Atlantic Francis – Stockholm, Sweden
Wired Minds – Chicago, Illinois
Gråblomst – Hamar, Norway
Farewell Teddy – Atlanta, Georgia
A Love Like Pi – Harlem, New York
Piney Gir – London-via-Kansas
Chris Kudela – Philadelphia, Pennsylvia
Atlantic Francis – “Where Do We Run”
The Stockholm band Atlantic Francis crafts a chippy type of folk rock with 12-string guitar and ukulele-driven melodies, sweet harmonies and soulful pop percussion on singles like “Where Do We Run” and “Ocean Swim” from the album Just Add Ocean.
Formed in 2010, the band features guitarist and lead vocalist Victor Norberg; Johan MacDonald on ukulele; Jesper Karlsson on bass, and Adrian Lefvert on drums.
While the band has been tagged with various genre-labeling over the years, Norberg says the labels don’t matter. “We refer to it as the music you will be dancing to in the grass, at the summer festival, as the sun sets over the hills and you forget all your troubles.” The band members are fans of Mac Demarco, Mumford and Sons, and The War on Drugs.
MP3: “Where Do We Run“ – Atlantic Francis from Just Add Ocean
Bonus Track: “Ocean Swim“ – Atlantic Francis from Just Add Ocean
Ocean Swim YouTube video by Atlantic Francis
Wired Minds – “Victoria”
Less than a year since forming, the Chicago post-punk/neo-psych band Wired Minds‘ new single, “Victoria,” has certainly caught our attention with its reverb-drenched, jangly guitars, brooding bass, atmospheric synths, and soaring vocals. The band has two other singles worth streaming as well via Soundcloud.
MP3: “Victoria“ – Wired Minds from single
Formed in April of 2015, Wired Minds straddles comparisons to Britpop icons The Stone Roses, ‘80s post-punkers The Chameleons and Australian favorites The Church. They also remind us of The Close Lobsters, a very under-appreciated C-86 band of the 80’s.
Gråblomst – “Candy Driver”
Gråblomst, a lo-fi alt. rock duo from Hamar, Norway, crafts beautiful songs with influences from classic rock and Britpop, addressing issues like mental illness and courage. Maren Ingeborg Gråblomst Galgum (vocals, bass) and her husband, Sverre Galgum (guitars, bass), include Portishead, PJ Harvey, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, and Black Sabbath among their musical influences.
MP3: “Candy Driver“ – Gråblomst from Mr. Shrimp
Bonus Track: “Not Quite Right“ – Gråblomst from Mr. Shrimp
Farewell Teddy – “Connoiseur of the Boulevard“
Farewell Teddy is a new Atlanta-based acoustic folk rock duo, just formed last year, featuring musicians James Daniel Brown and Nathaniel David (percussion, bass, production). They recently dropped, The Ferris Wheel, their four-track EP, ahead of the release of Farewell Teddy’s debut album, Brave New World’s Fair (Part 1), set for DIY drop soon.
The lead track, “Connoiseur of the Boulevard,” is uptempo, sensual and woodsy, featuring a horn section and a catchy, even soulful, beat and vocal work from Brown. It’s a nice little surprise on a cold day. There’s little question that Brown (vocals, guitar) and David (percussion, bass, production) are accomplished musicians as their debut EP aptly demonstrates.
While we call them an ‘acoustic folk rock’ duo, their sound is a bit hard to pin down precisely. No worries, the music is still strong on it’s own.
MP3: “Connoiseur of the Boulevard“ – Farewell Teddy from The Ferris Wheel
Bonus Track: “I’m Not Afraid of Torture“ – “Farewell Teddy“ from The Ferris Wheel
Indie rock is the raw and real sound that comes from the guts of those who are not bound by cliche, overly produced songs and trite, kitschy art. It’s the music that can yank the emotional response from you whether it’s being performed by a quartet or with a First Act guitar by an unknown soul in a basement. – Nathaniel David
A Love Like Pi – “Dirty Work”
A Love Like Pi is the creation of Harlem based musician Lief Liebmann. The trio’s new EP, Jack and The Giant, is full of driving punk guitars, danceable, moving beats and tinges of electronica around the edges as evidenced on standout tracks like the voracious “Dirty Work.”
Oodles of musical projects come out of the Big Apple every month, but few separate themselves from the pack as A Love Like Pi does.
“I love the dichotomy in our music. It has this element of technology and the power and soul of rock,” says Liebmann whose multi-instrumental MO includes guitar, keyboards/synths and violin.
A Love Like Pi have toured across the United States with a band, and performed at big music festivals and events like SXSW, Warped Tour and Bamboozle.
“As the audience is working it on the dance floor, strange stuff is happening on-stage. The guys have played in costume, wearing blindfolds, and basically use the live shows as an opportunity to let loose.” Liebmann is a fan of musical influences like Paul Simon, Brand New, and Sufjan Stevens.
MP3: “Dirty Work“ – A Love Like Pi from Jack and The Giant
“Indie music is about keeping your band sounding like a side project: full of love and naturally unsolicitous.” – Liebmann
Piney Gir – “Mouse of a Ghost”
London-based artist Piney Gir‘s upcoming album, Mr. Hyde’s Wild Ride, set to drop on February 19, is the quirky Kansas-born musicians’ latest release. The album’s first single, “Mouse of a Ghost,” is a terrifically touching track, in it’s own mutant, and wonderfully odd, way, and an ode to Gir’s friend who passed away the year prior.
The ‘music video’ for “Mouse of a Ghost,” spliced together by Geoff Howell, is zany, politically-charged, full of pop culture references featuring droves of penguins, including a penguin ‘president’ with a serious drinking problem.
We love how the 60’s pop influence builds from the quiet xylophone trickles, and Gir’s girlish, almost silly, vocals. But before long the song bursts out into a full blown exuberant wave of fuzzy guitars, crashing cymbals, distant beats – all tied together like a Phil Spector-style wall of sound track on acid, and running the spectrum from innocent to outrageous. Perhaps even scandalous; what a weird video, though – creative in some ways and disturbing in others. Created by Geoff Howell.
Chris Kudela – “Greenroom”
Philadelphia singer, songwriter and musician Chris Kudela knocks out rock and roll that is quintessentially American.
On this new album, the self-taught guitarist, Kudela combines rock riffs with pop melodies and hooks, and chugs along optimistically and energetically – imagine driving down the boulevard with the top down on a beautiful summer day – on songs like “Greenroom,” which automatically reminded us a lot of Gin Blossoms’ “Hey Jealousy.”
Kudela ranked at No.6 on Alternative Charts of a Philadelphia radio station.
MP3: “Greenroom“ – Chris Kudela