Happy spring, and welcome back to another great issue of Back of the Rack. We have 10 fresh tracks we can’t wait to share with you this month, including the hip-hop beats of F.Y.I., the electro-dance grooves of Dan Solo, and even some bizarre “graveyard country music” from Red Sammy.
If you like what you hear, don’t forget to subscribe – you’ll receive each month’s set of new tracks directly in your inbox to bring along with you on your smart phone, mp3 player, or to burn to CD. There’s nothing better than free music, so hop on it!
As always, don’t forget to support your favorite artists from this issue on social media, or better yet, live at one of their shows. The artists featured in Back of the Rack are all hard working men and women – and they always appreciate grassroots support. Without further ado – here’s April’s Back of the Rack.
Steel Phantoms – “Curtain Call”
Brooklyn, New York
Early 2000’s indie sensation The Unicorns broke up after their first release, to fans disappointment, splintering into a number of other groups, including Montreal’s Islands. Aaron Harris, drummer of the group, would then leave to form, with Jesse Newkirk, the two-piece band featured here – Steel Phantoms. Loaded with plenty of the same indie genius, quirkiness, and fun of Harris’ prior band, Steel Phantoms plans on releasing the single’s respective EP later this spring.
Dan Solo – “Shine”
Genre: Funk, electronic
Dan Solo started practicing piano at the age of seven, learning his scales, keys, and music basics before delving into the funky sounds he’s famous for. Now a big user of exciting, larger-than-life synths, rocking bass, and grooving drums, it’s hard to not dance along to a Dan Solo music – including “Shine,” featured here. While the solo artist is located in Guadalajara, Mexico, a majority of his songs are performed in English, for listeners north of the boarder to enjoy just as much as his local fans.
Coasts – “Stone”
Genre: Indie, rock
Chris, Liam, James, David, and Ben make up Coasts, an indie rock band from Bristol, England. “Stone,” the band’s single featured here, starts off with calm, reverb-bathed lines and splashy cymbal hits, before breaking down into more traditional rock guitar riffs about a minute and a half in. When the track calms down at the bridge, it’s only a temporary reprieve before kicking into high gear one last time. Coasts’ newest EP, “Paradise,” is now available for pre-order on iTunes.
C2C – “Happy”
Genre: Electro, hip-hop, jazz
C2C uses turntables as musical instruments, as the four-piece band works together live, blending old jazz, hip-hop, funk and more into something completely new and original. Often times, the group also records their own bass, guitar, keys, and other traditional instruments to use in their live performances as well. The group took off thanks to the viral word-spreading of social media, with their YouTube channel recently breaking over 29 million total views. The group released their first EP, “Down the Road,” in January of 2012.
Matthew Squires and the Learning Disorders – “The Arcade”
Genre: Pop, indie, rock
“I’m either too young, too boring, or too modest to have anything that “biographical” to say. I love the people in my life. Sometimes I try too hard and sometimes I don’t try hard enough. Writing songs makes me happier than anything else in my life.” So goes Matthew Squire’s Facebook bio, belonging to the young solo artist who has recently released his first full-length album, “How to Combust Your Life.” Full of light pop melodies, the underlying feelings found in “The Arcade” come across a bit more serious than it initially sounds – a nostalgic look at the singer/songwriter’s life from his future perspectives of being a father and grandfather, “The Arcade” knows how to pull on your heart strings.
Red Sammy – “Friends”
Genre: Country, indie
Solo artist Red Sammy, born Adam Trice, cites his music style as “graveyard country music.” It’s an aptly titled genre that matches his featured track, “Friends,” well, as Trice plucks intently, and yet almost lazily, on his six-string, scratching and growling out vocals along the way. The artist’s moniker, “Red Sammy,” was taken from the 1955 Flannery O’Connor short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” a story with a dark and twisted enough plot to match Trice’s sound. Red Sammy is the definition of “grit.”
F.Y.I. – “Incense”
Los Angeles, California
Genre: Hip-hop, rap
Solo artist F.Y.I, who also goes by the name Foreshadow, is a co-founder of the Los Angeles based rap group, “Those Chosen.” F.Y.I. Began working with the collective in the mid 2000’s, releasing over 100 tracks on mixtapes and official releases along the way. “Incense” is on the sparse side when it comes to beats, featuring heavy low-end, with only a few clicks for a drum beat, and what sounds like billiard balls breaking as a sample in the background. F.Y.I. flows easily over the track, showcasing the skills he has been working on for over a decade.
Lovelier Other – “Leave This Behind”
Genre: Chillwave, indie
Lovelier Other leans heavily on mystique. His website only features two tracks, and a link to his Facebook account, which is equally as sparse. No one is sure where the artist is from, what his real name is, or if Lovelier Other is actually a collection of artists, rather than a solo act. “Leave This Behind” is one of the calmest, relaxing tracks we’ve had the pleasure of featuring on Back of the Rack, a lazy river of a track that flows gently from beginning to end with beautiful chimes, synth melodies, and soothing vocals.
The Stoop Kids – “The Groove (Ft. Josh Gotoy)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Genre: Hip-hop, jazz
The Stoop Kids bring hip-hop to about as laid back of a flow we’ve ever heard. Music made for sipping lemonade and taking things slow, these New Orleans natives harmoniously blend the likability of doo-wop with calming acoustic guitar strums and hip hop swing. It’s a fresh feel in the exploding hip-hop scene, bringing to mind Philadelphia’s guitarist/songwriter G. Love. The band claims influences as far ranging as J Dilla to the Beach Boys — the cool thing is, you can really hear echoes of both in this track.
GREAT HEAT – “Who’s the Dude”
Genre: Rock, blues, indie
Four-piece indie rock group GREAT HEAT formed in 2012 after the break up Leisure, a band three of the bandmates had been in prior. After working at a bar for a few weeks, the group was encouraged to rent out recording studio space upstairs, where they quickly immersed themselves in developing their sound. What’s come out is a traditional based indie sound with some unique twists, as displayed in “Who’s the Dude.” While the band has yet to release an EP or LP, we hope one is in the works – “Who’s the Dude” gives off the vibe of a band on the brink of an explosion of popularity.
Thanks for sticking with us through another issue of Back of the Rack. What did you think of this month’s artists? Have a favorite tack? Don’t forget to let us know in the comments below. We’ll be back next month with another batch of new, up-and-coming artists and singles. We’ll see you then.
About the Artist: Ily Phelps is a graphic artist and illustrator living and working in Nashville, and has worked with OurVinyl’s Back of the Rack in a number of past issues.
Dean Goranites | Associate Editor