Apr. 13 Reviews / What are some lesser-known bands you love?

As usual, feel free to discuss/criticize me on anything I've reviewed this week. Or not.

In keeping with this weeks review of Shelleyan Orphan, the question for the week relates to bands you love that not everyone knows about. Who are some bands that don't get a lot of recognition that you love? Will you share them with us?

Commenting has been closed on this article.

Noname
Thanks Aaron, if I can give you a little thing in return of all great one you give through your site, that's too cool. Keep up your amazing music discovery and chronicles.

almostcool
Noname, whoever you are, thanks for the comments on the specific reviews. I don't get a lot of direct comments on reviews I've done, so it was great to read your thoughts on things.

Also, thanks to everyone for their great suggestions. I've already found a couple things that I'd never heard of before that are great.

Michael
On the subject of Liars album. I saw them live about a month ago. I hadnt really heard anything by them and it was a last minute (drunken) decision to go and see them. Im glad I did because ive never heard or seen anything like it. It was a small venue of about 150 people who were all fanatical about the band. But the two drummers were brilliant along with the alien sounds coming out of the guitar. It was a truly hypnotic experience. It is the main reason I love music.

Nonane
Few quick feedback of some reviews:

* Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
Yes I apologize it's not from last series of reviews. The ipod let me suspect that music had some reapetivity characteristics but interesting music anyway. So after reading "fun little release that never gets a chance to repeat itself". So I bought the album. Well perhaps tracks doesn't look to each other but they repeat a lot themselves, I feel the review should have tell it. Ha well anyway interesting music and nice discovering, I don't regret my buy.

* Park Attack - Half Past Human
I bought this one too, great pick no surprise, album not that easy but I expected it a bit and that makes shine more your discovery/highlight. My feeling on it match very well the feeling the review gave me, thanks for this nice discovery.

* Liars - Drum's Not Dead
I had already bought this album. I feel it more important and great than you did, but I feel the review quite good. About what you wrote on "They Were Wrong So We Drowned" I disagree, diversity is very rarely a problem in an album and this one has a strong unity it's enough despite its diversity. But it is sad on all the album without to bring deep soul or mood, that makes it a not fully pleasant listening. "Drum's Not Dead" doesn't fail in this problem. About "Drum's Not Dead" it strangely remind me both "Remain In Light" from Talking Head and first album of Fun Boy Three.

* Shelleyan Orphan - Helleborine (Rough Trade)
Not fully my kind of music, but great review, podcast help a lot to be sure it can be for me, I'll buy this one.

Nonane
A last thing, about unknown stuff I'd like quote 3 albums from last year that I think they are really very great one and this go very unnoticed:

* CHOCOLAT BILLY - MON PERE EST TA MERE (Les Potagers Natures)
Couldn't beleive my ears when I listen this album. It's a rude rock album often catchy, with plenty little surprises but no play with experimental. A tiny touch of mad but that fits perfectly well. It is brut, tough, but no need to go in full noise or breaking melodies to be very original.

And the best you can download it for FREE (mp3 192) at:
http://lespotagersnatures.free.fr/catalogue/disques/PoNa014.php

DON'T BELIEVE a second that because it's free, it's crap, that just shows how modern life is mad.

* THE PSYCHIC PARAMOUNT - GAMELAN INTO THE MINK SUPERNATURAL (No Quarter) It's an incredible piece of violence and energy that you can't class anywhere, pychedelic, noise, electronic dirty games, and so on. Nope, it's nothing of that, just a bit of each. The best is how it can be catchy and nasty at same time.

* RADIKAL SATAN - VIENTO DEL ESTE, AGUA COMO PESTE (Les Potagers Natures)
Yes same label than first one, nope I don't know them. When you listen first the music seems made on classic bases. But when you want describe the music and when you listen with care, it's hard to describe and highyl original. The albums plays a lot with sounds slightly broken, distorded, poluted, with dirt on them. There's a simplicity but an amazing efficiency. This album has a gigantic soul and a touch from argentina (they come from this country) that gives even more soul and density. Don't be wrong it's not argentina folk music, just great unclassifiable rock with a touch from argentina.

Akron/Family first album is a great album of last year it definitely has soul. But I listen two track of it just after to have listen Radikal Satan and in comparison they look artifical, impressive.
I have the CD, it's very nice packaging if you want order it.

But again you can download the album for FREE (mp3 192) at:
http://lespotagersnatures.free.fr/catalogue/disques/PoNa024.php

Nonane
I hadn't realized the album was from the 80's not something not too old. So I dig through the stacks of CD to search if great unknown albums I have. So here a list from the 80's:
The Beautiful South - Welcome To The Beautiful South
Blurt - The Kenny Rogers Greatest Hit
Phillip Boa & The Voodooclub - Hair
The Bolshoi - Friends
Catherine Jauniaux - Fluvial
Cosmic Wurst - Mental Experiments For Missile Sensation
Duncan Dhu - Autobiografía
Hot Pants - Loco Mosquito
Orange Juice - You Can't Hide Your Love Forever
The Sneetches - Sometimes That's All We Have
The Sunnyboys - Sunnyboys
Tackhead - Friendly As A Hand Grenade
The Triffids - The Black Swan
Yargo - Bodybeat
The Woodentops - Giant

Take care than for most of those groups only the album I quote is very good, that's often the reason they stay unknown.

Not sure the woodentops is so unkown and sure The Beautiful South isn't unknown because they come fom Hoursemartins, but this album is top unlike all crap TBS did later and that is a lot unknown I think.

Also, not sure but for american those top from the 80's are also a lot unknown I think:
Jeff Beck - There And Back
The Fun Boy Three - The Fun Boy Three
The Jam - Sound Affects
The Jesus & Mary Chain - Barbed Wire Kisses (B-Sides And More)
Kas Product - Try Out
Mano Negra - Patchanka
The Nits - New Flat
The Nits - Work
The Nits - Henk

Michael
Cant Believe I forgot to mention these.......
Helios "Unomia" and "Transmitted Vibrations of Any Frequency" are amazing albums. This guy is a genius!!!

risko
a couple of bands that aren't that obscure but still tend to get less credit thant they deserve:

dat politics (absolutely brilliant laptop trio,,,, effing hilarious)

larsen (trance inducing avant rock)

,,both have new great albums out.

timonium (my favourite slo-core band)
empress (so fragile)

also

a northern chorus
from monument to masses (esp. s/t)
my dad vs yours
stafrænn hákon
borax (a now defunct estonian band)

akron/family would have topped my 2005 list had i discovered them earlier,,
give them a listen if you haven't yet

Jon
I actually played before This Will Destroy you once here in Austin...I couldn't help but think it strange that they sounded so similar to Explosions...and were from the same town.

But they had quite a presence. Speaking of which, at the end of that whole thing there was a duo called marriage who did the strangest performance art/karaoke that I've ever seen. Much stranger than the landlords piece in Lebowski...has anyone ever heard of them?

weis
I forgot about Tara Jane O'neil. She puts out album after album of beautiful hazy songs that always get overlooked. I'm partial to the first one Peregrine.
Also, Neil Young's fucked up 90's record, Sleeps With Angels. Man, that's a sonically weird record, not unlike MBV!!
Boxhead Ensemble. No one seems to care about them but I think some of you Godspeed fans who like the driftier parts of Godspeed would dig Boxhead

Ryan
Oops. Hit the "submit" button too soon. If you haven't heard of (or heard) the choral music of Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares, I implore you: check out their first two albums. My very favorite albums of all-time.

Ryan
I can't recommend these albums highly enough:
Antena "Camino Del Sol" (French-Belgian "electro-samba")
Congregacion, "Viene" (70s Chilean folk)
Brigitte Fontaine, "Comme à La Radio" ("French vanguard pop chanteuse" with accompaniment from Art Ensemble Of Chicago)
Luciano Cilio, "Dell'Universo Assente" ("These recordings sound as they feel self contained, introspective, and determined, you can feel in the music a sort of necessity that can be rarely found, as in Bill Fay's "Time of the Last Persecution", or in Nick Drake's "Pink Moon": this enormous weight that is bearing on it's creators, the absolute need to exorcize it from their lives, a moment in time where you are invited to hear artists truly in contact with their existence. Luciano Cilio holds that moment in time, an authentic emotional testament, something to be cherished (...)" from Jim O'Rourke liner notes)
Oh, yeah, and, of course...
Bill Fay, "Time Of Last Persecution" (RIYL: Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, et al)
Jean-Claude Vannier, "L' Enfant Assasin des Mouches" ("Serge Gainsbourg's right-hand man"; Recorded during the same sessions as Gainsbourg's "Melody Nelson")
I also highly recommend any recording by Basil Kirchin. Supposedly a big influence on Brian Eno's ambient albums. However, Kirchin's music is much darker. For instance, he samples shrieks and screams and laughs of Autistic children.

