Thursday, March 12, 2015

Four Obscure Bands By Sydney Quanz

Everyone knows that one friend who considers themselves so ahead of the times, catching the trends before they become popular and then once they reach popularity, stating with indifference how overrated that book/band/movie/style is.

A Hipster is always quick to flaunt his hipster-ness. If the converse, skinny jeans and obscure band t-shirt don't give it away from the start, then carefully crafted comment such as: "That Band? Oh, I liked them before they were cool," will clue you in.

Unfortunately, I am that friend. I actually enjoy finding good music that isn't well known. Its fun, and you get to help support musicians that don't have the luxury of topping the charts. In my quest for obscure bands, I have found bands that have finally surfaced to the mainstream radio stations. For example: at the beginning of this school year I couldn't wait for Bastille to release their album in America because I had been listening to them on You Tube ever since they released in Britain. This spring though, I began to here "Pompeii" progressively more, until I muttered to myself in disgust: "The mainstream masses are here".

But, I digress. Here is my list of my favorite lesser known bands. Enjoy.

1. MisterWives
    I discovered the MisterWives on Spotify at the beginning of the year. Their sound is different and fun, filled with strong beats and uplifting melodies. Most of the focus is on the incredible vocals of Mandy Lee, who somehow manages to maintain a unique tone while hitting high and low notes with crystal clarity. Their EP, Reflections, is well crafted and truly a great listen from start to finish, but the songs that stick out to me are Vagabond and ReflectionsReflections captures the insanity that comes without closure in a relationship, and the freedom that comes with letting go. Vagabond is the melodically beautiful, somewhat bittersweet call of someone who has been through hell and back. It both mourns the journey and celebrates the finish.

2. Duologue
    I downloaded Duologues album, Song and Dance, off of Noise trade because it was described and unique and innovative. I bought the album having no idea how much I would come to love it later. The time signatures of the songs are different, the arrangements are unprecedented, and the music is compelling. Often I would listen and wonder how on earth the band could make such strange sounds fit together and become a song, like in the chorus of Machine Stop. Yet some songs start with the melodies naked and alone, such as Underworld, only following with a haunting synth part and complex beat. My favorite song on the album is Zeroes. Its passionate chorus, daring lyrics and driving riff never fail to move me.

3. Coast
    I honestly have no clue how I ever came across Coast, but I remember what caught my ear from the beginning. The guitar picking was excellent, especially in the chorus of Your Soul, and the songs were truly lighthearted and enjoyable. I knew from the first listen that these were the type of songs I would want to jam to car when no one was around. The lyrics are what kept me listening however. When I began to read them, I felt that I was reading a love letter or a poem, not an modern alternative song. For example the lyric below from Stone is particularly classy and poetic.

She said, "I want a real rose"
Colors and everyone knows
The dust kicked up from your shoes
Floats like angelical moons
Silhouettes in the corners of your mind
Sublime like the cracks of your smile
Pray that I'll keep you covered
Collapse the trees that shudder

Coast won my heart, and rightfully so, with poetry not music.

4. Magic Man
    From the moment I heard Paris, I was prepared to buy the entire album. Magic Man is modern, with dubstep synths that music from the 2010's will make its signature sound.  The beats are foot tapping good, and the melodies are catchy and memorable, while the vocals are quiet good for the genre. My favorites will undoubtably be Paris and Waves. Both stick in your head, in a good way, and are dance-alone-in-your-room worthy. Though Paris is somewhat known, I hope that the rest of the album will get the publicity it deserves.

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