Twenty new bands/artists that caught my ear this year and hope to hear more of...
20. Swaai Boys - Meet the Mysterious Swaai Boys
"Meet the Mysterious Swaai Boys establishes its sonic agenda in the first few seconds of opener “Camilla,” as virtuosically tasteful guitarist Caleb Townsend’s sweet African licks rise atop an undulating groove set by Andrew Roth’s thick, melodic bass and Jose Ginarte’s eccentrically funky drumming. McInerney’s smooth voice is pure honey, and the song seems to advance a simple conceit: taken at face value, it is sung by a downed fighter pilot in West Africa, who is imploring his nurse Camilla to make him well again. But hidden throughout the song are tiny little clues, and by the time he gets to the final lines “And now I’ve lost another day, while you’re repeating what I’m saying, Camilla I’m begging you to stop,” we realize that the pilot is dying in his own wreckage, hallucinating wildly and calling out to a passing parrot. In the Mysterious World of Swaai, nothing is as it ever seems, and there is always some dangerously intoxicating and threatening mystery lurking beneath the warm surface." - Mama Cocos Funky Kitchen
19. The Mad Doctors – Fuzz Tonic
Vocalist/guitarist Dr. Seth Applebaum, bassist Dr. Josh Park, and drummer Dr. Gregory X make up The Mad Doctors; a fusion of retro aesthetics, furious energy, and songs about barbecue. Self-described as psychofuzz, the band is a hairy snot rocket of garage punk, surf rock, and psychedelia smashed into a disgusting blender in some backwoods shanty.
18. Lucious - Wildewoman
Brooklyn band Lucious is a lusciously infectious sound of '60s-pop with delicious harmonies and loads of bebopping and spunk.
17. Harper’s Fellow - Thanks For Tonight
Asbury Park's Harpers Fellow was born from the heart and mind of Cortney Metzler, after crafting songs and honing her trade, she began to add the pieces that would become Harper's Fellow including Janelle Reyes, Brendan Smith, Eric Castellazzo and Alex Ford. The group was fully formed and started performing in October 2012 and fast became one of the rising stars of the Asbury Park music scene. After running a successful indiegogo campaign they entered the studio in March to record their debut album "Thanks for Tonight"
16. Butchers of Sky Valley - Self-Titled
“Underneath gusts of heavy distortion, bombastic blues, psychedelic soul and crooning vocals is a mysterious allure both infectious and indefinable. Butchers of Sky Valley mine the past yet thrive in the present weaving their own signatures rooted in rock and wrangling lyrics. There’s a sense of intrigue inherent within the band – from the name (which Mokotow has hinted partly derives from the Kyuss classic Welcome to Sky Valley) – to the cinematic lyrics delivered with such depth and immediacy that it leaves the listener pondering the message behind each song."
15. Ali Holder - In Preparation for Saturn’s Return
After touring and releasing albums with The Raindoggs and The Broken Hearted, singer-songwriter Ali Holder is striking out on her own.
In Preparation for Saturn’s Return is a stunning solo debut, incorporating traces of blues and R&R intoher folk-based sound. “I always have a rotating band, so I never seem to know what magical
combination will be made out of joining together different people,”
explains Holder, who plays ukulele on the record and guitar at her live shows. Here, she’s backed
by a stellar collection of musicians, including Adam Ray, who contributes jazzy trumpet to album closer “Falling Up,” a song which gets itsname from a Shel Silverstein work, and guitarist Daniel Thomas Phipps, who trades vocals with Holderon “I Saw a Wolf,” an eerie duet about the pursuit of love. Country-influenced tracks like the cheating ballad “Drinking Double” feature the crying steel guitar of Jeremy Menking, which serves as a gorgeous backdrop for Holder’s smoky alto..
14. Blue & Gold – Self Titled
From the bastion of bad assery Rock & Roll, Brookly NY. Blue & Gold wrangle righteous riffs , bodacious bass slappery and indomitable drum beats while Chloe sizzles on vocals with Alex contributing hot buttery flavor to that sizzle.
13. The Lappes - Lappe It Up
Let there be no confusion, The Lappes deal in fusion... sonic excursions and tight instrumentation abound on their debut EP ‘Lappe It Up’ as they venture on a groove filled spacious jammy sound experiment. Even in these chilly dreary days of winter 'Summer Breeze' wafts around you like sun lit drops of cool water while the rest of the songs cover you with warm glows of electric tones.
12. Delco Pacers - Stereo Streets
After two years of road travel, on 'Stereo Streets' Delco Pacers hit thier stride and prove why they're one of Philly's Americana-flavored indie rock bands to pay attention to.
11. LaVendore Rogue - What's the Meaning of...
LaVendore Rogue are looking to forge a new path that combines the influence of Americana and Country Music with the attitude of Punk and Rock n Roll.
Rough and tumble Americana with songs about luck n’ loss, life n’ death and with tales ripped straight out of the tabloids.
