A total mix of some of my favorite artists- Kurt Vile, Mac Demarco, HOMESHAKE, and Frank Ocean, this 18-year old multi-instrumentalist out of Peckham, London is just a regular kid that skates, paints, makes cool music, and has absolutely blown my mind with his eclectic mix of indie and r&b. His voice, hip urban style, and lyrical influences are 100% unique to him. The biggest thing that I look for when listening to new artists are original lyrics that aren’t cliche or heard before and Cosmo Pyke brings something new to the table in all of his tunes. If you wanna hear some groovy stuff listen to the tracks below:
Favorite Tunes off of ‘Just Cosmo’
Track #2-Chronic Sunshine
Track #4- Social Sites
Track #5- Great Dane
In an interview with Independent UK, Cosmo mentioned that he grew up listening to reggae, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Dylan, and Micheal Jackson (you can really hear the reggae influence in Chronic Sunshine). Just from listening to his music and interview, you know that the things that influence his writing are completely genuine and real.
Cool Fact: He sampled his mom and a clip from “Just William” that reminds him of his childhood on the track ‘Great Dane’ on his EP.
Cosmo Pyke on Soundlcoud:
Music Video for Chronic Sunshine:
Cover Photo by Notics Magazine.
Hope ya enjoyed some rambling on a cool dude, see ya soon.
Happyness is sure to bring you exactly what their name offers with their 90s alternative rock lead guitar style along with their abstract lyrics that lead you to places in your mind that you don’t pay much attention to. How many British guys does it take to create this sick sound, you ask? Three! Jon EE Allan (Guitar, Bass, Vocals), Benji Compston (Guitar, Vocals), and Ash Cooper (Drums). This band has played festivals such as Reading and Leeds which is where so many of my favorite legendary bands have played.
Their first album Weird Little Birthday was released on March 30th of 2015 from their personal studio, Jelly Boy Studios. This record is 17 tracks long, some of the songs being pretty lengthy. The next bit of music they produced was an EP Tunnel Vision On Your Part, released on September 23rd, 2016, and is 5 tracks long, named after the last song. Their most recent album Write In,not out yet,releases on April 7th of this year (2017). This record will features 2 tracks from the previous EP.
My Favorite Tunes (I know, I listed a lot):
‘Montreal Rock Band Somewhere’
‘Great Minds Think Alike, All Brains Taste the Same’
‘Friend Of The Revolution’
‘It’s On You’
‘Leave The Party’
‘Monkey In the City’
‘You Come To Kill Me?!’
‘A Whole New Shape’
The guys got their name from the song “Hello Moscow” by Brute Force and mispelled it purposely to pay tribute to Happy Shoppers convenience store.
Audio Preview of ‘Weird Little Birthday Girl’ (2015):
Thanks for reading, take a listen and tell me what ya think.
Here are some bands that I’ve been listening to like crazy. Hope ya like em’ too.
These dudes are from Chicago (but sound pretty west coast-y). TRIGGER WARNING-IF YOU HATE CLASSIC ROCK- WHICH YOU SHOULDN’T, DO NOT READ. Twin Peaks, who are named after the 90’s pop culture tv show, bring those giddy feelings to fans of The Kinks and The Rolling Stones (aka me) because there are so many similarities, but in the most original way possible. Twin Peaks color outside the lines and you can never get bored of their melody switches. There’re new sounds that pop out each time you listen to their music. Cadien Lake James definitely gets his vocal inspiration from one of my favorite human beings on the planet, the one and only, Mick Jagger. In their tunes, “Cold Lips“, “Heavenly Showers“, “Holding Roses“, “Stain“, and “Have You Ever” from the record, “Down In Heaven“, you can totally hear a bit of Mick in it. Also, the song “Wanted You” is like a reincarnation of “Beast of Burden” by the Stones (not even close to as good, but a really cool song). The other members of the band are Clay Frankel (guitar), Jack Dolan (bass) and Connor Brodner (drums).
