Roctober Mailbox Sampler #2
A 7-song EP sampler of beauty. Please take, sample, and consider exploring more from these bands. Every song purchase keeps the music alive a little longer!
Divide - The Technicolors
Ain’t Much More to Say - Matthew Mayfield
Firechild - Solomon Grey
Martyr - Wintersleep
Matador - Maria Taylor
Everybody Pays - Big Harp
Generals - Mynabirds
The Technicolors: Their album Listener worships at the altar of several rock gods, from Led Zeppelin to Oasis to U2. With the pool of decent upcoming rock bands. They conclude their album with a cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” The best compliment I can give this attempt is that it would take most folks until the chorus before they recognize the original, and that generally means there’s more than straight boring cover work going on here. While the whole album feels a bit derivative at times, there are some definite gems from a band that has promise. My faves include “Divide,” “Sweet Time” and “Again.”
Matthew Mayfield: A Banquet for Ghosts is Mayfield’s second album. He banks a lot of his sound with his voice, an instrument full of intensity and growliness. The occasional rise into falsetto and the occasional rise from the more standard nigh-whisper into full-throated power is effective. The instruments tend to be sparse and atmospheric, rarely more than a couple of instruments scattered in the background. While little about his lyrics have blown me away, they’re solid enough, and it totally makes sense that this guy’s music has found itself on various “hip” TV shows, the kind that needs an emotionally raw song to remind their viewers it’s OK to cry.
Solomon Grey: "Firechild"
When I first played this song, I expected to not like it. One more band drowning itself in electronics and little else behind it. But I kept listening, and it got even stronger once the vocals kicked in, and the next thing I knew, I was at the end and clicking to replay it because the damn thing gets into the bloodstream effectively. It’s a catchy, moody ditty. It’s the best kind of unexpected earworm.
Canadian band that tours with Elliott Brood. We like Elliott Brood. A lot. Any band that tours with Elliott Brood must have something going for it. “Martyr” is a spooky little up-tempo song. I reviewed their album Welcome to the Night Sky back in 2009 and was pleasantly surprised by it. This is a slightly different sound but the kind of quality you'd hope to expect in a follow-up.
Saddle Creek Sampler (via eMusic)
Maria Taylor: Jenny Lewis comparisons are deserved. Her sound on “Bad Idea” leans country, and “Matador” is pure indie rock, and both are catchy. I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing that I was surprised that both songs are by the same artist.
Big Harp: I remember Bob and John introducing me to the dark soul of folk singer Bill Morrissey (RIP). Big Harp isn’t quite that dark, but there’s something very Eeyore in their sound. A mopey and bitten singer fronting a slightly upbeat sound makes for an interesting listening experience.
The Mynabirds: This one’s where I start getting impressed with Saddle Creek. This Omaha NE group has an impressive ear that covers a lot of sonic territory and genres. “Generals” is a very catchy indie rock song. Check out more from their first album here: http://www.hearya.com/2010/11/04/the-mynabirds-live-session-80/
Other decent bands: Cursive, The Rural Alberta Advantage.