In recent months, there has been a flurry of DIY and Small Label Bands to Watch posts, including 5 DIY Bands to Watch, 7 Bands You’ve Gotta Hear, Artist of the Week and many others. The major difference between the 5 DIY Bands and 7 Bands features is that the former profiles only DIY, unsigned bands, while the ‘7’ series also includes bands that are signed with a record label.
This latest edition of 7 Bands You’ve Gotta Hear highlights overseas bands that sent their music in via the submission box, and who were hand-picked from hundreds of other submissions following a careful review. The bands include The Naturals (Bristol, England); Echoic (Helsinki, Finland & London); Lausch (Vienna, Austria); AppleTree (Bogota, Colombia); Bearskin (London, England); Captain Dangerous (Nottingham, England); The Shy Lips (Gothenburg, Sweden).
The Naturals – Bristol, England
From Bristol, England, The Naturals spent their adolescent years steadily maturing into a band that sculpts their own unique spin on influences like Foals, The Cure, Idlewild, The Chameleons and Neu!. “Concrete Sea” is the band’s debut single released via Howling Owl Records (Towns, United Fruit, The Concubines) last June. The BCC program, BCC Introducing, said of the band: “The Naturals have matured and ripened delightfully into a distinguished and beautiful post-rock band.”
Approaching a decade of making music together, the band have honed their artistic din in damp basements, church crypts, art spaces, venues, festivals and even Olympic Park, growing into a live monolith of controlled and explosive sound. While the band members have been individually pursuing interests in music, visual arts and film, The Naturals’ share a love of stark melody, sculpted noise and artful sonic contrast.
The Naturals are not completely off the radar – they have opened for bands such as Noah and the Whale, Trans Am, Bombay Bicycle Club, This Will Destroy You, and Johnny Foreigner. We obviously detect the exciting promise in the band’s sound, and hope to hear an album from them at some point. What we’re not clear on is why, after nearly nine years together, the band has never dropped an EP or a full-length album. Only recently did they release their debut double single 7″, which is included here for IRC listeners to make their own determination of. According to the band, they plan to release their debut album sometime this summer via Howling Owl. You can bet we’ll keep you posted when more information becomes available.
“Concrete Sea” – The Naturals from Concrete Sea 7″
“Finishing Moves” – The Naturals from Concrete Sea 7″
Echoic – Helsinki, Finland
Echoic is a Helsinki/London DIY alternative rock duo formed by two musicians barely out of their teens: Otto Nuoranne and Markus Vuoristo. While Nuoranne is based in Helsinki, Finland, and Vuoristo in London, the two began collaborating via the web in 2011. Last year, they began recording sessions in a Helsinki studio apartment, which resulted in the duo’s debut album, Springbook, released just a couple of weeks ago.
Echoic’s music is rich and layered art rock, a product of a clash of two musicians with a classical training in cello, and a passion for electronic music, rhythm, and rock. The young musicians have diverted from the traditional classical path and now explore their own musical endeavors: Echoic’s music is written and performed by Nuoranne and produced and programmed by Vuoristo. Electronic and acoustic elements interact seamlessly, and are topped with lyrics about expectations, disappointment and hope. Their classical training is audible in the frequent use of the cello throughout Springhook.
In response to ‘what is indie rock,’ the duo replied: “Indie rock is music in the limitless ocean of music. To us, indie still means independent – to make independent music is to work hard to be able to hold on to one’s vision of what the music consists of and what it sounds like, not taking orders from the markets.” The duo’s main musical influences include Radiohead, Battles, Liars, The Knife, and Tool.
“This Roof – Echoic from Springbook – April 15th
“Unicorn” – Echoic from Springbook
Bearskin – London, England
London indie rockers Bearskin is the brain-child of George Hudson and Michael Pumo. Hudson and Pumo began Bearskin in 2011 by writing and recording demos in their lo-fi home studio, until eventually crafting something worthy of listening to. In early 2012, drummer Josef Emmet and bassist Paul Braker were added to complete the band’s maturation to full band status. Meanwhile, they continued to play gigs throughout London, gradually growing their following. In December, the band’s EP, A Light That Finally Shines, containing the pensive and upbeat track, “Volcanoes,” went viral on the social networking website Reddit. That, in turn, resulted in the band being profiled by the NME, the UK’s most important music publication.
