The stacks of music submissions – the life blood of IRC’s original, often exclusive scoops on hot new bands (and why we are so different from any other blog) – from all across the United States, U.K. and Canada mostly, grow and grow each week. For months we have been sorting through them and processing as many as possible; it’s a tremendous amount of work – not saying that to gain any sympathy or anything like that, but just to demonstrate how seriously we take the process of reviewing submissions and breaking them into smaller and smaller groups of our favorites who we then write a profile for and publish to the site.
This special installment of new overseas DIY bands to watch that most of you have never heard before is the seventh in the series. These are five amazing bands that we think our readers are really going to enjoy (some songs are definitely grower tracks – trust us). The unsigned, non-U.S. bands are Hospital; Get Inuit; Mary Goes Wild; The Unassisted and Rascal Experience. Just click the first song on the playlist and let it stream automatically while you read the band profiles and do other things. A ton of work goes into putting together this special features, so if you like what you hear, please let us know by Liking, Tweeting, Google +1’ing and spreading this around to as many people as you can.
Note: In an effort to publish faster posts focused on one band, song, video or other singular subject, we’re adding a blog in the tradition of the original type of blog, which will serve as a supplement to the main IRC website that you’re on right now.
Hospital – Moscow, Russia
While IRC receives hundreds of submissions a month from all over the world, you’d think there would be more than about a dozen submissions a year from one of the biggest countries in the world, especially considering that it’s been almost 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall that brought sweeping changes that spurred a historic, relatively bloodless, revolution of freedom and democracy, and ushered in a near-complete dismantling of the once powerful communist empire, which unraveled and imploded after decades of squandering the country’s wealth in an epic arms race with the United States. And yet, nearly a quarter of a century after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, the Russian government under President Vladimir Putin has been gradually reverting to old Soviet-style restrictions on speech, which includes music, the Internet and other forms of entertainment, art and media. ( Moscow band Pussy Riot have probably been the most visible indie band from Russia recently following the release of their 2011 profanity-laced anti-Putin punk music video that resulted in a prison sentences for the band members, including Maria Alyokhina, was hospitalized after becoming ill during a hunger strike protesting the terms of her parole hearing.)
That aside, there is a genuine curiosity and anticipation whenever we come across a submission from a band in Russia. Recently, a Moscow band named Hospital, not to be confused with the Houston techno house outfit of the same name, caught the attention of our ears, and those of cafe patrons, which was exciting because this ‘new’ band from the former USSR sounds great, and turns out to be one of IRC’s Breakout Bands of 2013 thanks to the quartet’s energetic, 80’s-style rock mixed with threads of dream pop and hints of folk; they really sound like a great 80’s rock band that is strangely, yet wonderfully, caught between embracing the post punk revivalist trend of the time, and toying with new wave (that was later labeled as indie electro pop). It’s not hard to imagine (at least it wasn’t for our group) after you listen to the songs below, Hospital breaking out in a big way in the U.S. We won’t be surprised at all if there is a strong reaction to this profile of the band in the coming weeks, as often happens for under-the-radar artists and bands that are featured on IRC, but who’ve received surprisingly little coverage elsewhere online .
The four members – Yegor Berdnikov (vocals, guitar); Aleksey Shorin (bass); Andrej Tsvetkov (guitar), and Vladimir Balovnev (drums) – formed Hospital in the autumn of 2011, but didn’t release their first 7″ single, a mini-classic by Russian indie rock standards, “Time Will Tell” (with the B-side, “Falling”), until December 2012. A month later, in January of 2013, Hospital’s debut album, When The Trees Were Higher, was released, gaining exposure in Russia, Europe and the UK. When The Trees Were Higher has quickly become one of our favorite overseas debut LPs of 2013. It’s energetic, well-produced, provocative, unabashed, terrifically crafted, wonderfully catchy and thoroughly enjoyable, coming darn close to rivaling other top DIY debut albums of 2013 from talented overseas bands.
Plus, even though their debut single, “Time Will Tell,” was technically released in December of 2012, it was officially released as the lead single of their January debut LP, and therefore qualifies, in our book, as one of the best DIY songs of 2013. Nearly a year since their official debut release, it’s time for the band to get more exposure in the western hemisphere, especially with the release of Tailspin, Hospital’s debut EP dropped in August.
