It’s always amazing to us how many fantastic musicians are creating terrific music that otherwise would probably not get heard. We strive to chronicle their contributions to the story of the indie rock music.
Here are the latest artists and bands we’ve covered and links to the original post to listen to their songs and read their profile.
Latest Artist and Bands on IRC
Peixefante is a remarkable new shoegaze/dream pop band from Goiania, Brazil that captured our ears and hearts with lush dream pop songs like “Por Baixo da Blusa.”
It’s simply gorgeous; feel yourself floating over lush green hillsides and turquoise beaches. The echoey whistling throughout the song is a really special, even magical, touch; there’s almost a tinge of Burt Bacharach (some people might hear it) and Ennio Morricone interlaced within this song.
The second single, “Cruzada Moderna” is more subdued and serious, yet wonderfully composed and performed from the airy guitar playing and rhythms to the wonderful vocals and choruses.
The band’s debut EP, Lorde Pacal (a mythological Mayan prophet), was done totally DIY. No fanfare. No buzz. And yet their music is worth a buzz; they’re just really good musicians. Listen to the EP from start to finish a few times and those of you who are open to cosmopolitan, multi-genre mix of experimental dream pop, psych rock and Bacharach/Morricone, are likely to appreciate Peixefante as much as we do.
The EP tells the epic story of “mankind’s fascination with the universe and our ancient seeking for answers to its great mysteries,” the band’s synth player, Lipito Melo, says.
“The songs are all connected to one another and reveal the tales of a mythical ‘hero,’ from the day he was born – passing through technological discoveries and surviving in the outer space – up until the day he finally returns home.”
Not surprisingly, after submerging into this EP – streaming it now at least four times through – we are routing for the band.
Their name is difficult at best to pronounce, and Portuguese, outside of Brazil, is not as widely spoken in the western hemisphere as Spanish; therefore, it’s difficult even for native Spanish speakers to say the world because Spanish simply doesn’t have any relationship to “peixe”-“fante” – it’s closer to French than Spanish.
The band describes it this way: “The name itself, the Portuguese combination of ‘fish’ and ‘elephant,’ exemplifies the constant mutation in which the band’s music in based upon, from the deep giant synth waves psychedelia to a drunk swampy rock.”
We’re told it’s PAY-HEE-FANT-EE.
MP3: Por Baixo da Blusa – Peixefante from Lorde Pacal
MP3: Cruzada Moderna – Peixefante from Lorde Pacal
Fresh Tracks – Wired Minds, Atlantic Francis, Farewell Teddy, Gråblomst, Piney Gir, A Love Like Pi, Chris Kudela
The following are select new tracks for 2016, with more on the way – including the first edition of Best New Releases (featuring mostly signed and better-known indie bands and artists), Artist of the Week, and oodles of new talented DIY bands you’ll probably only hear on IRC.
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
Admittedly nomadic, yet hailing primarily from Boulder, Colorado, The Ineloquent delivers contemplative and meaningful piano-driven ‘mood’ pop/rock with sweet melancholy, layered vocal harmonies and honest lyrics of love, sadness and hope.
The trio’s melodic and cinematic style musical style draws comparisons to artists like Coldplay, The Fray, Keane, and One Republic, while the band’s frontwoman, Georgiana Eakins, has previously been compared to vocalists like Leigh Nash (Sixpence None The Richer), Ellie Goulding, and Regina Spektor.
Her husband, guitarist Daniel Eakins, and bassist and drummer Pablo Calderon, add their talents to The Ineloquent’s release, E Is for Emergency, which weaves through themes of love, despair, fear, hope, and restoration. “These are songs that are meant to do more than just spill sound into silence,” Eakins says. “They are meant to challenge and inspire while bringing something musically fresh to the table.”
Lay back with your headphones on, and glide into the warm bath of the dreamy keys and vocals on “Emergency.”
A second standout track on the album, “Verge of a Breakthrough,” is a synth dance pop track that is also somewhat laid back and sensual – great bedroom chill song. Eakins vocals are wonderful.
“Emergency“ – The Ineloquent from E Is for Emergency
“Verge of a Breakthrough“ – The Ineloquent from E Is for Emergency
“Indie rock is music unaltered by conventional structures and melodies which are often the norms on public radio. It is the freedom to create the sounds that make up your feelings without the pressure to conform to the musical clones of what sells. It is remaining true to yourself whether your music sells or not in hopes that someone out there will get it.” – Georgiana Eakins
Best DIY Music of 2015, Vol. X – Jean Pool, Wooden Waves, Endless Forms, Optimus Rex, Alberteen, Sun Blood Stories
The Best DIY Music of 2015 series, ten installments in all, features more than 150 bands from across the United States, Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, the Scandinavian countries, South America and many other world locales.
If you love discovering new bands with great music, we urge you to review the entire series to read about talented bands and listen to their music. No matter what kind of alt. and indie rock you like, you’re going to find awesome some artists and bands you didn’t know about before, and who will likely be favorites for a long time. You heard them here first!
Here’s another collection of bands to watch who dropped impressive DIY singles, EPs and LPs in 2015.
Jean Pool – Jefferson, New Jersey
Wooden Waves – Buffalo, New York
Endless Forms – Tulsa, Oklahoma
Optimus Rex – St. Louis, Missouri
Alberteen – Nottingham, England
Ember Oceans – Chicago, Illinois
Sun Blood Stories – Boise, Idaho
Erick Macek – Los Angeles, California
Oliver House – Phoenix, Arizona
Tim Bick – Brighton, England
From the small suburban town of Jefferson, New Jersey, the new alternative rock band, Jean Pool, reminded us of a mixed drink with plenty of Modest Mouse, a shot of Weezer and The Strokes, and salted with a dash of Arctic Monkeys.
Their infectious single, “Fluffy,” an IRC Song of the Day in December, is absolutely superb, and easily one of the best DIY debut singles of 2015. The band’s debut EP, Wet, dropped last November, and includes the blazing psych alt. rock of “Parking Lot Plans,” the Arctic Monkeys-like “Alone,” and the jangly punk of “Older.”
We like how Jean Pool’s vocalist and guitarist Dan Barrecchia, described the band’s muse: “In an era of sarcastic and whiny/emo/pop-punk based music, Jean Pool finds it’s influences from the legends of rock music. We play every show like it’s our last and thrive off of the crowds energy. We’re dynamic and catchy all while keeping the feels in our lyrics, guitar solos, and bass slappage.”
The other members of the NJ quintet are vocalist and guitarist Dan DiCaio, Paul Brushaber on bass and Brad Odgers on drums. The band’s major influences include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Modest Mouse, Jimi Hedrix, The Strokes, Led Zeppelin, and Arctic Monkeys. The band classifies their music as a mix of alt. rock, psych rock, punk, and post punk. They’ve shared the stage with bands like Happy Body Slow Brain, Deal Casino, and Terror Pigeon.
