Unsigned Talent Of The Month: October 2010

It's time for this column to change. It's going to become more competitive, better researched, and higher maintenance.

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It's time for this column to change. It's going to become more competitive, better researched, and higher maintenance. The benefits of being featured in this column have been apparent for some time, with bands experiencing several benefits:

-A higher play count; -Exposure; -A sense of achievement; -Advice; -Bands featured in this column have even played shows with bands they have encountered through this column.

This month we shall also feature the first ever Ultimate-Guitar Unsigned Artist of the Month Award. This will result in more exposure for your band, the winner being chosen by Ultimate-Guitar.com forum members themselves. At the end of the year, the artists selected as Artists of the Month shall enter a competition to declare the Ultimate-Guitar.com Artist of the Year Accolade. The precise details of what victory shall be kept under the wraps for the time being, but you want to win this competition because you will get some recognition on UG. So get voting on your favourite band this month here: Ultimate-Guitar Unsigned Artist of the Month.

The conclusion shall tell you more about how to get in touch with me, but please consider using skype. Details follow at the end of this article.

This month's artists:

Satin Gum, a power pop rock band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States, with a penchant for catchy, yet inspiring choruses is so good that I regret writing about them first. It's a struggle for me to stop listening to their songs, which can only be likened to a Jesse Malin-D Generation and Keith Richards guitar influences. The band is fronted by Brian Spekis, whose voice and guitar are supported by Gunnell (guitar), Craig (bass), and Vavro (drums). The band share a love for bands like the Replacements, D Generation and Led Zeppelin.

Songs like Hip Shake Heartbreak show off Satin Gum (Sat in Gum) as the jaunty musicians with a zeal for poppy yet likeable songs that should see them fare well with UG. With strong vocals and harmonies, Satin Gun has penned a song that will stick in your head for yonks.

The artwork for Satin Gum's EP2 is also a talking point, three hula hooping skeletons, tinged with green. They're dancing against the pale blue backdrop, their arms and legs spindly, but their skulls undoubtedly happy.

I listened to the EP songs when I was painting the skeletons and hula hoops. They're dark yet sweet, rough yet intricate. These seem like impossible combinations but I think these descriptors can be applied Satin Gum's sound. Ashley Andrykovitch, Album Artwork Artist

After discussing the band with Ashley, I figured the guys are for real. I also quite like the correlation between music and art, so you'll forgive me for telling you that it's always important to get the best visual experience to accompany your audio too. It really gives character to a band, and that's what Satin Gum has on both levels.

Such character can be found on the wonderfully crafted Another Lonely Friday Night, a song with some poppy guitar arpeggios and superb vocal delivery.

Satin Gum's touring schedule can be found here, and this is a band you should really see live, as in the past they have shared the stage with artists such as Jesse Malin and We Are Scientists.

In the band's online biography a Leroy Brown' sandwich is recommended. Its ingredients are as follows:

a half-pound of Angus topped off with homemade BBQ sauce, sugar-glazed peppercorn bacon, and cheddar cheese.

It's with pleasure that I can exclusively reveal where Satin Gum eat their Leroy Brown' sandwiches, and that is at North Country Brewery in Slippery Rock, PA.

UG Rating: A mature band with a lot of potential, but perhaps needing to embark on a more rigorous touring schedule to get the word out. For more information on Ashley Andrykovitch, the artist behind Satin Gum's excellent artwork, visit web.me.com/aandrykovitch.

Hope in Negative Spaces is an album that was almost never made. The band behind the record, Follow The Deceived, has been cursed by a start-stop characteristic unhelpful to any band hoping to build up any momentum. Mark Cruz, vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the band, is the brain child of the project. The band plays a sort of post-hardcore meets screamo blend of music that is always too heavy to be laughed at. So don't overlook Follow The Deceived.

Follow The Deceived is a statement in that regard. The name is suggesting that if you too have been deceived, you should follow this conglomerate of beings into moving away from that pain. That there is a group of individuals that feels your pain, and intends to grow from that pain. That would be The Deceived'. Mark Cruz, Vocals and Rhythm Guitar, Follow The Deceived

For Mark, Follow The Deceived is a way to release his inner demons, whether that is experiencing the death(s) of loved ones, relationship problems, or even losing one's job. Many readers will be able to relate to such problems, and perhaps this serves as an example of how the best lyrics are often those based upon life's experiences.

Follow The Deceived have an impressive myspace page, great photos, and well recorded music. I'm impressed not only with how the vocals have been captured, but just how many layers of vocals have been captured to sound so intense, so close. Epitomising this approach is the raw Memoirs of a Madman, its screams close enough to cut slash through any doubts about this band. It's a song with a big no nonsense' label attached to it.

On the other hand, Follow The Deceived could do with avoiding some of the reliance on the contrast between screaming and singing. Don't get me wrong, the band does this well, but sometimes the music itself is put on hold while the vocals take precedence. It would be more desirable for there to be some variation in how the music is recorded, because although the songs are intense, they might be criticised in lacking some culture in terms of dynamics. For instance the suspense during the otherwise admirable breakdown of Hope in Negative Spaces could be increased by delaying the pause of silence. In spite of these minor criticisms, this is a raw band in need of praise for the way the members have recorded these powerful songs.

UG Rating: Like Satin Gun, Follow The Deceived are definitely not out of their comfort zone on this recording, but it seems to be the perfect step to more interesting music, perhaps utilizing the recording process to better represent dynamics. This band is worth your time.

The Remnant Kings formed in Penicuick, Scotland back in 2002. The band's line-up has been largely unchanged in that time, but the position of bassist has been volatile. The band has had eight bass guitarists in that time. The band plays what the press releases describe as energetic, intense, emotional rock n roll', inspired by Cream, Supergrass, The Pixies, and Biffy Clyro.

