Best Singles & Albums, July 2013, Vol. I – Robert Pollard, Editors, Whirr, Twin Peaks, The March Divide, Thundercat

Twin Peaks is one of the breakout new indie bands of 2013
With the busy summer season, labels largely hold back from dropping new releases, and that results in less to post, and boast, about from more well-known indie and alternative artists and bands, as opposed to DIY, unsigned and small label, under-the-radar bands, who make up a good chunk of our coverage of bands and the music the make.

That said, there are still plenty of great releases with impressive singles that were dropped in July, and more so from the DIY and under-the-radar artists. For starters, please see the separate BNMR post for July 2nd to July 8th, that includes selected singles from new releases by A Grave With No Name, The Fall, Zomby, The Garifuna Collective, TRAAMS, and many others .

Normally, we try to have a post with a playlist each week representing our favorite singles of the week, whether or not we had time to indulge (often not) the entire album the single came from. But during the summer months, especially in July, when new releases are more scarce (as they have been especially this summer), it’s easier to review the month in music than to put together a weekly post. This also allows more time to focus on posting terrific DIY and small label artists that most people have never heard of, but that we’ve been listening to in the cafe over and over – songs that are usually sent in and that we would have otherwise never known about. That’s the part of the excitement of being a blog that posts so much great music from artists that otherwise go unnoticed in the ‘indie rock blogosphere.’

In this two-part series focused on July, we’ll highlight the top ‘popular’ indie songs and more widely known artists and bands, as well as streams of songs from the DIY, obscure, little-known, under-the-radar and small label artists and bands that deserve their three or four minutes in the spotlight. If the identity of IRC is anything, it’s highlighting the obscure artists that people need to hear.


Top Singles Playlist, Week of July 9th to July 15th

The second week of July releases delivered a good number of pleasant surprises from mainly new-to-us artists and bands like Robert Pollard (read Devin William Daniels’ album review) The March Divide, Thundercat, Maps, Gregory Alan Isakov, and The Octopus Project, among many others. They all add something special in their own unique ways to the new releases dropped for the week of July 9th through July 15th, and therefore a slice of the history of indie rock music in 2013. First, the top singles from new albums out this week from more well-known and signed indie bands and artists.

“A.M.A.”Maps from Vicissitude on Mute

“Circus Green Machine” Robert Pollard from Honey Locust Honky Tonk on Rockathon Records

“So It Goes”The March Divide from Music for Television on Dead Letter Records

“Saint Valentine”Gregory Alan Isakov from The Weatherman on Suitcase Town Music

“Sharpteeth”The Octopus Project from Fever Forms on Peek-A-Boo Records

“Oh Sheit It’s X”Thundercat from Apocalypse on Brainfeeder

Album cover for Escape From Alpha Draconis by Sensual Harassment

Sneak Peak at the Newest Edition of the 7 Bands Series

There are a number of bands with new releases dropped in the second week of July who impressed us so much that we decided to just mention them in this post and explore their music in more detail for an upcoming installment of the popular 7 Bands You’ve Gotta Hear profile and playlist series. They include Chicago indie garage pop band, Twin Peaks; the fascinating San Francisco Bay Area shoegaze band, Whirr; and the eccentric experimentalists Royal Forest from Austin, followed by Sensual Harassment thanks to addictive advanced singles, like “Capri Suntan” and “Make Me Human Again,” from the band’s sophomore album release, Escape From Alpha Draconis.

“Irene”Twin Peaks from Sunken on Autumn Tone Records

“Swoon”Whirr from Around on Graveface Records

“Ambulance”Royal Forest from Spillways

“Capri Suntan”Sensual Harassment from Escape From Alpha Draconis

Don’t forget to check back in a few days to read a profile of each of these bands and to listen to more of their music. If you haven’t explored the 7 Bands playlist series yet, or missed the most recent installments, we promise you that you’ll be remiss to miss out on some of the amazing bands and songs that you’ve never heard before.


Little Legend and FLASH/LIGHTS Drop New Releases

So, let’s jump into it; there were a number of worthy releases from under-the-radar bands in the first couple of weeks of July that pretty much got little to no coverage anywhere else in the blogosphere among indie bloggers. First up is the Montana garage rock band Little Legend who dropped their latest EP, No Way Out, on July 2nd via the small indie label, The Record Machine. The lead single, “Bailout,” is a gritty story of the band’s lead singer, Brandy Tudor, and the time his girlfriend bailed him out of jail in Laramie, Wyoming. Little Legend, formed in 2010, have opened for bands like JEFF The Brotherhood and Iceage..