“Time Will Tell” – Hospital from When The Trees Were Higher – Jan. 13th
The five-track Tailspin EP contains only one original new track, the title track, and it’s a stellar song by all measures. It combines elements of electro pop and rock, with sprinklings of funk and R&B, creating a retro edge that is surprisingly, and yes, ironically, modern. The band members all contribute their particular skills masterfully, which is one of the reasons they sound so tight and create such catchy, memorable, melodic, and energetic songs. There is also a remix of “Tailspin” by Halcyon Drive, is truly fantastic. In the past few weeks, we’ve listened to When The Trees Were Higher‘s seven songs at least a half dozen times, probably more. And it has really grown on us, as well as a few others who we’ve turned on to the band’s music in recent weeks. Another track that people are loving is song “Secret Place,” which we’ve included as a second bonus track in addition to the two lead singles – “Tailspin” and “Time Will Tell.” In fact, “Secret Place,” is yet another terrific example of Hospital’s talent and knack for writing incredibly catchy songs. Listen to more songs via Hospital’s Soundcloud page.
There’s no question that Hospital is one of the hottest new bands from Russia that we’ve heard in a long time – perhaps years. To add even more credibility to that declaration, consider that Hospital was chosen to open for Lana Del Ray when she performed a sold-out concert in Moscow last July, raising the band’s local profile one hundredfold and and generating a bit of a buzz for the band that started getting them play in the UK and Europe. In their submission, the band listed their main musical influences as Doves, The Vines, Radiohead, Nick Drake, Coldplay, and The Cure. That’s a diverse and quality selection of artists and bands with the common thread among all of them being that they are uniquely talented artists who are clearly very gifted.
We want to hear what you have to say about the band; please leave Comments in the box below or via Twitter to @IndieRockCafe with the hashtag #hospitalband
“Tailspin” – Hospital from Tailspin – Aug. 26th
“Secret Place” – Hospital from When The Trees Were Higher
Get Inuit – Kent, England
Get Inuit is a newly emerging surf/grunge rock band from Kent, England who recently had a Record of the Week on the BBC radio program, BBC Introducing, for the single, “Cutie Pie, I’m Bloated.” The band specifically referred to their music as, verbatim, “surf/grunge/indie/retro/pop.” And it’s true (they forgot rock and elements of punk). However, it would not work in a sentence. For example: “Next, Get Intuit is a surf grunge indie rock retro pop punk band from the United Kingdom.” Nonetheless, the results are what matter, and Get Inuit achieves what they set out to do with a mix of genres and 60s pop and rock aesthetics and songwriting with grunge guitar tones and sing-a-long choruses.
The band was literally formed in July and popped out these two tracks, including the B-side to “Cutie Pie, I’m Bloated,” a catchy rocker called “My Oh My.” You can listen to the full album, Cutie Pie, I’m Bloated, via the band’s Bandcamp page. On their Soundcloud page the band wrote: “We make dirty, surf inspired pop music and we come from Kent. None of us can actually surf.” The band’s top musical influences are Weezer, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Yuck, and Bleeding Knees Club. Will this new UK band break out big? It’s always hard to say from the get-go, but they’re off to a pretty good start.
“Cutie Pie, I’m Bloated” – Get Inuit from Cutie Pie, I’m Bloated
“My Oh My” – Get Inuit from Cutie Pie, I’m Bloated
Note: If you like any of these bands and songs, please share your thoughts in the Comments section, via Twitter (@IndieRockCafe), Facebook (IndieRockCafeFB and Google +1 (IndieRockCafe)
Mary Goes Wild – Munich, Germany
Launched in 2012, Mary Goes Wild is a Munich based DIY garage rock, surf and blues duo formed by Danny Wild (guitar, vocals) and Freddy Jones (drums). MGW is one of the more promising overseas DIY rock bands we’ve heard in 2013. The duo’s meticulous performances are marked by an edgy swagger in the delivery of predominantly blues roots rock signature style and sound of riffs and beats squarely places them in the Bands That Rock series. For die-hard fans of rock, Mary Goes Wild is a roots rock band that draws from garage rock, surf and definitely blues elements. Their sound consists of back-to-the-roots blues with garage rock and surf elements. Mary Goes Wild’s live performances are excessive and extremely noisy, an effect the band strives to achieve with each show by stacking multiple amplifiers to create a modern “wall-of-sound” effect.
