Each month offers up a number of month-end lists that highlight some of the best full-length releases. These lists are seen on a number of sites across the internet. However, what often gets lost in the commotion of creating these lists are smaller, independent releases that come in the form of 7-inch, EPs, and splits. These releases could feature songs from emerging talent looking to leave their mark in music or from prominent artists working with friends and other acts to create unique offerings not found on full albums. Here at Bearded Gentlemen Music, we thrive on digging through smaller releases the underground scene has to offer. Each month we shed some light on a number of diverse releases you may have missed. From garage rock to black metal. Post-punk to country. Anything can happen! Take some time to sift through our selection and dig on this!
The Best Underground Music of August 2017:
Sad Baxter/The By Gods – Summer Tour Split
With summer winding down and tours coming to a close, does it mean we should stop rocking out? Earlier this summer two of Nashville’s gnarliest bands The By Gods and Sad Baxter embarked on a cross country tour. To celebrate, they released the Summer Tour Split but as an exclusive to the tour only. Now the legendary tour is over and you can pick it up on bandcamp.
Combining the wit of early Weezer with the attitude of Veruca Salt, Sad Baxter delivers what’s been missing in Alternative Rock for the last decade. The By Gods are one of Nashville’s most promising bands. No tricks, no gimmicks, just unadulterated rock n roll the way God intended. Having both artists on the same bill was a no-brainer. This split EP is a fantastic introduction to both bands as well as the perfect souvenir to a killer tour! – Aaron Cooper
Adam Winn – Adam Winn EP
Writing about music is a cool privilege that I hold. What can make that privilege even better? When I have a personal connection to the music that I am writing about.
Adam Winn is a gentleman that I went to college with. He is from the land of British Columbia, and like most people from there, he was chill, super nice, and artistic. His artistry came through very clearly through his music. His song-writing.
We lived in a dorm that apparently used to be Army barracks for the Canadian military. (?) The building was wide and big, wooden walls and spacious hallways. This lent for great acoustics, and when Adam bellowed out his songs, strumming heavy on the acoustic, it filled that dorm with a sweet vibe!
Not only does Adam have a one of a kind singing voice; his folk music style carries a homegrown quality that is rare to find in the independent artist. His songs have a weight and a tone that is reminiscent of (solo) Dustin Kensrue or Jon Foreman. The songwriting is beautifully simple, and the lyrics are naked and open; easy to digest but definitely, lots to ponder.
You will find all this and more on Adam Winn’s newest EP, appropriately titled Adam Winn – E.P.
The music is his soul and mind on display for you to hear, soak in, and be a part of. I always knew Adam as a man who was gentle and kind, and this comes across in his music in a very cohesive way. The song “Better Friends” is a stark confession about old friendships that could hit home for many people, and the progression in this simple song will bring tears and memories.
If you are looking for an artist who will bring music back to its roots and make you feel something, then please check out this E.P. from Canadian artist Adam Winn. I am proud to say that I knew/know Adam as a friend, and even though we haven’t spoken that much over the years, I am honored to know such a talented musician. His music deserves as much recognition as possible, and I wish him all the best! – Jeremy Erickson
Wayside Story/Better Days – Split EP
A pop punk split EP from both sides of the pond called the Atlantic. With Wayside Story representing America and hailing from Chicago, Illinois. On the other side of the watery divide, we have Better Days, who are from my home area of Newcastle upon Tyne, in the glorious North East of England. There might be hundreds of miles between each band geographically, there’s not much difference between them musically.
Both bands have that 2000s-era pop punk sound. Both have that feeling love has done them in at some point. Both deal in angst-driven rhymes and each have their good points. Wayside Story is the heavier of the two acts. “Worth The Ride” is the best of their songs and their overall tone is harder hitting, Better Days edge it just a little bit on this one. It’s not down to local loyalties, but their song “Without You” is a great little punk number. It’s a good introduction to both bands who both have further material available on their respective Bandcamp pages. Check them out. – Eddie Carter
Haunted Horses – COME EP
Seattle duo Haunted Horses is back! It has been four years since we have been treated to new music from the spooky ponies. If you are unfamiliar with the band, they create a gnarly mix of upbeat post-punk and gothic dance party jams. I was lucky enough to see the new songs in action at this year’s Capitol Hill Block Party and they floored me.
Drummer Myke Pelly and guitarist Colin Dawson have a knack for bringing an energy that will satisfy those that want to stand quietly and bob their heads while looking super gloomy as well as those hopped up on Tecate and tequila wanting to bounce off the walls. The five tracks on their new EP work just as well within the comforts of your own home as they do in person. The bleak vocals from Colin and upbeat drumming from Myke are an engaging contrast throughout. A trippy cocktail of noise that you need to consume. It is out now via Cerial Social Records. –Matt Jamison
Avenue Eight – Funk Me Up
Avenue Eight is an eleven piece funk/pop/rock outfit who hail from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and they state that (and I quote from their Bandcamp page) that “someday we’re gonna be the next T.O.P. but for now we sound like a poor man’s Bruno Mars”. For my money, they sound like a soul version of the Ben Folds Five and that is a very good thing indeed. Funk Me Up is the follow up to the six track mini-album Get Up on the Get Down, a personal favorite of mine from last year.
Funk Me Up continues their fine form as it starts with ‘Honey’, a plea for love wrapped up in a funky number that taps into your brain and stays there for hours afterward. “Anything Can Happen“ slows the mood down, but the quality still high as the temperature rises with a sound so smooth that Barry White’s estate is looking for a lost classic. Ending this release is fantastic “When the Lights Are Low”, a song about a hot/cold relationship when the other partner is a fickle ass clown.
This song has a fantastic little riff that runs through the number, the horn section is on fire, the percussions are uptempo and it is all held together with an energetic performance that makes the world a brighter place just for existing. Relationship trouble should not sound so funky and that is why they are the funk Ben Folds Five for me, they can both make an awful time in your life sound like paradise. I would recommend you checking out their back catalog as well, you will be in for a treat. -Eddie Carter
The Young Rochelles – Organ Trade
The first vinyl release from the New York-based label Greenway Records was from The Young Rochelles. Within a few years, Greenway has become a staple of the indie scene with countless vinyl releases from Rachel Haden to Goes Cube. Coming full circle is Organ Trade, a brand new 7” from the band that helped start it all.
With all 3 songs clocking in at under 4 minutes, The Young Rochelles don’t waste time on padding. Each song gets to the point and leaves you wanting another side to flip like all punk releases should. With sarcastic lyrics and pop sensibilities, The Young Rochelles mix elements of Bowling For Soup and Blink 182 with the poise and confidence of The Ramones. Organ Trade is fast, direct, and most of all, fun. – Aaron Cooper
Aaron (or Coop) is a freelance writer, multi-instrumentalist and overall lover of all things music. As an advocate for indie record labels and artists, he is passionate about local scenes and do-it-yourself artistry. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s bad, he’s not afraid to explain why.