If you love rock and roll, don’t worry: it’s not dead despite what the cynics may say. For those of you who have followed IRC for all these years, you know we love hard-hitting, riff-heavy, and head-banging rock. It’s amazing how many DIY and under-the-radar bad ass rock bands there are that don’t get the coverage they deserve.
We’re not talking about The Black Keys or Cage The Elephant – they get the love they deserve. We’re talking about seriously talented bands that are better than average and committed to keeping rock and roll alive and well. When you give these talented and serious rockers a shot, they will amp up your appreciation for all the great rock that is out there for the listening.
IRC is one of the few music blogs that doesn’t follow the latest buzz bands, but instead focuses on many of the incredibly talented DIY and under-the-radar rock bands that don’t get the love they deserve. It has been a while since we’ve done a 5 Bands That Rock installment, and we plan to do more in the ensuing months. This installment is specifically geared towards highlighting amazing overseas bands that rock, including Birth of Joy (Amsterdam, Netherlands); Transvaal Diamond Syndicate (Brisbane, Australia); A Victim Of Society (Athens, Greece); Mary Goes Wild (Munich, Germany).
Play This Loud!
Birth of Joy – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Founded back in 2005, the Amsterdam rock band, Birth of Joy, have been one of the most popular rock bands in Europe over the past decade, getting huge radio play and selling out shows from Poland to France, Germany to Italy. While they’ve toured in the U.S., the band still has yet to grow a large U.S. following to rival that in Europe. Now it’s time for more U.S. rock fans to hear Birth of Joy’s raunchy, electric force blasting through their speakers.
The band released its fourth album, Prisoner, via Surburban Records last March, and are recording their latest album now as well as continuing to tour. Prisoner features a sleuth of great rock songs, including the haunting “Three Day Road,” , “Keep Your Eyes Shut” and “The Sound,” followed by a popular music video for the killer song, “Rock and Roll Show.”
Prisoner was produced by Joris Wolff (e.g. De Staat, Within Temptation and Mister and Mississippi) and mastered by Brian Lucey (e.g. The Black Keys, Artic Monkeys, David Lynch and Dr. John).
Birth of Joy band members – Kevin Stunnenberg, Bob Hogenelst and Gertjan Gutmanare – are fans of, and emulate, classic rock bands like MC5, The Doors and Pink Floyd. At the same time they introduce a modern twist influenced by stoner, grunge and punk and hence create their own.
With a drummer that could be Keith Moon’s son, a keyboard player that pushes his instrument to the limit and a singer/guitarist that seems to be an amped up descendant of Jim Morrison, Birth of Joy is one of the best still relatively unknown (at least in the States) rock bands today. Check out this “Make Things Happen” music video from the band. Do you hear those Jim Morrison moments? The video achieved over 150,000 views; no small feat.
“Keep Your Eyes Shut“ – Birth of Joy from Prisoner
“Three Day Road“ – Birth of Joy from Prisoner
Listen to all tracks by the band and follow Birth of Joy on Spotify. Previous to the release of Prisoner, Birth of Joy released Make Things Happen. The album’s title track has received over 350,000 streams on Spotify, YouTube and other sources. See the “Make Things Happen” official video or watch the band play it live. These guys rock!
“Make Things Happen“ – Birth of Joy from Make Things Happen
Transvaal Diamond Syndicate – Brisbane, Australia
Since 2009, Australia’s Brisbane-based blues rock band, Transvaal Diamond Syndicate, have been touring the country and building a huge fan base. The ‘Sunshine Coast’ band members – Christian Tryhorn on guitar and vocals, Jus Alfrey on bass, and Chris Nunn on drums – are today renowned Down Under for their raw, lively and electric stage performances, and have played most of Australia’s blues and rock festivals, as well as picked up a number of acclaimed awards for their contributions to Australian blues rock history.
Over the past five years, TDS has been one of the biggest touring bands in the country, racking up over 200,000 kilometers across the continent. They’ve dropped four releases, had four songs on Triple J Radio and have been among the most requested bands on Australian Community Radio. TDS’s most recent album is Estranged Blues, released via Beats Cartel. A new EP is currently in the works for release later this year.
TDS has opened for bands like The Beards, The Fumes, Dallas Frasca, and count among their biggest influences The Fumes, The Royal Artillery, Queens of The Stone Age, Rage Against The Machine, and Howlin’ Wolf.
“Long Lines“ – Transvaal Diamond Syndicate from Estranged Blues
A Victim Of Society – Athens, Greece
From the same increasingly fertile DIY scene of Athens, Greece that spawned rock bands like Acid Baby Jesus, Baby Guru, and The Callas, A Victim of Society create a soundtrack for a nightmarish post-urban landscape. Formed by Vagelis Makris (vocals, guitars) and Fotis Ntouskas (bass, guitar) – AVOS combines uncanny and dark melodies cut with menacing guitar notes, raspy vocalizations and sardonic sneers surrounded by blistering noise and distortion. The band’s music is a plaintive, lo-fi mixture of hard rock nostalgia wrapped in deeply ingrained noir undertones.
AVOS’s first demo track, “You’re Gonna Hate Me“ was included in the compilation Reverb Conspiracy, Vol. 1, released from Fuzz Club Records in collaboration with the Austin Psych Festival.
AVOS has opened for bands like The Black Angels, Moon Duo, Dirty Beaches and Disappears. Their debut album, Distractions, was recorded at Sonic Playground Studios by Nikos Triantafyllou and mastered by Jamal Ruhe at West West Side Music Studio in New York. The band name was inspired by the painting, A Victim of Society, by George Grosz.
“Enough Said“ – A Victim of Society from Distractions
“Sweet Girl“ – A Victim of Society from Distractions
Mary Goes Wild – Munich, Germany
Mary Goes Wild is a Munich based DIY garage rock, surf and blues duo formed in 2013 by Danny Wild (guitar, vocals) and Freddy Jones (drums). MGW is one of the more promising overseas DIY rock bands we’ve heard recently. The duo’s meticulous performance and edgy swagger in the delivery of their predominantly blues roots rock signature style and sound of riffs and beats squarely places them in the Bands That Rock series.
For die-hard fans of rock, Mary Goes Wild is a roots rock band that draws from garage rock, surf and definitely blues elements. Their sound consists of back-to-the-roots blues with garage rock and surf elements. Mary Goes Wild’s live performances are known to be excessive and extremely noisy, an effect the band strives to achieve with each show by stacking multiple amplifiers to create a modern “wall-of-sound” effect. For a band of only two members, these guys sound amazingly loud.
From the first couple of notes on the track, “Redheaded Chain,” Mary Goes Wild belts out a wicked rock sound that communicates to the listener right away that they’re not messing around with any synths, drum machines or cookie cutter riffs; their music is organic, raw and untamed. On the track, “Do Anything,” the duo kick out blistering guitar riffs and pounding drums. The band’s top musical influences include The White Stripes, Ty Segall, The Blackbox Revelation, Bass Drum Of Death, Wavves, and The Black Keys.
– Mary Goes Wild from Next Time, Analog
– Mary Goes Wild from Next Time, Analog