5 DIY Bands to Watch, Vol. IX – Twin Peaks, Royal Forest, Thundercat, Drift Wood Miracle, Sensual Harassment

img-twin-peaksWe’ve heard some say that there were not as many breakout indie artists and bands in 2013 compared to previous years. That’s simply not true. And that’s because, as many of you know, we cover bands that most of the ‘copy-cat’ indie blogs (those that recycle the same bands and songs featured on other blogs) don’t.

We certainly don’t follow, or cover, the trendy artists and bands simply because it’s considered hip. Nevertheless, the five breakout bands of 2013 featured in this special feature varied from getting some coverage on popular music blogs and websites, while others (like Thundercat, Drift Wood Miracle, and Sensual Harassment), for the most part, were largely overlooked and under the radar considering their talent. In fact, each of them struck a chord with many people when we originally featured them last year. Of course, by being breakout bands, they are also bands to watch in 2014The scores of unsigned, obscure artists and bands featured on IRC in the past year, along with the more popular blogger buzz bands, include Twin Peaks, Royal Forest, Thundercat, Drift Wood Miracle, and Sensual Harassment


Twin Peaks – Chicago

Lovers of scuzzy, energetic lo-fi garage pop take notice. The young (all five members are 19 years old) Chicago band Twin Peaks‘ popularity has been growing throughout 2013 thanks in large part to the release of their fine debut LP, and a steady string of shows and tours beyond the borders of the Windy City and outwards across the nation.

Some of their songs, like the lead single, “Stand in the Sand,” from their 2013 debut album, Sunken, are fast-driving, lo-fi, surf pop meets glam-rock, raging with the vigor and energy one would expect from five 19-year-old guys in a rock band that is pumping out impressive tracks, and videos, and who show great promise into, and a growing fan base, in 2014.

“Stand in the Sand” is about as aggressive as you can get within the boundaries of indie garage pop; the song emotes an unmistakable glam-meets-surf-rock attitude. There are other moments on Sunken; in fact, quite a few people recently have jumped on the Twin Peaks bandwagon, including our friend Liz, who also admits to finding some of the guys in the band “hot.”

Altogether, Twin Peaks is getting attention – in Chicago, they are a buzz band and for all of the obvious reasons, are often compared to their neighbors, Smith Westerns, who themselves have been a fixture on the larger national indie scene for the past few years. If this is your kind of jam, and more and more people listen to and buy their music, go to their shows and urge their friends hooked if it’s your kind jam , which of course is nothing like the emotive capabilities of garage rock or punk when it comes to just out of high school guys adult men, that fits nicely with a celebrate summer playlist, you’re

As is the case with many bands that take a common name, there are also other bands with the same name, which, for a number of reasons, bands are discouraged to do, especially in the age of Google. Based on this page from Lastfm, there are at least four other “known” bands that go by the name Twin Peaks. The band performed at the Outside Lands Festival after show in San Francisco on August 10th at Brick & Mortar with The Men and King Tuff.

“Stand in the Sand”Twin Peaks from Sunken on Autumn Tone Records

Listen to Sunken in your Spotify player


Royal Forest – Austin, Texas

Austin experimental DIY band Royal Forest have gained some notoriety in the city’s highly competitive music scene for their unusual experimentation that “manifests itself in field recordings.” Examples include, according to their Soundcloud page, recording “in a single-prop airplane above the Texas hill country, inside a WWII submarine in Galveston, and in a lightning storm among the Monahans’ sand dunes.” The band members of Royal Forest do not wish to be categorized as either a “studio band or live act,” but rather as a band that “pushes the limits of composition, using whim and on-the-fly audio manipulation as songwriting tools. Experimentation is their evolutionary engine,” which is clearly evident on their exciting album, Spillway, released by their own DIY label, King Electric Record Company.

“Everyone Who Knows You”Royal Forest from Spillway on King Electric Record Company


Thundercat – Los Angeles, California

If you haven’t heard of the rising Los Angeles artist Thundercat yet, now is not a bad time to check him out. Last summer, Thundercat released the CD and LP versions of his sophomore album, Apocalypse. Thundercat’s label mate on Brain Feeder Records, the often praised artist Flying Lotus, wore the producer’s hat for the making of the album, and the results speak for themselves in the music. But if they actually did speak, they’d say: “This is awesome.”

It’s no wonder that Thundercat gained so much traction and captivated indie music fans with Apocalypse. “Oh Shiet It’s X” is the standout single from the album where Thundercat and Flying Lotus really shine and demonstrate with crystal clarity in sound just why they continue to work and perform live together. Not long ago they put out the solid R&B jam “Heartbreaks + Setbacks,” which was also a crowd-pleaser during their 11-city North American engagement last May, drawing audiences from Montreal to Minneapolis, Boston to Oakland.

“Oh Shiet It’s X”Thundercat from Apocalypse

“Heartbreaks + Setbacks”Thundercat from Apocalypse


Drift Wood Miracle – Durham, North Carolina

If you dig the late 60’s classic guitar rock with its blues and psychedelic energy, then the band Drift Wood Miracle from Durham, North Carolina should be on your radar. We first learned of the band – as we do so many that are featured on IRC – after they submitted some songs for review. Right away we were dazzled by their excellent craftmanship and thrilling classic rock interpretations molded to the modern era, and because they’re DIY, without any pressure from anyone else. Drift Wood is brand new band, only formed in mid-2013 by Bryan Diver, the band’s songwriter, singer and pianist.

Drift Wood Miracle started when four highschool friends, two of which wrote songs, realized each others musical interests, humor, and over all love of life were in common. So, they got together one weekend in December with a producer and recorded thier first LP, The 21st, as they were working out the final kinks in the songs. Upon reflection of the album, they were able to look forward with anticipation for their high energy live shows. Now incorperating the grooves of funk, the heavy riffs of grunge, and the sponaneous music turns associated with only jazz musicians, Drift Wood Miracle is playing show after show with none alike. DWM is now in the studio working on their sophomoric LP with as many as 24 much loved songs to chose from.

“Juggernaught”Drift Wood Miracle from The 21st

“Solum”Drift Wood Miracle from The 21st


Sensual Harassment – Brooklyn, New York

Sensual Harassment is a two-piece, new wave/psych-pop/disco band from Williamsburg in the New York borough of Brooklyn, that formed in 2009. They started making waves back in 2011, but didn’t really break out until the past year, and especially with recent singles, and their new album, Escape From Alpha Draconis . They have been influenced by groups like New Order, The Cars, The Clash, Beach Boys, Steely Dan and Daft Punk and have opened for bands like Future Islands and Das Racist.

“Capri Suntan”Sensual Harassment from Escape From Alpha Draconis

“Make Me Human Again”Sensual Harassment from Escape From Alpha Draconis

“NYC Beast”Sensual Harassment from Escape From Alpha Draconis

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