Indie Artist Spotlight featuring Carden Cove, Jade Analogic, Dan Potter Sings, False Heads, Blackpaw Society, Kinematic |
The Artist Spotlight was launched in 2013 as a vehicle for Rokline to discover and promote up-and-coming indie artists, in particular those who appear to be on the verge of something great. We’re confident in what we like, and ultimately it is our hope to bring attention and a leg up to artists we think deserve a bigger spotlight.
The initial phase of any organically grown career trajectory for a Canadian indie artist, on average, is about 5 years and at least 2 albums, and that’s just before you’re likely to get any meaningful recognition from industry insiders or high profile publications. And then there’s the daunting reality that even when immensely talented & innovative indie artists clearly have the goods, as well as the critical acclaim to go with it (Born Ruffians, The Darcys) the struggle for mainstream appeal and radio airplay can still seem hopelessly elusive. And we’ve all seen groups suddenly receive major award show nominations for New, Emerging or Breakthrough artist of the year despite slogging it out around the country, and the world, for up to a decade. Like, what’s up with that?
There’s no denying that the technological landscape has produced an evolving music industry teeming with independent Do-It-Yourselfers, or what some refer to as a glut of bands and recorded music, all the more reason why we’re compelled to parse through the fray and spot those who stand to rise above it. So two years later, amidst our woefully limited resources in the face of an overwhelming response in submissions, this marks the second in our en masse series where we attempt to broaden the spotlight on several independent up-and-comers all in one article. After all, there’s no need for me to blather on too much with regard to each of these remarkably promising artists … the music speaks for itself!
These Northern Ontario folk-rockers recently became a personal favorite of mine after listening to the debut LP Grown Slow, dynamically-charged songcraft that evokes some of the genre’s iconic best, such as Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) and Ryan Adams (Whiskeytown) – embodying an impassioned intensity that can shift gears effortlessly between punk-rock fury, alt-rock melancholy, and roots-based rock and roll that delivers a hearty punch to the mainstream jugular. The album has been sitting firmly in the Top 10 on Campus Radio album charts, and title-track Grown Slow is the kind of single you’d expect to hear blasting over a lot more airwaves, but here’s hoping there are some music festival appearances in the works.
What you’ll find on “Grown Slow”, out January 16th, is great indie folk-rock fronted by a superb set of pipes, backed by gifted musicians and bound together by solid songwriting. Most of this can be credited to Spencer Jose, who’s at the helm of this project. Spencer’s been around, so to speak, as a part of several bands in Sudbury, Ontario, including Ox with whom he toured Canada and the UK.
Gourmet Recordingz is a Record Label based in Lyon, France with an impressive artist roster that caught our attention last year when we reviewed indie-rockers Animali, and now we find ourselves caught up in the mammoth vortex of 4-piece trip-hop group Jade Analogic. At the core of their recent EP Thanks for cleaning after use … is a pulsating electro-melodic lifeforce laden with cascading guitar solos and synth-pop nuance galore, highlighted by the piece de resistance – the golden thread of Muriel Gigan’s intricately versatile and virtuosic vocals that weave it all together, bringing this keenly constructed sonic maelstrom to extraodinary, meaningful life. And in perfect european fashion, there’s the ambitious propensity for sound experimentation highlighted by a live show spectacle said to include interactive video projection … so I ask you, what more do you want for your pop music dollar?
Dan Potter Sings
Dan Potter Sings hardly tells the whole story, because what makes his albums especially masterful is that they’re entirely written, performed and recorded by Dan Potter himself. And if this enigmatic songster keeps creating alt-rock of this creative ilk and sonic magnitude, he’s likely to encounter plenty of incentives to keep doing exactly what he’s doing. His sophomore LP Barbarian from last year is a consummate post-rock achievement, one that sounds like a regenerated Billy Corgan (2.0) with an utterly astute penchant for assembling fully realized songs that unfold like a brave new musical adventure. So be prepared to rock, in ways you probably haven’t rocked before.
Dan Potter Sings is a one-piece alt-rock band from Vancouver BC, Canada. Starting with the release of his debut Self/Tilted in 2013 the nuisance sensitive genre mixing that defines his sound continues to blaze a trail through the universe of Rock in 2014 with his follow up album titled “Barbarian”. This recording has all its angles carefully filed to a sharp point and is made only for barbarians or music listeners who like to seek out authentic boundary pushers. What you will hear on “Barbarian” is a much more confidant approach, the song structures are stronger, the melodies more memorable and the guitar playing more metallic and adventurous. Each of these ten songs have there own strong identity whether you’re listening to his take on ear splitting New Wave Punk, Shoegazer Metal or 21st Century Art/Blues. Regardless these songs are like living beings, children if you will, that need to stand on their own two feet and express something imaginative, from the heart and of course loud! Through the music Dan Potter Sings isn’t willing to merely “connect” with an audience, he wants to use his fusion of genre blending ideas in order to take the listener on a complex and thought provoking journey that they won’t soon forget.