My Favorite Record:
Down In Heaven released on May 13th, 2016 from Grand Jury Records
Bringing forth a psychedelic, trippy sound mixed with LA surf rock and a look to match, this five-piece absolutely have one of the most unique sounds that you’ll hear from any band. Their melodies contain completely original arrangements, so you will never catch yourself saying “these guys sound like…” with any of their tunes. Mystic Braves, being a fairly new band released their first self-titled record in 2012 and it features 12 songs that all sound completely different from eachother. The lead singer, Julian Ducatenzeiler’s vocals can be compared to Brooks Neilsen from The Growlers. They both have a distinct sound that pair really well with their sounds. They have mentioned that the more their band grows, the more new sounds they bring into the mix. Instruments such as the 12-string, acoustic and electric piano, and a tambura. They constantly push their rare and standout vibe. The other members include Cameron Gartung (drums), Tony Malacara (bass,vocals), Ignacio Gonzalez (organ, tabourine), and Shane Stots (guitar, vocals). Mystic Braves are such a festival band and can absorb the vibe of the environment and bounce it right back to their audience.
My Favorite Record:
Mystic Braves released on October 2nd, 2012 from LOLIPOP RECORDS
Ian Ruhala, known as Hala to the music world, has been writing music for years, creating two full albums, a few other demos, and live recordings. Think about Mac Demarco and Travis Bretzer morphed into one person and this is what you get. Hala has aspects of both, but you can’t really place him in a direct category. I feel like he’s still a very young artist, but that makes it more exciting to see what sounds he experiments with and what his music grows into eventually.
My Favorite Record:
Spoonfed released on May 13th of 2016 by Citrus City Records
It’s a real good morning whenever you listen to this band. From Melbourne, Australia, the slow and mellow sound of their tunes attract fans of different genres of music all together. These guys are comparable to Alex Calder, but like a less synthy version. They incorporate mellow indie with rock components that bring together a harmonious vibe. In a lot of their songs, they have altered tuning which is where that sweet twangy electric sound comes from. The garage-rock muffled recording sound is so authentic and you can hear clearly in the track, “You” that appears on “On the Street/You“, which is one of my favorite songs. This is a band that’s definitely one I need to see live before they get any bigger. The members of this band are Stephen Blair and Liam Parsons, but they have a live bonus of John Considine and James Macleod.
My Favorite Record:
Shawcross released on November 14th of 2014 from Solitaire Records
On Friday, December 16th, I went to my favorite music venue in Potrero Hills, San Francisco and saw three local bands who are extremely talented, gave a super energized show and drank a ton of beer. It’s sick to see that local indie bands and the community surrounding them are still very prominent in the Bay Area and recognized by the best little hole-in-the-wall venues the city has to offer.
First off: Bear Call
This group was formed by Skylar Warren, born and raised in California, and began as a solo musician but soon gained the rest of his band when he was living in Seattle for a year after high school. As most of us do, he thought that Seattle’s late 80s to 90s grungey garage rock music scene was still alive and well but instead he discovered that the Nirvana wannabes were replaced with mostly mellow singer-songwriters and that is definitely the opposite of what he wanted his band to be. The name formed during a roadtrip with friends and captures a California inspiration (hence the Bear in Bear Call). The perfect mixture of angst, loud guitar, and rolled up jeans.
Next: Tino Drima
This six-piece band out of San Francisco includes members from the bands Spooky Mansion, O, and French Cassettes but they kick the single genre wall down by creating their own unique one. The only way to truly describe this music is 50s doo wap and futuristic psych-garage rock. Make sense? No? Listen to them and you’ll understand. Adding to the crowd they drew, I felt like I totally took a trip to some Twilight Zone dimension in the best way possible. A mix of a 90s MTV live performace and if there was a super cool score to the Star Trek movies that existed, this band would create it. Gregory DiMartino may be the tallest person I’ve ever seen on a stage and can sing acapella good enough to blow your socks off.