MP3: “Fluffy“ – Jean Pool from Wet
Wooden Waves – Wilder Dreams
Formed in 2010, Wooden Waves is a new-to-us band from Buffalo, New York. During the summer, WW’s released, Wilder Dreams, the band’s debut album, featuring noisy indie rock on songs like the unforgettable “Song For Sweatypalms,” with its fast, busy rhythm, relentless, free form post punk elements, and experimental indie rock with minimalistic-like guitar jams, and vocalized hoots, ah-yah-ah-yahs, wooh-oohs, and minimalistic jams. You can tell these guys have a lot of fun – and that’s really what it’s all about.
The follow-up track, “It’s Only Sky,” is also noisy and energetic, with some melodic hooks, booming bass, voracious drums, and a driving rhythm. These guys are really good. You can tell that they’ve been working on their own unique sound for years. The band are fans of Fucked Up, Wavves, David Liebe Hart, Neon Indian, Dum Dum Girls, Lemuria Lemuria, Broken Social Scene, Pearl Jam, Sebadoh, The Wrens, and Mallwalkers.
The members of Wooden Waves are Ray Fulton (guitar/vocals); Nikki McIntosh and Joey McIntosh on keys and vocals; Billy Fulton (bass), and Sonny Baker (drums).
MP3: “Song For Sweatypalms“ – Wooden Waves from Wilder Dreams
MP3: “It’s Only Sky“ – Wooden Waves from Wilder Dreams
Endless Forms – Lazarus
Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the DIY band Endless Forms has made a name in the area for its “unique chamber-rock exploration of sonic space, mixing a traditional song structure with the liquid textures of ambient alternative music,” according to songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Justin Allen. That’s pretty much indie rock; and they’re pretty damn good at it.
The band was put together by Allen himself after he completed mastering his debut album, Lazarus, as Endless Forms. They were so impressed that they joined up to play live gigs. The full band features Robert Redmond (keys); Sean Ammons (lead guitar); Donnie Fite (bass), and Will Cook (drums). Lazarus was just dropped back in October. It’s an impressive debut, with plenty of musical highlights and introspective lyrics.
The song, “Reset The Bone,” is quite a beautiful work with it’s mellow, laid back, The National-like dreaminess, accompanied by harmonica, wavy synth notes, understated drum beats, shakers, slide guitars and Allen’s seductive, bluesy vocals. No wonder he is a big fan of The National, as well as The Smiths, Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, David Bowie (RIP), and Radiohead. That’s a pretty good selection of rock legends and newer indie artists.
MP3: “Reset the Bone“ – Endless Forms from Lazarus
MP3: “Reanimation“ – Endless Forms from Lazarus
Endless Forms (official website)
Indie Rock is a movement and idea based on the democratization of music. It is about freedom of expression and empowerment of artists to create what they are inspired to create without the pressure to edit or contort their art in order to appeal to corporate sponsors. – Justin Allen
Optimus Rex – Embers
A relatively new St. Louis indie rock band, Optimus Rex, dropped an under-the-radar EP in August called Embers. The intoxicating guitars, bumbling bass and rolling drums and cymbals on the single, “Witch Hunt,” definitely got the attention of the folks in the cafe.
“The lyrics come off as kinda dark on first glance,” says guitarist and vocalist Nick Stergos, “but really it’s a song about personal responsibility; about how people (myself included) prefer to blame problems on forces that are out of our hands. For some reason the thought of being powerless is easier to swallow than facing up to our own apathy and complacency.”
Nick is also joined by his brother, Jake Stergos, on drums, upright bass, and piano, and bassist Jeremy Carpenter and guitarist and keyboardist Jeremy Hill.
Another track, “Few and Far Between,” was “written in one sitting,” Stergos says. “Lyrically it’s just kind of a downer about getting old and numb. How we don’t get excited about things anymore, how nothing impacts us the way it did when we were younger.”
Since forming in 2013, Optimus Rex has opened for artists like Eve 6, Darling Parade, Tristen, and Bend Sinister. The band’s top musical influences are Thrice, Brand New, Margo & The Nuclear So & So’s, Cursive, Bright Eyes, and Radiohead.
MP3: “Witch-Hunt“ – Optimus Rex from Embers
MP3: “Few and Far Between“ – Optimus Rex from Embers
Alberteen – Miss World
From the UK city of Nottingham comes the DIY, self-described “rhythm and noir” band, Alberteen. They are not your ordinary band. In fact, the band itself was formed at a funeral in 2010.
Here’s how bassist Abe Berry describes the band and their mission: “We Are The Mods/King’s Evil – we’re instant three-minute pop classics, in the band’s classic rhythm and noir style; we’re 21st century post-punk sonics, instantly addictive tunes and brutal, poetic lyrics.
The songs reflect – respectively – the clash between Mods and Modernists on Margate pier (reflected in the image taken by artist Nigel Green) to violent student riots and uprisings.”
After listening to the two tracks the band sent in from their second album, Miss World, a number of times, we have to say they are definitely not a chillwave band or even an alt. rock band. Alberteen’s music reminds us of a mix between Frank Zappa, Nick Cave, They Might Be Giants and The Cure.
From their new album, the first single, “A French Connection,” is transfixing. The song and the album were produced by the legendary Mike Bennett (The Fall, Ian Brown).
A second track, “We Are Mods,” sounds a lot like a glam rock riff ala-T. Rex, and at times, like The Who (which would fit with mods, since The Who are widely regarded as the most well known band from the UK’s mod era/genre), which we surmise was intentional.
The other band members are John Rose (guitars and vocals); Phil Shaw (vocals), and Gareth Warden (drums and percussion). Among their favorite bands, Berry listed Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Parquet Courts, Temples, The Preatures, and Shamir. Alberteen has opened for bands like Primal Scream and Ramsgate Hovercraft.
The members of Alberteen actually formed the band at a funeral (of all places) in 2010. Their first single, “A Girl And A Gun,” was ultimately remixed by Cornershop and played regularly on the BBC.
MP3: “A French Connection“ – Alberteen from Miss World
MP3: “We Are The Mods“ – Alberteen from Miss World
Ember Oceans – Ember Oceans
The talented Chicago DIY band, Ember Oceans, embodies a breath of fresh air in the alternative synth rock genre. The band dropped their self-titled debut EP, delivering fans and listeners a collection of warm electronic grooves and rhythms, driving pop melodies, sunny surf harmonies, reverb soaked synths and crispy beats on standout tracks like “Right Reasons” and the inspirational “Karma.”
“Indie rock is like a page in a ‘Where’s Waldo?’ book. Everyone’s attention is drawn to the same place, but if you look at the big picture you might get a kick out of what else you find” – Parker Simonaitis, Ember Oceans drummer
Ember Oceans, who are obviously influenced by artists like Passion Pit, are easily in the top ranks of new DIY bands we heard in 2015. Enough said. Let the music speak for itself:
MP3: “Right Reasons” – Ember Oceans from Ember Oceans
Video: “Right Reasons“ YouTube video
MP3: “Karma“ – Ember Oceans from Ember Oceans
Sun Blood Stories – Twilight Midnight Morning
Sun Blood Stories isn’t a trendy indie band or a band you’d book for a wedding. Instead, the Boise band, which calls it’s style ‘high desert ghost music,’ creates “long-flowing song forms and delicious noise, leaning toward post-rock in its fondness for long crescendos and crushing finales.”