Jon
Even though they're a little here-and-there, I think Cerberus Shoal is very under recognized.

Also, I think everything on Constellation (besides godspeed, of course) is criminally overlooked, even if many people are very aware and fond of them. So...they're not overlooked at all, comparatively, but they should be looked at even more! And how!

Michael
To add to Kristian's recommendations. Please check out Port-Royal (i know ive mentioned them several times already). They are from Genoa, Italy and there music is monunmental. Their songs are epic and offer something different to other lackluster "post-rock" bands

Kristian
Sorry, feel free to disregard them. Still, at least I'm on topic.

lolamoe
more post-rock recommendations? Yawn.

Kristian
Somewhat related to the post-rock burnout discussion, here are a few bands from the genre that should be getting far more attention, also which I feel are more interesting than the new Mono, Gregor Samsa, Dreamend etc albums.

- Salvatore, from Norway. Their two latest albums have been produced by John McEntire, and especially Tempo from 2003 is to me heaps and bounds better than anything that has come from the Tortoise camp as of late.

- The Samuel Jackson 5, also from Norway. Brilliantly energetic and dynamic instrumental rock that comes across as a more upbeat Do Make Say Think meets Jaga Jazzist. Fantastic band name to boot!

- Sickoakes, from Sweden, doing the fairly formularic epic post-rock thing, but still with enough finesse and diversity to make it stand out. Their debut album was released recently on the great Type Records label.

Other bands are also providing quality post-rock these days, most notably Sparrows, Swarm and Sing! (wonderful GY!BE-alike), Sweek (previously mentioned here), This Will Destroy You and Joy Wants Eternity (both similar to EITS).

Olivier
Someone suggested it before me, but one band that I think you should really give a listen to is Malajube. Especially if you enjoyed band like Wolf Parade and the other bands that came out from Montreal lately. It is in french though, so If you only speak english you'll miss the lyrics (wich are actually really good), but it's still worth it. You can get some info right here : http://www.malajube.com/

And for those here you enjoy James Blackshaw, John Fahey, Six Organs of Admittance etc.. You could try Harris Newman. The guy own a mastering studio in Montreal, and he release some really neat solo acoustic guitar album. Really good stuff. (http://www.harrisnewman.com/)

mike
Indi, your so right about Swervedriver. Man, I just went back to their albums and sure enough this shit is better than I remember! A lot of that shoegaze got so watered down like Post-rock became, but the big ones still sound great... MBV, Slowdive and Swervedriver (though I hestitate in describing them as such).

chloe
Hey Collin, the band that you described wouldn't happen to be called Art of Flying, instead of Flying would it? I picked up a 10" by this band a few years ago because of the gorgeous silkscreen and the description comparing it to Alastair Galbraith and Flying Saucer Attack. It's a great record but I haven't heard anything else by them since.
As for the post-rock debate, this site is pretty heavy on the post-rock so don't fake the passe claim (we all know you guys wanna shake this label but you just can't can you?). Well, I think many keen readers have chimed in with other suggestions to get you over the post-rock hump and on to more exciting stuff. Happy travels.

Michael
Just to open up the postrock debate again. I too feel the genre can be deriviative, but there is definately some challenging records out there. However, having just heard "the flames beyond the cold mountain" from Mono's new album, I have to say it absolutley rocks!!!!

Collin
I got one of my first real "empowering obscure indie fan" moments when I got this cd called Just-One-Second-Ago-Broken Eggshell by a band called flying. I don't know if it's out yet (I have a promo that I wrote for after hearing a three-song-sampler with a hand-painted cover during my music internship this past winter) but if at the end of the year, people still don't know who it is... well, I guess I won't have as much faith as I did in the blogger community bringing out obscure music. Not that you don't do a great job, Mr. Cool.

