In Dee Mail
Of the hundreds of submissions received each month, we filter through various tiers and listen again and again to the ‘final’ selections to come up with the songs and artists that are featured regularly in the Dee Mail series. Other songs we like from email submissions are routinely included in other playlist mixes like One Man Bands, Almost Missed Releases, Best New Releases, to name a few. Over the past couple of years, In Dee Mail has become fairly popular with IRC readers and visitors.
In Dee Mail 2010, Vol. VI: Paperfangs, The Smiles, Voxhaul Broadcast, Loon Choir, Olina, Stormy Mondays, Transmission Fields
In Dee Mail is an ongoing, and wildly popular, mixtape series that focuses on artists and bands who often fly under the radar but demonstrate remarkable talent, skill, depth and promise, and therefore need to be heard by more DIY and indie music lovers. Sometimes the best music is that which you have yet to hear.
Over the years, we have profiled thousands of incredibly talented artists and bands, many of which were DIY and sent their music in for review using the submission form on the About page. It through this submission form that millions of people have heard and enjoyed some of the best DIY, small label and under the radar artists posted on the web from 2007 to the present day. This latest mix of In Dee Mail is a fantastic, enthralling and heartfelt playlist of songs from promising bands like Paperfangs, Voxhaul Broadcast, The Smiles, Loon Choir, Olina, The Shape of the Earth, Stormy Mondays, Pretty Birds That Kill, Transmission Fields and Motive for Movement. This mix includes music that you don’t want to miss. Let us know what you think in the Comments section; do you have a favorite song or band? Tell us and win a CD or a special drawing. We often pick our favorite comments as winners.
Paperfangs – Finland
Paperfangs, a new indie electro-pop trio from Finland, is shooting arrows at our lil’ indie hearts thanks to a splendid cover of Kiss Kiss Fantastic‘s “Violet,” not to mention a couple of sweet originals as well, especially the track, “The Vastest Plains.” Paperfangs dreamy, synth-oozing sound, with its hazy vocals, xylophonic pop infusions, jangly guitars and mysteriously comforting reverb is a perfect fit for fans of the “chill wave” and “glo-fi” movements. But Paperfangs deliver a more minimalistic product that allows the brilliant simplicity of their music to shine.
“Violet (Kiss Kiss Fantastic)” – Paperfangs from Eardrum Pop
“The Vastest Plains” – Paperfangs from Eardrum Pop
The Smiles – Los Angeles, CA
While none of the band members grew up close by the ocean, The Smiles, like to call their sound “beach rock.” Along with the chill wave craze, the more pop-oriented ‘beach surf’ or ‘tropical’ rock movement (i.e., The Drums) is also a hopping scene these days. So, in one sense, The Smiles are just another beach rock band, but in reality they could be a break-through band in 2011 with the right management.
The four band members are Los Angeles area college students who began performing together last year. In a relatively short period of time, the band became the most popular band on the campus of the University of South California. Last fall, the band raised $2,000 on KickStarter to record their debut EP, Hermosa.
The Smiles have opened for Thee Oh Sees, Sherwood, and The Entrance Band, and not surprisingly, count among their main influences, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, The Strokes and Vampire Weekend.
“Swimming” – The Smiles from Hermosa Beach EP – May 14th
“Cala Cola” – The Smiles from Hermosa Beach
Voxhaul Broadcast, a totally DIY, unsigned rock band from Los Angeles, have been making waves lately beyond LA, where they are pretty dang popular. They were featured a number of times in NME, as well as Daytrotter, KCRW and the BBC. Still unsigned, the band stands out not just for their memorable rock and soul sound, but the fact that their MySpace page has almost one million views. However, we do know that they recently hired a big agency to book gigs for them.
“Leaving on the 5th “ – Voxhaul Broadcast
The Shape of the Earth – Los Angeles, CA
From the moment we heard the track, “You Can Only Get So Lonely,” Los Angeles band, The Shape of the Earth, founded by singer/songwriter Gavin Bascom, have been candidates for this playlist series. This little slice of indie folk brilliance is easily one of the best new indie folk songs of 2010, in a year where the whole ‘chillwave/bliss pop’ or whatever you call it thing has dominated the indie airwaves. We’re also featuring another song from the band’s 2009 debut LP.
“You Can Only Get So Lonely” – The Shape of the Earth from The Romantics EP
“Separate Lives” - The Shape of the Earth from Do I Dare Disturb The Universe?
