The Riot Tapes- ‘Photograph’
Badass Band #7
I am so stoked to recommend the first UK band on BBB, and not only that but it is the first band I have featured that has a kick ass chick lead singer! The band is called The Riot Tapes and they hail from Dublin, Ireland but are based out of both London and Dublin. They are tearing it up in the UK, and I hope they gain some killer exposure over here, lord knows we needs some fresh sounds on this side of the pond. If you want a highly diverse sounding band, this is a band you want to check out. The band is comprised of: Elaine Doyle, Tim Clarke, Chris O’Brien, Robert Crosbie, Graham Dunne, and Charles Byrne.
It takes a lot to win me over when it comes to female vocalists, I am not sure why but 80% of the time I am partial to male vocals. I guess that is just how I am wired. Nothing against my own sex, that is just my own personal preference. So when I checked out The Riot Tapes for the first time on their label’s site, Mostarrecords.com, I was a little weary as to whether I was going to dig them or not. Well, here I am writing about them so I think you can guess they won me over and it took less than a full song. Elaine’s voice will haunt you in the best way possible. Their musical range from song to song is absolutely killer! The Riot Tapes first single ‘Photograph’ is what is currently readily available on Itunes, but on their facebook page you can listen to more of the band’s demos and they are all entirely unique. No two songs sound even remotely alike, which is an indicator to me of some awesome talent. Each song is so insanely well played/put together it makes it easy to get lost in their melodies and lyrics. Within 10 seconds of putting on a Riot Tapes song you are swaying back and forth and dying to know the words to sing along.
Clearly, I have not seen them live, but via youtube, I can see they are all win. They sound just as good as their recorded tracks and clearly their stage presence is fun! The Riot Tapes seem to live up to the Riot portion of their name and one day I WILL see them live.
Web: mostarrecords.com (I must plug here that all of the artists on the Mostar site are TOTALLY worth checking out, killer stuff!)
Hello trusty followers! BBB is still alive, I just took a little vacation time! Back VERY soon with my first UK band to sling to ya! Much love!
In these times of peril and
infidelity and overall lack of
humanity, it is important that you
never lose hope. Hope is the one
thing we cannot afford to lose,
we may lose dignity, loved ones,
even our llives. But until then it is
important that we remain hopeful.
Because every mortal, fleeting instant
is another chance not to lose hope,
another chance to go on living. don’t
lose hope, and never, ever give in.”
Spencer Bell (letter left for homeless man at Pontiac greyhound station.)
He was brilliant. check out www.spencerbell.com to read more of his brilliance, hear his music and learn about his short life.
Or in my case when you are the ONLY one stomping and jumping up and down.
Love In Stockholm- Ordinary Man
Badass Band #6
Numero 6 goes to………..drumroll please….Love In Stockholm! I have been a fan of this band only a couple of months, but their songs make it into VERY regular rotation on my playlists. LIS is an Allston, MA based band that I hear has been tearing up the New England music scene for a few years now. They are self-proclaimed as ‘Rock N Soul’ and their music definitely supports that title, there is really no other way to describe it. I am not even sure I can tell you who they may sound like, I just know that all of their songs make you want to move! Each song builds from slow funky verses, to a fast paced chorus paired with a collection of horns, drums, guitar, keys, harmonica, and smooth lyrical power. They are just damn fun to listen to, period. It’s the kind of music that penetrates your bones and makes your forget your worries for a while.
LIS is comprised of six members- Charlie Rockwell – Vocals/harmonica, Brendan McBrien- Guitar/vocals, Dave Carroll – Saxophones, Evan Sanders – Keys/trumpet/vocals, Alex Staley- Bass, and Jesse Humphrey – Drums/vocals. These guys have put out two albums in the past few years, the older (and my personal favorite) Too Much Love EP was released in 2009, while the newer, A Kings Ransom, was released just last year. You can find both at Loveinstockholm.com or on Itunes.
I have yet to get the opportunity to see them live, I am crossing my fingers they make it out to the West Coast one of these days, but from what I have watched via Youtube, those of you who do get to see them live, get quite a treat! So if you are in the New England area, seriously, check this band out, they have a bunch of upcoming gigs, and I am sure your ears with thank you for it!
Website: Loveinstockholm.com Facebook: Facebook.com/LoveInStockholm
Toy Bombs- Wrecking Ball
#5 has been awarded to a band called Toy Bombs in honor of me getting to experience them bring the house down at their home-base venue last night. I have had the opportunity to see this band a few times and they put on a damn fine show, even stealing the show from and outdoing some of the larger bands they have opened for. Toy Bombs was formerly known as Kid Theodore and is comprised of two main band members, Cole Barnson and Brandon McBride, as well as a couple of mysterious masked band members lovingly dubbed Sasha and Rocko. The boys hail from Utah, but are currently based in Los Angeles. Their songs are a mixed bag reminiscent of The Clash, Tom Petty, and maybe even a tad like The Killers. They are just a badass rock band, no bones about it.
