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The best band you've never heard of

  1. Apr 27, 2005 #1

    hypnagogue

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    I humbly submit to you, The Comas. I've been into them for a while, but the other night I attended one of their shows, which pushed everything over the edge into the slavish obsession of repeated looping listenings. The Comas' tendrils are now seeping into every one of my brain's sulci and taking over my mind. And I love it!

    Their sound is hard to describe. In some parts, it's very catchy fuzz/pop rock, in others more subdued or dreamy, but always infused with more spaced-out and intriguing elements, lots of richness and layers of sound but without getting cluttered. And the lyrics are also well constructed and quite good in some places. They have some mp3s available for download here, and some more songs you can listen to (but not download onto your computer) here. 'Last Transmission,' 'Employment,' and 'Tonight on the WB' are the must-listens, but I also recommend 'The Science of Your Mind,' 'Moon Rainbow,' and 'Tiger in a Tower.' Some of these songs are the kind that catch you right away, but bear in mind, repeated listenings will be rewarded in all instances!

    I'd like to hear of some other bands that members of our PF citizenry love dearly, but suspect that (almost) no one else has ever heard of. Name bands and retreads need not apply! Keep it to the more obscure or undergound stuff (any time period).
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 27, 2005 #2
    The berlin philharmonic orchestra.. :biggrin:

    Ok. I'll go shoot myself now..
     
  4. Apr 27, 2005 #3

    loseyourname

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    Thanks, hyp. Your description made them sound like Spacemen 3 or My Bloody Valentine, but the song I just downloaded reminds me of Bright Eyes crossed with The Flaming Lips, but not as spacy. The singer sounds like Elliot Smith without the persistent suicidal sadness. A favorite of mine isn't exactly obscure, but no one outside of the UK ever seems to have heard of them, which just boggles me: Spiritualized. This is one of the bands that formed after the breakup of Spacemen 3, whose music can be enjoyable but is way spaced out (album titles like Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To gives you a hint).

    Newer bands that haven't entered the critical acclaim pantheon or been widely popular that I like are The Waxwings and Concentric. I can't say that either are particularly standout, but frankly, anything that really stands out is going to get noticed, even if not by Billboard. That's not to say there isn't some good music here.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2005
  5. Apr 27, 2005 #4
    Maybe this band's a bit too popular to fit into this category, but Richard Hell and the Voidoids is a great band from the same NY scene that produced acts like Television and The Ramones. They're a hugely energetic and psychotic band with a lead guitarist that could be considered crazier than either Robbie Krieger (The Doors) or Joey Santiago (The Pixies). Plus, they cover the Frank Sinatra song All the Way, though traditional Sinatra fans might not appreciate their interpretation of the song.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2005
  6. Apr 27, 2005 #5

    hypnagogue

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    Yeah, a big component of their sound is the poppy melodies and hooks, with the rest in a more subtle background or supporting role in most songs. It's an interesting mix. My Bloody Valentine is another favorite of mine-- in fact, I had them in mind when I mentioned that the Comas' layering doesn't get cluttered. There's so much going on in a lot of MBV songs that it's hard to tell what's what, but it still ends up sounding good.

    I've heard some of their stuff but could never quite get into it. I saw them at the all-day field day festival at Giants Stadium a couple of years ago, but it didn't seem to suit the venue very well. Then again, it's probably the sort that requires you to lie down and do nothing else but listen, which admittedly I haven't tried with them yet.

    Thanks, these sound promising. Concentric reminds me to mention another underground-ish (maybe not so much as they used to be) band that I like a lot, Medeski, Martin, & Wood. They're also jazz, but more about grooves (with a large mix of other influences) than ambiance or general weirdness.
     
  7. Apr 27, 2005 #6

    loseyourname

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    They're definitely a lay-down with the lights off and just listen kind of band. I doubt their sound would translate well to a stadium show. They're more of a concert hall band, because of all the production and orchestral elements. They have a live CD recorded at the Royal Albert Hall that is pretty good, but still not as good as their studio work. They're one of those bands like Massive Attack whose music relies heavily on excellent production. That said, I actually wanted to go to that show. My ex-girlfriend went, and the lineup sounded pretty good, but the show took place a couple of months after I moved back to California from New Jersey. Where do you live?
     