Coming from the musical vocabulary of classic psychedelia, the music builds on these ideas and blooms into an “ever-moving mass of echo dream sounds.” Featuring multiple slide guitars, a space viola, thunderous drums and “far too many echo pedals,” SBS crashes and wails its way through a “wild and strange collection of songs about hallucinations, dreams and death.”
“Palace Mountain Mirage” is spooky psych rock jam that builds into a sudden explosion of ringing guitars, bumping bass, furious drumming, crashing cymbals and menacing sound effects that turn the song into a full blown sonic nightmare; awesome recording and mixing work. The followup track, “NighTremor” is equally as eerily, dark, long and trippy with constant percussive beats and sound effects.
Over the past few years, SBS has opened for bands like Mount Eerie, Ancient River, Acid Mothers Temple, True Widow, Kithkin, and Wooden Indian Burial Ground. The band’s musical influences include Janis Joplin, The Flaming Lips, Foxygen, Captain Beefheart, Bongripper, and Pink Floyd.
MP3: “Palace Mountain Mirage“ – Sun Blood Stories from Twilight Midnight Morning
MP3: “NighTremor“ – Sun Blood Stories from Twilight Midnight Morning
“Indie Rock is a term that covers so much music that it is now almost meaningless. But its also a starting point for people to find some of the best music being made.” – Ben Kirby, Guitarist
Erick Macek – Erick Macek EP
It’s almost impossible not to get the urge to want to stand up and dance and sing on Los Angeles songwriter and musician Erick Macek‘s uplifting, celebratory track, “Love,” which he wants to be shared with the world in order to promote peace.
“More personal to me,” Macek says, “indie music is seeing what you’re really made of. It’s the blood, sweat, tears, and the culmination of one’s hard work. It’s the freedom to create what you feel.”
The first single, “No Worries,” from his debut, self-titled EP, is more somber, and follows the theme about the failings and the victories of life. He worked with Grammy-winning producer Mikal Blue (Jason Mraz, Five For Fighting, Colbie Caillat, Jason Reeves), who produced, mixed and engineered the crowd-funded EP, the band’s fourth release.
Band members include Stephen Jones on bass; Bill Jones on guitars and ukulele; Anne Seidler on piano, wurlitzer, and rhodes, and Christian Hogan on drums & percussion.
Macek and co-writer Kate Earl were accompanied on their duet “You Say,” by bass player Dean Dinning, from Toad the Wet Sprocket. In 2014, songs from Macek’s Colors May Change album received significant placement on shows like Life Unexpected and Melrose Place. The band has opened for artists like Joan Jett, Gin Blossoms and G. Love.
MP3: “Love“ – Erick Macek from Erick Macek EP
MP3: “No Worries“ – Erick Macek from Erick Macek EP
Oliver House – If You Love Me You’ll See
Three college friends from Arizona State University in Phoenix formed a new band, Oliver House, last summer and got to work. Over the ensuing months, they honed their skills, pumping out heavily melodic and percussion laced tracks.
The results of their hard work over the past year are impressive. The band’s debut single, “If You Love Me You’ll See,” is an ominous, but driving psych guitar rocker with a chugging base and accompanying beats. The interplay between bassist Dan Horner III, guitarist and lead vocalist Sean MaCauley and drummer Holden Flesner is particularly potent. They sound like a band that has been together for years, not months.
The second single, “Warhawk,” from the band’s new EP is a softer, acoustic psych pop style track with a chugging bass and drums all the way through. The chorus, “away…away…away,” is another constant, accompanied by a high nylon guitar mini-solo at the end of the track. We can’t help but to wonder how much a great producer, and manager, could help make these guys a popular indie band nationally. Right now, they have a good start with a terrific debut EP, which officially dropped in March.
MP3: “If You Love Me Youll See“ – Oliver House from If You Love Me You’ll See
MP3: “Warhawk“ – Oliver House from If You Love Me You’ll See
Tim Bick – Information
Somewhat creepy and strange, the semi-dark psych pop of U.K. musician and multi-instrumentalist Tim Bick on the track, “Information,” a song that includes kick-ass guitar playing, is oddly compelling. He’s obviously no newbie on the guitar.
Bick marries classic 60s and 70s pop structures with “wrly witty wordsmithery that takes a few cues from Aimee Mann or Fountains of Wayne’s Chris Collingwood.” He dismisses claims that his music is retro, insisting instead: “It’s just an organic thing that was planted in the ground a long time ago.”
The eccentricity doesn’t end with the songs themselves. Apparently, according to Bick, he is working on the development of ‘The Emotionalizer,’ a “piece of studio hardware designed to maximize the emotional effect of music that modern technologies tend to reduce.” Hmmm…stay tuned.
With Bowie (RIP) so much on our minds these days (see our Soundcloud Bowie covers’ collection), Bick’s music sounds influenced by Ziggy Stardust. And yet, Bick retains his own unique sound that is sparse, elongated, heavily narrative, lo fi, guitar-laden, and imperfect – all elements that work nicely together. Either way, we suspect that listeners who dig these two tracks will want to hear more.
“Information“ – Tim Bick from Information
“Heart Attack“ – Tim Bick from Information
Perth, Australian musician Ben McDonald, a current member of POND‘s side-project Shiny Joe Ryan, has started a new lo-fi psych rock solo project with the moniker Human Buoy.
His debut album, Animation Station, will drop sometime in the next couple of months. And he proves just why he belongs in the Tame Impala extended family on his new release.
On Human Buoy’s first dazzling single, “Oxygen,” the West Coast psych pop artist creates a transfixing blend of driving beats and hazy waves of sizzling synths that complement his remarkable vocal work.
“I thought of [“Oxygen”] walking up my street to buy avocados on a really hot day, so I tried to make it sound like a polaroid of suburban palm trees in a heat-mirage,” McDonald says.
“I recorded it…and then forgot about it for a while. When I decided I was going to actually finish it, I went to a studio and got a friend to re-record drums…I’d also ask various characters who’d pop around to lay down some of their musical juju because I find it freakin’ fascinating to see what happens. It’s a silly song but it was fun to make.”
McDonald gets some major indie artists to help him out: Ariel Rosenberg, aka Ariel Pink, plays ‘mouth drums,’ Shiny Joe Ryan (POND) lends backing vocals while Malcolm Clark from The Sleepy Jackson plays the drums. Throughout the entire Tame Impala extended family of musicians (kind of like Broken Social Scene – it’s hard to keep track), there is a lot of collaboration and loyalty.
McDonald has been in a number of bands, primarily as a bassist, that include POND, Peter Bibby, Grace Woodroofe (R.W. Grace), and Sonpsilo Circus, opening for artists like Unknown Mortal Orchestra, San Cisco, Wavves, and Matt Corby. His major influences include David Bowie (RIP), The Beatles, MGMT, Ariel Pink, and Pink Floyd.
Although he played and recorded almost every instrument himself for the album, including vocals, bass, guitar and keys, McDonald got some help from guitarist and keyboardist Ben Smith and drummer Malcolm Clark. Multi-instrumentalist Steve Macchiaverna and Ali Flintoff are also contributors for live shows and some sessions.
