This playlist also features a number of whimsical, quirky, lo-fi, multi-genre and inventive artists. There are still a few places you can hear truly DIY and indie music from authentic artists and bands.
In this month’s Indie Rock Playlist:
Native Prix – Austin, Texas
Alexis Kings – St. Albans, England
The River South – Ashland, Oregon
Barrett Zinn & The Mongrels – New York, New York
Victims of the New Math – Phoenix-via-Charlotte
Rhys Tivey – New York, New York
Diane Taber – Manchester, Connecticut
Native Prix – “Jet Plane (Mind Games)”
Austin, Texas indie rock/post punk project Native Prix is the brainchild of the unique singer/songwriter and musician A.J. Gatley, who writes and records based on life experiences, merging genres that include indie pop, new wave, punk, and even a bit of comedic, carnival-like experimental indie.
His new EP, The Jet Plane, released in May, proves just that, featuring a compilation of exuberant, indie pop songs like “Jet Plane (Mind Games),” and quirky, carnival-like totally unique pop songs like “Your Bed,”
Native Prix has opened for bands like The Canvas People, Fly Coco, and Clever Heads Prevail, and is majorly influenced by Say Anything, The Front Bottoms, and Death Cab For Cutie.
“I wanted to fulfill a personal purpose I have,” he said, “of connecting with other humans through song.”
MP3: “Jet Plane (Mind Games)” – Native Prix from The Jet Plane EP!
Bonus MP3: “Your Bed” – Native Prix from The Jet Plane EP!
Alexis Kings – “Squire”
Following up the successful, fan-favorite single, “Sugar Darlin,'” St. Albans, England rock band Alexis Kings has just dropped their ballad-like, flourishing love song, “Squire,” a track with influences of rock, pop, blues and even some soul and R&B elements. The song is a summer-vibe track oozing with melody, rhythm and bright guitar hooks.
The band, which includes musicians Brendan Aherne, Sam Privett, Fabio Bocca, and Luke Carolan, announced the release of their brand new single, and video, “Squire,” the title track from the band’s forth-coming EP. The EP was recorded in Lincoln, England at Chapel Studios, home to such classic indie rock records as Arctic Monkey’s Whatever People Say I am, That’s What I’m Not and Catfish And The Bottlemen’s The Balcony.
The new EP was produced by Chris West, who helped produce Richard Ashcroft’s latest record Keys To The World.
Alexis Kings’ last single, “Sugar Darlin’,” was debuted to a sell-out crowd at London venue Barfly during the Camden Rocks Festival in March. The album officially drops on June 24th in the U.S. and in the U.K. via Ditto Music.
The River South – “Holland Park Road”
From the small, rustic town of Ashland, Oregon comes the melody-heavy roots rock of the band The River South. Employing soft melodies, slick guitars, a bit of spit and grit, and clear influences from folk, country, blues and Americana (thus, roots rock), founder, guitarist, and singer/songwriter Krister Axel‘s new single, “Holland Park Road,” echoes recent personal struggles and two decades of working in the DIY music scene.
“As a songwriter, I strive to capture my own observations and feelings with as much authenticity as possible, given the limitations of the English language and the 12-tone scale,” Axel says. “As a trio, we play all original music in a melodic roots rock vein. The River South is a culmination of many long years of songwriting sessions, studio work, and touring.”
He moved to Ashland from California a few years ago with his guitar and a handful of songs that he had been working and which are now available on the band’s self-titled debut EP. Some of his biggest musical influences include Ollabelle, Ryan Adams, JJ Cale, Martin Sexton, and Josh Ritter.
The band, which also includes Jinnee Joos on vocals and Michael Zuzel on bass, has performed throughout the larger region encompassing southern Oregon and northern California; some of the beautiful country – for hundreds of miles in every direction in the United States, and music that is fit for the rugged, wooded lifestyle of the Pacific Northwest.
MP3: “Holland Park Road” – The River South
Barrett Zinn & The Mongrels – “Pavlov’s Dog”
Barrett Zinn has a long history of writing and performing rock music. But his new band, The Mongrels, are out to appeal to music lovers of all generations, as he says, “from the gang raised on ‘70s folk-rock, to the new kids for whom an earth-friendly idealism and earnest counter cultural-ism feel right.”
“Face it, ” Zinn says, “we all are in the same boat in the Season of Hate we find ourselves,” referring to the rise of hatred in politics here at home, and increasing rise of religious and ethnic hatred worldwide.
The band’s new technicolor dreaming vaudeville-like single, “Pavlov’s Dog,” is a nice break from the non-stop stream of DIY music that tries to hard to be something that it’s not. Here we have a totally originally and fun track – in a world that is way too serious, uptight, and troubled, it’s good to let loose and be silly; “kiss me baby, I’m Pavlov’s dog.” LOL.
