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Today we are excited to add three additional, and very talented musicians, to IRC's on-going One Man Band series. The three artists - Canada's Ben's Imaginary Band, Cologne, Germany's 200 Lurkers, and Davis, California's Brad P and the Son of Sam - each have a unique style and sound, and they've also pretty much done everything that resulted in the songs below by themselves. We hope you agree with these picks. You can also browse all our past One Man Band features, with MP3s that are still working (we try to make sure all year-plus old MP3 links are still active).

Benjamin Romvari
is one of the most talented one-man band artists we have heard in the past year. His one-man music project, ironically named Ben's Imaginary Band, sets the tone for songs that are lyrically ironic, morbid and hopeful, but musically soft, dreamy and mellow.

"The band, not being a real band, consequently never formed," Romvari said. "And so, there is little to tell about its history. I’ll say I came up with the name...after going through many other names."

At the age of six, Romvari's parent bought him a violin from a thrift store and enrolled him in lessons. But Romvari stopped taking lessons after a year. Years later, at the age of 15, he rediscovered his musical interests by practicing on an acoustic guitar "with the same intention any 15-year-old boy [who] picks up a guitar [has] impress a girl."

Eventually, Romvari began singing and playing an electric guitar as a teen and was encouraged by friends and family. He began to acquire "low-end" recording equipment and writing songs.

In 2007, Romvari selected some of his favorite songs and put them on his DIY LP debut, Nocturnal Fables and Illusions. Last, year he followed up Nocturnal with a debut EP, where his music really stood out, especially after listening to the EP a number of times. And of course, the credits for achieving such a memorable set of songs goes up when you consider that one person did all of the writing, singing, playing of instruments, recording, mixing and promotion himself.

"The Magical Floating Bed" - Ben's Imaginary Band from Trust EP (2009)

Romvari's talent is undeniable, even eye-opening. His songs are lush with dreamy melodies, mellowed out, sluggish glaze, heart-felt lyrics, and even melancholy (on the song "Emerald Dream Thief," which somehow reminds us a bit of Melpo Mene), but in a beautiful way, like artists such as Nick Drake and Elliott Smith were so good at.

The artists that influenced Romvari's music the most are diverse from Frank Sinatra to Harry Nilsson, The Beach Boys and The Beatles to The Pixies, Radiohead, Nirvana and Aphex Twin.

"Emerald Dream Thief" - Ben's Imaginary Band from Trust EP (2009)

Some of the lyrics are light, and some are head-scratchers (or just ironic?): - "I'm in love/with a girl/Who sometimes leaves this world/Cause I can't find her some days" (from the song "Emerald Dream Thief") - and some songs are fairly gruesome: "When I was four years old/We had a burnt black pellet stove/And one day I found a frail female mosquito/And I don't know if she knew but I thought/she could do with a little more warmth/So I let her go on top that old black stove/And I watched her dance her life away" (from the song "Perspective of a Mosquito").

"Perspective of a Mosquito" - Ben's Imaginary Band from Trust EP (2009)

"Slapback" - Ben's Imaginary Band from Trust EP (2009)

Here is a pair of two of our favorite songs from Ben's debut DIY LP, Nocturnal Fables and Illusions.

"Underwater Waltz" - Ben's Imaginary Band from Nocturnal Fables and Illusions (2007)

"The Last Living Man" - Ben's Imaginary Band from Nocturnal Fables and Illusions (2007)

Ben's Imaginary Band on MySpace

The 200 Lurkers is the moniker of Cologne, Germany musician Philip Hoffman. His music has a wistful, melancholy feel, but is buoyed by an innate sense of whimsicality that is reflected in the delicate instrumentation and Hofmann's unique voice.

Charmingly off-kilter melodies carry along lyrics full of exceptional imagery: with all manner of references to exploding beehives, celestial bodies, and birds with nacreous wings, they often depict a duality of the ordinary miraculousness of life wrapping around a pearl of bitterness and loss.

Hoffman, who records in his home studio, counts among his musical influences Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Leonard Cohen, Loney Dear, Phoenix, Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Laura Veirs, James Yorkston, among others.