Matt
: (

chris
Dimemberment Plan? no, not everyone.

Matt
Oh, and for anyone who enjoys pretty electronic glitchery, I strongly suggest you seek out Christopher Willits, especially "Seven Machines for Summer," which appeared on a compilation on 12k (might be out of print, though). The stuff this guy can do with a guitar and a laptop is amazing, and has been a big inspiration to me in my own electronic compositions.

also recommended: the two collaborations between Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Impressionist piano + ambient glitch = excellent.

Matt
Everyone loves the Dismemberment Plan, right? That band should've won a Nobel Prize for kicking ass.

mike
Malcom, I agree Black Forest/Black Sea definitely deserves more attention (not too crazy about the other three though). Oh, and Neil's right...Volcanic Tongue is the shit for mail order weirdness (as is http://eclipse-records.com/ http://forcedexposure.com/ http://time-lagrecords.com/ http://www.apexonline.com/melodybar/

malcom
oh, and in response to the almostcool review of the new Liars disc....

nO things

malcom
Not that no one has heard of these folks but just that they should get more attention than they do....
black forest/black sea
timonium
scout niblett
rachel's

Neil
http://www.volcanictongue.com/ = may not be to everyone's taste, as this shop/site/label deals with all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff, run by David Keenan (ex-Telstar Ponies) and Heather Leigh, who now perform as Taurpis Tula

http://www.unlabel.net/ = friends of the Mentalist Association, again lots of good stuff to choose from

Noname
Ini: Lol, I search dam well through the internet... ;-) Thanks for the precision, too bad there's only one very very short sample. Too short so I can't say if I feel it as threatening music but it catch me for sure, for the album I'd say it's to listen.

About threatening music, this isn't for the whole Shanon Wright but only for her album "Dyed in The Wool" but no links with grunge stuff or rock genre, just about threatening music. But not sure we are talking of same thing.

Elwin Rijken
Hey Aaron, how are you doin?

Well A Band that is lesser known, which I really dig is the Swedish band 'Under Byen' (in particular their album "Det Er Mig Der Holder Træerne Sammen" )

greetings Elwin

indi
Noname: I really like Shannon Wright ... but it makes me think that my description of Gern Blanston was not terribly accurate. They were more rock - not miles away from Unwound. But listening to them still gives me the same uneasy feeling as listining to Shannon Wright. GB is actually available at the Cavity Search website along with a short soundclip (which will describe them infinitely better than I have).

I also have to add Brainiac as a band that deserves more attention. And for bands that are still around, how come the world hasn't fallen in love with the Detachment Kit?

Noname
Neil: Ho man good points, the link you provided (http://www.mentalistassociation.co.uk/) is highly interesting from mp3 I listened there. After more digging I'll certainly pick up stuff there. Well ok on the length of an album that could be a completly different story but worth the digging.

I don't know much bands you quote but one, Aereogramme, is one I found highly interesting, their music doesn't seems original but with a little care to dig in it, that's another matter. Their album "Sleep and Release" is a thing to listen with care and definitely one of my favorite albums of 2003. And their 2004 big EP "Seclusion" is highly interesting too.

Neil if you have good url of sites that cover well the British underground (or at least that hate Brit pop! ;-), you should share with us, myself I gave up to found such sites.

In 2003 there was an stunning compilation of English young groups Northern Electronic" nothing perfect but great original music. And don't believe the title, you got rock spirit there. But what hapenned to all those young bands? Vanished into "noise" of the multiple boring brit pop hypes?

PS on your PS on Mono: Less than overload it's more the problem of "already done", today this has no or very few originality, 5 years too late. Ha well I don't like Mono stuff (from a previous album) nor this genre of music but with few exceptions, like the increadible masterpiece of Emery Reel, the fascinating "27:36" big EP of Gregor Semsa (but I feel I'll agree with MrCool about their last album) or an EP that seems to be in the genre but it isn't in fact, Shora "Malval". That's the problem of this genre, too restrictive and going so much at it's orders than it's out of it like does Shora is a better way to go now. I could even quote Aereogramme "Sleep and Release" as a quite good example that goes out of the borders of this genre to produce something really interesting.