  8. Apr 27, 2005 #7
  9. Apr 27, 2005 #8
    What kinda crazy mofo DOESN'T know Danny Gatton?????????
     
  10. Apr 27, 2005 #9

    hypnagogue

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    I live in Queens, NY, so it was just a relatively short drive down the highway. Actually, if you had to miss any show you really wanted to go to, this was the one.

    As you probably already know, it was originally supposed to be a 2 day, all weekend affair in rural Long Island (thus, 'field day festival'), but the locals put up a stink about it, so the show had to be condensed into one day at Giants Stadium. As a consequence, for most of the day they had two bands going on simultaneously, so you had to choose one at the expense of the other and keep going back and forth. I can't recall, but I imagine some of the acts were cancelled altogether.

    On top of that, it turned out to be a pretty cold and rainy and generally miserable day. All the shows were exposed to the elements, so everyone got soaking wet (my girlfriend and I had to shell out $5 apiece for cheap plastic ponchos that more resembled cut-up garbage bags). Beck, who was supposed to be the third-to-last act, was delayed for something like 20 minutes, and at this point there was only one stage active, so everyone had to sit in cold, wet, relative silence. Finally, some guy got on stage to announce that Beck had slipped while dancing to Underworld earlier in the day, broken some of his ribs, and had to be taken to the hospital! God knows why they couldn't have announced that earlier, since Underworld had been on something like 5 or 6 hours beforehand.

    After more waiting, finally the Beastie Boys (who aren't really up my alley anyway) came on stage. Apparently, just to keep the night's luck rolling, they wound up forgetting the lyrics to several of their songs, which forced them to just stop limply halfway through a number of times. By this time I wasn't in a great mood, and my shoes and socks had been soaked completely through and it was dark out, so I was utterly freezing. But somehow everything turned completely positive again as soon as Radiohead came on and began to pound out the opening drum sequence to 'There, There.' They did a great set and salvaged the show, and somehow I think everyone else in the stadium felt the same way.

    I also was introduced to My Morning Jacket at this show, which was a big plus. They're another underground-ish band that suits the theme of this thread, and another band with an eclectic and hard-to-pin-down sound. For me they're kind of hit and miss, but when they hit, they hit pretty damn good. I give their song One Big Holiday my highest recommendations. They played this song once on Conan, and it was probably the best on-screen live performance I've seen. Even Conan was jumping up and down and yelling his excitement by the time they were done. He usually gives a reserved "Thanks, that was great" cookiecutter response, but not this time.

    Another nifty and unexpected feature of the show was that between acts, they played music and e-mail clips from homestarrunner.com, including the classic Trogdor and Techno tunes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2005
  11. Apr 27, 2005 #10

    hypnagogue

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    A crazy mofo like me, apparently. :tongue: Hey, it's better to err on the side opposite of caution here. I'd never heard of Richard Hell and the Voidoids either. If you think something is a borderline case, chances are most (or at least, a large fraction of) people haven't heard of it.
     
  12. Apr 27, 2005 #11
    Judging from that that, I'd have to say that you actually are not a crazy mofo at all...
     
  13. Apr 27, 2005 #12
    THE HOSEMOBILE

    I love these guys! They mostly play small town universities and coffee houses along the east coast.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2005
  14. Apr 27, 2005 #13
    My band! My band is the best. Though (unfortunately) we don't sound anything like a cross between Eliot Smith and Weezer we're still good, and our singer rips off Frank Black quite often : ) www.mrshiraz.com it's my band ta-da! I'm the one on the bass. (Sorry, we had a gig tonight and I'm quite drunk and excited.)
     
  15. Apr 27, 2005 #14
    I always try to plug Darkest of the Hillside Thickets. Among their accolades is Danger being ready to renounce his citizenship merely due to the idea of a Canadian band with sci fi and cthulhu mythos themes. Their sound various from metal to punk to pop rock.
    I also love Soul Coughing. They started to get big but by that time the band members had gotten bored and decided to move on to other projects so they no longer exist. Their sound... is very hard to describe. The first album had some jazz and blues sounds mixed with rock and lots of sampling and clips. The second had more of an alternative rock sound to it but still similar in style. The third and last album was heavily techno/electronic sounding still with the guitar and drums though. All of the albums have very... dada-ist poetry style lyrics I guess you could say.
     
