Three more under the radar bands for you to know and love:
Real Ones -
Real Ones are a psychedelically-inclined indie pop quintet hailing from Bergen, Norway, which may not be a likely place to find a band that - according to their bio - incorporates styles from influences such as The Flaming Lips, Wilco, and The Band. Their folky Americana sound WAS a bit surprising to my ears given its origin, but the group make legitimately great rock 'n' roll music on their US debut, All for the Neighborhood, an album that I've been spending quite a bit of time with recently. What was especially ear-catching on first listen was Real Ones' combining of basic alt-country elements (guitar, banjo, piano) with a little bit of everything else (sweeping string arrangements, sitar, all sorts of percussion, etc.) resulting in a somewhat familiar but refreshingly varied set of tunes. Highlights from the record include the rock anthem "Outlaw," the plucky "Lonesome Town," and the bluesy pop song "Six in the Morning," but really is worth making your way through the whole thing. Check out a song from the album below!
Every Dog Has His Day (MP3)
Alvin Band -
Alvin Band is the recording moniker for Miniature Tigers member Rick Alvin Schaier, who's side project is truly a one-man show. An a capella one to be exact, with Schaier singing songs over layers upon layers of his own voice providing the instrumentation. The music brings to mind both Beach Boys and Animal Collective (certainly not exclusive influences), and while that all may sound like a simple gimmick, it's anything but. His debut, Mantis Preying, is a truly exciting experimental record full of amazing pop hooks and delightfully strange wordplay that must be heard to be believed. In fact, when listening to tracks like the joyful, tropical "Temple Pressure" or the darkly funky "Lord of the Fly," you're likely to forget the novelty of the music and just get lost in the record's uniquely captivating slices of aural bliss. Seriously, check this out by downloading a track from the album below.
Temple Pressure (zipped MP3)
The Ettes -
Coco Hames (vocals, guitar), Poni Silver (drums) and Jem Cohen (bass) are The Ettes, a punk-rock group originally from LA whose straightforward, hook-filled third album, Do You Want Power?, is out this week. I've heard a few Black Keys comparisons, and those seem to be at least somewhat appropriate as the band certainly has an ear for thick, scuzzy classic rock riffs, but they also throw in a few folky acoustic ballads which seem equally essential to their sound. Front woman Hames (with that seriously misleading first name) is impressive as she belts out both fiery insults ("Blood Red Blood") or lonesome pleas ("Love Lies Bleeding") with equally great results, and the rhythm section behind her stays sharp through it all. My personal favorites, aside from the highlights already mentioned, are "I Can Be Your Lover (But I Can't Be Your Baby)" and "No Home." Make sure to check this trio out asap.