Believe it or not, 2011 was one the best years ever for new talent in the music industry. Of the many great things to happen in music this year, the emergence of the EP was one of the most interesting. The EP (which stands for ‘extended play’) is basically a mini-album, and it’s become a way for major labels to test the waters and wet the whistles of an artist’s fanbase. But it’s also the best (and most affordable) way for independent artists to release their music. These are my Top 10 EPs of 2011. #6 is a&r “Aquarium.”
a&r is a Brooklyn-based duo, comprised of Rocko Rochee and Alex Kramer, who make some of the most consistently catchy beat-driven jams this side of New Order circa 1984. Rocko’s voice reminds me a lot of Bernard Sumner’s – who happens to be one of my favorite male vocalists of all-time- and the way he and Alex blend their talents together is as smooth and effortless sounding as any artist I heard all year.
I’ve been meaning to get my ass to one of a&r’s NYC gigs, but haven’t been able to make it work yet. Until I do, I’ll just have to keep on wearing out the 5 songs that make up their sick EP, Aquarium. I hope a&r are in the studio putting together a full length album, because I seriously can’t get enough of them!
They’re currently offering up their entire EP as a free download – and I can’t recommend it more. Check out the title track off Aquarium below.
Models Can’t Fuck; The Moor; and John Reinhold are today’s feature artists on The Hotness, a daily look at 3 songs that are amazing, essential and sure to make you horny.
Models Can’t Fuck is the (amazing) recording moniker of Hungarian solo artist, Árpi Szarvas; who seems to have a penchant for playing in bands with awesome names, including Evil Men Have No Songs. Just when I think I’ve heard every possible way to describe someone’s style of music, someone like Models Can’t Fuck comes up with something new; in this case “discogaze”. Regardless of what category you’d like to place his music in, I dare you to call it anything other than ACE. Taking cues from everyone from Broadcast to Stereolab to even Kraftwerk, Models Can’t Fuck’s debut EP contains the best 3 songs that UK’s Doves never made, complete with smooth low folkish vocals, production blips and bleeps and gorgeous harmonizing of great lyrics such as “I want to move to Iceland to forget about everything we used to do.” My favorite track out of the 3 on on his new EP “Move To Iceland” is called Give It Time; which features a little new wave to go with all of the aforementioned production perks. Make sure to check out that song below and then download the “Move To Iceland” EP.
PS: How fucking incredible is his recording name?!
The Moor is an LA-based musical and romantic duo comprised of Josiah Steinbrick and singer, Erica Daking. Originally from Providence and New York respectively, Josiah and Erica’s debut album was just recently released and I’ve really been digging it of late. It could be Erica’s sexy girlish vocals, but for some reason I keep being reminded of both Canadian band, Metric, and sister duo, The Pierces, while listening to The Moor’s music. I don’t want to give any of you the wrong idea, however, as The Moor’s music isn’t in the slightest bit as new wave-y or upbeat as that of Metric’s, nor is it folkish like that of The Pierces, but there’s something similar about the songwriting that reminds me of both those bands that I can’t quite put my finger on. I suppose it’s entirely possible that I have no fucking idea what I’m talking about and therefore you’re just going to have to find out for yourself exactly why I dig The Moor so much. I mean for fuck’s sake, the album clocks in at less than 30 minutes and what are you really doing for the next 30 minutes if you’re not spending it discovering a new band to tell your friends that you liked before anyone else? Oh and guess what? The album is less than 5 dollars on iTunes! 5 whole dollars! If you’re a smoker trying to quit (as you should), why not spend 5 dollars on new music as opposed to your nasty habit? (I used to smoke, so I know what I’m talking about..) Ok, well it looks like my work here is done. Before you ‘virtually’ tell me to go fuck myself, do me a favor and download the songs “Warm Winter” and “You’ll See” below, capiche? I’ll go fuck myself after.
Johan Reinhold is a Swedish Grammy-nominated solo artist who counts David Bowie, Portishead, Daft Punk, Miike Snow, Air, Lykke Li, Bon Iver, Broken Bells and The Flaming Lips among the artists that influence him. Whew..I’m exhausted just *writing* all of those names.. Anyway, last weekend I tweeted about how much I truly appreciate when an artist (or anyone for that matter) takes the time to send a personalized email. Well, Johan sent me a lovely little email on Sunday and here I am already writing about his music a few days later. Before I get to Johan’s great new single, Shoot Me Down, let me first just say a little bit more about his successful ‘marketing’ approach because I think it’s something that in a perfect world ALL artists would adopt. Whether I ended up agreeing or disagreeing with the list of artists Johan compared his music to, he included an artist list so different stylistically that I became immediately intrigued to hear which one he actually may have sounded like. For the record, the answer is none of them, but that’s not the point! Oh and while I don’t usually quote the bio of an artist, the first line of Johan’s bio is brilliant: “Once in every generation someone comes along and changes everything. Johan Reinhold is not that someone, but he met the woman once…” Funny! Ok, now a little about his music. “Shoot Me Down” features an effective guitar riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Motley Crew ballad from 1987 (but in a good way!). His vocals are soothing and the chorus is catchy to the point where I can envision a bunch of drunk guys gathered around a jukebox singing it at the top of their lungs. I really really like it and I think many of you will too. Listen to “Shoot Me Down” below and then, if you have any sense, download it for F-R-E-E!
