Best of Genres

Best Indie Couples

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d make a list of the best indie music couples. It was a bit of a challenge for me to come up with a substantial list but I at least put the couples from bands that I adore. Most of the couples on this list have broken up so it’s not exactly the most romantic, pro-valentine compilation.

1. Alex Ebert and Jade Castrinos of Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros- This couple made some incredible music in their day and had great harmonies and chemistry. They sang together for some songs and sang different parts in others, similar to the old folk and country traditions signature of Johnny Cash and June Carter. Their music was a wonderful blend of folk, roots, Americana, psychedelic pop and gospel. It’s sad that they broke up because they could have continued making amazing music for a long time. Definitely my favorite indie music couple to date and their music will always have a special place in my heart as it made an impact on me during my twenties. I also played them a lot at my wedding and my wife and I still cherish their songs.

2. Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw of Cotton Jones- This indie couple made some timeless and perfectly crafted folk music for a while before breaking up. Michael’s deep voice went really well with Whitney’s higher country style singing. Their music was a combination of psychedelic folk, experimental and vintage style country. I would have loved to see this couple stay together as they have one of my favorite sounds out there and Michael Nau’s solo work just wasn’t the same and lacked that extra layer that Whitney’s voice provided.

3. Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley of Tennis- One of the only couples on this list to still be together, this husband and wife pop duo makes 70’s inspired music with just the right amount of disco. Alaina does almost all of the singing and does a great job with her crystal clear voice. Patrick plays the backing instruments and adds to their sensual 70’s disco vibe. I’m very happy they are still married and making music because they have an amazing sound, style and chemistry.

4. Jack and Meg White of The White Stripes- This rock duo was huge during the 2000’s with their pioneer garage rock sound. Jack sang and played guitar while Meg provided the steady beat on drums. Their style was a mix of rock, blues, heavy rock and garage rock, with slight hints of metal. They created a huge movement of minimalistic rock music that was guitar driven. I was obsessed with this band for a long time and my wife and I actually dressed up as them for Halloween one year. Like most of the bands on this list, Jack and Meg broke up, but their influential sound still remains today and is seen in countless rock bands now.

5. Kevin Morby and Waxahatchee (Katie Crutchfield)- Kevin and Katie have been a romantic couple for many years and are still together. They both are solo artists and create their own folk music. Kevin’s music leans more towards the folk and experimental genre while Katie is much more country sounding. Kevin is by far one of my favorite artists with his signature deep voice and Dylan-like lyrics and delivery. Katie is not exactly my style as she leans too much into the pop country realm. Together they have made a few songs, Farewell Transmission and The Dark Don’t Hide It, which are both amazing. My wife is obsessed with the song Farewell Transmission and plays it often. It’s a beautiful song that really shows off their vocal abilities and chemistry. This song makes me wish they made more music together, which is likely as they just released a new song together called, One Paper Kid on Morby’s first soundtrack, Music From Montana Story. When I saw Morby live he sang a song for Katie who was watching from the crowd which was very sweet and cute. Let’s hope this couple stays together and creates some more amazing collaborative folk music for years to come.

Written by Adam

Best of Locations

Best New Zealand Bands

New Zealand seems like an unlikely place to have an amazing indie music scene. I was shocked at how many talented bands I discovered from this tiny, obscure island. The only thing I knew about New Zealand is that they filmed The Lord of The Rings movies there and that they have those funny little kiwi birds. Many of the artists on this list have a unique, psychedelic or strange style. Because the country is tucked away in the southern hemisphere, much of the music takes from other island sounds and has Asian or African influences. Lawrence Arabia is my favorite band that I’ve found and I still think he is brilliant and has witty and hilarious lyrics with polished instrumentals. Most of you have probably heard of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and probably never knew they started in New Zealand. I hope to visit this beautiful and mysterious island country someday but until then I’ll keep listening to their amazing array of indie music.

