We kept this for last people! Here are our Indie Rock selections and honorable mentions from the bands that submitted to ou Year End Poll for Emerging NYC Artists. This was the category with the most submission and it was truly painful having to stick with 6 bands... We had 22 bands with an average ranking above 7 out of 10. We'll announce the SonicBids and the jurors picks later today and then... everything will be ready for the readers' and fans' poll!
NYC YEAR END POLL 2011 OPEN SUBMISSIONS RESULTS FOR ALT FOLK:
Jurors: Annamarya Scaccia (Deli Philly), Jessica Pace (Deli Nashville), Erin D'Souza (Deli NYC)
- QUALIFIED TO THE POLL'S NEXT ROUND
The artists in this list qualify for the next phase of the poll, and will be added to the bands nominated by our jury of local scenemakers.
Will Farr doesn't take long to drown himself in sweat. Spun from the same cloth as Bruce Springsteen or Ian Curtis, he routinely leads his homespun band to a blaze of glory, forcing his restless spirit and barbed hooks through anyone looking for a dose of excitement. Hurrah! builds each track of their heartland-brewed, rocking yet rootsy tunes to a frenzy, making believers of anyone looking for a rush of adrenaline chased down with a shot of big band frenzy.
The video for 'Cool Kids Cut Out of the Heart Itself' features the band MiniBoone take abuse in all its manifestations, from forced haircuts to facepaint almost as disturbing as their odd harmonies. The whole experience leaves you breathless and wondering what exactly you just saw, while making sure you never forget any of it. This group's Kinks-inspired dance grooves charge ahead with this same kind of intense art posture throughout their whole ouevre, making for an experience as absurdly delicious as Queen's 'Bicycle' in tracks like 'Chairs are For Lovers,' and as emotionally intense as At the Drive-In in my fave 'Liars + Hiders.'
As a three-piece band, Monogold can support catchy songs that extend beyond confined spaces or genres. Keith Kelly’s falsetto flirtatiously glides through twinkling keys in the album’s starting track, “Ivory Teeth Golden Tusk,” a cherubic welcome to the trio’s sensational, epic voyage through their 2011 album “The Softest Glow.” The tribalesque, frenetic rhythms feel exotic but ground the different sounds and textures, in an impressive debut that feels both foreign and familiar at the same time.
This thunderous power trio - one of the best live bands in town - is taking indie guitar rock's format and cramming politically charged lyrics head-on down its throat. A welcome change from the usually passive temperament of contemporary rock, this band has found a way to stand out amongst Brooklyn's crowded backdrop by turning the form on its head and back to its roots as a counter-cultural force for change.
I think if Damon Albarn had fronted The Pixies, something like Quilty might have happened. A band with loud-soft dynamics that took a left turn somewhere along the way to britpop goofiness, singer/guitarist Sarah Dupuis twists Pixies-like formulas into pretzel-like jams that pour on the sweetness and grisliness in equal parts.
Meditative, melodic and spacious, Snowmine's music emplyos a sweeping array of pastoral tones which range from longing, drifting acoustics to electronic drum patterns that build in tension with soaring horn sounds. In their music we hear XTC's immense melodic talent and Tortoise's suspenseful and arty arrangements. Call it post-pop if you wish.
- ALMOST QUALIFIED TO THE POLL'S NEXT ROUND
These artists had outstanding ratings from our jurors (almost 8 out of 10!) but won't qualify to the next round of our year end poll. Dudes we are sorry but we must draw a line or this thing is going to be insane (and it will be anyway, with more than 100 bands qualified already!!!)
Not many bands do it like Bugs in the Dark. Here's a group that wrap their sound up tightly, and unleash it just as strongly. The three-piece places charging riffs under singer Karen Rockower's soul-shaking vocals to weave a punishing set together that takes no prisoners. No reason to miss the Sonic Youth of years ago, this band is every bit as devastating and noisy, but you'll love the abuse.
There seems to be a trend of late that we certainly won’t complain about: local NYC/Brooklyn bands channeling earnest 90s music styles to match the Doc Martens and grandmother-inspired floral prints seen on the streets of Williamsburg. Obviously inspired to the indie sound of that decade, Diehard's music triggers a mental trip back to youth for 30 and 40 somethings like us, while sounding like a breath of fresh air to the younger hipsters.
It's about time Gowanus represented. Lightouts its two people with a love affair for the epic buildup. Taking drum machines and Michael Hutchence-minded vocals to a height where this town's canal will never reach. Something like Bowie backed by LCD Soundsystem's band, they have no trouble getting intense, but keep their feet in the dance floor throughout the show.
In track 'Nobody Eats My Dinner,' singer Nick Wold is way too hard on himself. At first lamenting how nobody likes him, he eventually gets lost in the driving rhythm instead; taking the song to a loud, hard-jamming place similar to the destinations The Strokes used to take me. Like track 'Summer Solstice,' that takes you on a long ride but leaves you in about the same place it began, Motive deals with life's revolving frustrations the only way they know how: by channeling their angst through heartbreak riffs and confessional lyrics.
7e. THE YOUNG THINGS
The Young Things are taking tried-and-true rock sensibilities and giving them an LES makeover. In 'All My Friends are Junkies,' the band takes an approach like Brian Jonestown Massacre or Oasis, forcing rock riffs usually associated with Beatlemania into a mold better suited for city dwellers. So Get off your ass. this is a sound as infectious as it's ever been.
Ambient and slightly androgynous, the duo Belle Mare released their dreamy debut EP “The Boat of the Fragile Mind” earlier this spring. The EP resonates with somber tones and almost whale-like howls, unraveling soft acoustic guitar, simple piano melodies, and occasional subtle drones. The title track features the quivering vocals of Amelia Bushell, one half of the Belle Mare duo with guitarist Thomas Servidone, painting a dreamscape portrait of longing. Charade (streaming below) gently develops an unexpected blue melody that can lull you into the deepest of sleeps - I've heard of people dreaming of sleeping, in NYC. The duo met at an open mic night in Brooklyn and recorded the album in Servidone’s apartment, but notwithstanding the DIY approach, the record is full of character and the sound mature. With their mix of rich surrealism and an almost gothic aura, these song sounds as if played through an antique phonograph inside a parlor room... located in the deepest of our subconscious. While “The Boat” could easily draw comparisons to other dream-poppers Beach House, Belle Mare’s subtleties and extreme sparsness create a stronger emotional drive and more nostalgic appeal. - Devon Antonetti