7 Bands You Gotta Hear, Vol. II – Mothlight, Tiger Waves, Cherokee Red, Esther, Calling Morocco, The Casuals, The Dark Lights

Last year, we launched a new playlist series titled 7 Bands You Gotta Hear, Vol. I, which was particularly popular. Afterwards, we posted Volume Two – 7 Overseas Bands You Gotta Hear – which focused on non-U.S. bands who sent in their music via our submission form. Both volumes were special editions of the long-running, and popular, In Dee Mail playlist series.

A number of the tracks from each volume even made the weekly Top 10 Songs playlists, which are determined by how many times a song was streamed or downloaded. Also, many of the artists in this series have never been profiled on a major music site, and in some cases, not even on smaller, independent blogs.

In this third volume of 7 DIY Bands You Gotta Hear: Mothlight; Tiger Waves, Cherokee Red, Esther, Calling Morocco, The Casuals, The Dark Lights

Mothlight: A San Diego Shoegaze Artist to Watch

A couple of years ago we featured new music from Mothlight, the shoegaze/electronic music project of San Diego musician Matt Billings. Mothlight’s musical philosophy is based on incorporating various ideas, structures and genres that range from ambient to Top 40 pop, thus creating a lush and unique sound. His songs, Billings said, are originally composed on guitar, and later mixed with ambient pads and electronic beats to create a dense backdrop for his vocal arrangements. Mothlight’s new EP, American Spirit, was released on May 17th.

Previously Opened For: None
Musical Influences: Weatherbox, Snuffaluffagus, Lanterns, Atlas Sound, Chromatics, Panda Bear, Radiohead, Stereolab, Young Marble Giants
Artist website: http://mothlight.bandcamp.com
Year Formed: 2007


New Band Cherokee Red Fronted By Singer Christiana Bartolini

Over the past five years, there has been a noticeable increase of talented bands fronted by standout female vocalists. Add Pennsylvania‘s DIY dream pop band Cherokee Red to that list with singer Christiana Bartolini at the helm. The band calls the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area of Pennsylvania home.

Last year, Bartolini and Charles Davis embarked on a series of productive songwriting sessions, and were soon joined by a group of other musicians, including Philadelphians Brittany Thomas and Andrew Sgarlat.

Shortly there after, classically trained, multi-instrumentalist Dirk Dekker (not that guy in the movie Boogie Nights, mind you) joined Cherokee Red. The newly formed quintet have just recently completed an EP in classic DIY fashion, and now spend their time between Philadelphia, Manhattan, and Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre. Within a couple of months of forming, Cherokee Red had opened for popular indie bands like Slowdance and Royal Baths.

The only thing we have to say about the band name is that it would not be a band name we would recommend because of how it can be misinterpreted, and because it creates an unnecessary distraction. However, band member Charlie Davis said: “We borrowed it from a (now out of business) local soda, Cherikee Red; and it is also Frank Lloyd Wright’s favorite color paint…I believe the term “Cherokee Red” to be devoid of negative connotation.”

Previously Opened For: Slowdance, Royal Baths
Musical Influences: The Shangri- Las, King Tubby, Mazzy Star, Au Revoire Simone, Gold Motel, The Misfits
Artist website: facebook.com/cherokeeredmusic
Year Formed: 2011


Austin’s Tiger Waves Make Waves With New LP

Not even a year old, Austin DIY experimental folk/surf rock band Tiger Waves have been making waves of their own within the city’s bustling, and crowded, indie music community. Austin is revered as one of the epicenters of the indie and alternative rock world, rivaling cities like New York, Los Angeles, London, San Francisco and Portland. Afterall, for a quarter of a century now, Austin has hosted the world’s largest alternative music festival/conference/convention – South By Southwest (SXSW).

Within a matter of a few months following their formation, Tiger Waves started creating a buzz among critics, bloggers and music lovers in Austin and beyond. Within two months, Tiger Waves was on tour opening for popular artists like Youth Lagoon and Gardens & Villas. At SXSW in March, they were much talked about as a new band to see live.

Artists Opened For: Youth Lagoon, Gardens & Villas
Top Musical Influences: Radiohead, The Beach Boys, Grizzly Bear, The Magnetic Fields
Official Website: http://tigerwaves.bandcamp.com
Year Formed: 2011


Esther Delivers Indie Rock/Pop Disco from Sweden

Esther is an indie rock/pop disco band from Sverige, Sweden who we think are a band more people in the U.S. need to hear. Markus Magnusson, the band’s front man, told IRC that his band’s newest album is in the works and being produced by Ronald Bood (Mando Diao, Dntel). The yet-to-be-titled album will contain 10 or 12 songs, and is set to be released in the fall of 2012. The first single, “To Let Go,” released on May 17th, is a good way to kick off this playlist because it has an uptempo summer pop feel that is likely to connect with indie pop fans .