1. Lawrence Arabia- Created in 2003 by multi-instrumentalist and composer James Milne, this project blends catchy piano pop sounds with witty and hilarious lyrics. My favorite New Zealand act, Lawrence Arabia has captivated my attention for a long time. He is a master of songwriting and a genius of song composing. He has a dark sense of humor and uses his intellect and wit in his songs to make his audience laugh and cry and feel every emotion in between.

2. Mako Road- This psychedelic reggae fusion band has a uniquely New Zealand sound. They have amazing electric guitar work and chill Island-inspired percussions that will make you feel like you’re relaxing on the beach.

3. Jonathan Bree- A producer and multi-instrumentalist, Jonathan has been a major figure in New Zealand indie music for a long time. His style is a blend of new age and baroque pop and is haunting and beautiful and just the right amount of strange.

4. Yumi Zouma- This alternative dream pop group began in 2014. They blend elements from other parts of the world to create a unique and catchy sound. A great example of what great modern dream pop music should sound like. With lots of songs, they will keep you intrigued with their complex and layered synth pop beats and smooth singing style.

5. The Ruby Suns- This indie pop group, formed in 2003, blends lo-fi surf music with indie rock to create a great New Zealand sound. With a hint of psychedelic rock, they are definitely worth a listen if you are interested in the New Zealand indie scene.

6. Princess Chelsea- With her soft, whispery voice, Chelsea Nikkel, AKA Princess Chelsea, soothes your senses with her dreamy pop sound. Taking elements from classical music, she is also considered baroque pop and uses dark humor and satire to make her lyrics very unique and interesting.

7. Connan Mockasin- Fitting in with most of the New Zealand artists on this list, Connan has the right amount of strange and creative genius. He writes songs about dolphins and weird topics and has a very isolated and quiet style, using subtle sounds and guitar licks. One of the most unique artists you’ll probably ever hear, he is considered a pioneer in blending psychedelic and indie music together.

8. Ghost Wave- This New Zealand psychedelic rock group is a mix of lo-fi jangly pop, surf rock and 60’s style psychedelic pop. They have a great sound that draws from bands like The Byrds and The Rolling Stones with a unique New Zealand twist.

9. Unknown Mortal Orchestra- This experimental psychedelic pop band was formed in Auckland, New Zealand by multi-instrumentalist Ruban Nielson. The group later moved to Portland, Oregon but I will still include them on this list as their origin is important to their unique sound and quality. They are an interesting mix of lo-fi experimental pop, with very lengthy instrumental songs that last around 15 minutes, to catchy Michael Jackson style dance songs that received a lot of radio play. One of my favorite bands and definitely one of the most unique sounds out there.

Written by Adam

Artist Spotlight

Coco: A Hidden Dreamy Gem

I first discovered the dream pop project Coco when they opened for Kevin Morby. I knew immediately that they had the perfect sound. Right when they started playing I turned to my wife and said, “oh damn, I’m digging this.” Coco is a balanced blend of smooth vocal harmonies, subtle 60’s psychedelic inspired instrumentals and chill dreamy soundscapes with a hint of 70’s soul. It’s no surprise that they hooked us and made my wife and I obsessed with their beautifully crafted songs for months afterwards.

Photo from

Coco is a collaborative music project that started in 2021 between three very talented indie artists, Maia Friedman of Dirty Projectors, Dan Molad of Lucius and Chimney and Oliver Hill of Pavo Pavo and Dustrider. Together they create a rich and deep sound that is drenched in psychedelic notes. Maia uses her skills as a singer in Dirty Projectors to harmonize perfectly with the calm synths and gentle hazy guitars. The group has released one self titled album and several EPs to date.

Coco’s entire library is amazing but I do have a few favorite songs. My top favorite is definitely Empty Beach. It’s a slow, calm song that relies on beautiful vocal harmonies. It brings to mind walking on a vast empty beach in the cold fog. It has a meditative quality and calms the nerves. This song was amazing to see live. The crowd got really quiet and they used blue lights to create a peaceful trippy atmosphere. Another song that I really like is Come Along. This song has a little more of a psychedelic soul sound to it but still has those beautiful harmonies that Coco does so well. It has a more steady beat than some of their other songs and has an amazing chorus that you can’t help but to sing along to. Another great song is Last of the Loving which has a bit more of a pop sound and I could even see this song getting radio play as it is extremely catchy and has a memorable chorus.

