Have a safe, happy and healthy 2017!
In This Installment:
Stella Nova – Denver, Colorado
Bud Collins Trio – New Haven, Connecticut
Amery Rey Tuesta – Gothenburg, Sweden
Mahdi Khene – Washington DC
Parker Rose – Santa Clarita, California
Jack Mosbacher – New York, New York
Morning Fame – Toronto, Canada
Stella Nova – “Old School Radio”
Denver teenager and DIY one man band Dominic Ellerbee has bigger things to worry about than most teens these days. His family has been on the verge of becoming homeless once again, he recently told IRC, and he has lost his “best friend, my girlfriend and my band.”
And yet you wouldn’t know from listening to this 19-year-old’s latest single, recorded under the moniker, Stella Nova, that it was such a troubling year.
In fact, “Old School Radio,” is infectiously upbeat, and nearly impossible to turn away from, with it’s indie, alt. rock and pop radio influences. When you consider that Ellerbee wrote the song, recorded all of the instruments – guitar, bass, drums and vocals – and mixed and mastered everything himself, it’s a pretty solid DIY drop.
Despite his 2016 tribulations, Ellerbee highlights as well the positives, writing on Facebook: “But this year also saw an immense growth for me: I met some amazing people; found myself a little more; wrote a whole bunch of music, and best of all, started work on this album.” He is referring to an album that he plans to drops in early 2107.
Stella Nova’s overall style is influenced by different eras of rock, pop, and alternative, with his favorite artists to include The Strokes, Lil Yachty, Arctic Monkeys, Weezer, Mobb Deep, and Sam Cooke. Another single that we find particularly interesting is the alt. rock like “Zephyr.”
Via Soundcloud – “Zephyr” – Stella Nova from TBA
Bud Collins Trio – Quasarmoto
Connecticut’s long-running music group, the Bud Collins Trio (BC3), is not really what you might imagine at first; for starters, they are not a trio. They were once though. That identifier, ‘trio,’ isn’t usually used in any other context that we know about except jazz trios, and BC3 is not a jazz trio.
However, there are jazz elements interwoven in the band’s remarkably eclectic discography, as there are funk, punk, prog rock, psych, electronic, and many other genres. Yet BC3’s overall sound is mostly pop and rock wrapped within the warm and welcoming blankets of alt. and indie rock.
And that’s the great thing about alt. and indie rock music – you can mix and match whatever genres, styles, eras you want without anyone saying “you can’t do that.” Bullshit. That’s when alt/indie was born – when artists and bands said “bullshit” to the rigid cutter cookie conventions and practices of the big labels and mainstream radio – and perhaps that attitude, culture, and yes, industry of its own, is stronger and more wide-reaching than ever.
We’ve been featuring talented and under-the-radar DIY artists and bands that exist across the nation and around the world for nearly 10 years now. The BC3 is definitely one of them.
The band’s latest EP release, Quasarmoto, is more decidedly electronic-influenced than other releases, and features the fast-paced, electro-driven, “Bad Kids Wander Away,” the slower, space pop-like, “I Don’t Understand” and the melodic shifts and a filtered guitar solo on “Useless People.”
Referring to “Bad Kids Wander Away,” band member Chris Duers says, “this tune is actually written about my youngest daughter…about all of the things I worry about, and things that I might say to her or want to say to her… about growing up and some of the dangers of the world, and some of the ways you can get lost, drift away from the right side of the world, get sidetracked.”
MP3: “Bad Kids Wander Away“ – Bud Collins Trio from Quasarmoto
Watch: YouTube video for the track, “The Last Thing Ever,” circa 2014
Amery Rey Tuesta – Mr. Black Pants
Now it’s time to enter the world of the eccentric, experimental Peruvian musician Amery Rey Tuesta who now lives in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Tuesta’s 2016 album, Mr. Black Pants, offers many interesting tracks, including “You Don’t Understand,” which sounds like 1970’s TV cop show music interlaced with off-kilter heavy metal music; the guitar licks are sparkling and the horn section adds a memorable finality.
While Tuesta’s vocals are non-conventional some would say, it is what helps set him apart from many of the other bedroom musicians; he certainly has the angst, and accompanying guitar licks, of a novel heavy metal/punk DIY one man band – writing and playing all of the instruments himself and mixing the masters.
