Thursday, January 31, 2008

David Bazan Sings Hallelujah

Today I take a slight deviation from our usual featured artist style and instead focus on one song.

Last year while on tour David Bazan was closing his solo set with a cover of Leonard Cohen's famous "Hallelujah." The song is probably one of the most covered in modern history, but David Bazan's version is the absolute best...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Featured Artist: Wintersleep

Album: Welcome To The Night Sky

Sounds Like: The space between how things are and how they should be.

Sorry I'm late to the party guys, I just found out about this brilliant group from Halifax. Wintersleep released their third album, Welcome To the Night Sky, in October of last year and I must say it is one of the best albums I've heard in several months. I was unassumingly looking for new bands when "Weighty Ghost" started to play. Ten seconds into it I thought "this is a great opener," by the time Paul Murphy's vocals had piped in I thought "this track is incredibly well grounded in it's writing," and by the time the chorus was asking "have you seen my ghost?" it was clear that I was listening to one of the greatest songs of 2007. Needless to say, I promptly bought the album and scrutinized the rest of the songs. There are ten tracks; each is unique, most are memorable, and a few are what I consider instant classics. My only complaint about the LP is that on a few tracks I couldn’t make out the lyrics and wished the vocals had been boosted slightly. It’s hard to describe exactly what makes Welcome To the Night Sky so good because it is a disc that has the ability to evoke unique emotions even after repeat plays. What I liked most about it is that the album feels effortless; although not every track is as superb as “Weighty Ghost,” none of the songs make me feel as if the band was trying to create something that makes everyone say “look at how great we are.” Ironically enough, they made an album that you can’t help but take notice of.

Why They Don't Suck: Like an anthem for those feeling displaced and discontent, Welcome To the Night Sky voices the questions and cries of this modern generation so eloquently that it feels as if Wintersleep is trying to speaking for you and you've been invited to sing along.

[audio:Weighty Ghost-Wintersleep.mp3]
Weighty Ghost.mp3 (right click to save)
(Thanks Janesta for letting us share the song.)

Wintersleep's Website

Author: Ryan Shook
Date: January 30, 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Album: To Speak, To Love, To Listen

Sounds Like: A flag blowing in the wind against a sunset.

Their music is the kind that you play really loud either when you need to be inspired or you just accomplished something and want to bask in the glory of what you did. I wouldn’t say that Sleeperstar has an extremely unique sound, but I would say that they blend what they have better than other bands with their sound. Having only been together for a short time, they are already making big impressions and selling/giving away their EP like wildfire. Touring with the likes of Andy Davis recently, they have made some friends in places and are working on recording more songs to make a full CD but only time will tell when that actually occurs.

Texas Rain.mp3 (removed at artist's request)

Why They Don't Suck: Sleeperstar is one of those bands that seems to consitantly produce songs with catchy riffs and perfect hooks. After listening to one of their songs, don’t be surprised if you get it stuck in your head for a while. I found myself in the same position so don’t worry, it is normal and you will be alright. I promise.

Disengage.mp3 (removed at artist's request)

Monday, January 28, 2008


Album: And Yes... Our Thoughts Were Elsewhere

Sounds Like: a few hours after it's rained and everything is still wet but the ground is bright in the sun's reflection.

It isn't often that thoughtful lyric show up in a band that almost exclusively utilizes a big sound like Starrfadu often does, but that is exactly what they've done with Our Thoughts Were Elsewhere. It's one of those albums that you could easily listen to without hearing a word and still enjoy it, but if you listen for even a few minutes you realize Austin Hartley and crew have something to say. Commentary on the state of our modern world and the human condition run throughout the album, sometimes with disenchanted lamenting such as in the poetic "Thoughts of Modern Men" while other times there's a hint of hope in the music like in the uplifting "Let It Out."

[audio:Modern Men-Starrfadu.mp3]
Thoughts of Modern Men

Why They Don't Suck: All-in-all, And Yes... Our Thoughts Were Elsewhere makes for a really enjoyable listen which becomes even more rewarding when you take the time to focus in on the inspired lyrics.

[audio:Let It Out-Starrfadu.mp3]
Let It Out

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Soft Drugs

Album: In Moderation EP

Sounds Like: keeping a sense of humor even after you've messed up more times than you can count.

