Animal Names – Tulsa, Oklahoma
Coding Candy – Milan, Italy
Lastlings – Sydney, Australia
Jack Lavoie – Quebec City, Quebec
Versus The Wake – Long Island, New York
Ian and The Dream – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
BestMan – Chicago, Illinois
Boomlights – Nashville, Tennessee
Animal Names – “Flowers In Your Hair”
Musicians Ian Gollahon and Brian Keller are no strangers to the indie annals of Tulsa. Nearly a decade ago, they were just kids making a splash in the growing local indie scene.
Then high school graduations and college came along. And while they were out of the Tulsa scene for a number of years attending university, the duo, along with drummer Philip Martin, and bassist Aaron Wesinger, returned to their hometown recently to start a new musical project called Animal Names.
A successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year officially welcomed Animal Names to the Tulsa indie scene. The new trio draws inspiration and influence from the bands they have admired for years, such as Grizzly Bear, Modest Mouse, Band of Horses, Counting Crows, Mountain Goats, and Fleet Foxes.
The first single – from their upcoming debut album slated to drop next month – “Greens and Reds,” is an electric guitar-driven song with elements of atmospherics, somewhat in the tradition of Jeff Beck, that has a real classic rock quality about it, intentionally or not.
The newest, and second, single, “Flowers In Your Hair,” is not a hippy dippy song as much as it sounds like. In fact, it is something of a real gem for the summer playlists, we believe. It cannot be overstated that the band members’ skills in instrumentation and song composition prove that they are, once again, and perhaps more than ever, a force to be reckoned with in Tulsa. (Yes, you can go back home again).
When indie was really taking off, from 2007 to 2009, Gollahon and Keller, were part of the indie band, I Said Stop! in Tulsa. Even when they split up and went off to college, I Said Stop!’s music did not fade completely from their local radio stations and fans’ memories.
In May, Gollahon, who interned with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Counting Crows), and Keller, who interned at Chicago Recording Company and works C9 Studios, joined the other band members of Animal Names to headline the Blue Dome Arts Festival.
Animal Names self-titled debut album will be released officially on vinyl and CD at a release party next month.
Via Soundcloud: “Greens and Reds” – Animal Names from Animal Names
Coding Candy – “Rachael”
The Italian composer of genre-bending cinematic, electronic/digital music, Luigi Cirelli, otherwise known as Coding Candy, dropped a terrific new EP titled, H3ll0 W0rld, last month.
Largely inspired by “movie soundtracks, TV series, anime and novels,” as well as England’s Bristol trip hop movement, H3ll0 W0rld‘s overall feel is an ethereal tour de force of engaging synth riffs; laid back instrumentations; angst-filled, and sparingly used, vocal arrangements; trippy dance beats; sonic dreamscapes and ambient overtones; various sound effects and samples; infusions of world and international music, and loads of electronic and digitally enhanced song structures and experimentation.
Cirelli himself calls his new and very different EP “a soundtrack for life,” covering genres from electronic and industrial to pop and psychedelic. “It can be a movie score,” he writes, “a background for your daily life set to music and sounds.”
The first single from the album, the thrilling and potent, “Rachael,” was inspired by the 1982 classic movie Bladerunner, according to Cirelli. Altogether, Coding Candy’s new EP, is a remarkable work that you don’t want to miss.
Cirelli’s main artistic influences in the popular music world include Chemical Brothers, Daft Punk, Pink Floyd, New Order, Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack, Radiohead, Air, Aphex Twin, and The Cure.
Via Soundcloud: Listen to H3ll0 W0rld in its entirety
Lastlings – “You”
Combining their unique brand of lush electronica and breathtaking vocals, Australian brother-sister duo Lastlings, just released a new exotic music video for the hypnotic and emotive, even melancholic, track, “You,” from the siblings’ new EP, Unreality.
Directed by rising talent ORFN, who produced The Rubens’ “Hoops” clip, the Lastlings’ video was shot in multiple locations around the city of Tokyo. According to the band’s publicist, “A minimal and refined approach was used to explore and juxtapose the different textual elements Tokyo had to offer, with the choreography element incorporated to pay homage to the traditional Japanese Geisha.”
The EP also features the standout track “Wavelength,” and 2015’s “Chills,” which has received over a half million streams on Spotify alone. Lastlings has garnered the attention of the critics and fans in Japan, Australia and now, worldwide.
We hope they’ll now breakout in the U.S. “You” is their debut US-UK single, which you can play in the streaming playlist at the top of the page or via the YouTube video above.
Jack Lavoie – “I Wonder”
Canadian country rock musician Jack Lavoie grew up in Quebec City listening to music and participating in arts and learning whilebeing raised in a bi-cultural, bilingual family. Today Lavoie is an established, yet DIY, country rock star in Canada.