Noname
indi: "sort of threatening quality to it that you don't find often in music"

Have you listened Shanon Wright "Dyed in The Wool"? It has this quality thoughout all the album, even better it's one of the best album of all time. I bet Gern Blanston can't be found anywhere, that's not cool you got my curiosity.

indi
Gern Blanston - (no, i'm not confusing the name with the similarly named record label). Released a thunderous album on Cavity Search a while back and then disappeared. I guess I can't avoid calling them grunge - but the way the term was used before it became a bad thing. It has sort of threatening quality to it that you don't find often in music.

Swervedriver - I had a fit of nostalgia this winter and dug up all my shoegazing records. Not surprisingly, most of the bands sound quite bad today. MBV aged well, as did Slowdive (though I disagree about them being overlooked). Swervedriver, on the other hand, is like good wine; they have gotten better with age. Even their poppier, more recent albums, that I didn't like at the time turn out to be great.

Scarce - in some ways I think this album may have seemed like a sell-out by the former singer of Anastasia Screamed (another criminally overlooked band). In many ways a pretty straightforward pop-rock album - and being on a major label probably didn't help either. Except, Chick Granning (what happened to him?) has an astounding voice and the songs are, well, great. At any rate, musically it would probably fall in the same category as The Posies' Frosting on the Beater.

Come - someone mentioned Thalia Zedek below so mentioning Come cannot be avoided. For me, Zedek's voice works even better against the background of loud(er) guitars. I also find the way that the guitars play together here pretty amazing.

Neil
My name here is a link to a great little label local to me, which has some truly wonderful bands on it. The Mentalist Association is basically a collective of musicians and artists who get up to all sorts. Live shows are loud, often messy, and great fun. Favourite bands are Noise Bitch (best name ever, don't you think!), Yeborobo and Shink - although pretty much all the bands are worth checking out. A good starting place is the dead cheap sampler - 16 tracks over 70+ minutes for less than the price of a pint.

Also, immense love for Cindytalk here - began life as post-punk, but have grown into something truly individual and inspiring.
I love that first Shelleyan Orphan album - the impact of the sleeve art on the vinyl version is quite something. Their "Century Flower" album is equally gorgeous - let's hope for a CD re-release of that soon.

Other bands I like but which get blank looks from friends [NB: all of these are/were hugely under-rated]:
A.C. Temple, Aereogramme, A.R. Kane, Bowery Electric, Disco Inferno, Gwei-Lo, Kitchens Of Distinction, Part Chimp, Polvo, Rake, Seefeel.

PS: Post-rock overload? For the record, I think the new Mono album is their best yet, but I can appreciate what you mean. Then again, I think similar bands have developed their sound (Mogwai's new one sounds nothing like their earlier output, for example). I just think Mono have found their niche, and are refining their sound. The track "Are You There?" is especially beautiful.
Still, horses for courses, and all that.

Michael
I keep thinking of more!

Port-Royal's "Flares" album was my number 1 last year, absolutley stunning.

No-one seems to know about Hungry Ghosts, appart from almostcool.

Thee More Shallows deserve to rule the world.

And i have been listening to a Belgian band called Sweek. I know nothing about them. Can anyone help?

Michael
I think Epic45 are hugley underrated and extremely talented musicians.

Terry
Two words: Experimental Aircraft. You can find them at their eponymous .com or on myspace. Their album "Love for the Last Time" is perfect shoegazer...better than MBV for sure.

Noname
There's no truth in music and it's cool see foreigner quote music of my country but I can't resist to disaprove a bit.

I doubt Noir Desir and Rita Mitsouko are so unknown, sure in most country a large public won't know them but a large bunch of more specialized public certainly know them. Also if I had to quote a Noir Desir album that would be "Totasky" and only this one. Finally it's better I don't comment Katerine or Mickey 3D.

Sorry Fred for this small reaction, the base is to not let you diktat your musical preferences by anybody, so don't care.

richie
I know I've already commented many times, but I'll add one more: Clue To Kalo. I feel like he should be more popular than he is.

richie
leighton:
Good call on Mojave 3, Mew, and The Radio Department!

