In Dee Mail, Vol. XXIV – Scarlet Youth, Brokeback, Santah, Widowspeak, Stellar Young, Gibson, Recorder, Javier Dunn

For those who have followed IRC for years (and thank you for that), you may be familiar with a profile and playlist series called In Dee Mail, which is a play on words to symbolize music that we receive by email. The In Dee Mail series, first published in 2008, is one of the longest running music series on IRC that introduces a diversity of talented indie artists and bands from around the country, and around the world. Because the sheer volume of music we received, terrific songs sometimes get filed away and are not rediscovered for many months later.

This edition of the In Dee Mail, the 24th, or XXIV, volume of the series, features bands like Scarlet Youth, Brokeback, Santah, Widowspeak, Stellar Young, Javier Dunn, Nick Smith (aka, Gibson), Recorder, and Karma.

scarlet youth - the everchanging view

Great Tracks From Scarlet Youth, Brokeback, Santah and Widowspeak

The first track is a follow-up single from the DIY band, Scarlet Youth, that were originally featured back in January. The band’s latest track that we’re digging, “Cool Kids,” is a mellow, emotive song that would be fitting on the soundtrack of a ‘coming of age’ indie film. Brokeback is the long-time musical side project of musician and songwriter Douglas McCombs, who is a member of bands such as Tortoise, Eleventh Dream Day, and Pullman, and has also collaborated with Calexico, Yo La Tengo, Tom Ze, and Azita Youseffi.

Next, the band Santah released a new track from their much lauded EP, You’re Still A Lover. Inspired by the disorientation in his own love life, Stan McConnell penned the Chicago‘s quintet’s newest single, “I Love the Way You Seal A Deal,” a tune full of soaring choruses, lush arrangements and their patented sincere lyricism. McConnell told Rolling Stone: “I was pretty disoriented with my own love life, so I wrote this song to play out a fantasy and to fiercely commit to whatever that was and whatever that entailed.”

“Cool Kids”Scarlet Youth from The Everchanging View

“The Wire, the Rag and the Payoff” –  Brokeback from Brokeback and the Black Rock on Thrill Jockey Records

“I Love The Way You Seal A Deal (Show Me Shows)”Santah from You’re Still A Lover EP


After spending days in a hundred-year-old barn in upstate New York, the band Widowspeak have returned with a new album, Almanac, featuring the single, “The Golden Hour” from said album. Helped by Kevin McMahon – who has worked with Real Estate and Swans – the new songs from the album feature stronger guitar riffs while never losing the layered lilting of Molly’s voice.

“Ballad of the Golden Hour”Widowspeak from Almanac on Captured Tracks


Stellar Young’s Debut, Everything at Once

In 2010, New York musicians Erik Flora (guitar), John Glenn (vocals/keys), Kyle Hatch (guitar), Curt Mulick (drums), and Dave Parker (bass), formed the DIY indie rock band, Stellar Young, and last December dropped their new LP, Everything at Once, featuring the singles, “Speak Now (Good Man)” and “Playing With Guns.”

Stellar Young has previously opened for bands like Badfish and The Dangerous Summer, and consider among their top influences Taking Back Sunday, The Wombats, Kid Cudi, Brand New, and The Early November.

“Speak Now (Good Man)”Stellar Young from Everything at Once

“Playing With Guns”Stellar Young from Everything at Once


Singer/Songwriter and Musician Javier Dunn – Los Angeles

Javier Dunn began his music career playing open mics and small clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Los Angeles at the age of 17 to attend UCLA. In addition to his studies, Dunn gigged as a solo artist, and also played bass and guitar in a number of jazz, funk, rap and rock bands over the years. During this time, Dunn also began experimenting with recording, programming and producing. In 2012, Dunn signed with Red Parade Music, the music collective helmed by producer Jim Roach. Dunn began working on his label debut, Trails, a beat-driven and cosmopolitan work converging a number of elements like hip hop, electronic and eclectic elements converge. With its release in June, Javier hopes to have a song or songs that connect with people. Look for it to resonate with a vast audience this summer. ” Dunn top musical influences include Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Prince, and Coldplay. Dunn’s voice reminds many people of Dave Matthews, but in a very subtle way, as evident on the song “If You Go.”

“If You Go”Javier Dunn with Sarah Bareilles from Trails via Red Parade Music

“Couple of Drinks”Javier Dunn from Trails via Red Parade Music

Javier Dunn Official Website


Nick Smith, aka, Gibson

Nick Smith, aka Gibson, is a singer/songwriter from Sheffield, UK. Smith’s ‘Gibson’ moniker was also his nickname in college because he owned three Gibson guitars. Since then, the name stuck, even though one downside is that it’s harder to find information and music from Gibson in a Google search, even when adding “band” or “music,” which are the two most common keywords used in addition to a band name when people are trying to refine a search of a common name or word, or even a saying. For a few years, Smith said, he dabbled with recording the songs that he wrote, but it wasn’t until he met Sheffield drummer, Steve O’Brien in 2011, that he was able to record his songs and send them around to any one who would listen. We listened, and have enjoyed what we’ve heard; hopefully many of you will agree.