Ending the night: Spooky Mansion
My favorite to listen to on Spotify and really funky outfit choices to match the vocals, this band is also from San Francisco. Grayson Converse leads this four-piece into one of those optical illusion psychedelic twirly tunnels (can you picture what I’m talking about?). What I mean by this is that the flowing tune of the guitar along with the flamboyant lead vocals and vehement drums lead the tracks from groovy soul in “Disco B!tch” and “Gone Too Far” to surf rock in “Ronnie Nimbo” to flirty loose string sounds in “Crisis Mode“. When a band is this diverse within the same genre, you can tell that they’re not only talented musicians, but have a keen ear for switching sounds while staying consistent with their vibe.
Here’s a list of insanely underrated artists with a little bit of commentary. I have more to say about some of them than others, so a few are lengthy. You may be wondering about the long title and I’m hoping that from now on, whenever these moments come along, you may turn on this music and know what I mean.
Side Note: Some songs by these artists are in my Spotify playlist “keep growing as you roam” if you wanna take a listen. Spotify: Kailey Harvey
Beginning in Columbia, North Carolina, but based in Asheville, Tennessee, Elvis Depressedly was formed in 2011 by Mat Cothran, previously known as Coma Cinema (who I also talk about below). Mat played most instruments himself during this time. The next year, in 2012, more music was released; some digitally, some on cassettes (Orchid Tapes, Mickey’s Dead, and Hotter Sadness). Soon, Mat added a couple members to create a full band including Mike Roberts and Delany Mills. Soon, in 2013, the band came out with “Holo Pleasures“, which caught the attention of “Run For Cover Records”. Elvis Depressedly released the album “New Alhambra” in May of 2015. My favorite tune from this band is probably “Inside You“. I love that track because of the melody and scratchy sound that sounds like you’re listening to it on a vinyl player. This song is found on the “Holo Pleasures/California Dreamin’” album that was released in 2016 as the 2013 EP combined with an unreleased six track EP that was previously recorded during the same time.
This band derives from Reno, Nevada and is a little more up tempo than the other bands I’m putting in this category. It’s a mix of punk and surf rock. Their first demo album was titled “Demos” and was a ten track album. In June of the same year, the album “Buds” was released. My favorite track comes off of their most recent album, “Sad Boys“, and its called “Forever Dumb“. It’s a really nostalgic surf rock sound that you would get in the 50s, but modernized with an enhanced guitar and melody base.
This band is one of my favorites that I chose for this post. Mat Cothran is now lead of the band, Elvis Deprssedly. I can’t stop listening to the song “Virgin Veins” off of the album, “Posthumous Release“. The front man, Mat Cothran’s voice fits so well with this genre of music. They come from North Carolina and formed in 2005 during high school. After they performed locally for years after high school, they released an album called “Baby Prayers” that is a compilation of all of their music they had recorded in basements, bedrooms, and abandon houses up until then. The areas that they record this music in gives a really authentic and unique sound to each song. This caught the ear of many labels and indie blogs. In June, 2012, they released their second album, “Stoned Alone“.”Blue Suicide“, their most recent album, was released in March 2011.
German Error Message
This band comes from Nashville, Tennessee. They have a really melancholic instrumental arrangement. My favorite tune by them is “Everything Is Scary” mostly because of the guitar riff that sweeps throughout the whole thing. The lyrics paired along are also really great. My other favorite is “What Do You Want“. I think their melodies are my favorite part of their music because it seems like it intensifies but also keeps an airyness to it. The band’s first release was a self titled EP released December 2nd, 2008. In April, two years later, the band’s first album which is 12 tracks long, “To Carry Alongside“,was released. The follow-up album, “SPPLIT“, which was a collaboration with The Widowers, came out soon after in January, 2011. “After The Warmth” in February, 2011, “In Comforting” in May, 2011, “The Lifting” in April, 2013 (a collaboration with Lung Cycles) in November 2014, and their most recent album, “Haunts” in December 2014.
