Yes, there are many established alternative bands that fans adore, but indie listeners just love something about the discovering of a fresh act and the building of a career before their eyes. I love Arcade Fire, The Arctic Monkeys, and The Black Keys, but there’s something much more interesting and powerful about seeing the beginnings of NONONO, San Cisco, Terraplane Sun, Hunter Hunted, The Steelwells, and White Denim. Creating the connection for yourself at such an intimate level, before anyone else has the chance to indulge in their genius, is simply fantastic: the band essentially becomes yours.
That is my favorite part of indie culture. That being said, we feel like it is important to note great rising acts here. Today we’re focusing on three of my favorite bands that I’ve casually discovered on various social media platforms, which allows for an even closer connection between fans and the groups.
"But some (read: many) artists benefit from mystery. Bowie would not have become Bowie if he video blogged his entire career. He had a mystery that intrigued the world. Taking away the mystery may have revealed things that would turn off fans, that would hurt his career."
I don’t think social media is hurting careers, when bands are using the tools correctly. In 2013, I don’t think that high a level of mystery is needed for fans to be intrigued. Indie fans are looking for relatable artists, not necessarily massive idols. I want to know what and how the band is doing WITH THEIR ART, and social media allows for us to be connected. How is Robert Schwartzman doing with his new STARSYSTEM project?—I may ask. Well I can check his tweets, pictures, and his original '22' app to find out. The intimacy of the rising acts is amplified to everyday life. Social Media is both a form of connection and a source of information.
Mystery is still essential, but not as much as before. We don’t need to be completely shut off from an artist, but yes, social media is off-putting in excess. I don’t care what Miley Cyrus or Rihanna is doing because I have a lot of access to the stories of their lives. We care about Noelle Scagg’s (from Fitz and the Tantrums) or even Zooey Deschanel’s (from She+Him) postings because fans feel that they have a relationship with the artist, sort of like that of a friend who lives far away: we’re engaged and active in a certain part of their lives, but we don’t have access to other more private parts. The connection is strange to define, but it is there.
Vine: You might think of Vine being a place where pointless videos are made, but the music scene is very active in it. 6 second covers, and clips of your favorite bands messing around are fun, but it is also a way of building a fan base and premiering music.
I present you PalmTreeParty: TJ Stewart on vocals, keyboard and percussion; Gabriel Arellano on drums; Chris Santillo on guitar; and Spencer Ortega on bass. They are an alternative band from California, that built a huge fan base with eccentric, musical, random parody/satire vine videos. Their song Jessi Smiles is even inspired by the Viner of the same name. Their vines have me cracking-up, while their music and covers have me jamming.
The New Myspace: When Myspace relaunched recently, I quickly got on to see what all the hype was about. It was no longer this outdated Facebook-type site, but a place devoted to music media and connecting with bands. Shortly after I joined the new Myspace, two bands followed me (connected in terms of the site), and I checked out their music. Fortunately the relaunched site makes it easy to access a playlist of original songs by artists. There I realized I will forever be thankful to Myspace for helping me discover two new great groups.
The first is the French band with California soul Oh! Dear Vegas. The best way to describe them is to allow them to describe themselves. The band’s bio on their website reads:
"With their medley of explosive rock riffs and highly effective electro pop arrangements, OH DEAR VEGAS! is decidedly the French group that’s happening this year!
"Music is all about feelings, chances… and encounters… OH DEAR VEGAS! is no exception. In May 2011, the five musicians that form the band, each of them with their own personal experience, decided to join forces in a new musical venture that promised to push their talent to the limit. The result is an explosive cocktail that is sure to get you heady at the very first sip! OH DEAR VEGAS! is a combination of two voices, two guitars, one bass, a keyboard, drums"
They also describe themselves as a mixture of Imagine Dragons, Two Door Cinema Club and The Killers. Their song Modern Love is what first made me fall in love with them:
They have a new single out that’s just as impressive:
Speaking of French indie rising artists, half of my absolute favorite Alternative Rising Act is french too—there must be something in the water. The second band that I found on Myspace was the stellar Miss Geo. Composed of guitarist and lead singer Abby Gutierrez, and synth player/backup vocalist Paz, the Boston duo is an amazing explosion of electro indie-pop sounds. They have a nice mix of heavenly Tegan and Sara sounding vocals, combined with innovative Ra Ra Riot type 80s backgrounds, all with an underlying layer of subtle Blondie elements. Doesn’t that sound amazing? A lot of their early music also reminds me of Beach House and Best Coast (Beach Coast, maybe?). What I’m trying to say is, Miss Geo takes the best elements of indie pop music and creatively combines them to make it a unique cohesive sound of utter perfection.
Social Media helped me discover these great bands, and that’s why I am such a strong proponent of it as a tool for artists. As for the bands, the music speaks for itself, and I’m ready for a long successful journey with all three.