He has garnered a small, but dedicated, fan base worldwide in the past three years. Musically, the 200 lurkers straddle several genres from twee pop to new folk to alt-country; Hofmann is fond of incorporating unconventional musical instruments and technologies (such as water glasses, children's toys, distorted recordings of his or his friends' voices, or archaic drum machines), and each song is of its own character and temperament, defying easy classification. We are really loving his music; check out the free tracks below, and tell your friends.

"The Last Guest" - 200 Lurkers from s/t debut

"Dialogues" - 200 Lurkers from s/t debut

"Spacewalk (Live)" - 200 Lurkers from live show

200 Lurkers official website

brad p and son of sam

We're going to go back to late last summer to tell you about a musician, who at that time released a batch of songs with the moniker Brad P and the Son of Sam. We were really impressed with the songs, but just never got around to featuring his music. He is Brad Petering, a college student and musician from Davis, California.

After the dissolution of The Gingersnaps in 2009, Petering sent out on his own and to create and produce a number of songs he had worked on personally. And like most one-man (or woman) 'bands,' Petering played all of the instruments, including guitar, bass, keys, drums, in addition to programming, editing and mastering the tracks.

Because of the reaction from many people, including his parents, to the "Son of Sam" (a notorious New York City serial killer in the 1970s) aspect of his band name, Petering told IRC that he will retire the name. However, what came from that lo-fi experimental period last year were a few terrific tracks, even though they are somewhat thematically morbid.

"Girl in a Box", the album's lead single, is a first-person account of a man who, keeps his girlfriend in a box. That's definitely not going to go over well with some people, but let's not try to be too serious here; it's just a song, and it's meant to be tongue-in-cheek.

According to Petering's own bio, he realizes some people will be offended by this material:
"Despite the grim subject matter, don't expect any existential naval-gazing - Brad P and the Son of Sam oozes with Petering's trademarked deadpan irony."

Interestingly enough, Petering has opened for artists and bands like Citay, Calvin Johnson, Drew Danburry, Da Bears, and his former band, The Movers and the Shakers. The later band, which made some great music, are now disbanded.

According to Petering, some of his biggest influences include the Velvet Underground, Fiery Furnaces, Elvis Costello, Leonard Cohen, Adam Green, Beat Happening, Elf Power and others.

Download the album for free on the Brad P and the Son of Sam MySpace page.

"Girl in a Box" - Brad P and the Son of Sam from s/t EP

"Nothing" - Brad P and the Son of Sam from s/t EP

"Crazy Weekend" - Brad P and the Son of Sam from s/t EP

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   April 15, 2010    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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As we continue on with various Bands to Watch posts, today we are featuring two "new" fascinating one man bands, Richmond, Virginia's Battle Flags and Brooklyn's Alex Walker.

On a regular basis, we receive in the mail surprisingly fantastic music from completely DIY, independent, artists and bands that just about no one has ever heard of, and in many cases, who have hardly, if ever, been written about on a music blog or online magazine.

In fact, we have featured probably hundreds (at this point) of such artists and bands, many of them reviewed in playlist mixes like Music In Dee Mail, Singer and Songwriter Spotlight Series, and Band of the Week profiles.

Official video for Battle Flags' new track, "Siren Songs"

With 2010 nearly at full throttle, the music is piling up. But some of the submissions we've received already stand out from the rest - as of this date, perhaps a dozen or so that we will be featuring in the coming weeks here on IRC, and others that we've already featured (there are many MP3 nugs in our archive posts if you don't mind clicking around a little).

Today we present two one-man bands from two completely different places and circumstances. Yet they both have a couple of things in common, the most notable being that they do it all - from writing and recording music, to playing all of the instruments, mixing and producing the songs, to distributing and marketing their albums. When you think about it, there is no way to not be in awe of someone who goes totally DIY - no band, producer, engineer; little to no financial backing; no fancy recording studio full of expensive equipment, and so on.

One of the finest examples of this type of totally DIY artist that has really wow'd us is the one man band, Battle Flags. Based in Richmond, Virginia, Battle Flags crafts semi-psychedelic electro-pop sounds and harmonies reminiscent of the so-called "surf-rock" resurgence that has risen to prominence in the past year or so.

With that context, it must be noted that Battle Flags really stands out as an Artist to Watch in 2010, particularly within that loosely defined genre that many trace back to bands like Animal Collective, and further back than that to the Beach Boys records of the late 1960s.

