Recently we asked all of you via our Facebook page and our Twitter feed what genre of indie and alternative music do you want to hear more of. The overwhelming response echoed a call for more rock and punk.
So, we dusted off an old rock-centric playlist series and dug through our submissions database to unearth more bands and singles featuring various sub-genres of rock – from alternative and classic rock-inspired to garage rock and surf rock, and in the process resurrected the Bands That Rock! playlist series that specifically highlights DIY and small label rock bands, mostly from submissions we’ve received over the past year or so. But we switched it up to ‘5 Bands’ like the 5 DIY Bands to Watch playlist series.
In recent months, we have gone through hundreds of submissions from mostly unsigned/DIY artists and bands, and filtered out the best among those submissions, which have been featured in a number of DIY and related posts – such as Top DIY Releases, Artist of the Week, 7 Bands You’ve Gotta Hear, DIY Bands to Watch.
By having so many artists and bands from the submission box to profile, it is increasingly necessary to group them into specific categories, and thus, the reasons for the newer series displayed above. Bands That Rock is fairly self-explanatory – the bands that are profiled have one thing in common: they are focused on writing, recording and performing primarily rock music. Anyone who has followed music for a decade or more has heard the erroneous lament, or proclamation, that “rock is dead.” That is just pure nonsense; absolute hogwash and dead wrong – as this profile/playlist demonstrates. Usually when people proclaim that ‘rock is dead,’ they say so within the confides of popular, mainstream corporate-driven music, not at all indie or alternative music, because those are two less commercially-driven genres where much of the best rock over the past 15 to 20 years has come from.
So, to discover talented, original rock music from small label and DIY bands as an alternative to the major label cookie-cutter ‘rock,’ we thankfully have the Internet, so that bands can send in their music to be reviewed. We aim to highlight the best among the submissions – talented, unsigned, largely unknown DIY rock bands, and ‘bedroom’ musicians or one-man bands, who write and record original, raw, lo-fi, low-budget (and untainted by industry hacks) rock, often without the help of a top-notch producer and engineer, or the backing of a big budget.
Sunday Kids – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Formed in 2012, Sunday Kids is an Amsterdam roots rock band signed to a small label, Undertow Recordings. We really don’t have much information about them because the band didn’t provide many details. Their sound is retro alternative rock with some elements of country rock mixed in here and there, although the name – Sunday Kids – is not exactly indicative of a rock band; in fact, it sounds much more like the name of an indie twee pop band. According to band member “Mr. Harmen,” the band’s musical influences include BRMC, The Stooges, Velvet Underground, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Black Crowes, and Captain Beefheart. As these two tracks demonstrate, and despite the silly band name, Sunday Kids can rock.
Great Zeus’ Beard – Wilmington, North Carolina
In the city of Wilmington, North Carolina, the DIY rock trio Great Zeus’ Beard are fairly well known within the local music scene for their experimental indie rock styles. GZB was founded in 2008 by group of experienced musicians who have performed with previous bands in some of the most legendary venues in the U.S., like New York‘s famous CBGB’s (sadly, the club closed in 2012), DC’s popular 9:30 Club, TLA in Philadelphia and the Middle East Club in Boston. Band members include Zack Williams (guitar), and brothers John Mousseau (drums) and Steve Mousseau (bass, keys, vocals).
GZB released their self titled EP in early 2009, their debut in 2010 and their sophomore album Symposium late last year. We think of their sound sort of like Pearl Jam mixed with Yes. Great Zeus’ Band has opened for bands like Big Wreck, Yellowcard, Blindside and OURS, and their top musical influences include The Mars Volta, Yes, Local Natives, Led Zeppelin, The Police, Rival Sons, Pink Floyd, Dust, and The New York Rock Ensemble.
Flower Punch – Stockholm, Sweden
Formed by members from Australian grunge band Kitto and Swedish metal band Netherbird in 2011, Stockholm band Flower Punch sound like a band that has been playing together for a decade. Their expansive yet controlled rock sound is dynamic and mixes haunting Hindu rhythms to down tuned stoner rock, which is why they decided to plug their sound as Hindu-rock/grunge. The band’s musical influences include Wovenhand, The Melvins, and High on Fire. The lyrics are often dark and gritty, inspired by the mental struggles frontman Pna experienced during adolescence, as the amazing track “Blueprint” demonstrates. Without even having so much as released a demo, the band found themselves being booked for shows around Scandinavia, the U.K. and Australia, and are currently touring in support of their debut album, released in February.
“Blueprint” – Flower Punch from Flower Punch – Feb. 26th
“Lewis” – Flower Punch from Flower Punch
Discount Guns – Louisville, Kentucky
Discount Guns is a garage rock/blues duo from Louisville, Kentucky that formed in the spring of 2011 to record a DIY EP in their basement, from which a couple songs saw local airplay on 91.9 WFPK. DG’s members, John Ford and Edward Vincent, switch between playing guitar and drums during live shows across Louisville and throughout southern Indiana. Their latest EP, Odessa, was released in August of 2012. Odessa was recorded in less than 18 hours, and then mixed and remastered in a couple of weeks. The duo are now working with DeadBird Studios and producer Kevin Ratterman (Wax Fang, My Morning Jacket) on their debut full length. The band’s influences include Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, Marc Bolan and T.Rex, Noel Gallagher, and Jack White.
Anchor Thieves – Nashville, Tennessee
Anchor Thieves is a three-piece alt rock band from Nashville, Tennessee that performs minimalist arrangements and buried harmonies with firm roots planted in alternative rock, solid pop songwriting and familiar fuzzy guitar tones. Their newer material “flirts with a broader array of styles and thicker arrangements. If you listen carefully, you might even detect a cautious optimism for the future of rock ‘n’ roll.'”