Texas post-rock band This Will Destroy You formed in 2005. Members Chris King (guitars), Jeremy Galindo (guitars), Raymond Brown (bass), and drummer Andrew Miller came together under the notion of pursuing a purely instrumental project, and recorded their demo -- which would end up being released as is -- shortly after getting together. The EP, entitled Young Mountain, was critically well received, and the band inked a deal with Magic Bullet Records. This Will Destroy You were back in the studio in 2007, and over the next four years the band released four albums: 2008's This Will Destroy You, 2009's Field Studies, 2010's Moving on the Edges of Things, and 2011's Tunnel Blanket. ~ Chris True
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As Gene Ween, Aaron Freeman was frontman of the legendary alt-rock pranksters Ween, a duo who specialized in singing any style they ever encountered. Early on, they'd alternate between punk rock skronk and nervy Prince tributes; they soon threaded in pop and psychedelia and famously headed to Nashville to record a full album with a bunch of Music City veterans. Freeman continued this omnivorous musicality in his solo career, which he launched in earnest in 2012 with a collection of Rod McKuen covers called Marvelous Clouds.
By the time he released Marvelous Clouds, Freeman had been musically active for nearly 30 years. He first met partner in crime Mickey Melchiondo -- aka Dean Ween -- when they were in eight grade in New Hope, Pennsylvania. The two struck up a friendship that manifested itself in long hours of recording original music in their bedrooms, enough to cover six self-released tapes; additionally, Freeman had one cassette called Synthetic Socks that was billed as a solo release. Eventually, the tapes came to the attention of Minneapolis-based Twin/Tone Records who signed the band in 1989, releasing GodWeenSatan that same year. One more odd indie record followed -- 1991's The Pod -- before the group signed to Elektra in 1992. Pure Guava, their 1992 Elektra debut, gained traction on the heels of its single "Push Th' Little Daisies," a Jackson 5-ish ditty featuring Gene's electronically sped-up voice. Its video horrified Beavis & Butt-Head and, subsequently, the band's cult grew and it expanded further with 1994's Chocolate & Cheese, a record that found them making great musical leaps.
Ween entered a purple patch in the late '90s, recording 1996's 12 Golden Country Greats with many storied Nashville musicians -- not so coincidentally, it provided the best-yet showcase for Freeman's vocal versatility -- releasing the heady, nautically themed psych-pop of The Mollusk in 1997, then closing it out with 2000's White Pepper. After that, Ween split from Elektra and launched their own imprint, Chocodog Records, using that as a way to release archival live albums. Their output of new material slowed in the 2000s -- they only released Quebec in 2003 and La Cucaracha in 2007, both for different indie labels -- but they kept touring, their cult expanding through hard work and the adoption of the jam band audience after Phish began performing Ween's 1994 tune "Roses Are Free" with regularity in their concerts.
Freeman battled various personal problems, including substance addiction, during the 2000s and when he focused on his recovery he also concentrated on a solo career. He formed the Gene Ween Band in 2008, an outfit that later evolved into solo concerts by Freeman where he sang his deep catalog of songs. Soon, this morphed into a full-fledged solo career, assisted by producer Ben Vaughn, who'd helmed 12 Golden Country Greats and collaborated with Freeman on a collection of covers from pop poet Rod McKuen. Marvelous Clouds appeared in the spring of 2012; at the time of its release, Freeman announced that he was working on a second solo album consisting of original material. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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In March 2008 Rubblebucket self-released their debut album, "Rose's Dream" under the name Rubblebucket Orchestra and began to tour full-time.
In 2009 the band embarked on three national tours and was featured in Relix Magazine's "On The Verge: 5 Artists You Should Know." Additionally they were chosen by SPIN Magazine as a "Must-hear artist from the 2009 CMJs." On October 13 they released their second studio album, self-titled, and officially changed their name to Rubblebucket. In December they won a Boston Music Award for Live Act of the Year.
In March 2010 Rubblebucket relocated to Brooklyn, NY and continued to tour nationally through the summer with appearances at festivals such as High Sierra, All Good Music Festival, and the Liberate Music and Dance Festival. On October 19, 2010 they released their Triangular Daisies EP which included a cover of the Beatles' "Michelle" which Paste Magazine named on their list of 50 Greatest Beatles Covers of All Time.
In Spring 2011 Rubblebucket released their third full length album Omega La La. It was recorded at DFA studios and produced by Eric Broucek (LCD Soundsystem, !!!, Holy Ghost!) & mastered by Joe Lambert (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, Herbie Hancock). On April 4, 2011 the band released it as a free download via their website preceding an official physical release on June 21 through MRI Distribution.
