Tuesday, May 2

Frequent rotation potpourri

Today I thought I'd feature a few lesser-known artists that I've had in frequent rotation. Seems only proper after featuring such obscure artists as Pearl Jam, Frank Zappa, U2, and Sufjan Stevens recently (ahem). Some have been popping up on music blogs for a while; some have received less attention. Anyhow, away we go...

Struggle in the Hive

Like recent blog favorites Track a Tiger and Grogshow, Struggle in the Hive are on the roster of Future Appletree Records. Struggle in the Hive is an indie folk act consisting of B. Patric and Nigel Jeffrey and calls Rock Island, Illinois, home. For what it's worth, these tracks actually remind me quite a bit of the aforementioned Future Appletree projects. They cite among their influences such acts as Red House Painters, Nick Drake, The Decemberists, and Elliot Smith. The extent to which each is evident varies within the material I've heard, but guessing each wouldn't be too difficult after giving them a listen.

I haven't heard the full album just yet, but Future Appletree was kind enough to send along these tracks to sample. I'm particularly fond of "Angela" but both are work checking out.

Struggle in the Hive - Summer Nights
Struggle in the Hive - Angela

For additional 411 and tunes, see their MySpace page.

Grumpy Bear

Grumpy Bear is another band on the growing (and impressive) roster of Abandoned Love Records. If that label's not careful they're going to get a reputation as a damn fine indie outfit. Grumpy Bear is actually the duo of Tyler Black and Lattney B. (per their MySpace). They play lo-fi indie pop with great harmonies and sparse instrumentation. I really like this track, as the chorus that kicks in at about the 1:45 mark just grabs me every single time. As they say on their MySpace, their music is "the balm." Definitely check them out.

Grumpy Bear - Luis Bunuel
Grumpy Bear - Mona (unreleased edit)

For more on Grumpy Bear, visit their grumpy homepage or their grumpy MySpace.

You can pick up Grumpy Bear's EP Songs from the Abbatoir for only $5 from Abandoned Love Records. They're also selling some older material and demos on their own GrumpyMart. I just bought 'em. Woohoo.

The Lovely Sparrows

Another band affiliated with Abandoned Love, and one I've posted on here before, is The Lovely Sparrows. I've said here before how much I like what I've heard of them, but it appears they've raised the stakes. They are currently working on their first CD release and have just made the first finished track available. It's called "Chemicals Change" and I've been playing it repeatedly since downloading it. It's a bit of a departure from the more straight-forward power pop part of their catalog, and it's very good (imho). Here 'tis for your listening pleasure:

The Lovely Sparrows - Chemicals Change

More more information visit their website or go befriend them. The forthcoming album isn't for sale yet, but I'll certainly be keeping an eye out. You better believe I'll say here when it's available.


Another album I've been enjoying since I got my grubby paws on it is the new release from Toronto-based quartet qr5. I'm inclined to think that acts like qr5 are why we need such vague umbrella categories as "indie" within which to lump bands. I have no idea how else I'd go about characterizing their sound in succinct terms. Think Wolf Parade meets Heypenny, with a bit of Kingston reggae. Maybe along the lines of the Police? I'd rather not leave the impression that they're a reggae band though, as they're not. Some songs feature prominent banjo or piano, while others include organ, strings, or horns. They describe themselves as a folk-funk-reggae act, and I suppose that fits appropriately. See for yourself.

qr5 - Revisited Gone
qr5 - Viviana

For more information, visit their official site or their MySpace page. You can buy qr5's current release, Pharmakon, here.

Hey Hey My My

Like each of the above, I have also had French act Hey Hey My My in heavy rotation lately. Like Grumpy Bear, they have also received a good bit of blog coverage but hadn't yet appeared here on C&T. I've played "Too Much Space" so often that it's imperative I remedy that oversight. It's an incredibly catchy tune, and I seem to get it stuck in my head every few days. Now you too can wander around randomly muttering lyrics to French indie pop while you're grocery shopping. Isn't that what all the cool kids do anyway?

Hey Hey My My - Too Much Space

See their site or their MySpace for more songs and info.

Santa Dog

Last but not least is another band from across the Atlantic -- Bristol, England's own Santa Dog. Aside from having an odd moniker, they also make some fine power pop. Santa Dog is a quartet fronted by Rowena Dugdale. Other outlets have compared their sound to Broadcast, Tuscadero, Throwing Muses, or The Delgados. Personally, they remind me a lot of Atlanta's own Luigi. Friends, Romans, etc., give 'em your ear:

Santa Dog - Rosa
Santa Dog - Chemical

Once again, I suggest checking their site or MySpace for more.

I also encourage you to check out Cold War Kids and Beirut if you've not yet done so. Plenty of links for each can be found via the elbo.ws Top 10 in the sidebar. They've been the new hotness lately. Cold War Kids will be in Atlanta with Tapes 'n Tapes on June 9. You better believe I already bought my ticket.


Blogger shane said...

Beirut, Cold War Kids, and Santa Dog in one post. Pretty good time for indie-rock, I'd say.

1:13 PM

Blogger Culley said...

I dig a bunch of the stuff in here. I covered Struggle in the Hive too. They're playing with The Impossible Shapes around here in June. Great guys.

2:47 PM

Blogger Rich said...

Doesn't Beirut sound like Rufus Wainwright in an Elephant 6 band? Certainly is unique. I hope I'm not just thinking that because Jeremy Barnes was involved.

4:04 PM


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