Notable Indie Rock Debut Albums – Nopes, CapCapCap, Seed of Freedom, Shirt/Pants and Umbrella Cult

This series highlighting notable indie rock/DIY debuts features standout first releases from artists and bands that even the majority of hard core indie followers haven’t heard yet – but should definitely give a listen to.

As part of this series, there is no time stamp requirement – meaning the debuts we feature range from those dropped recently to a few years ago. What matters is the music. Always. And what has also always mattered -in a big way – to IRC and its audience is unveiling and promoting of talented indie artists and bands that cross our radar screens.

In this latest edition, you’ll find bands from close and faraway places like California, The Netherlands, Russia, Washington DC and Florida.

We’ve chosen some of the top singles from each of the debuts featured in this post playlist. If you like what you hear, please show your love for the artists and IRC by sharing it with friends.

If you have music that needs to be heard, submit to Indie Rock Cafe. Keep independent music alive and out of reach of the corporate henchmen.

In This Installment:

Nopes – Oakland, California
CapCapCap – Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Seed of Freedom – Moscow, Russia
Shirt/Pants – Washington, DC
Umbrella Cult – Sarasota, Florida


Nopes – Oakland, California

San Francisco Bay Area band Nopes bangs out noisy bubblegum punk music that juxtaposes two otherwise polar opposite genres and smashes them together into a swirl of manic noise pop.

“Generally, we love pop melodies just as much as we love dissonance and noise,” says bassist Kevin Quijivix. “So on any given Nopes’ song, those two elements battle out and harmonize in sync.”

This is evident on standout songs like “Matinee at Market” and “Jingle Berries” from the Oakland band’s fantastic debut EP, Nectar of the Dogs, originally dropped in June 2015, and which received a solid amount of support on Bandcamp.

In reply to ‘what is indie rock’: “Calling your music indie rock has absolutely no meaning,” Quijivix asserts. “In the 1980s and 90s, however, indie rock was the direct alternative to mainstream media, more in line with punk music than guitar pop in terms of DIY ethos.”

The band’s BC page lays it out like this is:

Stereo-fed on the blood and sweat of early Californian punk history, a period which barfed forth influential pre-hardcore/pro-punk provocateurs like The Germs, Angry Samoans and The Dead Kennedys, Oakland’s Nopes spring from similar Suburbian dungeons, hearts burning with the fun and fury of being young, gifted and ultimately unaccountable.

Nopes has opened for bands like Diesel Dudes, Slothes, Toy Guitar, Sexless, Mall Walk, and Toner, and counts among their major influences artists like Guided By Voices, Dead Kennedys, R.E.M., Husker Du, and Pissed Jeans.

The EP was recorded by Jack Shirley (Deafheavan, Boss-De-Nage) at the Atomic Garden Recording Studio in East Palo Alto, California and mastered by Will Killingsworth (Orchid, Ampere, Bucket Full of Teeth).

Nopes on Facebook

CapCapCap – Sonder

We don’t know much about the interestingly-named indie band, CapCapCap, stationed in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, but we do know that they craft gloomy, simmering indie rock with elements of alt. rock on the debut LP, Sonder.

CapCapCap’s music, as heard on top tracks like the ethereal, “Kerozan,” and the experimental, “Heads,” is soaked in dark, wavy synthesizers, looping guitar effects, electronic drums, and computer samples. The vocals of guitarist Lydia Roos are familiar yet still her own; her vocals fit the music nicely and are kind of spooky and comforting at the same time. Think Beach House meets Portishead.

The band’s dark post rock sound has more vocals and less instrumentation than most post rock bands, but then again, we wouldn’t say that CapCapCap are necessarily post rock per se.

According to the band, they are genre-blenders, bringing together elements of 80’s new wave, rock, post rock, and trip hop. On songs like “Heads,” dark synths, driving drums repetitive guitar lines and layered vocals drive it forward.

