A remarkable year is to be concluded on December 31st 2008. After a year during which we have analysed, sorted and, most importantly, heard a vast collection of music by unsigned bands from across the globe, it is time to recollect, reminisce and remember the best of the bunch, the few which have made the wrap. There are various options that loom upon me as I introduce this concluding, but not conclusive article (for there shall be more next year). Firstly, I felt that I should perhaps choose my favourite artist from edition of the article. However, it is fairly obvious as to why I shall not be following such a rigid system: it is too rigid. I would much rather pick and choose my overall favourites and leave you, the readers, to disagree with me.
Do take care of yourselves this Winter Break. Don't get indigestion on Christmas Day, and don't kiss the wrong individual on New Year's Eve. Most importantly, do not stand on guard duty between 22:00 and 00:00, because you might find yourself solitary and alone during the final ten seconds of the year. I do hope that won't be me, but it is somewhat possible, if not likely.
You are a White Noise Astronaut.
Touring India during the summer months of this year, Gandhi's Cookbook made NDTV Newsthe biggest news station in Indialargely due to the band's name, which stoked interest in the former Jewel in the British Empire's Crown for one reason or another. Following the following link to NDTV's web-archive on cannot help but admire the band members' courage on camera; such footage is publicity that most bands can only dream of. Drummer Chris Ryan's comments were conveyed somewhat controversially, even bordering upon a lack of respect for Gandhi; however, bassist Adarsh Sekhar confirmed to me that when Ryan said: "we would like to try and reach his level of stature, but aren't willing to put in the effort", 'we' was in reference to our degenerate, lazy society, rather than the band. Sekhar added that, in spite of the generally favourable news feature, he did feel that NDTV tried to portray the band as Gandhi's poster boys rather than focusing upon the high regard and respect in which the band members hold the icon. That said, it is manifest to me that the band members do not back opinions such as: We believe also that the white race in South Africa should be the predominating race." Which were, of course, made by a young, less refined Gandhi.
Arguably playing the starring role in March 2008, Souljacker represents Classic Rock played in a classy manner. Since the band's inclusion on the UG front page, Souljacker's myspace music box has reflected the band's newfound maturity; songs such as Jimmy Page Drank My Tea have long since been discarded in favour of a more refined wine, a classic, let's say. Tunes such as Oracle Bones provide the perfect platform for Hamish Denny's Led Zeppelin- influenced guitar riffs and grooves. The musicianship is excellent, from the drums and bass to Robby Moore's keyboards, which certainly create a more accomplished sound. However, it is Patrick Burley who truly steals the show; he boasts many talents, from his presence to his window shatteringly powerful gritty rock voice. He's not all passion, folks. Talent plays a big part in Souljacker, and whether it be the intelligent use of the whole recording spectrum on songs such as Professional Dropout, or the band's victory at Mooncalf's Battle of the Bands competition which persuaded ex-Darkness-front man, Justin Hawkins to reportedly proclaim that Souljacker is onto big things, this band will win you over.
Do not overlook his song writing skills and harmonies because of a disagreement over politics.
The Scariest Little Tune Ever is a paradigm of Vinosec's adaptability and comfort in any musical genre or atmosphere. An eerie Halloween piece, Kain's fearless take on it should win him much respect. He is by far the least trendy inclusion in this wrap, but warrants his position here in spite of his obvious desire to be a recluse regarding his firmly solo stance on his music. Perhaps it is this idiosyncratic nature that motivates the man in an ageless battle against his previous works; his greatest accomplishment, in my opinion, being Daniel I, a tasteful buffet, offering the full course of his metallic lead guitar style in an admirable song.
The Class Of November
Warpath is most certainly one of the most established bands to be featured in this column. A relatively recent distribution deal means that the band's album, Damnation, is stocked by major retailers including HMV, Tesco and Virgin Megastores. The thrashers' music can be heard from continental Europe to Japan, according to the band's myspace, and has received several positive reviews along the path to such exposure. However, bold claims that Damnation sold out in both the UK and in Japan, in two and fourteen days respectively merely beg the question of exactly how many copies were sold.
Kelly Izzo has no idea that she is being featured here; in fact, it is somewhat of an accident that I came across her, but a happy accident at that.
Cold Megan, the culmination of several years' worth of various musical projects including The Trash Kittens, is undoubtedly the apex that every unsigned artist should hope to reach within the boundaries of genre. Presumably named after a less than pleasant ex-girlfriend of Matt Smith, brainchild of the band, Cold Megan is the psychologically-distressed ramification of a recluse scientist sporting his classic punk influences with a rubicund, even hysterical glee.
Brought to my attention by our very own Petter Carnbro, The Vala is, if you recall that grandiloquent adjective I used in the introduction to this article, the tenebrous element to this month's article.
The above four bands should be fresh in your minds, considering the band was featured last month. I find it difficult to add much to what I wrote last month, and can only encourage Ultimate Guitar readers to further their support of these exhilarating talents. Aside from these bands, do remember Outvile, Ukrainian eccentrics experimenting in their own delectable brand of prog-rock.
It is time to end the year, and I cannot deny that if I had the funds, I would be travelling the world, covering these bands on a more regular basis. Paramount to judging the worth of any band, but even more so, an unsigned band is the live show. It is for this reason that my work is somewhat lacking in evaluation, but I do hope to at least change this in coming years. Unfortunately, time restraints and my service in the National Guard have also caused what I see as a slight deterioration in how thoroughly I execute my research. For example, before I was conscripted, I discussed with an artist their inclusion in my articles, and could learn a little bit more about their principles and ideas behind the music. Unfortunately, because of the lack of time, there obvious inconveniences of discussing whether or not an artist deserves to be included in this column. It is with this thought that I wish Ultimate-Guitar Readers all the best for the New Year. The article shall perhaps recommence in February rather than January to allow for some serious assessment on the structure of the article and whether or not any improvements can be viably undertaken. As usual, I can be contacted at email@example.com and http://www.myspace.com/samrgini.