The last couple of weeks of the year are traditionally very thin weeks for new album releases because most artists and bands have either already dropped them in time to be considered for the flurry of year-end ‘best of’ lists, and the gift-giving season, or they are holding them back until the new year when they can make a bigger splash after the busy holidays. However, there have been some good DIY releases dropped in the past month that we think you should hear.
Band to Watch Bearskin Get Help from Reddit Popularity
Last Thursday, London indie band Bearskin dropped a new EP that blew up on Reddit, which resulted in the band being profiled by the UK’s most important music publication – the NME (New Musical Express). On the track, “Volcanoes,” as the Killing Moon put it: “the pensive and delicate audio-journey, brings to mind The Little Kicks, while adding in signature harmonies and moments of Placebo-esque intensity.” Yes; excellent way of putting it. Bearskin is a U.K. band to watch in 2013.
“Volcanoes” – Bearskin from A Light That Finally Shines – Dec. 20th
English Trio Fire At Night
A new DIY indie trio, Fire at Night from Guildford, England, describe their sound as “exactly in the middle” of an imaginary spectrum with The Smashing Pumpkins at one end and The Cure at the other. Flirting with subtle grunge undertones, Fire at Night have written and self-produced two EPs, and are currently preparing their first full-length album.
The band’s newest EP, The World Will Roll In Ecstasy At Your Feet, dropped last week, from which two of the tracks are featured below. The trio perform in and around London, Reading, Bristol, and Guildford on a regular basis. Bearskin’s current line-up consists of Scott Swain (vocals and guitars), Mark Tyas (bass), and Adam Pollard (drums and electronics). Bearskin has previously opened for bands like Animal Noise, The Young Runaways, and The Winter Tradition.
“Dumb (This Is What I Can’t Say)” – Fire at Night from The World Will Roll In Ecstasy At Your Feet – Dec. 18th
“Gravity” – Fire at Night from The World Will Roll In Ecstasy At Your Feet
LA Band Vague Fears Mix Up Genres
The Los Angeles band Vague Fears is an avant-garde duo has roots in DIY ideology, transgressive art, and subterranean music culture. Sonically, the duo covers extensive territory with genre-wrecking abandon, mixing electro, synth punk, post-punk, drone, no wave, industrial and elements of house/techno with dark, seething synths, lo-fi guitar riffs, spooky vocals and frequent stop-starts The band’s live performances feature raging energy, seizure-inducing visuals and light shows and masses of volume.
Vague Fears has opened for bands like A Place To Bury Strangers, This Will Destroy You, Indian Jewelry, and Cold Cave. The band’s major influences include Fuck Buttons, Primal Scream, Indian Jewelry, Masonna, Suicide, and Throbbing Gristle.
“Architecture IV” – Vague Fears from Stay Negative
“Space Vampires” – Vague Fears from Stay Negative – Dec. 7th
Atlantan DIY Artist Ryan Stephens Drops EP, ‘Arrow’
Ryan Stephens is an Atlanta, Georgia DIY alt. country rock musician who released his debut last week. The track, “Little Runaway,” the first song Stephens sent us from his new EP, Arrow, is a spirited track with an alt. country tinge. Stephens, who began recording in 2010, has previously opened for bands such as The Grand Magnolias, The Delta Saints, John French and The Bastilles, Blair Crimmins and the Hookers. He considers among his top musical influences Tom Waits, David Bazan, Manchester Orchestra, and Death On Two Wheels.
“Little Runaway” – Ryan Stephens from Arrow – Dec. 12th
“On Your Own” – Ryan Stephens from Arrow
New York’s The Molters Drop Debut EP
Just under a year-old, New York-based The Molters recently released their six-track debut EP, Molto, and are gearing up for a string of shows in 2013. The band features Jack Frank on the vocals and guitar, with guitarists Kevin Rich and Brian Henn providing dissonant melodies and harmonies in cohesion. The rhythm section is rounded out by Henn’s younger brother, Josh Castellano, and drummer Alex Chung.
The single, “In Brooklyn,” is a mellow, melodic track that reminds us a lot of The Walkmen, followed by “Only a Little More,” which would be a much better track with some reworking and remixing by a good producer and engineer. The band’s major influences include The Strokes, Interpol, Modest Mouse, and Radiohead.
“In Brooklyn” – The Molters from Molto – Dec. 18th
“Only a Little More” – The Molters from Molto