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.
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 the world with stops in Austin, Lyon (France), Brooklyn, San Francisco and Atlanta.
The Mammoths, “Green Eyes,” Austin
I’m a sucker for four-on-the-floor kick, distorted electric blues and a voice that sounds like its more than familiar with whiskey and tears. The Mammoths is the blessed mixture of all these. Vibes of early Thickfreakness by The Black Keys mixed with Oasis “Supersonic” permeate the band’s 2020 track, “Green Eyes,” a sultry, rumbling song fit for black magic séances or midnight parties with friends.
The Scaners, “Abduction,” Lyon
It’s always interesting to remember that the world is bigger than we normally think. Hearing music from Africa or Europe or some other land far from where I live in the Pacific Northwest is regularly welcomed. And this French group with a punk spirit and rapidity in their veins checks all the boxes. The band’s song, “Abduction,” which is less than even two minutes, harkens to New York’s CBGB’s and the throbbing music of Bad Brains.
Public Practice, “Live at Beerland SXSW,” Brooklyn
Essential link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cv8ETk4XtK8
Punk spirit abounds in this Brooklyn four-piece. The group mixes pop satisfaction with a rebellious heart. It’s a quizzical, dichotomous relationship. The listener is both pushed to watch and listen adoringly and inspired to freak out on doing their own thing. The twin flames battle and, regardless of who wins, fire grows.
Agouti, “Summertime,” San Francisco
Essential link: https://soundcloud.com/agoutiband/summertime
This Bay Area group sounds like what I wish my dreams sounded like. There’s a rough strength to the bass and drums and a suggestive mystery to the vocals – the harmonies, the wisdom. This song is a heartbeat. It’s a buffalo femur tapping against the inside wall of a prehistoric cave. It’s a fantasy in the clouds.
The Txlips, “Live Sessions: Volume 1,” Atlanta
Essential link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpE1MsIkOSQ
Don’t know the Atlanta-based rock band, The Txlips? Well you’re in luck. Here’s a live session that will quickly catch you up to speed. The video also includes the single, “The Lost One,” complete with hard-groove and thoughtful, affirming lyrics. The Txlips, though residing some 3,000-miles away, is assuredly in the lineage of west coast grunge rockers. Distortion, heavy rhythms and a burgeoning soul mark this set.