In our never-ending quest to dig up some great bands that cost less than a corned beef sandwich at Katz’s Deli, we bring you another round of Blips. Blips highlights some great bands that are largely still in their larvae stage, but will soon morph into their beautiful butterfly. In this edition, we have some really cool new music, so take a sec, and check out these developing artists.
Before the members of The Strokes got married, dated celebrities and went to rehab they put out Is This It? their debut album, which came to define the downtown New York sound of the early aughts. The album sounded dangerous and the Julian Casablancas & Co. were notorious for living the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle that seemed to go hand in hand with their brash, Velvet Underground influenced sound. It’s been awhile since an album has felt that scuzzy and dirty to me until I heard the music of another New York City-based band – The Virgins.
The band’s self-titled debut is chocked full of songs about all night partying that end with cocaine for brunch, set to a disco-funk-rock sound that combines elements of The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem and VHS or Beta. The Virgins are about to head out for on a three-week tour holding down the opening slot for Black Kids, so head in early and check them out.
READ ON for two more blip-worthy bands on our radar…
We’ve always been big fans of musicians who are the equivalent of baseball’s utility players, those who can play a slew of different instruments, write impressive tunes and record them without anyone’s help. So it should be no surprise that we’re big fans of David Vandervelde. Not only can Vandervelde impress on drums, piano, guitars, bass and various analog synthesizers, he’s also an extremely capable recording engineer and producer. But what this artist does best is write catchy, multi-layered songs such as the ones found on his latest album, Waiting For the Sunrise.
Vandervelde caught my ear back in 2007 when DaveO played me the psychedelic rocker Nothin’ No off of his debut release, The Moonstation House Band. David’s songwriting combines the best elements of ’60s and ’70s rock with a touch of the aughts. Waiting For Sunrise shows off a more mature sound, which makes us think we haven’t seen anything yet.
Hide your husbands and boyfriends indie ladies, because Gemma Hayes might be the cutest girl in the world. And better yet, she doesn’t act like it in the least. On the contrary, in between her well-structured tunes complete with straightforward verse-chorus guts that often lead to a captivating quiet refrain before building into a sum-is-greater-than-its-parts wailing end segment, Gemma tells funny stories about being the sweatiest member of her band or beating the shit of some kid who kissed her on the playground at age 7 only to entice him to gift her a Michael Jackson tape and a Snickers bar.
When she breaks into one of her acoustic songs, you might think momentarily that this is yet another Sheryl Crow-like crooner, which at times she is, but when she straps on her telecaster and interplays with her band on tranquil harmonies and wailing Pumpkins-esque effected jams, it is easy to see that playing guitar is her first love; the singing is just the day job. Already, a respected and revered singer/songwriter in her native Ireland and in Europe, her album (conveniently) drops on September 30 in the states, so Gemma Hayes will probably take the U.S. by storm before October comes calling.