I've been a fan of Pedro The Lion for a few years now so of course when I heard the band was breaking up I was dismayed. I thought the breakup would mark the near total end of both David Bazan's and TW Walsh's musical careers. Thankfully it's done just the opposite, sparking new independent creativity in both men which has totally blown me away. While I feel that Bazan's EP shines a little brighter, The Soft Drugs produced an excellent EP which deserves all the more credit for being released independently. Walsh's voice is honest and clear, and the band has the ability to create some well-defined rhythm. Even though the album was released over a year ago I feel The Soft Drugs got it exactly right when deciding how to produce and publish their first EP; self-distribute and offer it for free.

[audio:The Pitch-Soft Drugs.mp3]
The Pitch.mp3 (right click to save)

Why They Don't Suck: If you were a fan of Pedro The Lion and haven't yet heard of this band you owe it to yourself to give In Moderation a listen, it's definitely a set of tracks that grows on you the more you listen. They'll be in the studio April so I'm treating this EP as a stopgap till both Walsh's and Bazan's full discs are released.

[audio:Dont Sweat It-Soft Drugs.mp3]
Don't Sweat It.mp3 (right click to save)

Visit to download the full EP for free.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Kilians

Album: Kill The Kilians

Sounds Like: If the Arctic Monkeys ever bred with German electro-beats, the Kilians would be dubbed modern-day, musical purebreds.

The kind of band you like to just crank out your car on summer days, this up and coming group has tunes to make your head spin. Their first self-titled EP, “Jealous Lover” punches a drum opening that makes your foot tap like mad until the guitar rifts pummel through. Lead singer Simon den Hartog (straight out of Germany. Don’t worry- they sing in English) has a unique edge to his voice that most bands can’t balance very easily as this group’s lucid sound eases the intense verve Simon exudes. For a more low-key mood try “Fool to Fool” or shake that lethargy off with a dose of energy in “Fight the Start.”

Why They Don't Suck: Whether it be harmonicas, hot British accents, or the occasional reggae upbeats, this band has a versatility to suit any music lover. The inevitable rockstars are destined to reach coasts across the pond someday as their music looks great, feels great, and sounds even more killer. Gutentag.

[audio:Fight The Start-Kilians.mp3]
Fight The Start.mp3 (right click to save)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tommy Read

Sounds Like: A smooth and well told story that never gets old.

Some people were just born to play a guitar. Seriously I think this kid came from the womb with a Martin clutched in one hand and the other was strummin' away. Not sure how his mother would have felt about that.... but anyways, back to the article. Even though Tommy is young there's a certain aura about him that makes him feel as if he's had much more experience than his 20 odd years of life would suggest. The fact that Tommy effectively mixes a number of different genres into his own blend gives his music a certain degree of variation that still offers the warmth of familiarity. There's also a distinctive level of earnestness associated with these tracks that I haven't seen from such a talented musician in a long time.

[audio:Lit The Autumn-Tommy Read.mp3]
Lit The Autumn.mp3 (right click to save)

Why They Don't Suck: The lyrics in this music are not only well written and entertaining but often very relevant. Tommy has the rare ability to weave a storyline through the music as he plays. Watch for his band, Judas Feet's new album posted on SoundSuck sometime in the future.

[audio:Blue Lie-Tommy Read.mp3]
Blue Lie.mp3 (right click to save)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Professor Murder

Sounds Like: island music and synth pop got into a street fight and Professor Murder was the only one to make it out alive

There are few songs and even fewer indie artists that are so funky you have to restrain yourself from making a fool of yourself by dancing. Professor Murder is one of those bands; hard to pin down to a genre and what I only know how to describe as dance music with a slight island music twist. This is the third artist from New York to be posted on SoundSuck this week, but I've gotta admit I would not have expected this kind of music to come from the east coast but it is interesting to see how irrelevant geographic influences have become in music today. The band's debut EP was featured on Pitchfork awhile ago so they're definitely moving out of the shadows and into the limelight, but they've still got a few steps ahead of them, mainly the releasing a full LP.

[audio:Free Stress Test-Professor Murder.mp3]
Free Stress Test.mp3 (right click to save)

Why They Don't Suck: Super funky tracks with some real diversity; this is ear candy. Talented use of synthesizers in combo with percussion instruments makes for an entertaining listen. Watch for them at Coachella.