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When a band's name is inspired by Star Wars you just don't expect the group behind it to be The Tontons – they're far too ‘cool' for that. The Houston, TX rising kings (and queen) of indie rock are out to prove they can be both – creators of music that both pop fans and hipsters adore, and also loyal friends who truly love making music together and never shy away from experiences and vulnerabilities that shaped their beginnings. A culmination of years on the road, The Tontons are proud to release their forthcoming LP, Make Out King and Other Stories of Love on February 18th. The new album was produced and mixed by Dave Boyle (Black Joe Lewis, Okkervil River, Robert Plant) at Austin's ChurchHouse Studios and features 11-tracks of Asli Omar's old-soul vocals that heave the band's lyrics forward with empowering, sultry and emotional force. Flanking her is bassist Tom Nguyen, armed with a nimble rumble that forms the sturdy dermis of the band. Brothers Adam and Justin Martinez's titanic guitar-and-drum attack are the dance-ready glue. Omar's voice seems to melt like butter into the cracks of the Earth that the foursome create.
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Some bands roll with the tide, while others generate it. Exhuming technically proficient and progressive metal, BORN OF OSIRIS exerted a seismic impact on heavy music with its trend-setting 2007 debut The New Reign only to shake things up even more on The Discovery in 2011. However, once again, the critically acclaimed Chicago six-piece will be setting a new paradigm with its highly anticipated fourth full-length album for Sumerian Records.
Teaming up with acclaimed producers Joey Sturgis [The Devil Wears Prada, Emmure] and Nick Sampson, the group is primed to explode like never before, manipulating 6-string and 7-string guitars on the same recording diversifying their writing and pushing their boundaries further than ever before.
Lee McKinney (guitars) states: "We were more focused for the writing of this record than any of our previous efforts. We've had 2+ years to write, critique, adjust and learn these songs, which is just something we haven't had in the past with our intense touring schedule. All of us living together and constantly feeding off eachother's energy made for the best and most focused BORN OF OSIRIS album to date.
BORN OF OSIRIS are mature well beyond their years and this dynamic progressive juggernaut has now perfectly honed all of their collective talents to create what will soon be a pinnacle release for the metal genre. They'll be showcasing their talents to the masses at the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival all summer long, reaching yet another plateau in their already stellar career.
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Unexplained phenomena of all kinds can be attributed to magic. Music is among those marvels. When a group of unrelated individuals of different backgrounds gets together and locks into a sonic unity, there must be some sort of mysticism at work. That's the only way to properly explain it. The members of Nashville's All Them Witches would agree too. That energy even courses through their moniker, which unsurprisingly comes from Roman Polanski's 1968 masterpiece Rosemary's Baby.
"The name can be interpreted in many different ways," explains singer and bassist Michael Parks, Jr. "It could be a person's view on what the forces of good and evil are or even how we interact with each other as human beings. There's a little bit of witchcraft in everybody's life. Just waking up is pretty magical—you're alive another day. In terms of the music, we're so loose, and that's where the magic comes from. There's no controlling factor. We do exactly what comes naturally. We go in a room without any idea about what will happen, get in the groove, and it works. That's supernatural."
All Them Witches began conjuring up music together in 2012. Foregoing theater school to focus on songwriting, Parks traded New Mexico for Nashville at 19-years-old. The Shreveport, Louisiana native met drummer Robby Staebler while the two shared a shift at a "corporate hippie store". Robby showed Parks some music he and guitarist Ben McLeod had written, and it inspired the singer to jam—which he adds, "I usually never do. It made sense though".
Adding Robby's longtime friend Allan Van Cleave to the fold on Fender Rhodes, All Them Witches cut their debut Our Mother Electricity. Almost immediately after, they began working on its follow-up 2013's Lightning At The Door. Recorded live in a matter of days with producer and engineer Andy Putnam, the boys tapped into a distinct energy, mustering bluesy soul, Southern swagger, and thunderous hard rock all at once.
"We tracked everything live in the same room," says Parks. "We got a lot of bleed from the mics and the amps being together. Everything felt organic. You get us untainted on the record."
The first single "When God Comes Back" swings from a Delta-dipped groove into a striking riff juxtaposed with Parks' transfixing delivery. It's as hypnotic as it is heavy.
"Sometimes, I get visions, for lack of a better word, that lead to songs," the frontman admits. "I'll be doing a mundane task at work, walking somewhere in the woods, or driving, and I'll get these narrative flashes in my head. Personal experiences play into those narratives. This song is about our egos coming to break us down and destroy everything. We try to govern each other and turn the only landscape we have to live in into a parking lot. There's no room for anybody. So, when God comes back, he's going to be really mad."