“Bailout”Little Legend from No Way Out – July 2nd

Next up is Denver electro-pop outfit FLASH/LIGHTS, who’ve previously opened for bands like Passion Pit, New Order and Toro Y Moi. F/L, who were forced by a cease & desist order to change from ‘Flashlights,’ to the new spelling, dropped their new EP, All My Love on July 1st, featuring the following title track single.

“All My Love”FLASH/LIGHTS from All My Love EP – July 1st

A Quarter Century In, Bud Collins Trio Still Stepping It Up

The Connecticut-based Bud Collins Trio, in operation since 1989, has a built a reputation during the past nearly quarter century as a formidable band of northeast DIY scene, even though they made it onto MTV a number of times with their funky, melodic pop. In the past, BCT has opened and toured with artists such as Blues Traveler, Bob Mould, Monks of Doom, Spin Doctors, and Maceo Parker, all of which helped to elevate the band’s profile even more, and yet all that time they remained staunchly, and proudly, DIY.

At the start of this month, the trio released their new album, State Vector Collapse, featuring the singles, “Jeff Lynne” and “Soapy Waters.”

“Jeff Lynne”Bud Collins Trio from State Vector Collapse – July 1st


Futurist, Stephen Wheel, Drops, Drift Wood Miracle, Matt Script & Others

The following is a series of standout singles from a flood of new releases from DIY and small label artists and bands that most people, even indie enthusiasts, have never heard before. This terrific playlist covers the first half of under-the-radar releases for the month of July. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself letting this playlist loop in its entirety. Please share this special post and playlist on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, G+ buttons above.

The spirit of the DIY, rarely heard, obscure, under-the-radar musician, whether it’s a dude recording fantastic demos in this bedroom or a band that has been playing the low-pay, often thankless bar and small venue scene (yet who shows great talent and potential) has always been, and will always be, the heart of this blog.

The singles continue with the next playlist of amazing songs for July featuring Cardiff, England musician and Chasing Magpies‘ recording artist Stephen Wheel‘s latest effort, followed by Portland DIY electro pop chillwave duo Drops; experimental rock Nashville DIY band Lions For Real; blues rock of Durham, North Carolina’s own Drift Wood Miracle; soda pop music from Virginia Beach band Ladada; DIY jam rock from Seattle DIY band Animals in Cars; from Brooklyn, indie art rock band Futurist with a single-only release “Double Knots”; plus singles from bands like Sans Gras, Of Gentlemen & Cowards, Latka, Horsha On The Moon,, and Sweetmeat .


Band to Watch: Grids

Firstly, though, let’s kick-off this DIY and small indie label singles list for the first two weeks of July with a 2013 Band to Watch, Grids, a Toronto indie band that caught our attention with two singles they sent in for review, and which we’ve listened to over and over again before then hearing the rest of the album. It’s also one of the best DIY debut albums of 2013. There will be more about Grids in an upcoming second installment for the Best DIY & Small Label Debut Albums of 2013. The following playlist serves kind of like a sampler of songs from talented bands that most people, even hardcore indie followers, have never heard of. Each of the singles comes from a new LP or EP dropped in the first half of July. We’ll definitely be watching which of these songs get the most listens and downloads for the Top 10 Song page playlists for July. We’ll also be using those stats to determine which of the bands below should be featured in separate posts on IRC in the coming months. It’s crazy that August starts in a few days.

“John Drums”Grids from Grids – July 12th

“Station”Stephen Wheel from Station – July 5th

“Double Knots”Futurist from 7″ – July 9th

“Friends”Drops from The Hours Till Daylight – July 4th

“Tyco”Animals in Cars from Tourist – July 16th

“The Movement”Lions For Real from Heathens – July 12th

“Juggernaught” Drift Wood Miracle from The 21st – July 10th

“All Day”Matt Script from Room For Error EP – July 10th

“Easy On Me”Sans Gras from Easy On Me – July 5th

“Song For You”Of Gentlemen & Cowards from Little Cracks, Little Light – July 9th

“Bees”Sweetmeat from Rancho Victoria – July 13th

“Comets”Ladada from Ladada – July 11th

“The Arrival”Latka from My Bright Heart – July 6th

“Lay Down”Horsha On The Moon from Lay Down – July 13th

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