It’s so exciting to see a rock ‘n roll revival in this decade. Each month seems to bring a handful of promising new artists to my attention – and a handful is quite a lot. Today, I’m spotlighting Deap Vally, a female duo with an electric charge that’ll knock your socks off. If you enjoy pure rock ‘n roll – raw and gritty, played fast and hard – Deap Vally could be your new favorite find. Formed in Los Angeles in 2011, Deap Vally’s Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards premiered their debut single “Gonna Make My Own Money” through Ark Records last summer, and have since signed with Island Records. Given that the duo has only officially released two songs to date (“Gonna Make My Own Money” and its B-side “Ain’t Fair”), their cult following has been clamoring for new music; luckily, Deap Vally’s debut EP Get Deap is expected to drop in the U.S. later this month.
In late January, Deap Vally unveiled their music video for “Lies,” a new song that maintains the edgy vocals and lightning-fast playing on their first single. Troy and Edwards are currently on tour with Mumford & Sons in Europe, but they’ll be back in the States in April for an appearance at Coachella. If you’re one of the lucky few Coachella ticketholders, be sure to check them out. For now, you can enjoy “Lies” below and visit the Deap Vally website for more information.
Friendly People’s first full length album, Shake, was released in December. It was funded as a Kickstarter campaign that raised nearly nine thousand dollars. Full disclaimer: I am a backer. For some reason, I feel obligated to mention this fact, as if I am a salesman wanting to ensure he has all of his bases covered before he endorses a product. In some ways, it shouldn’t feel that way. I had previously written about Friendly People’s debut EP a few years ago, and had seen them play in Annapolis, unknowingly hearing many songs that would appear on this record. In a way, this was a method of purchasing music that had an even greater positive effect than normal–all of the funding went directly to the band.
Friendly People has no label–the band actually funded the recording and mastering themselves before turning to crowd-sourced funding in hindsight. For my thirty-five dollar pledge, I received a physical and digital copy of Shake, a t-shirt, a mug, and a print of their CD release show poster. For someone with no ability to attend that show in Boston, it’s a cool collection of items to get my hands on. While I had meant to write this review as soon as I received the digital copy last year, life got very busy, and receiving the Kickstarter items last week stirred my memory. Busy is no excuse.
Shake grabs a few songs from their debut EP and adds many more new ones. Generally, it sticks to the indie rock sound built from the EP, with generally non-distorted guitars (a few exceptions) and acoustic guitars featured in most songs. It manages to feel more produced than the EP, while still maintaining a great sense of dynamics–shunning over-compression for raw vocals. Make no mistake – when it wants to be loud, it is. “Here We Are” is a great example of this – starting off rather quiet and layering additional instruments on slowly – something quite a few songs manage to perfect here. “Branches” grabs your attention with this effect as well–starting off with a simple guitar riff that builds into a sing-along chorus.
There are other notables as well: “Speak” evokes The Smiths, in a less jangly way than you’d expect. “The Rules” is a dreamy introspective acoustic closer. Overall, the album cements the band’s sound with a variety of songs that still end up feeling composed together. This isn’t an album full of ten versions of the same song–and that’s what has me returning for repeat listens.
Shake is available on Amazon and Bandcamp. Friendly People will be doing a stint at SXSW starting Wednesday, March 13th at Maggie Mae’s and is currently in the midst of an east coast tour. Take a second to enjoy the dual percussion from my favorite song off the album: “A Way Home.”
San Francisco garage rocker Ty Segall has been constantly touring, writing and recording for most of the past few years. His sold out show in Denver on February 12th was the last stop on an extended tour before he and his band headed back to California.
Denver’s Thee Dang Dangs and Memphis’ Ex-Cult both put on excellent opening sets. Thee Dang Dangs female lead garage rock was drowned-out, screechy bliss. There was so much reverb on the lead singer’s mic that it was easier to understand the bassist without a mic when the band was talking to the crowd. Ex-Cult’s sound was far from bluesy. Despite their Beale Street origins, this group was pure Manchester punk revival. Both groups were high energy and gave Segall and his bandmates something to live up to.
