The Futurebirds will release their debut LP on July 13th. Photo by Alyssa DeHayes
It’s been a while since we went through the mailbag to pull out some great music from bands you probably never heard of, but we think you might just want to. The long-running, and fairly popular, mixtape series, In Dee Mail, is one of our favorites to produce because we are always amazed by the amount, and quality, of fine music that comes in via the mail from artists and bands around the world.
Some of the bands featured in this mix have never been published on a music blog, others have received minor mentions on a blog or other publication here and there, others are familiar only to only dedicated music collectors and addicts, and a few (in today’s case, only one) are well known within the so-called indie and alternative rock music scene.
In this issue of In Dee Mail: Futurebirds, A Silent Film, Band in Heaven, Heart Ships, Ganglians, Luna Is Honey, Loch & Key, Not LIke This, Mad Planet, and Bruce Kaphan. Click the first song in the playlist and it will stream continuously until all dozen songs are played – sort of like radio with no commercial interruptions.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy this mix as much as we do. This is the first of many upcoming In Dee Mail (music we get in dee mail) playlists – there are dozens of terrific bands and songs just waiting their turn to be published.
The first band up is the relatively new, and increasingly talked about, Futurebirds from Athens, Georgia. Most of the six guys in the band grew up together, or met in college. Some of the founding members learned they worked well together as teenagers following stunts like throwing stink bombs into the portable toilets at the summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Fast forward to last year: the band released their debut EP, and since then have been gigging and writing and recording the songs for their first full length release, Hamptom’s Lullaby, due to drop July 13th on Autumn Tone Records. The Futurebirds kicked off a 19-city tour this week in Washington, DC with Jessica Lea Mayfield. The following is an advanced single from their upcoming debut LP.
“Johnny Utah” – Futurebirds from Hamptom’s Lullaby
Oxford, England band A Silent Film released their newest album, The City That Sleeps, last month. The LP has received positive reviews from AbsolutePunk and NME. In fact, the lead single, “You Will Leave A Mark” has been a hit throughout Europe in recent weeks, and went to #1 in Portugal.
Sidebar: The band’s record label, Bieler Bros. Records, is being sued by Justin Bieber for copyright infringement. According to the record label, the claim filed states: “Mr. Bieber’s fans are being misled by the similarity of the spelling of their respective names.” The suit is asking for undisclosed amounts in damages, as well as the immediate changing of the label’s name. What a pile of poo.
– A Silent Film from The City That Sleeps
Band in Heaven – Orlando, Florida
In recent years, there’s been some great bands coming out of Florida, including latest favorites like Surfer Blood and Holiday Shores, among others. Now appearing on our radar is the Orlando shoegaze outfit Band in Heaven, which creates fuzzy, lo-fi drones with hazy pop synths.
Band in Heaven is not a band in the traditional sense of the word; they are a duo, featuring Ates Isildak (of The Strangers Family Band) on vocals, organ and guitar, and Lauren Dwyer on electronic drums and percussion. Their submission got our attention right away due to the infectious, fuzz pop song, “High Low,” their debut single from a batch of songs that will either be released as a LP or two six-song EPs. We’ll be looking out for it.
“High Low” – Band in Heaven
“A Tunnel into Your Dreams” – Band in Heaven
Download two more songs for free, including a cover of The Cranberries‘ hit, “Dreams” via Bandcamp.
Heart Ships – Leeds, UK
Like Band in Heaven, the next band, Heart Ships, are now on our radar after listening to a few of tracks they’ve recorded in recent months. Heart Ships comprises a group of musicians from the North Wales historic city of Leeds – perhaps the epicenter of rock music in the northernmost part of the UK.
Heart Ships formed in December of 2009 when a couple of friends grew weary of other band projects that did not materialize and decided to start jamming together and see where the music would take them, often getting together in “various dank basements” around North Wales to practice. The band is so new they don’t have photos or even enough songs to make an album. “Heart of a Wrestler” is their debut single, premiering on IRC. While the song gets a slow start, we like where it goes and where it ends up.