Tomás Doncker‘s “The Mess We Made” music video, with its stunning imagery and achingly painful theme, is antidote to hate, and an ode to love and forgiveness. The video tells an epic tale about the doubly-tragic circumstance of The Charleston Massacre, where gun violence and hatred intersected at the crossroads of evil bigotry-charged, and senseless murder of church goers.
Stream the album below via Soundcloud, and view the album trailer, edited by Dan Truitt.
Dogs in the Fight from We Want Peace…But Are Ready for War
Boise punk band Dogs in the Fight might be a new name but these are some old Dogs of the punk underground scene.
The band’s new album, We Want Peace…But Are Ready for War, set to drop on Jan. 31st, is a raucous, energetic, guitar ravaging marathon of indie punk madness, with songs like “No Apologies” and “Hold Fast,” standing out among the lot.
Started in 2015 by lead vocalist and bassist Jimmy Turner (formerly of Aces & Eights; Ripchain; Rum Rebellion), Dogs in the Fight also features drummer Josh Hakenholtz, veteran guitarist Clark Chaos (The Braindead) and Coby Hughes, and Wayne Williams on vocals – all former members of The Bloody Nampons, a Boise street punk band.
The band has opened for bands like Potbelly, Millhous, Delta Bombers,Toxic Holocaust, Lord Dying, and count among their biggest influences bands like Noi!se, The Bruisers, Street Dogs, Agnostic Front, Main Street Saints, and Oxymoron.
No Apologies – Dogs in the Fight from We Want Peace…But Are Ready for War
Hold Fast – Dogs in the Fight from We Want Peace…But Are Ready for War
Watch “Home To War” on YouTube
Top 2015 Indie and DIY Artists and Bands
Fresh Tracks – The Davenports and Shirley Simms, Chasing Colors, Hillary Bratton, Eight Belles
In the ninth installment of the wildly popular Best New DIY Music of 2015 series, we cover the following artists and bands:
Sound Is Lovv – Los Angeles, California
Margarine – Boston, Massachusetts
My Tribe Your Tribe – Kildare, Ireland
Serve The Sun – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Ocean Glass – Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
Hookspine – Lille, France
Beachmen – Salt Lake City, Utah
Bad Hounds – Akron, Ohio
Jaromil – Dijon, France
Tombstones In Their Eyes – Los Angeles, California
– GRRL PAL – Perth, Australia
– The Citie – Los Angeles, California
– Tigers In The Sky – Los Angeles, California
– Stereo Twins – Baltimore, Maryland
– Three Witches – Akron, Ohio
The Wild Young Hearts – Los Angeles, California
Starar – London, England
Ness – Long Island, New York
Ordinary Van – Fort Wayne, Indianapolis
Pelicat – Norway
Elder Flower – Arvika, Sweden
The Mondanes – Gothenburg, Sweden
Maven – Paris, France
Aether Street – Reno, Nevada
More Skies – Huntington, New York
Bad & The Ugly – San Diego, California
Jeremy & Lynee – Minster, Ohio
Birth of Joy
Transvaal Diamond Syndicate
A Victim of Society
Mary Goes Wild
Toro Y Moi
Death Cab For Cutie
The Mountain Goats
Pet Politics – Gothenburg, Sweden
Bud Collins Trio – Mansfield Center, Connecticut
Lascaux – Rouen, France
Babbling April – Dayton, Ohio
Hard Soul – Albany, New York
Forensics – London, England
Stella Got – Israel
Drew Gibson – Washington, D.C.
Virgin Mary Pistol Grips – Omaha, Nebraska
HAPPY good – Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Elad Eyni – Rishon Lezion, Israel
Atrium of The Fall – Topanga, California
Fringes – Ormond Beach, Florida
Russell Joslin – London, England
Dan Zdilla – Lanchester, Pennsylvania
Doug Balmain – Laramie, Wyoming
No Body – Olympia, Washington
Top Indie Rock Songs, 2007 – 2013
Other Popular Playlists featuring Artists and Bands
– Songs of Winter
– Songs of Spring
– Songs About The Moon
– Songs for Mom
– Songs About New York City
– Indie Christmas Songs Compilation
– Valentine and Love Mixes
– Dream Playlist
– The Great Unknowns
– Singer-Songwriter Spotlight Series
– Bands to Watch
– In Dee Mail
– One Man Bands
June 2013 Artists and Bands
– June 27th – 7 Overseas Artists You’ve Gotta Hear – Profile/playlist feature highlights the following artists and songs they sent in for review – Metaform, James Kerr, Flat Ed, Matt Churchill, Heifervescent, Lillian Todd-Jones, and Reebosound.
– June 24th – Overseas Band Watch: Leeds, England Indie Rock Quartet China Rats – Check out three hot singles from the band that the UK music press is calling the ‘next Arctic Monkeys.’
May 2013 Artists and Bands
– May 29th – Overseas Band to Watch: Deco Pilot
– May 28th – Bands That Rock, Vol. V – Tsar, Dreamers, Eight Feet Deep, The Bitter Roots, and The New Self-Defense
– May 25th – Best New Music Releases, Week of May 21st – Daft Punk, The National, Dirty Beaches, Man or Astro-Man, Attic Lights, The Baptist Generals, Jessie Rules, Major Cloudz, Linda Draper, Radiation City, Talking Heads, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, Shannon and the Clams, and Club 8.
– May 23rd – 2013 Sasquatch Music Festival Line-Up and Schedule of Artists & Bands – Includes four Spotify playlists for each day of the festival, featuring bands like Vampire Weekend, Sigur Ros, Mumford & Sons, Arctic Monkeys, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Tame Impala, Surfer Blood, Akron/Family, Andrew Bird, Elvis Costello, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Tallest Man on Earth, Grimes, Shout Out Louds, The Postal Service, Cake, The Lumineers, Ariel Pink, Toro Y Moi, Dirty Projectors, The xx, Built to Spill and many others.
– May 21st – Recent DIY & Indie Debuts of 2013, Vol. I, featuring bands like Great White Buffalo, Tournament of Hearts, Make Haste, Constant Supply, Will and the Indians.
May 20th – Almost Missed: San Francisco Band Cool Ghouls’ Debut Album – A review, with song samples and a video, of the debut from the San Francisco retro psychedelic rock band.
…more coming soon
Discover awesome songs, albums, playlists and bands you’ve probably not heard before by perusing the following links (most of the songs in older posts are still active, since we encourage bands never to deleted song links once they are posted, and for all of the songs we host, unlike most blogs, we do not take down song files. However, it is getting increasingly expensive to maintain thousands of songs, starting from 2008-2009 to today; you can help us pay for the server and other costs by donating to us via PayPal, via the Donate button in the right hand column of this and every page. If you like what we’re doing and want to see more, every dollar helps us continue to be one of the top sources for indie music, particularly of unsigned/DIY and under-the-radar, on the web.
