By: Jordannah Elizabeth
I was lucky enough to be able to share my favorite underground bands in my friend, Sjimon Gomper‘s weekly column, Week in Pop for Impose Magazine.
JORDANNAH ELIZABETH’S WEEK IN POP
Artist, writer, journalist, and musician extraordinaire Jordannah Elizabeth releases her new bookDon’t Lose Track Vol. 1: 40 Selected Articles, Essays and Q&As January 29 (pre-order available here.), has launched an Indiegogo for her upcoming book tour, and took the time to share her own exclusive Week in Pop guest selections with the following:
I find it all too rare now that I sit comfortably in the pillow-y depths of my writing career that I am able to write about bands I actually follow. I love writing about and interviewing accomplished indie bands, rappers who explore brave new rhythmic territory and the occasional super famous artist but personally, I love super underground music. I always have and I always will. You’ll find me at a warehouse, loft or gallery show many more times than you’ll see me at a 2,000 seater venue where I’d most likely sit tucked away in the green room, completely nervous from being crammed in a room with 2,000 people…it’s not the people, it’s me. I’m pretty shy.
I like people who make music. I like to sit in independent and home studios and listen to bands early mixes. I like to help rock bands load their gear into clubs. I’m a worker bee who happens to rub shoulders with some elite people, which is okay with me. I like both worlds. Nonetheless, this is a free form collection of my fave (mostly) live bands, so don’t expect me to get super poetic because I’m writing about things I’ve seen in real life in a real life manner.
With all that said, I’ve listed some bands that I’ve been into for the last few years and am now only finding the time and an outlet who will allow me to list them. I believe all of these bands are either from Toronto, Baltimore and Seattle. It just worked out that way.
STRANGE TIMES PEOPLE BAND
STPB is at the top of my list of my “If I Ever Get the Chance To Do Exactly What I Want I’d Cover this Band” list. I witnessed the budding seeds of STPB at a backyard potluck in Baltimore two or three years ago, but of course, their most current manifestation has bought glimmers of the success by most notably opening up for Lightning Bolt last summer.
Caroline Marcantoni is the closest thing to Kathleen Hanna that I’ve ever witnessed. It’s not easy to find a brave experimental female singer these days and with the combination of the intrinsic, eccentric and purely artful blend of the entire Baltimore based ensemble,
Strange Times People Band is easily one of my favorite underground bands right now. The band which also features Dan Breen, Jen Kirby and James Johnson, released a lovely off-kilter experimental tape and are working on releasing a new album (hopefully) this year. I’ve heard some early mixes of the new record and I can attest that the new collection of songs are much tighter, tribal sounding and structured…not to say that structure is a measurement of what music is good and what is not.
Witch Prophet reached out to me a few weeks ago. I honestly don’t know how people find me, but I am glad she did. Doubling as the founder of the Toronto based music collective, 88 Days of Fortune, Witch Prophet released a very smooth and pleasing post R&B track called Architect of Heartbreak. The song features Stas THEE Boss, a member of the Seattle based duo, THEESatisfaction. I’ve met and worked with Stas, but most importantly I really enjoy her rap flow. When she puts out a song, I always check it out. I look forward to hearing more from WP. She’s got a great voice and a wonderful taste in tone and an esoteric, soulful vibe.
Expert Alterations is another band I have been lucky enough to see grow from infancy. I liked them because they reminded me of The Cure. The music is poppy and the band’s recordings are tight and well produced. Expert Alterations has no pretenses or gimmicks. The music is nice, it’s simple and reminds me of better times when musicians had to know how to play at least instrument somewhat proficiently to be considered a professional musician.
Raz Simone is one of my favorite rappers right now. His music is complex, spiritual, honest, intensely dark, sensitive, dangerous and highly intelligent.
Simone has a beautiful ability to not only release albums and tracks in what seems like every few weeks, he has a production company behind him called Black Umbrella that produces powerful and poignant music videos to accompany his already incredibly interesting art.
His music has this somewhat sinister tone that is usually accompanied by orchestral instrumentation and amazing back up vocals that are either dubbed by him or other great singers of both genders. This composition combination (which is sparesly and maybe lazily described by me) brings a multifaceted, mature style that pulls you in and doesn’t release you. Raz Simone is one of the brightest and most artistic rappers out right now.
Romantic States is an underground favorite who has a number of loyal followers who dode over this husband and wife musical duo. They’re, of course one of my favorite bands because they are very independent in that it’s clear that they focus very much on their own music writing, choosing not to look or listen around to find out what other bands are doing. They are unique and endearing because they live in this romantic microcosm of music and coupledom.
Tonie Joy is one of the those legends who’s so humble you that when you meet him you almost forget what he’s contributed to punk and rock and roll since the early 90s. He’s known for his membership of the bands, Moss Icon, Universal Order of Armageddon, Born Against and his current neo-psych, stoner rock band, The Convocation.
The Convocation (formally The Convocation Of…) is certainly the least abrasive musical outfit Joy has been a part of. The psychedelic aspect of the music makes the band’s compositional style a lot more reverbed, washed out and easier to sway to, which is not to say the music isn’t intense. I like the Convocation because they’re the only band I’m old enough to have seen live and I’m always blown away at their shows and their albums.
*Shout out to former member, Guy Blakeslee whose show I totally missed because I went to a very small non-guided meditation session last night.
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