His blistering guitar work is time and again the dominate force riffling through many of the tracks on Mr. Black Pants. But Tuesta’s album is not predominantly hard rock/heavy metal; its songs run the gamut from obscure theatrical arena rock (“Un Mejor Lugar”) to predominantly punk (“Roar” and “What Do You Mean?”) to influences of spaghetti western rock (“Ironic Life); surf rock (“What Did You Say?”); mid-60’s guitar rock with 70’s horn sections and Mexican music influences (“My House”).
Standout songs like “My House,” and “You Don’t Understand” are perhaps most accessible to a wider indie lo-fi loving audience; Tuesta may not be smooth around the edges, but he exhibits a wide understanding and appreciation for the freedom that indie allows in mixing genres in creative and unconventional ways.
Via Soundcloud:– Amery Rey Tuesta from Mr. Black Pants
Mahdi Khene – “Over Now”
Mahdi Khene is a Washington DC-area acoustic folk musician who was born in Algeria and immigrated legally as a toddler to the United States. Growing up hearing the music of Bob Dylan and The Beatles at home with his family, Khene became addicted to music.
By the age of 11 years old, he asked his father for a set of drums. His father made a deal with him: learn to play the guitar first, and the drums will follow. In short order, Khene learned with great earnest how to play the guitar. His father kept his side of the agreement and purchased Khene a new drum set.
Continuing to perfect his skills playing the guitar and drums, Khene was writing songs by the age of 14.
“I’ve been writing songs since I was 14,” he says. “All i do is write. I may have around 200 songs. I just wanna share them.”
MP3: “Over Now“ – Mahdi Khene
Parker Rose – “Little Dreamer”
Inspired by The Kinks and the early Motown Records catalog, California songwriter, vocalist and musician Parker Rose has harnessed the inspiration of his biggest influences to release a number of commendable singles during the past couple of years, including a couple of tracks that received a nice helping of online love from music lovers.
There’s no doubt listening to songs like “Slow Drive” and “Little Dreamer” that Rose has a love and a knack for indie pop music influenced from the sounds of yesterday, but still very much relevant today.
The latter track, “Little Dreamer,” had a good run on Soundcloud for a while, amassing more than 5K plays with nearly 50 comments from listeners.
In social media world, we call that excellent engagement and reach because people don’t comment unless they really like a track a lot. Comments range from “Feeling the vibe! Very funky and soulful” to “amazing!” Rose has opened for artists like The Withers, Fidlar, Together Pangea and the Allah Las.
Jack Mosbacher Band – Sunny Songs for Shady People
Raised in Woodside, California, and now living between New York City on one coast, and California on the other, songwriter, vocalist and actor Jack Mosbacher was obsessed with The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson and Motown music from a young age.
“I am passionate about telling a story — be it through music, on a stage, or on a screen—that makes the world a little brighter, bit by bit,” says Mosbacher. Mosbacher has an extensive palatte – he is just as comfortable “covering pop crooner Ed Sheeran as he is belting out a Stephen Sondheim number from Sweeney Todd,” his bio reads.
In 2014, Mosbacher founded the Jack Mosbacher Band, and the band has performed at venues in and around the city. His band has also performed in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall during a California tour to support the release of the debut album, Sunny Songs for Shady People.
Bolstered by radio-ready pop tunes like his cheery debut single “I’m in Love” and funky slow-burner “Bad News,” Sunny is an eclectic mix of genres, moods and stories. Mosbacher is also hugely influenced by Bob Dylan and Van Morrison.
Via Soundcloud: “I’m in Love” – Jack Mosbacher Band from Sunny Songs for Shady People
Morning Fame – “Dreamality”
Based out of the increasingly influential Toronto indie music scene, the indie rock band Morning Fame, incorporates alt. rock and elements of classic rock with big, booming sounds, 70s-80s style guitars, and a psych rock jam halfway through, and a blazing end on the band’s track, “Dreamality,” from their upcoming new album to drop in early 2017.
“The song portrays being trapped in a dream,” says guitarist Joe Liranzo, “and the pace of this song illustrates the chaotic feeling one might have if they were a prisoner of such a mystic place.“
Comprised of band members from all backgrounds and musical genres and influences, like songwriter and vocalist Vik Kapur and drummer Alan Dennis, Morning Fame has been rocking the Toronto scene for years, building a following along the way. There are definitely some Detroit rock influences in the band’s gritty rock sound.
Liranzo skillfully use insightful imagery to bring their lyrics and ideas to life as evident in an animated music video for the song, “Time of the Blackened Sun,” a sweepingly ambitious video and long-play song about Native American culture and history. The band will drop a new album in early 2017.