Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Snowmine is a delicate gem among more grungy, indie rock bands which come from the same area.
The band is fronted by Grayson Sanders on keys and vocals. Playing alongside him are guitarists Austin Mendenhall and Calvin Pia, bassist Jay Goodman, and drummer Alex Beckmann.
Classified as ambient psychedelic pop, Snowmine’s songs are richly layered with classical orchestrations, echo pedals, and tribal beats. The band is also tactile, using props like Chinese lanterns and brooms to add to their sound. Their songs are composed tightly to a t, which is no surprise considering that most of them are written by vocalist Sanders who was a composer in the New York classical scene before joining the band. Sanders’ vocals are dreamy and atmospheric and have been favourably compared to Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes.
Since their formation in November 2010, they’ve released a single titled Nervous, and a full-length album titled Laminate Pet Animal. Two shorter albums, Curfews and Saucer Eyes, have followed.
At the moment, Snowmine seems to be building up its live performances and touring across the US. Given the solid sound and subsequent following that they’ve gained, we can expect to see the band grow bigger soon.
My favourite songs from Snowmine
Let Me In
Beast in Air, Beast in Water
Fun facts: The title Laminate Pet Animal is a palindrome (a word/phrase that means the same when read backward). Try it yourself!
Since forming in 2005, Australian band The Temper Trap has moved from strength to strength after a series of successful albums and tours.
Their flagship single “Sweet Disposition” skyrocketed the band to mainstream success after appearing in the film (500) Days of Summer. Subsequently, the song has featured in numerous other films, trailers, commercials and television series.
With a clean, consistent public image - The Temper Trap is easy to love. Their distinct, recognizable style and a strong promotional arm has seen their music associated with many of today’s current trends and subcultures.
Among some of my favourite songs from The Temper Trap are:
With absolutely no geographical relation to its name, The Middle Eastis an Australian band based in Queensland.
They have officially disbanded after playing their last concert – Splendour in the Grass in August 2011, leaving behind some really good songs and a number of disappointed fans.
Listening to The Middle East is a subtle, yet engaging emotional journey. With a diverse variety of styles, unconventional instruments and well placed vocal harmonization, I find their music most suitable during a quiet search for inspiration or highway driving at night.
Among some of my favourite songs from The Middle East are:
Since the emergence of K-pop (Korean pop), the Japanese music industry has gone underground, retaining pockets of die-hard fans waiting for the current fad to pass.
Japanese rock bands such as Jinn were mostly popularized through clever song placement in various anime, forming an emotional connection between their music and the events which occurred in the anime itself.
The vocals of Hītan (second from right) is an acquired taste, with unexpected breaks in her voice. But I’ve always felt that she puts everything into her music. And somehow, that more than compensates for everything else.
What I love best about Jinn are their explosive bursts of energy, followed by a sudden change of pace to a slow and heartfelt melody.
Founded by Glen Hansard (center) in 1990, The Frames have contributed greatly to the development of the rock music scene in Dublin, Ireland.
In 2006, Hansard starred in the musical film Once, in which he wrote most of the movie’s original soundtrack together with fellow actress and musician Markéta Irglová.
Their song Falling Slowly even won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Overall, their music is thoughtfully written, with lyrics filled with messages and meaning. The inclusion of the violin by Colm Mac Con Iomaire (far left) during the bridge of Falling Slowly still remains one of my most memorable musical moments of all time.
One of the most relaxed and understated bands I have ever listened to in my lifetime, The xx has convinced me that true talent comes effortlessly. The fact that vocalist and bassist Oliver Sim (far left) looks almost identical to rap sensation Eminem doesn’t hurt their image either.
Brand New was one of the very first Alternative bands I’ve ever listened to. I discovered them through a flash game on Newgrounds - One Chance which featured their song Tautou during the climax. Its placement in the game was excellently done. Very moving.
This is easily my favourite indie band this year. Although not very prominent at the moment, they have been gradually building a loyal fanbase since their inception in 2003.
Now, Now really distinguishes themselves through their slightly dark, melancholic music. Lead vocalist Cacie Dalager (centre) has a beautiful voice, with all the right inflections for the songs they play. Although not always pitch perfect, I somehow find that her offbeat notes actually enhances the overall listening experience.
Dalager’s partnership with guitarist and vocalist Jess Abbott (left) is a generous one, affording both girls opportunities to stand out individually.
Also listen out for some unexpected drum patterns every now and again from Bradley Hale (right), which he tastefully includes into the song without interrupting the flow and tempo.
Moving on, most of their lyrics are fairly unusual, but convey such universal emotions like resolve, frustration and regret. It’s music that anyone could relate to at some point in their life, and it will have a different meaning to each person.
Among some of my favourite songs from Now, Now are: