Best New DIY & Indie Rock Music of 2016, Vol. I – Deer Park, Starfinder, Vicious Kicks, Susan Hyatt

The first volume of the Best New DIY Music of 2016 – of the hundreds and hundreds of songs we’ve listened to so far this year – features artists and bands from all across the U.S., including cities like Seattle and Phoenix to San Francisco and Nashville, and in farer away locales such as Canada, England and Australia. And there is so much more coming so make sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

If you have been following IRC for a while, you may remember how crazy popular the 2015 Best New DIY Music series was – garnering, altogether, over 2,500 shares on social media; more than 87,000 views and hundreds and hundreds of MP3 downloads and streams.

There is some really amazing music and artists and bands to discover below – for most of you, the first time you’re encountering the musicians and bands listed below, including cousins of The Black Keys, friends of Tame Impala and guest appearances from indie rock icons like Ariel Pink, from professional musicians with amazing cover songs to bands reflecting the grit and abandonment of a post industrial society.

In This Installment:

Deer Park – Seattle, Washington
Starfinder – Chicago, Illinois
Vicious Kicks – Los Angeles, California
Susan Hyatt – Nashville, Tennessee
Human Buoy – Perth, Australia
MOSAICS – San Francisco, California
Joel Strauss – Kelowna, British Columbia
Gibberish – Los Angeles, California
Windmills – San Francisco, California

Note: Hypem has certain restrictions that totally eliminates posts from Hypem that contain over 10 mp3 links. OK, we get it may be too much of a load on Hypem, but why not display the first 10 instead of eliminating ALL of the songs from appearing at all for our followers? Hype Machine folks?


Deer Park – Quentin In My Vitamins

Based out of Seattle, the relatively new indie rock project Deer Park kicks out a Built To Spill-like alt. rock grit with mini theatrics on “Me Against The World,” just one of the riveting songs on Deer Park’s debut album, Quentin In My Vitamins.

Rob Auerbach, a cousin of Dan Auerbach (Black Keys), is the founder and main force behind Deer Park. In addition to writing and singing all of the songs, Auerbach played all of instruments – including guitar, bass and drums – and programmed, recorded, mixed and produced every song, including the cool-ass follow-up track, “Coffee.”

Auerbach’s favorite bands include Tera Melos, Modest Mouse, Built to Spill and Cage The Elephant – not surprising at all when you listen to his songs. Deer Park has now expanded into a full band, with the addition of members Ben Jelinek, Brian DePartee and Jack David.

MP3: “Me Against The World”Deer Park from Quentin In My Vitamins

Bonus MP3: “Coffee”Deer Park from Quentin In My Vitamins

Deer Park on Facebook


Starfinder – “If I Were You”

With a blockbuster of 80’s and 90’s underground influences like New Order, The Cure, Joy Division and Depeche Mode, among others, Chicago musician Ian G (Ian Galloway) has just launched a brand new electronic music project, Starfinder.

As Starfinder, Galloway celebrates his love of new wave, synth pop and goth, and also draws from years of experience as a band member of several past and present punk, garage, and indie rock bands, including Porno Mags, whose self-released debut album peaked at #47 on CMJ in 2014. He is also a member of Chicago bands Witchfeet and Joy Shooters. Woah, dude, slow down.

Music was something that was central to his life from early teens.

“I got into skateboarding and in turn started hearing punk rock and early indie rock in skate videos,” he says. “I was immediately drawn to stuff like Dinosaur Jr, Fugazi, and Bad Religion.” In his later teen years, Galloway studied, wrote and produced electronic music in his spare time.


The tantalizing, New Order-influenced track, “If I Were You,” is the first single released by Starfinder, and his first venture into electronic based music, with, he promises, many more productions in the works. We’ve watched the song track on Soundcloud over the past couple of months, and it has picked up enthusiastic feedback from music lovers – always a good sign when the audience is engaging.

We know a lot about how to measure how an artist is received by fans, and one way is to look at their Soundcloud. For Starfinder to receive 50 positive comments on a track with approximately 1,200 plays says something profound about the excitement his music has sparked with a whole lot of music lovers in a very short time. That is rare.

