So far, 2010 is looking like a great year for indie and alternative rock.
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best indie albums 2008
For those of you unfamiliar with the In Dee Mail profile series, it has become a cornerstone of what sets this blog apart from the rest, and a popular platform to introduce relatively unknown, and talented, artists and bands (all who sent their music to us unsolicited) to music lovers worldwide; most of whom probably would otherwise have never heard many of the songs featured in the series anywhere else. Due to the overwhelming number of great songs submitted this year, the In Dee Mail series for 2009 will spill-over in to 2010.
First up, it's not another Stone Roses tribute act. Instead, the Montreal-India collective Elephant Stone is actually ex-High Dials' guitarist Rishi Dhir's new band. Elephant Stone's debut LP, The Seven Seas, delivers jangly indie pop infused with a distinctive Eastern influence.
We loved The Seven Seas 'hindie rock' from the get-go; it's nearly impossible to resist the LP's shimmering guitar riffs, lush harmonies and accomplished vocal work. No wonder Elephant Stone made the list of nominees for this year's Polaris Music Prize for best album, which was ultimately awarded to Toronto's F*cked Up for their 2009 release, The Chemistry of Common Life.
"I Am Blind" - Elephant Stone from The Seven Seas (2009)
Elephant Stone on MySpace
Melbourne, Florida's Clock Hands Strangle follow-up their CMJ Top 50 charting-debut with Distaccati; an evolution of their classic rock-influenced indie folk sound. Distaccati was mixed by legendary producer Geza X (Dead Kennedys, Meredith Brooks) at Satellite Park Studios.
Cognoscenti singer/songwriter, Todd Portnowitz, holds a degree in poetry from the University of Florida, and is currently attending the University of Wisconsin with the goal of receiving a master's in Italian. Throughout Distaccati, Portnowtiz and the band take the listener on a sonic and literal pilgrimage from an arid desert to the concrete miasma of New York City to an Alabama cotton field, weaving a story of the moon's eternal loneliness and a stone that questions its sculptor.
"Distacci" - Clock Hands Strangle from Distacci (2009)
Clock Hands Strangle on MySpace
The second music video from Distaccati, "The Moon Looks Back," features a collage of archival footage from B-movie sci-fi and monster flicks.
Although we already featured The Sun's second, and last album, Don't Let Your Baby Have All the Fun, as one of the best overlooked LP's of the year, it is so good that we have to share two more tracks with you all that were not included the initial review.
Unfortunately, Don't Let Your Baby Have All The Fun represents The Sun's break-up album, and yet, thankfully, the band left us with a magnificent LP that we'll cherish years from now. Like The Format, we'd love to see this band get back together some day. Fingers crossed. You can hear the influence of Spoon's producer Mike McCarthy all over this LP, which is, amazingly, available as a free download from RockProper.com.
"Alien" - The Sun from Don't Let Your Baby Have All the Fun (2009)
"Do The Sucker" - The Sun from Don't Let Your Baby Have All the Fun (2009)
The Sun on MySpace
Singer and songwriter Daniel Bellmann and bassist Olaf Borchert began to collaborate in a meadow near the Elbe River in Hamburg, Germany back in 2003. They started with just six simple songs and an old acoustic guitar. Three months later they were recording their material at Gentle Art Studio in Hamburg with help studio owner Karsten Deutschmann on guitar and session drummer Florian Brandel.
Deutschmann and the studio's co-owner and drummer, Henry Sperling, were so impressed with the music that they asked Bellman and Borchert to form the band, Six Simple Songs.
Band members of Six Simple Songs cite The Beatles, The Clash, Social Distortion, The Descendents, Hüsker Dü, Dramarama, The Replacements, Art Brut, U2 and Coldplay among their biggest musical influences.
"You Want It (To Be With Me)" - Six Simple Songs from Upside Down (2009)
Six Simple Songs on MySpace
Back in May we featured the Brooklyn band Aeroplane Pageant. Now we have another single from their latest - and widely acclaimed - LP to share with all of you. The band's first single, "Stars Still Pretty," was one of AOL's Top 10 tracks of 2009.
Aeroplane Pageant's 2007 debut LP Wave to the Moon paved the way for the band to open for bands like Vampire Weekend, The Hold Steady, Dr. Dog and Tokyo Police Club.
"Stars Still Pretty" - Aeroplane Pageant from Even The Kids Don't Believe Me (2009)
"I Remember I Think" - Aeroplane Pageant from Even The Kids Don't Believe Me (2009)
Aeroplane Pageant on MySpace
Lemonwilde is an unsigned, Los Angeles alternative rock band that create dark, spacious tracks full of crooning vocals, ambient guitars, and seductive drum and bass that at times are reminiscent of Radiohead, Muse and Franz Ferdinand.
Such bold comparisons pan out on the band's debut EP, Red Room, released earlier this year. The sprawling and forbidding track, "Danse," has helped make Lemonwilde a hit in the alternative rock scene. Another single, "Just This Ashtray," was featured on IRC this past summer. You can also listen to more songs from Red Room on Lemonwilde's official website.
"Danse" - Lemonwilde from Red Room EP (2009)
Lemonwilde on MySpace
This next couple of songs are definitely different from most of the music we usually feature on IRC. Cracked Latin's (yes, terrible band name) "Caracas Shakedown" is an enthralling and eclectic mix of genre-bending styles, including tropicana pop, Havana-New Orleans hybrid jazz with a Squirrel Nut Zippers meets They Might Be Giants feel throughout.
"Caracas Shakedown" - Cracked Latin from s/t debut (2009)
Nuyorican R&B and Latin Soul recording artist, and nephew of baseball legend Roberto Clemente, Lugo, is back with a new track that he is making available today for all of you called "Subway Songs," a cut from his latest LP, Oye. Lugo has traveled as a USO Armed Forces performer to Afghanistan, Korea, Spain, Italy, Japan and the UK to entertain U.S. troops deployed around the world. Lugo is signed to the independent label Love Kiss Music.
"Subway Songs" - Lugo from Oye (2009)
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