This funky music, created by Shari Heck, is easily one of my go to’s. This is more on the alternative side, its acoustic, laid back, and refreshingly simple. My favorite song by her is “Philadelphia II“, the lyrics to that song are some of my favorites from any song. Her first album, “Hair Piles” was released in April of 2014, following that in the same month was “Milo the Dog Sees Color“, in July, “Outdoor Activities” came out, then came “Muck” in September. Beginning a new year in February 2015, “FRIENDS“, which is a single came out. “Amy Locust Whatever” from November, “FOOTWEAR” in March, and the latest, “OOR 1.5” from July 2015. CBMC is currently signed to the really cool independent music record label called “Too Far Gone Records” which is a small diy distributor of music from Boston, Massachusetts. They have some other similar bands that you should check out.
This band originates from Valdosta, Georgia. Their first release was April of 2013. I would name all of the albums, but the names are so long that not even I would really want to read through them. The reason that I can’t seem to choose my favorite album by them is because I feel like I shouldn’t, which may sound strange. I feel like the point of these songs were kind of like when you find old journals and look back at them and they bring you a memory and that in itself is a really interesting experience and you should appreciate each one. In my opinion, each song portrays this idea in a really cool way. When I listen to their music, they remind me of poems or a thought that had to be written down right that second. Their sound is a little angsty if you can get behind that. Contron is also under the record label, “Too Far Gone Records”. Their trademark is having extremely long titles for songs, for example, “oh in the springtime yes it rains til it gets sunny i wish i was allowed 2 be 2 proud 2 take yr money“, which is the first track off of their self titled album.
These guys are from Salt Lake City, Utah and you can find most of their music on bandcamp.com, which I use a lot to find new music. Their sound is really cool and they’re a little garage band-ish. But as they evolve, their sound gets better due to experience. The music off of each of these albums is lo-fi, muffled, sad indie (I just made that up, but it definitely makes sense if you listen). They have A LOT of music out and they released their first “Bedroom Tapes Part.1” in August of 2012. My favorite song off of that album is “Ol Rudy“.This album ends with a beautiful instrumental called “Closing Thoughts“. In November 2012, they released “Bedroom Recordings #2” which is a little softer than the first release (foreshadowing their future sound). My favorite track off of that one is “DayDeathDream” because it sounds like it was recorded off the cuff in a little echo-y room. “PAPS” is also a great tune, they used a similar melody as the song “Void in Time“, which is a song off of one of their future albums that you can find on Spotify. During the same month, they released “Bed Room Recordings #3” and my favorite track is “Massacre Isnt Marie“. I love the lyrics and just the simple melody, it really shows off the creative talent of the writer(s). “Bedroom Recordings #4” was from February 2013, and I love love love the first track “Greatest Hits” that incorporates a harmonica, which you don’t find in many songs these days. “Mama Says” from April 2013 is the original version of “Void in Time“(you can find the professionally recorded and enhanced version on Spotify). They released an album called “Bedroom Recordings Remastered” in September 2013, which are a little different from the original tracks. In December 2013, “SAD SPLIT” came out. My favorite track off of that album is called “How“, which begins with a quiet vocal and music that seems to overtake the softspokeness. During the same month, the band came out with a longer album, “Euphoria Again“, and I absolutely love the cover art. This album demonstrates their progression and discoveries of themselves throughout the years. My favorite track from this album is “Backwards“; there’s something about the beginning and how honest it is. When it begins with the acoustic, it makes you feel similar emotions to the artist even if you havent been in the same state before. Another favorite of mine is “September“.