Photo by Adam Peek

Music has that unique ability to connect meaningful memories to songs. Coco will always be a band that is meaningful to my life and I will always remember seeing them live with my wife. They don’t have a lot of music yet but their limited library has made an impact. I can still remember coming home after the concert and listening to them outside in the cold dark air with my wife ranting about how amazing their sound is. I’m excited to see where this band takes us next but in the meantime I will keep listening to them religiously because they are just that good. 

Genres- dream pop, psychedelic pop, psychedelic folk, folk, experimental, art folk, chamber pop

Score: 10/10 the perfect mix of psychedelic pop and dream pop

Favorite songs: Empty Beach, Come Along, One Time Villain, Last of the Loving and all of the rest of their songs as they are all perfectly crafted and executed. 

Written by Adam

Best of Locations

Best Australian Bands

Australia is home to some amazing indie artists. I compiled this list of my favorites, which happen to be mostly bands that have a psychedelic edge to them. I’m not sure why Australians love psychedelic music so much but I’m not complaining as it’s my favorite genre. It could be the warm sunny weather and party atmosphere or Australians’ love for psychedelic drugs. Most of you have probably heard of Tame Impala but hopefully you’ll discover some new bands from this list that you’ll enjoy. 

Tame Impala- Created in 2007, this psychedelic pop project is run by multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker. They began as a lo-fi psychedelic rock band and over the years expanded their sound to a more synth pop and electronica style, gaining enormous commercial success world wide. Definitely my favorite group from Australia, Tame Impala has loads of great content and highly structured and fine-tuned psychedelic pop songs.

Julia Jacklin- Julia began creating music in 2013. She writes and sings emotionally driven songs with deep and heartfelt lyrics. She blends indie pop with indie folk to create a wonderful sound. She has the unique ability to give you goosebumps with the power of her voice and serious nature of her lyrics.

Marlon Williams- He has a powerful singing voice and style that resembles old time rock and roll artists like Elvis. He blends country and folk and adds a hint of gothic. I highly recommend this Australian artist no matter what music you are into, as he has a timeless classic sound with a dark modern edge.

Courtney Barnett- One of my favorite “talky” folk artists, similar to Kurt Vile. She is a master of her unique style of blending complex poetry with folk music, hardly ever singing her songs but rolling her long sentences together to create a mash of spoken word genius. She uses loads of humor and satire to create a wonderful quintessential Australian sound.

Pond- Formed in 2008, this psychedelic rock band blends trippy 60’s style rock with electronica and synth pop. Similar to Tame Impala, their style has evolved from a garage rock style to a more polished synth-driven sound.

Babe Rainbow- One of my favorite Australian bands, Babe Rainbow has a complete 60’s style psychedelic sound. They sing about surfing, sun, freedom, love and everything hippy and really bring to mind California 60’s surf rock. Their instrumentals are very polished, structured and layered and create a unique Australian sound that I really enjoy.

Bananagun- This young and emerging psychedelic group blends musical elements from around the world, including Africa, Latin America and the Pacific Islands. I’m very excited to see where they go in the future. They have a very layered and complex sound that is highly unique to their experience and to Australia.

Flyying Colours- This psychedelic band from Melbourne has a great mellow, calming shoegaze style. They rely heavily on effects and layers of sound combined with subdued vocals. A great example of Australian psychedelic rock and shoegaze with a hint of 80’s New Age.

Sunbeam Sound Machine- This Australian psychedelic pop project is led by multi-instrumentalist Nick Sowersby. He blends elements of psychedelic rock, with effect-heavy guitars, dream pop with trippy soundscapes and electro pop with a steady beat.

Moses Gunn Collective- This Australian psychedelic pop group from Brisbane mixes modern electro pop with classic psychedelic rock. They have a unique sound that relies on a trippy, strange slide guitar, background harmonies and plenty of psychedelic effects.