Listening to Battle Flags' songs, you'd think this was an established synth-drum band who are already known to thousands, or millions, of music lovers, have been featured prominently on all the big blogs and music sites, toured to packed venues and so on. Not in this case; the relatively unknown Battle Flags is entirely the work of college music major Jack Budd.

While Battle Flags is not completely obscure - there have been some mentions and reviews in publications like DrownedInSound and Brick magazine - his name recognition has yet to catch up with his talent. Battle Flags' biggest exposure to date has been opening for The Walkmen and Lake Trout.

After Budd sent us a few tracks via email from his debut LP, Color Engine, we have literally been playing thesongs again and again for the past week or so. The first track, "Siren Songs," (watch official video above) could easily be an "indie" spring/summer hit on The Hype Machine, and the song that puts Battle Flags on the map. "Siren Songs" is one of the stand-out, surprise DIY tracks of the year. It entices the casual listener to soak in its hazy, warm sun-drenched synth pop sounds, raspsy, reverb-heavy vocals and dubbed choruses. Don't be surprised if you end up playing this track again and again.

"Siren Songs" - Battle Flags from Color Engine (2010)

On "We Don't Operate," Budd employs his genius yet again with electro pop rhythms, hand-clapping, layered and looped vocal harmonies and chants, raw drum beats, and even referee whistles. The result is an amazing and irresistible affect, that like its predecessor, "Siren Songs," is instantly enjoyable and memorable; another fantastic addition to the coolest summer mixtapes of 2010.

The seed for Battle Flags was sowed while Budd was crafting stencil graffiti in a small bedroom in Richmond in 2007. Eventually he began constructing rhythms and samples using pots, pans, shovels, living room chairs and even empty beer kegs. Budd added his high pitch, but captivating, vocals, samples and effects and other elements until he had enough tracks that he was comfortable to send them to us to share with all of you.

"We Don't Operate" - Battle Flags from Color Engine (2010)

If there is an album that you should hear this month that you would have otherwise probably never known about, it's Color Engine. You can listen to short samples of all the songs on Battle Flags' official website, and buy the full album (officially released on March 8) as well.

Battle Flags on MySpace


Next up, Brooklyn's Alex Walker is a composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist who creates layers of sounds, campfire singalong choruses, doubled-up samples and strong back beats with injections of quirky synth notes, as evidenced on the song, "Trust The Fire." Guest vocalists include Matt Whyte (Earl Greyhound), Brian Grosz (Dogs of Winter), Anthony Yacobellis (Nice New Outfit), Shelly Watson and Alyson Greenfield. This track has an uncanny resemblance to the sound of Iceland's popular one-man band, Sin Fang Bous.

Walker's experience as a writer, producer and accomplished guitarist for NYC rock band, Aloke, and bassist for chamber group, Electric Kompany, demonstrates the breath of talent and skill, not to mention his reptuation for hours and hours of practicing.

"Trust the Fire" - Alex Walker from Trust The Fire (2010)

And yet another side of Alex Walker - classical guitar

On the heavy grooves of "Caught Starin," the listener is exposed to a different side of Walker, where his work, as he describes, "exists as an alchemic distillation of the classical guitar repetoire, the rock n' roll cannon, a childhood in the 80s and 90s (and all the trappings of that era), a love of hip-hop, jazz and other American improvisational trends." This song is darker, haunting, and even somewhat mechanical. The album, Trust The Fire, was officially released on March 2nd. Download Walker's other work at Lapdance Academy.

"Caught Starin" - Alex Walker from Trust The Fire (2010)

Alex Walker on MySpace

Other Playlist Mix Series You Might Like:

- Bands to Watch (2009)
- One Man Bands
- Best New Releases
- 2009 Indie Rock Songs
- 2008 Indie Rock Songs

- Songs About New York City
- Dream Playlist
- Songs for Mom
- The Great Unknowns
- Quickies

- State of Music
- Best Rarely Heard Indie Songs
- Summer Indie Rock Mixes
- Songs of Winter
- Songs of Spring
- Songs About The Moon

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   April 1, 2010    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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Los Angeles indie alt rock artist Fox Fagan, a native of Australia, catches many people's attention with his upbeat pop rock and intriguing lyrics. The EP, which has been added to playlists of more than 50 college and non commercial radio stations across the U.S and Canada, features Fagan’s tasty brand of indie pop and a British swagger reminiscent of the old English punk rockers.

