June 7 Reviews / Discuss an unknown...

As suggested by Jon in the most recent thread, how about people suggest semi (or really) obscure bands that they enjoy that they think others might not have heard of.

I think we did something like this awhile back, but it's always good for another round of discussion.

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Martin (Sweden)
If I would make one recommendation it would certainly be Detektivbyrån (Detective Bureau). Swedish band playing something really Yann-Tiersen/Beirut-like. Vibes, xylophones, accordion, trumpet, drums, guitars and anything else that they can get their hands on. Some say it sounds like carnival music... In any case, it was an incredible discovery last year and I am surprised it didn't show up on anyone's reader's list.


Incredible little band!

I've been a fan of Epic45 for years they have a new album due shortly. I rate them almost as highly as Radiohead. They certainly have the same experimental tendenices and each record marks a progression. Wonderful band

and two another ones:
www.myspace.com/kaada, from the norvegian scene, he released a magnifiicent album last year on Ipecac imprint
www.myspace.com/drowningcalm :The balustrade ensemble is about to release its 1st album in the coming months, stay tuned. Wonderful !

i don't know if this one is obscure or not, but it deserves a real attention.
Look at www.myspace.com/epic45

Really glad that someone mentioned jonquil; I'd heard them some time ago but had lost them under the pile of mental "stuff". But no longer!

"Tefflon" is a really cool acoustic band out of San Diego. They mix acoustic guitar, drums, and upright bass, with classical violin. It's folk rock music but with really prominent violin riffs. My band "Stratosphere" played a gig with them once and it was really cool. Even though we do more of a funky modern rock thing and they are acoustic, their sound seems to cut through genres. They create an atmosphere that fans who are into completely different styles of music can still appreciate. Kevin

Hey, I'm Elwin's friend he has mentioned :) I was surprised to see Slaraffenland in Derek's post... I just got the record 2 weeks ago in London and it's good! I'm truly devoted to Scandinavian artists. My boyfriend and I went to London to see Paavoharju and Islaja play there in a church (www.no-signal.net). We're both very fond of them. Fonal is offering more great stuff like Es and Kiila. We recently discoved Kuupuu, anyone heard of that before? Take care, Tessa :)

Sam M.
I love the new Pole album. Lots of squelchy low end bass rumblings which always does it for me. And the cover art is fantastic!! Especially after all those minimalistic covers from previous Pole outings. Nice one Stefan.

Sam P
I didn't really see Paavoharju as possibly being unheard, but without doubt I'd reccomend that album. As good as it gets. Really! I'll try and check out some of these ones beneath as I'm really intrigued. Couldn't find any Mika Vainio releases on here, but I'm sure you're aware of his music.

I'd reccomend all the music anyone can find from the dmz label - digital mystikz (mala and coki) and loefah. Taken me by more than storm this year.

one more contribution to the topic - i'd heartily recommend a debut (it's from 2002) by Apeiron, "Todo Sigue Intacto" (on Foehn) although my top5 for 2000-2005 albums varies all the time, this album has always secured its place in it.. i'd also recommend other release on Barcelona's Foehn Records

think The Books + Hood + Piana + Margo + Emak Bakia.... imo, it's a fantastic album

could only find one online audio link for you, it's on Foehn Records MySpace, select track 'Ex' in media player


re: Finland scene...that's true, partly because of their Fonal Records label support (which is "a national institution", similar to what Rune Grammofon's done for Norway scene)

my fave being Paavoharju (they had also 7" out on Type Records) btw, i was surprised that "Yha Hamaraa" wasnt reviewed by almostcool :-)
please check myspace samples

here's what Boomkat wrote about the said album:

"And so it finally arrives on the shores of dear old Blighty. After weeks of whispers and nudges from the most highly esteemed of sources, one of 2005s most talked about albums is with us, and oh goodness has it been worth the wait! Undoubtedly my favourite release of last year (by a long way I might add) this album really does have something for everyone. Created by a band of born-again Christians in rural Finland, sung in Finnish and with a title that translated means 'Continuously Dark' (a not-so-subtle reminder of the Finnish seasonal conditions), one may feel daunted by the challenge of such a record"

Elwin Rijken
Hehe, ow talking about really obscure.
A girlfriend of mine who went to Finland for half a year introduced me to all these Finish Elektro bands (there's a real big electronic scene over there)
Here's a song that will brighten up anyone's day!

The band is hardly trackable on internet though.. their site is offline

Thanks to everyone who recommended Jonquil. I went to their myspace and was charmed, so I ordered their CD. Maybe I'll try to review it here if it comes any time in the near future.

I think the new Pole album artwork is pretty fantastic, but the music, ummm... Not my favorite.

