In this – the age of the Coronavirus – many of us are stuck at home, isolated with only TV screens and the glow of laptops and phones to keep us connected. In other words, there isn’t much to do.
Videos by American Songwriter
However, one thing that is available to us all is the wide world of recorded music. And now is as good a time as ever to get to know some bands you may not have heard of but ones that you will assuredly enjoy, dear reader.
So, buckle up and get ready for a digital ride around Seattle (two times!), Edinburg (Texas), Los Angeles and London.
IMIJ, “Drive To Lifer,” Seattle
IMIJ is one of the classic bands that you wish you heard of but chances are you haven’t. The group, which is named after Jimi Hendrix (his first name backwards), is everyone’s favorite band’s favorite band in Seattle. IMIJ was essential to the grunge and rock scene in the 90s in the Emerald City but for reasons that are still a bit unclear, theband never got the break it deserved. But ask Pearl Jam, ask Soundgarden, IMIJ was where it’s at. Still is, actually – as members made a lively stage appearance with Seattle’s favorite local group, The Black Tones, last year.
The Copper Trees, “Eyes,” Seattle
The offspring of multi-disciplinary artists Kate Neckel and Eric Lilavois, this group combines a penchant for sincere-though-dreamlike music with thought provoking visual arts. Neckel, last seen collaborating with Peal Jam’s Mike McCready, compliments colorfully the warm sonic sensibilities of Lilavois, who also owns and operates one of the most significant recording studios in Seattle (London Bridge). Together, they turn rigidity to fluidity.
Futuro Conjunto, “CODEX,” Edinburg
Mix the power of a roundhouse punch with the pulse of a city streetlight and the joy of a skateboarder speeding away downhill and you’ll have the beginnings of this big-hearted track. The initially hectic song creates a sense of chaos at first but then, just over a minute in, it crests with a soaring celebration, as if overcoming any and every obstacle was inevitable but no less significant. Put that on repeat!
Dakota, “So What,” Los Angeles
A sprinkling of Mariah swirled with a slice of coy modernity creates this jaunty, fun-loving song from the former American Idol contestant. The track, too, carries much meaning. Who hasn’t been in a long-distance relationship, at least briefly? That tug, worry, concern about how to best connect can drive you mad. Should you break up, keep it going? What is love, really? Dakota dives headfirst into all of these issues and navigates them expertly, like a pilot through turbulence.
Grace Gillespie, “Your God’s Within,” London
A breeze blows in from your seventh-story window. It crashes silently through your curtains. The emerald green leaves of your potted plant shake. You could swear they were dancing on purpose. But maybe you’re projecting. It’s the joy you imagine that bursts from the subdued though no less sweet song from Grace Gillespie. It’s not everyday someone reminds authentically and un-ironically of the greats like Norah Jones, but Gillespie is certainly occupying that rare space.