The Mongrels include guitarist Benny Landa (Graham Nash, Carol King, Mark Knopfler); bassist Kevin Bents (John Fogerty, Steely Dan); drummer Tom Curiano (The Longshadows, Garland Jeffreys); keyboardist Charly CP Roth (Ozzy Osbourne, Edgar Winter).
The band will assembled once again to perform at the Bowery Electric on June 16.
MP3: “Pavlov’s Dog” – Barrett Zinn & The Mongrels
Victims of the New Math – “Brand New Day”
Two rock and roll-loving, and playing, brothers from different ends of the continent, Thomas Young in Phoenix and Joseph Young in Charlotte, have been collaborating as the indie project, Victims of the New Math for a few years now.
We really appreciate the authenticity this guys display in their music, belting out lo-fi, loose indie rock constructions like “Brand New Day,” featuring Thomas’ son, Jackson, on trumpet, and unique vocals; and then there is the orbital, chilled out, Bowie-ish track, “Satellite Head, Part I.” One of things that we, and their fans on Soundcloud and other social media, really like about these guys is their quirky, fun and totally unpretentious approach, songwriting and overall performance value.
MP3: “Brand New Day” – Victims of the New Math from Satellite Head
“We feel like we have captured a modern take on the classic rock we grew up on,” Thomas Young said. “We can’t seem to escape from the mid-‘60s to early ‘70s pop-rock era even though we were very young at the time.” However, there music seems more influenced by 80’s indie rock more than anything else.
The new album, Satellite Head is “a raw rock and roll sound, with solos, catchy melodies, and some really good rock ballads.” We agree. And it’s a fun for folks that really dig the influences and sounds of lo-fi indie rock. Their biggest influences are late-era Beatles, The Kinks, Tom Petty, David Bowie and The Flaming Lips.
Soundcloud: “Satellite Head, Part I” – Victims of the New Math
Rhys Tivey – “Empty Bed”
Classically trained as a graduate of NYU’s esteem jazz program, musician, activist, and spiritual mentor for NYC youth, Rhys Tivey has broaden his horizons yet again on his stunning new EP, Backwards. The EP is a mesmerizing sonic journey that includes the elements of indie folk rock, art rock and R&B influences aiming for what Tivey describes as “conjuring melodies of memorable, yet off-kilter, simplicity.”
“From nine years old, my main influence in that world was Miles Davis,” he says, “especially his works with Gil Evans and his mid-sixties quartet as well as pianists Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, and Herbie Hancock.
Along with his traditional influences, Tivey has a love for indie artists like St. Vincent, Grizzy Bear and Snarky Puppy. He has many other musical influences as well, which are obvious on his release, including Queen, Phil Collins, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, The Books, The Shins, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Tribe Called Quest, among others.
“In college, I got into D’Angelo neo-soul and playing in some hip-hop jams around New York City. So, in a nutshell, this EP is just a synthesis of all of the music that I love, and I love a lot of different kinds of music.”
It’s always impressive, and admirable, when a musician who has trained relentlessly in one art form for years – in this case, jazz – takes a risk, and breaks out of his comfort zone to try something completely different, and in this case, also original, with no idea what the reception will be.
Songs from the album include the sultry, slow jam, “Empty Bed,” with its body-buzz grooves, Tivey’s deep, emotive vocals and traditional and electronic jazz elements that intertwine to make it one of the standout songs from the EP. He says the song is about “the interplay of romantic-love and art-love.”
His voice is at times deep and powerful and at others loose and soulful, interlaced with haunting and energetic trumpet. He has performed at Carnegie Hall in NYC and Tanglewood in the Berkshires, as well as other venues across the city. Two song on the EP – “I Sing” and “Backwards” – tackle the issue of climate change. Tivey also carries on the work of his famous grandmother Elizabeth Tyalor’s AIDS Foundation as an ambassador.
MP3: “Empty Bed” – Rhys Tivey from Backwards
Diane Taber – “Come Away”
Connecticut vocalist, Diane Taber, just released a new album, Serve With Straw, that meticulously mixes elements of the pop, rock and jazz into the compositions of songs about love, struggle, conflict and change on songs like the piano-driven, “Come Away.”
“The songs, all original, tell the stories we’ve all lived in one way or another,” she says. “We love, fight, give it one more try.” The album officially drops on June 12th and was recorded with The Sunspots. Guest artist includes Clarissa Markiewicz is a wonderful addition.
MP3: “Come Away” – Diane Taber
See the Serve With Straw website