The purpose of this little article is to list a selection of some wonderful independent bands, all of which have inspired and fuelled my passion for good independent/unsigned music. As it is the season of good will all of the bands who I have listed below have music available as free downloads. On the Bandcamp links where you can ‘name your price’, please do give something if you possibly can. This will help to keep the independent scene alive and of course be a bonus to the bands. Obviously spreading good word about all of these bands will also be a great help. All of us here at the Rockandrollreport wish you a wonderful festive season.
Animals & Men
There is a saying that old punks never die which is very true although the same can be said for music enthusiasts and aficionados of all varieties.
This spotlights a great little band called Animals & Men who are based in Frome, South West of England On August 24th 2013 Animals and Men released an EP, To Live And Die In The West Country in downloadable format and also on vinyl.
This EP is a minor masterpiece in minimalist alternative punk. It is clear that each of the four EP tracks come directly from the heart of the band fuelled by their love and appreciation of the alternative post punk sound. These four tracks have a combined total play time of just under ten minutes making To Live And Die In The West Country a short but extremely addictive experience. Animals & Men have recently made available a CD copy of To Live And Die In The West Country.
Eletrika were formed in 1998 by Claudio David. They are a Brazilian metal band who combines Brazilian rhythms and Portuguese language in their own unique style. Eletrika have a unique style which is simply amazing. In 2005 Eletrika re titled their album V.S.F. to S.O.B. This was re worked during 2009 into an English version calling it ‘V3.1beta’.
Eletrika combine a powerful metal sound complete with sharp breaks along with that beautiful fusion of Portuguese and English languages. S.O.B. is an excellent album in all of is formats and I cannot rate this highly enough. You can get the complete S.O.B. album HERE. There is a huge selection of Eletrika tracks available as free downloads, you can check this out on Soundcloud HERE. Hey are also on My Space and Facebook. Their Facebook page has a very large selection of tracks to listen to and/or download for free thanks to the generosity of Eletrika.
Fabric are another band based in the South West of England, they are from Bath. The bands roots date back further but Fabric named themselves in 2005. I saw them live couple of years ago and was entranced by their performance. Fabric create a stunning atmospheric form of light electronic/pop/rock which is very easy listening. They have a style which is somewhat magnetic. Once you start listening you are drawn into the music – especially when listening to their most recent album from 2011. This is called The Wait.
The Fabric website can be found HERE. The band have kindly made their gorgeous music downloadable for free HERE. As always I urge you to show your appreciation and thanks, you could always be really appreciative and make a donation to the band via pay pal, there is a link for this at the bottom of the page. Fabric can be found on Facebook HERE.
Four Year Beard
This article would be far from complete without mentioning the mighty Four Year Beard. This is a musical project set up by Mike Frank to allow him some escape from the musical and artistic restrictions of playing in a band. This project grew into a stable of artists all of which can be found on the website 7thandbleeker.com – I strongly recommend that you go there and immerse yourself into the vast amount of aural insanity which is available, a great deal of it is for free. Enter at your own peril though as you may never be the same again!
Halfsleeper are relatively new band/musical projects who, to the best of my knowledge are based in Bristol, UK. I cannot tell you too much about them but their music is gorgeous form of light alternative rock. Halfsleeper are on Facebook and Bandcamp. You can name your price to download The Iowaska Demos three track EP through the Bandcamp link.
If you are a fan of good dynamic solid and pounding heavy rock then you need to take a look and have a good listen to Hark. Welsh heavy power-rock trio HARK (Jimbob Isaac (ex Taint – Guitar, Vocals Nikolai Ribnikov (ex- Whyteleaf) – Bass, Simon Bonwick (ex- WHYTELEAF) – Drums) have finished recording their forthcoming Season of Mist debut album, titled Crystalline. This has been recorded at Monnow Valley Studios in Wales (Black Sabbath, RUSH, Judas Priest, Portishead), and mixed by Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou (CONVERGE,High On Fire, KVELERTAK, YOUNG WIDOWS). Crystalline will be an absolute tour de force of a solid and heavy power rock album which will be released in March 2014.