Some of the popular regular feature posts, series and playlists that profile great artists and bands include:
Great artists and bands are also featured in playlists like Best Summer Songs, One Man Bands, Indie Cover Songs, , Songs About New York, and the Singer-Songwriter Spotlight series. Since 2008, we’ve featured thousands of bands, and the archives contain over 10,000 MP3 songs, many of which are still active. Here’s the latest posts highlighting artists and bands that we think you’ll be happy you checked out:
The Helsinki, Finland band Scarlet Youth is barely on the North American indie music radar; in fact, it’s almost like they’re flying stealth.
The band members’ raw musical talent, coupled with their otherwise insufficient blogger or media coverage, made Scarlet Youth a good candidate for the Artist of the Week series.
It didn’t hurt that their excellent new album, The Everchanging View, dropped just last week. The full album, and other works by Scarlet Youth, are accessible to listen to near the end of this post.
After starting with the two tracks the band sent in for review, we’ve managed to listen to all of their releases, and that is what really raised them to the standard of an Artist of the Week designation.
Within a minute of listening to one of the album’s singles, “You and Me,” we were enveloped by the band’s well-honed sound and the fantastic mix of shoegaze and dream pop that seems almost effortless. Of course, if you’re a fan of European shoegaze or dream pop, you’re most likely to dig Scarlet Youth’s music, but we can also see how they may appeal to people who appreciate of all kinds of music.
Having now listened to the band’s full discography, “You and Me” is a good song to start with, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what is an extremely talented band that makes enchanting, beautiful music, and at other times, can knock out a great indie rocker.
“You and Me” – Scarlet Youth from The Everchanging View – Jan. 11th, 2013
The second single, “What It’s Worth,” is simply a gorgeous synth pop wonder that sails along on layers of dreamy synthesizers, soothing and gentle vocals, romantic acoustic guitar playing, a heavy bass line and mid-tempo drum beat.
Overall, the song conveys a melancholic mood, and adds to the narrative set by the first song of deeply personal music about the trials of love, separation and relationships, a theme that runs throughout The Everchanging View. It’s hazy pop with hushed vocals, lush melodies, impressive song writing and recording, and a sound that is more C-86 than it is indie pop, Scarlet Youth is a band that fits the bill pretty well.
The band started out in 2004 when musicians Markus Baltes and Palle Pyyhtinen got together to experiment. But it wasn’t until 2007 that things took off after the duo decided to recruit three new members to accomplish the bigger, fuller sound they desired. The new additions included Marko Soukka (guitar), Riku H. Mattila (bass) and Jaani Peuhu (drums). Altogether, Scarlet Youth has among its lineup former members of bands like Iconocrash, ShamRain, Kemopetrol and Sidewaytown.
“What It’s Worth”– Scarlet Youth from The Everchanging View
The band’s first release was their 2009 EP, Breaking The Patterns, followed in 2010 by their debut album, Goodbye Doesn’t Mean I’m Gone, released on Homesick Music, a small European indie label, and separately released in Japan.
Listen to one of the top songs – “Catch Me When I Fall” – from the 2010 debut album, as well as a great single release that was not available on either LP or the 2009 EP. We can’t say that we listen to a lot of new shoegaze bands as much as the older favorites, but Scarlet Youth are a post shoegaze heyday band that does great justice to the tradition of what we consider one of the most sacred of alternative and indie music.
A terrific single the band recorded in 2010, “Note to a Stranger” is not available on Spotify, so we included it below as an MP3 to stream or download (this track will not be considered for the weekly Top 10 though since it’s a 2010 release).
“Note to a Stranger” – Scarlet Youth from single, non-album release (2010)
Want a change of pace? Fire up any playlist from popular playlist series like Best New Releases, the DIY-oriented In Dee Mail the self-explanatory Recent Releases We Almost Missed and profiles and songs of great, largely unknown and DIY bands via the 7 Bands You’ve Gotta Hear profile playlists.
7 Overseas Bands You’ve Gotta Hear, Vol. II – The Amsterdams, Mouth of Ghosts, Uncanny Valley, Mojo Waves, Thieves
It’s been a while since the last installment of 7 Bands You’ve Gotta Hear, which yielded a significant amount of interest, as did the first spin-off of the series, which focused on overseas bands. This second installment of the overseas edition marks the first ‘7’ series posting in quite a while, and hopefully we’ve put together a collection of bands here that you’ll enjoy and be glad you heard. The ‘7’ series is all about artists and bands, usually DIY, sometimes signed, who sent their music in for review via the submission form (located on the About page).
So why 7? Well, it’s a lucky number, and because 5 seems a bit too few (considering the number of standout submissions we receive) and 10 a bit too many for one post. And to boot, we like to do things differently. Most of the bands are DIY and have not been profiled anywhere online, let alone a site with more than a million page views a month. However, these bands are a little bit different in the fact that a few are popular overseas, but have yet to break out in the states.
7 Overseas Bands You’ve Gotta Hear
- The Amsterdams – Bucharest, Romania
- The Mouth of Ghosts – London, England
- The Uncanny Valley – Manchester, England
- Mojo Waves – Helsinki, Finland
- Esther – Sverige, Sweden
- Thieves – Auckland, New Zealand
- Silicon Ballet – Brussels, Belgium
The Amsterdams – Bucharest, Romania
Unsigned indie pop quintet The Amsterdams are not based in the Netherlands, but rather the capital city of Bucharest, Romania. The five members of the band hail from different cities in Romania, and met at the University in Bucharest. The band has a loyal following throughout Europe, but would like to make a splash on America’s shores. Why they haven’t already is a bit of a mystery to us, as are many artists we feature every month – and often the only major indie site on the web that does. Good music needs to be heard.
The band’s music is essentially indie pop and rock, but more recently, more experimental – clacking drum sticks, bass rumbles, exotic bird sounds, waves of synth notes, handclaps, sound effects, crashing cymbals, guitar licks, repetitive lyrics, and pitchy vocals. Since forming in 2006, they have opened for bands like Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs and Whitest Boy Alive, among others. The Amsterdams influences include artists such as Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Before launching into their newest single, “Sunology,” give a spin to two other songs like we dig from the band (and which offers a snapshot of their musical evolution since 2009) – the first from the 2009 debut LP, Adolessons that contains, among other songs, the standout track, “Laika” and the second, the single, “A Part of It” from the 2011 sophomore release, Electromagnetica. In addition to the band’s particularly impressive talents, you’ve got to give them credit for also having such a strong command of English (they sing in English, not Romanian) that they can come up with a creative play on words for a debut album title, Adolessons – which is silly to a degree, but thought-provoking and appropriate as well. In addition, we also included the music video (above) for the track, “Chased By Housewives.”
“Laika” – The Amsterdams from Adolessons (2009)
Just a few months ago, The Amsterdams released a catchy new song that may be a sample from a new album set to drop in 2013. The new single, “Sunology,” is a great track to warm you up and combat the winter dreariness, cold and darkness, and probably one of the best rarely heard songs of 2012 (more ‘rarely heard’ in coming weeks). In September, the band was the first band to perform during the premiere of Romania’s MTV Unplugged.
“Sunology” – The Amsterdams from Sunology single – July 19th
The Mouth of Ghosts – London, England
If you’re a Bjork fan, you might dig this latest single from the London band, The Mouth of Ghosts. The self-proclaimed indie/alt/trip-hop quintet got together last year. Their debut single, “When The Sun Sets,” reveals the bands’ sexy alt-rock textures and layers of atmosphere and intrigue.
