LOS KITSCH is just an infectious GARAGE ROCK band out of BOGOTA, COLOMBIA with catchy melodies and a propulsive, kinetic energy that is beyond contagious. this feels like rock music that doesnt get bogged down in having a message per se, instead more concerned with providing a sense of unadulterated joy and emotional/spiritual release.
definitely worth checking out.
BROOKLYN-based PUNK ROCK band SURFBORT is probably the most transgressive artist i have come across since this side of discovering the BUTTHOLE SURFERS and GG ALLIN as well as the films of JOHN WATERS and GREGG ARAKI back in the late 90s as a teen. this band is everything i love about ROCK MUSIC: RAW, UNHINGED and UNAFRAID of crossing cultural mores dealing with sex, politics, power structures or gender.
can't wait to see how this band develops. SURFBORT are most definitely worth checking out.
THE HOLY KNIVES are a noirish LOS ANGELES-by-way-of-SAN ANTONIO INDIE ROCK outfit and the musical creative outlet of brothers KYLE and KODY VALENTINE. we had the pleasure during pre-pandemic times of filming and recording them play "STRAY DOG" and "SWITCHBLADE HEART" as part of our KREISCHER MANSION SESSIONS live performance series.
from the start their sparse, reverb-drenched, plodding sound gave me DAVID LYNCH vibes, as if they these songs were written with TWIN PEAKS and BLUE VELVET on repeat in the background while muted. the deep baritone of KODY and the angular, haunting guitar lead lines of KYLE is quite the combination, giving them a unique cinematic sound. it all kind of makes sense when you know that their name is partially derived from the transgressive art film HOLY MOUNTAIN by ALEJANDRO JODOROWSKY. in my mind's eye, their music evokes a complex narrative. if only in my imagination.
we had nothing but a pleasure collaborating with the VALENTINE brothers and we wish them nothing but the best as they are currently recording their new record in LOS ANGELES. we are looking forward to hearing what they cook up.
THE HOLY KNIVES are definitely worth checking out, specifically their previous YEAR OF THE BLACK DOG record.
when i listen to the music of MONTREAL DREAM POP/INDIE ROCK band MEN I TRUST i catch glimpses of MAZZY STAR, THE CARPENTERS, FEIST and maybe even a little THIEVERY CORPORATION thrown in the mix. they have a hazy bed of light keyboards and gentle guitar chords that breathe in and out of one another that provides the perfect sonic bed for singer JESSY CARON's whispered and softly sung incantations.
its an intoxicating mix and i recommend it to anyone interested in modern INDIE POP. definitely worth checking out.
sometimes you come across a musician that is hard to pin down on first listen and seem wholly original yet strangely an extension of what you are familiar with beforehand. im thinking of songwriters and performers like BJORK and TRICKY who had antecedents in experimental ELECTRONIC MUSIC and HIP HOP, but took such influences to another new terrain.
thats kind of how i feel about KING KRULE, the creative project of ARCHY IVAN MARSHALL, that incorporates everything from TRIP HOP and INDIE ROCK to JAZZ FUSION and POST PUNK. its a heady eclectic mix but is cohesive through his unique persona and reflective yet opaque lyrics.
KING KRULE is definitely worth check out.
named after the MARLON BRANDO's motorcycle gang in the iconic film THE WILD ONE (COLUMBIA, 1953), BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB out of SAN FRANCISCO are an established INDIE ROCK band with a rootsy GARAGE ROCK sound that i highlighted in a past episode of DEER GOD RADIO.
what drew me to the band initially was the intensity and diversity of the songwriting of frontman PETER HAYES, which incorporated some wicked slide playing and a loose sense of timing that really propelled their sound and made it swing. this is not a band that is attempting to reinvent the wheel, but man do they do ROCK N ROLL justice with an earnest, straightforward approach and some killer songs.
plus ive never seen them not wear black. BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB is definitely worth check out, not to mention that other band named after BRANDO's rivals in THE WILD ONE. you know, THE BEATLES.
i recently came across the JAPANESE MATH ROCK band TRICOT and are easily one of the most intriguing progressive bands i have come across in recent years. if i had to pinpoint their sound, the nearest sonic antecedent would be the band BATTLES who also combine blazing technical musicianship with complex time signatures without losing drive or waning too far in muso wanking (as is often the case with traditional PROGRESSIVE ROCK).
it is technical ROCK-based music that is immediate and very, very catchy. i'm just happy to pass on the gospel of TRICOT to others.
definitely worth checking out this amazing band out of KYOTO.
as ive mentioned before at length, i am a unabashedly a huge sucker for anything SHOEGAZE adjacent. just thinking about SLOWDIVE makes me emotional. i absolutely adore the hazy textures, lilting single-note guitar melodies and just the pure swathing indulgence of reverb and delay that come with that immense layered sound.
and VANCOUVER INDIE ROCK band YOUNG PRISMS hits that sweet spot. can't recommend them enough. they are very much worth checking out.