Another track, “In The Dark,” sounds like another jem already with a cool vibe, prominent drum beat, catchy rhythm, echoey vocals and synth and guitar melodies and hooks throughout. We’d like to hear, however, a higher production value because the instrumentation, via production, is a bit muted; it should be bigger-sounding, in our opinion. And that’s why we say – promising artist.

MP3: “If I Were You”Starfinder

Soundcloud: “In The Dark”Starfinder

Starfinder on Facebook


Vicious Kicks – Los Angeles, California

Vicious Kicks is the Los Angeles songwriting duo of DIY songwriters and musicians Nzo Tiano and Ray Giron. The two friends, now in their early 20s, have been writing songs together since they were in high school, where they met and realized they had similar music interests.

Last week, VK dropped their new track, “Weekend,” which we think is one of the best DIY singles so far this year. Check it out for yerself and give love if you’re feeling it. Their top musical influences – hints of which you can hear in their songs – include Black Keys, Tame Impala, Cream, Foo Fighters, and Wolf Mother.

“It was an exciting track to work with,” Tiano says, “especially coming from our talented friend, Eric (a.k.a Yungwar1ock). He presented the song to us, and we immediately gravitated to the feel-good vibe by adding our own lyrical and creative embellishments.”

Vicious Kicks was officially formed last year, and soon after released their debut EP, Mayhem. The EP is full of hard-hitting, in-your-face pop rock on well produced songs like “Run” and the unforgettable, “Workaholic.” The guys also create their own artwork – and as you can see displayed above, is impressive, especially the new cover art for “Weekend.”

Another track, “Wicked Summer,” one of their first tracks, is a hard-driving, funky and celebratory track that is, as its title implies, perfect for the summertime.

MP3: “Weekend”Vicious Kicks

“Indie rock is rough on the edge, no holds barred state of mind that feeds on creating a sound that is not limited to mainstream expectations and limitations.” – Nzo Tiano

Vicious Kicks on Facebook


Susan Hyatt – Pin-Ups & Trumpets

Cover albums come out all of the time and the vast majority of them should have never been released. But in the case of professional musician Susan Hyatt, her new covers album, Pin-Ups & Trumpets, is simply exceptional. She worked on the album with famed Nashville producer Zack Leffew.

“I have always been a fan of David Bowie’s Pin Ups album,” Hyatt says. “This record is my Pin Ups, and includes some of my fave dark rock songs [when I was] growing up.”

Hyatt describes the album as ‘dark indie jazz’ where trumpets have replaced guitars. And somehow the duo pull it off, upping the ante for unconventional cover songs, or just cover songs in general, on covers from Motley Crue’s “Looks That Kill” to Marilyn Manson’s “The Dope Show,” and Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” to Judas Priests’ “Breaking The Law.”

“I chose the songs that I loved growing up, the ones I felt most connected to lyrically and melodically. The most challenging cover was Life in the Fast Lane. I am a huge fan of the original song and I knew in order to cover it I had to make it a total departure from the original. My ideas was to make it artsy and mellow like Nine Inch Nails meets Twin Peaks.”

Our favorite is her sensual and totally original cover of the late and great David Bowie‘s “Young Americans.” We are willing to take the chance to say that Ziggy Stardust would be proud.

Hyatt and Leffew have taken on a kick-ass collection of rock and roll favorites and given them a totally different spin that you’re not going to hear anywhere else. This is an album you want, because you’re likely to play it again and again. Hyatt is obviously a very accomplished, and cool ass, musician.

It’s so nice to have something so original – as original as one can be for cover songs. From soprano to sultry and seductive, Hyatt has a voice that allows her to explore almost any genre she wants and yet retain the brass roots of jazz and rock at the same time.

MP3: “Young Americans” (David Bowie) – Susan Hyatt from Pin-Ups & Trumpets

Bonus: “Looks That Kill” (Motley Crue) – Susan Hyatt from Pin-Ups & Trumpets

Susan Hyatt’s official website


MOSAICS – Year of Valor

The second single, “Freedom,” from San Francisco acoustic-electronic pop trio MOSAICS has an industrial electro edge with a wicked rhythm accompanied by sensual vocals.

