Another month, another instalment of the Internet’s literally least well known music column! We’re going to close out August by talking about some of my favourite bands beginning with C. Curiously, there aren’t as many of those as I had imagined, my music collection being awfully understocked in the C-department. Still, I heroically powered through and compiled a list of artists that should have a little bit of something for everyone.
Or at least most people.
Certainly a majority.
Since this column is not objective or balanced in any way, but rather simply about what I personally happen to enjoy, it is always going to be rather heavy on the Rock and Metal end of the scale. I will never include an artist or band that I don’t enjoy purely for the sake of pandering to the audience (which doesn’t exist anyway, but disregard that). But like every teen movie has its Token Black Guy, I have my Token Pop Band, and that band is CHVRCHES (Yes, it’s really spelled with a V).
Hailing from the magical land of skirt-wearing men throwing logs all over the place, awesome whiskey, and mystical monster infested lakes, they play a sort of electronic synthpop with a bit of an eighties chic, but also a very strong modern indie-pop mentality.
Their latest effort “The Bones Of What You Believe” (awesome album title, by the way) gripped me right away with brightly crisp production and an up-beat vibe that is just irresistibly infectious. It loses a bit of its appeal to me when the band tries to steer into more melancholic waters, where they compromise a lot of their catchy pop edge. But songs like Recover (see video below) are just so melodically beautiful and striking that it’s easy to forgive and forget the slightly weaker moments.
I for one am really excited to see what CHVRCHES come up with in the future.
Oh, and they did a really sweet cover of Arctic Monkey’s Do I Wanna Know?, which you should absolutely check out.
Cloudkicker, so named after a character in the 90s cartoon “Talespin”, is not, in fact, a band at all but a one-man project masterminded by Ben Sharp from Columbus, Ohio. He is a perfect example of how wonderful the world could be – if only there were no record labels. Entirely on his own, he has produced six records and four EPs, all of which are released on Bandcamp for free under creative-commons-license for everyone to download, and he simply asks for voluntary donations from those who are willing to support him. There is no label, no marketing, none of what plagues most of the modern music industry.
And yet, Ben Sharp is hugely successful, in a quiet kind of way. This year, he went on tour for the very first time with Intronaut and Tesseract (two bands about whom I will write at the appropriate juncture). They didn’t sell out huge stadiums or headline any festivals, but that wasn’t necessary. They played in small clubs around the US, to crowds of enthusiastic fans who have been waiting to see Cloudkicker live for years.
I suppose I should say something about the music as well. It falls under the broadest possible definition of Metal; sometimes acoustic and sometimes all amped up, sometimes mellow and sometimes heavy, but always instrumental, always progressive, and always amazing. There is really no way to do every aspect of Ben Sharp’s music justice in what little space I have left in this paragraph. Luckily of course, with his music being entirely free, you can just go to his Bandcamp page and listen to all of his work yourself.
I’ll wait here ’til you get back.
(Or you can just click the video below. Unfortunately Mr. Sharp doesn’t go in for music videos, so I had to make do with fan made production. The music is beautiful regardless, of course.)
#3: Colour Haze
In certain circles, Colour Haze is revered as a visionary, ground breaking band that has produced some of the most iconic albums of the past decade. In most other circles, no one has ever heard of them.
But that’s fine, because I am here to remedy that.
Since their inception in 1994 in Munich, Colour Haze have released 10 records of Psychedelic Stoner Rock. Heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, their music is best enjoyed in the company of, let’s be honest, a healthy dose of recreational drugs. That is not to say that you need to be flying high as a kite as you listen, but let’s just say that you’d be in the minority at a concert if you didn’t.
In fact, the live setting is where Colour Haze are at their absolute best, and going to one of their shows is a surefire way to fall irrevocably in love with them – regardless of the amount of THC in your bloodstream.
So, in lieu of an actual live performance, see below a video of them playing at the Duna Jam, a lovely festival for lovers of psychedelic guitar acrobatics on the beaches of Sardinia. It’s Colour Haze in the perfect environment, with the sun about to set, the ocean at their back and their fans sitting or dancing in the dunes.
And that concludes this edition of the Musicalphabet. Next time, we move on to D, as you probably cleverly predicted. I know you just can’t wait to find out what awaits you in that category, but you’ll have to wait patiently like all the other kids.
Jonas was listening to Dubstep remixes of Rolf Zukowski while writing this.