I’ve found that over the years, some of my all-time favourite releases are from ‘lesser-known’ bands in the scene. This makes perfect sense, of course – it’s unreasonable to think that the bands we hold to the highest calibre will consistently produce top quality records, and it’s often the younger bands burgeoning with passion, unafflicted by the constraints of the industry itself, which release the most unspoiled and innovative material.
5. As We Draw – Mirages
Location: France (Laval, Mayenne) Date of Release: 2014 Genre: Hardcore/Experimental For Fans Of: Plebeian Grandstand, Birds In Row. Why They Aren’t Famous: No idea. Maybe Laval, France is the equivalent of Perth or something? It’s beyond me.
Ah, France. The land of French things. You know, cheese and stuff. What you probably don’t know them for is hardcore, but France has always managed to produce really cutting edge hardcore bands – or cutting edge everything, really. The surrender monkeys have always been the forefront of avantgarde art et la musique, with As We Draw being no exception. They’re not actually a ‘hardcore’ band – that’s just a lazy generalisation on my part, but they have a range of influences, and it’s difficult to pigeon hole them into any particular genre. They describe themselves as “Power-Trio Post-core Expérimental” which, to be honest, is a pretty fitting description. Quick note – strap yourself in for the duration. To do this album justice it must be listened to in its entirety.
Welly’s Rating: 8.7/10
4. Corelia – Nostalgia
Location: U.S.A. (San Diego, California) Date of Release: 2011 Genre: Metal/Progressive For Fans Of: Good music Why They Aren’t Famous: They just take so fucking long to do everything.
Nostalgia is a true modern masterpiece, a lost treasure – but somehow, it was overlooked in the wave of progressive metal/metalcore emerging from 2010 onwards, and never really generated the hype it deserved. All the songs are beautifully and carefully constructed, and they’re all amazing musicians. As criminally underrated as they are, it seems the fans they have are loyal, though – they launched an indiegogo campaign earlier this earlier to fund their debut full length – a double disc, 90 minute epic. They doubled their target within a month … but are yet to advise of a release date. So, yeah. It’s set to be released this year sometime. Maybe.
Welly’s Rating: 9.1/10
3. Sights & Sounds – Silver Door
Location: Canada (Winnipeg, Manitoba) Date of Release: 2013 Genre: Rock/Experimental For Fans Of: The Police, Sting, Experimental rock influenced by The Police and Sting Why They Aren’t Famous: They are, sort of.
I could have easily but this as number one, really. This was definitely the best release of 2013, and in my opinion, one of the best ‘modern’ rock records we’ve seen in recent years. Rock is a little bit unfair – they’re probably influenced by punk rock and pop more than anything, but their music is so real and rife with passion that it pretty much knocks anything in the same vain out of the park. Andrew Neufeld has spoken about how much fun they had recording the EP, and you can actually hear it; I would kill to see these guys live. They probably haven’t come into the spotlight in part to the band being more of a ‘side project’ than anything, featuring basically half the members of Comeback Kid.
Welly’s Rating: 9.3/10
2. Human Nature – Telling Everybody
Location: Australia (Sydney, NSW) Date of Release: 1996 Genre: Pop For Fans Of: Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Jesus. Why They Aren’t Famous: They earn something like $70 billion each year in Las Vegas doing motown covers.
Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up all you want, but Human Nature are badass. This is very much a guilty pleasure, but I passionately stand by this album as one of the greatest pop albums of the era. Also, consider this – these guys predate the Backstreet Boys by four years. Not only that, Telling Everybody was released an entire year before the BB breakthrough album, Backstreets Back. These guys well and truly nailed the mid-90’s boyband craze before it had even begun and, unlike their cultural peers, they saw the era of boybands was coming to end and reformed themselves as one of the most successful motown cover bands which your Mum has ever seen.
Welly’s Rating: 9.7/10
1. Sunk Loto – Between Birth & Death
Location: Australia (Brisbane, Queensland) Date of Release: 2003 Genre: Metal/Post Hardcore For Fans Of: Albums ten years before their time Why They Aren’t Famous: They were ten years before their time.
Seriously. Listen to this album and keep in mind this was released by a bunch of kids in Brisbane who were barely twenty years old. It polarised fans, being a massive deviation of their earlier alt-metal, nu-metal influenced style heavily marked by bands like The Deftones. Nevertheless, it received critical acclaim worldwide for being so wildly innovative and truly unique for its time. Unfortunately, albums that are so ahead of their time rarely bode well with the casual listener, and the band fizzled out around 2005. Some of the members have reformed into new band Electric Horse, a much more radio-friendly alt-rock blend, but then again – when you’re releasing highly original albums at the top of your genre when you’re 19 years old, you’re bound to move on to other things. I honestly slot vocalist Jason Brown along with Daniel Johns in the Australian child-prodigy pioneering genre-transcending wizardy, just way less pretentious and wanky (sorry, Dan). You can listen to Electric Horsehere.
Welly’s Rating: 9.9/10
IPHYB Top 5: Lost Treasures & Guilty Pleasures (Welmanshire)