Earth Spun Occupants – Kansas City, Kansas
OTTAWA – Cleveland, Ohio
déCollage – Denver, Colorado
The Secret Things – Los Angeles, California
Glen Spardello – West Warwick, Rhode Island
Scotch Hollow – Kansas City, Kansas
Lounge On Fire – Boise, Idaho
SHPR – Los Angeles, California
Earth Spun Occupants – “Freezing and Melting”
Another Kansas City outfit worthy of recognition is the multi-instrumentalist recording duo of Matt Wargin and Garrett Murdock, otherwise known as Earth Spun Occupants.
On April 20th, the duo will drop their sophomore album, Sober Thoughtfulness. Similar to bands like The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala, but then not quite, the swirling psychedelic keys and peddle-fed guitars, as well as layered dreamy vocals, on the new single, “Freezing and Melting,” metamorphosize together to create a semi-chaotic blend of space and psychedelic rock signals and sounds.
In fact, Wargin tells us that the duo experiment with sounds: “Our music is spun from the eclectic fibers of the music of Midwest to create new soundscapes using rock, folk, classical, hip-hop, and electronic.” The album was produced by Bret Liber of Red Roof Productions in Kansas City and the cover art was painted by a close friend who died a couple of years ago.
OTTAWA – “Fever”
Covering the space between garage rock and indie pop, the Cleveland band OTTAWA first formed in 2014 after some high school friends, and other musicians via CL, started jamming together, cycling through the traditional trial and error that bands inevitably go through.
Now, some three years later, and a growing following in the region, the band has released the new track, “Fever,” with its tepid intro that builds into a soaring rocker (think Spoon meets The Killers) with ringing guitars and pop-influenced melodic riffs, vigorous drumming, and summertime-like choruses.
The band members include Dale DeLong (vocals); Will Hooper (guitar); Tim Czajka (guitar); Jeremy Barnes (bass) and Ed Planisek (drums). They’ve opened for artists like The Wombats and the Young Rising Sons, among others, and are majorly influenced by bands like The Killers, Oasis, Fleetwood Mac, and Velvet Underground. OTTAWA’s new release, Small Talk, due out on May 5th.
MP3: “Fever“ – OTTAWA from Small Talk
déCollage – “Magnetize”
The electrifying new video, “Magnetize,” from the Denver psych art pop project, déCollage, was written and recorded by 15 musicians attending the city’s Underground Music Showcase, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘SXSW of Denver.’
By the next day, the track was mixed and finalized. Recorded and mixed by noon the next day, the track was well distributed, and well received, which spurred the making of the video.
With its funky mechanical beats and grooves; sexy, sultry vocals; sax interludes; wavy synths bubbling beneath the surface, and colorful psychedelic overtones, “Magnetize” retains an original and hypnotic verve.
The single was recorded at Moon Magnet Studios and co-written by musicians such as Man Mantis, Sean Culliton (Rose Quartz/The Other Black), Turner Jackson, Derrick Bozich (Sound of Ceres/Candy Claws), and members of Ancient Elk.
The collective’s third full length album was released on Misra Records/Sub Pop and charted for five weeks, peaking at #16, on the CMJ Electronic charts, partly led by the popularity of “Magnetize.” The video was directed with Visual Phenomena by Remi Velezand and Fractals by Damon DuPont.
The collective has shared the stage with indie artists like Of Montreal, Animal Collective, Deerhoof and Dan Deacon.
The Secret Things – “Down By The Water”
Landing spins on CBC Radio in Canada for its cover of P.J. Harvey’s, “Down By The Water,” the Los Angeles indie rock band The Secret Things are avid fans of the band. Since starting a year ago, the band has played a number of shows and released the debut EP, Shock Diary.
The trio – featuring of vocalist Cynthia Catania and guitarist Steve Giles (formerly members of Saucy Monky) and band founder drummer Dan Nelles – are all accomplished musicians, having played for huge audiences of tens of thousands, touring and recording hit singles.
