<5K: Volume 4
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If I like it, I’ll put them in an upcoming edition of <5K!
Trio OOO (73 likes) have been around a while, playing superhuman free jazz in the tradition of Sun Ra. Bassist Luke Stewart is something of a local legend, combining plucked and bowed upright styles together with absurdly skilled drummer Sam Lohman for an intensely communicative form of music. Saxophonist Aaron Martin is the higher voice that brings it all together, and when they close their eyes and play, they produce a sound that leaves the listeners transfixed, caught in the two-way flow of energy between audience and performer, creating a musical experience together. It’s music that creates active listeners, spellbound and mentally involved, and entirely mindblowing. They’re doing it. Get hip.
Bare Left (280 likes) is a College Park-based band that has carved out its own niche of sonic territory not being explored by most artists these days. They have a shapeshifting sound that stakes new ground with each track on their EP, channeling early Radiohead and ’70s prog-pop. Frontman Kai Keefe notes that the band draws inevitable comparisons to Jethro Tull for their use of the flute in a rock setting, but although they fit similarly unusual sounds into an accessible, powerful format, Bare Left tends to delve deeper lyrically. It’s intelligent, deliberate songcrafting, with tight musicianship punctuated by poetic lyricism and half-dreamt stories. Guitarist Alex Galiatsatos is a formidable lead player, and contributes high backing vocals straight out of classic rock MTV. Bare Left been playing up a name for themselves around DC and Maryland; they can share a bill with basically any genre of band because of their unique presentation.
- Listen to The Bluebeard EP here.
- Recommended tracks: “Gone Away” and “Captain and Crew”
Last Armistice (415 likes) are an alternative rock band new to the DC scene that have been generating buzz with their new demo, Lives, that seemed to burst out of nowhere and immediately start rocking. With a tight drummer, fast rhythms, and a penchant for melodic guitar lines that interweave with singer Patrick Garvey‘s impassioned voice, Last Armistice creates the effect of four musicians each doing their thing (and doing it well) in cohesive group spirit. They alternate between super-harmonic vocal melodies and 100-mile-an-hour instrumentals. Musically, they remind me of Antemasque, the new Mars Volta project, with their use of space-filling riffs and powerful drum leads. Though Lives is merely a demo, it reflects a whole lot of practice and a fiery sound that would make for bloodrushing, sweat-bathed shows that leave your ears ringing and your heart pounding, alive with the glory of mosh.
- Listen to Lives here.
- Recommended tracks: “Bottle Cap” and “Old Soul”
Sunbathers (441 likes) is a DC quintet that deserves immediate attention. In its 3 songs, their eponymous demo on Soundcloud captivates and serves intelligent, beautifully-crafted songs about cognitive dissonance in a way that should make the Arctic Monkeys jealous. Listen to the subtle wah pedaling and astounding vocal performance in “New Blood.” “Swell” is a brilliant trip over dark, sensual verses to an emotionally evocative chorus, suffused with showmanship and theatrical delivery. Danceable and perfectly timed, another inevitable comparison to be drawn is Maroon 5, who have never written anything as good as “Swell.” The third track, “Limbo,” is tense and mysterious, with spidery riffs crawling across the tracks as vocalist Sean Lynott continues to wow. This is a good band. This is a great band. Be excited about them. We can only hope they have plans for a full-length, and soon.
- Listen to the Sunbathers Demo here.
- Recommended tracks: “New Blood,” “Swell” and “Limbo”
I already wrote up the Adult Jazz (2,990 likes) debut here because of how great I thought it was, but they bear a second mention. The Leeds, UK quartet are making some of the most unique, quietly enthralling music currently happening. Melding ethereal synths, unusual percussion, and fascinating lyrics, Adult Jazz prove themselves as sonic artists on their debut Gist Is, out today. The opener, “Hum,” is built off an ambient synth, but soon grows into an entire neo-jazz world of its own, with just-off percussion and unexpected brass. Vocalist Harry Burgess draws unshakable comparisons to Sigur Ros and Death Vessel with his light, shapeshifting delivery. Though the album was recorded in a farmhouse on the Scottish border, the production value is immaculate, easing the listener into a deep pool of musical exploration without being forceful. It’s a siren song of a record that deserves to be heard, thought about, and heard again.
- Stream Gist Is via The Quietus here.
- Recommended tracks: all of it.
-Asher Meerovich is a writer and musician in College Park. He likes to be near water. Read more of his musical explorations at http://hire-me-rolling-stone.tumblr.com.