by Matt Meade
There are few things more exciting than coming across a band no one else knows about. There is something intimate and personal about the relationship you form with a little known artist. There is a thrill associated with watching the ascent of a new talent. Watching a young musician become who they were meant to be is one of the great pleasures pop music offers. However, it can be grueling to have to sift through so much trash before you find that hidden treasure. The internet has a lot of chafe and not much wheat, after all. Local clubs have a lot of goats and not many G.O.A.T.s. Life has a lot of shit, and not much sandwich.
This weekly column is meant to help you with these problems. Every Thursday, for the foreseeable future I’ll present to you an obscure band who has not yet had their songs featured over the post-climax montage sequence on Person of Interest, or been featured in a Chili’s advertisement. Some of these bands might not even be signed to a label. Some of these bands aren’t even bands, they’re groups of drunk kids, accidentally recording really great songs. Not every band I write about in this column will be the next Van Morrison, but they will offer something interesting, and provide some hope for ways in which their music could one day evolve.
They are the artists who are buried deep in the annals of Spotify, Bandcamp, and Hype Machine. They appear on blogs and in the foldout of free local papers. They play open mics and open for The Dirty Projectors at Schubas. They live halfway down the roster of tiny independent record labels with names like Gonner, and Mint and Frenchkiss Records. But they shouldn’t. And you’ll soon see why.
I have tried to make it easy for you by collecting them all in one place. As if this were not already the best of news, all of the bands I plan to feature stream their full catalog somewhere, and a good chunk of them even often their music in a “pay what you want” format. They are just begging you to listen, and I assert that it is worth your time to do so. Who knows, your new favorite band might be in here.
This week I will start off with three bands who may be close to hitting it big. I won’t usually write about three bands at a time, but I want to be the first one to tell you about them. I’m like that. Also a couple of them are on tour, so I want to make sure that I let you know about upcoming shows, so if they are coming to your area, you can go see them, if that is the kind of thing you do.
1. Them Savages – No. Not The Savages, that neo-post-punk Sunny Day Real Estate with a chick singer. Them Savages. That spiritually conflicted duo from Flagstaff, AZ. These chaps manage to create the bucket stomping Americana noise so many bands four times their size struggle to generate. The vocals are rich and knowing, and the riffs are hooky. Check them out and shout aloud to the catchy melodies.
Label: I don’t think they are on any label. Do you want to sign them?
Shows: Feb 15, Orpheum Theater, Flagstaff, AZ
Best Track: “God’s Hands”
2. Jungle – This UK duo has a knack for inserting catchy hooks into their, endlessly danceable tracks. Each tune is fun and harkens back an era of 70s Bee Gees-esque, KC and the Sunshine band scented, song making that I thought was over with until I heard these cats. The music they make is fun, but don’t worry, there is a somber color (colour for you Brits) that streaks the bright dancebeats, so you don’t even have to feel guilty for liking it.
Label: B3SCI Records / Blah Blah Blah Science
Best Track: “The Heat”
3. Saintsenaca – I have this theory that one day, history will look back kindly on all the easily accessible, shouty folk bands who dress up like they are taking one of those old timey photographs at an amusement park. In this day of future past there will be a documentary that will look back safely on Mumford and Sons, and Of Monsters and Men and celebrate what is good about them, instead of attacking what is pat or derivative about them. This film will invite the kids of 2065 to look back on these bands and to take them seriously in a way we cannot right now. If that future exists, Saintsenaca will be talked about like the Big Star of those bands, like the most authentic example of the sub-genre, like a perfect, little dinghy in a sea of ocean liners.
Upcoming Show: Mar 05, Grog Shop Cleveland Heights, OH
Best Track: “Visions”