Today, it seems like all the same artists are debuting hit after hit on almost every radio station, and each one of those top forty tracks is being played back to back several times in a day. Unbeknownst to all but those die-hard music lovers, some of the best songs are those that are rarely heard by artists who are often unheard of. As the summer begins to wind down, try chilling by the pool or busting a move to some tunes by these five bands you’ve never heard of. You may even be surprised to know that might have heard some of their hits before.
1.) The Dear Hunter
The Dear Hunter is a progressive rock band that originated in Rhode Island. Lead by front man Casey Crescenzo, the band has released seven full-length albums and several EP’s. The Dear Hunter dos not limit itself to one sound. Their tracks range from soft and sunny lilting serenades to dark and brooding emo rock ballads, making them the perfect band for fans with of varying tastes. Their albums, aptly titled “Acts,” follow a progressive story line with each track adding to the tale. The Dear Hunter is a startlingly unique band and each of their songs is a pleasant surprise, for no two tracks sound alike. Explore their music on iTunes, starting with these recommended tracks: “Whisper,” “This Body,” and “His Hands Matched His Tongue.”
2.) The Crashtones
Few are familiar with actor Sam Witwer, and even fewer know of his band The Crashtones. The band released its first and, as of yet, only album, “Colorful of the Stereo,” in 2006. Witwer recently revealed to fans that a second album is in the works. The Crashtones is primarily an alternative metal band but, one of the benefits of having a Julliard trained actor as the front man, every track is drastically different in mood, tone, and sound. Each of the 14 songs tells an angsty or quirky tale of adolescence and past love, all while alternating between angry and intense grunge, old school record scratching hip hop, and achingly moving melancholy ballads. Witwer’s versatile voice and powerful stories will stay with you long after a song has ended, haunting you in a good way. “Colorful of the Stereo” can be found in its entirety on iTunes. Recommended songs include: “The Date Song,” “Black Dress,” “Reflex,” and “The End.”
3.) Les Friction
Following in the footsteps pf bands such as Pink Floyd, Electric Light Orchestra, and Led Zeppelin, Les Friction is a symphonic rock group based out of California. Their self-titled album was released in 2011 and their digital album “Dark Matter” was recently released on Amazon. Led by a singer names Paint, the band produces somber and gothic songs backed by a booming,
riotous and earth-shaking orchestra. Though few may remember, portions of their most popular track, “Louder Than Words,” have been used in past movie trailers, such as “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part Two.” Some of their best tracks, such as “World on Fire” and “Louder Than Words,” can be found on iTunes, while their most impressive new track, a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir,” is available for download on Amazon.
4.) Mystery Skulls
Don’t let the plural name fool you, Mystery Skulls is only one person. The electronica/dance act was created in 2011 by its sole member, Luis Dubuc, who has since gone on to release several popular singles and four albums. Mystery Skulls’ latest album, “One of Us,” is due August 7. Many first encounter Mystery Skulls by watching their popular animated music videos. In 2012, YouTuber Ben Mangum released an animated music video for the Mystery Skulls track “Money.” Impressed by the video, Mystery Skulls gave Mangum permission to create more videos for their music. Mangum’s most popular is “Ghost,” a brightly colored and pop heavy parody of the classic “Scooby-Doo” cartoon. The video has garnered a huge fanbase and sequels featuring more Mystery Skulls tracks are in the works. Fans of the popular track “Ghost” may also enjoy such singles as “Magic,” “Freaking Out,” and “Paralyzed.”
A popular staple of the nineties was the funk/acid jazz movement, which primarily took place in London. Fronted by lead vocalist Jay Kay, Jamiroquai was perhaps the most prominent band in the movement. Their sound is a soulful throwback to the R&B and disco of the 1970s with some modern pop thrown into the mix, a refreshing detour from the typical pop of today. Jamiroquai’s music took America by storm and many of their tracks have been featured in films and other media. Fans of the quirky comedy “Napoleon Dynamite” may remember the film’s titular character awkwardly dancing to Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat” at the high school talent show, or gamers may have danced along to “Cosmic Girl,” which was featured in the popular Nintendo Wii game “Just Dance Two.” Fans of these tracks may also enjoy such hits as “Lifeline” and “Virtual Insanity.” Jamiroquai is still going strong with an upcoming European tour and their new album “Automaton” both due this year.
If you’re sick of turning on the radio and hearing the same ten songs back to back, try rocking out to something new. Sometimes the best way to find the most unique bands is to go exploring. Tune into a different radio station, play around on Pandora and Spotify, or just ask some friends. The best songs may have been right under your nose all along.