Anyone who has been following IRC for some time knows that we roll differently than most indie and alternative music blogs and sites. In a given year, we feature hundreds of DIY and small label bands and artists that are not as well-known as they should be compared to their talents. Having listened to thousands of bands via our submission box, or that we’ve come across on the web and been referred to by others, in the past five years, we’re constantly blown away by how much under-the-radar talent there is in the States and around the world. Many of these bands get their first significant exposure on IRC.
We’re simply convinced after listening to these tracks over and over again during the past few weeks that this band, and the others featured in any number of profiles and playlists, are making great music that more people need to hear. Every time we feature a largely unknown, and totally DIY, artist or band, and they get a positive response from readers (via views, Likes and Tweets), we feel like we’re making a little tiny bit of indie history (how pretentious!). And so, here is the fourth edition of 5 DIY Bands to Watch in 2013 – White Like Fire, Aware Wolf, Peace Arrow, Raheem Cohen, and Spoons & Chopsticks.
See this little embedded player right here? If you click that, it’ll play all the songs on this page. We’ll have a new player soon.
White Like Fire – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Fans of Elvis Costello, Billy Joel, Joe Jackson, and Jackson Browne take note. But fans of Matt & Kim, The Killers and Weezer also take note. Pittsburgh DIY quartet, White Life Fire, consists of brothers, Blake and Tyler Clawson, Evan Cresswell and Joe Killian, a new wave/pop rock band worth taking note of. They create heavily melodic, spirited, fast-driving pop rock tracks that sound like they should be on the radio 30 years ago, as the track “Dead People” demonstrates, as well as the Weezer and The Killers-sounding melodies of the track, “Lies.” Three of the band members moved from the hinterlands of the Pennsylvania countryside to set-up shop in Pittsburgh, where they met Killian to form WLF and attend school at U of Pitt. The band suddenly attracted a local following and in late January released their second EP, Lies. “We love playing as hard as we can for our fans and our fans love it when we light things on fire,” Clawson said.
The band has shared the stage with All Time Low, Hounds Below, the Von Bondies‘ side project as well as Black Kids‘ side project, Alex Goot and Brian Olive (Greenhornes), and name bands like The Chariot and The Cribs among their favorites.
“Dead People” – White Like Fire from Lies – Jan. 29th
“Lies” – White Like Fire from Lies
New York Duo Aware Wolf on the Watch List
From New York, DIY duo Aware Wolf. Having met in school, the members of Aware Wolf started writing songs together with a simple mission of being “a kick-ass rock band.” AW’s style combines the grungy color of garage rock with the catchiness of indie pop. Recently, they wrote, recorded and self-released a three-song debut EP and are currently working on another EP and planning live shows. We’ll definitely keep you informed of updates from the band; in the meantime, check out these two attention-getting singles.
“Skummy Skummy Skam Guy” – Aware Wolf from Aware Wolf EP
“Snow Bone” – Aware Wolf from Aware Wolf EP
Peace Arrows – Gainesville, Florida
Peace Arrow is the solo project of Gainesville musician Mitch Myers, who has been active in experimental band Hear Hums since 2009. Peace Arrow borrows from the same sound palette of Hear Hums’ recent output, which is no doubt heavily influenced by Animal Collective, as the spacey, experimental sounds and effects on tracks like “Gems” and “Doors” from his debut album ↑↓↑↓, demonstrate. Myers’ view on indie rock is that it’s “rooted in DIY attitudes, letting the touring band who booked their own tour crash on your floor, [it’s] music that won’t necessarily come find you.” Let us know what you think of his synth bliss.
“Gems” – Peace Arrow from ↑↓↑↓
“Doors” – Peace Arrow from ↑↓↑↓
Raheem Cohen – Los Angeles, California
The three brothers, and two childhood friends, who make up the Los Angeles DIY band Raheem Cohen have spent most of their adolescence playing local gigs at L.A. hotspots like the Roxy Theatre, Satellite, and Silverlake Lounge. During the past decade, they honed their skills and developed a unique multifaceted sound – one that deftly blends the funky, soul-based rock of yesterday with the alternative rock sounds of today, leaning towards the music of The Strokes, The Black Keys, My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, and TV on the Radio.
When the youngest brother entered his final year of high school, Raheem Cohen took their songs to the studio to record their first singles, and prepare for their introduction to the world outside of Silver Lake. On “Simpler,” the band’s debut single released last December, the young men (all still under drinking age) boldly deliver the carefree spirit of youth, the grit of city mayhem, and the confidence and musicianship of a band many years in the making. Their newest single, “Roads,” released on Feb. 28th, is new evidence that this close, young group of musicians is collectively a DIY band to watch, and on the IRC’s radar for 2013.
“Roads” – Raheem Cohen, sophomore single – Feb. 28th
“Simpler” – Raheem Cohen, debut single – Dec. 5, 2012
Spoons and Chopsticks – Elk River, Minnesota
Elk River, Minnesota DIY indie rock band Spoons and Chopsticks is has a well-honed pop rock style consisting of soaring guitars and vocals, melodic hooks, catchy rhythms and a driving beat. Other words that express their style and sound are passionate and humble, soft and outspoken – a paradox that works well, despite its obvious conflicts. The band is by no means cookie cutter.
Spoons and Chopsticks started their musical journey in mid-2010 as an acoustic three-piece fronted by a jazzy female singer, although you’d never know this by listening to their debut, self-titled album, released in late January. The thirteen tracks, totaling over an hour in length, are all different shapes and sizes, much like the band members themselves.
In addition to their new lineup, acquired fully in late 2010, their sound has changed dramatically from their beginnings, taking on a decidedly harder, more driving flavor. A new tour took them to several venues within Minnesota such as Station 4, The Fine Line Music Cafe, The Depot Coffeehouse, and The Garage in nearby Burnsville. The band has opened for artists like Carbon Tigers, Marah in the Mainsail, and Cosmonaught, and their major musical influences include Asian Kung-Fu Generation, Ling Tosite Sigure, Manchester Orchestra, Now Now, Periphery, Veil of Maya.
“Happy Song” – Spoons and Chopsticks from Spoons and Chopsticks – Jan. 25th
“1993” – Spoons and Chopsticks from Spoons and Chopsticks
“Indie rock is an unclassifiable sound. Music thats influences are so vast and endless that it defies comparison and cannot be categorized in less than a paragraph.” – Spoons and Chopsticks