Islaja is an artist I've tried and tried to get into, but the new album just seems so detached to me that it just doesn't grab me regardless of how much I listen to it. I've given it headphone treatments, speaker treatments, and both daytime and night listens, but it just spins on by. To each their own, I suppose.

I haven't listened to Pole's Steingarten more than some samples, but it has received good reviews so I don't imagine it being that bad.

All reviews:

Yeah you're right Brent. I caught Under Byen live in the Effenaar in Eindhoven (The Netherlands)

That was a great show!
And their best epic song yet is the slowly upbuilding "Den Her Sang Hander Om At FaÌ Det Bedste Ud Af Det" Which in the final 30 seconds quickly unwinds like the whole thing was some wind-up music toy.

Great band to check out for sure!

I second Under Byen.

Sam, new Pole effort Steingarten, imo, is really boring and dated sounding..all tracks sound the same to me. very unoriginal.. i wouldnt recommend it, it's shite... and yes, artwork is horrible as well

Islaja's "Ulual Yyy" is growing on me, but it isn't what I expected after "Palaa Aurinkoon" (one of my favorite releases of '05; check the Reader's Lists). It certainly sounds more "electric." While "Palaa Aurinkoon" always struck me as hazy, sunny, hippie afternoon listening, "Ulual Yyy," contrary to Derek's assessment, seems well-suited for nighttime listening. Turn off all the lights and get creeped out. Then again, Scott Walker's "The Drift" has quickly become one of my favorite albums ever.

As for recommendations of obscure artists, how about some shameless self-promotion? Relatively few people have heard the music Aaron and I are working on. Six songs are just about mixed down, with around ten others in various stages of completion. We'll be sharing a song or two soon. Stay tuned.

off the subject, but has anyone heard the new Pole album? i'm pondering whether to pick it up as the cover is completely enchanting...

mum and dad on twisted nerve... highly misunderstood. highly overlooked. broke my heart it did. if i was king of the world for a day everyone would have to listen to this album.

and yeah, jonquil is amazing and unheard of mostly as well.

Under Byen

Elijah Wyman

yes, Joquil is a real treat, have their/his CD, sadly it's limited to 500 ans is now sold out, here's what Norman Records wrote: "Lordy this is good. We got a promo of this 2 months ago and I've been wetting myself for the finished thing for fricking ages now. This is some dude from Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies who plays piano for 'em here and there. He's come up with a belting album which has me slavering to bang it on the stereo whenever possible. There's an awful lot of Animal Collective in there (Sung Tongs era) along with hints of Hood, Brian Wilson, Alexander Tucker and even Talk Talk at times... 'There Is No Ian Bridgwater' is an outstanding tune which has that medieval thing going on with Accordion and Bouzouki (whatever that be but I think it's the mandolin sounding thing). Hey I sound like I know what I'm on about don't I? Plenty of folk in there as well for you who can't get enough folk. This is a truly remarkable CD anyway and I can't recommend it enough. For fans of Animal Collective, Hood and great music... "

It's really disappointing to find out that Some Tweetlove are no longer going. I bought that album on the basis of the review posted here last year. Its a real shame

for me the discovery of the year has been Jonquil - absolutely stunning (post-folk?) music


also, if you're in a mood for something calm and measured, check out Some Tweetlove (from Belgium).


(there's a great review of their album Cafard Mondial here on this site)

The Bear Quartet - swedish band that has been around since the early 90's. Over the years the styles have ranged from shoegazey pavement to niel young to now something of their own -

Ohbijou, the next great Canadian band, the Acorn is also a band worth checking out

Oh yeah, Grizzly Bear is awesome. Yellow House was my favorite album of last year. Haven't heard of Taxi Taxi, but will check out ASAP since I dig CocoRosie, at least until their latest album.

Jon - Islaja's definitely worth checking out, but it helps to be in the right mood! The singers voice is one of the most original and haunting ones I've heard in a while.

Derek, you'll probably know of Grizzly Bear, but Taxi Taxi! are worth checking out on Rumraket. Twin sisters from Sweden, a little bit like Coco Rosie

"Another favorite of this year I forgot to mention was Islaja's Ulual Yyy. Imagine Oldboy, except it's Bjork being locked in a room for 15 years. When she's released, she might make an album as beautiful yet downright frightening as this one. Don't listen with the lights off."

Wow, that's an insane description; I might wait until the day time to look for them!

I'm glad you liked the Michael. I'll have to check out some other bands on Rumraket - any suggestions?

Another favorite of this year I forgot to mention was Islaja's Ulual Yyy. Imagine Oldboy, except it's Bjork being locked in a room for 15 years. When she's released, she might make an album as beautiful yet downright frightening as this one. Don't listen with the lights off.

