The sheer number of break-through, under the radar and bands to watch bands so far this year is impressive. Our folders are full of terrific music that just needs to be heard, and is yearning to be set free.
As you may know, we have been doing our utmost to unleash post after post of great new indie rock music that is coming at us non-stop from every direction. Unlike many of our posts, today’s mix features only artists that have sent their music to us, and who stand out from the hundreds of submissions we receive every month. Because these bands have had little to no coverage online, we have deemed them IRC Bands to Watch.
Even though the popular, regular playlist mix series, In Dee Mail series (a new one is coming soon), has served as the conduit to share our favorite music sent exclusively through the mail – mostly via the proper submission process – IRC Bands to Watch are the best of In Dee Mail.
Fez – London, England
The first band in today’s mix has been spinning in the cafe for a while now. Based in London, indie rockers Fez, stood out from the get-go. We were going to wait and include the band in an upcoming feature of Bands to Watch from Overseas, but we love this band so much, we had to share them with you sooner than later. We did include one of the band’s songs in one of the mega summertime mixes, but it didn’t contain any information about the band.
The impressive number of streams and downloads of that track, “Chemicals” was enough proof that Fez are indeed a band to watch. We can only hope that they will really break on through in the second half of 2010. Fans of Phoenix, The National, and even Franz Ferdinand, are the most likely folks to dig Fez’s music. Their musical influences include The Talking Heads, Television, Neil Young, and their hometown of Battersea Park, UK.
“Chemicals” – Fez from Hot Light
A search online for the band returns only scattered mentions, but no significant coverage – which is surprising for a band of this caliber. In addition to the ‘hit-sounding’ track “Chemicals”, the song “Low Light”, is a perfect summertime rock track, and “Success Came Slowly” solidifies the band’s talent for songwriting and musicianship. We predict big things for Fez.
“Low Light” – Fez from Hot Light
“Success Came Slowly” – Fez from Hot Light
The Spruce Campbells – Columbus, Ohio
Currently considered one of the best local bands in Columbus, Ohio, indie pop group The Spruce Campbells are a big hit here in the cafe, and hopefully you will agree. We were frankly floored by the two songs the band sent us recently. The dreamy keys, acoustic strums, and gorgeous vocals of singer Chelsea Moore, draw the listener in closely on the splendid track “More O’s” – a song brimming with an atmospheric shoegaze moodiness that is periodically stunned by a sudden splash of harmonic choruses, hand-claps, big drum beats and a seductive melody that makes it easy to put on repeat.
The case for The Spruce Campbells being chosen as an IRC Band to Watch is further enhanced by the second track, “Black Sunbeams,” a catchy rock pop gem with a searing summertime sizzle. Both songs are from the band’s debut EP, Mosques, Museums, and Mausoleums, released June 26th via indie label Champions of the Arts.
Founding member Jason M. Kusowski was playing around with some demos some months ago, and getting positive feedback regarding the demos from friends and people who heard the songs online. Encouraged, Kusowski rounded out the live set with band members from his previous garage rock band project, The Nuclear Children. In March, TSC opened for Atlanta’s Gringo Starr.
The band’s debut EP was engineered and mixed by local native Jay Alton , and mastered by Brian Lucey, who recently mastered The Black Keys‘ terrific new LP, Brothers. Kusowski said the EP is the first a series of six EP’s planned for release over the coming months.
The Spruce Campbells are not just another reverb-loving, keyboard soaked, lo-fi, lazy, hazy surf pop band – they really stand out from so many other new artists we’ve heard this year. What we don’t get is why this band has not already been featued on Pitchfork or Stereogum?
*RT or Like this post to enter to win a copy of the band’s debut EP
Detox Retox – Washington, DC
Classifying their music as indie dance rock, new tracks from Washington, DC indie band Detox Retox, have grown on us over the past few weeks since receiving them in the mail. After a number of line-up changes during the early to mid 2000’s, Detox Retox came together as a unit late in 2007 and began work on their debut EP, released a year later, to fairly good reviews. The band features lead singer Michael Parker, lead guitarist Nate Frey, bassist Kevin Glass, and drummer Kabir Khanna.
Influenced by classic rock bands The Police and the Talking Heads, and modern indie bands like Phoenix and Franz Ferdinand, Detox Retox create catchy, danceable rock music that has landed them opening shows for artists such as Asobi Seksu, Male Bonding, Dum Dum Girls, The Subjects, and Girl in a Coma.
Their second EP, Movement, was released on June 15, 2010, and features the production work of Andrew Maury (Ra Ra Riot).