I post a lot of messages on Twitter (Potoroo, if you wanna seek me out, though I assume most of you read this blog ’cause of my Twit-pestering.) When I discover a new band, whether they’re actually a ‘new’ band or just one I had missed and was now in love with, I bring it up. I recently championed Women and was met with a request to post my top musical discoveries of 09. Rather than make it an arbitrary number, I figured I’d just list ’em…in no particular order. ((I apologize for the gratuitous use of MySpace, but it’s still a damned good source of streaming music for testing out new bands!)
How to describe this band. A three-piece gospel…bluegrass…punk…band? Dude…from the first flurry of banjo-pickin’ to the deep, deep voice booming like an eight-foot tall grave digging hypeman I was hooked. There is NOTHING like this out there…ANYWHERE. Their album ‘Gospel’ rocks, and is on an edge of musical reality I’ve never heard before. Suggested Track: Angel’s Wings.
It’d be strange to not mention these guys here. Originally a 9 piece bluegrass band and slowly widdling down to a 5 piece folk-rock band, The Strums have catchy lyrics that would offend if they weren’t so fun to sing-a-long to. I got to watch from the sidelines as audiences fell in love with their energy and the quirky stage talk of Simon Ward, the lead singer. The controversial lyric in ‘Underneath’ always caught the attention of the crowd. Check it out! Suggested Tracks: Indiana, The Racer, Underneath.
I first heard the song ‘Wasted’ on Triple J’s Hottest 100 (volume 15 if you’re curious). Julia’s sweet and innocent voice, their awesome harmonies and the gentle, laid-back nature of this folk duo give me shivers. Their music is perfect background AND perfect listening material. For an extra bit o’ fun, check out Bliss N’ Eso‘s hip-hop track ‘Eye of the Storm’ which uses ‘Paper Aeroplane’ by A&J as it’s beat. Suggested Tracks: Wasted, Paper Aeroplane, Mango Tree.
I’m going to have to use some strong language here, but it makes sense since we’re talking about Crystal Castles: it feels like you’re getting the shit kicked out of you by an Atari…and it feels good. I could just see a show ending with a guy smashing a Casio on stage and then jumping into the audience to beat up someone who looked at him funny. It may sounds like I’m not describing the music…but I am. Suggested Tracks: Untrust Us (their more…tame song), Love & Caring, Knights.
Sweet, sexy Beast. What can I say about you? I feel like I’m in a baptist church, a heist movie, and a dance club all at once. Strangely you can trace this band back to both ‘Triplets Du Belleville’ and a Ubisoft video game…two things I don’t normally see infusing anger into trip-hoppish electronica, but whatever happened to this jazzy duo I’m glad it did. Awesome band, awesome album…oh, and awesome website too! Suggested Tracks: Mr. Hurricane, Devil, Satan.
If he knew I was saying this he’d kill me, but…TEM is what Dashboard ‘could’ be if Dashboard would just shut up about girlfriends and start talking about things everyone can relate to…emo is usually a bad word, but in this case it doesn’t come across as whining, it comes across as an emotional reaction, which makes for good music. He does it with clever musicianship and a sweet, sweet voice. And, unlike Dashboard, you can get his music free with the artist’s permission! Suggested Tracks: Ephemeral, Plan for a New Self
A cleaned up Times New Viking, which means nothing to pretty much everyone, but trust me on this 😉 Lo-Fi at it’s best here with hooks that stick in your brain despite being recorded in a culvert or on a boombox…in fact…probably ‘due to’ being recorded in a culvert or on a boombox. These guys were up for the Polaris this year, which along with Triple J I suggest to all music lovers as a great way to find out what others are listening to. Suggested Tracks: Lawncare, Black Rice
I’m gonna end on a more mainstream note but that doesn’t take away from this band’s awesomeness. Another of the emerging ‘electronica’ bands (…which, too all my compatriots who remember the early 90s, means something different now) but with a quirky edge. They have a sense of humour. They use this strange outlook on life in their songs and videos. And…they sound GREAT loud. I know the genre’s are totally different, but they’re kind of a silly Bluejuice to me…a band with danceable, crowd-pleasing music who are also a bunch of goofs. Check it out! Suggested Tracks: Cloudboy, Neurochemical Warfare Gas Masquerade.