The band prides itself on a unique creation – a fusion of alternative rock and trip-hop, with lashings of atmospherics and an underlying tension. Last year, founding band members Simon Langford and Marco Italia met vocalist Alla Seydalieva, matching her sensual vocals with haunting, ragged guitar melodies and moody bass thumping. Soon after, drummer Phil Page joined the band, followed by Valerie Deniz (vocals, synth) earlier this year to complete the outfit. This past August, the band signed with the small indie label, Red Dragon Records. The single ‘When The Sun Sets’ was released on October 29th 2012 (with “Close” as a B-side), and has already received support from BBC Radio 6 as well as numerous other stations throughout the U.K.
“When The Sun Sets” – The Mouth Of Ghosts from When The Sun Sets – Oct. 29th
The Uncanny Valley – Manchester, England
A three-piece DIY alternative rock band from Manchester, England, The Uncanny Valley formed earlier this year, and not long after, were chosen to open for the popular indie rock band Jeff The Brotherhood. That is a clear signal for any band that things are off to a good start. There are bands that have been working their arses off for years to get a supporting gig like that. The Uncanny Valley caught on so quickly in Manchester that they’ve been getting airplay throughout the U.K. recently. Based on the two songs they sent us not long ago, we can see (well, hear) why.
Guitarist Nathan Day tells IRC that the formation of the band was actually an elaborate “trick” that turned out to be a good move by all involved, unwittingly or not. “I self released music online under the pseudonym ‘The Uncanny Valley,’ which due to the beauty of the Internet, quickly attracted attention from two fellow college students and cleaners who I then semi-tricked into starting the band with. They asked if they could be session musicians for my music so I agreed with the intention of quickly persuading them to make it a full on band which happened pretty much straight away.”
Day describes the band’s sound as “dark and eerie rock and roll with punchy overtones.” He said the band’s top musical influences include Jeff The Brotherhood, The Dresden Dolls, Jeff Buckley, John Frusciante, and Nicky Wire.
Finnish Band Mojo Waves on American Shores
Mojo Waves is a rock trio from Helsinki, Finland, formed in late 2011 to pursue creating “the attitude and the spirit of what rock music used to be in the past.” It’s unpredictable, personal and energetic. Although influenced by vast amount of bands, their sound is unique, and impossible to categorize. Whether intentionally or not, there are songs like “Yeasayer” that sound like they were produced with a page torn from the musical textbook of Jack White – raunchy, raw, lightning-stricken garage rock grit hammered out with a menacing intensity.
Although the band has commented that they feel a “spiritual connection with the rock music of the past,” you do not get the sense that they simply lift sounds and styles as much as they creatively infuse them into their tracks. According to the band, the main goal of the band is to make their own personal songs that they can be proud of, and to perform as many gigs as possible.
“Live music is what music has always been about,” band member Mikko Matikka told IRC, “and that’s what the band loves most.” For a band that only formed a little more than a year ago, Mojo Waves show a lot of promise, and are easily a band to watch in 2013, as are every band featured in this series. Although they have not opened for another band that we know of , Mojo Waves count among their biggest musical influences artists like MC5, Truckfighters, Fu Manchu, and Brant Bjork. But it’s hard to believe those artists are the band’s only influences. Either way, this band rocks and are definitely an overseas band to watch in 2013.
“Yeasayer” – Mojo Waves from Enjoy, Don’t Destroy EP – July 4th
Thieves – Auckland, New Zealand
From Auckland, New Zealand, the DIY indie band Thieves released their self-recorded, produced and distributed second EP, Thieves 2, on August 18th. The talented young band, from the land of kiwis and the filming of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, belt out dark riffs and groovy rhythms, but their sound is a bit more complex than that. The band experiments with genres and sounds, and underneath the impressive noise is the revelation of some terrific songwriting. There are influences of indie rock, power pop, krautrock, post punk, all infused with defiant, yet well-crafted, harmonies, hooks, melodies and top-rate vocals.
“The potent ‘Microcosm’ opens the album and transports us back to the mid 80s where serious looking men in black made seriously brooding music (a la Depeche Mode, Killing Joke, or Echo & The Bunnymen),” wrote Under The Radar.
“Microcosm” – Thieves from Thieves 2 EP – Aug. 18th
Silicon Ballet – Brussels, Belgium
Following the release of the peculiar and ethereal EP, Utopia, the Belgium band, Silicon Ballet recently regrouped under the direction of Gareth Parton (Go! Team, The Breeders), to record an EP of new material. The first single is the title track from a forth-coming EP. The song, “Slowly, Slowly” is a dreamy, mellow ‘slow pop’ track that reminded us immediately of The Clientele.
The Slowly Slowly EP has yet to fully emerge from behind the shroud of mystery that appears to surround Silicon Ballet, but it’s fair to assume that if the rest of the EP is along the lines of the fine work of the title track, the EP should be rather special – “albeit,” the band told IRC, “hampered by delays in mixing, mastering, postal issues, etc. – metaphorically speaking, the view was well worth the climb.”
“‘Slowly, Slowly’ is embued with a gentle, elegance that says everything it needs to without raising its voice above a considered whisper…the regular plod of automata set against the organic ebb and flow of strings is a far cry from the chaotic Wilsonisms of [the] previous single ‘Sunglasses,’ or the spooked, nightmarish hubbub of Utopia, but an altogether stunning and welcome counterpoint to the pandemonium on the other side of the imaginary force field the song creates.”
Last February, the band released their debut five-track EP, Utopia, which includes a couple of standout tracks like “Victory” and “Sunglasses.”
“Slowly Slowly” – Silicon Ballet from Slowly Slowly single – Nov. 19th
Did you enjoy these bands? Let us know via the Comments box below, or via Twitter (@IndieRockCafe) and Facebook. There are many more great bands you probably never heard of before in the pipeline to be published in coming weeks and months, and plenty to explore and listen to via the archives. There are many entry points to archived posts and special playlists – via the frontpage categories, the tag cloud, the search box, the month-to-month drop-down menu in the right column – definitely no shortage of entry points to find more great music and bands.
Literally, you could spend half a year listening, reading and downloading songs from IRC and still not get to half of the artists and bands we’ve featured over the years – many who are under the radar – or another way of saying under-rated and under-appreciated, yet have put out some of the best music in the past five years since we started out as a place to share music with friends (never realizing it would blow up into the popularity IRC has today). We do this to share music with as many people as possible, as well as to provide an outlet for talented artists and bands that often get lost in the crowded field of bands trying to get a little love for their blood, sweat and tears. That’s why we do this. If you’ve been a long-time follower of IRC, you know what we’re talking about.
Originally from upstate New York, DIY musician Matt Script moved to Chicago a few years ago to further his career as a freelance composer, musician and artist. We were stuck right from the get-go by Script’s obvious talents as a songwriter and singer and musician. The track that caught our attention from his submission was “Erasmus,” with it’s bright acoustic guitar and harp playing and mixing, it’s uptempo style and winding melodies, not to mention Script’s agreeable vocals that demonstrate quite a range. We’ve been playing the song, and some of his other tracks, over and over again. The guitar playing reminds us a lot of a musician name Michael Hedges who used to play this type of feedback/looping effect back in the 1980s, but Script says he is not aware of Hedges’ work.