From the first couple of notes on the track, “Redheaded Chain,” Mary Goes Wild belts out a wicked rock sound that communicates to the listener right away that they’re not messing around with any synths, drum machines or cookie cutter riffs; their music is organic, raw and untamed. On the track, “Do Anything,” the duo kick it out just right. The band’s top musical influences include The White Stripes, Ty Segall, The Blackbox Revelation, Bass Drum Of Death, Wavves, and The Black Keys.
“Redheaded Chain” – Mary Goes Wild from Next Time, Analog – March 3rd
“Do Anything” – Mary Goes Wild from Next Time, Analog
The Unassisted – Manchester, England
The Unassisted is an unsigned indie/alternative rock band from the U.K. that should be on the cusp of breaking out soon – that is, if the planets are aligned just right, and if DIY music lovers get their friends to listen to the tracks below. The more we listen the the tracks featured here, and the band’s other songs via Soundcloud, the more they grow on us. Last January, the four-piece scrappy young band from Manchester dropped their debut album, The Yellow Guitar Chronicles, that included the single, “Hands Dance Hands,” a gem of a track that is pure grim rock with an terrific drum beat, gloom mixed with angst style vocal delivery, strange lyrics and a creative pairing of keyboard and guitar that gives the song a sense of creepy urgency – like something really ugly is about to go down at any second. It’s the kind of tense, but cool, track you could imagine in a Quetin Tarintino movie or in a Breaking Bad episode. “Hands Dance Hands” helped gain the band some important airplay and blogger buzz in the UK, and put their name on the board as a new band to watch in the Manchester underground scene, most especially among fans of gloom rock.
It helps that the band has other tracks worth mentioning, including the raw, lo-fi Joy Division-like track, “Get On The Floor,” with its riveting guitar jams, menacing back beat and rhythm, and edgy, dark vocals. The track is another standout single that lends more credence to a band that is poised to that is a fan favorite at live shows, which is completely understandable. The band’s top influences are Queens of the Stone Age, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, and Beck, which is not hard to imagine after listening to the two tracks here from their recent debut. Also don’t miss the riveting mix of “Hands Dance Hands” by Future Plans. The Unassisted is planning a new release early in 2014 and we’ll certainly be interested to hear it.
“Hands Dance Hands” – The Unassisted from The Yellow Guitar Chronicles – Jan. 18th
Remix/Cover: “Hands Dance Hands” (The Unassisted) – Future Plans
“Everything” – The Unassisted from The Yellow Guitar Chronicles
Rascal Experience – Florianopolis, Brazil
The best part about Rascal Experience‘s music is Hedy Gabriel‘s excellent melodic guitar riffs, the lo-fi rawness of the songs in a way that only a DIY band could produce. There is something charmingly authentic and reassuring about band’s that are putting their heart into their music for the sake of making music and not to be popular or to overly polish their songs. In their nakedness, these are good songs; with a great producer they could be fantastic songs. In September, the DIY band dropped their debut EP, Bad Luck Experience. Gabriel is an interesting and clearly talented indie and alternative rock songwriter, vocalist and musician from Florianopolis, Brazil, and a fan of Arctic Monkeys and The Strokes, the latter of which is easily believable listening to the band’s songs, especially stand-out tracks like “Demon of the Crop.”
One of the things we like about Gabriel’s songs is his mostly flat, yet emotive, vocals, and the fact that we can hear each and every word, which you have to give props to for someone we assume is not a native English speaker. The more we listen to the band, the more we like them. Surely they can be even better with some work and a great producer. There are songs that fall flat, like “Begger Inside,” but if it was worked on, and if Gabriel could sing in a harder, more aggressive voice, would be such a better song. That’s the thing with DIY bands – their not quite as good as they can be, but the essential elements are there to produce some exceptional music as they mature as musicians and as a band.
Besides The Strokes, and at times, Arctic Monkeys, we also definitely hear influences of Sonic Youth, and would not be surprised if the band members were also fans of Lou Reed, with and without, The Velvet Underground, which songs like “Fake Interests” and “Different Views” make us think of. It’s always exciting to hear DIY artists who you can tell by their playing which bands they admired and listen to the most.
“Fake Interest” – Rascal Experience from Bad Luck Experience
“Different View” – Rascal Experience from Bad Luck Experience
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