Loon Choir – Ottawa, Canada
Ottawa, Canada indie rock synth pop band Loon Choir released their impressive debut album, Expansion Forces in May, but have yet to be featured on a popular blog or music site, until now. been and have been slowly rising in the eyes of bloggers, critics and fans. The band blends high 0ctane snyth notes, reverb and percussions to create addictive power pop, especially on the track, “Bricks”. Keep ears and eyes out for Loon Choir.
“Bricks” – Loon Choir from Expansion Forces
“New Forewarnings” – Loon Choir from Expansion Forces
Olina – Portland, OR
Why this Portland, Oregon band, Olina, are not more well-known is a bit of a head-scratcher. After listening to a number of songs from Olina, we are definitely impressed. The lead track here, “Madness and Methods,” is the one that we’ve been listening to the most. It starts out with a mysterious gloom accomplished with a few guitar and violin notes and then paces into a verse-heavy, melodic stage that eventually builds up and breaks out into an almost spooky chorus, followed by a slow down, and then, to finish it off, a 20 second little jam.
The next track, “As If You Cared” is essentially a love song of the broken heart sort, accented with minimal instrumentation, allowing the band’s fine vocals, and the lyrics, to stand out. By the end of the song, you’d swear you were listening to a hybrid of Pearl Jam and Radiohead.
“Madness and Methods” – Olina from Olina
“As if You Cared” – Olina from Olina
Stormy Mondays – Oviedo, Spain
From Oviedo, Spain, singer/songwriter and guitarist Jorge Otero is the heart of the band Stormy Mondays. The band released their newest album, Nothing On My Radio, on June 17th. The title track is uptempo pop rock song about the frustrations of not being able to find anything good to listen to on the radio. It’s not really as relevant a song that it would have been 15 years ago before the Internet, iPods and 99-cent downloads changed everything. The second track, “Weathermen,” is a whimsical story about a weatherman with a catchy, syrupy hook and a full horn section – whether true flesh and blood performers or a horn tracking created by a synthesizer.
Otero’s biggest musical moment, he told IRC, was playing on stage with Bruce Springsteen at New Jersey’s 2006 Light of Day Festival, and what turned out to be a disaster (rioting, food shortages, vandalism, violence) of a 30th anniversary for the original 1969 Woodstock music festival – the seminal outdoor music festival of a generation lost in space. Stormy Mondays entered a fan-voting competition for AMP3.com’s Emerging Artists Stage at Woodstock ’99, and won. Stormy Mondays has also toured Europe with Elliott Murphy, Willie Nile, Cindy Bullens, and Joe Grushecky.
“An indie band with a record released on a tiny label was the first Spanish band to ever play [the] Woodstock festival,” Otero said. “We went on right before John Entwistle [The Who's bassist] and we killed. We had the time of our lives!”
“Nothing On My Radio” – Stormy Mondays from Nothing On My Radio – June 17th
“Weatherman” – Stormy Mondays from Nothing On My Radio
Pretty Birds That Kill – Anchorage, AK
From Anchorage, the biggest city in the American tundra of Alaska, the recently emerging musical duo known as Pretty Birds That Kill, serve up a sweet blend of electro pop and new wave mixed with garage rock and blues. On the track, “Anarchy in the AK”, the band unleash an organ-infused bluesy rock jam with spoken vocals and raunchy guitar rthyms.
“Telephone” has a spacey 1960′s psychedelic lo-fi vibe that floats along for the entirety. Not many bands can pull off an instrumental with so few instruments, and hardly any note variations, but PBTK nails it with “Telephone.” The duo are currently on their first cross-country tour. PBTK’s latest EP, Freedom For Freaks, features six tracks with an eight-page lyrical booklet.
“Anarchy in the AK” - Pretty Birds That Kill from Freedom for Freaks – released June 18th
“Telephone” – Pretty Birds That Kill from Freedom for Freaks
Transmission Fields – Charlotte, NC
Indie rock band Transmission Fields is a rock/powerpop collective of musicians from Charlotte with members from Chicago, Atlanta, and St. Louis. The band released their debut self-titled album on August 10th. The band has opened for Athenaeum, The Verve Pipe, and Marcy Playground, and include among their biggest influences Radiohead, Wilco, REM, and Ben Kweller.
“Did It Wrong” – Transmission Fields from Transmission Fields
“Air/Lungs” – Transmission Fields from Transmission Fields
Motion for Movement – Tulsa, OK
Motion for Movement is a Britpop, shoegaze, ambient and progressive indie band from Tulsa, Oklahoma who have opened for bands like Copeland, Eagles of Death Metal, Sparta, and The Ataris. Motion for Movement are completely DIY, unsigned, and were named one of the best hard rock bands in Oklahoma by The Tulsa World.