Last year, his single, “I Am Sorry,” became a crowd favorite, blew up on Canadian radio and has receive nearly 180,000 plays on YouTube alone.
Lavoie and his band released their third album, Out of The Box, in April, featuring the standout single, “I Wonder.” The catchy melodies and sing-along quality of the song, as well as it’s decidedly less modern country rock feel, make it a little something different for fans, not to mention the live and post-live film shooting and editing with a group of friends at the studio. The video has already received over 300,000 views in the past four months.
Growing up in a creative and diverse environment was the perfect incubator for Lavoie, so it is no surprise that he began writing, composing and performing his own songs as a teen. It was not long before Lavoie was filling venues in his native land and growing a loyal fan base. His accolades also include songwriting awards like an honorary mention in the 2004 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for the song, “Reason,” from his band’s debut album, and a Billboard World Songwriting award.
Versus The Wake – “Pursuit of Perfection”
Versus The Wake is an acoustic duo from Long Island, New York. Their newest video, “Pursuit of Perfection,” is a studio session outtake. The song, which is divided into two parts, features rich acoustic and vocal driven melodies, and does a remarkable job conveying the emotions that come with the ups and downs of any of life’s pursuits, especially that of perfection, which is ultimately unattainable.
What we would say is that VTW’s sound comes off a bit too polished and predictable to be indie, and the whispery vocals are a bit too imitative of so much radio music during the past decade.
Since their bio says that both guys, who wish to remain anonymous, were “born from the rubble and ash in which life’s hardships and obstacles leave one with,” we’d like to hear some of that angst and grit in their music music instead of the safe place they are currently operating from. Another new single, “Soul Search,” is available for viewing.
“Soul Search” – Versus The Wake
Ian and The Dream – “The Girl Who Knows Everything”
The Milwaukee band Ian and The Dream craft pop-rock driven songs with heavy melodies and hooks, like the new single, “The Girl Who Knows Everything,” with its decidedly 80’s new wave slant to it.
A second song, which hasn’t been released yet, titled, “The Heat of Her Soul,” reminded me at first of Dr. Hook’s “When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman,” but definitely has it’s own flare and appeal. Over the past couple of years, the band has been increasingly been on the radar of indie fans in the western Great Lakes region.
The band is the creation of Ian Ash (songwriter, lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), and also features Matt “Chivo” Chivas on bass and Brian Farvour on drums. In 2014, competing in Bodog’s Battle of the Bands, Ian and The Dream were named ‘Best Milwaukee Band,’ landing them performances in front of larger crowds at venues like the Metro and House of Blues in Chicago.
BestMan – “Worry”
The very 80’s-sounding new single, “Worry,” from the Chicago recording duo BestMan, is the latest new track from the upcoming album Big Sky, set to drop on August 5th.
BestMan founding songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brian Clouthier and vocalist Jonathan Alvin are the forces behind the new Windy City indie duo.
They are keen at combining sunny, vibrant electro indie pop and new wave to produce glittery melodic synth riffs with driving, industrial-like beats – the essential building blocks and the hallmarks of BestMan’s music – imagine Depeche Mode’s children on prozac.
The duo this Friday evening, July 15th, at Chicago’s Beat Kitchen with the band Step Rockets.
Boomlights – “Visitors”
Nashville indie rock band Boomlights formed when brothers Alexander Jones and Derrek Jones, from Delaware, moved to Nashville and eventually began to record reverb-soaked demos on GarageBand with their neighbor, and Atlanta born guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Tony Compton, and drummer Adam Puff, also from Delaware, who moved to Nashville to join the band.
Over the past year, the band has worked diligently on writing and recording a set of songs from their initial demos. The result is an impressive debut EP.
Tracks like the electric guitar-driven alt. rock ballad, “Visitors,” with Compton’s tortured, soulful vocals, and the more edgy, garage rock cut, “Behave Like Animals,” are some of the standout tracks from the band’s new four-track EP, Forty-One Fifteen Sessions.
“Visitors,” more vocally than instrumentally, is likely to draw some comparisons to Thom Yorke. Not surprisingly, the Jones’ brothers, and their band mates, are Radiohead fans.
“From what I recall we found out we had a great deal of music in common,” Alexander Jones says, “including modern bands like Radiohead, Cold War Kids, the Strokes and Beck, as well as more classic bands like The Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Pixies, and Television.
“I think we bonded over how wide-ranging our tastes were,” Jones adds, “and a love for catchy melodies and good song structure more than we did over any certain band or one genre.”
The band’s EP, recorded at Nashvile’s Forty-One Fifteen Studio, which served as the inspiration for the EP title, was officially released on June 20th.