[audio:Dutch Hex-Professor Murder.mp3]
Dutch Hex.mp3 (right click to save)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The American Dollar

Album: The Technicolor Sleep

Sounds Like: watching storm clouds form off the coast.

This band has been around for a few years now, but of all their instrumental contemporaries, The American Dollar has probably received the least amount of publicity. Bands like The Album Leaf or Explosions In The Sky usually get the first mention during conversation and I'm not about to debate who is the best artist in the genre. What I will say is that this band deserves a lot of credit for remaining independent even after releasing their second album which they could have released through a label fairly easily. There are no vocals in the album, hence the term instrumental, and unfortunately for some people that fact alone is a turnoff. If you're the type who shudders at the thought of music without words I ask you not to force it, but try to let the music grow on you because it is nearly impossible to find musicianship or structural craftsmanship as excellent as that displayed by the artists in this vein of music.

[audio:Signaling Through The Flames-American Dollar.mp3]
Signaling Through The Flames.mp3 (right click to save)

Why They Don't Suck: With the current state of our economy you'd be hard pressed to find a more appropriate name for a New York band than The American Dollar. All word associations and other presumptions aside, The Technicolor Sleep is a perfect "alone" album; a set of tracks made for the times you're disconnected from the world and simply internalizing your own feelings.

[audio:War On Christmas-American Dollar.mp3]
War On Christmas.mp3 (right click to save) - from debut lp

New Features

We're working hard to make your visits to SoundSuck as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Recent additions to the site include:

  • New Submit Artist page allows you to share unsigned bands

  • Gravitars are now automatically embedded into your comment

  • Updated About page so you can see the beautiful faces behind the blog

  • You can now edit your comment up to 30 minutes after it has been published

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Tastydactyls

tastydactyls.jpgAlbum: One and Nine We Had a Hell of a Run / new demos

Sounds Like: Really Nerdy Rock & Roll

Everyone has a little nerd inside them somewhere, and after listening to a band with a name like Tastydactyls I'm sure it will come out. You might find the nerd in you will come out at Common Grounds, a local coffee house in Waco, TX, as you are listening to the Tastydactyls. In fact A close friend of mine had that very thing happen to him. After hearing 2 of the 5 songs played in the the Tastydactyls set, Tyler proceeded to stand up and shout quotes from Mortal Combat. He yelled GET OVER HERE! and added a subtle GIRLS! at the end for reasons only he knows. The Tasty's have a very unique style to say the least. When instruments like the glockenspeil get involved great things are bound to happen, well at least for the Tastydactyls they do. Be-warned, anyone who dares listen to this band, these songs may get stuck in your head do to catchy lyrics. You may find your self saying "tasty" a little too often.

Zombies.mp3 (right click to save)

Why They Don't Suck: The band's implementation of multiple singers adds an extra element to each track that allows them to stay harmoniously simple while at the same time bringing discord to other areas. The Tasty's use a central melody in every song which helps counter the spasmodic lyrics to create a good balance. And finally, their name is THE TASTYDACTYLS! how cool is that?

Clockwork.mp3 (right click to save)

[audio:Sorry Song-Tastydactyls.mp3]
Sorry Song.mp3 (right click to save)

The Party Faithful

Album: Seven Cycles

Sounds Like: anthems for your everyday life.

Originally known as Lolita Brass, this three-piece set from New York have been around the block at least once. There's nothing exceptionally earth shattering about The Party Faithful upon first listen, but after replay number two or three it becomes easier to pick up on the amount of epic-goodness the band has managed to cram into each track. Make no mistake, Seven Cycles is clearly a rock album, but it's the most easy listening rock I've heard in some time. Nothing feels out of place and there are moment when the band gets into a ecstatic rhythm unmatched by most of their contemporaries. If you can dig a well constructed chorus and some promising ingenuity you'll be able to enjoy The Party Faithful.

[audio:All I Ever Wanted To Know-Party Faithful.mp3]
All I Ever Wanted To Know.mp3

Why They Don't Suck: In my mind rock as a genre has essentially come to mean "repetitive chord progressions combined with unoriginal song composition and uninspiring lyrics... but very loud." It was invigorating to stumble upon this album and hear something grounded in rock fundamentals that still manages to mix in some creativity.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Hey, You Know Any Good Bands?

