I really enjoy being the entertainment editor of a small, local newspaper. I get to fangirl out about local bands I’ve known and loved for years and occasionally even get in to shows for free so I can tell you guys about them later. That’s pretty neat.
The best part though, aside from working in a room full of hilarious weirdos who fight about comma usage, is the random emails I get from PR professionals and record labels about bands from Outside. Sometimes they’re hilarious and so poorly written it’s sad, but occasionally it affords me the opportunity to learn about some random band from a little town across the country. Who knows, maybe I’ll fall in love with them now and can be indignant when they headline Coachella in three years and they’re “sooo, mainstream.”
Anyway, here is a list of bands that have introduced themselves to my overflowing inbox.
A Grave With No Name — Excellent band name. Seriously. Top notch. Caught my eye right away. The music is dreamy, sort of synthy gloom rock. Just my style. The band is releasing their third album, Whirlpool, on July 2. Here is what their email had to say about the new release:
Whirlpool completes a narrative trilogy for A Grave With No Name – a trilogy that began in 2009 with the release of Mountain Debris (Lefse/No Pain In Pop), and continued with 2011’s Lower (Boiled Egg). It’s a narrative that confronts the theme of loss, something which could be considered a well trodden path within popular music, but Alex Shields has managed to mine his own distinctive voice , tracing a delicate fissure in the emotional radiography of longing to spellbinding effect.
Hey Anna — This New York based group is three sisters and two of their friends, who make what their BandCamp page describes as “Intimate vocals perched atop harmonious poppy melodies that meet soaring, atmospheric alt rock.” I don’t know about “intimate” vocals, but it is pretty poppy and not so much soaring as slightly uplifting. If you like local rockers The Modern Savage but wish they were a teeny bit less “edgy”, you’ll probably dig Hey Anna. They recently released Pompette, a four song EP available for streaming or download for the ubiquitous ”name your own price.” Pro tip: don’t be a jerk, if you buy it toss the band a few bones at least.
Netherfriends — This project is kind of interesting. Netherfriends aka Shawn Rosenblatt endeavored to write and perform a song in each US state. The first few states are already available on his interactive map/album thing. The website says that the project was completed over a year in 2010-2011 and he visited all 50 states. Alaska isn’t live on the map yet, but it’s there—right where it belongs, next to Hawaii in the floating ether that exists south of New Mexico. I listened to the first few songs, they’re sort of Best Coast meets Coconut Records. I don’t really know what that makes them, but those are the first two bands that came to mind. Maybe a little Passion Pit-y? It’s a sort of navel gazing, electronic bedroom pop that has become progressively prevalent in the indie scene. The interactive map is cool and I look forward to hearing what lyrical insights about Alaska he’ll share. If you’re looking for the track, click on Alabama first. He sort of explains the concept in that song.
The Uncluded — Aesop Rock and Kimya Dawson (yeah, I know they’ve been friends for a while but still, really?) recently released Hokey Fright , an 18 song album with a lot of red “explicit” tags next to the song titles. The album is exactly what you would expect a collaboration between jangly and quirky Kimya Dawson and straight to the point lyricist Aesop Rock to be. Dawsons signature guitar coupled with Aesop’s rhymes make for an interesting and engaging listen. The $11.99 sticker price is worth having the illustration of Kimya and Aesop pop up on your iPod while you’re listening to it if nothing else. Though the album itself is pretty great too, “Alligator” is my favorite.