“Cast” – Motion For Movement from Our Concrete Neighbors – July 13th
“Of Priests And Presidents” – Motion For Movement from Our Concrete Neighbors
In Dee Mail 2010, Vol. V: People On The Moon, The KABBs, Non-Commissioned Officers, Skytone, Kate Martin
In Dee Mail playlists have been one of the most popular features of Indie Rock Cafe for a couple of years now. The series has uncovered an amazing array of talented artists and bands from across the United States, and throughout the world. They are singer and songwriters, shoegaze rock bands, indie orchestra pop collectives, and one man glo-fi introverts with a MacBook and cheap gear.
So far this year, we’ve had SO many great songs sent to us by artists and bands that most people have never heard of, but we’ve also fallen a bit behind. The tremendous amount of work that goes into reviewing dozens and dozens of submissions to pick the best few from each lot is time-consuming, but rewarding. We do our best to keep up with all of the submissions, but it’s time to play some catch up.
Over the next few weeks, there will be a number of In Dee Mail Special Edition posts. Chances are most of the music you hear in these posts you will not hear anywhere else. We also encourage you to click on the In Dee Mail category link above to listen to and download past mixes in this series; full of great songs from bands you’ve probably never heard of.
Crank up the grit and get ready to rock with this freakish mix of Black Sabbath and The White Stripes from Chico, California rock band People on the Moon. The band definitely got our attention with this track, and we’ve spun it already probably half a dozen times. Home-grown, psychedelic garage rock, tinged with Rush-era keys, is a rare species these days on indie rock blogs and websites. The only issue with have with this band is the name; it doesn’t really match the style of the music.
“Falls” – People On The Moon
San Diego’s The KABBs spit bluesy lyrics as a steady romp and angling guitar chords simmer along side a thumping bass. We’ve got them officially on radar now as another band to watch, among so many others. Now let’s see them catch a little fire from all of you out there with the ears for what works and doesn’t.
“Golden and Blue” – The KABBs
“Down This Road” – The KABBs
Non-Commissioned Officers first came to our attention after we featured the impressive indie rock band The Vermicious K’nids – the latter of was a Band to Watch in February; and which was a big hit with all of you at the time. And for good reason – they rock! Some of the band members from VK also play hooky with The Non-Commissioned Officers, and they went ahead and sent a couple of tracks that we have to share with you.
“Just North” – Non-Commissioned Officers
“Love Will Conquer All” - Non-Commissioned Officers
A couple of months ago, we featured a couple of songs from the band Stockholm and they received a positive response from IRC readers and visitors. Spirited and upbeat, almost epic, perfectly timed transitions, the seedlings of a band to keep an eye and ear out for, even if they do sound a bit too Billboard, teeny bopper oriented.
“Bad By Design” - Stockholm
Set worlds apart from the grit and naughtiness of the first artists in this mix, Kate Martin is the refreshing anti-thesis, with her sweet, well-honed vocals, and nice girl folk pop persona. But there’s a not-so-innocent story here.
“Lua” - Kate Martin
River City Extension
OK, so, we’re going to switch gears again here, and take a trip down to New Jersey? (yes) to hear the spirited, full-throttle countryish folk rock with horns on the track “Friends and Family” from a band making a big splash in our little Conor Oberst greets the Avett Brothers pond. For those of you who are really up on their music, you may have seen this band opening at one time for bands from CAKE to Gogol Bordello, and Floggy Molly to Manchester Orchestra.
“Friends and Family” – River City Extension
This next band brings us back to childhood days of AM pop rock radio. Make us feel shinny, happy and warm. This is a high-octane, sugary summer song that sounds like Seals and Crofts on Planet Cheeky Clean. But, admit it, we all have a little bit of sap in our blood. And, to boot, it has such a charm of unity and love. The band, Skytone, sound like pros, and regardless of this track’s squikie sweet blissfulness, are sure to make some fans among our loyal readers.
“We Are One” – Skytone
Backball False, Truth
The following songs are the work of one guy from New York City with the unusual name moniker, Backball False, Truth! We included both the songs he sent in; yet another one man band that impresses us (by the way, we have another installment of One Man Bands coming soon).
“De Rigueur” – Backball, False, Truth!
“We Will Be Realized” – Backball, False, Truth!
And, others that we simply don’t have time to write about. But the music speaks for itself.