KIWI INDIE ROCK singer-songwriter AMELIA MURRAY, a.k.a. FAZERDAZE, has a relaxed, reverb-drenched, fuzzed-out, hazy sound reminiscent of BROADCAST, FEIST and even SLOWDIVE. like those bands listening to her evocatively somber songs makes me swim through past memories sweet and bitter. i wouldnt call her music nostalgic but it definitely has a cinematic, reflective quality that is quite engrossing.
FAZERDAZE is definitely worth checking out.
im really digging the loose POST HARDCORE insanity of the BRITISH outfit IDLES, especially when it comes to the spoken word intensity of WELSH frontman JOE TALBOT. all too often it feels like BRITISH bands modify their singing voice to accommodate or pander towards a potential AMERICAN audience going back to THE BEATLES. when i hear TALBOT rant it brings me back to the best tradition of that poetic common-man deadpan lyricism of MARK E SMITH of THE FALL, IAN DURY or even SHAUN RYRDER of THE HAPPY MONDAYS.
it doesnt hurt that the group he fronts is pretty brutal. IDLES is definitely a band worth checking out.
RENTBOY is the transgressive and expansive musical outlet of the talented PHILADELPHIA songwriter BOBBY BROWN. we were lucky enough to record and film a live incarnation of the band at the NYC venue TRANS-PECOS back in those halcyon pre-pandemic days as part of our OFF THE M live performance series.
what made them standout was the compositional cohesiveness and complexity of their off-kilter time signatures and experimental electronic sonic textures. it all added up to a sound that was kinetic, bouncy and distinctively POP. and i mean POP in the best tradition of artists like PRINCE that push their audience to accept a wider variation of acceptable sounds. in RENTBOY's case that includes electronically manipulated vocals. during our filming at the venue over several weeks this was the first band i encountered were i thought "okay, i havent heard that before."
RENTBOY is definitely worth checking out, especially their new HEAD IN UNLIT HOMES EP set for release later this month. also please check out BROWN's recent MAGNET MAGAZINE article (linked HERE) where he wrote about the process of writing and recording during the pandemic.
TOKYO's CRYSTAL LAKE is probably the most explosive modern METAL band ive come across since GOJIRA or MASTODON. nearest comparisons i can think of are bands ranging from ARCHITECTS, FEAR FACTORY, EYEHATEGOD, AT THE GATES, BEHEMOTH , SUNN O))) and AS I LAY DYING to even CRADLE OF FILTH at times. they are tagged as METALCORE, but honestly they transcend that genre. if anything they have taken all the elements of that genre and distilled and perfected at a level of brutality ive never experienced before.
listening to this band was like being a teenager again remembering why i got into METAL in the first place. its crazy, i was in my car listening to satellite radio a few weeks ago and had to pull over to write down the name of the band on my phone. i mean i cant even remember the last time ive done that.
i'm surprised i learned about them now since i was living in JAPAN a few years back and was then actively investigating local bands. all i could find were these odd, choreographed, hybrid METAL/J-POP bands, like the ones i saw at OZZFEST JAPAN 2015. that shit was beyond corny and lame.
CRYSTAL LAKE is beyond crushing and well worth investigation by anyone interested in METALCORE, POST HARDCORE, PROG METAL, GRINDCORE, SLUDGE METAL, DEATH METAL, BLACK METAL or just extreme music in general. check them out. like now.
what i love about DETROIT's standout POST PUNK-influenced INDIE ROCK band PROTOMARTYR is their ability to be genuinely weird. and by that i dont mean they are attempting to be different for the sake of being noticed, more that you get the sense that they are presenting their authentic selves. it feels too often that ROCK MUSIC is sanitized and neat around the edges. with their angular guitar riffs, love of dissonance and JOE CASEY's elegiac lyrics and vocal delivery (which brings to mind echos of IAN CURTIS), PROTOMARTYR are a unique band in today's scene.
definitely worth checking out.
recently i was introduced to the music of electronic production duo GOODNIGHT by my friend DJ KUNG PAO who has a MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC radio show called THE OUTERBRIDGE (which is well worth checking out).
