Unsigned Bands Of The Month: February 2008

Unsigned bands do tend to be a little erratic, as I discovered in my hunt for unsigned talent after January's article. I was astonished at the feedback it received, and both the criticism and the praise was taken on board as I set out in choosing the bands that feature here.

Ultimate Guitar

Unsigned bands do tend to be a little erratic, as I discovered in my hunt for unsigned talent after January's article. I was astonished at the feedback it received, and both the criticism and the praise was taken on board as I set out in choosing the bands that feature below. Understandably, many readers wished to see a greater number of bands, not to mention a wider range of musical genres on show. Thank you to anyone who contributed to my search for talented unsigned bands; it would be valued if you could keep the feedback coming this month. Your private messages and comments are much appreciated, and I just hope that, together we can all learn to appreciate music of all genres over the course of this monthly column.

Exemption is a band that embraces a variety of influences, ranging from Sex Pistols, to Pantera to Johnny Cash. These guys don't just list a host of influences; the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding in this case is the band's recent album, "Rabbit Hole," an explosive album. Exemption breaks genre barriers down, particularly on Swing Darling, which includes a sonic surprise halfway through the track, when what sounds like a Steve Jones influenced guitar solo transpires to become a technically adept legato masterpiece. There is no doubt that these guys can play, and credit must go to the energies of Nicky, the solitary guitarist, who, fills out the sound admirably. I personally have a thing for 3-piece bands, and Exemption proves to be no, erm, exemption to the rule. Tom, Nicky and Ray have taken great pleasure in playing live with legendary bands such as the Misfits, and long may they continue. With such credentials, it can only be a matter of time before a band as talented as this is signed to a Record Label. Versatility is fast becoming a vital element of the evolving music industry. The fact is that there is only so much more generic music that the market can put up with; it is arguably saturated, and a band like Exemption could help to change that. Exemption have somehow uncovered that sweet spot that enables the band to epitomise the precise, yet raw sound that only very few three-pieces have captured over the years. This band does New York's divine musical dynasty proud, and is paramount to this article because of the experimentation the band undertakes on songs like Chunderpuss, while still maintaining the band's 'sound': A band that all should aspire to emulate.

  • UG Underground Rating: 9
  • Coyote, a five-piece classic rock band whose origins lie in the Midlands of the United Kingdom are situated in Lichfield, where they wow local audiences with their brand of Guns N' Roses/Thin Lizzy influenced sleaze. Scotty and Miller, the guitar duo proves their aptitude with striking interplay and ferocity as they widdle and chug their way through the band's set, which includes a range of originals and of course, Slash-dominated covers. With tracks as marvellous and poignant as Goin' Down and Let Me Live It respectively, the potential here is immeasurable. Screaming guitar solos, a tight rhythm section, and of course dazzling musicianship is what vocalist Josh can thrive on with his authoritative voice that truly is the final piece to this fabulous jigsaw.

    Although the band was founded a few years ago, Coyote's progress has been stunted by line-up changes, the most ill fated of which was spurred by the untimely death of Scotty's close friend and jamming partner, Richard Dowling. Taking this into account, one can further put Coyote's intense live performances and proficient song writing. With the motivation to succeed, coupled with the 'right' circumstances, Coyote may be able to prosper as a band by sparking a renewed interest in Classic Rock. The overwhelming question is whether they can make their own luck by extending their touring schedule and repertoire. With an excellently produced four-track EP recently uploaded to myspace, Coyote's place in this month's article is more than justified due in no small part to the excellence of their four track EP that will have you yearning for more.

