5 Bands That Rock, Vol. IV: Red Pens, Millsted, Cop Shades and Kaela

We get so much music in the mail that it’s coming out of our ears – and has been for at least the past six to eight months. In fact, we have somewhat of an embarrassing confession to make: there is still amazing 2009 music that we initially received or knew about late last year that we never got around to featuring on IRC for one reason or another.

So, it’s make up time. All of the bands profiled in this fourth installment of Bands That Rock are artists and bands who sent their music for us to review and share with all of you. The first band we are late in telling you about are simply amazing, and hopefully you will agree if you have never heard them before.

At a time when “indie rock” (whatever that is to you) is saturated with synthesizers, drum machines and, in some cases, fake copycats, it’s refreshing to hear talented bands that still rip out fuzzy guitar garage rock, create raw, blissful anthems, and serve up lo-fi, high energy pop-rock tracks that ooze with reverb and feedback.

Minneapolis‘ duo Red Pens do just that. Behind the wall of skuzzy, addictive rock and raucous drum beats is the music duo of Howard Hamilton III and Laura Bennett. Hamilton was the force behind the early 2000’s band, The Busy Signals, which was something of an underground sensation for a period of time, including a spot opening for The Shins on tour. Bennett, who is an accomplish painter, and the duo’s all-or-nothing drum beater, was recently featured on PBS for her artwork. Last year, The Boston Phoenix called them “Minnesota’s Best Band in 2009” and City Pages granted them “Best New Band.”

Late in 2009, Red Pens officially released their debut LP, Reasons. It is one of the best debut rock albums of 2009 – hands down. Red Pens seek shelter from all of the technology of today’s music by sticking to the basics of rock, delivering energetic percussions, riff-driven music complete with snarly vocals and plenty of attitude. That’s what we love about them.

“Hung Out”Red Pens from Reasons

“Baby Alligator”Red Pens from Reasons

So let’s keep hacking away at the email overflow, and get caught up with songs and bands we think you should know about. New York City band Millsted combine surf rock and tinges of 60’s soul and dash it with their controlled noise forte to produce a sonically explosive experience.

“The Gold Red Rocket”Millsted from The Great Adventures Of The Gold Red Rocket

“I Got Soul”Millsted from The Great Adventures Of The Gold Red Rocket

Millsted on MySpace

Ken Kelly of Monoxides/Cop Shades

Cop Shades is the side project of The Monoxides ‘ drummer Ken Kelley. He is also known for his work with with veteran musicians of mainstay Moncton bands like The Peter Parkers, The Woods, and MEN.

“North Korean Arts Degree”Cop Shades

From Stuttgart, Germany, the indie band Kaela caught our attention right away after sending some of their tunes in to share with the world. And a good thing they did – we think. Kaela come at you with guitars blazing, psychedelic keyboard work, ferocious drumming and bass thumping, as evident on the song, “Eleven.”

“Eleven”Kaela from K

“Red City”Kaela from K

Kaela on MySpace

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