The Murlocs- This 60’s inspired psychedelic rock band has a great sound that mixes blues and garage rock. I prefer their earlier work as it is more raw and has more of a 60’s sound to it. Definitely another great Australian psychedelic rock band that is worth checking out.

Dope Lemon- This solo project is run by Australian singer/songwriter Angus Stone. He plays really chill, drug-inspired groovy music with a steady beat and slick guitar work. He has a slight jazz sound with a lot of layered percussion that makes you want to dance and chill on the couch at the same time.

Written by Adam

Artist Spotlight

Joanna Newsom: Medieval Chamber Folk Star

I can still picture my wife twirling and singing to Joanna Newsom in our small apartment. We had just started dating but I already knew she was the one, in part because of her music taste. Instead of listening to pop music that everyone knew, she listened to indie music that was unique and often psychedelic. She introduced me to many artists but one that always stands out is Joanna Newsom because of her unique style and voice, long poetic songs and psychedelic harp instrumentals.

Photo by Tristan Lope

Joanna Newsom was raised in Nevada City, California by two doctors who didn’t allow her to watch television and instead stressed academics and music. She began playing the piano at a young age and once she was old enough began to take harp lessons. After high school, she attended Mills College, studying composition and creative writing. She played keyboards for the band The Pleased but dropped out of college and returned home to live with her parents in Nevada City. From there, she began her solo career and flourished in the local Bay Area indie folk scene and later reached a much wider audience with the success of her albums. 

Joanna Newsom has released four studio albums starting with The Milk-Eyed Mender in 2004. This first album helped her gain an underground following. Music historian John Morrish in 2007 called the album a “neo-folk benchmark”. Her next album, Ys was released in 2006. This album gathered a larger audience and landed at number 134 on the Billboard 200. Her third album, Have One on Me was released in 2010. It is a massive album with over two hours of songs but it is a remarkable piece of work that deals with complex issues such as womanhood and fertility. Her fourth studio album, Divers was released in 2015 and peaked at number one on the Billboard alternative albums chart. 

Joanna Newsom is completely unique in her delivery and style but lands in a few musical genres including folk, chamber folk, baroque pop and psychedelic folk. Her songs are often very long and complex, shifting from slow to fast and taking the listener into different realms of sound. She is a poet and beautifully weaves her poetry throughout her songs. Her lyrics are heavily influenced by literature and the writers Vladimir Nabokov and Ernest Hemingway. She relies heavily on the harp and piano and uses her distinct soprano voice to create a wonderful sound. She reminds me a little of Joni Mitchell in the way she sings, which is a reason I love her sound. I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell as my mom listened to her constantly, so I have a sentimental appreciation for any singer that mimics that voice. 

Joanna Newsom is an indie folk treasure. She creates music you will never hear anywhere else. She has a completely trippy and psychedelic persona that is straight from the Middle Ages. Her album cover art on Ys with a fair maiden sitting by a window is a perfect example of her medieval inspiration. I really enjoy Joanna Newsom’s music because of its originality and because it reminds me of my mother and her love for Joni Mitchell. Most of all, Newsom’s music reminds me of my wife and when we met and fell in love dancing and twirling to her gentle harp plucking and high soprano voice. 

Genres: folk, chamber folk, baroque pop, psychedelic folk, experimental, freak folk

Favorite songs: 81.0, Good Intentions Paving Company, No Provenance, Baby Birch, Soft As Chalk, Divers

9/10: Brilliant and unique but probably wouldn’t want to listen to her every day. One of my wife’s favorite artists and she has great taste. 

Written by Adam

Best of Locations

Best Seattle Bands

Best Seattle Bands

Seattle has always been known as the birthplace of grunge rock and has a history of being a premier jazz city. Home to Sub Pop records who have signed some of the biggest indie rock names around including Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty, Beach House, The Shins and Nirvana. Seattle is the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana and is where Ray Charles began his jazz career. Below is a list of my favorite artists that have ties to the great city of Seattle. 