“Erasmus” – Matt Script from Thru The Noise
Script wrote “Erasmus” as a “therapy session” for the homesickness and isolation he was feeling for his native Buffalo while studying abroad in Rome. “I naively romanticized about the deep connections I would make with the [Italian] people only to find that I felt just as lost, if not more lost, than I felt in Chicago. The ‘games’ referred to in the song to what we have to do to fit into society just to feel included I guess. The chorus is a paraphrased quote from Augustus, the roman emperor, when he said, “I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.” . I used electric, acoustic, and nylon string guitars.
The second track, “Called,” has a wonderful looping or feedback type of drone to it, and it occurred to us that at times Script sounds a bit like another Matt, that is, the artist known as Matt Pond PA. Not surprisingly, Scripts says that he is a big fan of Pond, especially his earlier releases, including the fantastic album, Several Arrows Later, which has been featured on IRC in the past.
“I’m huge fan of his,” Scripts said. “Several Arrows Later is one of my favorite albums. I like a lot of his earlier stuff. “Measure 3″ might be one of my all time favorite songs too. I think that’s fair to say [his influence] definitely ingrained in my roots.”
A talented artist is able to do a lot with just a few simple instruments, strong lyrics, computer programs, plug-ins and gear, a well-honed, natural voice, and a genuine talent for music. Script combines all of these elements with excellent results again and again. Another track that showcases the diversity of his skills is “The Noise,” a track that also include drums loops, electric guitar, crashing cymbals and piano. While he has been known to label his music “urban folk loop,” which is a new sub-genre for us, Script successfully dabbles with other influences, ranging from pop and experimental to rock and ambient.
“Called” – Matt Script from Thru The Noise
His looping effects on electric and acoustic guitars are impressive and refreshing because you don’t hear these particular effects often. He writes on this Bandcamp page that Thru The Noise “explores the role of noise in our everyday lives.” That may be a bit, and unintentionally, misleading conceptually because in that case one would expect perhaps the album would contain a lot of sound samples and effects of actual everyday noises; there are some, but not to the extent that that would be the summation of the album. It’s much more of a well-structure and instrument and vocals-driven album than the quote implies.
He also released a fantastic five-track EP in June called Permatransience, from which the next single, “Caught Up,” is taken. Another song from that EP, “La Di Di” is a cheerful, upbeat song that also sounds like a Pond-influenced track, and the Simon and Garfunkel-like acoustic track, “Once You’re Awake,” is yet another accomplishment by Script, as is the title track, with its almost Spanish guitar style playing and poignant lyrics. Each song is a unique example of Script’s impressive skills as a singer/songwriter and musician.
“Caught Up” – Matt Script from Permatransience
Interestingly, Script is also a member of the band Wait, What? , which was featured on IRC not long ago via the In Dee Mail profile series. Even more interesting, and most particularly to Harry Potter fans, is the fact that the band were recently tapped to play the music for one of the popular Harry Potter musical parodies by Star Kid Potter, a group of University of Michigan theatre students whose videos have gone viral in the past couple of years. Their official YouTube channel has already received a combined 140 million views worldwide and in the past couple of years have out paced Glee and Lady Gaga on iTunes. Script said the video his band is playing in for Star Kid Potter is in production now.
Script also has five other releases dating back to 2006 available to stream/download via his Bandcamp page. His favorite bands include The National, Fleet Foxes, Ratatat, The Black Keys, Grimes, and The Kinks. In fact, he said The Kinks’ 1967 album Face to Face, was his favorite of the band’s 30+ LPs.
From Winnipeg, Canada, the band Departures are perhaps one of the most understated new bands of 2012. The band’s constantly shifting post punk and indie rock influences are apparent in the tangle of angular melodies, layering of guitars, shadowy synths, understated rhythms, and vocals that range from hauntingly hushed to shouting, throughout their debut album, Still and Moving Lines, which has been earning the band the all-important ‘blogger buzz’ and increasingly, recognition from the more mainstream, established press.
“For a band that’s only one album in,” wrote Evan Minsker of Pitchfork, “it’s impressive that they can seamlessly execute so many sonic shifts.” Tim Sendra, who writes for the All Music Guide, gave the album 4.5 stars out of five, writing: “…most of the album is restrained and doles out its pleasures in less immediate fashion. It may take a little effort to get to the pleasures…but it is definitely worth it because Still and Moving Lines is an impressively assured debut.”
Still and Moving Lines is a ‘grower’ – generally, the more you listen to it, the more likely you’re bound to come to appreciate just how good it is. The song that stands out the most on the first spin is “Pillars.” The blazing, melodic guitar jamming countered with edgier power chords, frantic rhythms, crashing cymbals, and shouting vocals on “Pillars” makes it seemingly the most accessible tracks on the album.
“Pillars” – Departures from
The loudest, most energetic songs on the LP were wisely put back-to-back at the top of the track listing. But first, the opening track of the album is the haunting 72-second “At Rest, at Home,” followed by “Pillars” and “Being There,” the latter is a nearly five-minute onslaught of loud, distorted guitar layers grinding away, rapid-fire bass thumping, and furious drumming.
Departures takes the listener on adventurous, mysterious sonic journeys throughout the course of the 10-track LP, from melancholic electric experimentation, free form angular guitar jams and sluggish rhythms to full-on screeching, angst-driven walls of noise comprised of tangled, chaotic blasts of reverb and feedback. A couple of worthwhile examples include songs like “Cartwright, MB” and “Contempt.”
Another highlight (among many) on the album is the muffled “Winter Friend,” which conveys a sense of the frigid, isolating environment where nearly half of the year is spent indoors to stay warm. The song starts out with an erie, David Lynch meets X-Files sounding synth, and like other tracks on the album, it slowly builds momentum to a raucous climax. For the band members, the long days of darkness and confinement lend themselves to endless hours of practice, experimentation and honing their skills, which undoubtably facilitated the writing, recording and mixing of a superb album and one of the best debuts of 2012.
“Winter Friend” – Departures from
The standout song, “Being There,” provides total bliss for lovers of lo-fi post punk where fuzzy, noisy guitars are on a rampage, blazing away unabated. The track also has the best guitar solo of any other on the album. The rhythm section is an integral aspect throughout the album as “Being There” demonstrates – the rhythm is bold, energetic, and calculating, somehow exerting a controlled anarchy. Switching gears, the track “Sleepless” is one of the most upbeat songs on the album, with atmospheric synth riffs, bongo style drumming, some “ooohs and ahhhs” and the calming, hushed vocals of Nicholas Liang, who is often a backdrop to the near constant wall of sound found throughout the LP.