You can’t not compare this U.K. band to 80’s alt-rock icons The Pixies, in fact the opening bass, guitar & vocal licks on “Fall Around” from debut EP Tunnel Vision is like a flashback come to life … which is then followed by the Nirvana-like, sweetly dissonant guitar squall of “Anything Else”, and by this time a sensory-overload is beginning to amass within my music-nerdist brain as the indelibly resonant bygone-era tributaries coalesce, converge, like ghosts colliding … While there may be a plethora of fine young alt-rock power trios gracing the modern sonic landscape, few have an impact as penetratingly spirited as that of False-Heads, straight out of Brighton. It’s like if Kurt Cobain had taken a turn playing in The Jam, or a young Paul Weller joined in with Nirvana, or maybe if … well, whatever fantasy-based scenario you wish to conceive of, bottom line is you just want to hear more of this … and if their new single is any indication, there’s a whole lot more to look forward to.
After a number of personnel changes the line up was settled on Luke Griffiths, Daniel Delgaty and Jake Elliott. The first lo-fi singles ‘Where is Your Man’ and ‘Without a Doubt’ had positive reviews as well as making New to Q Radio’s single of the week and receiving airplay on BBC and other student and internet stations. The band played venues such as The Dublin Castle, Fiddlers Elbow and Proud Camden in London and the Blind Tiger and the famous Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar in Brighton. The debut EP ‘Tunnel Vision’ was recorded in 2013 and released in July of that year. This EP garnered extremely positive attention from underground press and radio. Following this the band signed to Hi4Head Records who have re- released the EP in 2014 with an additional track ‘Anything Else’, so far this has gained critical acclaim from the likes of Q Magazine and the NME.
UPDATE (2016): The album Tunnel Vision is no longer publically available .. the following is their latest >>
Listening to the debut LP Lessons in Leisure vol. 2 from Toronto solo artist Blackpaw Society is nothing short of mindblowing. There’s nothing even remotely like this on commercial radio, and that’s a shame, although it would set an impossible standard which I suppose is precisely the point. This is the kind of artistic endeavor people need to hear a lot more of, with an intriguing blend of styles at play, from more conventional passages such as the eerily Pink Floyd-ish psychedelic voyage “Leave It To Fever”, to frenetic bursts of musical fusion throughout, like glimpses into a restless, untamable creative soul struggling to refine the chaos. And then there’s some unexplained predilection for the canine species which is just as mysterious as the artist’s background and identity, but all in all, if you’re not averse to inspired musical forays as creative expression, this is pretty great stuff.
Album: Lessons in Leisure vol. 2
Released: Aug 11, 2014
Background: One-dog band recording full-band albums. Based in Toronto, Canada.
In the abstract, this album ranges from the sound of warm butter being scraped across toast, to the quiet sizzle of a marshmallow crusting over a backyard fire. I might be hungry. I really wanted to make it sound like the internal hum of an interstellar quantum engine slowly dropping out of warp, but sadly, no dice…
AC/DC, Crowded House, Hoodoo Gurus, The Divinyls, INXS, Midnight Oil …… how many Australian rock bands can you name? I’d never given it much thought until I started listening to aussie band Kinetic‘s fourth album Kinecism, and realized this is as good as anything I’ve heard from the land down under. They rock, but not too hard, in fact their sound ranges somewhere between the rootsy alt-rock of Wilco and the melody-rich pop-rock of countrymen Crowded House (there’s no better example of this juxtaposition than on the song Broken Strings). They’ve been around for more than ten years, so it’s clear they’re determined to stick around, and I’m just happy they have. The songs Errol Street and The Wedding Song sound like they’re channelling The Beatles. This is amazing stuff! I implore you to give this record a full listen, and keep reading to learn more about the band, in their own words …
Released: November 1st, 2014
Background: Fourth album by unsigned / independent ‘Unpop’ band from Melbourne, Australia.
Kinematic (pron. Kin-ee-mat-ick) – not the branch of dynamics related to motion, but an indie pop/rock band from Melbourne, Australia.
We’ve have been making music for a while and it’s something we love doing. We’ve created a mix of sonic treats, ranging from thoughtful folk music to distortion laced rock, with a whole bunch of pop songs that fall somewhere in between. We’re unsigned and independent. Even so, we’ve managed to get songs onto radio and TV soundtracks, and self-produce a string of single, album and video releases. We do all our own writing, recording, producing, releasing, promoting, giving us the freedom to do whatever we want – it’s a pretty cool way to work. – Kinematic
Even before we got Kinematic off the ground we all had common experience with endless gigging, recording and building live followings. We’d also laughed our way past various shonky managers and dodgy record deals to put our own songs on the radio and play support to some major international acts. In short, it was loads of fun. Still is. We reckon writing and playing songs is a far better hobby than golf, which is why Kinematic is still going, over a decade later.