When people ask what I do at ExploreMusic.com, my answer is “I listen to all the bad music so you don’t have to.”
Every week, people from all over the world dozens of CDs, 7-inch singles, MP3s and links to MySpace, Band Camp, Facebook and SoundCloud, all hoping to be featured on the website and the national radio show. Here are a few recent standouts that I highly recommend.
Four men from Yorkshire who channel the early floaty, fuzzy sounds of the Verve with ease. Their self-titled debut already has a place on my year-end Top Ten list.
I’ve been evangelizing about this Manchester band since last Christmas and their debut record is finally available in North America. It’s slinky, sophisticated and infectious indie-dance music with DNA stolen from both New Order and Coldplay.
This San Francisco duo is on a number of hipster radars. Hypnotic layers of guitar-pop that straddles the line between old 4AD recordings (think This Mortal Coil) and modern shoegaze.
There were high expectations for Bradford Cox’s Atlanta-based band—and they’ve met most of them with an album that took just two weeks to record. Halcyon Digest might just be the best American indie record of the year.
Record in a Bag
Four-piece indie outfit from Manotick, near Ottawa, who really seem to get it. Check out their one-take video for Americanarama on YouTube. Brilliant.
Electro indie-pop created by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek that would have sounded too far out of place in 1984 as an opening act for either Prince or the Talking Heads. In fact, David Byrne is on the record.
Through Low Light and Trees
English female duo that sings dark English blues-folk that sounds almost medieval at times. I can almost imagine them opening for Shakespeare at the Globe.
San Diego lo-fi band raised on Jesus and Mary Chain records. One of those groups who turn the reverb up to 11.
Guitar-and-drums duo from the U.K. capable of making the same kind of racket as the White Stripes when they decide to get heavy and dark.
All the Things We’ve Been Told
Young Toronto outfit that can be summed up in this equation: Pretenders + Blondie + Motown.