Coming out of San Francisco, The Spyrals have introduced its neo-psychadelic, guitar heavy, all encompassing sound into the indie world. Immediately explosive, the self titled debut album shows immense promise. With a lot of psychedelic music often monotonous, The Spyrals bring back the 1970′s rock feeling–lava lamp and all. While updating their sound to the more indie mainstream “garage rock” genre, takes the power of Iggy Pop but uses it in a more Joy Division-esque sound, bringing the controlled raucous noise to an audible and listenable album. To be honest, I feel like I should be stoned while listening to this music (how fitting for a San Francisco band, as well). They bring a fresh outlook on the neo-psychadelic music, updating a stale genre that many musicians have tried to conquer but not many could succeed. There is great hope in The Spyrals, with constant accolades on their live performances, they have allowed themselves to take the genre by full force and perhaps lead it into a whole new direction. With long winded songs like “Lonely Eyes” and “Evil Kind”, the music is never stagnant, always progressing either to become louder or to hook the listener in a completely different direction. They take the rock’n roll of the past and make something new out of it, an increasingly hard thing to achieve, but seemingly easy done by these guys. As they say on their Bandcamp, they play rock’n roll. Their debut album is out on Mock Records now, they also have tons of EP’s and singles floating around the internet or their website.
Check out their Bandcamp to purchase their album.
The Spyrals- Disguise
And now for something completely different, an alt-country supergroup, a blend of words not often found in music. But it’s quite true! Diamond Rugs consists of two members of alt country gods, Deer Tick, Ian Saint Pe of The Black Lips, Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, Hardy Morris of Dead Confederate and Bryan Dufresne of Six Finger Satellite. With this lineup, the mind immediately goes to some deep Southern punk rock. Well, not too far off. However, there’s something so much more interesting about this band, taking the ever so cliche country lyrics (their song, “I’m So Lonely” is pretty much the standard) but they put it to music that is much more relatable to their captive audience, and somehow they make it listenable. Deer Tick is a deep Southern rock band, full of floor stomping , jangly guitars and harsh voices–and the two members from the group bring that same flavor to Diamond Rugs but instead put it into a more alt-country garage rock mixture. This may sound like the worst mix of music in all of existence, but listening to songs like “Motherland” and “Gimme a Beer”, brings this niche genre together–for they make it possible to cross two genres that should have never met, and they produced an album that people from both genres could appreciate and listen to. With rough sounding, whiskey soaked vocals, harmonica, and some guitars, Diamond Rugs is just a fun supergroup that probably doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Their songs for hipsters are like looking into a whole other world, one that they’ve opened up. Truly, the self titled album is just fun, and in the summer months, what’s better than cranking up some dirty Southern garage rock while people stare at you awkwardly from cars because you’re air drumming?
Check out their Facebook here.
Diamond Rugs-Call Girl Blues
With neo-soul and funk making its comeback (think bands like Fitz & The Tantrums, Foster the People, Alabama Shakes) and without signs of slowing down, Electric Guest has stood out from the crowd. First there must be an explanation of this new genre of indie music, while it may not be what you or your parents listened to back in the old days, it takes the same principles of the beloved genre and updates it for modern listeners–so think of that old sound and put some electronic beats and groovier melodies and there you have this sub genre. Electric Guest has more than my toes just tapping, my whole body seems to awkwardly dance to songs off their debut album, Mondo. Made up of four gentlemen, Electric Guest have put themselves on the map–recently named as one of MTV’s “List of Artists to Watch in 2012″–which to hipsters could either be a death sentence to a beloved band or it could be nice that they get noticed. They definitely deserve the notice. With a mix of old (really old) Phoenix and Chromeo, With space-age noises to a dominating rhythmic beat, it’s physically impossible to not want to do ridiculous hand and body movements. And people who have read this blog regularly (thanks Mom and Dad!) know I’m on a never-ending quest for good indie pop music that stands out from everyone else. It’s easy to say this band does, with ease. Asa Taccone, lead singer, has the charisma of any hype man or lead singer in the 60′s and 70′s, and this is just listening to the album. It’s easy to hear the passion and love that this band has for music, from the bass lines to the lyrics, everything was brought together to create music for people, for there is not an out of place song on this record, and the best is that the whole album simply flows together to create what sounds like, a live concert. While MTV can have some negative connotations in today’s society, they picked a respectable and deserving band to put on their list, and Electric Guest is most definitely a band to watch in 2012 and even farther.