Gibson has performed live throughout Yorkshire in support of a cover band. Although, Gibson has had lots of experience performing at venues such as West Street Live (Sheffield City Centre), he does admit it is hard to go in front of a crowd with just a guitar and play songs they have never heard before. The bit he hates the most is that walk out to the stage. There is however, no better buzz when the performance works! The re-release of the Tell Me EP in last year was to support a number of local gigs along with the digital release of the radio edit version of “Losing You,” that has already gained some US college radio airplay. Just recently, Gibson has released a new EP, Hope. Nick Smith’s major music influences includes U2, Coldplay, ACDC, Noel Gallagher, and REM.

“Summer Song”Gibson from Hope EP

“Hope”Gibson from Hope EP

“Losing You”Gibson from Tell Me EP

Gibson’s Music Website


Recorder – New York, New York

Recorder is the experiment of a group of established musicians that came together and made an album from scratch over a period of three weeks in France and New York. The album, Mountain, is the result of work from musicians Alexandre Millet (Mangrove), Aakaash Israni (Dawn of Midi), Qasim Naqvi (Dawn of Midi), Shahzad Ismaily (Tom Waits, Cat Power, Bonnie Prince Billy), Indigo Street (Shy Hunters), Willow Gibbons (Bow Ribbons). Mountain was mixed and co-produced by Rusty Santos (Animal Collective, Panda Bear, Born Ruffians). The band’s top musical influences include Sleeping States, Animal Collective, Little Dragon, Joy Division, Radiohead, and Nick Drake.

“Once it (the musical friends recording an album together) was decided, some of us went to Paris for a month. We then sat in a dark and small apartment for about three weeks, where we helped write and arrange the material. Then we went and recorded everything over the course of four days in the French countryside…and in New York, we recorded the vocals, added a few weird psychedelic synth touches and then mixed everything down,” according to Millet.

The problem with bands named after a very common word or phrase is that it makes it hard to find out more about them in a search. Our first attempts at “Recorder” + “Mountain” (album title) along with ‘album’ and another search using ‘band’ found no results about the band. It was only when we plugged in one of the band member names did we find anything about the band, and even then it was very thin and mostly self-promotional.

One of the best pieces of advice we can give a band that wants to be found online is to pick a unique name, and also search for that name to see IF anything else – like another band or a product or whatever – comes up. The more unique the band name, the better they’ll do in as far as making it easy – which is how it should be – for people interested in learning more about the band to find information, more songs, videos, social (Twitter and Facebook in particular) accounts and so on related to the band. Plus, it doesn’t help when there are a few other bands with the same name.

Choosing a common word as a band name will frustrate fans looking for more information, often times most will simply give up. We will often mention in a write-up about a band with such a common name, and how it was impossible, or nearly impossible, to find information about the band, including something as expected as an official website.

A well-done website is a major component of a band’s PR efforts that is especially important to building and maintaining a fan base. The more “wow” factor is involved on every aspect of the site, the bigger a band’s fan base will grow. The opposite often has the opposite affect because people have expectations for the official website from a band. When those expectations are not satisfied, it has a negative affect on the band’s popularity – no question about it.

Need A Band Website? . We can create a professional, fully implemented website for any artist or band. From the design to the content, the SEO and the usability, we’ll discuss with you – whether it’s a new site or an existing site that needs work – the plan, with your input, and then go to work on it. We also have plenty of technical experience, so if you know little about how to create (or improve) a website and get it working right on the web, no worries, we have all the angles covered, and have worked in the web industry for the past 15 years. Talk to us about creating, or improving, your band website, and we’ll put together a plan. Simply fill out the Official Band Website form and we’ll get right back to you.

“Lights”Recorder from Mountain

“Four Walls”Recorder from Mountain Mountain

Recorder on Facebook and Bandcamp

Karma – Pleasant Hill, Ohio

The formation of the now defunct Ohio DIY band, Karma, came about, ironically, when members from two defunct bands – The Records and Forge – got together to form a band. Their first name was Lithium, but they were threatened with legal action from the existing band, Lithium. So, they choose instead Karma. But they only got to record one album, Rock is Dead and So is Karma. After the release, band member and co-founder, Nicholas Olaya, wrote: “After playing many great shows in Columbus, Dayton, Troy, and even Cincinnati, the band split and went their separate ways, with their recordings the only proof they ever existed.” During their time together, Karma opened for Chemists vs the Computer, Miss May I, Skashank Redemption, and count as their top influences Nirvana, Weezer, Foo Fighters, Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam.

“Kaylyn”Karma from Rock is Dead and So is Karma

“My Next Ex-Girlfriend”Karma from Rock is Dead and So is Karma

by Philip E. Daoust

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