The track is the follow-up to the success of the first single, “Year of Valor”, the title track from the band’s new EP set to drop on May 27th.

The album features a collection of carefully arranged and produced songs, and marks the debut of Bay Area vocalist Maryam Sadeghian, whose seductive vocals have added a layer of mystery and intrigue to the band’s music, which is decidedly more electro-acoustic than previous releases.

MP3: “Freedom”MOSAICS from Year of Valor

MOSAICS’ official website


Human Buoy – Animation Station

The spooky, funky “Period Of Maximum Excitability” is the new single from Perth, Australian indie psych band Human Buoy‘s debut album, Animation Station. The track is obviously meant to sound dark and ominous since the adopted subject matter is just that.

The song was written in Amsterdam after band founder and multi-instrumentalist Ben McDonald (who has worked with members of Tame Impala and POND), watched a documentary about the ‘collective consciousness’ of the world that suggests the sun’s activity “seems to freakishly mirror that of the population’s behaviour,” he said.

“It’s during the solar cycle known as the ‘period of maximum excitability’ when pivotal events such as world wars and revolutions most occur,” McDonald adds. And thus, the name and theme of Human Buoy’s debut.

One thing that would have made the song stronger, I think, is if that cool little guitar picking at the end of the track was woven in and out throughout the quieter realms of the song because it provides a little levity that is beckoning. But all around, it’s a solid track. While we dig this new single, we like the debut single, “Oxygen”, just a little more.

Animation Station features special guest appearances by Ariel Pink; Nick Allbrook (POND); Malcolm Clark; Ben Smith (Blud), and Shiny Joe Ryan. McDonald plays guitar, bass and synths, as well as produces and mixes. His biggest influences, he says, are David Bowie, Beck and MGMT.

MP3: “Period Of Maximum Excitability”Human Buoy from Animation Station

Human Buoy on Facebook


Joel Strauss – Songs For The Vaudeville Theatre

From the natural beauty of western British Columbia, the DIY Kelowna-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joel Strauss returns with a terrific new album, Songs For The Vaudeville Theatre, featuring the standout, heavily melodic and hook-filled “Vaudeville.”

The track, and the album, is meticulously arranged and produced, once again highlighting Strauss’ many talents as one man band, performing adeptly on guitar, bass and drums, among other instruments.

His wonderfully distinctive, high-pitched, somewhat nasally, vocal range is one of the best registers to come out the Great White North. Strauss’ influences include Bob Dylan, Smashing Pumpkins, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, and Leonard Cohen.

The idea for the concept album struck Strauss after he was reading about vaudeville. “That mix of creativity, expression and performance has me convinced that if I lived in the 1920s and 1930s, I would have been a vaudevillian myself,” he says. “There are sounds on this album that echo the sounds in music from the 20s and 30s – as if there is a piece of this history placed inside the songs.”

MP3: “Vaudeville”Joel Strauss from Songs For The Vaudeville Theatre

Joel Strauss Official Site


Gibberish – “Rudedue”

The track, “Rudedude,” is the newest experimental synth pop delight from Los Angeles duo Gibberish. At the helm, Derek Bromley uses his unique perspective on California pop together with Animal Collective-like sampling and effects and Panda Bear-style vocals and dubbing. Gibberish is currently working on a follow-up to their fine 2015 debut EP, Winter Coat.

MP3: “RudeDude”Gibberish

Gibberish official website


Windmills – “Go Without”

Windmills is the moniker of lo-fi DIY multi-instrumentalist Wayne Mills whose stimulating new track, “Go With,” from his new release The Black Rose, features more of the San Francisco musicians’ ‘classic Tascam Portastudio bedroom folk’ with influences as diverse as Elliott Smith, Circa Survive and Bright Eyes. The video for the track is also worth checking out.

MP3: “Go Without”Windmills from The Black Rose

Windmills on Facebook

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