At times, Fox Fagan sounds a tiny bit like the old Arctic Monkeys, most especially on the song "Wouldn't Change A Thing," clearly one of the best tracks from his Never Fall in Love with a Stranger EP, available for free at Other songs like "Shelia" are reminiscent of 70's AM pop radio. Again, another original talent that most people will never know about, and that's that we do this.

"Wouldn't Change A Thing" - Fox Fagan from Never Fall in Love with a Stranger EP (2009)

"Shelia" - Fox Fagan from Never Fall in Love with a Stranger EP (2009)

Fox Fagan on MySpace


In November 2008, Detroit area musician Jason Zito lost his job as the auto industry began crumbling around him. With a huge mortgage, a family to care for, and no new work coming in, he locked himself in his studio, crafting songs that echoed his situation. Those songs became the album (Scary Noises) Gods Stand Up!.

Zito calls his project Jellyeyes, a moniker (and the album title) taken from Shakespeare's King Lear, which he had buried his head in for several weeks prior to the album's creation. Jellyeyes art rock/folk pop can be roughly compared in style and sound to Bon Iver, Wilco and Sigur Ros. He has previously opened for bands like Elliott and The Great Fiction.

"The Dead Girl and The Sandbox" - Jellyeyes from (Scary Noises) Gods Stand Up! (2009)

"Coming For Me" - Jellyeyes from (Scary Noises) Gods Stand Up! (2009)

JellyEyes on MySpace

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   January 16, 2010    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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Andy Mitchell is a one-man band from Middlesbrough, UK who serves up a remarkably full rock sound for one guy. An unsigned artist, Mitchell writes and records all of his songs himself, as well as sings and plays all of the instruments, including guitars, bass, keyboards and programmed drums. Last year, Ultimate Guitar magazine took notice, naming Mitchell one of the "Top Unsigned Acts of 2008."

His recordings, he told IRC, were made in his bedroom and bathroom over a number of months. "I had taught myself guitar in 2006, but officially it all started in early 2008 while I was at University. For my final year dissertation I looked at new ways to market music and created an album of my own to use as an example. It earned me a first class honors, and encouraged me to continue making music and albums." For someone who only started playing the guitar a few years ago, Mitchell's work proves he has a natural ability to make impressive alternative rock music. We'll be watching this guy for sure!

"Why Remember Me" - Andy Mitchell from Of Nature & Minimal Means (2009)

"Aspire" - Andy Mitchell from Of Nature & Minimal Means (2009)

Andy Mitchell's official website
Andy Mitchell on MySpace


Eric Dina is a New Port Richey, Florida musician who goes by the moniker of Oh, Mountain. He a multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, banjo, percussion, mandolin and violin. Dina's unpolished, lo-fi instrumental recordings also include various sound effects and samples with interesting results. Oh Mountain cites among his influences The Books (especially the album "Lemon of Pink"), Dosh, The Microphones and Mount Eerie.

"I favor percussion and the sound of thick drums a lot and in cases more often than not I started a recording with nothing but a simple floor tom beat," Dina told IRC. "In a sense, its easier for me to hear a melody when I know what the drums will sound like. Through the years I have acquired more and more instruments and recording equipment to sort of expand the way things sound." We like Dina's refreshingly original and organic sound very much.

"Bear's Beat" - Oh Mountain, single release (2009)

"No. 2" - Oh Mountain, single release (2009)

Oh Mountain on MySpace

Wicked Scream is the moniker of the one-man alternative rock project by Charlie Dorrell from White Lake, Michigan, a rather obscure singer, guitarist, bassist and drummer. Signed on by Coy Boy Records, Wicked Scream is currently in the process of becoming a "three to four-piece ensemble," Dorrell proclaims with the hope to "inspire anybody influenced by under-produced, raw & gritty rock." So far, so good.

Wicked Scream's debut EP, Earwax Casket, contains songs like the hard rocker "Kleptosis" and the Nirvana-like acoustic track "Bluesy." It will be interesting to see what this one man project that may eventually morph into a full band will deliver for their first full length release, and whether they are able to make progress in their quest to "bring back underground rock and take down mainstream rock." Unfortunately, neither he, nor his label, have any solid information online (other than non-optimized MySpace page); and therefore we have no artwork or photos to present.