Lead guitarist Job Huberts explains the album and the album title this way: “The days become darker, people start huddling together, each and every one of them living their own lives, passing you by, being a part of your life for just this tiny moment in time.”

The other band members that make up the quartet are bassist Thijs Meulendijks and drummer and sample master Thijs Brok.

CapCapCap have opened for bands like Interpol, Gosto, the Horn the Hunt, and Mmoths. The band’s top influences include Portishead, The Sound, Warpaint, Viet Cong, and Sonic Youth.

CapCapCap on Facebook


Seed of Freedom – Revolt

It’s not often that a band from Russia sounds as western as does Moscow‘s indie band Seed of Freedom on their under-the-radar debut EP, Revolt, released in October of 2015.

The five-track EP is brimming with dreamy tracks that are too good to ignore, including the glimmering lo-fi psych rock of the unforgettable, “Time Machine,” and the twinkling dream pop and angling guitars of “Put The Gold In My Bag.”

These are just two of the memorable tracks from this notable indie debut out of western Russia. Why more indie/DIY music lovers didn’t hear this EP is a mystery other than to say the band (as happens to so many great bands) just didn’t have the publicity and promotion they needed behind it.

The band members are three brothers – Benjamin Ivanov (vocals, guitar); Jackob Ivanov (guitar) and Philipp Ivanov (drums), plus Marco Boccamazzo (bass, keys).

SoF’s polished sound is clearly influenced by some of their top musical influences such as Foals, Tame Impala and Arctic Monkeys, but even more so by their love of retro dream pop that has been prevalent in Europe for decades.

MP3: “Put The Gold In My Bag“Seed of Freedom from Revolt

Seed of Freedom on Facebook

Shirt/Pants – Save Your Lungs For Cigarettes

When Washington, DC noise/garage rock punk surf band Shirt/Pants first debuted in 2015 with the EP, Save Your Lungs For Cigarettes, we took notice. The teens/early 20-somethings had been rocking venues up and down the east coast with their gritty, lo-fi, genre-blending tracks like the anthemic “Knockoff”; the spaghetti-western-inspired, “Haze & Ginger”; and the punk fueled track, “Slacker.”

Other times, such as on the track, “Nadsat,” the band incorporates indie pop cloaked in wonderful, lo-fi noise. Shirt/Pants has opened for bands like Twin Peaks, Frontiers, Dolly Spartans, Two Inch Astronaut, and count their biggest musical influences as Together Pangea, Ty Segall, Arctic Monkeys, The Orwells, and King Krule.

MP3: “Knockoff“Shirt/Pants from Save Your Lungs For Cigarettes

Shirt/Pants on Facebook

Umbrella Cult – Apocalove

Back in 2012, Sarasota, Florida DIY band Umbrella Cult released an impressive debut album Apocalove, featuring a collection of standout tracks, including the indie rock tracks, “Another One Goes,” “Take Us Home” and “New Mistakes,” among others.

In 2011 and 2012, the band’s gritty, lo-fi production style and high energy concerts quickly garnered a strong and loyal fan base in their hometown and the surrounding region.

It was during this time that the band soon began work on an entirely self-produced album in the foreclosed childhood home of one of the band members and started calling themselves ‘Umbrella Cult’ and the sessions the “Foreclosed Sessions,” resulting in the recording of more than 30 songs – 14 of which made it on the album. The album is a trip through sonic landscapes unlike many debuts we’ve heard recently.

UC purposely embraces the “raw and reverb-y production of the 60’s and 70’s,” to create a sound that is balanced by modern and vintages aesthetics while retaining a retro rock edge.

Their songs range from indie radio hits (“New Mistakes”), and songs which are yearning pop (“Take Us Home”), oddly cinematic (“Theme From Apocalove”), and ethereal ballads (“Jane”) to snotty trash rock (“Sue Aside”), lo-fi dream states (“Letter to the Unaddressed”) and a prevalent nostalgic, heavily vintage sound (“Blue & Green”) of the 1960s and ‘70s.

Umbrella Cult on Spotify

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