In Dee Mail, Vol. IV: Opus Orange, The Migrant, Joe Gil, Peephole, Ideals, Luge, Sonen, Millstead, Cuckoo Chaos

The music submissions to Indie Rock Cafe from artists and bands around the world are piling up at a rate that makes it quite a challenge to keep up with. However, when we hear music we like – and there’s a lot of it – from artists and bands that most people – even online music fanatics – have never heard of, it is always a special moment when you hear something completely unexpected, unknown and new that you never heard before. And that’s music we share all of the time on IRC, and why we’re different than the follow-the-hits and the buzz blogs that saturate the web.

We receive tons of wonderful world from artists and bands around the world, and it’s a never-ending challenge to keep up with it all. For us, and many of our regular visitors over the years, the In Dee Mail series has become a cornerstone of Indie Rock Cafe’s identity because there are so many artists writing, recording and sharing splendid music that we would have probably never heard of unless they sent in their music to us for review.

Even though this mix presents artists and bands that most of you have probably never heard before, it is just a sampling of what’s to come in the ensuing weeks from our mailbag. In the meantime, sit back, fire up this playlist, read a little about the featured artists, and hopefully, you discover some music in today’s mix that you will cherish forever. To kick this off, we have a new song exclusive from an artist (who we’ve never been able to get a photo of) who has been a favorite here and on the web every time he sends us a new track.

Opus Orange – Santa Monica, California

Paul Bessenbacher is a successful commercial composer who has created music for various television commercials and TV shows. Chances are you’ve heard Paul’s music before, perhaps on The Last Comic Standing, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody and Stacked, or in commercials for Cadillac, Johnsonville Sausages, Tide, among others.

When he gets time away from his real job, Bessenbacher writes and records catchy tracks using the moniker us Orange. We just received this new track with Lauren Hillman, making it’s web premier here on IRC.

“Almost There” (with Lauren Hillman) – Opus Orange

Here’s another track from 2009, and more here and here.

“Nothing But Time” – Opus Orange

The Migrant – Denmark

The Migrant is a rising Danish musician Bjarke Bendtsen, whose travels in the U.S. served as the material for his debut LP, Travels in Lowland, due to drop on September 21st, with a companion album, Amerika, due in the spring of 2011.

“The Organ Grinder” The Migrant from Travels in Lowland


Joe Gil – Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles singer/songwriter and musician Joe Gil caught our attention with his gorgeous vocals, clever story-telling and impressive songcrafting, most especially on the two tracks he sent us, “Wood Block” and “Packed Our Past”.  Gil’s DIY debut EP will be released on Sept. 18th. We love these songs and can’t wait to hear more.

“Wood Block”Joe Gil from s/t EP

“Packed Our Past”Joe Gil from s/t EP


Peephole – Brooklyn, New York

Peephole is the moniker of singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Kent Odessa of Brooklyn. In the summer of  2008, Odessa began performing live with musicians he knew from around the city, and soon after released Peephole’s debut EP, Cold Dime – an impressive EP that demonstrates not only Odessa’s many talents, but his extraordinary range as an artist, drawing from lo-fi melancholy songs like “Name” to the raw, T. Rex style of “Guilty Boat” and  “Black Topaz” – the latter two songs are among the best in the young man’s discography.

“Guilty Boat”Peephole from Cold Dime (2009)

“Black Topaz” –  Peephole from Cold Dime (2009)

Odessa then collaborated with producer Jeremy Jonas Cox, on the recording and release of his second 2009 EP, Strawberry Told Me. The stand out track on that EP is clearly “Who Will Love You Til The End?” . The funky pop sounds that dominant Strawberry has an unquestionable heavy influence from Prince.

“Who Will Love You Til The End?” Peephole from Strawberry Told Me

After listening to all three of his free EPs, it’s apparent that there are so many layers to his music – various textures and influences from disco to pop and new wave to rock. Peephole’s latest EP, Crime Drama, is out now, and contains the two tracks found below. Let us know what you think.