Purchase on Amazon
8. Lucky Boy
9. What's The Meaning Of...
10. Sun Voyager - Cosmic Tides
While they consider Their debut EP Cosmic Tides, a demo and are heading back into the studio to work on a full length, it has all the ingredients of great psychedelic/garage rock mixed with a bit of stoner, raw loud and rockin’ with sprawling guitar solos, fast beats and wailing vocals. Based out of Orange County, New York, the four musicians see themselves as more of a brotherhood, having known each other for 7-8 years. They vibe on the same musical wave length and set out to write simple songs that groove. I'm looking forward to the debut of the full length, this young band has something that works.
9. The Black Market Merchants - Self Titled
More goodness from the fantastic Oliver Ignatius at Mama Cocos Funky Kitchen, the self-titled debut EP from NYC The Black Market Merchants benders and twisters of blues/rock. The three song EP is full of dark, delicious experiments. A bit of fuzzy dissonance, lively guitar interplay of Nick Jenkins, Nick Zide, Ryan Yero and the sexy sonorous vocals of Madeline Lingett with Chris Corsico's exceptional wizardry on the skins create a unique sound.
8. Scowlin Owl - These Strange Companions
Scowlin Owl is Nina Lovelace (vocals, rhythm guitar, flute), Yvonne Bordon (vocals, electric guitar), Karina Zakri (vocals, bass), and Sally Gainsbury (violin, vocals). Nina started up the band 2011 with the mission to form a female-led dramatic musical collective based on harmony vocals and folk-style storytelling. Nina first hooked up with Yvonne who, armed with her instrumental genius, immediately shared the vision. Soon after Scowlin Owl found their high harmony vocalist Karina Zakri and finally Nina’s friend Sally Gainsbury decided to throw in her fiddlin’ lot with the band. Since then ‘The Owl’ have been gigging on the London folk and alt-country scene and just released their debut EP, ‘These Strange Companions’
With wonderful harmonies and unique storytelling combined with British and American folk influences they soar in an effortless somewhat minimalist sound that is both haunting and uplifting.
7. Boxed Wine – Cheap Fun
Boxed Wine bring the fun to the dance party, rambunctious, infectious dance floor shufflers, extending the party well into the wee hours of the morning with feet sliding, hip shakin' body contortionist grab a partner groovers of melodious magic!
6. Jeanette Lynn - You’ve Got Me
Jeanette Lynne's Bio states> "She is an up and coming songwriter from West Chester, Pennsylvania" with her debut album 'You've Got Me' I think it's safe to say, She has arrived! Among the many outstanding female vocalists out there these days she holds her own in both songwriting and vocal style. A very accomplished guitar player the album is filled with gorgeous melodies and harmonies with a dream like quality that is both soothing and profound. The whole album from start to finish is like a fresh breeze that’s needed occasionally to clear away the cobwebs in the Indie scene
5. Mark Kirkland - Guided Spirit
Singer/Songwriter based in Tuscaloosa, AL. Couch By Couchwest '13 Alumni, Mark Kirkland has been making music for over 35 years. A retired drummer and self-taught guitarist, he recorded this solo collection of reflective original songs using a ribbon mic with no multi-tracking giving it a live house concert intimacy. The songs are insightful and poignant with witty word play and excellent guitar work.
4. Sharkmuffin 1097
"The Brooklyn all female 3-piece outfit Sharkmuffin crafts adorable pop music with jagged, garage-sharpened fangs. With lyrical subjects including incest, mythical bestiality, and homicidal heroin using femebots, Thiessen's gutsy vocals jump between gentle moans to rough, forceful screams. They melt into Janet LaBelle's crashing cymbals and Natalie Kirch's thudding bass in a harmonious union. Admiration for 90s alternative girl group-esquehooks are paired with heavy 1970s inspired guitar riffs to create the raw sound of these punk rocking debutants. With these guys, it's no secret the end goal is fun. Sharkmuffin doesn't really give a fuck, they just want to have a good time." (They released two EPs this year)
3. Francie Moon – Morning Red
Francie Moon is a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist based out of the Northern woods of New Jersey. A gorgeous vocalist with a delivery that will reach into your heart and move your very being, she writes poignant heartfelt songs that are wise beyond her years.
An extremely talented multi-instrumentaist she can shred garage, blues, and punk riffs as well as delicate acoustic arrangements. Her recordings are DIY and highlight her many talents.
2. The Naked Sun - Space, Place, and Time
"The emotional, mid-tempo music that ebbs and flows along its own path throughout these four songs is genuine. Prog rock this is not. For a first outing, no effort is wasted nor is there any misstep to be heard on this debut EP. Space, Place, and Time is a concise yet condensed showcase for a band just starting out. While a somber, restrained affair, Space, Place, and Time is indeed conceptual in title and nature." via Bucket Full of Nails
1. The Miners - Miner’s Rebellion
The Miners are an original alt country band based in Philadelphia, PA. Miners' Rebellion their debut EP is full of great orignal songwriting, sharp steel, toe tapping beats and unique vocals, though many times throughout the album I felt like I was listening to The Traveling Wilburys Alt/Country ego. Looking forward to more from this band, definely a band on the rise in the Americana scene.