Thank you so so much to Ramona for showing me this band, because they’re one of my new favorites. Dope Lemon is a side project of Angus Stone, who most people know as part of the duo, Angus and Julia Stone. Angus also has a pseudonym, Lady of the Sunshine from 2009, and Broken Brights from 2009 which has a similar sound to the music that Angus and Julia Stone put out together. I like Dope Lemon the best because they have a more slackey grungy sound to them, which if you know me, you know I’m obsessed with. The band’s first album, “Honey Bones”, features Angus’s friends Rohin Brown, lead singer of The Walking Who, and Elliot Hammond on keys from The Delta Riggs. My favorite song off of the album is track 1 “Uptown Folks” which, in my opinion, is a lyrical masterpiece. I love the main guitar riff in the chorus. The album gets super experimental sounding when track 5 “How Many Times” comes on. This song gives off a Radiohead/early Muse days vibe. This track also features a couple of lyrics “she’s just dying to please ya” from Angus and Julia Stone’s song “Please You“. One of my other favorites is “Stonecutters” which has such a cool jam sound to it. It really shows off Angus’s voice in a raw way and the banjo in the back adds an original twist. He has a really authentic voice that reminds me a lot of Bob Dylan. He’s just a really cool dude in general. Angus records a lot of his music in his self-made studio on his farm that he calls Belafonte` Studios. He says he named after Bill Murray’s boat from one of my favorite movies “The Life Aquatic” directed by Wes Anderson (who is an incredible movie maker, check him out). Angus says “I’m a big fan of him, his colours, just the way he is with the script and everything, it’s just magic.” All of Angus Stone’s endeavours prove him to be an extremely multi-talented artist, which you can tell by just listening to his voice and lyrics. He also says that he eventually wants to become a producer and help other bands out with their music. For now, as the front man of Dope Lemon, he’s just sitting on it and maybe thinking of touring, festivals, etc. I’m hoping this side project goes far in the future because I’d love to see what else they come up with. Not only with Dope Lemon, but Angus Stone.
Tiny Little Houses
This band is an Australian band from Melbourne with a slow folk sound and a lovely voice coming from frontman, Caleb Karvountzis. His voice is super similar to Billy Corgen from Smashing Pumpkins (and you can NEVER go wrong with Smashing Pumpkins). The members include Sean Mullins, Al Yamin, and Clancy Bond. Their instrumental sound is really similar to the band Wild Nothing, but more melancholy. Their first EP, “You Tore Out My Heart” which came out in 2015, is amazing. My favorite song by them is probably track 1 “Soon We Won’t Exist“. I love how his voice matches with the vocals so well and the lyric “The strangest part of life. What keeps me up at night. Is you’ll sleep sound despite that I’m missing you.” (go listen to that part right now-its at the 3:00 mark). Caleb started recording music from his bedroom and they became a four piece in 2014. The song “Every Man Knows His Plague; And You Are Mine” is super cool too. It kind of has a Jake Bugg sound to it (the guitar in the beginning of that song is sick). Another song that I love is track 2″Easy” because the lyrics have so much emotion in them and they sort of go along with the song before it. It’s crazy to me that the melody of a song can be so catchy and sound so happy but really shows another side of the artist telling a story of their past. My favorite lyric in that song is “I think that we are fine. Not doing great but getting by. I guess we laughed right at the start, but now I think I’ll cry”. I feel like those words are so truthful for a lot of people. The realization that life is going on so casually despite the individual emotions that each person on this earth holds inside themselves.
A band from Montclair, New Jersey that began in January of 2010. The band joined together because of a small music show called “Terry’s Serendipity Cafe” that was for students in Montclair. The band consists of Evan Stephans Hall on guitar and vocals, Nick Levine on guitar, Zack Levine on drums, Sam Skinner on bass, Nandi Rose Plunkett with vocals, with a mix of David Mitchell, Josh Marre, and Adan Carlo Feliciano. They caught people’s attention because of their experimental playing, and unique lead vocal and harmonizing. If you ever listen to early 90s alternative, you’ll notice that their sound stems from a lot of that inspiration. They recorded their debut album “Meridian” in 2012, their next EP “&” in 2013, and recorded with a small label called “Topshelf Records” in 2014. Later in 2015, Pinegrove released their “Everything so Far” album, which is a lengthy 21 tracks long, and then in October, signed to the label “Run For Cover Records”, who they’re still signed with. This one was my favorite album of theirs because every song sounds so different and they have a really abstract way of recording. One track that exemplifies this idea is track 2, “Angelina“, which was the first song I heard by them. Initially, this track catches your eye with the cool name, then you hear it and there’s something really special about it. For some reason, the first time that I listened to it, it made me feel a vulnerability that I didn’t recognize. It brought out every emotion all at once and I thought “This is what music is meant to do.” After listening to that 1:41 length song on repeat in the middle of the night with my earphones on full volume hundreds of times, I was so curious about it. I did some research and read what the lead vocalist, Evan, wrote about it in his reddit AMA in March 2016. He said “It’s basically 3 different melodies over the same chords, in different vocal registers. I try to play with the tension of it by selectively introducing symmetrical melodies on different layers of the song. It all feels familiar because basically it’s just variations on the same thing. i use the same trick in aphasia.” Continuing the album, another song that made me feel the same way (thank you, Carla for telling me to listen to it closely) was a song called “Size of the Moon“. It speaks for itself in the lyrics, and man does it hit you hard. Side note in case you were wondering, my favorite song at the moment by them is “Old Friends“.
