From the first spin of Ex-Norwegian‘s debut CD, Standby, early in 2009, it was clear that the Miami band were going places. Although they are still mainly a little-known band with big talent, they’ve made rumbles within the indie rock world – especially in Florida – thanks to songs like the mini-hit, “Something Unreal,” the staccato rhythms of “Fujeira in My Dreams,” and the power pop hooks of “Fresh Pit.”
While their band name may not capture the imagination of the masses, their music is spirited, engaging and often irresistible. Put me on the mailing list for your next CD too guys!
“Something Unreal” – Ex-Norwegian from Standby
It’s not often that you hear about a band from South Dakota, a state better known for Mount Rushmore and Wounded Knee than a hotspring of musical talent. But Sioux Falls indie folk-pop band, and Afternoon Records recording artist, We All Have Hooks for Hands, have secured their piece of the Mid-West indie scene in recent years with their energetic, chorus-filled songs. Their second, and latest LP, The Shape of Energy, didn’t receive much buzz, but it’s a fine follow-up to their 2007 full-length debut, The Pretender.
“Made Up of Tiny Lights” – We All Have Hooks for Hands from The Shape of Energy
It’s hard to be a standout band – or even create a buzz – in a big, music-centric city like San Francisco, even with acclaimed singer/songwriter, playwright, author, and one-time troubadour piano man Sonny Smith at the helm. But the ever-changing line-up of Sonny and The Sunsets pump out “busted beach pop” that tells stories that touch on despair, aging, sexuality, and the absurdity, irony and humor of everyday life.
Sonny and the Sunsets from Tomorrow is Alright
Sonny and the Sunsets on MySpace
With a name like Pistol for Ringo, you can probably already guess what the most common question this LA-based band is asked; however, it’s more likely the band’s name is derivative of the 1965 Italian-Spanish spaghetti Western, A Pistol for Ringo, than pop music’s most famous drummer, Ringo Starr.
That said, the band’s penchant for 80s synth pop and well-crafted rock compositions won them praise for their debut LP, Solid State Neo-Hedonist. Pistol for Ringo’s 2009 four-track release, Slow Roller, failed to garner the same enthusiastic kudos as their accomplished debut LP, but still demonstrates AllMusic Guide’s 2008 declaration that the band have the “potential for making an unreservedly great dream pop/rock album.”
Pistol for Ringo from Slow Roller–
What is it about Sweden that has been turning out so many amazing bands in recent years? And a lot of them are otherwise under-the-radar. This next band, Fredrik, is no exception. Their latest album, Trilogi, was largely overlooked, much to the dismay of folks who realize this is a band with talent and plenty of promise in the years to come. Put Fredrik on your bands to watch list for 2010 and beyond.
Fredrik from Trilogi–
Check back, there will be more Best Rarely Heard Songs of 2009 and other 09 mixes, plus the hottest new releases of 2010.