I thought Derek's recommedation Slaraffenland was quite interesting, I wasnt surprised to find out they were on Rumraket a wonderful little label run by Efterklang.

I have another recommedation for those of you who enjoy dark ambient passage. Have a listen to GP~00. 'Trains' and 'All The Little Remnants' are highly recommended


Been ultra busy this last week but I'm going to check some of these out in the next day or so...

Has anyone followed up on any of the recommendations? I, guiltyly (not a word, unsurprisingly) have not!

For those who love eletronic music :

Ten And Tracer : Great glitchy/idm'ish music. You can get most of his stuff on netlabels for free.


Glander : Some dub/minimal techno. Really great stuff. He released a awesome album called "Heavy Weights" on the netlabel Yuki Yaki (http://www.yukiyaki.org/)


Not sure any of these qualify as obscure, but maybe under the radar. Anyway, they're among my favorites of this year and not getting much press.

Slaraffenland - Private Cinema

They're like a darker version of Do Make Say Think with consistent, and often strange yet beautiful, vocals.

Alex Delivery - Star Destroyer

Noisy, noisy experimental rock that you'll either find grating or love. Komad (http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=13226506) is just completely badass.

And A Sunny Day in Glasgow seems to be less obscure now, but I'd love to read a review of it here if you check it out.

The best band you've never heard of:

Pale Young Gentlemen PERIOD.


I saw them live in Madison, WI and their set blew me away, so I bought their cd. You can also check them out live on YouTube. That's all I got.

these guys in my town make some ridiculous music and call themselves rare covers.
not everything they do is covers.
but you gotta check out there cover of wouldn't it be nice
here's their myspace page

I just wanted to second Michael's recommendations of The Pirate Ship Quintet and Tobias Lilja. Both are a couple of my favorites of the year.

I'd recommend Paper Route. A pretty unknown indie band with a very nice electroacoustic touch.


Second Chances is a great track, do start your listening with that one.

Here are some bands for people to check out:

Shout Out Out Out Out! - Yet more Canadians, think The Rapture and Daft Punk crossed with Trans AM and replace political with party!.


Brian Ellis - Super cool mix of electronica and jazz on Benbecula Records


The Pirate Ship Quintet -

Post-rock from the UK, but a lot more exciting than the usual run of the mill stuff. A septet that incorporate brass and string arrangements. The ep rocks!


Crippled Black Phoenix - Thought you may have reviewed this one Almostcool. Worth checking out, features members of Mogwai, Gonga and Electric Wizard


Tobias Lilja - on the excellent n5md label, his album is probably my favourite so far this year. Gothic tinged classical/electronica


Panther Attack - this Seattle band are unsigned, but produce utterly incredible math-rock with prog influences. The drummer is outstanding


Romance Of Young Tigers - no percussive elements yet this young quartet make one hell of a monolithic sound. The ep is worth getting for the artwork alone


If anyone wants to find out more, click my name I have reviewed some of the CD's mentioned above

I've been going on about Port-Royal on this site for a few years now. I think they are a wonderful band. "Flares" was a great debut album, at times stunning. But they have refined their sound and found the perfect balance between shoegzae and electronica on 'Afraid To Dance'. Great review ( I was going to inlcude them as part of my recommendations for the thread!)

Hey, being late on a topic paid off! Thanks much for taking this into consideration Aaron, much appreciated...

My recommendation would have to be a band called Phantom Buffalo (formerly The Ponys) off of time-lag. Their first album, Shishimumu, seems to have completely escaped any kind of radar, anywhere, and is really quite a thing to be admired.

I'm not sure how to describe it; semi-fuzzy psych-rock (whatever that is exactly) that just kind of let's loose and does what it wants. It's not even really that out-there or anything; just really well done I suppose. You can just tell from listen after listen that it was put together with quite a bit of care. It has that element, whatever that is exactly, that really reminds me why I like music so much in the first place. I guess it is really clearly conveyed that those who made it just made what was in their minds/hearts almost without any coloration from what is "in", or any other synonym that fits in...

Sorry...overly vague, but people should definitely check them out!

I'm going to start things off by recommending Bluetile Lounge. I discovered the first album from the group ("Lowercase") in a bin of dollar CDs at a local store many years ago and was ground down by their world-weary ways. Their follow-up ("Halfcut") was even better. The group is the slowest of slow core that you can possibly imagine, making Low sound like they're playing pop music. It's absolutely devastating if you're in the right mood, and the group coaxes some stunning tones out of their drawn-out guitar sounds.

I've reviewed both of the aforementioned albums on the site here if you're interested in reading more.