HYMNS – London, England
Cesar Maria – New York via San Francisco
shy kids – Toronto, Ontario
Huckleberry – Phoenix, Arizona
March On, Comrade – Fort Wayne, Indiana
A-Mac DZ – Denver, Colorado
Rikashay – Markham, Ontario
HYMNS – The London EP
HYMNS is a London alternative rock band formed by guitarist and vocalist Oliver Hooper, Giorgio Compagnone on bass guitar and backing vocals, Matthew Ash on guitar and Ben Edwards on drums. The band’s driving dark rock sound on tracks like “London” and “Masquerade” draw influences from bands such as Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Interpol and Queens of the Stone Age, and genres such as alternative, indie rock and hints of post rock. They remind us a little of Editors. The band’s new release, out now, is titled The London EP.
“The new EP explores themes of isolation, desperation and hope in modern day city living,” Hooper says. “It is a collection of songs that offer an honest commentary on the way we live and attempts to offer a pragmatic way forward.”
The band recorded their just released EP at Smokehouse Studios at the Tobacco Docks in London. Most of the songs were recorded live with additional vocal, guitar and synth overdubs added during mixing. The songs were tracked through a Classic 66 channel Cadac E type console, produced by Rohan Budd, and mixed in ProTools.
MP3: “London“ – HYMNS from The London EP
Via Soundcloud: “Masquerade“ – HYMNS from The London EP
Cesar Maria – Cesar Maria
Cesar Maria (aka Sayzar Mareuh) is a New York City indie rock artist who is heavily influenced by a variety of genres including classic rock and post punk. A multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, and producer, Maria has narrowed his sound into a splashy psychedelic blend of folk, glam rock and garage rock.
His talents as an artist set him apart from many of his DIY contemporaries. Take the lead single from his new release. The rebel-rousing, addictive, “Let It On,” from his new self-titled EP, reminds us of something like Bowie, T. Rex and Violent Femmes all together for one nerdy, rocking glam jam. Maria’s biggest musical influences also include Neil Young and Gram Parsons, also which are evident in his not-always-easy-to-pin-down sound.
MP3: “Let It On“ – Cesar Maria from Cesar Maria
Via Soundcloud: “The Answer“ – Cesar Maria from Cesar Maria
shy kids – Lofty
Quirky indie chamber pop with sweeping and triumphant swells of ringing guitars, crunchy synths, booming percussions, joyous choruses dripping with melodic hooks are the hallmarks of Toronto indie band shy kids‘ indelibly catchy single, “Rockets.”
There is a twist though; towards the end of the track, things get a bit chaotic and psychedelic – like in The Beatles’ “No.9” kind of way – with backwards tape winding, sound effects, random voice clips and more before suddenly it stops without warning. The video for “Rockets“ is also a trip.
Another track, “Terminally In Love With You,” also from the album, Lofty, is beautifully melancholic, a total juxtaposition to “Rockets,” yet more evidence of the band’s collective talents. The members are Walter Woodman (singer/bass); Patrick Cederberg (guitar, piano), and Matthew Hornick (guitar, piano).
MP3: “Rockets“ – shy kids from Lofty
MP3: “Terminally In Love With You“ – shy kids from Lofty
The band members are influenced by the following bands and artists: Broken Social Scene, Animal Collective, Queen, Pink Floyd, Paul Simon, Fiona Apple, and The Beatles.
Huckleberry – Shasta City, Bad News Ricky
Phoenix indie rockers Huckleberry have managed to drop one of the best DIY singles we’ve heard so far this year – the inspiring and infectious, “Wild Ricky,” off of the band’s new EP, Shasta City, Bad News Ricky. It’s just got that certain spunk and energy to it.
Another track, “Shasta,” an ode to the beautiful majesty of Mt. Shasta in California, is a much different track, a folkish alt. country song that highlights the band’s diverse influences including The Avett Brothers, The Oh Hellos, Bird Dog, Grateful Dead, and Wilco.
MP3: “Wild Ricky“ – Huckleberry from Shasta City, Bad News Ricky
Via Bandcamp: “Shasta“ – Huckleberry from Shasta City, Bad News Ricky
March On, Comrade – March On, Comrade
In 2015, Fort Wayne DIY band March On, Comrade formed “out of the smoldering ashes” of the talented, disbanded Ordinary Van, and have been playing to sold out audiences ever since.
“Our live show contains programmed industrial lighting, extensive guitar effects, percussion, and layered reverbs,” says guitarist Ryan Holquist.
The band’s new self-titled debut EP features the band’s piano-driven, epic, and sprawling sounds, oozing with melodies and harmonies of indie rock with post rock influences on songs like “Shade,” and the awesome vocal work of bassist John Ptak, who has a mighty vocal range that enhances, not dilutes, the song itself.
The other accomplished band members of March On, Comrade include guitarist Charlie Davis, drummer Chris Leonard, and Ben Robinson on keys and. percussion. The band has opened for bands like Metavari and Heaven’s Gateway Drugs, and are majorly influenced by Sigur Rós and Radiohead.
MP3: “Shade“ – March On, Comrade from March On, Comrade
Bonus Track via Bandcamp: “Prism“ – March On, Comrade from March On, Comrade
A-Mac DZ – The Gift of Music
From Denver comes the DIY band A-Mac DZ, fusing upbeat folk rock with reggae grooves, hip-hop flavor and jam band influences. The band just dropped their new album, The Gift of Music, comprising memorable tracks like the title track and the captivating, “Balance and Purpose.”
The band includes vocalist and guitarist Alex Mackenzie-Low; drummer Matt McElwain; keyboardist Karl Rivers; guitarist Billy Farmer; percussionist Jake Heym, and bassist Robby Sands. A-Mac DZ have opened for bands like Rusted Root, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and MarchFourth!, and count among their biggest influences Nahko & Medicine For The People, Dispatch, and Citizen Cope.
MP3: “Balance & Purpose“ – A-Mac DZ from The Gift of Music
Rikashay – All Alright
The Markham, Ontario indie pop band Rikashay dropped their debut EP, All Alright, last month, featuring the single, “Please!,” an indie lo-fi pop rock track that has an awesome hook that save the song from indie pop mediocrity.
The second track, the ska-inspired, “Carefree,” is a stronger song overall, and actually a lot of fun at an outdoor barbeque, partly thanks to it’s unmistakable Weezer influence. The duo is vocalist and guitarist Isaac Papineau and drummer Jaiden Crawford. And it’s no surprise the band are big fans of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Billy Talent, Weezer, Mac DeMarco, and Less Than Jake.
MP3: “Please!“ – Rikashay from All Alright
Via Soundcloud: “Carefree“ – Rikashay from All Alright