“Sleepless” – Departures from
Of the instrumental tracks on the album, the most memorable and poignant is found within the sweet sounds of “Swimming,” a track that conjures up all kinds of relaxing, hazy summer day images, like floating on a raft on a peaceful river surrounded by orange walled canyons, and serving as a contrast to the icier recordings on the album. One of the best aspects of Still and Moving Lines, in addition to its overall brilliance, is that there is absolutely no pandering to appeal to a mass audience. After spinning the album a number of times, listeners may detect the warmth underneath what is often a cold, hard exterior, and possibly come to the conclusion that, in the final analysis, Departures are a jam band, and a very talented one at that. In addition to being one of the best debut albums of 2012, Still and Moving Lines has put Departures on our list for the breakout bands of the year.
“Swimming” – Departures from
Mexico City Indie Pop Band, The Plastics Revolution, Releases a Stop-Motion Music Video Created with Instagram
The peppy Mexico City-based indie pop band, The Plastics Revolution, have been making news this week with the release of a colorful, stop-motion music video that was shot from hundreds of photos that were processed through the popular app Instagram. The band claims that it is the first music video of its kind to be made using Instagram.
San Francisco filmmaker Art Perez, who directed the video, says he shot a total of 1,095 still photos around San Francisco and processed them all through Instagram using various filters. The final effect has the feel of a video and is set to the likable, upbeat track, “Invasion.” The band’s Vimeo page reads: “Every single frame of this music video is an actual picture that we ran through Instagram. We never shot any video. We only shot still photography.”
Perez told the Huff Post: “I live in SF and it’s the perfect background for a colorful music video. No other city compares.” However, it’s not entirely clear from the Huff Post article how Perez is associated with the band or what type of camera was used to take the still shots since they were obviously not taken with an iPhone camera. That said, the flow of hundreds of story-telling photos makes it feel very much like a video. The music video is really an impressive accomplishment – fun and lively, richly textured, wonderfully choreographed and extremely well produced, especially to have been done with the aid of Instagram – a still photo app. In the past few days, the video has already had nearly 100,000 views.
Media Claims of ‘First-Ever’ Music Video Made with Instagram a Bit Misleading
There has been a bit of confusion floating around about “Invasion” being the ‘first-ever’ music video made with Instagram, as blogs like The Huff Post reported. London musician Ellie Goulding created a similar video in August after asking fans to submit Instagram photos to be used for the lyrics video of the song, “Anything Could Happen.” But clearly, the time-lapsed, story-telling timeline of “Invasion” is far superior and much more like a traditional music video, and therefore, may very well be the ‘first’ in that respect. The video for “Invasion” tells the story of a young couple’s adventures in San Francisco as they follow a map they found in an abandoned bottle.
The band’s official Vimeo page that hosts the video includes all of the credits in the making of the ‘InstaVideo.’ The band, in reply to comments left, wrote that they ‘shot’ in full Instagram dimensions of 1920×1920. They also claimed to have used Instagram filters like Amaro, Rise, X-pro II, Brannan, Nashville and 1977.
However, the band doesn’t seem interested in answering other questions in the comment thread about what equipment was used to take the still photos, since, the photos were clearly not taken with an iPhone or Android smartphone camera. The closest we could come to an answer was this shot from Perez’s own Vimeo page of his gear.
Make no mistake about it – the time-lapsed video, in which Instagram was one tool used to help create it, is fantastic. It also does justice in representing San Francisco’s varied and gorgeous environs – the natural, topographical, cultural, and architectural characteristics of the iconic city, one which was spurred by the world’s most famous gold rush, decimated by earthquake and fire in 1906, and rose from the ashes and rubble to retake its place as a world class city once again.
An official website for The Plastics Revolution is difficult to find (there is another band of the same name minus the pluralization of ‘plastic’), but they do have the Vimeo page and a Bandcamp page for those interested in hearing more music from the band’s two releases. They’re not entirely unknown. In March of 2011, The Plastics Revolution performed at South by Southwest in Austin and were profiled on the SXSW page, which included the song, “Karina,” their first single release.
“Kibera” – The Plastics Revolution from King Bono Vs. Los Flight Simulators – Aug. 29th
With a band name like The Crookes, it’s understandable to conjure up the image of a band of scruffy, rebel-rousing, hard-drinking young hoodlums stirring up mischief and banging out angst-driven punk rock songs. But instead, this Sheffield-based band delivers retro pop rock blended with elements of the C86 sound of the post punk era.
The Crookes first caught our attention some time ago with their second single, “Chorus of Fools,” a jingle-jangle tune with an infectious beat and rhythm, topped with just a touch of indie folk pop, and sprinkled with lyrics born out of English kitchen-sink literature. The band’s overall sound is decidedly The Smiths, Orange Juice, Coral, The Arctic Monkeys, and early Libertines. With the continuous flood of new wave synth acts seemingly coming far and wide, The Crookes offer a refreshing escape into the realm of bliss pop.
This summer, the band released their sophomore LP, Hold Fast, which demonstrates their love for mixing elements of alternative rock, post punk and heavily melodic indie pop/post punk as demonstrated on songs like “Where Did Our Love Go?,” and “Maybe in the Dark.”
In addition to a string of well-received singles, The Crookes raised their profile in the U.K. and Europe over the past couple of years by endlessly touring, hitting all the major U.K. and European cities with enthusiastic crowds to greet them. But they have yet to break-through in the U.S. Perhaps one song from the LP that aims to change that is the catchy track, “American Girls,” although it’s not among the top three standout songs on Hold Fast (listen to the entire album via Spotify).
For fans of jangly guitars, soaring vocals and light pop tracks with tinges of alternative rock, British style, the album is an enjoyable listening experience. The title track, “Hold Fast” and “Afterglow” (watch video above) are some of the more energetic, toe-tappers on the album, featuring high octane synths riffs and ‘ooh ooh’ sing along choruses. More tamed and deep, the spectacular track, “Sal Paradise,” shows off the band’s penchant for retro pop rock.
The Crookes’ Debut EP and LP Set the Stage for Their Popularity in the U.K. and Europe
The single “Chorus of Fools,” was released as a single from the band’s October 2010 release, Dreams of Another Day, an EP that raised the band’s profile in Europe and the UK, and started the momentum that snowballed in 2011 after The Crookes were featured as a Band of the Day in the The Guardian. On BBC Radio 1, popular deejay Steve Lamacq, who proclaimed in 2011 that The Crookes were his ‘favourite British band of the year,” described the band as having “ambition and flare and a singer with a beautiful voice; one of those special, poetic voices which dips and soars above their jangling guitars.”
The band’s 2009 debut double single , A Collier’s Wife/By The Seine, released through the Too Pure Singles Club (part of the Beggars’ Group label), was the fastest selling single ever for Too Pure, with all pre-orders selling out in a matter of days. But together with their 2010 debut EP, Dream of Another Day and especially their debut album, Chasing After Ghosts, released in March of 2011, that really got the ball rolling.
In the spirit of the season, here is a rare 2009 Christmas single, “It’s Just Not Christmas Without You,” from the band, which was not part of an official release. The song comes courtesy of ‘the Rolling Stone magazine of the U.K.,’ New Musical Express (commonly referred to as NME), which was one of the publications that initially helped launch the band into the spotlight on the U.K. indie music scene.
“It’s Just Not Christmas Without You” – The Crookes (2009)