<5K: Volume 2
There’s an xkcd comic that exposes the secret coalition to make certain YouTube videos go viral: they have to get exactly “300+” likes from the committee, and are then certified to spread like the plague onto innocent newsfeeds worldwide.
In that vein, I present you with <5K: exposition on bands that have less than 5,000 likes online. Perhaps one of them will be the next to pass that mysterious threshold into the world of fame and fortune… after all, once you get 5,000 likes, you sell out every show and your records go gold. That’s how it works, right?
*Submissions* If you’re in a band, your friend is in a band, or you just know a band with less than 5,000 likes, send a link to email@example.com. If I like it, I’ll put them in an upcoming edition of <5K!
Julia Brown (4,318 likes) is one of the many projects of Maryland artist Sam Ray, combining rich, hushed pop with ambient noise and electronic sound manipulation. Julia Brown’s first album, to be close to you, garnered high scores on Pitchfork and was both well-received and influential within the expanding lo-fi community; instead of rest on his laurels, however, Ray moved forward with the next step in this difficult-to-describe but immediately-recognizable sound. The next Julia Brown album, An Abundance of Strawberries, has no official release as of yet, but Ray is sending copies to those that ask politely. Its title track is lush and hymnal, and songs like “All Alone in Bed” and “The Way You Want” convey sincere emotion while weaving an innovative fabric of acoustic guitars, simple synths, and gorgeous melodies. It’s mature, fascinating, and worth repeated listens. Hear to be close to you (and the new album soon) at: http://cool.bandcamp.com/
Coin locker kid (329 likes) is an art-rap recluse, sporadically emerging from his minimalist persona with incredibly good and fascinating albums like 2013’s Traumnovelle. Despite getting a shoutout from David Byrne and collaborating with musicians like Portishead and Madlib, North Carolina’s Devyn Smith has retained relative obscurity. His vocabulary is as wide as his beats are bizarre, weaving intricate fables about isolationism and philosophical dreams with cunning wordplay and a blatant apathy towards glossy production. Coin Locker Kid likes doing things his own way, and as long as his delivery is as great as it is, who can blame him? Listen to Traumnovelle at: http://coinlockerkid.bandcamp.com/
The Shifters (1,548 likes) are a 9-piece reggae/rocksteady group that consistently blow crowds away throughout DC. A group that big risks getting too busy, but they know when to be groovy-sparse and when to knock-your-socks-off hot and heavy. When they opened for ska-punk legends The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, they came onstage and announced themselves as the Bosstones, and that their intention was to thoroughly confuse the crowd. Their surprising and light-hearted attitude, combined with their excellent musicianship and strong vocal-backup-vocal delivery, makes them one of the best reggae acts in DC and across the east coast. They gig all the time, and they always bring their A-game – making people dance, babies cry, and the Bosstones proud. Listen to their album In It! at: http://theshiftersdc.bandcamp.com/
Kitsune Rad (534 likes) is a locally beloved three-piece from Baltimore. Their adept technique and sense of spacing gives their instrumental riff-rock a cinematic feel, full of images. It’s fast, strong, and dynamic enough to keep even the most cynical listener on their toes, and it’s damn good to mosh to. Guitarist Scott Kenney makes judicious use of effects, filling the top space with big tones, as the rhythm section builds an ever-changing landscape of head-banging. Though they currently only have a two-song demo online, Kitsune Rad is working with Wolf Stream Media for their sure-to-impress full-length, hopefully out soon. Most importantly, as they say on their bio many times, they love snacks. Listen to the Long Johns demo at: http://kitsunerad.bandcamp.com/
Body Thief (2,615 likes) is a hard beast to define. Their single, “Parasites In The Water,” combines an alternative prog feel a-la-Circa Survive with existential, introspective lyrics reminiscent of Pink Floyd. Vocalist Daniel Hawkins has the perfect range for emotive rock, but Body Thief rises above the crowd, channeling jazz chops through a hard rock ethic into an impressive and full arrangement. Two guitars fill the middle space with stunning riffs, creating a wall of sound that is strong across all levels. Halfway through the song, the beat builds into a fast bridge before dropping into a wide, heavy section built on huge riffs and impressively tight drums. It’s perfectly balanced and entirely promising for this MD/DC band. Listen to “Parasites In The Water” at: http://bodythief.bandcamp.com/
-Asher Meerovich is a writer and musician in College Park. He likes to be near water.