Current best unknown music thread!

May 30, 2010 9:18 AM

hey who out there are you listening to who is awesome that no one has heard of?

Besides yourself, what bands/musicians are working currently that you think are really groundbreaking, interesting and talented but are relatively unknown?

I'm asking for some professional reasons (as a music writer and podcaster) but mostly because I love discovering new amazing music outside of the indie PR machine of blogs and email blasts.

posted by Potomac Avenue (18 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

I don't know if she's playing out much these days, but Emily Strand, from Dayton, OH, is an excellent songwriter and performer.

Disclosure: Emily is a friend of friends of mine, although I don't really know her myself.

If you're anywhere in the vicinity of Berea, KY and like acoustic roots music, it's worth catching a mudpi show.

Man, I used to go to a lot more live shows with local artists. Most of the local bands I used to love have broken up. I need to get out and discover more new favorites.
posted by tdismukes at 10:38 AM on May 30, 2010

Wheeee! I have several musician friends here in Miami and I've wanted to share them with the MeFi community for ages. first up: Raffa and Rainer. They have two albums, Stolen Coal and No Mercy. Here is a video of a song that I love love love. The Ballet. And here is the write up in from this past February.

Jesse Jackson. Here is a video of him playing in Montreal. And here he plays another original song called Pleasurable Pain at Amendment XXI in Miami.

Next up we have Rachel Goodrich. She describes her style as Shake-a-Billy. Her song Lightbulb was featured in a contest by our local record store (Sweat Records), and an ad for Crayola GlowDome. In April she played Dope Song, live with a band at Swamp Stomp on Virginia Key. Somebody wrote her up in Wikipedia, but it wasn't me. She's kind of well known down here.

My friends Tom and James play together as Radar Vs Wolf, and they have an album out called This LP is Legit. My favorite song of theirs is How to Destroy Giants.
posted by bilabial at 11:30 AM on May 30, 2010

I'm on a label with these folks, but I love them, so here goes:

cars & trains (I also played on some of the songs on his last album)

Big Spider's Back
posted by sleepy pete at 12:19 PM on May 30, 2010

My niece and her husband are in a fun dance retro-ey band called Goon Squad:

and they are also in Daddy which is much more heavier rock (I think):

I think they sound very excellent. My niece's husband got a very good gig for himself about a year ago, also. He's the new keyboardist with Blondie (not exactly a new band).
posted by DMelanogaster at 12:21 PM on May 30, 2010

oh DAMMIT I forgot to turn then into live links! sorry
posted by DMelanogaster at 12:22 PM on May 30, 2010

one more from the category 'lablemates':
The Consulate General. There's an awesome flash-based instrument (I think it's flash...) on the main page. TCG is Alex from the band Boy in Static, another great group.

People I know somewhat:
The Blue Ribbon Glee Club (facebook link)
Myelin Sheaths (facebook link; the band of the awesome Quartermass from mefi).

People I don't know:

Warsaw Village Band isn't new, but I've been really liking their stuff a lot lately.
Paavoharju may be better known to the Pitchfork crowd (myspace link).

I'm sure I'll remember a few more later.
posted by sleepy pete at 12:49 PM on May 30, 2010

Brilliant! I was thinking just today how sad it is that I can't share any of the wonderful people I go to school with... But since you ask! :D Here are some local Oslo-bands:

Sgrow: Electronic and vocal duo; very original and fantastic songs.
You Wish: They say they play "ghost pop", which is some wonderfully bizarre pop music with plenty of guitars, interesting beats and weird electronic elements, as well as some fascinating vocals.
LUNA PARK: Having recently switched drummers, their MySpace is a bit empty right now, but keep an eye out for updates.
While You Slept: This atmospheric rock band is particularly interesting because they have two vocalists, one male and one female.
Serenity Trace: Noisy hardcore metal band who never show their faces...
Deseized: More hardcore, a bit less theatrical and more honest about their identities.
Why Control: A charismatic girl punk band, the name carries a certain double meaning. Why control yourself when you can control the Y-chromosome?