“Cruise That Voice” - James Melaugh
“BMX” – City of Satellites
“Cabin in the Woods” - Alarma Man
“Drinking Song” – Loveseat
“Machines” - Cousin Dud
In Dee Mail 2010, Vol. IV: Opus Orange, The Migrant, Joe Gil, Peephole, Ideals, Luge, Sonen, Millstead, Cuckoo Chaos
The music submissions to Indie Rock Cafe from artists and bands around the world are piling up at a rate that makes it quite a challenge to keep up with. However, when we hear music we like – and there’s a lot of it – from artists and bands that most people – even online music fanatics – have never heard of, it is always a special moment when you hear something completely unexpected, unknown and new that you never heard before. And that’s music we share all of the time on IRC, and why we’re different than the follow-the-hits and the buzz blogs that saturate the web.
We receive tons of wonderful world from artists and bands around the world, and it’s a never-ending challenge to keep up with it all. For us, and many of our regular visitors over the years, the In Dee Mail series has become a cornerstone of Indie Rock Cafe’s identity because there are so many artists writing, recording and sharing splendid music that we would have probably never heard of unless they sent in their music to us for review.
Even though this mix presents artists and bands that most of you have probably never heard before, it is just a sampling of what’s to come in the ensuing weeks from our mailbag. In the meantime, sit back, fire up this playlist, read a little about the featured artists, and hopefully, you discover some music in today’s mix that you will cherish forever. To kick this off, we have a new song exclusive from an artist (who we’ve never been able to get a photo of) who has been a favorite here and on the web every time he sends us a new track.
Opus Orange – Santa Monica, California
Paul Bessenbacher is a successful commercial composer who has created music for various television commercials and TV shows. Chances are you’ve heard Paul’s music before, perhaps on The Last Comic Standing, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody and Stacked, or in commercials for Cadillac, Johnsonville Sausages, Tide, among others.
When he gets time away from his real job, Bessenbacher writes and records catchy tracks using the moniker us Orange. We just received this new track with Lauren Hillman, making it’s web premier here on IRC.
“Almost There” (with Lauren Hillman) – Opus Orange
“Nothing But Time” – Opus Orange
The Migrant – Denmark
The Migrant is a rising Danish musician Bjarke Bendtsen, whose travels in the U.S. served as the material for his debut LP, Travels in Lowland, due to drop on September 21st, with a companion album, Amerika, due in the spring of 2011.
“The Organ Grinder” - The Migrant from Travels in Lowland
Joe Gil – Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles singer/songwriter and musician Joe Gil caught our attention with his gorgeous vocals, clever story-telling and impressive songcrafting, most especially on the two tracks he sent us, “Wood Block” and “Packed Our Past”. Gil’s DIY debut EP will be released on Sept. 18th. We love these songs and can’t wait to hear more.
“Wood Block” – Joe Gil from s/t EP
“Packed Our Past” – Joe Gil from s/t EP
Peephole – Brooklyn, New York
Peephole is the moniker of singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Kent Odessa of Brooklyn. In the summer of 2008, Odessa began performing live with musicians he knew from around the city, and soon after released Peephole’s debut EP, Cold Dime – an impressive EP that demonstrates not only Odessa’s many talents, but his extraordinary range as an artist, drawing from lo-fi melancholy songs like “Name” to the raw, T. Rex style of “Guilty Boat” and “Black Topaz” – the latter two songs are among the best in the young man’s discography.
“Guilty Boat” – Peephole from Cold Dime (2009)
“Black Topaz” - Peephole from Cold Dime (2009)
Odessa then collaborated with producer Jeremy Jonas Cox, on the recording and release of his second 2009 EP, Strawberry Told Me. The stand out track on that EP is clearly “Who Will Love You Til The End?” . The funky pop sounds that dominant Strawberry has an unquestionable heavy influence from Prince.
“Who Will Love You Til The End?” - Peephole from Strawberry Told Me
After listening to all three of his free EPs, it’s apparent that there are so many layers to his music – various textures and influences from disco to pop and new wave to rock. Peephole’s latest EP, Crime Drama, is out now, and contains the two tracks found below. Let us know what you think.
“Silence for Kindness” – Peephole from Crime Drama (2010)
“Half a Soul” – Peephole, previously unreleased
Four young lads from London, who make up the band Ideals, have been on our radar this summer, and we still think they have strong potential to break-out at anytime. Last week, they sent us a brand new track, “Forever Leisure”.
“Forever Leisure” - Ideals
Luge – Mexico City, Mexico
Listening to Luge‘s music, you probably would never know they are a rock band from Mexico City. Taking that into consideration, and the fact that the band has never been written about online or in print, according to band member Gerardo Ocejo, we wanted to see what others think of Luge’s music; there are glimmers of potential here. Influenced by bands that range from Pixies to The Stones Roses and Fleetwood Mac to AC/DC, Luge released their debut LP on July 12th.
If you want to tell us what you think of this band, please use the Comments section below (does not require registration and it’s fast).