  16. Apr 28, 2005 #15
    Gotta hand it to you, that is some solid ska. I'm not too into that stuff, but you guys really do a nice job all around, from composition to musicianship to production quality.

    It might just be that I've only listened to three songs so far, but I don't hear anything too Frank Black about your singers style, he seems like a normal ska singer to me...
     
  17. Apr 28, 2005 #16
    Waste: I didn't mean his singing style, it was a dig at a new song he's written. We don't sound much like the stuff that's online anymore cos that was all written years ago. Some of it's kind of embarrassing! Thanks for checking it out though.
     
  18. Apr 28, 2005 #17
    Well I guess I will list the more rock type music I listen to since that seems to be a semi-common ground for all here. I don't really consider these underground, but suprisingly many people haven't heard of them despite some reasonable promotion in America.

    The Black Mollys - Upbeat kind of pop rock I guess with Dan Dryden from Stuck Mojo. The lyrics are pretty average at times, but the music is good. http://www.theblackmollys.com/mp3s/index.html

    The Duke - Rich Ward's (Stuck Mojo and Fozzy) solo project which is due for release soon. You can hear all the tracks from this album on his site. It's very melodic and mellow.
    http://www.thedukerocks.com/html/media.html

    The Devin Townsend Band - Devin Townsend is the most talented musician in the world ;). It's ambient rock with cool choral insertions in some songs.
    http://www.hevydevy.com/HDRhome.html
    Just go to discography and there will be one sample for each CD.
    Stick to the DevinTownsend Band CDs because if you don't like metal you won't like Strapping Young Lad.


    There are more but I won't list them since I'm sure many people don't share the same taste in music.
     
  19. Apr 28, 2005 #18

    hypnagogue

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    The Jumblies are a really nice pop/rock group with a more dreamy and ethereal sound. They seem to have a strong following in the Boston area with their live shows, but otherwise the only way you'll hear them is buying an album or listening to downloads.

    I'd like to see more variety in their sound, but they're good at what they do. I recommend giving "What I've Waited For" and "Florence" a listen. Apparently they've come out with a new album too, which I'm not very familiar with, but "Morningrise" sounds nice. They've got a new female lead singer now, because the old one left to go to law school. Yeah, that's only slightly mind-boggling.
     
  20. Apr 29, 2005 #19

    hypnagogue

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    Has anyone heard of sub.bionic? I happened to discover them by chance a few years ago, when reading a school newspaper during breakfast. It was a fortuitous event, since at that time I probably only read the paper about half of the time when having breakfast. In that paper there was a positive review of the band and their debut album, "you i lov///", which was enough to make me seek it out.

    The band sounds sort of like a cross between OK Computer era Radiohead and Coldplay: mellow and a bit spacy, but without forgoing good rock elements, supplemented by mellifluous and atmospheric vocals, with an overall vibe that's more bittersweet than it is dark. I couldn't find any (legal) full songs available online, but on this page one can listen to 30 second clips of each of the songs on the CD (the clips here are much higher quality than those on cdnow.com). My favorites are 'Last Song on Earth,' 'Plum,' 'Quasi-Dead,' and 'From: Achtung Moon,' but almost all of the tracks have redeeming qualities that make them worth a listen (except for the last song, 'Nuclear Bomb Parade,' which is a loud stinker that disrupts the mood set by the previous songs).

    Curiously, after such a promising debut, sub.bionic seems to have fallen off of the face of the earth. you i lov/// was released in 2002, and since that time they haven't put out any new material. They used to have a web page, but it's long since been disbanded. I imagine they didn't find much of an audience, and so Warner Brothers didn't bother funding any further efforts. But still, it seems they could carve out a loyal niche following in the indie scene on a smaller label. It's a shame, because I'd like to hear more music from these guys.
     
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