DAN and DARRYL of GOODNIGHT are both accomplished musicians from STATEN ISLAND that have worked in independent film as score composers. they also host an eponymous online radio show (linked HERE) where they play their mixes and have released a pre-pandemic record VERSIONS that my hope is to get the word out on.
did i mention they are also cool, down-to-earth dudes? always a bummer when that isnt the case (which sadly is quite often). definitely check out GOODNIGHT as well as THE OUTERBRIDGE radio show on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC.
i had the good fortune a few years back to film the POST PUNK-influenced BROOKLYN INDIE ROCK band BIG BLISS at MARKET HOTEL when we were producing our OFF THE M series. what drew me to them initially was their expansive, angular sound couple with earnest, personal lyrics and an undeniable stage presence. after filming bands night in and night out for a few weeks, it was always apparent and obvious when a band was clicking, and they definitely were capable, engaging and effective musicians.
since filming them i've kept tabs on their social media and have been more than impressed with their commitment to social justice issues in the wake of the 2020 protests in response to the murder of GEORGE FLOYD. i respect this band even more now for sticking to their guns and putting themselves out there in the streets and voicing their truth.
i know they have a new record coming out so definitely keep an eye out for that. most definitely a talented local band worth checking out.
when i recently came across MONTREAL INDIE ROCK band TOPS, they definitely reminded me of THE BIRD & THE BEE at their most CARPENTERS-esque moments. not sure if i would characterize TOPS as SOFT ROCK, but they definitely have a sophisticated INDIE POP sound that is very reminiscent of the best of the 1970s LAUREL CANYON tradition of singer-songwriters.
definitely a different sound than what i normally present in this forum, but definitely worthy of checking out for further investigation.
SEX STAINS was a fun PUNK ROCK / mixed-media project featuring members of BRATMOBILE (ALLISON WOLFE), WARPAINT (DAVID ORLANDO) and PRETTIEST EYES (FRANCISCO GARCIA) along with choreographer / professional dancer MECCA VAZIE ANDREWS.
to my ears this band seemed to have a playful, angular, upbeat, kinetic and experimental sound that was definitely within the tradition of the POST PUNK, RIOT GIRRRL, ALTERNATIVE ROCK and straight up PUNK ROCK sounds of their previous bands.
definitely a group worth revisiting and checking out.
at the risk of sounding totally off-based, its been a long-held observation of mine that women are often constrained in music, especially ROCK N ROLL, with heteronormative views of FEMININITY as defined by men. that and their sound must not threaten that concept as well.
what i love about CARRE CALLAWAY and her unique brand of ALTERNATIVE ROCK / INDIE ROCK songwriting is just how brash and unfiltered she comes off. there is a real sense of abandon and CATHARSIS and just genuine EXPRESSION that comes off completely AUTHENTIC and seemingly based in REAL-EXPERIENCE. i dont sense any coy affectation or need to play submissive for the camera, and by extension a certain audience. she is playing on a different field that is very much reminiscent of PATTI SMITH.
QUEEN KWONG is definitely worth checking out.
i mean first off, with a name life FULL OF HELL, what is there not to like about this absolutely brutal PENNSYLVANIA / MARYLAND GRINDCORE band?
what i love about this band is the blistering intensity of their music, they seemingly relish punishing the listener with their unrelenting waves of blast beats and pummeling riffage to the point of abstraction. on that front it makes total sense that they did a collaborative effort with noted POST ROCK outfit MERZBOW who likewise explore and juxtapose irregular sonic textures.
again, FULL OF HELL is beyond brutal but there is a sense of composition and serious intent just below the surface. most definitely worth checking out.
photo & text by nacrowe
originally a collaborative effort with her then-spouse, AESOP ROCK, DIRTY GHOST is essentially for all intents and purposes the NEW WAVE / POST PUNK influenced solo work of SAN FRANCISCO songwriter ALLYSON BAKER.
personally i just find the brashness of their music fun and intoxicating. to my ears it is just no-nonsense ROCK AND ROLL in the tradition of some of my favorite all time bands from DEVO to THE STRANGLERS.
definitely worth checking out.