May 2014 Music Roundup

The Indie Mine May 2014 Music Roundup

May proved to be an interesting few weeks in the world of indie music. A number of bands that had previously released singles this year are finally starting to release the remainder of their scheduled albums. What this means is that there was a lot more music to sort through and enjoy. Competition was fierce, but below you’ll find what we consider the cream of the crop in our Staff Picks. Be sure to have a listen, but don’t forget to check out the lists further down of all bands making news this month. You don’t want to miss out on some great new tunes.


Staff Picks


Single(s) of the Month:

“Come to Light” – The Arkells

The Arkells, of Ontario, have been around a little bit too long to be wearing their indie musician badges still, but all is forgiven because they teeter on the edge of worldwide fame without any pretense. With some stereotypical Canadian restraint and humility, the thoroughly modern single "Come to Light" hit irregular electronic music distribution in the middle of May as a preview of their third full album. Original alt-rock composition and Max Kerman's powerfully emotional vocals tower high over a firm and evident foundation of soul and Motown roots, but this is no singular auteur effort. This group is a unit, a team, a real band in an indie music scene cluttered with mavericks and lone wolves. Like their R&B heroes, the Arkells show lesser performers what happens when you take excellent talents and point them all in the same direction in pursuit of the same artistic goal. The new album High Noon will sneak up on us in August.


“Relied on Luck” – Magic Carpet Factory

"Relied on Luck" is one of two new songs released in the May by four piece indie group Magic Carpet Factory. With a distinct bass-driven, bluesy aesthetic, the track is very much reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys' "Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High?" in both style and theme. Have a listen to "Relied on Luck" and accompanying track "Midnight Kiss" on Soundcloud. Their debut EP, Feel the Magic, can also be streamed on Soundcloud or purchased through iTunes, Amazon, or the band's website.


“2AM Drunk” – Ben Everyman (NSFW)

It was a tough call for the best single this month. Magic Carpet Factory's "Relied on Luck" was an early favorite along with Go Life's "19". In the end, though, I chose a song with a completely different style and tone. Ben Everyman's "2AM Drunk" is a rockabilly romp in the form of a drunken tale. The repeated retelling of a night full of misfortune was just too entertaining to pass on. The track is slated to be part of the artist's album Subourbon due out this September. WARNING: The track above is NSFW.



Album(s) of the Month:

Young Lungs - Instead of Sleeping

Multi-instrumental indie rockers Instead of Sleeping recently released Young Lungs, their fourth studio effort and follow up to The Reds, The Blacks, The Grays. Funded in part by a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Pittsburgh-based quartet teamed up with Marc McClusky (Weezer, Bad Religion, Ludo, William Beckett) to create this short but sweet eight song LP, which deviates slightly from the typical mellow, melodic indie rock fare, but just enough that it's still plenty accessible. With clear, unaggressive vocals and a touch of modern electronic distortion, the album resembles releases from the likes of The Postal Service or Ra Ra Riot. Young Lungs is available for purchase on iTunes and Bandcamp, and you can give it a listen for free on Bandcamp, Allmusic, or the band's Facebook page.



Dies Irae - Josephine and the Artizans

Kid Rock showed the world that he could freestyle over classic rock, and Us3 brought us sophisticated rap on top of the jazz of Blue Note. Now Josephine and the Artizans puts an emcee in front of a chamber music ensemble to see if you can rap over classical music. The result is supremely weird, and bizarrely satisfying, like winter truffles in Carolina barbecue sauce. This London combo's debut EP Dies Irae rhymes over compositions borrowed from Mozart's Requiem and Clementi's Four Seasons, but the three or four minute running length of each song is a strictly modern presentation. They call the result 'Hip-Hopera' but it's nothing like the concept albums of The Roots or R. Kelly. The talent on display here raises the music above the status of a novelty gimmick, especially if you have any music education with which to discern. Is cellist Laura Seddon doing some sort of cadenza-style improvisation around those familiar melodies? The EP gets an official release date of June 2. Hear some sample tracks and a whole pile of singles here.


Mapmaker - Repeat After Me 

Although The Golden Sounds and 9yrs both had worthy entries this month, my pick is Mapmaker from San Francisco band Repeat After Me. The album is a nine-track, eclectic mix of sounds from different eras of pop and rock. The Chicago-like brass accompaniment in "The Volcano" is equally as entertaining as the laid back sound of "Carve Out a Name". Harmonies and interesting instrumental mixes are the strengths of the album, and the four-member band also receive a number of assists from a handful of outside performers. Mapmaker is the sophomore album from the group, and I'm already curious to hear what amount of variety their next offering will include.




Other Music


Go Life releases new chillwave single “19

Pretty Girls release their debut single “Waiting On You, We’re Baats

Daniel Harmann creates latest single “Anna” as part of Fastback Sessions #4

Dark rock goddess Characula releases new single “Headstone

Electronic rock band High Horses release “Hours” with b-side track “A Thousand Eyes

Terracotta Blue releases second single in the Purple Summer series, “My Time” featuring Emmy of White Life

Electronic pop group Insignificant Others release single “Sentimental” along with various remixes



Toronto noise/doom quartet Godstopper release 4-track EP Children Are Our Future

German trio KLANGLIEBE release EP containing “Lost In You” and various remixes

Brooklyn-based band  Dead Leaf Echo release EP true.deep.sleeper

Swiss post-punk musician Borderline Symphony releases debut album EP1

Mr. Beard releases funk/disco/hip hop album The Reasons

Mountaineer! returns with indie folk rock album Caribou Lou

Manx singer-songwriter Clara Barker releases sophomore album Fine Arts & The Breslins

Nashville-based folk/alt rock band The Golden Sounds release new album Waiting On The Birds along with illustrated short story

Pop duo Roses & Revolutions release self-titled sophomore album

Germany’s Ruins and Portland’s Usnea release split album Halo of Flies

9yrs releases first official album This is 9 Years, a mix of pop and other styles

French multi-instrumentalist MR KITO releases new indie rock EP Where Are the Lizards?

WHOOP-Szo releases seven-track experimental folk album Niizhwaaswo

Shintaro Haioka samples various everyday objects to create new EP Rei Row

The Coppertone releases rock/blues EP The Bakery, her first new album since leaving her old label

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Author:Brandon Schmidt

Brandon is the founder and managing director of The Indie Mine in his free time. His preferred medium is video games and he's not shy about his support for the indie development community. You can follow him on Twitter @TheIndieMine.

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