The band is comprised of Rich Paxton (guitars, vocals), Andrew Hayes (Guitars), Kit Thomson (drums), and the eighth bassist in the band's history, Myke Hall.

I spoke with Myke Hall who, in spite of being the band's eighth bassist, came across as relaxed, affable and, most of all, excited about The Remnant Kings' prospects.

When you're in a band, it's only forty per cent creativity, sixty per cent administration. Myke Hall, Bass Guitarist, The Remnant Kings

That's something I don't hear very often when writing this column, but it shouldn't come as a surprise. Hall is quite an experienced musician, having toured with his old bandThe One Day Speakersas the support group for celebrated Scottish band, The Proclaimers. He talks in a matter-of-fact tone, expressing his gratitude to the band's manager, Gary Pait, who has taken a lot of the administrative work off the band's hands, including the booking of gigs.

Of course, it's not just about the administrative side for the band. Hall did talk about the forty per cent creativity that all bands need. I'm not sure about his statistics, but the band has got some good ideas. For instance, gigs in the past have included guest musicians to create what Hall calls The Remnant Kings Orchestra'basically a jam session based upon The Remnant Kings' songs involving instruments such as the trombone, harmonica, and cello. For me, Scapa Flow remains the band's best work, a tremendous song with a military story to the lyrics. Perhaps being from Penicuik, where there are ample UK armed forces, influenced the band in that respect.

The band knows about DIY and underground ethos too. Considering that money is not the easiest thing to come about these days, The Remnant Kings played a gig at the Electric Circus on the 25th of September in order to raise some funds for the recording of their next EP. That night, fans also voted on their favourite songs, the top four of which shall feature on the four-track EP. Hall said that We'll reward them [the fans] afterwards, stating that the band shall play a free gig for the fans in due course.

UG Rating: The Remnant Kings are less that polished, but they know their goals, and although a record label isn't in the band's sight at present, the recording of the band's EP shall aim to bring attention to this band, whose funky soft rock songs are worth a listen, even in their current state.

Like I have already noted in the introduction to this article, there is a lot yet to happen with this monthly. I want to contact talent in new ways, hear music in refreshing mediums, and communicate more extensively. I want the music featured to have a human face. In addition to this, I have established a Skype Account especially for talking to bands out there, so add me on skype: ultimate-guitar-unsigned-talent and email me at sam.agini@ultimate-guitar.com or add me as a friend at http://www.myspace.com/samrgini.

By the way, I really want more Metal and Jazz bands to accompany the other genres.

Vote for your favourite band this month.

Samuel Agini

31 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Retrac17
    Has moving mountains been featured in one of these? because if not they really deserve too, they blend post-rock and post-hardcore almost perfectly
    mr.speaker
    Those dousch bags 'Follow the Decieved' almost completely copied Seethers album name: 'Finding beauty in Negative Spaces'. talk about a rip off noob band
    ss311
    skylerjames13 wrote: I don't know if I'm the only one who noticed this, or I'm just a noob or something. But I think Follow The Deceived are signed? On their Myspace, under label, it says 'Somber Tree Records'
    It's the band's 'record label'. It's not really a label as such.
    skylerjames13
    I don't know if I'm the only one who noticed this, or I'm just a noob or something. But I think Follow The Deceived are signed? On their Myspace, under label, it says 'Somber Tree Records'
    Raining Kasch
    Follow the Deceived is pretty good, they should get a frontman though, Mark Cruz can still seem pretty good. And the Remnant Kings seem more like folk rock than anything, but they're not bad.
    FearOfTheDuck
    How the **** are the Black Spiders unsigned?! Check those guys out if you like your sleazy but ballsy rock. They've supported Airbourne and played the UK Ozzfest. Great band
    ss311
    p.s. everyone, I already know that I should have typed that Follow the Deceived is the brainchild of Mark Cruz. Stupid slip.
    Mattadon9
    Check out Pangaea at www.myspace.com/pangaeametalearth. Brutal tech death metal from Erie, PA.
    markcruz11
    Great review Sam! Keep up the great work, and thanks for taking the time to review my band, "Follow The Deceived"! I appreciate it man!
    ss311
    Whenever you're ready silhouettica. Don't get me wrong- it does help if I have access to lots of information!
    silhouettica
    ss311 wrote: Most of the bands featured do not have UG profiles. Just make sure you have a decent web page or myspace page or ug profile. Essentially, I want to hear some good music!
    Awesome! can I just message it to you when we finish the recordings?
    ss311
    Most of the bands featured do not have UG profiles. Just make sure you have a decent web page or myspace page or ug profile. Essentially, I want to hear some good music!
    silhouettica
    I have a couple of questions about this column- First, do the bands featured have to have impressive UG profiles? Second, if you want your band to be considered for the column, what would you do? I ask because my band Akrasia is about to finish recording a full length progressive metal/jazz album, exactly what you said you were looking for, and was wondering if there was any way we could potentially get featured in the December issue? Thanks
    pineaple expres
    "Hope in Negative Spaces" any 1 else think this seems a little bit close to beauty in negative spaces? the new seether album.
    mr.sux
    Good review, i think follow the deceived sounds pretty good, they got something going on. In terms of rip offs mr.speaker WHO THE FUCK LISTENS TO SEETHER?? I guess your 12yo ass that records wannabe awful guitars and posts on youtube from his mothers house. And in terms of ripping off album names i can start a whole list of bands that sound alike, similar album covers, same song names etc...it goes forever. so dont hate cause someone is doing something with their life. BTW if they sucked im sure they wouldn't be featured on UG as Unsigned..... So yeah this goes out to all the bands that try in this review and any others that make music.