Best Indie Rock of 2017, Vol. I – Rikashay, The Przmatics, Engine Summer, Ash Riser & La Obra De Marte

As we start to wrap up our series of the best indie rock 2017 songs, albums and artists of 2017, we will be focusing on some fantastic music.

Rikashay – Markham, Ontario
The Przmatics – Chicago, Illinois
Engine Summer – Chicago, Illinois
Ash Riser – Los Angeles, California
La Obra De Marte – Bayamon, Puerto Rico







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Rikashay – Friday As We Know It

When we first listened to a couple of tracks from Ontario indie rock band Rikashay‘s latest release, Friday As We Know It, we were intrigued. But after listening to the entire release in one endless stream from their Bandcamp page, we were blown away. This is some of the best indie rock of 2017 too many have not heard.

We suppose that many die-hard indie and alt. fans may listen to this release and feel the same; it’s thoroughly exciting, endlessly creative and intricate; a musical feast. It’s one of the top under-the-radar DIY releases of 2017 that we’ve heard.

Right off the bat is the summery, indie pop-leaning opener, “Outside Vahalla” followed by the completely unique, addictive track, “Seasick Lullaby,” with its crazy hook, stunningly infectious beat, trumpet blazing, hand-clapping, quirky choruses, background howls and the terrific lead vocals of guitarist Issac Papineau.

“The song stems from a chord progression and riff that I used to jam with my buddies in a guitar class last year at school,” Papineau says. “We used to spend hours playing those four chords…and eventually I decided to write lyrics to the song and a story about a man’s living room suddenly flooding with water, and it eventually growing to be the size of the Atlantic Ocean.”

Papineau’s vocals on this track are exquisite, and as a whole, are perfectly suited for the band’s highly stylistic, fun, heartfelt music.

Based in the Toronto suburb of Markham, the band was officially formed in 2015. Papineau and drummer Jaiden Crawford met in a butcher shop and realized they had similar interests in music. Not long after, the duo began jamming together and writing their own songs.

Within a matter of a few months, they recruited bassist OG Bassman and trumpeter Liam Gallagher. The quartet immediately began recording songs and dropping demos, singles and a number of EPs.

In fact, we and some friends are now listening to their entire discography via Bandcamp because we want to hear more of their hidden gems and progression over time. They are such a tight unit and in sync; while somehow managing to be somewhat chaotic, free-form and raucous.

Rikashay’s impressively experimental, talented and original, creatively mixing pop, rock, ska, bits of folk, rockabilly, jazz, and other genres and influences into a series of tracks that you want to listen to again and again. The band’s biggest influences are Mac Demarco, The Beatles, and Neutral Milk Hotel.

There’s the impossibly fast, soul-filled rock jam, “Christopher Walker,” followed by a much softer, dreamy space pop track, “Supernova,” which later transitions into a heavier, louder, all-out blazing romp.

Next is the musically/vocally spacious, “Moon Boy,” with its own unique hook followed by the album closer, and the title track, which is less than two and half minutes makes quite an impression.

“The album was meant to salute old times,” Papineau asserts, “as we begin to part with the comforts we had while growing up as kids. We also wanted to capture the energy of the summer of 2017, and the good times we had.”

These guys are the tits. Listen to this release, and perhaps you’ll see (well, hear) what we mean. There are not two songs that sound the same and yet they’re all equally amazing, and with a solid production to boot for an album that was recorded in an abandoned shack.

Rikashay on Facebook

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The Przmatics – Always Stuck Here In Between

The Windy City indie rock band The Przmatics‘ recent debut release, Always Stuck Here In Between, was recorded and mastered in just two weeks, according to the band’s producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Mike Przygoda.

After years producing music for other artists, and working as a ‘sideman’ in many other bands in the Chicago area, Przygoda needed a change. He asked several friends if they wanted to start up a new band to perform his songs live. They agreed.

Fusing alternative rock, indie, folk and R&B, the four musician friends’ – Przygoda; Ausberto Acevedo (electric & upright bass); Nick Gutierrez (piano, Fender Rhodes, organ, backing vocals); Stephanie Stahl (electric guitar, backing vocals); performed a debut gig that was only supposed to be a one-off. Instead, it led to the formation of The Przmatics.

Although the band officially formed back in 2012, it was not until last October that they began recording their official debut.