Elsewhere on the album, one story connects the expansive and entrancing "The Marriage of Coyote Woman" and "The Death of Coyote Woman". The tracks twirl through rustic instrumentation and muscular distortion before building into a wild climax.
"It's a two-part song that follows one character in my brain that has its own trials and tribulations to go through," Parks goes on. "It also discusses how and where I grew up. It's a hodgepodge, and the lyrics and music just came to me while I was driving."
Given their powerful and potent psychedelic sound, All Them Witches has shared the stage with everybody from punk luminaries Broncho to the buzzing Windhand. They've also rocked at WRLT's weekly live series "Nashville Sunset", played the station's Live On The Green and appeared at the Scion Rock Fest.
"We can take so many different paths," he adds. "The music is ever-shifting. None of us grew up listening to the same music. In Louisiana, I heard a lot of ZZ Top and Blues band. Allan was raised on classical, almost exclusively. Robby and Ben listened to a ton of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. When we came together, it simply works."
Ultimately, everything comes back to that certain magic for All Them Witches. "Not to sound too much like hippie, but I hope everybody can ride our vibe," Parks leaves off. "We're very simple people doing something we really love. We have such a short amount of time on this earth. Everybody should be doing what they love. If there's a message here, it's that."
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Los Angeles (via Virginia Beach) chillwave band Mansions on the Moon was formed by Ben Hazlegrove (keyboards), Jeff Maccora (bass), Lane Shaw (drums), and Ted Wendler (guitar, vocals). Hazlegrove and Shaw were previously in the jazz-funk/fusion-inspired electronic act Pnuma Trio. The band debuted in 2010 with a mixtape, Paradise Falls, presented by Benzi and Diplo. The following year, the band toured as the opening act on Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller's Green Carpet Tour. Lightyears, an EP executive produced by Pharrell Williams, was released in 2012, highlighted by "Leaves Fall," a melodic amalgamation of soft rock and dream pop. ~ Andy Kellman
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An experimental rock trio featuring bassist Mike Watt, Il Sogno del Marinaio also include singer/guitarist Stefano Pilia and drummer Andrea Belfi. Watt, a legendary punk and alt-rock musician with such bands as Minutemen and fIREHOSE, first met Pilia while on tour in Italy in 2005. Then, in 2009, Pilia and Belfi invited Watt to tour with them and Il Sogno del Marinaio were born. In 2013, Il Sogno del Marinaio released their debut album, Busta Gialla, which showcased the band's mix of punk, noise rock, and jazz influences. ~ Matt Collar
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With their wall-of-fuzz guitar stylings and sugary pop underpinnings, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart nodded to any number of old-school indie pop and shoegaze acts, most notably Black Tambourine and My Bloody Valentine. New York-based musicians Alex Naidus (bass), Kip Berman (guitar/vocals), Kurt Feldman (drums), and Peggy Wang (keyboards/vocals) came together to form the Pains of Being Pure at Heart in 2007. The band recorded a few tracks soon after forming, which were released as a self-titled 3" CD-R on Cloudberry Records. A self-titled EP followed soon after for Painbow. During 2008 the band released a number of limited-edition split singles on Atomic Beat Records and Slumberland. Their first album, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, was released in February of 2009 on Slumberland, and the good reviews and positive press (including a spot on Late Night with Carson Daly) made them one of the most talked-about bands of early 2009. After the release of the summer 2010 single Say No to Love, legendary producers Flood (Smashing Pumpkins) and Alan Moulder (My Bloody Valentine) were hired to give the band a slicker, more powerful sound. The resulting album, Belong, was released by Slumberland in March of 2011. After touring their second album, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart returned to the U.S. and Berman began writing new material for their third album. With the departure of original keyboardist Peggy Wang and bassist Alex Naidus, Berman brought together a refreshed line-up -- which featured A Sunny Day in Glasgow's Jen Goma and brass player Kelly Pratt alongside Feldman -- to record the album with Andy Savours (My Bloody Valentine, Sigur Rós). The resulting Days of Abandon was released by their new label, Yebo Music, in 2014. ~ Margaret Reges
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BRONCHO and Dine Alone Records are thrilled to announce the release of Just Enough Hip To Be Woman by sharing the album's first single, "Class Historian." BRONCHO will also set out on a 30-date North American tour later this summer that will include dates with Brand New and stops at Riot Fest in Toronto and Chicago alongside The National, The Cure, Weezer, City and Colour and Jane's Addiction.