“To Let Go”Esther from TBA

Previously Opened For: Shout Out Louds, The Realistics, The Ark, Melody Club
Musical Influences: The Beatles, Kinks and Stones to Pulp, The Clash, Edith Piaf
Music Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47UmG_r9G78
Band website:
Year Formed: 2001

Extra: If you dig “To Let Go,” check out this relatively new music video for another new track “I’ve Heard It All Before”. Fans of bands like Free Energy are most likely to enjoy Esther’s music. It’s safe to say, although only two songs are available right now, that Esther could catch on in the U.S. If our web statistics who a high number of streams and downloads of the songs presented in this profile, the band will be featured as a DIY Band to Watch.


Davis Band Drops Everything For Near Endless Touring

Calling Morocco is a multi-genre rock, punk and alt. country trio from Davis, California, who left their dead-end jobs, sold their belongings and sublet their apartments in the fall of 2011, loaded up a van, and have been touring the country non-stop ever since.

In the past six months, they’ve played over 100 shows in 20 states, according to guitarist and singer, Kyle Olson. He said the band plans to squeeze in 15 to 20 shows a month, and will be content to live on the road in order to do what they love.

“Summer” Calling Morocco from Outside Providence – May 21st

“Break Your Heart”Calling Morocco from Outside Providence

Previously Opened For: Chad Price (Drag The River), Lizzie Huffman, Terrible Things, Gringo Star, Wires In The Walls, The Hooten Hallers, Boom Chick, My Life In Black And White, among others
Musical Influences: Lucero, The Gaslight Anthem, Drag The River, Uncle Tupelo, Queen, Against Me!
Artist Website:
Year Formed: 2010


Long Island Band The Casual Hearts’ ‘Melodic Emo Hip Hop’

The Casual Hearts are an unsigned rock quintet from Huntington, New York who sent us their new double-sided single, dropped back in May. Roctober Magazine described the band’s music as “melodic emo hip hop.” That’s not a bad way of putting it, especially after you listen to both songs – which ironically sound very different from each other. However, of the two tracks, “The Taurus Song” is definitely better overall, even though it’s almost 10 minutes long. The B-side track is included below just to give people an idea of their varying sound and style.

With its emo/hip hop stylings, the B-side of the single, “My Cold Feet Is Karma,” [sic] is a total departure from the first single. The band describe their music as “multi-genre influenced rock that seems to find a place in a wide variety of music lovers’ collection.” We’re not entirely clear what that means, but so be it. The Casual Hearts are currently playing shows in the NYC area.

“The Taurus Song”Casual Hearts from The Taurus Song single – May 29th

“My Cold Feet Is Karma“- Casual Hearts from The Taurus Song single

Previously Opened For: Patent Pending
Musical Influences: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eric Johnson, Michael Jackson, Fall Out Boy, Brand New, Led Zeppelin, The Mars Volta, Jay-Z, 311
Artist Website: http://www.casualhearts.com
Year Formed: 2008

London-via-Australia Indie Electronic Band, The Dark Lights

The Dark Lights is a London-based Australian indie elecronica band that are beginning to get more attention beyond their homeland, especially following the release of their latest EP, The Boy Who Saw Through Walls, on June 4th. The EP was recorded across two continents and mixed by Adelaide-based American producer John DeMichele. The Boy Who Saw Through Walls intertwines layered soundscapes around heartfelt vocals, with experimental guitar melodies and tight drums, driving the pace of their songs as demonstrated by the two singles below. The band has definitely elevated the craft of indie electronic. In fact, The Independent Music News wrote: “Get ready kids – indie is modern again…with the sound of music.” Having completed an extensive U.K. tour in late 2011, and selling out their single “The Eye,” on pre-orders alone, The Dark Lights are planning another U.K. tour in September and an Australian tour in 2013.

“The Eye”The Dark Lights from The Boy Who Saw Through Walls – June 4th

“Makers”The Dark Lights from The Boy Who Saw Through Walls

Previously Opened For: Dukes of Windsor, Cassette Kids
Musical Influences: Bloc Party, Acrade Fire, Battles, Friendly Fires, The Presets
Artist Website: http://www.thedarklightsonline.com
Year Formed: 2008

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  1. Just when I think my music library is getting fatigued, you guys prevail to amaze me. Good finds.



    1. Hey Anton we don’t know but it may be our web host because there is a lot of hacking and security risks that come from Russia.

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