It’s been about 3 weeks since I started my band of the day, and I think it’s been a big success. I’ve had a number of bands respond to me, as well as people checking out the groups I’ve mentioned. Keep checking back every day for more awesome bands! Also, if you want to have your band considered, email me: here
January 13th: Jon-Rae and the River
Jon-Rae and the River, a Toronto-based alternative-country/gospel/rock band with a frenetic and unique sound. Their singer Jon-Rae Fletcher reminds me a little bit of Will Sheff of Okkervil River, but he has an interesting timbre in his voice that sounds like it is so close to being off-key.
Check out their original songs Best of My Time and Just One More, as well as their bizarro cover of the Cars’ Just What I Needed, which goes from sounding like a joke into a tight twangy version only to end with feedback and noise.
January 14th: The Twang
Today’s band of the day hails from Birmingham England, and are beginning to get a bit of buzz. I have to give credit to John Sakamoto’s Anti-Hit List for turning me towards these guys. They’re sort of a combination between Brit-pop bands like Blur and Pulp and British rappers like The Streets and Plan B. To me though, they feel like a British version of the Hold Steady; where the Hold Steady used American classic rock as their template, The Twang use the last 15 years of music from the UK. Interesting stuff. I feel like they’ll get huge overseas but not so much in North America. But here’s hoping a band that has talent shines through.
here Standout tracks: Wide Awake and Either Way.
January 15th: La Casa Azul
Only our Adam Coozer (or the Cooze…let’s see if that sticks) could pick a band as saccharine and excessively bubblegummy as Barcelona’s La Casa Azul. Sounding like a Spanish The Boy Least Likely To, Pizzicato Five, or I’m From Barcelona (and unlike said Swedish band, this one is actually from Barcelona). I doubt you’ll find a happier sounding band, and even if I don’t know what they’re singing about, it sure sounds like it should be chocolate and puppies.
January 16th: The One and Only Typicals
Today’s band, Brooklyn NY’s The One and Only Typicals, remind me of that time that punk was all I’d listen to. A lot of it was that angsty pop punk that really didn’t stand the test of time. But some of it, namely the bands that had a bit more to offer, and took a page or two from rock n’ roll history, were able to remain in my head. One such band was Social Distortion. Listening to the One and Only Typicals, I hear a lot of SD influence, but along with it, a good sampling of the early 1980s Southern Californian power pop that the Exploding Hearts brought back not too long ago. Catchy but with some rockin’ guitars and solid vocals, they’re definitely worth a listen.
January 17th: Alphaspin
Today’s band, Alphaspin is from London England, and write some catchy tunes. Shifting between simple acoustic indie pop to piano-laden Keane-esque ballads, they have the simplistic sound and the right hooks to make it in the industry today. Sometimes simple pop-rock is the way to go. Alphaspin seem to have rounded out a solid sound with some tight musicianship, good vocals and top notch songwriting.
here Standout Tracks: Sunday Drivers, Only You For Me
January 18th: Hot Club de Paris
So when I was in Paris last summer, the hostel I was in had MTV Europe. There was this one afternoon that it was so hot that it was impossible to go outside. So this American girl, Irish bloke and I sat around and watched music videos on MTV2 Europe. It was pretty sweet actually, as I heard many new and amazing bands like the View, Peter Bjorn and John, and a Liverpool band called Hot Club de Paris. Their song was a jagged and choppy indie rock tune called ‘sometimesitsbetternottostickbitsofeachotherineachotherforeachother’ (seriously). It was asskicking to the max. So months went by and I forgot about them. But then I remembered they were awesome. Post-punky, very indie guitarish, but with a fun vocals and a some infectious tunes.
here Standout Tracks: I Quit My Job, Balance and Symmetry
January 19th: The Baird Sisters
I first fell in love with Meg Baird’s voice when I heard the first Espers album. I love how it flutters between being almost so airy it’s not there and powerfully emotive. Espers is a bit of an experimental new-folk band, and the music Meg makes with her sister Laura is far more minimalist, steeped in Appalachian folk history. Check out Lonely Town, with its simple banjo and guitar, along with the softly sung melody. I love that voice!
January 20th: The Definite Articles
It seems that these days, only the indie rock kids know how to rock without guitars. A couple years ago, Sufjan Stevens brought the sexy back to the banjo, and more recently, my hometown homeboy Owen Pallett (aka Final Fantasy) made the violin cool again. So here’s a group that take the awesomeness of the violin, add some cello, and write some quirky, catchy indie pop tunes. I like that they’re pretty simple, halfway between Final Fantasy and Joanna Newsom (especially on Merriweather Awaken). What I especially like about them is that they’re taking relatively simple tunes and making them sound fresh by using the mini string section. I can’t wait to hear more from them.
here Standout Track: Merriweather Awaken
January 21st: habitat
Today’s band, habitat (lower case intentional), is a Toronto-based duo who do the whole I’m-so-indie-all-my-instrumentation-is-all-done-by-Casio-keyboard. But they do it well. Sure, it sounds cheesy sometimes, but the vocals and the songs themselves make up for it. Too soft to be electro, but not rockin’ enough to be indie rock, they sound like a lite version of Mates of State.