In fact, all of the members have toured in the U.S., Canada, and overseas, including sharing the stage with bands like Metric, Wilco, The Bangles, Pink and even PJ Harvey herself.
Basic tracks for the band’s EP were recorded at New Monkey Studio in Van Nuys, California, originally . Elliott Smith’s studio, who is a big influence for the band. Giles also released a solo album recently that is a favorite with SoCal deejays.
The band’s first gig in Temecula, California, took place on a festival stage shared with Jimmy Eat World and Neon Trees, among others. The band had one the slot via an iHeart Radio contest. The Secret Things are currently working on a new video for “Down By The Water.”
Glen Spardello – “Beauty Loves”
Having recently self-released his debut album, 5IVE 29NE (Five Two Nine) West Warwick, Rhode Island singer and songwriter, Glen Spardello, melds haunting, smoky vocals and lo-fi acoustic folk guitar notes to craft a spooky atmosphere around the lead track, “Beauty Loves,” the sparse and soulful, “Evil Dangerous” and the Dave Matthews-like “I Ain’t No Rolling Stone.”
Spardello wrote and recorded most of the songs over the past couple of years drawing from musical influences lik Love Bone, Eric Clapton, Queensryche, Layne Staley, and Brian Wilson.
MP3: “Beauty Loves“ – Glen Spardello from 5IVE 29NE
Scotch Hollow – “Hocus Pocus”
In one of the historic bastions of intersecting musical styles, Kansas City, the genre-mixing band Scotch Hollow blends acoustic roots, down-home delta blues, and some country twang and rock on tracks like “Hocus Pocus” and “Nobody But You” from the sophomore album, Little Tortuga.
Songwriter and guitarist Mark Verbeck wrote and recorded almost the entire album on a farm in Kansas. Verbeck met fellow student and vocalist Carley Martin while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston.
MP3: “Hocus Pocus“ – Scotch Hollow from Little Tortuga
Not long after meeting, they brought together bassist JD Linn; drummer and percussionist Benjamin Scholz; harmonica Brody Buster and pianist Joel Schuman to form the complete band. The album also features three intriguing cover songs from Little Walter, Howlin’ Wolf and Blind Willie Johnson.
Over the past few years, Scotch Hollow has opened for bands like Left Lane Cruiser, Reverend Peyton and the Big Damn Band and count among its biggest influences Big Mama Thornton, Blind Will McTell, Chet Atkins, and Susan Tedeschi.
Bonus Track: “Nobody But You“ – Scotch Hollow from Little Tortuga
Lounge On Fire – “Huff”
With a hot new single, “Huff,” Boise multi-genre band Lounge On Fire is heating things up in Idaho’s biggest city with its unique sound that fuses rock with funk – or as the band calls it ‘sexyadelic’ and ‘freakfunk’ – mixing horns like trombone, sax and trumpet with traditional rock band instruments like guitars, bass, keys and drums. The band new album, Lips of Calypso, was dropped in January.
Formed in 2013, the band describes itself as “Northwest music scene; steel cut; blackened and peppered; rock-hopped, hip-dipped, cock-eyed funk-trunked, flat-on-your-back, pants-off-dance-off machine music.” The members are Nathan Norton (guitar/vocals); Josh Gilmore (bass); Wade Ronsse (drums); Alan Schwaderer (keys/guitar); Matt Patterson (sax); Seth Hoffman (trumpet) and Kevan Ash (trombone).
LOF has opened for bands like St Paul & The Broken Bones, The Suffers, Turquaz, Polyrhythmics and their musical influences include Modest Mouse, Gogol Bordello, Snarky Puppy, and Sharon Jones.
SHPR – “Tell Me”
The spatial sonic landscapes created by Los Angeles duo, SHPR, featuring Fabian Munguia and Alexander Ochoa, are mesmerizing.
SHPR weaves emotive, reverb-heavy vocals together with ambient, chill electronic effects, sharp, echoey beats, and plenty of space on tracks like the representative single, “Tell Me.”
MP3: “Tell Me“ – SHPR