As for their live show, they take the stage in their usual ‘uniform’ of collared shirts, blazers, and ties and that starts the mind working on what these guys have in store for you. Then they start playing, and you cannot NOT flail around and bob your head to their music. They play with a passionate intensity, wailing away on their instruments and giving it all they’ve got belting out the lyrics. There is hardly a break between songs, maybe a quick hey and thank you to the audience or giving a song title. They just go balls out, and it shows. Last night was extra special, they ended the night by calling all of the bands up to the stage area and having a raging jam session covering Talking Heads ‘Psycho Killer’. The place turned into a giant dance party, the energy was electric! Everyone left the show on a high note, which in my opinion, is how all shows should end.
I have yet to find I song of theirs that I do not like, and even more so once I saw them play live. Their songs are fun, motivating, and intellectually stimulating. Their current albums can be found and purchased on their website or on Itunes. I suggest you get all you can from these dudes, they are working on plenty more. Their newest album was released in February through Flat Top Records and is called ‘Will Work for Free’. It has four songs on it : Prairie Eye, Free, We’re All Just Little Children and Fall Down. Their older album (and by older I mean released last year), titled ‘Feed The Wolves’, also contains four songs: Feed The Wolves, Wrecking Ball, Geronimo, and Wooden Ships. Download it, love it, go check ‘em out, it’s more than worth it!
Motel Drive- Trailer Park Queen- Live at the Cellar Door- May 2011
Photo Credit- Dani Mac
Badass band #4 is Motel Drive. The simplest words describe these guys best, they ROCK. Motel Drive is made up of three members- JD Goodwin, Chris ‘Rhinestone’ Estep and Jake Finney. They all hail from the Devil’s bellybutton, AKA Fresno, CA. The name of their band is a salute to a certain street in Fresno that is well-known for various types suspicious activity. However, these guys are the opposite of suspicious, they are talented, fun and can get ANY crowd going, and I do mean ANY. If you had to put a label on the type of music they play it would be a mash up of Punk inspired Rockabilly/Bluesy Country. Their second self-titled release dropped in early 2011 and has given fans much more of what they wanted from these guys, killer tunes. The track list is as follows: Trailer Park Queen, Baby I’m Through with You, Asshole of the Year, When the Lights Go Down, The Lucky One, Pictures, Long Tall Woman, Tell Me Why, Bedroom Eyes, Borrowed Time, Ain’t Got Nothin’, Drifter Blues (Live), Plastic Dashboard Jesus (Live). The CD is a fantastic mix of fast and slow-paced songs that are insightful, heart-felt, funny, and are highly relatable.
Motel Drive first caught my attention at a Battle of the Bands at CSU Fresno in April of 2010. I believe there were something like 6-8 acts and all of them were stereotypical and bland, that is until Motel Drive came on. If my mind serves me correctly they were the second to the last band that night and they blew the competition out of the water. After they played, it was crystal clear what band was going to win. The crowd, up until these guys played, was polite but not many were really into any of the bands, myself included. However, once MD came out and JD fired the crowd up, Jake busted out his upright bass and Chris got behind the drum kit all of that changed instantly. I think just about everyone in the room became fans of them that night.
Since then I have seen Motel Drive many times, pretty much any chance I get to make a show I am there. I have never once been dissapointed. These guys are just impressive at working a crowd. They can easily read what pace of song the crowd is yearning for, offer jokes in between songs, and wow a crowd with their raw musical power. JD’s vocals are smooth and deep, Jake plays an upright bass faster and clearer than anyone I have ever seen and Chris pounds out the rhythm on the drum set so expertly you can’t help but move along to it. They also hold another key to winning over fans, they actually ARE having fun playing on stage. Too often bands can play well but they just stand there and make it look more like a chore than fun. These guys are defintely not like that! They are probably one of Fresno’s most well-known bands, packing a favorite venue, Audie’s Olympic, every time they play there. They also played at SXSW this past March and were very well recieved. Here’s to hoping for more exposure to these guys, they deserve it! Take a listen, I know you will dig what you hear.
Website: Moteldrive.com Twitter: @MotelDrive Facebook: www.facebook.com/MotelDrive
Eli James via Youtube covering Lil Wayne- Right Above It
Badass Band #3 is not exactly a band but is so badass it is worth a post to talk about this Drummer/DJ. His name is Eli James and he is currently based in Los Angeles, CA. I was exposed to Eli at a High Voltage Magazine show at The Mint which I was attending to see another band I am currently a fan of. Eli was third in the line up and truly, I had no idea what to expect from this guy. We all attempt to size up bands as they set up and figure out what type of music they may be performing for us. All I saw Eli set up was a computer and what looked to be a white drumset. After a few minutes, he stepped on stage, introduced himself, and stated that he was actually a DJ/Drummer and he had one of (or the only) LED drum kits in the world. Once he said that, he immediately had my attention. As soon as he started playing his mix of popular songs and started banging his own drum beats into the tracks, along with watching his programmed light show light up his kit, I was enthralled. I wanted to yell, “SOLD!” He easily pulled the attention of every single person in the room. Most people stood up to see him play and see the light show, as well as to dance to the excellent pulsating beats he was cranking out. Not only did he play to recognizable popular tracks, but he also added some of his own original work into the set which just helped to solidify the fact that he is a man of many talents. As a whole, his set was a pure artistic journey, with a little bit of everything for everyone. I have been gushing about his show to people since Wednesday and will probably continue to do so until I get to see it again! It was definitely an entertaining and unforgettable experience.