I only own Ask Me Tomorrow, but I love it. "Love Songs On The Radio" is probably one of my favorite songs, ever --- I listened to it to death when I got it. It was raining at the time.

And Mew are good too. Though I think their newest is too bombastic, Frengers is really very good. I think they're picking up recognition pretty quickly.

Radio Department ... I haven't heard much, but I really like what I've heard.

I'd like to add Rf, Tape, and Dead Texan to the list. I found them out through this site!

Fred
What a great occasion to tell you about some bands from Québec and France that you should really really lend an ear to...

Jean Leloup - A pure genious from Montreal. He made 5 albums that are very unique. Try "L'amour est sans pitié" or "Le Dôme". Country, rock, rock-a-billy, danse music... he put his nose in every genre before faking his own death a couple of years ago. Too bad he is'nt making new songs anymore.

Malajube - "Trompe-l'oeil". A must hear album. Far better than the stuff put out by Broken social scene.

Karkwa - "Les tremblements s'immobilisent". Kind of a Radiohead from Québec.

Katerine - "Robot après tout". A strange guy doing strange music. This album is a bit electro-pop. But he also played bossa-nova and jazz in the past. Very funny.

TTC - "Bâtards sensibles". French hip hop on electro beats. Vulgar and mysoginistic but really good.

Loco Locass - "Amour Oral". A rare one. A politically charged hip hop group. A lot of their songs are about Québec independance.

Fred Fortin - "Planter le Décor". A small town poet doing big time albums.

Cowboys fringants - "Break syndical". One of the most popular group from Québec. And they deserve every bit of their success.

Mickey 3D - "Matador" or "Tu vas pas mourir de rire". French pop.

Noir Désir - "666.667 Club" or "Des visages des figures". The lead singer is in jail for murdering his girlfriend. But the band made 20 years of good underground rock before that happenned.

Rita Mitsouko - "Le no Comprendo album". Brilliant french pop.

Troy
Hey Mr. Cool- You are right, DoMake...are really great as well, especially albums 2 and 4, but they are just as guilty of the quiet to huge crescendo and back thing as the next band, but perhaps slightly more forgiveable in your eyes due to extra instrumentation (horns and the like), and a bit of post-production glitchy electronics and things. Mono's scope is maybe a bit limited in comparison, but I just feel that they do very nice things within those parameters. Pelican also has seemingly narrow operations, and yet their last record got nearly unanimous glowing reviews. I like Pelican well enough, but I don't think they have the finesse Mono do ( maybe its the constant cut and thrust that is Pelican's appeal. i dunno ).
Also, to clarify, I picked Devendra at random, and have no real axe to grind with him, I could just as easily have picked Neko Case or Son Volt or whoever. Alt-country rock ! Now there is something to get me wound up ! Thanks again !

Noname
Let me try makes you discovered few very great album from my (hated!!) country:

François Elie Roulin: This guy get his first album released on the Eno label. Ha well, for me, it's too difficult listening. His second album still a bit in same sort of music, less difficult to listen but still not my stuff. And finally the guy decided to get out of brain stuff to get fun in making his album "Parade" (Bizarbizar) released last year. That's a stunning one, full of smiles, you feel a true composer is behind, pop here but rock spirit too, plenty diversity and a small quite rare influence, a little bit the Who before "Who's Next". Let me link to a review I felt quite well done: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/roulin
Check also the user review at the bottom. At this review you'll even get tracks to listen in lowfi quality. "Parade" is easily in my top 5 of last year.

Sun Plexus: Their first album released during the 90's is interesting but there's few musical joke like long silence that spoil my pleasure. They like do musical joke but that decrease the interest of their albums despite they do interesting inventive music. Until their last album released end of 2004/begining of 2005, "Or Ou Ferraille ? A Quelle Profondeur ?" (Ronda). In short, a sort of Industrial ambiant with energy, width and a small touch of humour, and with this album the humour is enough discrete and doesn't break the album which is a masterpiece. Strongly advised, check at their site (http://sunplexus.free.fr/downl.htm) their previous albums in lowfi mp3 and fome songs of their last album. This one too in my 2005 top 5.