Today we celebrate Soundsuck's first week on the internet. So exciting... anyways, as much as I love sharing music with our two readers (hi mom and dad) I would really like to hear some new material from you guys. If you know any relatively new/unknown artist who you think deserves some coverage please leave their name in a comment here. Don't worry if you think they may be too popular or unpopular, all you need to enter is the artist name.  Your email and all that jazz isn't necessary. If your artist makes the cut expect to see them up here soon with your name credited in the review.
Thanks - Ryan

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Josh Weathers Band

Sounds Like: the soundtrack to a western bar fight.

My good friend Matt Gandy was surfing the intertubes today when this sickeningly soulful music began wafting from his speakers. Low and behold we soon discovered The Josh Weathers Band is composed of four men with incredible ability from Fort Worth, TX. All the members of the band obviously have several years of experience under their belts and Josh Weathers fits the bill as lead flawlessly. After scouring over hundreds of artist's websites I've come across a few with really talented musicians; they play the guitar, drums, piano, bass, violin, banjo, kazoo, accordion, pipe organ, whatever, really well. But just as I'm about to declare another Soundsuck victory my ears are assaulted with what these bands call singing. It makes me cringe just thinking about the wasted efforts of the entire band simply because their lead singer sucks so bad that they will never get anywhere. Not so with The Josh Weathers Band, Josh's vocal prowess compliments the band's playing style so well that it makes you think "these vocals were made for this song."

Why They Don't Suck: In a lot of ways this band reminds me of The White Stripes; some would say I'm making too much of a stretch. Artistic style aside, when four members of a band work so well together that it makes you think they could have been separated from birth you know you're on to something good.

[audio:I Wanna Know-Josh Weathers Band.mp3]
I Wanna Know.mp3 (right click to Save As)

[audio:What Does It Mean To You-Josh Weathers Band.mp3]
What Does It Mean To You.mp3 (right click to Save As)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Eastern Sea

Sounds Like: the photos you left in your old room after you moved out.

I first heard The Eastern Sea (Matthew Hines) about a year ago in Houston, TX. I thought by now his music would be a little more produced and slightly less acoustically driven. It still sounds lo-fi, which isn't bad thing but is definitely a road block on the path to greater success. Regardless, The Eastern Sea uses the acoustic guitar and MacBook combo very well, sometimes to great effect by highlighting a well structured chord progression and adding a noticeably "earthy" feel. Occasionally a track on Further Up, Further In Pt. 1 really sticks out, is elevated above good, and works perfectly as an independent melody with earnest lyrics.

Why They Don't Suck: I'd say Hines work could be described best as two parts lo-fi indie and one part digital mix up. Even though most of their songs are good I think it's best to appreciate The Eastern Sea's work not only for what it is but also for what it has the capability to be if the production side of their music was given room to improve.

[audio:Robert-The Eastern Sea.mp3]
Robert, You're Pretty Amazing at Lazertag.mp3 (right click to Save As)

[audio:Natasha-The Eastern Sea.mp3]
Natasha.mp3 (right click to Save As)

[audio:Counting Sheep-The Eastern Sea.mp3]
Counting Sheep.mp3 (right click to Save As)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Sounds Like: how you imagine that girl you never talked to in high school because you got so freaking nervous every time she came around you might sing.

When I hear about an all girl band the first thing I usually think is "that's cute." I guess years of hearing pop divas releasing overproduced top 40 trash has conditioned me to dismiss the words girl and music when mentioned together, but Taffy has completely turned my biased notions upside down. Here are three girls who not only look and sound beautiful, they actually rock out. This band has laid gritty lyrics down against an exceptionally well balanced musical composition. It's refreshing to hear a female lead who doesn't sound like she's trying to break a glass window pane or could be mistaken for a man's; Sofia simply sounds comfortable with her voice and isn't trying to take her vocals places it shouldn't go.

Why They Don't Suck: Before I heard them I wanted to tear them to pieces for attempting to be an all girl band, but now that I've heard them I might be in love. Three girls who are excellent musicians, write relevant songs, and who work together even better as a team. The simple fact that a guy like myself who dislikes even the idea of girl bands enjoys listening to them should be proof enough that they don't suck.