"Bluesy" - Wicked Scream from Earwax Casket EP (2009)

"Kleptosis" - Wicked Scream from Earwax Casket EP (2009)

Wicked Scream on MySpace

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   November 22, 2009    1 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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Brooklyn musician Brad Oberhofer (photo via

Continuing on with IRC's post-CMJ coverage, it is puzzling as much as it is refreshing that musician Brad Oberhofer isn't more well known within the arguably saturated indie rock genre.

At first examination of the huge, rhapsodic sound of his work, one would never guess Oberhofer records as a solo artist. A drummer and vocalist primarily, Oberhofer crafts a big sound all on his own, blending various instruments and electronic samples to pump out energy charged, erratically arranged, and somewhat danceable rhythms and melodies that feed off of experimental and traditional influences, making his music both accessible, and unclassifiable, at the same time.

In 2006, Oberhofer left his native Tacoma, Washington - where he studied classical music - and moved to Brooklyn. Since that time, he has been recording at home, and playing small venues in and around the New York City metro area. He was a featured artist at The Den last month during NYC's CMJ.

Oberhofer's music runs the gamut of indie sub-genres, from noise pop to dance punk, and even "freak folk." Take the song "Dead Girls Can Dance"; now, imagine Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) crashing into Wavves. And, "I Could Go," with its whistling, oohs and ahhs, vocal layering, smashing cymbals, and somehow catchy hooks, is, all at once, mysterious, engaging and strange.

The track "Away From You" is another example of Oberhofer's memorable, eccentric sound. If you're walking around the East Side one of these days, and you hear a distinctive howling, whistling and clashing of sounds, it might just be Oberhofer playing at a small bar, or even, a grocery store.

As we've seen with so many one-man bands featured on IRC, Oberhofer writes and records his music on his own, plays all of the instruments, and even distributes and promotes his work. When he performs live, he is often accompanied by Clyde Kurtis on drums and Andrew Heaton on guitar and keys.

"I view recorded music and live music as two completely separate art forms," Oberhofer told IRC, "so I try to make sure each have their own distinct advantages." His musical roots, he says, trace back to "competitive freestyle rapping in the 5th grade," his classical music training, and an appreciation for bands like The Unicorns, Hella, Clues and Okay.

In describing the Brooklyn 'indie scene,' Oberhofer said: "I think there are an insane amount of ridiculous bands that all have super good ideas to the point where I find myself questioning whether or not it is possible to innovate. They deserve to explode as they please. And by explode, I mean 'blow up'."

The songs included here are off of his self-titled, self-released EP, some of which were recently remastered. What do you think?

"I Could Go" - Brad Oberhofer

"Dead Girls Dance" - Brad Oberhofer

"Away From You" - Brad Oberhofer

Oberhofer on MySpace

Related Posts You Might Enjoy:

In Dee Mail: One Man Band Series with Washed Out, Stuart Newman and Labrador Labratories

In Dee Mail: One Man Band Series: Portland's Fascinating Channel In, Channel Out

Italy's One Man Band Alberto Arcangeli Combines Indie Pop with Americana, Folk, Rock and Blues

Electronic Musician of Many Monikers Remixes Passion Pit, Animal Collective and More

The Great Unknowns, Vol. III: Indie Rock from The Kissaway Trail, Creaky Boards, Two Hours Traffic and More

Songs About New York City, Mix I: Lou Reed, Conor Oberst, Billy Joel, Jay Z, Cat Power, Stars and More

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   November 8, 2009    2 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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washedoutmusicLargely due to the availability of affordable technology and the explosion of the Internet in recent years, independent musicians are finding it easier than ever before to record, distribute and promote their music. In the last installment of this series, we featured Portland's Channel In, Channel Out. Today, IRC spotlights three one-man bands, including the indie buzz 'band' Washed Out, the UK's Stuart Newman and San Francisco's Labardor Labratories.

Washed Out is the moniker of a solo musical project by Georgia native Ernest Greene. Washed Out’s debut EP Life Of Leisure is a perfect soundtrack for a lazy afternoon; the EP title suits Greene's chill, retro lo-fi electronic sound perfectly. Rolling Stone described Washed Out's music as "impossibly gorgeous pop that mixes up woozy synthesizers, droney shoegaze textures and funky, sometimes danceable beats."

