all fans of upbeat and happy pop music will no doubt remember back when I posted Hit Factory (if you don’t – you might want to go download their EP a little further down). Vicious Mixtapes aren’t as grand-sounding. they take a little more floating and dreamy approach. it’s a tranquil and broad sound, sort of reminiscent of Incubus’ “Aqueous Transmission”. for fans of rock music with much pop appeal! get this.
archive for the ‘general rock’ category
Cindy are one of the many great bands from Narvik (Norway) that are either broken up or not situated in Narvik any more and performing under a different name. thankfully, this band isn’t among the broken up ones. they are alive and well under the new name The Hex. I have no idea what they are doing, but they told me that an album should be out this spring – so look out for that; I know I will. but anyway let’s talk about this 2006 release – The Influence – by Cindy. comparisons to other bands from Narvik like Cactus and Please Turn Over (now known as New Frequency) are more than appropriate. for those of you oblivious to either of those bands, this music draws influence from many different sounds. alternative bands like Foo Fighters, early Radiohead and Muse, are maybe the main focus, but there’s quite some bit of emo bands like Dominic and At the Drive-In, as well as some more straight rock oriented stuff like newer Turbonegro. there are even hints of mid-career A Fire Inside. the vocals kind of remind of Davey Havok’s tone… at times at least. anyway, my point is that this is fairly general rock music, though with plenty of different intriguing elements within the sound. this means that this can easily attract any audience; any fan of rock music. their sense of melody, atmosphere and overall understanding of how to compose music that feels accomplishing and rewarding to listen to despite its approachable and “poppy” sound, makes The Influence a truly interesting piece of music that can be valued by both the casual music listener, as well as the above average musically interested person. it’s catchy and light without being shallow. to put it short: Cindy rules. download this.
Dunderhonning are a Norwegian rock band from Harstad, somewhat similar to e.g. IHAB and Sinnssyk Ugle who are posted below. they draw heavy influence from Britpop and English “NME” alternative, so actually they are even more reminiscent of Arctic Monkeys than any other band on this blog. these are dancefloor compositions. they build up and climax, drop, build up and climax and so on, like good dance tracks. all with awesome jagged riffs and cool vocals and an overall laid back and cool approach to the melodies. in addition to the “NME” alternative influence, there’s also a great deal of noise rock in here. Sonic Youth much? yes. on some tracks there’s even a hint of Dinosaur Jr., and their way to make a noisy mess of a pop song. it’s loud, messy and filthy, but at the same time definitely melodic and catchy. highly distorted guitars with lots of feedback and drums that are essentially all over the place, and that sort of nonchalant voice is what Dunderhonning is. and sort of philosophical Norwegian lyrics. this is a band that would be insanely popular if they were from Seattle in the early ’90s and had a little heavier sound, or a band that would be insanely popular if they were from Scotland or England in the mid-’00s and had a little lighter sound. this album is an ambitious punch to the face; take the hit!
IHAB (formerly known as I Has A Bucket!) are a Bodø-based rock band that sounds just like that, a Bodø-based rock band. Sinnssyk Ugle and Kråkesølv are the two most popular ones that come to mind. while Sinnssyk Ugle has a sort of Britpop edge and Kråkesølv are more emo-like, IHAB has more of a garage sound. they might have some teeny weeny little twinkly emo in their sound, but that’s probably just a result of Kråkesølv. this is definitely not an emo band, let me assure you. it would be easier to compare them to Britpop, like Sinnssyk Ugle. they sound like they owe a great deal to NME rock (Franz Ferdinand, The Kooks, Bloc Party…) with danceable chord progressions, tongue-in-cheek lyrics (in Norwegian though) and an upbeat and flowing feel. this is groovy garage rock that is willing to slow down and unplug the guitars if the song’s mood requires it.