Regarding the recording, front-man Jimbob Isaac has stated ’Fingers to the bone. That has been one of our mottos since HARK's inception, and it carried us through to the recording studio. Long days, little sleep and grim determination made this record the beast that we believe it to be. We pushed ourselves in all kinds of ways, and that commitment resonates throughout’. This rings so true when you listen to Harks first single, ‘Mythopoeia’. To give us a free taster Hark have made this single available as a free mp3 download through their Bandcamp page HERE. Their main site with European tour dates for 2014 can be found HERE. You can find Hark on Facebook HERE.
Gouranga are a four piece heavy grunge outfit based in Bristol, UK. They have a solid grungy sound which is guaranteed to shake your foundations. They have two albums, the four track Nature’s Knife and the earlier seven track Keep Your Colours along with the single live track ‘Dinosaur Apathy’, recorded at The Cooler in Bristol during May 2011. You can name your price for all of this kickass music at Bandcamp HERE and find them on Facebook HERE
Los Criptozoos are a five piece melodic and fun punk band rocking out of Castellon De Plana in Spain. They where born in 2009 and in 2012 the band released their album La Danza Del Cadaver. This translates to ‘The Dance Of The Corpse’ and it is a superb piece of low budget punk jollity. The lyrics are all sung in Spanish which I love, I may not have much or any idea about what the songs are about but they are all extremely infectiously inflective. Los Criptozoos have this album available as a free download HERE and can be found on Facebook HERE.
POHL are a powerful experimental rock duo based in Bristol, UK. Their style is a kicking combination of grunge, stoner and sludge with a hint of psychedelia. Their debut five track EP POHLSMOKER is available through Bandcamp. Once again you you can name your price HERE. You will also find them on Facebook.
Punk has evolved in many ways, one stupendous and sublime example of this is Sicknote who are from Cardiff, South Wales, UK. They are a kind of techno rave dance shamanic punk revolution who, in a relatively short space of time have gained a huge following. The bands formation was an entirely fortunate but haphazard affair. A group of friends met an all night after party spot and decided to ‘wing it’ on stage just to see what would happen. From here Sicknote were born and they have been doing their ‘thing’ ever since. Sicknote have very sadly and recently lost one of their members, Dr Conker who was their dancer and spiritual guide. Dr Conker passed away in his sleep, RIP and dance on forever Dr Conker. Currently all live dates have been cancelled. You can get a great taste of Sicknote on their website HERE, there is a page there where you can download a whole pile of free music. Sicknote are on Facebook HERE, you know what to do!
The Bastard Fairies
How could you not be intrigued by a band with a name as good as this? It was the name which caused me to check them out some while ago and if I had a Xmas tree in my flat then I would definitely have a bastard fairy on top of it! This band are a dangerous alternative pop band from L.A. who have a couple of stunning albums available as free downloads. Momento Mori is available through Bandcamp where you can name your price and Gutbucket Slims Blues Emporium is up for grabs in return for signing up to the bands mailing list. The Bastard Fairies can be found on Facebook HERE. If you like their music then I would strongly recommend you to also check out Well Hung Heart.
The Shanklin Freakshow
The Shanklin Freakshow are a top notch steampunk industrial circus rock band who have been blasting out from their home on The Isle Of Wight, UK. Their sound has been shaped by the likes of Marilyn Manson, Insane Clown Posse, Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie etc. Their music is big, bouncy and buoyant with a full circus rock sound. I would love to see the live act sometime, it has to be one wild stage party. If you like the sound of these guys then check out their website HERE, there is a music player at the bottom of the page where you can listen to and download their music from. A large selection of it is available for free.
Based in London, UK Vodun are a three piece afro, heavy psych soul outfit who would also slip into the stoner/sludge metal genre. Their seven track album Eat Up The Sun is available as a free download HERE, Vodun are also on Facebook.
Thanks to each of the bands mentioned above for their musical generosity and good will