“Silence for Kindness”Peephole from Crime Drama (2010)

“Half a Soul”Peephole, previously unreleased

Ideals – London, England

Four young lads from London, who make up the band Ideals, have been on our radar this summer, and we still think they have strong potential to break-out at anytime. Last week, they sent us a brand new track, “Forever Leisure”.

“Forever Leisure” Ideals


Luge – Mexico City, Mexico

Listening to Luge‘s music, you probably would never know they are a rock band from Mexico City. Taking that into consideration, and the fact that the band has never been written about online or in print, according to band member Gerardo Ocejo, we wanted to see what others think of Luge’s music; there are glimmers of potential here. Influenced by bands that range from Pixies to The Stones Roses and Fleetwood Mac to AC/DC, Luge released their debut LP on July 12th.

If you want to tell us what you think of this band, please use the Comments section below (does not require registration and it’s fast).

“Reborn” Luge from Heartaches & Sunrises

“Empowered Son”Luge from Heartaches & Sunrises

Sonen – Atlanta, Georgia

The Atlanta electro-dance-indie band Sonen recently sent their rocking dance track, “Head Down”, and the 80’s new wave meets rock sound of the song, “Vividly Blue” – a bit of B52’s and Devo going on in that. The band’s sound is dark and urgent, brimming with heavy melodies and Joy Division-like harmonies.  They count among their influences Crystal Castles, The Pixies, Phantogram, and Orbital. Sonen’s EP is available for free download; just click their MySpace link below. Would love to hear what you all think.

“Head Down”Sonen from Devious Devices

“Vividly Blue”Sonen from Devious Devices

Sonen on MySpace

These United States-band

These United States – Kentucky and Washington, DC

Last fall, These United States, released their third album, Everything Touches Everything, which was well received by fans, bloggers and media critics. In fact, Spin gave the album four out of five stars, calling it “intoxicating,” adding it “brilliantly captures the overwhelming jolt of simply being alive.”

“Everything Touches Everything” – These United States from Everything Touches Everything (2009)

These United States also just released yet another new LP; although we prefer Everything Touches Everything, here’s one of the lead singles from their latest LP, What Lasts.

“The Great Rivers” These United States from What Lasts (2010)

Millstead – New York, New York

Although they disbanded abruptly in November of 2009 for what they called “rock and roll cliche bullsh*t”, New York City’s Millsted left us with their debut LP, The Great Adventures Of The Gold Red Rocket. The band was a buzz band in NYC throughout 2008, especially during the city’s annual CMJ music marathon. At their height, the band had already amassed more than 1.5 million profile views on MySpace. Check out these two songs, the wall-of-noise, punk rock of  “The Gold Red Rocket”, and the guitar-driven indie rock of the catchy track, “I Got Soul”.

“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

Cuckoo Chaos – San Diego, California

Another band from San Diego, the interestingly named Cuckoo Chaos, is prepping for an expected release of their debut LP later this year. In the meantime, the band recently dropped their debut EP, We Are From Deerplants. After a decade of living as a nomad in America,  Scott Wheeler found his version of utopia in San Diego in 2007, and immersed himself in the local music scene, which has spawned a bunch of break-out indie bands over the past 18 months or so, including Wavves, Avi Buffalo and Crocodiles.

“Slowly Counting Down to Nothing” Cuckoo Chaos from We Are From Deerplants

Scattergun – Chicago, Illinois

Recently, the Chicago Americana indie rock band Scattergun released its debut LP, Fantasy Lounge, to perhaps understated coverage and reviews. The band members are well respected musicians in the Chicago area, and their songs feature the finer elements of country-influenced rock, including sharp melodies with sliding guitar riffs, moving rhthyms and well executed vocals.

“Tom Waits’ Boots”Scattergun from Life at Fantasy Lounge

Scattergun on MySpace

Woolen – Los Angeles, California

Woolen is a Los Angeles shoegaze-melodic pop band that came to our attention In Dee Mail. After sending us some of their songs from their new release out today, Dweller on the Threshold, we were impressed with their well executed sound, like pros that don’t yet have the pro status. The trio include among their biggest influences Red House Painters and Mark Kozelek, the heavy drone of Black Sabbath, and the ambient-noise of My Bloody Valentine. Somebody sign this band.

