takes the reins and substances blur the edges of reality. "unfamiliar ceilings" captures the essence of longing, a search for meaning in all the wrong places. The lyric, "unfamiliar ceilings," becomes a poignant symbol of waking up in a place unknown, with a companion equally enigmatic.

Drawing inspiration from narrative maestros like The Streets and Republic of Loose, "unfamiliar ceilings" weaves a lyrical tapestry that mirrors the complexity of the human experience. The sonic atmosphere, reminiscent of The Cure, further enhances the melancholy and longing that permeates the song's narrative.

Another unfamiliar ceiling is that of the police station waiting room. To be brutal, it needs a lick of paint. But then again, so does the entire room. This irony was pointed out by Harry "Stickyfingers" Moffatt, who had kindly agreed to join me in this listening party, on the condition I stop talking to him and sit at the other end of the room. To be fair, I was happy to oblige. Old "Stickyfingers" wasn't given the nickname because he had a tendency to steal stuff. Oh no, his name was borne from the fact he hasn't washed since April 2022. I digress. Stickyfingers, it turns out, is already a big fan of modernlove, having seen them at Latitude. Who knew?

Norwegian Soft Kitten "Full Moon Raging"

Embarking on an aimless yet deliberate sonic journey, Norwegian Soft Kitten, a two-piece rock and/or roll outfit, presents "Full Moon Raging." In a unique dance of ideas between members Glenn and Alan, where pitches and disapproving sighs intertwine, the result is a musical experience that invites listeners to surrender their bodies to the enigmatic embrace of sound.

a drawing depicting a crow, surrounded by ribbons and impaled on a circular wooden board. As featured on It's Indie and we know it
NSK "On Loan From The Universe" album art

Clocking in at over six minutes, "Full Moon Raging" is a slow-burning revelation that takes its time to unfold. The track is a testament to the power of a strong guitar riff, sparse vocals, and a steady drumbeat—a minimalist approach that allows each element to carve its own niche in the sonic landscape.

Glenn's guitar prowess takes centre stage, weaving a hypnotic tapestry that holds the listener in its gentle grip. The deliberate pacing of the track, although taking a while to build, creates a sense of anticipation and allows the guitar riff to evolve, gradually revealing its full potential.

The sparse vocals add an intriguing layer, like cryptic whispers in the moonlit night, enhancing the enigmatic atmosphere of "Full Moon Raging." The steady drumbeat becomes the heartbeat, anchoring the listener in the rhythmic embrace of Norwegian Soft Kitten's musical realm.

PC Salko, who was manning the reception desk, managed to catch the end of the song and seemed to like it. He seemed to show the very merest of smiles, although I suspect it could have been wind. Or is that only relevant for babies? Anyway, it was at this point that Jimmy "Scarface" Jones was brought in for pilfering a couple of highlighter pens from the office stationery cabinet. Jimmy, who didn't actually have any scars on his face, denied all charges.

Solar Eyes "Let's Run Away"

In a sonic fusion that defies the conventional, Solar Eyes, the Birmingham psych/pop duo, beckon listeners on a galactic journey with their latest release, "Let's Run Away." Infusing far-out sounds with low-slung guitar lines reminiscent of a Morricone flick, the duo crafts a musical odyssey set at a pace that leaves no room for hesitation.

Two men on a railway track. One stands, the other sits cross-legged. The duo "Solar Eyes" as featured on It's Indie and we know it
Solar Eyes

With a nod to both Spaghetti Western and Sci-Fi influences, "Let's Run Away" unfolds as a shoegazing, sensory-rushing tour-de-force. The track conjures a score for an extraterrestrial Alamo that never was, weaving a Tex-Mex tapestry that transports the listener to the meeting point of desert sands and cosmic frontiers.

The Tex-Mex flavourings are no coincidence, as the song was written and recorded in the expansive landscapes of Texas following Solar Eyes' debut appearance at SXSW festival.

Frontman Glenn Smyth reflects on the experience, noting the infusion of Americana haze and a Spaghetti Western vibe. The essence of Tracey Chapman's "Fast Car" with a brummie slant and a Bonnie and Clyde narrative dance together in this sonic kaleidoscope. Solar Eyes invites listeners to join them on a sonic escapade, where the boundaries of genre dissolve, and the cosmic tapestry of "Let's Run Away" unfolds like a cinematic spectacle in the vast expanse of musical possibility.

Taking things literally, Jimmy "Scarface" Jones took the musical distraction to run out of the police station, followed by several burly police officers. His break for freedom ended quite quickly though, as the automatic front doors didn't open quite quickly enough and he ended up rebounding with comedic effect. It turned out though, the cheeky chappy had also stolen the stapler from the police station reception desk, which angered PC Salko immensely, and rumour has it that Jimmy is expected to be handed a custodial sentence.

