Fire to the Stars – Melbourne, Australia
CrashDive – Chicago, Illinois
Paper Monsters – Manchester, England
The Falling Birds – New York, New York
Cave Wars – Burntwood, England
Fire to the Stars – Keep You Safe
The gloomy melancholy sounds and moods on Fire to the Stars‘ single, “Rote Learning,” are convincing as ambient textures, and the sad and beautiful vocals draw you in, highlighting the orchestral instrumentation and flowing melodies against the darker undertones. The song has a soothing spirit that’s also haunting at the same time while it’s slow burn pace generates anxieties filled with mystery and intrigue.
MP3: “Rote Learning“ – Fire to the Stars from Keep You Safe
The rising Melbourne band’s 2016 debut EP, Keep You Safe, sets a somber mood, as exemplified on melodic, emotive, piano-heavy tracks like “Wholesale Slaughter.” The guitar, keys, bass and drum jams at the closing of the track are all in unison and bleak. If you’re depressed, you’ll probably find some comfort in these songs.
The band’s EP has received many honors as one of the top albums of the year via many underground blogs, zines and playlists. The EP was recorded with U.S. producer Casey Rice (Liz Phair, Tortoise, the Dirty Three). Last fall, the band’s track, “Stay Down,” (and follow-up video) was featured in the award-winning film, Driven To Death.
CrashDive – Rock21
Chicago has a long tradition of rock and roll and one of the Windy City’s newest rock bands rattling the cages is the hard rock outfit CrashDive.
The band is inspired by rock music from the 1960s through the 1980s, which is delightfully evident on the debut EP, Rock21, featuring the lead single, the hot, smoking rocker, “Me Gusta.” Another track from the EP, the mellow pop ballad, “Look Around,” might make you wonder if it’s the same band that recorded both songs.
According to the band, “Instead of being another ‘throwback’ band trying to relive a past time that has come and gone, CrashDive strives to create a new sound” that the band likes to call “21st century rock.” CrashDive took its name from an emergency dive maneuver that submarines make to avoid attack.
MP3: “Me Gusta“ – CrashDive from Rock21
Paper Monsters – With Riddles
The young lads of the Manchester UK indie rock/Americana band Paper Monsters dropped their debut album, With Riddles, last May, featuring tracks like “Riddles,” with its light and airy guitar rock jam, uptempo rhythms and beats, and splashy lead guitar licks that fall somewhere between alt. rock and modern pop rock.
According to band founder, songwriter and guitarist Matt Blanchette, Paper Monsters was created to make songs that take “modern sounds like large drums and crushing guitars and blend them with rhythmic acoustics and catchy vocal melodies.” Mission accomplished. The band’s musical influences include PVRIS, Kings of Leon, Fall Out Boy, and Lydia.
MP3: “Riddles“ – Paper Monsters from With Riddles
The Falling Birds – Til We All Fall Down
Brooklyn genre-bending duo The Falling Birds comprises musicians Stephen Artemis (guitar, vocals, harp) and Dave Alan (drums, keys) who follow a simple concept: write songs with foundations in blues and folk, then throttle them with punk rock snarl and grit.
The result is a gritty bluesy rock sound on the band’s 2016 debut EP, Til We All Fall Down, featuring tracks like the hard-hitting single, “Sweet Things That Kill.” The band describes their sound and style as “one half careful musicianship and the other wild indifference.”
The video and track for “My Girl” are definitely worth checking out.
MP3: “Sweet Things That Kill“ – The Falling Birds from Til We All Fall Down EP
Listen to the full Til We All Fall Down EP on Bandcamp
Cave Wars – Cave Wars
Cave Wars are a indie rock duo formed in Burntwood, England in 2015 out of the ashes of two bands that called it quits. Musicians Rich Giblin (guitar, bass, keys) and Matt Toothill (vocals, guitar) met and began crafting remarkably intricate compositions on songs like the lazy, dreamy, minimalistic and experimental psych track, “Origami,” and the more upbeat track, “Skymen,” by weaving together elements of post punk, rock, new wave, electro-pop, dream pop and psych rock.
The duo recorded its self-titled debut album entirely on an 8-tape recorder – a rare type of recording in this new century, and which many contend produces a more dynamic sound. It’s no surprise that Giblin’s and Toothill’s major influences include David Bowie, Roxy Music, Devo, Scott Walker, Moon Duo, and Beach House.
MP3: “Skymen“ – Cave Wars from Cave Wars