Last week we went on a musical journey with the three sisters of HAIM, so naturally this week we decided the journey should be with an equally amazing group of three brothers: The Ceremonies. When a Spotify ‘related artists’ list notes bands such as American Authors, Little Green Cars, Pacific Air, St. Lucia, and Parade of Lights, then you know you’ve found an indie goldmine.
Heavenly Addicting Indie Music. That’s not what HAIM stands for, but it definitely should. The sister trio from the San Fernando Valley are no valley girls, but rather Rock Goddesses. Don’t take my word for it, just look at all the hype they’re getting with the media. Articles for Fader, SPIN, LA Weekly, and this week’s issue of Rolling Stone, all about the girls and their amazing debut album Days Are Gone.Is there anything left to say about the group? Probably not, but that’s not a reason why we shouldn’t take a multimedia trip, exploring their music and personalities even deeper. They’re charming and talented—no question an Indie List Maker.
When you have artists such as Passion Pit, John Mayer, and Walk The Moon on your client list, you know you have a great ear and an equally great management company. The Brooklyn-based Mick Management is the business behind a lot of our favorite artists. I would LOVE to intern for them if I lived in New York and had the chance to, because that would be really awesome—especially if I got to meet many rising acts and my favorite bands (yes, this is me shamelessly trying to build a relationship with the best indie/alt management team).
Founded in 2001 by Michael McDonald (not the singer, but the former Dave Matthews tour manager and ATO Records co-founder), they describe themselves as a “boutique artist management company,” and for good reason, since they specialize in a small amount of high quality acts: Ray LaMontagne, Deer Tick, Lord Huron, and Toyko Police Club just to name a few more. Two of their groups recently released new albums that have been making a lot of buzz in the indie community. Both St. Lucia and White Denim have great new music out that lives up to the Mick Management reputation.
It wasn’t that long ago that I started hearing people compare One Direction to The Beatles, because of the slight similarities between the two groups. I feel like the people who compare the two bands don’t realize the extent of what they’re implicating. Although I am not at all a fan of One Direction, I am a fanatic of the Beatles and I do realize what they’re really trying to say: music in general is experiencing this new wave of the British Invasion phenomenon, while the mainstream is also simultaneously involved in a renewed obsession with performance groups. This is what I believe people mean when comparing One Direction to the Beatles—I certainly hope that they do not mean to compare the quality of music, because that argument is far-fetched and null. Simply, they are both British groups with a massive following, whose music revolutionized the scene and obsession of the current popular culture. That’s the full comparison. Nothing more, NOTHING about the nature of the music. But yes, the culture of ALL music genres and communities is changing.
Now when I say performance groups, I don’t just mean boy bands—I mean bands, collaborations, and anything that involves multi-instrumentalists involved in a project. This newfangled obsession is also the reason why many alternative groups have received recent mainstream success: Imagine Dragons, New Politics, Capital Cities, and slowly but surely Walk The Moon. There’s not a day that goes by where I do not hear Radioactive/Harlem/Safe&Sound in heavy rotation on Top-40 POP radio.
We in the indie community have always embraced the band, so that phenomenon is not new to us. Successful solo artists are rare in the genre: they are few are far apart. What is now emerging in indie music is a new wave of the British Invasion. This time, it is more of a British Commonwealth Invasion, since the American music scene has become obsessed with artists from the many nations of the commonwealth. Some examples include: the continuing success of Canadians Tegan and Sara, the English band The 1975, South African group St. Lucia, Australians San Cisco and Atlas Genius, and of course New Zealander, Lorde. One of these British Commonwealth bands that is currently receiving the full recognition and hype they deserve is BΔSTILLE. The whole IndieBeat team has been raving over them all summer, ever since their Haunt EP was released here in May. I think we can officially call ourselves Stormers, the ever so clever name of the band’s fan base.
Composed of singer Dan Smith, bassist Will Farquarson, keyboardist Kyle Simmons, and drummer Chris Wood, the London band formed in 2010 out of Dan’s (or as the internet knows him, the Ted Mosby lookalike) solo project. The band got its name from Dan’s birthday, which happens to land on the french Bastille Day—hence also the name of the fan base, as in the storming of the Bastille. Clever. They have received major success in the UK, and they are currently invading the US music scene with their single, Pompeii, and their recent US release of their debut album Bad Blood. I don’t use the term invade lightly here, since they sold out their entire US tour before even playing their first show of the tour (we’re sad we couldn’t tickets). I won’t go as far as comparing them to the Beatles, but Bastille’s presence and music has me thinking that they are the closest thing alternative culture has to the British boy band obsession.
We always hear the stories of the way bands start out: struggling to earn a following, until one day they finally make it. They spend years playing small clubs with small crowds, hoping that a label will sign them so that they can finally earn a living through music. This, however, is not the story of Smallpools’ success—theirs is an unusual one that came almost instantly.
Indie + Alternative Music Media. Your Online Music Venue: Introducing You To Your Next Favorite Artist. Curated by Josh Pineda