*Johan Reinhold is currently working on his new album and I’ll keep you posted on a release date.
Every Friday, Fred Hystere sends a note to fans of the site and streams 10 of his favorite songs…aaaaaand then he takes off his pants on camera and makes up a dance to each song.
Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to a special edition of The Fredhead Weekend 10. I actually like to think that *every* edition of my Weekend 10 is special, but this one is extra extra special because I’ve handpicked 10 of my favorite unsigned artists and chosen an amazing song from each one.
I make no secret about my passion for helping to expose the talent of all artists, but I have a specific soft spot for those bands and artists that are creating their beautiful art without the aid of a label of any sort. These men and women are the *true* artists out there; mostly likely working in a day job that they probably hate, while putting a good portion of the money they make back into creating beautiful music for the rest of us to enjoy.
Since beginning Fred Hystere, I’ve had the opportunity to meet several of the artists I write about and, what strikes me the most, is how appreciative they are of the time and effort that I put in to writing about each and every one of them. And, while I’m always extremely thankful for the wonderful compliments they all give me, I have to say that what I do on this site doesn’t begin to hold a candle to the creativity that these bands and artists put into their music every day.
That said, I *do* put a fuckload of effort into every word that’s written on this site and I’m glad to hear that my passion for the music I write about is as evident as it seems to be. I’m truly having a blast with the journey that Fred Hystere (.com) is taking me on, and I owe much of that to unsigned artists such as these 10, who continue to inspire the words I write about them and continue to inspire me on a daily basis.
To my knowledge, all of the artists below are currently not being supported by a record label. Many of these songs are available as a free download, but I urge you to purchase the ones that aren’t and then put all 10 songs on while you entertain friends, clean your house, workout, fuck, etc..
Ok, enough from me…on to the music!
Without further ado, I give you 10 of my favorite unsigned bands and artists (in no particular order) including:
The Hotness is your daily look at 3 new songs that are amazing, essential, and are sure to make you horny. Ok, the last part isn’t necessarily true. But if you don’t like at least one of these three songs, you need to check 1) Your testosterone levels 2) Your estrogen levels 3) Your hearing.
High Highs are a NYC-based unsigned band whose music makes me want to fall in love again. I know, I know..that’s corny as fuck, but I’m serious. They have a sound that makes me think of spending quality time with someone you love, walking around a city or in a park or something. They have no bio anywhere that I can see, but from what I can tell there are 3 members of the band. The lead singer has a great voice that’s reminiscent of a gentler Luke Steele (from Empire of the Sun). Their music has an acoustic/60s feel to it and I’ve got to believe that it’s only a matter of time before one of their gorgeous songs is snatched up by Apple for the next iPhone commercial or something. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. Check out Flowers Bloom below and then head on over to High Highs’ Bandcamp page for a free download of the song. And as a reward for being given free music, please do your part and spread the word about High Highs by sharing their music on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, vagina and/or ballsac.
*Usually this is where I update you on an album release. However, because I can’t find any information about the band anywhere on the web, I have no clue whether or not they’re currently working on an album. As I find out more information, I’ll be sure to share with all of you.
Rachel Goodrich is a singer-songwriter from Miami, FL. While I actually do have a copy of Rachel’s debut album, I haven’t had a chance to really sit down and analyze it properly. However, I am extremely familiar with the band ANR and recently featured them in The Hotness. ANR’s album is one of my top 5 favorite albums of the year, thus far, and recently one of my friends sent me a remix they did of Rachel’s cute song ‘Light Bulb’. They’ve given Light Bulb a gentle kick and injected some of their own unique sound in with Rachel’s and the result is sure to put a smile on the face of everyone who listens to it. Check it out below and add it to your Spring playlists!
*Rachel Goodrich’s self-titled debut album is out now on Records and ANR’s debut album, is out now on Records.
Jhameel is a San Francisco-based solo artist whose music is very difficult to categorize, but lists Jonsi, Phoenix, and MGMT as some of his influences. Vocally his range is all over the place, yet beautifully contained, while musically he hops through genres faster than I hopped through men’s beds in my 20s. What’s clear while listening to his fascinating debut is that Jhameel is incredibly intelligent and his bio backs up that fact by informing us of his fluency in Arabic, Spanish, Korean, Russian and (obviously) English. He’s also a graduate of UC Berkley with a degree in Arabic that only took him 2 years to receive! Wow. It’s going to take me a while before I’m able to properly digest his latest album, The Human Condition. But when I do, I’ll be sure to report back on my thoughts. In the meantime, you can download my favorite Jhameel song, How Many Lovers, below. And then head on over to Jhameel’s website for a free download of his entire album! And, because Jhameel is being so generous, I hereby order you share his music on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, vagina and/or ballsac.
The goal of this website is to expose you to new and old music; and make you laugh along the way. My sense of humor and ear for music are my gifts to you. No matter how much your life sucks, you still have the ability to laugh. So, screw it – let’s laugh together every day on this site!
If you want music, you’ll find it everywhere on this site. If you want to laugh, go to the Daily Fred section and read all of my silly observations about life, people, and politicians. [Read more...]