indie scent

Great songs from indie bands and labels that don't mind sharing the occasional song online, in four categories:

Monday, July 31, 2006

Heavier Aromas

Flyleaf -- I'm So Sick (3.4mb mp3 from the band's site)
I suppose that if these guys are opening for Korn, it's a serious stretch to consider them indie. The singer also sounds enough like Avril Lavigne to make any self-respecting indie rock fan reject this blog forever...but hear me out. You'll know in the first 19 seconds whether this rocks your socks or not -- 18 seconds of distorted bass with pretty minor-key female vocals (a la Evanescence), and then suddenly all hell breaks loose when the main guitars and drums kick in with a scream of doom.

This is very slick hard rock, carefully crafted and probably focus-target-market-grouped, but damn it's catchy. I appreciate the fact that they didn't give in to the urge to add some awful Linkin Park rap interludes; the only thing close to that territory is some dudes in the background doing that cheesy overdubbed screamo yell in the last half-minute, but despite their best efforts, it doesn't wreck the song.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pungent Indie Rock

Pinback -- AFK (4.8mb mp3 from Toolshed Media)
This odd mid-tempo tune meanders along thoughtfully, then builds up to a thumping crescendo with quirky chanted vocals. Although I don't hear much bass, I did notice that the drumming is outstanding. Fans of Modest Mouse will be easily hooked, but this is no copycat band -- the sound is unique and varied, holding up after many repeated listens. Difficult to classify, hard to ignore.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Smells Mellow

Nobody & Mystic Chords of Memory -- Coyotes Song (2.7mb mp3 from lovable label Mush Records)
The folksy-country shuffle and repeated Elliott Smith harmonies of the first couple of verses could easily carry this song through to the end with style, but then in the last minute things get truly brilliant. The shift is subtle, but the main vocal line changes and more instruments join the fun -- chiming reverb on the guitars, some sweeping strings -- all without overwhelming the genius of the simple melody. This is beautiful, smart musical joy.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Pungent Indie Rock

Wintersleep -- Jaws of Life (7mb mp3 from the band's site)
I can be overly nostalgic at times. This one takes me back to Pearl Jam's Ten, which came out around the time I was graduating high school. Ten defined the poppier side of grunge, and was enormously popular, so I suppose it's totally uncool to admit loving something that sounds like it 15 years later. Anyway, this maritime band can't be faulted for having a great singer who sounds a bit like Eddie Vedder did before he started worshipping Neil Young and blowing out his vocal chords.

The other songs I've heard from Wintersleep have a more modern indie-rock vibe, mellower and with less distortion, and Jaws of Life starts out that way too before building things up with a huge, growling guitar that also props up the chorus admirably. They really nail the loud-quiet transitions, almost erasing the song at the two-minute mark before ascending again to the heights of the arena-rock anthem.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Heavier Aromas

Rise Against -- Everchanging (5.2mb mp3 from their old label's site)
I hadn't heard anything from these guys until I explored the amazing Fat Wreck Chords mp3 page and collected the best stuff in a Webjay playlist. Like most of the label's sounds, this has punk roots, but more earnest and maybe closer to something popular like the Foo Fighters. Fast pace, but tight and melodic, with a nice edge to it. The last minute rocks out into full anthem mode -- crank it up.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pungent Indie Rock

Division Day -- There is No Telling (5.7mb mp3 from the band's site)
This strikes me as introspective music. It's melodic and accessible, but with more depth and complexity than you usually hear in this style. The drumming might almost be called frantic, and they throw in a couple of tempo changes and quieter parts keep you paying attention. Great vibe.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Heavier Aromas

Lagwagon -- Falling Apart (3.6mb mp3 from their label's site)
This rollicking two-and-a-half minutes of punk-ish rock smells a bit like teen spirit, which is fine by me. These guys have apparently been around for 15 years, but this song is from 2003. Expect thick walls of distortion, quieter interludes, aging-Ozzy references, pounding drums, and all kinds of change-ups to keep things interesting. Lyrics about our bodies deteriorating in old age really shouldn't be this much fun.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Pungent Indie Rock

Head Like A Kite - Noisy at the Circus (3mb mp3 from the band's label)
Perhaps not the most original sound, but any fan of Tegan & Sara or the Breeders will probably love this (which reminds me that I haven't linked to any T&S yet, for shame). It's very perky, with simple, head-bopping guitar chords forming the backbone of the song, and catchy girlie vocals keeping things fun. Maybe a touch of the Pixies, but more pop and less Frank.