January 22nd: The Quags
I feel in a power-poppy mood today. So I picked the Quags, Portland OR band that completely satisfies my love for early 80s power pop. They sound just like their influences, but I mean that in the best way. This is straight forward pop-rock n’ roll, and wouldn’t feel out of place aside the Plimsouls, the Shoes, the Records, or the Barracudas (notice a trend?). The best part about music like this is that it is totally reliable; you know it’s going to rock, but will always be tuneful enough to be humming all week.
here Standout Track: Not Just Another….
January 23rd: Morland
I love Sweden. I really do. Hot women, hockey, and kickass music. If I wasn’t so Canadian, I’d be Swedish. Because they have bands like Stockholm’s Morland, a straight-up rock n’ roll band that kicks quite a good amount of ass. Jangly guitars, powerful vocals and some tight songs makes me seriously consider that Sweden is ready for a huge international takeover. But I for one would completely support it. Especially if every Swede could write songs that sound vaguely like Rick Springfield yet still rock my socks off.
here Standout Track: Ants Don’t Sleep
January 24th: Geronimo
I doubt there’s really too much to do in Regina Saskatchewan other than drink, play hockey, and rock out. The members of Geronimo may well do all three things, but I know for sure that they definitely rock out. With a tight indie rock sound that takes a little bit from 80s post-punk and adds some 90s guitar-driven indie a la Modest Mouse, Geronimo write some nice songs and have a fucking awesome drummer. If I’m ever stuck in Regina (a city that still makes me snicker when I think of possible rhymes) with no beer and a broken leg, I sure hope Geronimo is playing nearby.
here Standout Track: Hope and Fear
January 25th: Jim Muir Slideshow
Just a quick note for this one because I’m tired tonight. Sheffield UK’s Jim Muir Slideshow is a fun, folky, catchy group with a heavily accented lead singer (Jim Muir I believe), and they’re fun music to listen to while falling asleep on a Thursday night. I wonder if they’ll sound as good on a Friday morning….
here Standout Track: Waiting for the Test
January 26th: Jewish Legend
My friend was looking through a local free newspaper and noticed in the concert listings that Jewish Legend was playing. She told me that should have been my name. She was right. I’m so jealous that this particular Jewish Legend took it first. Quite frankly, the name outshines the otherwise decent if unremarkable laptop indie folk pop. But the name…if only I had a time machine….I really should be THE Jewish Legend.
January 27th: Slumber Party
In the four months since Readmag and Skapunkandotherjunk have amalgamated, our resident alcoholic/curmudgeon Adam Coozer has given precisely two five star reviews. One was for a puppet, and the other was for an all-girl casio-pop band call Slumber Party. While I don’t always agree with his tastes, I figured I’d give the Detroit group a try. And heck, they’re pretty darn good. I mean, they sound pretty much like I imagined they would, but there’s no harm in that. Plus, their cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart is pretty damn good. Gives the Nouvelle Vague version a run for its money.
So I concede, the Cooze is onto something.
here Standout Track: Love Will Tear Us Apart
January 28th: Molten Guava
We here at ReadJunk take care of our own. We support each other’s endeavours, and encourage the sharing of awesomeness on our forum. And when a regular poster lets us hear his or her band, we listen. And I was pleasantly surprised when our own Esteban’s band Molten Guava actually rocked. Most high school bands either are playing emo, Grateful Dead-esque noodlery, or wannabe Guns n’ Roses. So it’s amazing when a band’s main influences are the Minutemen and Dead Milkmen. It makes for some original music, feeling both nostalgic and new at the same time. Very impressive, and I can’t wait to hear more.
here Standout Track: Tapeworm
January 29th: The Beat (Paul Collins’ Beat)
Go back to the roots of the American power pop movement, and you’ll find two bands: Big Star and the Nerves. Big Star was big on the jangly post-psychedelic acoustic sound and the bluesy soul rock, while the Nerves were a short-lived cult band who played fast rock n’ roll, releasing one EP before splitting up and leaving a last effect on the Californian music scene. While Peter Case of the Nerves formed the Plimsouls, Paul Collins formed the Beat (also known as Paul Collins’ Beat), and has been playing ever since. This is straight-up SoCal power pop, catchy licks and harmonies, crunchy guitars. While the Plimsouls will always be one of my favourite power pop bands, the Nerves’ other offshoot is definitely worth at least a listen.
here Standout Track: Dreamin’
Okay, I fell asleep early. So sue me.
January 31st: The Rockvilles
So sometimes I just feel like some old fashioned, regular three chord punk. It’s not often, but part of me loved being 14, going to shows, and seeing bands like Maryland’s The Rockvilles. No pretense, no emo, just plain old pop punk the way the Ramones and the Queers did it. Catchy and simple, a formula that works.
here Standout Track: Aliens
Keep on visiting daily for more awesome bands!