Fruit Bats- Hailing from Chicago, this alternative folk rock band settled in Seattle and have been influential ever since. They have a slight 70’s folk feel but remain unique and modern. Eric D. Johnson, the lead singer, has a very distinctive voice, with a little John Denver vibe to it. Definitely one of my favorite bands of all time. They are a classic alternative rock band and have made a big impact on the genre.

Chris Staples- This low key indie folk artist has a knack for songwriting and creating catchy and impactful tunes. The album, Golden Age, is a masterpiece and is a bit more upbeat and approachable than some of his other work. He sings in a low calm voice and his lyrics are poetic and poignant.

Fleet Foxes- This influential indie folk group gained widespread success and acclaim during the mid 2000’s. They captured the sounds of the Pacific Northwest, and were part of most college record collections. They have a mellow and soothing sound and changed the way people view popular music.

Pickwick- This energetic indie rock and R&B group mixes powerful vocals with precise instrumentals. They have a nice indie soul sound and are a bit more upbeat than most of the Seattle artists on this list.

The Cave Singers- This indie folk group has a great Pacific Northwest sound. Their music almost sounds like they are recording in a cave which is a unique quality. They use simple and early folk techniques, like harmonicas and bass drums, to give off that campfire vibe.

Rose Windows- This psychedelic rock band is highly influenced by 70’s style rock. They have created a nice layered subdued sound without being too loud or busy. They made some great songs before disbanding in 2015.

Nirvana- One of the most famous and influential rock groups of all time, Nirvana changed rock music forever. Kurt Cobain was a genius in creating a whole new genre, grunge rock. They played hard and created a loud sound that shocked the old establishment and gave life to the youth of the 90’s.

Jimi Hendrix- The greatest guitarist of all time, Jimi Hendrix changed how electric guitars were played. He used heavy distortion and effect pedals to create a new sound that even today is impossible to replicate completely. He is one of my personal heroes and one of my main influences for electric guitar.

Julia Shapiro- A former member of the Seattle bands Chastity Belt and Childbirth, Julia’s solo work is remarkable and has a lot of heart. Her songs are sad at times and deal with loss and health problems. Her music is full of hazy guitars, calm vocals and lo-fi tenderness.

La Luz- This Seattle band began in 2012 and plays surf rock with a hint of psychedelia and doo wop. I have been a big fan of this band for many years and really enjoy their clean instrumentals and layered vocal harmonies. They always seem to cam my nerves and bring me peace.

Written by Adam

Artist Spotlight

Kevin Morby: Folk Rock Maniac

I remember telling my wife after I heard Kevin Morby for the first time, “I just found this guy and he’s amazing. He sounds just like Bob Dylan. I think you’ll like him.” The next day, after listening to him, she tells me, “You were right! He does sound like Bob Dylan and he is amazing.” I must admit, my wife has excellent music taste, but regardless, Kevin Morby has this ability to blow you away with his unique and powerful style. Ever since first discovering him he has been a staple in our house and we’ve listened to him over and over, following his progression throughout the years and even seeing him live.

Photo by Stian Schlosser Moller

Kevin Morby began his musical career playing bass for the experimental folk band Woods and playing briefly with the band The Babies. He has released seven albums beginning in 2013. His style varies from traditional folk and Americana to classic rock and roll to country and soul. He is a master lyricist and song composer. His songs deal with current social issues like mass shootings, the negative effects of organized religion, sexism, racism, death and climate change. 

Kevin Morby has a very unique vocal style reminiscent of Bob Dylan. He has a deep voice and harmonizes with the bass in a beautiful way, at times talking out his lyrics. He has a very poetic style and loves alliteration and word play. His songs repeat certain thematic lines throughout like repeating his album titles, “oh my God” and “this is a photograph”. He loves using metaphors centered around nature. He talks a lot about rivers, usually symbolizing death and mortality and how life flows naturally on its given path. He also likes to sing about storms, trains, the Great Plains, singing, dancing, his family and he loves using the color black to create his dark and depressing mood. He is definitely one of the best and most creative lyricists I have ever heard and this quality alone makes his music a pleasure to listen to. 