Few other albums that I believe unknown out of my country but that I feel as great one with interesting music that worth the discovery:
Cha3k - ... de l'extérieur à l'intérieur (http://chaek.lautre.net/)
Uminski - Saint Et Sauf (but avoid at all cost his first album!)
Sébastien Schuller - Happiness
Encre - "Flux" or "s/t" (both albums worth it, discovered through your readers top)
Arca - Angles (discovered through your readers top)
Kill The Thrill - Tellurique (Season Of Mist)
Camille - Le Fil
We Insist! - Crude (their first album is just ok but "Crude" is another story)
Vive Le Rouge - Cent Tas D'Arêtes

Ha well, at least I tried! :-)

almostcool
Thanks for the comment on the review. Feedback is great, even if people don't agree with me.

In further discussion of the Mono, let me say that my criticism isn't all related to the structures of the songs, but what they do within those.

You made mention of Devendra Banhart, and while he's not my favorite artist, I will say that while he does use many conventional structures (verse, chorus, bridge), it's what he does with those that makes him unique. Off the top of my head, I could pick both "The Beatles" and "Little Boys" off his last albums that start in one direction and then zoom off in a completely different one after awhile, keeping the song unique and fresh.

My major problem with Mono (and many other post rock groups) is that they follow nearly the _same_ structure within each song for the entire album. Basically, one big crescendo per track, starting quiet and building up to something huge before winding back down again. For example, a band within the genre that mixes things up a bit is Do Make Say Think, which is why their records still haven't grown stale with me. Hope that explains things a little more from my end. Again, thanks for the comment and please stop back again.

Troy
I must disagree w/ your low opinion of the new Mono. Indeed, there are some mediocre offerings within the post-rock genre; but this is also the case with any other style of music. In the past 2 or 3 years, post-rock seems to be getting the same drubbing in critics circles that prog rock got back in the 1970s( and with some justification ! ).But this is hardly fair. Post-rock should not be criticised for predictability any more so than song-oriented music with lyrics,i.e. if you pick up a Devendra Banhart disc, it's a safe bet there will be verses and choruses and bridges. GASP ! How predictable !
To my knowledge, Mono has not touted themselves as better, or more groundbreaking than other artists. And certainly, 4 records into their career, the listener knows what they are in for:peaks and valleys, quiet/loud dynamics, etc...but what saves Mono is a gift for aching melody. Also, while their development over the years is not earth-shattering, it is far from non-existant, w/strings deployed more skillfully than in the past, and unless my ears deceive me, some occaisional gusts of Mellotron on the past 2 records as well, giving some of this stuff a faint whiff of 70s King Crimson.
A 6 seems a bit rash...thanks for the opportunity for communication, you do good work!

Noname
Cool topic, I hope all of that will lead to new discoveries.

Bubbachups: Woo you quote a ton, I know only one it's Akron/Family. I "discovered" only recently their first s/t album. It could easily be in my top 5, a shame I discovered it so late. About this group, I'm worry that they will evolve to more sweet instead of evolving to more freedom, but for their first album, no doubt, a great one.

It's not cool to be negative but well, about Under Byen, I know only one of their album ("Det er mig der..."), definitely interesting music but sometimes it bores me a little.

leighton
Mojave 3 - Essentially the band Slowdive turned into, containing former members Neil Halstead and Rachel Goswell. They have put out some great albums but for some reason don't seem to be that well known. They have a new album "Puzzles Like You" out soon.

The Radio Dept - A great swedish indie pop shoegaze band. "Pet Grief", their new album is nice but their debut "Lesser Matters" is superb.

Mew - An interesting Danish band, similar to Sigur Ros.

Under Byen - Another great indie band from Denmark.

peter
One of my favourites that seems to have fallen by the way side is Duster. They put out two wonderful droney-space pop albums (similar to early american analog set, but a little darker) and a couple of EPs also. Great stuff.

Stina - Auzzie producer / composer that is wonderful, similar to mum, but lighter and shorter.

