Just because you use a guitar, drums, and bass to round out the sound of your band doesn’t mean your music has to sound like what other people have done with those implements. These three artists exemplify that:
“Ditch Ditch” from The Effens
The Effens’ brand of noisy, grungy rock feels infectious. On their 2019 EP Unsafe, the Toronto band get right into a heavy but really alluring groove, feeling like a sonic manifestation of pushing yourself to get a little bit farther… and then a little bit farther after that… and so on while trying to keep your head above water in this mess we call “life.”
The music feels definitively dark but not oppressive, instead serving as a welcome companion on the adventure to make this mess mean something not even for some greater purpose out there in the great beyond or whatever but instead, just for ourselves. The band reinforce this point when towards the end of Unsafe‘s opening track “Ditch Ditch,” sultry, passionate vocals come in offering the observation directed at an apparent loved one: “At least we can die together.” The music as a whole really encapsulates and transmits this feeling in an engaging way that makes it feel hard to turn off. They seem to mostly stick to their engaging groove but they go places like bursts of energy when the time is right, elevating their music to its own level. It’s a band that you can not just sit down and seriously consider your life with but get going into and through that life with as well.
Listen to “Ditch Ditch” below and follow the band on Facebook
The Littlest Viking’s “White People.. Am I Right?”
The Los Angeles-area noisy math rock band The Littlest Viking feel quite engagingly ambitious on their late 2018 release Feelings & Stuff. They get right into turning a kind of open-ended, almost but not quite upbeat math rock sensibility into a somewhat harsher than normal, more direct confrontation with chaos that seems to have wracked the speaker’s life. Their ambition never feels overwhelming; instead, it seems on Feelings & Stuff’s first track “White People… Am I Right?” that the band know exactly how to turn otherwise potentially unwieldy musical elements into a direct message that both serves the personal needs that originally sparked the song and offers a way for listeners to latch on and find a way into what the band are working through as well.
The repeatedly fast and heavy track feels like a still ultimately accessible isolation of a thread of discontent running through a potential variety of life situations, letting you examine the situation without getting too trapped in it. Although the lyrical theme of being unable to sleep could be overwhelming otherwise or in real life, The Littlest Viking musically approach their issues with a kind of direct confidence that makes this a great experience.
Listen to the song below and follow the band on Facebook
“Whatever’s Clever” by From Worlds Alike
The Nashville-area hybrid rock group From Worlds Alike sit in pretty much no categories whatsoever while still definitively producing engaging and exciting music. They play a sort of jazzy rock with plenty of extra garnishes beyond that which while comparable to a high-profile artist like Jack White feels like it goes farther than one might expect in a great, refreshing way. Fundamentally, the band make not just their music but the life situations that it sits in shine more than before with a sort of glittering romantic wonder, and it’s definitely very cool.
On “Whatever’s Clever” from their 2019 EP of the same name, the band almost immediately launch into a really low, jazzy groove, even including some tambourine in there to start with. They progress into a full-fledged, engagingly jazzy rock as some direct and emotional vocals come in. Building on this backbone, the band go both into heavier intensity at about the one minute mark and later on, and they introduce a beat-driven, more dreamy section after the song hits the midway point. The impressive and engaging range culminates to make everyday life “cool,” in a sense.
Listen to the song below and keep up with the band on Facebook