Web: elijamesmusic.com Twitter: @elijames or Facebook: www.facebook.com/elijamesmusic
Helicopters- Practice Session- Jpns_pls
Badass Band #2- Helicopters
For badass band number two I have chosen a Chicago based band called Helicopters. They are a mixed genre of Electronic Pop Funk. Helicopters is composed of three members Jason Caldeira, Brian Fifield and Dave Moran. These guys keep it entirely organic and are in control of the whole artistic process when it comes to their music. They started their own record label called FlyCasual Records. I was highly impressed with the body of work these guys have out there, seven albums in total, the earliest of which was released in 2005. Their newest album is titled ‘The Honey and the Hiss’ and features 10 songs: True to my Words, Sugar, Heart, Jpns_pls, Not Enough, Enough, Sleep Good Sleep Well, Patron Saint of Paranoia, Brianna, 11:11.
Now let me take a minute to be honest here, I have only known about this band for a few weeks, through recommendation, and I am not always a huge fan of anything labelled Electronic or Techno. HOWEVER, Helicopters won me over by the time I reached the third song, Heart, on ‘The Honey and the Hiss’. They have a killer balance of electronic sound production so their music does not come off as one contant pulsing beat as many bands in this category tend to. Their electronic beats are fresh, varied and complement the vocals so, so well. Their lyrics and vocals wash over you like a warm summer rain. Their songs have a tendency to relax you and make you think at the same time, losing you in a moment. Music is all about being lost in a moment and these guys truly have a grasp at how to get that feeling across to a listener. After listening to ‘The Honey and the Hiss’ and ‘Not Diamonds but Diamonds’, I wondered to myself how I had not known of this band before and hated myself a bit for only now discovering what the experience of listening to GOOD electronic music can really be like. Take a chance on Helicopters, you will be pleasantly surprised no matter what genre you may be into.
You can listen to ALL of their songs from ALL of their albums, in full on their website: ilovehelicopters.com or follow them on Twitter: @helicoptersband
Mechanical People- ‘Sick and Wired’
Photo Credit- John Coslett
After much deliberation the first featured band is called Mechanical People. They are in indie band based out of NY/LA and composed of three members, Ben Graupner, Ben Johnson, and Jake Miller. These guys have an intense sound and INSANE talent. I would call their music bluesey soul rock n roll. Their debut EP, The Dark Dark, was released on May 12, 2011 and features eight songs: Sick and Wired, Secrets, Magnolia, Skyscraper, Sinners Dream, Dinosaur, Monster, and Alleycats. The song subjects range from love, to sinning, to life in general. There is a song for any type of person on this album, they are catchy, and mesmorizing. Some will make you laugh with lines like, “You got away, You got away, You got away from my little arms…’I’m a motherf**king giant T-rex dinosaur…” and others more serious with lines like “Preacher, Preacher, can’t you find a way to make me clean? And he said I’m sorry son, that’s just a sinners dream.” Not only will your ears and soul be pleased to listen to this album, but watching these guys live is a whole different experience. The raw talent of these three will amaze you. They are energetic, interact well with the crowd, and you can honestly tell how much they truly love playing music. Jake Miller wails away on guitar, at one point laying down on the stage while playing. Watching this guy on guitar is entracing. Ben Johnson bangs away at the drums in perfect feverish rhythm with a look of concentration, yet pure contentment on his face. Ben Graupner roars into the mic with his rough, yet buttery sounding voice while plugging away on bass. Their energy and love speads into the crowd and makes their live show addicting. The experience and their music engulfs your soul and once its over you feel like you have truly gotten to experience something special. Currently they are not on tour (the members that make up MP are also in other bands that are touring, namely 100 Monkeys and The Kissing Club) but I hear that there may be plans to tour in the fall so look out for these guys, and you won’t be sorry!
Check out their website/twitter: MechanicalPeople.com & @Mknkppl
I have long thought of creating a blog and now here it is. I envisioned a place where I could introduce killer bands to fellow music lovers who may or may not know of them. My mission is just to be another source of promotion for excellent Indie bands. I like to think I have a varied taste in music and this helps to keep the blog from sticking to one genre. I would like you all to share your favorites with me as well! Its all about being a community and finding the music that really speaks to the soul!