  • UG Underground Rating: 8
  • Jake Skubisz is not only an overwhelmingly pleasant individual, but also an individual of immense talent. His sincere acoustic numbers are sonic works of art. His voice rings out over the instrumentation, which, he reminds us; he plays himself, unless mentioned otherwise, of course. Some of you may doubt Jake's prowess, but he is everything an acoustic player should be. Some of his attributes include his apt for song writing, and the tenderness of his singing voice. It reminds me of a blank slate (tabula rasa), in that it has so much to it, despite having capacity for improvement. With tracks as grand as the rhythmic Easy On The Eyes, and the palm-muted You'll Never Know you simply have to commend his ability. His songs, though simplistic at times, should not be overlooked, because minimalism can sometimes be far more powerful than the studio-beneficiaries of the major label industry. I think that this is one of those cases, and for as long as Jake records his own songs, he'll be able to remind us all of what unsigned bands should aspire to.

  • UG Underground Rating: 7.5
  • Stonecreep is a band that has been touted as the heirs to the classic metal throne. In 2006 the album, "Tonight We Ride" landed in the Canadian metal magazine's Top 10 list of unsigned demo releases. Their latest effort, "We Bleed Disaster" is reminiscent of 'Tallica in their pomp. Poised, ready in waiting to leave their home of Portland, Oregon in the USA, Stonecreep have opened for Exodus, Entombed, 3 Inches of Blood, Watch Them Die and 36 Crazyfists; not bad for a (currently) unsigned band. Matt Litton's Hetfield influenced vocals and rhythm guitar should suit well with most '80s thrash listeners, while Aaron Mullaney's more intricate lead is arguably more varied than Hammet's '80s efforts. That said, Stonecreep are not in the same league as the '80s thrash legends, and many are skeptical that emulating Metallica's thrash albums is even a viable goal anymore. Perhaps this could explain Stonecreep's unsigned status. Nevertheless, with songs as solo laden as Live To Die Again, the energy of these four guys from Oregon cannot be doubted, and this, this, is greatly in their favour as they look to make 2008 their year.

  • UG Underground Rating: 6.5
  • Choosing this month's bands prove to be no easy task, due in no small part to the numerous suggestions received in my message inbox. Leave any suggestions below, as always, and try not to be so harsh: be objective; be open-minded.

    89 comments sorted by best / new / date

      Check out shakodi and Project Darko from Clarksville, Tennesee and Dickson Tennesee! www.myspace.com/shakodi and www.myspace.com/projectdarko
      You should check out a band from Louisiana called Sugarfoot. I have seen them twice and it was great.
      Remember that any suggestions as to where I should take this article are welcome. Thanks for the feedback.
      This guy Jake Skubitz is really good with the acoustic. Thanks for sharing!
      If you like Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan, or just mellow music check out Tom Moran's solo stuff (he's the bassist and lead singer from Exemption ) Also, check out Exemption's friends Fastizio They are pretty rockin' Influences include: The Bronx, The Flaming Lips, Queens of the Stone Age, and many more http://www.myspace.com/fastizio Trust me it's all worth while
      Check out my page, hardly the greatest music in the world but good fer a laugh I suppose. www.myspace.com/stephenmckennamusic
      www.myspace.com/brucebombilla Acoustic/Folk from Iowa. Decent stuff.
      www.myspace.com/westpoint my band, from the Toronto area of Ontario Canada. Just released our first full length album and are about to head out on a major Canadian tour to support the disc.
      I would like to highly reccomend a band called Nylon Sky. They are only about 16 years old but sound about 25. www.myspace.com/nylonskyspace
      How about Until Eternity from Tampa, Fl. And if i do say so myself floridas music scene is through the roof.
      myspace.com/halftimerehearsal Those guys are pretty good. Decent on the local metal scene too.
      for cumbria and scotland bands how about; The Thursdays www.myspace.com/thethursdaysrock, Shore www.myspace.com/shorebanduk, The Mortal www.myspace.com/themortalweb and Runt Hornet www.myspace.com/runthornet not only four awesome bands but great guys too :
      could i recommend www.myspace.com/fatallyyours recently been on tour with 'Boy Hits Car' and 'Four Star Mary'
      Nice list there... exemption definitely my recommendation... i love them!