“Reborn” - Luge from Heartaches & Sunrises
“Empowered Son” – Luge from Heartaches & Sunrises
Sonen – Atlanta, Georgia
The Atlanta electro-dance-indie band Sonen recently sent their rocking dance track, “Head Down”, and the 80′s new wave meets rock sound of the song, “Vividly Blue” – a bit of B52′s and Devo going on in that. The band’s sound is dark and urgent, brimming with heavy melodies and Joy Division-like harmonies. They count among their influences Crystal Castles, The Pixies, Phantogram, and Orbital. Sonen’s EP is available for free download; just click their MySpace link below. Would love to hear what you all think.
“Head Down” – Sonen from Devious Devices
“Vividly Blue” – Sonen from Devious Devices
These United States – Kentucky and Washington, DC
Last fall, These United States, released their third album, Everything Touches Everything, which was well received by fans, bloggers and media critics. In fact, Spin gave the album four out of five stars, calling it “intoxicating,” adding it “brilliantly captures the overwhelming jolt of simply being alive.”
“Everything Touches Everything” - These United States from Everything Touches Everything (2009)
These United States also just released yet another new LP; although we prefer Everything Touches Everything, here’s one of the lead singles from their latest LP, What Lasts.
“The Great Rivers” - These United States from What Lasts (2010)
Millstead – New York, New York
Although they disbanded abruptly in November of 2009 for what they called “rock and roll cliche bullsh*t”, New York City’s Millsted left us with their debut LP, The Great Adventures Of The Gold Red Rocket. The band was a buzz band in NYC throughout 2008, especially during the city’s annual CMJ music marathon. At their height, the band had already amassed more than 1.5 million profile views on MySpace. Check out these two songs, the wall-of-noise, punk rock of “The Gold Red Rocket”, and the guitar-driven indie rock of the catchy track, “I Got Soul”.
“The Gold Red Rocket” – Millsted from The Great Adventures Of The Gold Red Rocket
“I Got Soul” – Millsted from The Great Adventures Of The Gold Red Rocket
Cuckoo Chaos – San Diego, California
Another band from San Diego, the interestingly named Cuckoo Chaos, is prepping for an expected release of their debut LP later this year. In the meantime, the band recently dropped their debut EP, We Are From Deerplants. After a decade of living as a nomad in America, Scott Wheeler found his version of utopia in San Diego in 2007, and immersed himself in the local music scene, which has spawned a bunch of break-out indie bands over the past 18 months or so, including Wavves, Avi Buffalo and Crocodiles.
“Slowly Counting Down to Nothing” – Cuckoo Chaos from We Are From Deerplants
Scattergun – Chicago, Illinois
Recently, the Chicago Americana indie rock band Scattergun released its debut LP, Fantasy Lounge, to perhaps understated coverage and reviews. The band members are well respected musicians in the Chicago area, and their songs feature the finer elements of country-influenced rock, including sharp melodies with sliding guitar riffs, moving rhthyms and well executed vocals.
“Tom Waits’ Boots” – Scattergun from Life at Fantasy Lounge
Woolen – Los Angeles, California
Woolen is a Los Angeles shoegaze-melodic pop band that came to our attention In Dee Mail. After sending us some of their songs from their new release out today, Dweller on the Threshold, we were impressed with their well executed sound, like pros that don’t yet have the pro status. The trio include among their biggest influences Red House Painters and Mark Kozelek, the heavy drone of Black Sabbath, and the ambient-noise of My Bloody Valentine. Somebody sign this band.
“I Will Find A Way” – Woolen from Dweller on the Threshold
“Feeding Time” – Woolen from Dweller on the Threshold
The Alphabet – Columbus, OH-Boston, MA
The Alphabet (previously known as Pretty Balanced) is a Columbus, Ohio-Boston, Mass. band that became something of an underground indie sensation during the latter half of the last decade. Recently, they got attention with the song, “Prosthetic Face,” a somewhat morbid story of a woman who decides that she wants a plastic surgeon to “carve up” her “ugly face.” The band members are mysteriously listed as Judith Jewcakes (voice, keyboard instruments); Parker Car (electric and upright bass) and Forest Creatures (percussion, violin).
The band describe themselves as a trio of young nerds with a fascination for “creating bubbly music on horribly morbid topics.” Their 2006 DIY debut, Icicle Bicycle, sold out, which was followed up in 2008 with a “perkier and more electronic-based” Conical Monocle, that led to a successful two-week string of concerts in Edinburgh, Scotland. Last year, the band released an EP, Scarlet Starlet.