Just Enough Hip To Be Woman is a bold step forward for BRONCHO. Though it certainly bears the hallmarks of their previous work — fuzzy, guitar-driven rock – the production and energy of the record moves into decidedly sleeker and decidedly more new wave directions (think Cheap Trick meets the Drive soundtrack meets every great song from Fast Times at Ridgemont High meets the greatest after-hours party you've never been to). Tracks like "Stay Loose," "NC-17" and "What" are the kind of pop-rock that could have easily been beamed in from the same universe that gave rise to The Cars (or a looser version of The Strokes), while the album's first single, "Class Historian" — with its unstoppable "do do do do" vocal refrain is the kind of song that seems scientifically engineered to stick in your brain forever and is arguably best played loudly over a car stereo with the windows down and your long hair blowing in the breeze. Clocking in at just more than 30 minutes, the eleven tracks on the new record are a potent statement of intent: an effortless sounding rock record that dips its toe into a variety of different styles without ever succumbing to any of them.
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A group of roots rock iconoclasts who call New Orleans home, the Revivalists formed in 2007 and wound up gaining traction in the early years of the next decade, with their second album, City of Sound, appearing on the Billboard charts upon its re-release from Wind-Up Records in the spring of 2014.
Vocalist David Shaw, guitarist Zack Feinberg, pedal steel player Ed Williams, bassist George Gekas, drummer Andrew Campanelli, saxophonist Rob Ingraham, and keyboardist/trumpeter Michael Girardot became known for their amalgam of rock, R&B, soul, country, and funk in New Orleans in the closing days of the 2000s, releasing an eponymous EP in 2008. Two years later, the full-length Vital Signs appeared and they began getting good reviews for their opening sets for the Rebirth Brass Band along with their constant touring and festival appearances. A second album produced by Ben Ellman called City of Sound appeared independently in 2012. In 2013, they signed with Wind-Up Records and set out to record their third album. In the meantime, Wind-Up reissued City of Sound in the spring of 2014 and it wound up hitting the lower reaches of the Billboard 200. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Specializing in a classic-sounding Southern rock/Americana style that emphasizes songs and danceable kinetics over empty hipness and trendy pop gimmicks, J. Roddy Walston and the Business formed in Cleveland, Tennessee in 2002, moving north to Baltimore, Maryland two years later in 2004. After a couple of lineup changes, the band solidified as a classic rock four-piece with J. Roddy Walston handling lead vocals (as well as playing guitar and piano), Billy Gordon on guitar and additional vocals, Logan Davis on bass, and Steve Colmus on drums. J. Roddy Walston and the Business' live shows have garnered them a large following wherever they play or tour. The band released an EP, LMNEP, in 2005, following it with a self-released full-length, Hail Mega Boys, in 2007. Another short-form release, Digital EP, arrived in June of 2010, with a self-titled full-length album, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, appearing from Vagrant Records a month later. A third full-length studio album, Essential Tremors, arrived in the fall of 2013. ~ Steve Leggett
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An artist who quickly evolved from parody to indie, Chicago-born rapper K. Flay first grabbed the mike while a student at Stanford University in California. It was the frivolous topics and misogynistic lyrics she saw in mainstream rap that first drove her to record a parody of the genre, but she was surprised by both her talent and how much she enjoyed recording. She spent the rest of the year recording and writing, spent her sophomore year performing, and in her junior year, she dropped her debut album, 2004's Suburban Rap Queen. Five years later, her second effort, Mashed Potatoes, appeared with backing tracks that were more electro- and indie-oriented, a style that remained in place for 2011's I Stopped Caring in '96. In 2013, she made her major-label debut with the What If It Is EP on RCA. ~ David Jeffries
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Charleston, South Carolina-based indie folk duo Shovels & Rope consists of married singer/songwriters Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst. Like Trent, who also played with the indie rock band the Films, Hearst had spent the years prior pursuing a solo career, utilizing her raw yet melodious and expressive voice to deliver a handful of albums, one of which landed a single, "Hell's Bells," in the 2010 season of True Blood. Inspired by the likes of Woody Guthrie, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, the Cramps, and the soulful harmonies of Johnny Cash and June Carter, the pair provided tour support for like-minded artists such as Justin Townes Earle, Hayes Carll, and the Felice Brothers before heading into the studio to lay down the tracks for their debut. The resulting O' Be Joyful, which channeled country, bluegrass, and blues through a nervy, indie rock prism was released in 2012. ~ James Christopher Monger