Check out their website here.
Electric Guest-This Head I Hold
There are certain albums that resonates with listeners during a specific or important times in their lives, and Yellow Ostrich’s Strange Land is mine. This “stuff” between graduation and starting life has taken its toll on me, and Yellow Ostrich has been my go-to album for a few weeks now. With anthem-like songs dominating the first half of the album, “Elephant King” and “Marathon Runner” are two incredibly breathtaking songs at the core–with fuzzy guitars and a hint of garage rock, the lyrics make it beautiful; “I am a marathon runner, my legs are sore, and I’m anxious to see, what am I running for?” What perfect lyrics for an inbetweener, a person searching for reason in life, and I think Yellow Ostrich is seeking the same thing. While listening to their debut album, The Mistress, you could hear the naivety and innocence of the album–very raw and still searching for a sound. However, within the whole sophomore album, there is reason, there is a connection that they found. They matured into great musical craftsmen, creating hauntingly abrupt indie rock songs–with horns included. And while their lead singer may not have a classically “good” voice (much like Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame, yet we still gobble up every morsel of music he releases), and that shows that the indie world is more interested in how music is presented rather than if it’s “pretty”–hence the escape of auto tune that has plagued Top 40 radio. Yellow Ostrich has all the qualities of a great indie band, they are raucous but in a controlled way. They have come so far since their first album, and Strange Land is a testament to their dedication and ability to grow within the band to create an album that is meaningful with a little bit of fun added. While this album focuses on the first person a lot, it makes the album much more relatable, suggesting that the listeners have the same emotions that Alex Schaaf has–bringing the idea that we are all humans and we all experience the same things. I may be thinking too much into the album, but it’s one I’ve listened to many times, and each time I observe a new facet of it.
Check out their website here.
Or their Facebook here.
Yellow Ostrich-Marathon Runner
Bellman is one of those bands that hits you by surprise because it’s not what you expected at all. Instead of indie rock, I happily stumbled upon a lo-fi pop album. Bellman, alias for Norwegian singer Arne-J Rauan has crafted enjoyable and catchy pop songs that make you forget about Top 40 “pop” music. This is real pop music, with a twist. His voice takes elements from Jonsi of Sigur Ros and Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips to create an album of hauntingly calm songs. With instruments ranging from sweeping violins to synthesizers, it is easy to tell that this is crafted to perhaps pay an homage to the “good” pop music of yore–just with an updated kick. You could also swear that Rauan is part of The Flaming Lips, as his song, “I Suppose” reminds me so much of Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, with a hint of the Beatles’ sound. It’s gorgeous, it’s exactly what is needed in pop music today instead of auto tune and melodies that drone on for 4 minutes. I would recommend this to anyone who does like The Flaming Lips or Sigur Ros because yes, while it is pop music, it’s lo-fi, soulful, and intricate–much like the former’s music.
Check out Bellman’s Facebook here.
Or his Bandcamp here.
I’m a sucker for acoustic music that allows me to relate to the lyrics and messages of heartbreak or new beginnings, and Dan Griffin’s debut solo album, Leave Your Love has hit all those marks. Griffin, also known from the up and coming band Arkells, has taken his experiences and life stories and put them into an album that reflects the 90′s love song era from the likes of Gin Blossoms or Dire Straits. While most acoustic/rock albums can usually be a disaster, surprisingly, this album left me wanting more. A perfect lyricist, he knows how to tell personal stories that all listeners can relate to. Along the likes of Tallest Man on Earth or A.A. Bondy, Griffin can join their ranks into crafting the perfect acoustic song.No over -the-top production guitars or basses, just a man and his guitar and some other key instruments. While a simplistic album with many stand alone songs, the album does allow the songs to flow into each other, creating a harmonious album that people who prefer different genres can enjoy. Definitely an album that will be listened to more and more as the winter months drag on, and perhaps even a hazy summer night –an album to reminisce to.
Stars and Satellites- Dan Griffin
Check out his Facebook here.
Or his website here.