The Nod – Madison, Wisconsin
As often happens with music we receive via email, we were surprised when we first heard the Madison, Wisconsin band The Nod why we hadn’t heard of them before. Formed in basements around the city of Madison in 2008, the band went through a number of line-up changes before deciding on three members to make-up the band: Brett Newski (lead vocals/guitars), Eric Maloney (bass/vocals) and Nate Devroy (drums).
On “Lie in All Honesty”, The Nod’s electric garage pop rock and punk attitude are hard to ignore, and which helped the band land opening spots for major artists like Third Eye Blind, OK Go, Cage the Elephant, Bowling for Soup, among others. The band includes among its influences The Strokes, The Pixies, Cake, Weezer, Elliott Smith, Montel Jordan, We Are Scientists, and Pavement.
According to the band, the album, Easy Maverick, is three years of work recorded in 30 days.
“Lie In All Honesty” - The Nod from Easy Maverick
“Vinyl Bluez” - The Nod from Easy Maverick
In Dee Mail 2010 Vol. III – Skeleton Jones, Frame The City, Facts on File, Roadside Graves, Ulysses Campbell
The constant stream of good-to-great music coming to us every week in the mail – both email (mostly) and ‘regular’ mail – is overwhelming; yet, there are songs and bands we think more people should hear. You might just find some jems in the mix. We’d love to read your comments about the artists and bands in this mix; your feedback is important to us. We read the comments and sometimes we will pick an insightful comment to win a free CD, gift card and other rewards.
This In Dee Mail mixtape features the following artists:
- Kenny McAlester (Skeleton Jones) – Dublin, Ireland
- Frame The City – Portland, Oregon
- Facts on File – Los Angeles, California
- Roadside Graves – Metuchen, New Jersey
- Air Conditioning School – Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Ulysses Campbell – St. Petersburg, Florida
It was rather surprising to find out that Irish indie rock singer, songwriter, and musician Kenny McAlester, formerly a member of the Dublin band 8Ball, recently embarked on his own musical journey, using the moniker Skeleton Jones.
Armed with a SP404 and a Micro BR, McAlester home-recorded a number of songs for a project he calls Barebones. After completing the recordings late last year, McAlester sent the final mixes to us a while ago. Perhaps you’ll agree this is one artist we should have featured earlier in the year.
On “The Great Escape,” McAlester wonderfully layers guitars, keyboards, tambourines and other instruments with an unmistakable Celtic rock sound somewhat reminiscent of The Pogues crossed with My Bloody Valentine, but with much more experimentalism, including reverb-heavy vocals and an invigorating chorus of dubs that has a beat and melody begging to be loved.
“The Great Escape” - Kenny McAlester
“Hooray for Airbags” - Kenny McAlester
Frame The City came as a surprise when we opened up the email and clicked on the MP3 links the band provided from the We Were Wolves EP. The quality of the writing, singing, and overall musicianship has the footprint of a veteran rock band. Yet, from all we could gather, FTC are a virtually unknown band outside of Portland, Oregon. Would love your feedback on these songs.
“We Were Wolves” – Frame The City
“Wearing Jeans to Bed” – Frame The City
In Los Angeles, the indie pop/post punk band Facts on File released the title track, “Keep It Together”, of their debut album, released on April 13th. The single sounds like Devo meets the Talking Heads. We haven’t heard the full album, but look forward to doing so sometime soon. Facts on File have opened for Pleasure Kills, Death of a Party, Maldroid, and The French Semester. Last year, the band placed third in the Dickie’s Battle of the Bands competition at SXSW.
“Keep It Together” - Facts on File
Roadside Graves‘ digital re-release of their debut album If Shacking Up Is All You Want to Do (with bonus material) dropped in February without much fanfare. We’ve heard the singles below, but not much else. Stereogum wrote recently: “Lyricist/vocalist John Gleason pens some of the prettiest and smartest lyrics this side of Matt Berninger and these older tracks are quieter than the newbie, providing ample space for catching onto his storytelling. Definitely lean into ‘Song For A Dry State’ and ‘Junk On The Highway.’”
“Jenny Jump” – Roadside Graves
“14 Lot Lizards” – Roadside Graves
Based in Minneapolis, the one man band project of Chris Heidman (formerly of Sukpatch), called Air Conditioning School, was created as an outlet for his desire to does most of the work behind the scenes of ACS and also helps to run local label S0-TM (whose roster includes Ultrachorus and Total Babe). The result is a range from minimalistic electronica to Paul Weller-style pop. Air Conditioning School has the elements that appeal to a wide cross-section, so it’s surprising that he doesn’t have more plays on this MySpace page.