"New Theory" - Washed Out from Life Of Leisure (2009)
"Feel It All Around" - Washed Out from Life Of Leisure (2009)

Washed Out on MySpace


Melancholy reigns in the song "51st State" by UK songwriter and musician Stuart Newman. As an unsigned artist, Newman, 22, has total control over every aspect of his music. Many times this turns out to be a good thing, as evidenced by Newman's debut, self-released album, Single But Defective.

Based in Brighton, Newman's music is best described as acoustic pop. He cites among his biggest influences Elliot Smith, The Beatles, Paul Simon and Nirvana. Interestingly, Newman is right-handed, but plays exclusively left-handed on guitar and other instruments. He has been featured on BBC6 Music, BFBS Radio and "gas stations throughout Connecticut on the AMP Radio Network."

Newman’s new album, Single But Defective, is available as a free download, with the idea, he said, to "spread the music far and wide internationally." Sweet.

"51st State" - Stuart Newman from Single But Defective (2009)
"Cry Wolf" - Stuart Newman from Single But Defective (2009)

Stuart Newman on MySpace


San Francisco indie musician Labrador Labratories, or "Labra," creatively mixes influences of Serbian traditional music with dreamy psychedelic folk that conjure up images of a younger Leonard Cohen playing with an European gypsy band. This is apparent on Labra's newly released EP Open Cage, featuring songs like "Your Arms" and "Butterflies". Labra lists among the instruments he plays as "guitars, voice, knees and harmonica".

Labra says he was conceived when a Vegas stripper named Miley went on a trip to Burma, meet a monk and returned home to California two weeks pregnant. When he was six years old, Labra went to live with his Serbian grandmother in West Hollywood where he was home schooled, and became a "devout" Catholic and choir boy.

"Butterflies" - Labardor Labratories from Open Cage EP (2009)
"Your Arms" - Labardor Labratories from Open Cage EP (2009)

Labardor Labratories on MySpace

In the next installment of In Dee Mail's one-man band series, we will highlight the music of a Tampa area experimental ambient folk musician, a Montreal artist who sounds a bit like Prince mixed with Hall and Oates, and an alternative rocker from the lakes region of Michigan.

Yesterday's Post: The first installment of Halloween Indie Songs was a huge success, featuring songs from Arctic Monkeys, Spoon, Cat Power, Beck, Beach House, Flaming Lips and many others.

The second playlist of that series will feature Halloweenish music from Sufjan Stevens, Pavement, The Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Cut Copy and eight other bands and artists. By Halloween Eve, we'll have published a total of 13 playlists, each featuring 13 songs.

Other Posts You Might Like:

New Indie Releases From Vampire Weekend, No Age, Devendra Banhart, Neon Indian, Spiral Beach & More

New Music Videos from The Bright Light Social Hour, Pearl Jam, The Flaming Lips and IndieDoc Film 'East of Sunset'

New Indie Songs from The Big Pink, Windmill, Volcano Choir, Julian Plenti, Joshua James, Sissy Wish, Owen & More

Indie Cover Songs, Vol I - Arctic Monkeys, Vampire Weekend, Asobi Seksu, Bat For Lashes & More

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   October 8, 2009    0 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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dreamsongsItalian musician Alberto Arcangeli is a finance manager by profession and a one man band in his free time, writing and recording compelling music in his home in Tavullia. Arcangeli's music, featured for the first time in an English language music blog, is full of bright and catchy pop with influences of rock, Americana, folk and blues.

His new album, Dreamsongs, is his first full-length record in English and completely self-produced and released. The album opens with the track, "Dream Song," a surprisingly charming composition that combines a banjo, flute, hand-clapping and layers of harmonic vocals. Dreamsongs' opener leaves the listener wondering if there is more to this promising talent.

The answer comes as the next track "Touch By A Cloud" unfolds, with its feel-good, almost intoxicating, charm - a nice representation for the 'dream concept' Arcangeli employs so well. "Oil Crash," with its celestial acoustics and accompanying flute, is yet another bright, memorable song. The upbeat blues rock sound of "I Cannot Wait" demonstrates the late 60s sound Arcangeli loves so much.

