After the much-appreciated response to last month's article, I have considered two palpably crucial improvements to this article. First and foremost it is my duty to tell you, the readers what my myspace page is so that artists can contact me in case I don't get round to adding them. Contact me here. The second is to correct a mistake in the title of the column, and that is to substitute the word 'bands' to 'artists,' considering that not all of the featured artists thus far have been bands, but solo artists. I would in addition like to apologise for an error I made in initially omitting the bands' myspace links last month, and cannot thank Dyuha enough for correcting my mistake.
To get to business, Ultimate-Guitar.com is the best place for unsigned bands to gain coverage. Last month's bands experienced an aggregate increase in total myspace plays of 17533 with Exemption leading the pack, a massive 8820 plays better off! Of course, I am not taking the credit for the success of the bands, nor am I suggesting that all of the plays can be credited to UG, but an augmentation of such proportions is not coincidental. I sincerely hope that readers can help the following bands to similar accomplishments this month.Nestor Makhno, although listed as being signed to an Indie label features in this article for it is the band's own label, Moronic Records. I may be breaking, or bending the rules a little, but that is not the topic of discussion. Hailing from Alabama, Trey, David G and David H encompass the sentiment of this article. Being in a band is not all about getting signed and getting famous. When Nestor Makhno records songs as catchy, sincere and poignant as Friends or Trap Door Exit, it becomes necessity to tour DIY and to release the songs DIY. Of course, being named after a renowned Russian anarchist keeps the band members rooted in their ethics, and musically, this is just as frenetic as the Russian civil war in which the band's namesake participated. This is garage punk pop at its grassroots best, and whilst the band with southern folksy charm might not thank me for all the publicity, Dave Hale and Co. can deserve all the plays they get, as they continue to tour the States, from Chattanooga to wherever you live apparently, as the band notes, 'We'll play yer town. Promise.'
Penfold Gate boasts all the credentials necessary to feature in this monthly feature. One may recall the Shepshed 4-piece on the UK's Channel 4 show, 'The JD Set', or, alternatively from the band's supporting slot for the Futureheads a while back, which, in the band's brief career is no mean feat. The band's myspace page lists the band as Melodramatic Popular Song/Powerpop/Folk; in simple terms, this translates as Indie, only this band is a little too intelligent to be pigeonholed like that. Potion is the stand out track in Penfold Gate's repertoire, with its sharp guitar work and bouncing bass grooves. The track remains a rarity in that it is not often that one listens to a song and can sincerely admit that, regardless of genre, everything comes together perfectly well, as is the case in the seamless transition from verse to chorus on Potion. The chorus itself is intrepidly gallant, and epitomises the band's work, with soaring backing vocals and sharp jabbing upper cutting lyrics that come to the fore. The vocals are very English, and the humour is there for all to hear and appreciate.
|UG Underground Rating: 8.5
Total Plays at time of Writing: 1,739|
Of course, not Indie band is complete without its own distinctive image, and upon further investigation, it seems to transpire that these guys have a penchant for Batman And Robin fancy dress; this is fitting considering that the band's myspace is quite cryptic regarding the band members' names, and I can only quote them as: Ste 'Batman' Smith (drums); Robbie 'Klaus Ubersex' Jones (bass); Pete 'The Boy Robin' Flood (guitar); and finally, I don't actually know! Therefore, it becomes paramount to UG's cause to find out. Pester Penfold Gate with myspace friend requests, comments and messages and find out the identity of the missing band member! They're so underground they're superheroes, and you simply have to hear them, and watch the live video on the band's myspace page.
Once the less mature listeners get past the fact that The Safety Fire's vocalist's surname is McWeeney, it cannot be doubted that his vocals are certainly not, well, weeney (sic). Most significant is his uncanny ability to make the transition between both styles of vocals (assuming it is he who does both). Being a progressive metal band, The Safety Fire takes the listener through the motions in masterpieces such as Groove In A, switching from a stormy introduction to mind bogglingly heavy choruses, whilst making time for a mellow bridge somewhere in the middle of the track. The musicianship is incredible, and for those listeners with an ear for bands such as Sikth and Linear Sphere, there is an added element of surprise, with both Pin and Martin Goulding featuring with guest solo spots on the same track! Having contacts such as Pin and Goulding only affirms the band's status in the metal world.
|UG Underground Rating: 7
Total Plays at time of Writing: 37,646|
With gigging experience, a hard as nails image, and animated take on metal, The Safety Fire is fast earning a reputation for an all intensive live show at venues such across South West Massive, London and South East. A three track EP is the jewel in the crown of an aesthetically pleasing myspace page, the album artwork powerful as the band itself, the band represented as a flaming, mutilated ghost of a mermaid, like a candle that refuses to extinguish even under water, because it's in a jar with an infinite supply of oxygen; the supplier is an vigorous and dynamic band that might just be going places.
Do you live in the UK? Are you going to the 2000trees festival on the 11th and 12th of July 2008? Festivals are sometimes overlooked, but can sometimes be the catalyst to a bands success to beat the big names off the stage. Art Brut is going to be there, as shall Reuben, but also on the flier is a band of lesser fame, but with no less musical proficiency: Souljacker, another band whose unsigned status is belied by its musicianship. With influences ranging from the traditional Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, to more recent bands such as Metallica, Opeth and Clutch, Souljacker gets funky, classic, and extremely endearing with tongue-in-cheek humour on songs such as Jimmy Page Drank My Tea. However, it is most certainly not just fun and games for Souljacker, a band whose mellow, reflective capabilities come to light on the cigarette lighter-required ballad, Too Young. Being on the main stage at 2000trees shall spur the band to greater heights, and with lead guitarist, Hamish failing his driving test in January, he'll be looking to pass the big gig test in July.
|UG Underground Rating: 7.5
Total Plays at time of Writing: 40,271|
To conclude this month's article, I would like to emphasise just how much I get out of writing this article, and a large part of this is down to communicating with bands and ultimate guitar members. On a side note, The One Day Speakers, a band featured in January's article, have recorded two new songs (Stiff Upper Lip and Forever Endeavour) and for those to whom they appeal can be downloaded from the band's myspace page.
|UG Underground Rating: 7
Total Plays at time of Writing: 18,069|