“Heart of a Wrestler” – Heart Ships
Ganglians – Sacramento, CA
Unlike most of the artists in this edition of In Dee Mail, the California band Ganglians are more widely known thanks to their ‘underground’ success in recent years. Earlier this week, the band sent us a new demo track, “My House,” which sounds like a spring kind of song to us, with its stripped down acoustic rawness and emphasis on reverbs and choruses. This weekend the band is playing The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, UK and the Cardiff Arts Institute, followed by a six-week tour through Europe.
“My House” – Ganglians, new demo track
Luna Is Honey are well-known in the LA DIY, progressive scene
Luna Is Honey – Los Angeles, CA
Luna is Honey has become a fixture in Los Angeles‘ burgeoning, increasingly diverse, and always progressive DIY music scene 2006. The band members played in various bands together since their pubescent days as goth rockers, but over time, transitioned into more melodic, less gaudily-stylized disillusionment. Guitarist and vocalist Josh Crampton, drummer Amorn Bholsangngam, beatsmith and soundscape artist Jay Francisco, and keyboardist Elijah Crampton craft music with influence from, and love for, the traditions of genres like rock, punk, jazz and dream pop, which they effectively weave and shape in their songs, especially on “Who Wouldn’t” and “Claws”.
“Who Wouldn’t” – Luna Is Honey from Copy Cats
“Claws” – Luna Is Honey from Copy Cats
Not Like This – St. Paul, MN
From St. Paul, Minnesota, comes the indie rock power pop band Not Like This, who released their s/t debut LP earlier this month. Lead singer and bassist Matt Mackey, and guitarist Dave Swift, were band members in Brakelazy. When Brakelazy disbanded, Mackey and Swift recruited friend and drummer John Kapla to work with them on a new musical project. The trio say their music “graviatates towards rock ‘n roll’s formative years, but keeps a pulse on modern music”.
“Keep Complaining” – Not Like This from s/t debut
Mad Planet – Los Angeles, CA
Mad Planet is a Los Angeles based duo made up of Greg Gordon – former drummer for the Fugazi-style punk outfit the Nervous Return – and Cooper Gillespie, former front woman and bass player of Bang Sugar Bang. The two musician friends decided to work on some songs together as a way to explore new styles and thus Mad Planet was born. The band’s terrific single, “Love Addicts,” was inspired by a friend who was going through a divorce. According to Cooper, “he described dating as a terrible chore because he was ready to fall in love with any girl who sat in his passenger seat. It didn’t matter who it was. He was so used to being with somebody, he was willing to be with anybody.” That’s deep man; heart break, especially the first love, really messes with you.
“Love Addicts” – Mad Planet from Mad Planet
As long as we are exploring the music projects of one former American Music Club member, why not check in to see what Kaphan’s ex-bandmate Sean Hoffman is up to. Together with visual artist Leyla Akdogan, Hoffman recently formed the Los Angeles based duo Loch & Key. The idea for the band was conceived while sitting in a laundromat in the south of France, Hoffman says. With Akdogan’s delicate vocals and Hoffman’s mellow guitar playing, Loch & Key spin dreamy retro AM gold with a modern twist.
“Baby, I’m Thinking About You, Me, and Somewhere” – Loch & Key from Jupiter’s Guide for Submariners
“Maybe” – Loch & Key from Jupiter’s Guide for Submariners
Musician, composer, engineer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Bruce Kaphan is something of a rarity in the world of rock. Kaphan’s contributions to hundreds of musical projects, and thousands of performances, since the mid 1970s has garnered wide respect among musicians and others for decades. Kaphan is also recognized as a pioneer in the progression of the steel medal guitar, which is evident on the advanced single, “Gleaming Towers,” from Kaphan’s sophomore release, Hybrid, due to drop on July 21 via his own record label.
Kaphan has collaborated with artists like REM, Jewel, The Black Crowes, David Byrne, Love and Rockets, John Lee Hooker, and was once a member of the San Francisco band American Music Club.
“Gleaming Towers” – Bruce Kaphan from Hybrid – out July 21st
Note: If you liked this mix, you might want to browse through other mixes from the In Dee Mail series, and watch out for new installments coming up – there is some really amazing music coming in the next few weeks that you don’t want to miss.