“I Will Find A Way”Woolen from Dweller on the Threshold

“Feeding Time”Woolen from Dweller on the Threshold

Woolen on MySpace

The Alphabet – Columbus, OH-Boston, MA

The Alphabet (previously known as Pretty Balanced) is a Columbus, Ohio-Boston, Mass. band that became something of an underground indie sensation during the latter half of the last decade. Recently, they got attention with the song, “Prosthetic Face,” a somewhat morbid story of a woman who decides that she wants a plastic surgeon to “carve up” her “ugly face.” The band members are mysteriously listed as Judith Jewcakes (voice, keyboard instruments); Parker Car (electric and upright bass) and Forest Creatures (percussion, violin).

The band describe themselves as a trio of young nerds with a fascination for “creating bubbly music on horribly morbid topics.” Their 2006 DIY debut, Icicle Bicycle, sold out, which was followed up in 2008 with a “perkier and more electronic-based” Conical Monocle, that led to a successful two-week string of concerts in Edinburgh, Scotland. Last year, the band released an EP, Scarlet Starlet.

“Prosthetic Face”The Alphabet from Scarlet Starlet (2009)

The Alphabet on MySpace

The Nod – Madison, Wisconsin

As often happens with music we receive via email, we were surprised when we first heard the Madison, Wisconsin band The Nod why we hadn’t heard of them before. Formed in basements around the city of Madison in 2008, the band went through a number of line-up changes before deciding on three members to make-up the band: Brett Newski (lead vocals/guitars), Eric Maloney (bass/vocals) and Nate Devroy (drums).

On “Lie in All Honesty”, The Nod’s electric garage pop rock and punk attitude are hard to ignore, and which helped the band land opening spots for major artists like Third Eye Blind, OK Go, Cage the Elephant, Bowling for Soup, among others. The band includes among its influences The Strokes, The Pixies, Cake, Weezer, Elliott Smith, Montel Jordan, We Are Scientists, and Pavement.

According to the band, the album, Easy Maverick, is three years of work recorded in 30 days.

“Lie In All Honesty” The Nod from Easy Maverick

“Vinyl Bluez” The Nod from Easy Maverick

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    1. Hi Picazo: Yes, it’s amazing how many comments we’ve rec’d about Luge. Will definitely keep our eyes and ears out for their next release. Keep it tuned to Indie Rock Cafe. 🙂

  1. Luge…great musicians! Downloaded the album…unfortunately, I think they’re about 8 years too late for major airplay on US “pop” stations(not a good thing). Didn’t like the sound then, can’t find it in my heart to listen to it now. sorry, but don’t think I’ll be listening to this album again…Hopefully, this is one of those bands that eventually finds that “sound” that works. Good luck, guys 🙂

  2. Luge is pretty good at 1st I thought they had like a Mana vibe but hearing the 2nd song and listening to their arrangements I have to admit something sweet is going on there.

  3. You might like the music of Vienna Teng. She will be performing in NYC at the Highline Ballroom on August 18th, Fairfield Connecticut at Stage One on August 19th, and in Silver Spring Maryland at the Takoma Park PAC.

  4. Hey Indie Rock Cafe,
    Just stumbled across your website tonight for the first time. I love the new artists that you feature on your website as a whole. Just some great new sounds. Thank you for “exposing” me to some great new music that I wouldn’t normally have a chance to hear.

    Thanks Again,
    DJ RON
    “Orange County’s Only Real Rock”

    1. Hey DJ Ron:

      You are completely welcome. Would be great if you mentioned us on your show and maybe even played some of the bands and see how your listeners react. Any bands in particular you enjoy? Cheers, Phil

  5. downloaded the sonen album. so many good bands coming out of atlanta lately…im there now visiting from NY and need to go catch some shit live. i am diggin the sonen stuff…electronic enough to make me wanna go out, rocks enough to make me wanna keep listening.

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