Taffy.mp3 (right click to Save As)

[audio:A Break or A Joke To Yourself-Taffy.mp3]
A Break or A Joke To Yourself.mp3 (right click to Save As)

[audio:Sorry Kid-Taffy.mp3]
Sorry Kid.mp3 (right click to Save As)

Monday, January 14, 2008

A B and The Sea

Album: Just demos for now

Sounds Like: a living room with a warm fire and old friends.

Koley O'Brien sounds subtle at first yet the vocals slowly gain influence to the point where his voice compliments the music almost perfectly. Although at times his voice goes slightly too high, the beat remains catchy as the steady rhythm keeps you relaxed which means A B & The Sea's tracks never reach a point of annoyance. This is some of the most genuine indie-pop I've heard, and although they're destined to appeal to mainstream listeners, they seem well grounded in their values, their sound, and the message they want to get across. Heck, the band is still inviting strangers over to their house to play gigs. This demo set was recorded only last month and the band is relatively unknown, but I wouldn't count on that for much longer. I'm anticipating listening to their album in it's entirety and am interested to see how these guys handle their growing success.

Why They Don't Suck: When you boil it down these two guys utilize mixed elements of alt-pop and lo-fi goodness to great effect. I've gotta add their description just because it's awesome; "Sounds more like Dawn of the Dead than anything else but such a description can only complimentarily match the scene of mainstream music in the coming days. Millions of the staggering half-brained march to be swallowed by the dissonant sounds of repetition." -A B & The Sea (Myspace Page)

[audio:Three-A B and The Sea.mp3]
Three.mp3 (right click to Save As)

[audio:Purple Table-A B and The Sea.mp3]
Purple Table.mp3 (right click to Save As)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Jupiter Sunrise

Album: Under a Killer Blue Sky

Sounds Like: what you should have been listening to outside on a perfect day when you were still just a kid.

Jupiter Sunrise is one of those bands that has already gained some mainstream momentum and could have already signed with a label by now. But at the time of this album's release (2004) they hadn't, and thus it qualifies to be posted on Soundsuck. The band is currently working on a new album which I know little about, but what I do know is even though Under a Killer Blue Sky is a few years old, it still has some cool artwork and a handful of good alternative tracks. There's nothing groundbreaking about Killer Blue Sky, but as the cover art might suggest, most of the songs hold an intangible quality of "wonder" that we often loose in our grown-up lives while commuting to work, paying taxes, or being dumped.

Why They Don't Suck: If you can appreciate music from artists who are just getting started but show great promise then you'll like them. In this first album Jupiter Sunrise sounds like a standard alternative band, but their lyrics are what separate them from your average alternative artist and make this disc worth a listen.

[audio:Kaye-Jupiter Sunrise.mp3]
[audio:Steal Me-Jupiter Sunrise.mp3]
Steal Me.mp3

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mille Monarques

Album: not yet released

Sounds Like: what should be played on a night drive through a foreign city.

This band doesn't have an album out, they don't sing in English, and the little information that is available about Mille Monarques is in French. But they're from Montreal and, more importantly, they're exceptionally talented. Mille Monarques (Thousand Monarchs) have an uncanny ability to take a song that could have been very boring and reworking it to the point where it has a distinct quirkiness to it. They have an EP slated for release sometime this March in Quebec, but unless a label picks them up soon it may be awhile before anything is released in the U.S.

Why they don't suck: Mille Monarques doesn't push the boundary so far that it feels weird but they stay creative enough to make you take notice. And although I have no idea what they're saying, the lead singer's voice works well with the band's style of play.

Mirage Matador.mp3
[audio:Mirage Matador-Mille Monarques.mp3]
La Baronne.mp3
[audio:La Baronne-Mille Monarques.mp3]
Llmense LArme.mp3
[audio:Llmmense LArme-Mille Monarques.mp3]

Friday, January 11, 2008


Hey, glad you're here. Soundsuck is a blog dedicated to the independent artist. The truth is there are a lot of independent bands that don't get signed because they suck. But somewhere in the heap of unheard mp3's on the internet there are a few that really shine, a few that rise above the sound suck of the modern music landscape and are waiting to be exposed if anyone would lend them an ear. My goal is to provide a conduit through which you can find and enjoy great unknown bands without having to wade through all the crap.