Entertainment

05.26.13

10 Great Bands You’ve Never Heard

From experimental synthesizers to a groovy brother-sister duo, Winston Ross on the sounds of summer you need to get on your beach mix, stat.

Not long after he took the stage Friday at the Gorge Amphitheatre's Sasquatch! music festival in Washington state, the lead singer of Father John Misty began making love to himself, in front of all of us.

Not literally, of course. No, Joshua Tillman was just gyrating and twirling and making up his own weird sign language to punctuate what is, without any visual accompaniment, fantastic music.

But that's why Sasquatch!—and music festivals in general, to some degree—is for "adventurous music enthusiasts thirsty for discovering new bands,” as festival founder Adam Zacks told the Tacoma News Tribune. So if you're at Sasquatch! too, and you come to the realization that Mumford & Sons' lyrics are cheese ball and obnoxious right in the middle of tonight's set, take heart. There are alternatives. And if you're not at Sasquatch!, skip on over to iTunes and check out these 10 great bands you've never heard of.

Skip Father John Misty, and See ...
Without a doubt Telekinesis, the Seattle-based indie-rock band with a drummer on lead vocals. "Phil Collins is basically retired now, so I'm basically just trying to catch up with that guy," says that drummer, 26-year-old Michael Benjamin Lerner. Consider him caught up.

Skip Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and See ...
Earl Sweatshirt. The rapper and member of L.A.-based hip-hop brain trust Odd Future has a husky, monotone flow that's crisp and smart. Also he's the dude who can be heard rhyming on Frank Ocean's hot track "Super Rich Kids."

Skip Built to Spill, and See ...
Caveman, the cinematic, dreamy five-man vibe collective from New York City. Those are all words Caveman uses in their own self-description, and they say it's exactly what they're trying to achieve.

Skip Mumford & Sons, and See ...
Wild Belle, the brother-sister duo of Natalie and Elliot Bergman. They've played music together in the past, but this is the first time they've made it official. The sound is "rooted on a tropical island," they say, a fine blend of eclectic, retro, soulful grooves, and sunshine. Shine on.

Skip the Postal Service, and See ...
Twin Shadow, which is George Lewis Jr., a New Wave dude from the Dominican Republic holding court in Brooklyn. Indie pop. Good stuff. His album Forget was declared one of the best albums of 2010 by Pitchfork.

Skip Primus, and See ...
Divine Fits, without a doubt. This is not by any means an attempt at comparing the two. One makes us feel like hurting people, the other like hugging them. Divine Fits is headed by Britt Daniel, the lead singer of Spoon. It's a little more pop, danceable, and experimental than the pure rock of the predecessor, and you'll like all that.

Skip Elvis Costello, and See ...
Suuns. Straight outta Montreal, these electronic rockers got started in 2006, when vocalist-guitarist Ben Shemie and guitarist-bassist Joe Yarmush got together to make beats. Now they do much, much more.

Skip Cake, and See ...
Menomena.
This Portland, Oregon, band has a pop sound that will bring you pleasure either on a blanket at a music festival or on the couch on a Sunday morning, what with the frequent appearance of baritone-sax lines, piano, flute, and cello mixed up with experimental synthesizers.

Skip Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, and See ...
Akron/Family. You'll hear a marimba and dulcimer every so often in this crescendoing collection of stellar four-part harmonies. Folk-influenced experimental rock at its finest.

Skip the Lumineers, and See ...
Shovels & Rope, the Charleston, South Carolina–based husband-and-wife duo who will leave you grinning from ear to ear, even if you forgot to bring any drugs to Sasquatch! Their eclectic Americana is just almost perfection.

Skip Vampire Weekend, and See ...
Just kidding. If you missed Vampire Weekend, you're a lost cause.