That’s a bit surprising because the album is solid debut from beginning to end, featuring standout tracks like the mysterious, almost experimental, indie rock track, “Tipping Point,” featuring a memorable hook and almost an Elliott Smith-like resonance.

Przygoda is a big fan of Elliot Smith. “What I really loved about Elliott Smith’s music was how it incorporated melodies of artists like Simon & Garfunkel and strong influences from The Beatles, yet it had his own sound,” Przygoda adds.

“I think his melodies are fascinating, and his production was so interesting, whether it was lo-fi or using various effects in the studio.”

Another track from the album that stands out is the more introspective and laid back pop rock track, “My Invitation Must Be Lost.” For fans of Big Star, you might hear some influence stylistically on this track and throughout the album.

To that end, the Przygoda says the band is also influenced by artists such as Big Star, Smashing Pumpkins, The Shins, Prince, Cheap Trick, and War On Drugs.

Led by Przygoda’s songwriting skills, and a pop rock, folky rhythmic sound, The Przmatics are definitely on the radar, and you’ll want to catch them live if you can. They’ve previously opened for bands like Beat Drun Juel, The Sentinels, and Impossible!

MP3: “My Invitation Must Be Lost“The Przmatics from Always Stuck Here In Between

The Pryzmatics on Facebook

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Engine Summer – Trophy Kids

From the get-go, we love the raw, zany, bluesy, funky groove of yet another Chicago band Engine Summer‘s latest single, “Jezebel” – it’s just impossible to turn away from for indie rock lovers tired of the standard fare.

Instead, Engine Summer break a mold and shake things up with an intricate, clever and creative mix of the aforementioned genres, including psychedelic rock, punk and post-punk. Guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Marsan describes it this way: “we play groovy punk in the vein of Wire, Neu!, and CCR – a little swampy, a little psychedelic, a little dancey” as the band’s latest release, Trophy Kids, demonstrates.

The trio, formed in late 2014, and recently made way for a new drummer, Ryan Ohm, while bassist Ben Kostecki holds up the funk with his bumbling bass lines. Marsan talents have graced the pages of IRC previously when we featured his solo work as an Artist to Watch in 2014.

In 2017, Marsan and his bandmates continued to advance up through the ranks of the local indie scene and spread their fanbase nationwide. Last fall, they toured the Midwest, opening for established indie bands like Ra Ra Riot, The Symposium, and The Walters. Their biggest influences include Wire, Neu!, Sonic Youth, Parquet Courts, Deerhunter, and CCR.

Via Bandcamp: “Outro“Engine Summer from Trophy Kids

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Ash Riser – Ghosts

Los Angeles solo artist Ash Riser is a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter/singer who has been releasing tracks online since 2009. We were impressed with the catchy rock hooks of the single, “Can’t Breathe,” from Riser’s soul-bearing debut album, Ghosts.

His intricate and interesting mix of styles, that include rock, hip-hop, pop, gospel, and post-rock – not to mention his top influences like Jimi Hendrix, The Strokes and Gorillaz – makes Risher’s music stands out among so many other DIY artists in the LA area. Also spin the remarkable song, “Turn The Channel.”

La Obra De Marte – Las Dos Caras De La Moneda, Parte 1

From the ravaged island of Puerto Rico comes the high energy rock Bayamon-based band La Obra De Marte, promoting the new album Las Dos Caras De La Moneda, Parte 1.

The soaring, octane-fueled drive of the track “Ciclos,” stands out immediately like a college radio track on rotation, and has already received more than 25,000 plays on YouTube.

The band should be an inspiration to the struggling Americans in PR who are still putting their lives back together after the devastating hurricane that decimated the island late last summer.

The talented band members of La Obra De Marte (which translates “The Work of Mars” – ironic considering the barren, almost lifeless planet) are vocalist Emmanuel Rivera; guitarist Jowy Berrios and drummer Juan Pablo Figueroa. They are fans of artists like Panic at the Disco, The Killers, Per Nilson, Scar Symmetry and The Beatles.

We hope you enjoy these tracks and bands, and please follow, share and like; it helps us get a better idea of what our worldwide audience wants to hear from one of the longest-running (since 2007), truly independent, well known and respected indie rock blogs still going while so many others have shut down or been bought up by the corporates.

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  1. Thanks to Joshua Pickard for this Excellent Post. THanks for including La Obra De Marte, a Big Hug from our Puerto Rico island.


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