if you just can’t get enough of Rover, here are two extra songs for you! the title of the opening track “Furious” pretty much sums it up, because compared to The Great Outdoors EP, these two songs are harder and far more straightforward rockers with more of that weird power metal influence. not that the influence itself is weird, but the outcome of power metal influence on pop rock is a bit weird. not weird as in awkward but as in unheard of. which is good. Rover has their own distinct sound which you should’ve learnt to appreciate by now. so get these two rocking tracks and learn how to further appreciate this great band. (yes, there are woah-ohs on this two-track, don’t worry.)
starting off with mid-tempo coldwave-tinged pop, you’d never recognize this as the new Lucid Dreams if not for the distinct vocals. however once the ultra-catchy pop rock chorus comes in and takes your breath away, you immediately know where you’re at again. Rover are Lucid Dreams albeit with some change of personnel. so what’s changed? well they are more diverse, for one thing. they experiment with more sounds and patterns, though still keeping the woah-oh pop rock core intact. this is not an abandoning of the sound displayed on Dark Rain Beautiful, only an evolution. where Dark Rain Beautiful on the surface was mostly upbeat rock songs or downbeat rock ballads, The Great Outdoors EP attempts to do more. Dark Rain Beautiful was detailed and diverse, but you had to pay attention and look for the elements hidden within. with this album here, it’s much more obvious. the incorporation of more dynamics and more piano/synth-focused mid-tempo coldwave-tinged pop rock songs doesn’t beg you to look for its hidden secrets. but for those of you who were more fans of the upbeat rockers of Dark Rain Beautiful than the power ballads, fear not. there are rockers here as well. including a remake of “Wings Orion”! so there’s plenty of goodness to satisfy every taste.
Lucid Dreams are a largely – if not criminally – overlooked rock band from Norway that draws influence from theatrical variants of heavy metal and the melodic riff approach of alternative rock. with great use of piano/keys/synths and dynamic acoustic/electric guitar combinations, Lucid Dreams almost pass into progressive metal territory, not straying further away from it when the power metal-esque vocals are taken into account. in other words, Lucid Dreams are a modern rock band with many details to process, much like Finnish rock band Sentenced. add plenty of pop hooks (there are quite the few woah-ohs in here) and a great feeling of finesse to the flavour, and you should have a pretty good idea of how Lucid Dreams sound. capable of both slow-paced ballads as well as straight up rockers, this is a band that puts all they’ve got into every approach they make to song writing. no matter what they attempt, they succeed by putting a lot of power and conviction into it.
Rhyn are from Buckinghamshire. they started out in 2003, and released this album in 2005. it’s a rock albums that incorporates elements of alternative, classic hard rock, emo, electronica and pop music. consequently there are guitar heavy instrumentals, piano driven Ben Folds pop as well as a good portion of Foo Fighters alternative with emo-esque chord progressions. if you aren’t put off by garage recordings with a somewhat lo-fi production, you are sure to enjoy the catchy hooks this album has to offer. this is simple though no less brilliant because of it pop rock (well except for the house tracks). check it out, yo.
let me introduce you to one of the most charming folk rock bands I have ever listened to. all of you who follow my blog should have made the acquaintance with Steadman, that awesome rock band from the UK. well, before Steadman there was The Dharmas. even folkier in their approach, this band knew how to craft beautiful and bittersweet pop music with sensere and sensitive lyrics about life and everything that affects it. there’s an album and a singles collection in the link at the bottom. go get it! because this is one of the most honest and genuine bands you will ever come across.
this is an album full of awesome classic 60s/70s rock with those nice synths that were reserved for only the most epic of anthems, mixed into some weird British invasion pop mixed with Britpop lovechild… and some flair… straight outta Iowa! Byron is a fun man who writes, performs and records his fun music for all of us to listen to it. and lawd are we thankful for his adventures throughout the rock’n'roll highlands – because this is – pardon my French – awesome. catchy pop hooks that leaves no one left without at least humming. this is simply a great deal of fun to listen to, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to absolutely everyone, given its potential to be a hit no matter who you are. your mother will like this. that does not mean you should be ashamed for liking it as well. enjoy!