One of my primary goals on Music and Comics is to help up and coming bands gain some exposure. Bands that maybe haven’t been signed to a label or maybe they are on a label but not getting the promotional push they deserve. As such, this is but the first of an ongoing series of articles that I will be writing entitled The Art of Discovery. The purpose of these articles is to give some love to amazing acts that (maybe) you haven’t heard before.
I think it important to divulge real quick how I go about discovering new music. I don’t listen to terrestrial radio at all. I haven’t listened to it for about 15 years. It’s garbage. I used to have a Sirius XM Radio subscription but I stopped with it too. These days, I discover new bands through scouting iTunes on new music Friday’s and then looking them up on Spotify. Sometimes I’ll find them on recommendation from friends, social media, or in some rare cases meeting a band member.
So, with the how out of the way, let’s get to it.
Blue Rising are a hard rock quartet from Indianapolis, Indiana. If you dig bands like Alter Bridge, Coheed and Cambria, Sevendust, or any number of the other top alternative rock bands out there then give these guys a listen. Blue Rising play hooky, hard rock songs that will stay with you long after the songs are over.
For an unsigned band, their production can’t be beat. It’s absolutely top notch. I can’t recommend enough checking out their catalog of music. They’ve released three full records and two EP’s. Most of which are available through the typical outlets (Google Play, iTunes, Spotify, Tidal). They also have released a handful of videos. Again, I have to mention that for a local band, the production on these videos is really incredible. Check out the videos for their songs “Ice Cold” and “Holy Wars” below:
Fool The Devil – EP
Check them out at:
Amazon (Note that you will have to filter down to Blue Rising’s actual material as the artist page on Amazon pulls up other bands with the words “blue” and “rising” in their titles.)
If you’ve been perusing Bandcamp at any point over the last 11 years then odds are you might have come across an extremely talented musician by the name of Ben Sharp from Columbus, Ohio. You, however, might know him best from the name he makes music under: Cloudkicker. Cloudkicker has put out a whopping 15 releases since 2007! Each release is just as good, if not better than what came before it.
Cloudkicker’s music features no vocals. It is instrumentation only and Ben is the one and only person performing these epic songs (with the exception of the Live record he did with Intronaut). Musically if you dig bands like Animals as Leaders and Pelican then Cloudkicker is going to be right up your alley. It’s very progressive and heavy. At times it can be emotional. It’s incredible stuff from an incredibly talented musician.
All of Cloudkicker’s library on Bandcamp, with the exception of “Live with Intronaut”, is set at name your price. Meaning, Ben isn’t asking for a specific amount per release. It’s a pay what you want model similar to what Radiohead did with “In Rainbows” a few years back. Toss him a few bucks for the releases you decide to download from him so that he can keep making his incredible music.
Not to Scale or Painted – Single
Check him out at:
Amazon (Note that for some reason not all of Cloudkicker’s releases show up on the artist page. You will have to do some scouring of Amazon to find all of the releases.)
Dear Apollo are a prog-metal duo hailing from San Diego, California and they are on the cusp of something special. Musically, I would say they sound a bit like djent prog-metal bands like Periphery and The Cotortionist. All of the instruments are performed by the immensely talented Cotee Embry while vocals are performed by the lovely Mariel Diaz-Carrion. It’s a fine mix of modern prog-metal and Mariel’s Hayley Williams-esque vocals.
Their first release, an EP titled “Volume One”, is sure to go in regular rotation for you on your playlists. Check out their track “Closure” below:
Volume One – EP
Letters From The Colony
Letters From The Colony are a Swedish prog metal band signed with Nuclear Blast. They just recently put out their debut effort, “Vignette”, for the label. If you haven’t heard anything from these guys yet, you should definitely give them a chance. They meld the best of modern prog metal with death metal. Think early Opeth meets The Contortionist or Periphery.
Check out the blistering opening track from “Vignette” titled “Galax” in the official video below:
Mohai Experiment was an instrumental prog rock band from Turin, Italy. Yes, I used the word “was” because they are no longer together unfortunately. However, they did leave us with some really good music before parting ways. These guys were your traditional progressive rock band. I would equate them to be more along the lines of Liquid Tension Experiment. They put out 2 self-released records before breaking up.
I’ve checked out several tracks from the band. Most of my personal favorite stuff from them comes from their second record “The brightest darkness”. Check out their track “Strong Like You” below:
The brightest darkness
Oceans Of Slumber
Oceans Of Slumber is a Houston, Texas prog-goth-metal band signed with Century Media records. They are an exciting new discovery I made just last week. I happened to come across their fantastic cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” and instantly became hooked. I had to check out more of what they were doing. The band has put out 4 releases since they began in 2011. The first release, “Aetherial”, was self-released and featured a different vocalist than they do now.
If you dig bands like Nightwish, I think you are going to really like what Oceans Of Slumber has to offer. I can’t recommend enough checking out their records “Winter” and “The Banished Heart”. There’s so much for me to still discover and let sink in about this band but they have already endeared themselves to me. Check out their video for “The Decay of Disregard” and their cover of “Kashmir” below:
The Banished Heart
What do you think of the artists that I have featured above? Jump on over to the forums and let us know or leave us a comment below!
Do you want your band to be featured on The Art of Discovery? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter. I’ll be happy to give your band a listen and if I dig it, I’ll do my best to make sure I give you some love. I think that it should go without saying that we all have our own tastes in music so even if it doesn’t tickle my fancy, we’ll let some other folks at Music and Comics give it a go and see what they think.