“Volcanoes” – Bearskin from A Light That Finally Shines
“Dreams of Waking Up” – Bearskin from A Light That Finally Shines
The Shy Lips – Gothenburg, Sweden
The first twenty seconds of The Shy Lips‘ track, “In Your House,” sounds like they’re channeling Vampire Weekend the morning after a night of boozing. But soon, the song breaks out into a straight-away mix of semi-quirky UK-style guitar rock mixed with punk elements. The Shy Lips originated during vocalist Adam ben Rahmoun‘s travels around Latin America, where he first met bassist Victor Pettersson. Upon realizing that they had a mutual love of indie and alternative rock, they settled in Gothenburg, Sweden, where they were joined by Adam’s brother, Jonas ben Rahmoun, on guitar, and soon after, Alexander Lisinski on guitar and Anton Ekedahl on drums.
The Shy Lips released their self-titled debut EP after only two months of playing together as a quartet. The band quickly went on to play some of the most famous venues in Gothenburg, including club Woody West, which has hosted acts such as The Vaccines and Destroyer. Last fall, the band released the sophomore EP, Nowadays, showcasing a blend of musical influences, and quickly gaining some buzz and some radio play on Sweden’s national radio. Not surprisingly, Shy Lips musical influences include The Strokes, The Vaccines, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Libertines, and Babyshambles.
“In Your House” – The Shy Lips from Nowadays
“Nowadays” – The Shy Lips from Nowadays
AppleTree – Bogota, Colombia
Elpatron Records recording artist AppleTree, the moniker of the new Colombian recording duo comprised of Bogota musicians Andrés Cárdenas and Alex González, recorded an EP titled Draft in various bedrooms and living rooms with the intent, despite an apparent access to a recording studio, of producing a lo-fi record that has the feel of a DIY project.
The resulting EP was well-received in the Bogota rock circuit; so much so that the pair decided to recruit two friends – Cristian Galeano on drums and Felipe Merchán on guitar – to complete a four-piece band. According to Cardenas, the band’s top musical influences include Sebadoh, Pavement, Guided by Voices, The Pixies, The Ramones, and Nirvana. AppleTree’s first show as a full band was an opening gig for the British rockers The Palace of Justice. Due to the success of Draft, and their electrifying live shows, the band has been invited to record their debut full-length album in Turnpike Lane Studios in London this spring.
“Waiting for Nothing” – AppleTree from Draft
“Mary” – AppleTree from Draft
Lausch – Vienna, Austria
Lausch is a Vienna, Austria alternative math rock/post-core band that got our attention after sending in a few tracks for review. The songs included below are from their third album, Canada Is Falling, which features the tracks “Endgame” and “Candyman.” As part of their submission, the band stated that their goal as a musical endeavor is to “carry the alternative rock heritage of the 1990’s” forward and to contribute post-modern tracks full of “well structured, tight and powerful music.” In addition to fans of post-modern alt. rockers, we think other music lovers, based on reactions of patrons of the cafe, will also dig the band’s sound. While they haven’t opened for any well-known bands that we know of (yet), their major influences include the Deftones, 65 Days of Static, And So I Watch You From Afar, and Circa Survive.
“Endgame” – Lausch from Canada Is Falling
“Candyman” – Lausch from Canada Is Falling
Captain Dangerous – Nottingham, England
Hailing from Nottingham, England, Captain Dangerous perform wonky-pop music with heartbreaking stories, drawing off influences from bands like Pavement, Pulp and Blur, all tied together with bombastic orchestral arrangements. The band has toured extensively since forming in 2010, including a recent tour that included a 20-piece orchestra, and have become known in the U.K. for their rich and thrilling live shows. Captain Dangerous have previously opened for bands such as Marina & The Diamonds, Ash and The Holloways.
“Heather and Tommy” – Captain Dangerous from The Empire Never Ended – Jan. 14th
“Merrow Song” – Captain Dangerous from The Empire Never Ended