Band to Watch: Alpine

Alpine band

Alpine band

A is for Alpine, six friends from Melbourne who make bold, twinkling, sophisticated pop music. Their debut almost-self-titled record is a collection of vibrant songs that shimmer and shine with colourful harmonies and inventive melodies. Featuring the dual vocals of front women Phoebe Baker and Lou James, Christian O’Brien on guitar, Ryan Lamb on bass, Tim Royall on keys and Phil Tucker on drums, Alpine traverse diverse themes, ideas and sounds on the album, always assured, but never quite taking themselves too seriously.

No strangers to the benefits of shared ideas and the collaborative process, Alpine’s own methods for song writing reflect the strong and respectful working relationship they had with Hume. They take their time to write, with input coming from each band member as the process moves in a circular motion.

Since forming, Alpine have toured with the likes of Kimbra, Sia, Cloud Control, The Jezabels, The Naked And Famous and Matt Corby to name but a few, and have graced festivals across the country including Splendour In The Grass, Southbound and Falls Festival. They were invited to perform at SXSW in Austin, Texas in 2012 and surely must be able to claim some kind of record for playing 10 shows in a mere three days.

Band to Watch: The So So Glos

 

Brooklyn D.I.Y. leaders mix punk ethics with pop songwriting

The quartet is comprised of two brothers (Alex and Ryan Levine) and their stepbrother (Zach Staggers), who’ve been playing music together since they were kids growing up in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge neighborhood. The only non-relative, guitarist Matt Elkin, joined the band in 2008 after the brothers persistently sweet-talked him into it mere days before their first national tour. Since then, the So So Glos have formed a full-fledged North Brooklyn scene around themselves while honing their musical chops. Their second full-length, Blowout, was release on April 23rd through their own label, Shea Stadium Records.

D.I.Y. or Die: If you’ve ever been to an all-ages D.I.Y. show in Brooklyn, there’s a high likelihood the members of the So So Glos had something to do with it. First, they co-founded the beloved Bushwick performance space Market Hotel (now shuttered, soon to be reopened), then moved on to Shea Stadium, a bigger, badder venue that runs co-op style with help from all members of the So So Glos. The venues were created out of necessity – the band couldn’t get shows at first, so they created their own opportunities – but now the So So Glos are the ones dishing out advice to the baby bands looking to navigate the house show circuit.

Punk Ethics, Pop Songwriting: They describe themselves as simply rock & roll, and their simplicity is refreshing. Blowout is tight and well-crafted, with the guys name-checking 1960s Brill Building songwriters and Iggy Pop in equal measure. The album’s themes, on the other hand, are decidedly modern, chronicling 21st-century struggles with identity and technology in an earnest way.

New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down: The band’s perspective lies in its name, which originated as a reaction to the cooler-than-thou New York garage-rock scene of the early 2000s. “The term ‘so so glo’ originally was written into our song ‘Broken Mirror Baby,’ which was a self-critique of a whole generation of narcissists and egotists, inspired by the hip nature of New York City,” singer/bassist Alex Levine tells Rolling Stone. “It’s the apathetic vibe that we encountered when we first started the band, and it became a term that we called each other when we felt like we were being full of ourselves.” His brother Alex adds, “It’s a fight on pretending, but it’s also a self-awareness thing – a fight against your own ego.”

Via votiv

Band To Watch: Bleeding Rainbow

Bleeding Rainbow band members

Bleeding Rainbow band members

Eyes down for Philadelphia neo-shoegaze quartet, as approved by Grohl and Novoselic.

Philadelphia-based Bleeding Rainbow started life as his-and-hers duo Reading Rainbow until the partnership of Sarah Everton and Rob Garcia revised their moniker and expanded to a four-piece on their 2013 LP, Yeah Right. (The story that Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein prompted the name change with a single withering remark may or may not be apocryphal…)

So You Know, a taster from their forthcoming album, Interrupt (out on Kanine Records on February 24), employs their expanded instrumental mass to propel a gauzy three minutes of woozily atmospheric guitar rock that fits the Ride-MBV paradigm snugly, but sidesteps the scuzzier connotations of ’80s UK indie by foregrounding Sarah Everton’s coolly beguiling voice: a cleaner, more modern take on the shoegaze allure of Bilinda Butcher or Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell.

Famous fans of the band include both Dave Grohl and Kris Novoselic, apparently. See if you agree with the Nirvana legends, listen to So You Know here:

 

 

 

Band to Watch: Lucius

Rising Brooklyn quintet Lucius follows up its recent and much buzzed about appearance at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival with this twangy, emotive keeper, “Go Home.” Boasting bow ties, big blue eyes and the intertwining vocals of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, the track (and its accompanying video) anchor the band’s debut album Wildewoman, out October 15th.

In advance of their first album, Lucius has had the distinction of playing Bonnaroo, amassing coverage from the likes of NPR and The New York Times, and singing covers of The Kinks, Abba and The Band classics with Jeff Tweedy. The group is currently in the midst of a North American tour that touches down at Bar in New Haven, Connecticut on August 7th and counts a homecoming show at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on August 14th.

There’s no mistaking Lucius for anyone else onstage: Led by singers Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe, the five-piece Brooklyn group wear matching stylized outfits and perform in lock-step unison. There’s more to Lucius than looks, though: Laessig and Wolfe harmonize so tightly it’s tough to tell whose voice is whose. They play keyboards on catchy, distinctive indie-pop tunes while Danny Molad, Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri flesh out the sound with guitars and drums. After releasing a self-titled EP last year, they’ll be back this fall with a full-length release.