Tuesday, December 18, 2012

8 Bands With Less Than 1000 Facebook Likes (That You Should Like)

Welcome to the first in a series of year-end retrospectives by contributor Joe Waslin that aim to celebrate the best of 2012 in indie music, with a particular focus on artists that we feel have not received as many accolades on other blogs and publications as they deserve.

These Bay Area punks released their self-titled debut in May on Deranged Records, the same label that formally brought you Toronto punk rockers Fucked Up and Brutal Knights. Playing loud melodic punk, the guys went on an extensive North America tour playing with the likes of Nü Sensae and Nude Beach among others.

This band was probably conceived by a 70's punk kid and a 60's flower child. The psychedelic rockers from Chicago carry a unique sonic blend of two great eras of rock, with a bit of British sensibility mixed in with songs like "High on a Bicycle" and "The Clockmaker." Comprised of members of The Arrivals, Lawrence Arms, Smoking Popes and Sass Dragons, they released not one but two LPs this year, both equally fantastic.

A Brooklyn power trio who blast off quickly with "Autobahn" (no, not that "Autobahn" silly!) the lead track off their debut EP Leave Your Leather On. This kind of old-school guttural punk n' roll is hard to put down once you start listening--it's just too fast and too relentless to ignore.

The matter-of-fact melody on lead single "Hearts" by this DC-based band is refreshing even if it is so simple: "Who decided it was such a perfect symbol for love? / It is only an organ, pumping your blood.” It's a nice twist and a cloy rebuke of any love song that indulges the heart as romance gesture, which most love songs tend to do. Don't mistake the seemingly dark lyrics for being jaded: it's not in the slightest. Instead the song just makes you wonder: who did decide that anyway?

This NYC pop collective began as a performance art group but went on to be one of the buzziest bands at this year's CMJ Festival. David Byrne has been a big supporter of theirs, having once toured with bandmate Steven Reker. Despite all this, they only have 921 likes as of this posting--let's fix that ASAP! Although they seem like a pretty savvy bunch on their own: just look at a very smart Kickstarter video they made to raise funds for their self-titled album released this year.

New wave punk for the newer age. Originally a solo piece by Ryan Howe, he recruited a band to record the campy glam rock LP Bad Expectations this year. It feels reminiscent of the experimental sound recordings of The Clash Sandinista-era, and they probably would have recorded something like this had they been on Mars too. Unfortunately, something was lost in the intergalactic exchange and their Facebook page is criminally under-liked. Help a martian out, won't you?

(formally Sex Cult) Singer Chris Shaw in speaking with MTV said that their self-titled Ty-Segall-produced debut LP describes “what it’s like to be mid-twenties and not sure what you’re doing with your life.” The Memphis punks don't exactly break new sonic barriers, (the band would've settled in nicely in the California punk scene in the 70s) but they definitely revive the age-old tradition in punk of expressing perfectly that feeling of aimlessness in the young adults among us.

The vowel-deficient Glasgow trio packs a lot of boy/girl lush harmonies, fast beats, and tambourine. A haze of lo-fi doesn't wash over the production but allows the guitars and vocals to breathe through a sunny pop sound. It seems like their aim is to prove on songs like "New Pop" that, well, everything old can become new again. Their debut album is due out in February on Slumberland.

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