Kevin Morby likes to experiment with different musical styles and each album has a different tone and sound. His first album, Harlem River from 2013 has a slight psychedelic jazz sound which is probably influenced by his time with the band Woods. I really like this style and Harlem River is a beautifully crafted album with a unique and dynamic sound. His next two albums, Still Life and Singing Saw are of similar styles to Harlem River, but a bit more dark, depressing and folksy. 

His fourth album, City Music in 2017 signifies a departure from his other albums in sound and style, bringing a more complex array of instruments and layers and an overall more upbeat sound. He uses horns and saxophones and has a lot more energy than his previous albums. His next album, Oh My God, made in 2019, puts together all of his styles into a perfectly crafted album. Oh My God drew a lot of attention from critics and the mainstream media and put Kevin Morby on the indie map. This album is perfectly sequenced and produced and contains many somber songs with eerie piano and explosive lyrics, that ironically critique organized religion, making this album his best in my opinion. 

Following the success and praise of Oh My God, Kevin released the album Sundowner in 2020. This album leans more towards traditional folk and Americana, relying more on acoustic guitars and less on piano and saxophone. Overall it was a decent album but did not blow my socks off. His newest album, This Is a Photograph, on the other hand is a masterpiece. He takes all of his styles and meshes them together, mixing his simple folk sound with layered soulful rock and roll. From start to finish this album sounds great and I am excited for the direction he is headed for any future albums. 

Kevin Morby has an amazing and diverse array of albums and is a dynamic performer to see live. I just saw him live on his This is a Photograph tour and I was blown away by his energy and attention to detail. He wore a shimmery silver Elvis jacket and shook his wild curly hair like a folk rock maniac. He knew when to slow down and when to bring the energy. My wife couldn’t help her excitement and screamed with joy over the polite artsy crowd. Overall he was an amazing act to see live and I will always try to see him when he comes to town. 

Photo by Adam

Kevin Morby is an American gem that blends together folk and rock and soul in a unique and powerful way. His lyrics are poignant and meaningful and his vocal delivery is unmatched. I am excited to see what direction he is headed to next and I highly recommend that you take a listen to his work. 

Genres: Folk, Americana, Folk Rock, Rock and Roll, Soul

Favorite Songs: Harlem River, Beautiful Strangers, City Music, Tin Can (my wife’s favorite), Destroyer, Oh My God, No Halo, Congratulations, Singing Saw, Bittersweet, TN, This Is a Photograph, Stop Before I Cry

Score: 10/10 The perfect unique folk rock sound

Written by Adam

Artist Spotlight

The Growlers: My Kids Are Obsessed

Almost every day in my house I hear my children say, “Dad! I want to listen to The Growlers! Let’s watch The Growlers videos!” I usually chuckle and my wife often rolls her eyes. What makes this LA-based psychedelic rock band so appealing to my kids? Is it their catchy surf-inspired sound? Or Brooks Nielsen’s raspy deep voice? Or their witty ironic lyrics? Whatever it is, my kids are obsessed. 

The Growlers began in 2006 in the city of Dana Point, California. The band’s main members are singer Brooks Nielsen and keyboard/guitar player Kyle Straka. They have released seven albums, several EPs and a good amount of singles. Their style is a combination of surf rock, psychedelic rock, metal, New Age and lo-fi old-time rock and roll. They have created a genre they call “Beach Goth”, which to me sums up their unique style. 

Now why are my kids obsessed with The Growlers? I have a few ideas. For one, the band is very approachable and at times simple, combining familiar old-time rock and roll instrumentals with lyrics about current issues, like homelessness, drugs and sexuality. This familiar rock and roll sound has been played in my house since my kids were born with bands like The Beatles and The Doors, so it makes sense this sound would appeal to them. The Growlers’ later work strays away from the surf rock sound slightly and enters into a more New Age style, with heavier synth and bass lines. I was a little sad to see this transformation but I have since accepted it and learned to love songs like Dream World and Try Hard Fool.