Ty Segall always puts on an exciting and tight show, and this one was no different. The band played one mosh-pit pleasing hit after another–songs like “Girlfriend” and “Thank God for Sinners” were highlights. The band did not show any last-day-of-tour lag and hammered out their set with a mechanically quick quality. Segall barely spoke to the crowd and did not even stop shredding to acknowledge an unplanned appearance by Denver paramedics who helped out a fallen mosher. Maybe Segall was rushing from song to song in a hurry to get home, but either way, he and his band played an ear-bleeding set for a rowdy, engaged crowd that proved Segall is still on the up.
This blog has closely followed the meteoric rise of the Alabama Shakes, and knows all about the revival of soul in the newest generation of indie rockers. So I’d like to introduce a softer act from Brooklyn called The Lone Bellow. Their self titled debut, which came out this January, is full of shimmering guitars and hand-clapping singalongs. I’m personally more drawn to their core acoustic lineup, which you can listen below. There’s nothing quite like a call-and-response on acoustic guitar and mandolin. What better way to pine?
Lowline is an alt-rock band that’s been generating a bit of buzz over the past few years both here in the U.S. and across the pond around their Manchester, UK base. They were featured as one of iTunes’ “Single of the Week” bands for their song “Outside” shortly after the release of their debut self-titled album in May 2011, and though they haven’t officially released any new material since, the band teases fans with snippets of new songs every now and again to rejuvenate their base.
Earlier this year, Lowline announced they are in the process of recording a follow-up EP; the new track “Bury My Soul” featuring the Verve’s Nick McCabe is expected to appear on the release, and hopefully “The Howler” will find its way onboard as well (though that’s just projection at this point). Keep an eye out for new tracks by Lowline on their website, and be sure to listen to “The Howler” below.
Where does music take you? Does it take you away to a dream or a memory or to the place in the song title?
I’m not that worldly so it’s rarely that I’ve been to the town, city, or place a song is named after but when I hear a certain song, it can go to a place that stands out in my mind. I’ll always have a special place for South Dakota by Magic Man. It’s magically, ethereal, and triumphant. It has to make my favorite songs ever list. I don’t know if what I’m saying makes sense, but you were subjected to this little intro because…
Magic Man is back!
Last month on Valentine’s Day, they released their first song in a couple of years. It’s called Paris. I haven’t been to Paris, like I haven’t been to South Dakota, but the song’s title is only part of the story.
Magic Man is bigger than ever, grown from the duo of the Real Life Color era to a five piece today. Their sound seems to have matured as well. Paris definitely reminds of the new Passion Pit. Comparisons aside, I’m excited for the return of Magic Man to my life.
Here is their Facebook. Below you will find Paris. South Dakota is included, too. Enjoy.
Psychedelic rock, blues, baroque pop? Count me in. Brooklyn-based Steady Sun does it all, and they’re gearing up to show what they’re made of with their upcoming debut full-length album Good Evening, expected out March 30. Steady Sun began in 2011 as a one-man band powered by Dylan Nowik; after his first EP release Steady Sun, Nowik worked to expanded his project, admitting four additional musicians to Steady Sun’s current five-piece lineup.
On February 10, Steady Sun released “Actress,” their first single from Good Evening. This new track evidences a noticeable shift for Steady Sun – in addition to executing a fuller sound (undoubtedly due to the musician tally ramping up from one to five), bluesy riffs appear throughout “Actress” that only make brief appearances in the first EP’s closing track “Traveler.” In another month, Steady Sun will show us all what they have in mind for their future; until then, we can enjoy “Actress” and excitedly anticipate what comes next. Listen to the single at the link below and check out Steady Sun’s Bandcamp page to learn more.