“Wake Me Up” – Air Conditioning School
Bonus: “Busymore” – Air Conditioning School
Zachary “Ulysses Campbell” Wilson is a product of the DIY generation and proud of it. He records primarily on an 8-track, edits with freeware, and performs at parties, sometimes with other musicians, but usually as Ulysses Campbell. With a natural inclination to create pop songs, Campbell also weaves elements of electro, drum and bass, dub step, and rock. The song featured here was reportedly written only hours before a departure on a six month journey around South Africa.
“Dinosaur Hunting” – Ulysses Campbell
“Hunter Gatherer” – Ulysses Campbell
Editor’s Note: If you enjoyed this mix, I encourage you to browse the archives to see past editions of In Dee Mail; there really are many jems in them there archives. As well, stay tuned because we already have about five additional IDM mixes 90% ready to go in the coming weeks. To submit your own music for review and possible feature on IRC, please fill out the form on the About page.
In Dee Mail 2010 Vol. II Futurebirds, A Silent Film, Band in Heaven, Heart Ships, Ganglians, Loch & Key, Luna is Honey
The Futurebirds will release their debut LP on July 13th. Photo by Alyssa DeHayes
It’s been a while since we went through the mailbag to pull out some great music from bands you probably never heard of, but we think you might just want to. The long-running, and fairly popular, mixtape series, In Dee Mail, is one of our favorites to produce because we are always amazed by the amount, and quality, of fine music that comes in via the mail from artists and bands around the world.
Some of the bands featured in this mix have never been published on a music blog, others have received minor mentions on a blog or other publication here and there, others are familiar only to only dedicated music collectors and addicts, and a few (in today’s case, only one) are well known within the so-called indie and alternative rock music scene.
In this issue of In Dee Mail: Futurebirds, A Silent Film, Band in Heaven, Heart Ships, Ganglians, Luna Is Honey, Loch & Key, Not LIke This, Mad Planet, and Bruce Kaphan. Click the first song in the playlist and it will stream continuously until all dozen songs are played – sort of like radio with no commercial interruptions.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy this mix as much as we do. This is the first of many upcoming In Dee Mail (music we get in dee mail) playlists – there are dozens of terrific bands and songs just waiting their turn to be published.
The first band up is the relatively new, and increasingly talked about, Futurebirds from Athens, Georgia. Most of the six guys in the band grew up together, or met in college. Some of the founding members learned they worked well together as teenagers following stunts like throwing stink bombs into the portable toilets at the summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Fast forward to last year: the band released their debut EP, and since then have been gigging and writing and recording the songs for their first full length release, Hamptom’s Lullaby, due to drop July 13th on Autumn Tone Records. The Futurebirds kicked off a 19-city tour this week in Washington, DC with Jessica Lea Mayfield. The following is an advanced single from their upcoming debut LP.
“Johnny Utah” – Futurebirds from Hamptom’s Lullaby
Oxford, England band A Silent Film released their newest album, The City That Sleeps, last month. The LP has received positive reviews from AbsolutePunk and NME. In fact, the lead single, “You Will Leave A Mark” has been a hit throughout Europe in recent weeks, and went to #1 in Portugal.
Sidebar: The band’s record label, Bieler Bros. Records, is being sued by Justin Bieber for copyright infringement. According to the record label, the claim filed states: “Mr. Bieber’s fans are being misled by the similarity of the spelling of their respective names.” The suit is asking for undisclosed amounts in damages, as well as the immediate changing of the label’s name. What a pile of poo.
“You Will Leave a Mark” – A Silent Film from The City That Sleeps
Band in Heaven – Orlando, Florida
In recent years, there’s been some great bands coming out of Florida, including latest favorites like Surfer Blood and Holiday Shores, among others. Now appearing on our radar is the Orlando shoegaze outfit Band in Heaven, which creates fuzzy, lo-fi drones with hazy pop synths.
Band in Heaven is not a band in the traditional sense of the word; they are a duo, featuring Ates Isildak (of The Strangers Family Band) on vocals, organ and guitar, and Lauren Dwyer on electronic drums and percussion. Their submission got our attention right away due to the infectious, fuzz pop song, “High Low,” their debut single from a batch of songs that will either be released as a LP or two six-song EPs. We’ll be looking out for it.
“High Low” – Band in Heaven
“A Tunnel into Your Dreams” - Band in Heaven
Download two more songs for free, including a cover of The Cranberries‘ hit, “Dreams” via Bandcamp.
Heart Ships – Leeds, UK
Like Band in Heaven, the next band, Heart Ships, are now on our radar after listening to a few of tracks they’ve recorded in recent months. Heart Ships comprises a group of musicians from the North Wales historic city of Leeds – perhaps the epicenter of rock music in the northernmost part of the UK.
