The Editors’ Choice: Underground Bands

Beneath the surface of the music industry populated by mainstream, arena headlining acts lie an ocean of underground artists; every single one of which is screaming for your attention. It can be difficult to find new musicians that you like amongst all this noise, so CUB Music’s editorial team decided to take the opportunity to dive into this sea of creativity. We each returned from the depths with an argument in support of our own favourite pearl.

Tim: The Appleseed Cast 

The Appleseed Cast. Photo: rohofoto on Flickr
The Appleseed Cast. Photo: rohofoto on Flickr

Hailing from Lawrence, Kansas, The Appleseed Cast deliver an opulent and starry brand of post-rock infused with nostalgic tinges of 90’s emo. Admittedly, it does sound like I am describing a fine wine in an obnoxiously pretentious manner and thus in more comprehensible terms they can be aptly described as a hybrid of Radiohead and Explosions in the Sky. The band has been cultivating their sound for sixteen years, but despite their vast catalogue of releases and palpable influence upon a number of awesome bands, they have been largely overlooked and often consigned to relative obscurity. Nonetheless, they seem to thrive in the underground scene and indulge in the potential and space it offers for experimentation and unrestrained imagination.

The Appleseed Cast continue to tour extensively, performing in living rooms and at quaintly unassuming venues to over-sensitive, shoe gazing adolescents and enigmatic, impressively bearded men wearing checkered shirts. In essence, they are eternally keeping it real and should be on every self-respecting hipster’s list of favourite bands. For an epic introduction to their music, check out the track ‘Forever Longing the Golden Sunsets’ and subsequently the albums Mare Vitalis and Low Level Owl. In addition, the song ‘Fishing the Sky’ contains one of my favourite riffs of all time. They are also playing a rare London show at Birthdays in Dalston on 28th October and needless to say, I am very excited about it.

Melanie: Milo Greene 

Milo Green. Photo: Kmeron on Flickr
Milo Green. Photo: Kmeron on Flickr

Milo Greene is an American band from sunny Los Angeles, which I discovered over my summer travels in the States. Now Milo Greene is one confusing band name because; a) it’s a five piece band, and not a singular force, and b) because no one in this indie-pop band is called Milo or has the surname Greene. Their silly name is made up for by their soothing sound.

Milo Greene categorises their sound as cinematic-pop, but in my opinion it is closer to indie-folk because of their use of the percussion and their warm harmonious vocals. My ears pricked when I first heard their song ‘1957’; it lured me into loving this band because of their upbeat melodies and toe-wiggling beats. The band may take their influences from other musicians such as Beach House, Bon Iver or even Fleetwood Mac, whilst at the same time oozing unique creativity through their poetic lyrics, artistic album covers and cinematic music videos. This band are artistically gifted in so many ways and have shown off their intellect through their songwriting, musical compositions and casually making a short film to accompany their music. Milo Greene’s short film, Moddison, reflects the creative force of these five artists, and shows off the stunning American countryside that they recorded in. The misleading singular person band name personifies and reflects this band’s collectiveness, as they all have fluid and changing roles in the band. These intelligent musicians all bounce off each other to make one hell of a unique sound that has to be heard.

Nicholas: The Algorithm

The Algorithm. Photo: idesignwebsitesnet on Flickr
The Algorithm. Photo: idesignwebsitesnet on Flickr

The Algorithm is the pseudonym of Rémi Gallego, metal’s answer to David Guetta. Unusually for a musician in a genre known for its love of the guitar, Rémi creates the vast majority of his music with programmed synthesisers and samples. Showing a deep affinity for a wide variety of music from hard trance and electronica to chiptunes and reggae, Rémi builds complex networks of chaotic interweaving melodies and expansive soundscapes that pulse with barely constrained manic energy. Despite the genuinely club-worthy flourishes included in songs like ‘Bouncing Dot’, The Algorithm can be hard to listen to – the lack of vocals and Rémi’s use of harsh, bassy guitar make his music somewhat inaccessible if you aren’t in the right mindset. But debut album Polymorphic Code is so unique and so special that it’s worth finding an hour to give it listen when you’re unstressed and deadline free.

As well as being fantastic in the studio, The Algorithm’s recent gig at the Surya was one of the most intense live experiences I’ve had in a long time. Remi manipulates the dynamics of his pre-programmed songs so effectively that he provides much more than just a glorified DJ set. On top of that, he has managed to rope in Monuments’ Mike Malyan as a live drummer to perform the complicated, lightning pace drum patterns that just shouldn’t be humanly possible to replicate. See them at the Camden Underworld  this December if you can!

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