Chloe Star "Happy Place"

In the vibrant realm of alt-pop, Chloe Star emerges as a rising force with her latest single, "Happy Place." Bold, evocative, openly queer, and a fierce advocate for female empowerment, Chloe Star embodies the spirit of a modern-day rockstar. Her music mirrors this defiance, shamelessly blending elements of pop, rock, punk, and hip-hop into a catchy sound that is undeniably her own.

A woman in black jacket, with short black hair. She is Chloe Star, as featured on It's Indie and we know it
Chloe Star

Following the trail of "Fool" and "Found My Peace," "Happy Place" serves as the third instalment in Chloe's confessional trilogy, exploring the lingering effects of a toxic relationship. As she intricately weaves a narrative through these tracks, she shares, "I tell a story with these 3 songs—the heartbreak, the awakening, and the release." "Fool" lays bare the breakdown of the relationship, "Found My Peace" witnesses Chloe emerging from the ashes of heartbreak, and finally, "Happy Place" becomes the anthem of finding freedom in healing.

With "Happy Place," Chloe delves into the feeling of relief that accompanies the journey of self-discovery and healing. It's a musical celebration of that moment when you finally feel comfortable being on your own—a triumphant declaration of reclaiming one's autonomy. In the sonic landscape of "Happy Place," Chloe's vocals soar, delivering the message with authenticity and passion.

Beyond the music, Chloe Star's identity as a Persian and Indigenous singer, songwriter, visual artist, and tribal advocate adds layers of richness to her artistry. Growing up between the chaos of Los Angeles and the sanctuary of her family's reservation in San Bernardino, Chloe found solace in journaling and writing poetry. This childhood backdrop becomes the fertile ground from which her music springs, transformed prose into lyrics, and raw emotions into powerful anthems.

As "Happy Place" resonates with listeners, Chloe Star establishes herself not just as a musician but as a storyteller, a guide through the labyrinth of personal growth, and a fierce advocate for the freedom that comes with healing. Her music becomes a beacon for those navigating their own journey to self-discovery.

I'll tell you what wasn't a happy place. The waiting room at Wakefield Police Station. "Scarface" and "Stickyfingers" had taken a disliking to each other, and not even the positive vibes from Chloe Star's track was going to calm this flashpoint. For some reason, "Stickyfingers" wanted to start a fight with Scarface (who, we discovered, was actually named so because he was very good at knitting a scarf). However, "Stickyfingers" found himself stuck to the chair and so the whole sorry affair fizzled into a series of angry stares. To be honest, I was beginning to think that this might not be a great place to write music reviews.

Jay Jovian "Moonwatching"

From the vibrant streets of Barcelona, the versatile singer-songwriter Jay Jovian takes us on a celestial journey with his latest track, "Moonwatching." A musical chameleon with influences ranging from pop, rock, and folk to indie, trip-hop, and beyond, Jay Jovian is not just a musician; he's a storyteller, a lyricist with a wide vocal range and a penchant for exploring the uncharted territories of the human experience.

Black and white photograph of a man looking over his shoulder at the camera. Jay Jovian, as featured on It's Indie and we know it
Jay Jovian

"Moonwatching" unfurls as a sonic exploration of personal transformation. The song traverses the different stages of changing one's life, a journey from daydreaming to the materialization of the desired existence. It's a sonic odyssey that captures those moments of stepping out of the comfort zone, facing fears, and fighting the clutches of conformism.

The lyrics of "Moonwatching" tell the tale of someone on a quest to embrace their true self, their authentic identity. It's a narrative that encourages the listener to move beyond passive observation, beyond merely watching the moon and wishing for change. Instead, Jay Jovian invites us to see the moon from a different perspective — an alternative satellite that opens the door to walking on it.

With influences echoing the likes of Banks, Depeche Mode, Florence & the Machine, Lana Del Rey, and Susanne Sundfor, Jay Jovian's music is a fusion of styles that mirrors the complexity of the human experience. His willingness to tackle explicit topics, from social and political issues to love, life, death, and human sexuality, showcases an artist unafraid of breaking taboos and exploring the full spectrum of our existence.

As "Moonwatching" dances across genres, it becomes a manifesto for personal empowerment, a call to chase dreams, change mindsets, and, ultimately, become the person one aspires to be. Jay Jovian, with his high tenor voice and thought-provoking lyrics, guides us through the cosmic realms of self-discovery — a journey that transcends the boundaries of musical genres and invites us to walk on the moon of our own transformation.

Moon watching seemed like a very good idea at this point. I'd been sitting in the waiting room for Big Charlie for several hours and I was starting to get hungry. If I stayed much longer, the kebab shop was likely to be shut and I'd probably end up starving and delirious. I decided that I wasn't actually that bothered about Big Charlie after all, he could fend for himself and deserved whatever was coming to him. It turned out though, that he had actually been released several hours ago, via the side entrance, but had forgotten to let me know.

His P45 is in the post.

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