Heart Ships formed in December of 2009 when a couple of friends grew weary of other band projects that did not materialize and decided to start jamming together and see where the music would take them, often getting together in “various dank basements” around North Wales to practice. The band is so new they don’t have photos or even enough songs to make an album. “Heart of a Wrestler” is their debut single, premiering on IRC. While the song gets a slow start, we like where it goes and where it ends up.
“Heart of a Wrestler” – Heart Ships
Ganglians – Sacramento, CA
Unlike most of the artists in this edition of In Dee Mail, the California band Ganglians are more widely known thanks to their ‘underground’ success in recent years. Earlier this week, the band sent us a new demo track, “My House,” which sounds like a spring kind of song to us, with its stripped down acoustic rawness and emphasis on reverbs and choruses. This weekend the band is playing The Great Escape Festival in Brighton, UK and the Cardiff Arts Institute, followed by a six-week tour through Europe.
“My House” – Ganglians, new demo track
Luna Is Honey are well-known in the LA DIY, progressive scene
Luna Is Honey – Los Angeles, CA
Luna is Honey has become a fixture in Los Angeles‘ burgeoning, increasingly diverse, and always progressive DIY music scene 2006. The band members played in various bands together since their pubescent days as goth rockers, but over time, transitioned into more melodic, less gaudily-stylized disillusionment. Guitarist and vocalist Josh Crampton, drummer Amorn Bholsangngam, beatsmith and soundscape artist Jay Francisco, and keyboardist Elijah Crampton craft music with influence from, and love for, the traditions of genres like rock, punk, jazz and dream pop, which they effectively weave and shape in their songs, especially on “Who Wouldn’t” and “Claws”.
“Who Wouldn’t” – Luna Is Honey from Copy Cats
“Claws” - Luna Is Honey from Copy Cats
Not Like This – St. Paul, MN
From St. Paul, Minnesota, comes the indie rock power pop band Not Like This, who released their s/t debut LP earlier this month. Lead singer and bassist Matt Mackey, and guitarist Dave Swift, were band members in Brakelazy. When Brakelazy disbanded, Mackey and Swift recruited friend and drummer John Kapla to work with them on a new musical project. The trio say their music “graviatates towards rock ‘n roll’s formative years, but keeps a pulse on modern music”.
“Keep Complaining” - Not Like This from s/t debut
Mad Planet – Los Angeles, CA
Mad Planet is a Los Angeles based duo made up of Greg Gordon – former drummer for the Fugazi-style punk outfit the Nervous Return – and Cooper Gillespie, former front woman and bass player of Bang Sugar Bang. The two musician friends decided to work on some songs together as a way to explore new styles and thus Mad Planet was born. The band’s terrific single, “Love Addicts,” was inspired by a friend who was going through a divorce. According to Cooper, “he described dating as a terrible chore because he was ready to fall in love with any girl who sat in his passenger seat. It didn’t matter who it was. He was so used to being with somebody, he was willing to be with anybody.” That’s deep man; heart break, especially the first love, really messes with you.
“Love Addicts” - Mad Planet from Mad Planet
As long as we are exploring the music projects of one former American Music Club member, why not check in to see what Kaphan’s ex-bandmate Sean Hoffman is up to. Together with visual artist Leyla Akdogan, Hoffman recently formed the Los Angeles based duo Loch & Key. The idea for the band was conceived while sitting in a laundromat in the south of France, Hoffman says. With Akdogan’s delicate vocals and Hoffman’s mellow guitar playing, Loch & Key spin dreamy retro AM gold with a modern twist.
“Baby, I’m Thinking About You, Me, and Somewhere” – Loch & Key from Jupiter’s Guide for Submariners
“Maybe” - Loch & Key from Jupiter’s Guide for Submariners
Musician, composer, engineer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Bruce Kaphan is something of a rarity in the world of rock. Kaphan’s contributions to hundreds of musical projects, and thousands of performances, since the mid 1970s has garnered wide respect among musicians and others for decades. Kaphan is also recognized as a pioneer in the progression of the steel medal guitar, which is evident on the advanced single, “Gleaming Towers,” from Kaphan’s sophomore release, Hybrid, due to drop on July 21 via his own record label.
Kaphan has collaborated with artists like REM, Jewel, The Black Crowes, David Byrne, Love and Rockets, John Lee Hooker, and was once a member of the San Francisco band American Music Club.
“Gleaming Towers” – Bruce Kaphan from Hybrid – out July 21st
Note: If you liked this mix, you might want to browse through other mixes from the In Dee Mail series, and watch out for new installments coming up – there is some really amazing music coming in the next few weeks that you don’t want to miss.