Back in the 90s, it was assumed that all good music would be found on major record labels. Indie music was considered also-ran stuff, material not ready for prime time. How times have changed. Just listen to these five tracks, all of which are from various indie labels.
1. Chastity, Pummeling
Suffer Summer (Dine Alone)
Recommended If You Like: Today’s pop-punk
Chastity, otherwise known as Brandon Williams, managed to get himself an international deal (Dine Alone in Canada, Hand Drawn Dracula in the US) with a brand of melodic punk that gives outsiders an idea of what it’s like living in suburban Canada. He’s got fans in Dallas Green and Stefan Babcock (PUP), both of whom appear on this album. A full tour Canadian tour is on now.
2. Ellevator, Slip
The Words You Spoke Still Move Me (Arts & Crafts)
RIYL: Whatever’s in the water in Hamilton
One listen to this Hamilton trio’s songs makes it very clear why Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie agreed to produce this debut album (out now). They’re coming off a big showcase at SXSW and previous tours with Arkells, Dear Rouge, Banners, Our Lady Peace, Bishop Briggs, and Cold War Kids.
3. Girlfriends, High Again
(e)motion Sickness (Big Noise)
RIYL: That space between Green Day and Third Eye Blind
Before you ask, no women are involved here, just two dudes: Travis Mills and Nick Gross. This new album (due June 17) is a follow-up to a self-titled debut and was produced by John Feldmann, the leader of Goldfinger. Looking through the liner notes, help also comes from blink-182’s Travis Barker. What a surprise.
4. Sofi Tukker, Summer in New York
Wet Tennis (Ultra)
RIYL: Walking tours of NYC
Not a single person but a boy-girl duo from—surprise—New York City who are making a play for a big summer single with this one. You can bet that Suzanne Vega (her Tom’s Diner is the source of the reproduced sample that pops up during the song) is hoping this tour of NYC is a big seller. By the way, Wet Tennis stands for “When Everyone Tries to Evolve, Nothing Negative is Safe).
5. Mise En Scene, Nicer
Single (604 Records/Light Organ Records)
RIYL: Golden retriever puppies?
Want to get people interested in your video? Populate it with some adorable puppies playing in the snow. If you’re a hockey fan, you might have heard this on Hockey Night in Canada a couple of weekends back. Stef and Jodi are originally from Gimli, Manitoba, (a place on Lake Winnipeg about 45 minutes north of the small town where I grew up and renowned for a horrible sparkling wine called Gimli Goose) yet have already managed to play around the world. I love small-town success stories.
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