If you know me, you know I have to be listening to music 24-7. My music taste is predominately indie and alternative, so the reviews I do will be on artists from that genre. These are a few the albums that I’ve been playing the most so far this year. I’ll include some thoughts and favorite songs.
Mac Demarco: Salad Days Demos
Review: Although the Salad Days album is arguably one of the best indie records ever, the Demo version is super overlooked. The music is more raw and its a lot easier to pay attention solely to the groovy guitar riffs and quirky warped, scratchy vinyl sound that Mac has acquired as his own throughout his career. If you’re familiar to Mac’s older music, like his album “Rock and Roll Night Club” which are tracks featuring low-pitched vocals and slowed down DJ skits, Salad Days is such a different sound. The Demos sound so much more experimental and really show off his instrumental skills, not to mention his creative lyrical base. It brings us back to a sort of psychedelic (good drug trip, not bad) 70s sound.
track 7: Pepperoni Playboy
track 10: Go Easy
track 8: Brother
track 3: Ken The Wolf Boy
Leif Vollebekk:North Americana
Review: Leif Vollebekk is an artist that I just recently discovered earlier this year, and I’m so happy that I did. This album is one of those that there isn’t one song that you can say you dislike. I can’t put my finger on my favorite aspect of the album, so I’ll just name them all. One is that each song sounds sort of like a one take. It’s usually the little things that catch my attention in music. In some of his songs, he speaks in the beginning and it feels like you’re sitting in a dimmed coffee shop late at night, watching him play on a stool. You can hear him swallow in between words and the finger picking and strumming of the acoustic guitar sounds like each chord is its own song because they’re so carefully played. The rasp of his voice paired with the way he enunciates each word is amazing. I feel like his lyrics were originally journal entries, poems or stories before the music was placed behind them. This was an impressive sophomore album for Vollebekk following his first record, “Inland“, which is also a favorite of mine.
track 2: Off the Main Drag
track 5: At the End of the Line
track 1: Southern United States
track 6: Takk Sömuleiðis
Blind Pilot:3 Rounds and a Sound
Review: This album from 2009 is the band’s first album and one of my all time favorites. The album as a whole is super mellow, and they’re from Portland, Oregon so they’re automatically from a cool music scene. The front man, Israel Nebecker’s voice is so so beautiful and the lyrics seem to be so carefully written to grasp the meaning perfectly. The melody of each song will get so stuck in your head, fit perfectly in any situation, and if you’re a guitar player (or desperately trying to teach yourself like me), I would suggest any song off of this album to learn.
track 5: One Red Thread
track 4: Poor Boy
track 8: I Buried a Bone
track 2: The Story I Heard
Dave Matthews: Crash
Review: Dave Mathews Band, formed in Charlottesville, Virginia, is the best jam band there is. Crash, from 1996 is probably my favorite album of his. I grew up listening to him, and haven’t stopped. The band (including the drummer, a saxophonist, a trumpet player, a guitarist, a violinist, and a bass player) put together each song as a work of art and its insane. Seeing them live was one of my favorite concerts that I’ve ever been to because each member’s full energy is put into each song, making it a sick experience. In short, if you have any sort of appreciation for music, you’ll enjoy listening to not only this album, but all of them.