Qua - one of my favourites. Beautiful, complex arrangements.

almostcool
I was going to mention Marianas too! Wow. They have a couple mindblowing releases, and their first album is almost out-of-print now... :)

Another group that I've always felt was overlooked a bit is the Boo Radleys. Especially "Giant Steps." What a great album.

Another artist that has found a lot of love in places, but really melts my head is Gas (Wolfgang Voigt). All his albums are sadly out-of-print right now due to the whole EFA collapse, but they're head-swimmingly good ambient music.

Michel
There's a little known group that deserve more love: Marianas :P Sorry, sorry. But really.

George's two albums on Pickled Egg (http://www.pickled-egg.co.uk/george.htm) that were both covered by Pitchfork but still manage to pass under the radar it seems. Really wonderful stuff.

And I second the Marissa Nadler props below. Magical.

Fourcolor's Air Curtain is a warm album of minimal yet absorbing electronica that doesn't seem well-known either.

mastorna
I absolutely love Carissa's Wierd. Apparently their CD's are very hard to come by as they were local releases, however, I'd urge you to find what you can if you like beautiful 4am music.

Brent
Sui Generis/La Maquina de Hacer Pajaros - great Argentinian folk/prog from the 70s. Um, yeah, I don't usually go for prog, but...

Weis
I agree with Bubbachups about James Blackshaw, GHQ, and Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood (best band name ever!!)
I'll add some more contemporary illuminaries that under the radar...
Roy Montgomery (Scenes from the South Island is a classic record that few have heard)
Peter Wright (most of your readers really seem to dig 1 Mile North, so I'd recommend this guy to them. look for his stuff on PseudoArcana, Last Visible Dog and Ikuisuus)
Ivytree (so gorgeous and whispy like beautiful summer day spent on opium)
Starving Weirdos - weirdos from the bay area that mix the abstract noise of people like Birchville Cat Motel with free jazz skronk)
Grouper - another hazy Baby Area artist dedicated to transporting the listener to the aether
Richard Youngs - Oh my God, Richard Youngs...people will be tracking down his records for centuries

tons more that deserve the credit, but I'll stop here for now.


ehbenoit
mum and dad on twisted nerve, one of the few bands that no one seems to get... a damn shame it is.

i would also have to mention my longstanding favorite, that changed my life... seefeel.

tons of techno artists from the early nineties.

i agree with James Blackshaw as well, truly amazing.

i also agree with slowdive, though they have more attention heaped on them now then they did in their time... and in some ways they were the best of the lot.

Bubbachups
Thanks for the Shelleyan Orphan review! Indeed I didn't know about this album but it sounds amazing. I will definitely have to seek this album out. Thanks.

Bubbachups
Akron/Family
Saw them live just yesterday. The most exhilarating performance I've ever seen. Their ability to go from reserved folk to pure noise and back within one song was extraordinary. Their music fully represents musical abandonment. They are completely free in what they do on stage and it's beautiful.

Marissa Nadler
Beautiful and entrancing folk that creates a mood of melancholy like an old childhood photograph. Folk chanteuse Marissa Nadler sings spooky murder ballads with a gentle but mysterious, fragile and eerie voice that vaguely reminds me of Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval but with a much bigger emotional impact. She is without a doubt the most enchanting artist I have come across in years. I really urge everyone to seek out her latest album The Saga of Mayflower May released on Eclipse last year.

James Blackshaw
The most interesting character to emerge from the current post John Fahey raga revival. His album Sunshrine is truly one of a kind. He plays his beautiful 6 and 12 string guitars and Indian Sarod over a drone and musical landscape made by organ and glockenspiel. His 2006 album O True Believers takes his unique sound even further.

Others:
Alvarius B.
Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood
Death Vessel
Es
GHQ
Pläns Pläns
Thalia Zedek
World’s End Girlfriend

richie
Also, Do Make Say Think. Yes, they've wound up on many year-end lists (yours included), but they always seem a little unnoticed compared to some other, lesser bands in their genre.

I realize none of the three artists I mentioned are unknown in these circles, but I think overall, they don't get the attention they deserve.

richie
I feel like Slowdive is often overshadowed by some other bands that they get grouped with (mainly, My Bloody Valentine), but in my opinion they are no less worthy of praise.

Fridge doesn't get enough mention, either.