It is one thing when a musician writes his or her own music, but it's a whole other level when a musician plays all of the instruments, sings all of the vocal tracks and masterfully pulls together the pieces to create an amazingly self-produced, self-released LP.

"I record the songs on my PC at home," Arcangeli told IRC. "I usually start with an acoustic guitar part, structure and arrangement in mind, and then I add all the other instruments - bass, voice, drums. Sometimes everything fits well from the beginning; other times, I have to re-think all [of] the structure, because I feel that something's missing."

The modesty implied in his music and words help to enhance Arcangeli's overall appeal. He only started recording in English two years ago, but you would never know that otherwise. When he was about 10 years old, Arcangeli's father gave him an album collection of the popular music from the 1960s. By age 13, Arcangeli began performing music, played jazz and classical music, and even toured for one summer with Italy's 'official' Beatles cover band Revolver.

He realized over the years that if he wanted to reach a wider audience, English was the way to go. "I've been writing songs in Italian up until two years ago," he said, "when I realized I could do it in English too...[and] spread my songs worldwide, not only in Italy."

Like the mark of any truly gifted musician, Arcangeli provides impressive cover versions of some classic rock and pop tunes. Covering The Kinks' classic "Sunny Afternoon" is a ballsy thing for any musician to do.

And yet, Arcangeli's cover manages to capture the song's original intrigue and charm in a way that would probably make Ray Davies proud. Oddly, but nevertheless effectively, Arcangeli adds a hint of a country twang to his rendition of the song, a risk that he took, and pulled off. He also does impressive work covering the classic "Tobacco Road" (Nashville Teens), and other 60s rock songs "Kind Woman" (Buffalo Springfield), "Hey Grandma" (Moby Grape) and "This Will Be Our Year" (The Zombies) demonstrate Arcangeli's rightful place in the world of pop music.

Arcangeli's musical influences include The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Cars, Neil Young, Steely Dan and many other artists and bands of the classic rock era. The Lennon-McCartney song, "Happiness Is A Warm Gun," is his favorite song ever, he says. And within the realm of modern indie pop and rock, Arcangeli cites albums from Vampire Weekend (Vampire Weekend), Dr. Dog (Fate), Fleet Foxes (Fleet Foxes) and Loney Dear (Noir).

Again, as I wonder so often, how is it possible that such amazing music is only heard by a few and so much crappy music is heard by millions? There is no hype, marketing budget or promotional apparatus backing Arcangeli - and often, especially with an original talent, that's a good thing.

"Dream Song" - Alberto Arcangeli from Dreamsongs (2009)

"Touched By A Cloud" - Alberto Arcangeli from Dreamsongs (2009)

"Sunny Afternoon" (The Kinks) - Alberto Arcangeli from Dreamsongs (2009)

Official website:

Note: You can download the entire album at Arcangeli's site above; although, we do encourage people who enjoy the music to make a donation of any amount on his site. By the way, the artwork demonstrated above was created by Arcangeli's father and the sleeve work by his sister.

MySpace page:

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   August 11, 2009    2 Comments     Vote Songs on Hypem   MP3 Policy 
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Nathan Williams, aka WAVVES, photo courtesy of SPIN magazine

One thing that WAVVES, Deastro and Alaska in Winter have in common is that they are essentially one-man bands that all have emerged to prominence in the past year and each use monikers rather than their real names, adding an extra element of intrigue to their art.

Attendees of the ultimate indie music event, South by Southwest, will have multiple chances to see all three artists perform at different venues at different times during SXSW in Austin next week - March 18-22.

So we decided to do a little feature on each artist because they share so much in common - not to mention that they are each amazing musicians. First up is WAVVES. From mixing and recording his own songs influenced by The Beach Boys, Nirvana and Sonic Youth on the Mac software GarageBand to near instant stardom in the alt music world, 22-year-old San Diego resident Nathan Williams is on his own wave of success.

WAVVES debut album quickly became one of 2008's 'surprise' hits with raves on influential music blogs and even in the mainstream music press. And for good reason - this kid can rock - and do it all by himself. When performing live he has friend and drummer Ryan Ulsh lay down the beats. WAVVES new album, Wavvves, is set to drop March 17.

"So Bored" - WAVVES from new album Wavvves
"Beach Demon" - WAVVES from new album Wavvves

WAVVES is slated to perform no less than nine shows at SXSW.

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