And here's one that's not so local:

started out as an Oslo-band, but moved to Manchester a couple of years ago, and have since replaced half their line-up with born and bred Mancunians. They play fun heavy rock music and are doing rather well in Manchester and the surrounding area.
posted by MaiaMadness at 2:18 PM on May 30, 2010

Dalai Sonido is a band who's been on the same bill as my band 3 or 4 times, and I always enjoy their sets.
posted by chimaera at 10:29 PM on May 30, 2010

THE FAMINES - Edmonton guitar/drum rock and roll duo, but so much more. Lead Famine Raymond Biesinger is a talented graphic illustrator who lends his talent to some of the most engaging/interesting/thought provoking packaging I've ever seen. They rock hard, tour relentlessly in Canada and languish in obscurity.

Take their 14 "July 2008" live cassette and 268 page book that presents an EXTENSIVE dossier on all the people involved on making the tape. INSANITY!
posted by Quartermass at 11:28 PM on May 30, 2010

Bomba Estéreo has been getting a lot of attention lately, but they might still qualify.

CéU might already be famous, but I worship her, so I couldn't avoid mentioning her.

I quite like Los cojolites.

Novalima is another band that I wouldn't know how famous is around there.

And there's also Ska Cubano.
posted by micayetoca at 6:06 AM on May 31, 2010

The Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda is amazing. They might qualify as up-and-coming in the U.S., rather than fully unknown.
posted by umbú at 10:53 AM on May 31, 2010

Also, I'm baffled the oakland/minneapolis band triangle doesn't get the exposure they deserve. These tracks are great. Here's most of what they've released.
posted by umbú at 11:19 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Bellowhead! Probably better-known than you're looking for (when you play the Royal Albert Hall you lose all rights to call yourself unknown), but if you're not into folk you won't know them, and hardly anyone I talk to has ever heard of them. They're a very loud, very raucous 11-piece group who do mostly English folk songs, but not in a way you've ever heard (I had no idea it was even possible to play a balalaika through a wah-wah pedal). Saw them live a while ago, and it was absolutely amazing.
posted by ZsigE at 5:29 AM on June 1, 2010

I absolutely can't get enough of Porcupine Tree. They're not totally unknown, but have built their fanbase almost utterly without radio or traditional promotion.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:16 PM on June 2, 2010

Ooh, great thread.

Francis and The Lights. 'Francis' is a guy I went to high school with who moved to New York and changed his name to Francis Farewell Starlite. He's just freaking fantastic. Sort of 80s pop rock, great songwriting, beautiful and dancetastic stuff. I'm just waiting for him to blow up.

Here's his band's muxtape page, where you can stream it all for free. I recommend starting with the "Striking" EP.

Bonus: he's a MeFite!
posted by ORthey at 12:12 PM on June 5, 2010

I'm not a big contributor to MeFi Music, but I listen a lot and I just have to jump in and tell you all about this album that I am obsessed with. The band is called The Paper Raincoat and their sound is orchestral pop (Paste Magazine link) that is really intense and intriguing.
posted by sarahnade at 9:36 PM on June 7, 2010

Well, they are not super active right now, but I wonder if you know about Sleepytime Gorilla Museum? The evolution of the equally weird Idiot Flesh, they introduce alot of avant-garde compositional ideas into the context of what, for lack of a better term, i'll call metal -- ideas that don't usally stray from the fringes of "classical" music. Checking them out could lead you down the rabbit-hole of collaborators and other projects of the band members, like Book of Knots, Tin Hat Trio, Evangelista, Faun Fables ... and if you dig into the catalogue of their label, The End, well, we might never see you come up for air.

In terms of hometown heros, lately I am loving Deathbear. Not this deathbear silly, this one! Not a new sound ... think "Superchunk" but they do it so well, they fill an indie-noisepop void I didn't even know i was subconsciously suffering from.

My source for anything I want to know about music now that I didn't know is The Watt from Pedro Show (also available on iTunes). & any project Mike Watt plays on is, in my eyes, pure pleasure.

Thanks for asking! I will have to check out other's recommendations here. Yay, obscurity!
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:32 PM on June 11, 2010

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