Photo by Taylorbonin

Another idea of why my kids are obsessed with The Growlers is Brooks Nielsen himself. He is a dynamic character, full of humor and energy and has an amazing voice. He is a master lyricist and blends humor into his songs, while keeping them relevant and poignant. The song, Gay Thoughts, for example is very funny and silly but has an important message of sexuality and society’s gender roles and norms. One of our family’s favorite songs is Someday, which is about the hope of escaping poverty and having a better life. This song is meaningful to us as we listened to it during my career transition. The lines, “when bologna turns into steak” and “tall boys turn into champagne” are examples of Brooks’ excellent ability to create metaphors. My wife actually gave me a card with lyrics from this song when I officially began my current career.

My kids love watching The Growlers’ music videos and laugh when they see Brooks dressed in drag or dancing. He is a confident man, often wielding a cigarette and a glass of whiskey in his tattooed arms. Their music videos are very entertaining and are full of trippy psychedelic images, like melting spacemen, bugs in a tiny motel and a demonized Frida walking down a hallway. Their numerous videos add to their overall image of drinking, surfing and grungy alternative rocker lifestyles. But is this the reason my kids are obsessed?

My last theory, which is the most basic, is that The Growlers are an amazingly talented and unique band that created their own genre that is unmatched anywhere else in the music industry. Kids, no matter how old, have taste and can tell what is good music. My kids, not trying to brag, must have excellent taste in music for being obsessed with one of the best bands to emerge in the last fifty years. I’m proud of my kids for loving this band as much as I do and I will never hesitate to play their music for them or let them watch their music videos. The Growlers are a classic genre-bending band that I will always hold close to my heart. 

Genres: rock, psychedelic rock, surf rock, New Age, alternative rock, lo-fi rock

Favorite songs: Humdrum Blues, Someday, One Million Lovers, California, Problems III, Black Memories, Love Test, Rare Hearts, Gay Thoughts, Someday, Monotonia, Pet Shop Eyes

Score: 9/10 Almost the perfect sound, but their later work is not my favorite and leans too much towards New Age and less psychedelic rock. 

Written by Adam

Artist Spotlight

Allah-Las: Gateway to Neo-Psychedelia

Before discovering Allah-Las a few years ago, I never imagined finding the exact sound and vibe of my favorite music from the 60’s. Formed in 2008, this LA based rock band has all of the qualities that made 60’s music so great, from the crunchy surf guitar, catchy jangly lyrics and trippy background organs. I owe almost all of my new music discoveries to this band. Allah-Las was my gateway into the wonderful world of neo-psychedelia, a genre that bends and weaves through all of the aspects of 60’s pop, rock, blues, jazz and folk. 

Allah-Las consists of Miles Michaud, vocals and guitar, Matthew Correia, percussion and vocals, Spencer Dunham, bass and vocals, and Pedrum Siadatian, lead guitar and vocals. They have released four studio albums along with many singles. The first three albums share a similar surf rock sound while their newest album, LAHS has more of a mellow jazz sound. Their style is a blend of California surf rock, Mid 60’s rock and roll, jazz, blues and psychedelic rock. Imagine combining The Kinks, The Byrds, The Doors and The Beach Boys into one perfectly structured and fine tuned band. Allah-Las screams sunny California, bringing us back to the golden days of surfing, sun and laid back beach vibes. They follow closely to the jangle pop era of the 60’s, made popular by The Byrds, with the use of 12 string guitars, tambourines and background harmonies. They also incorporate a lot of Latin jazz sounds that were popular during the 60’s with their use of xylophones and other percussion instruments.

Photo by Tore Saetre

You can really tell these guys are music historians and enthusiasts. The level of detail to match the 60’s sound is amazing. They use the right guitars and hollow amps, vintage organs and microphones. Even their album cover art looks straight from that era. For a 60’s music enthusiast like myself, it’s hard to find a current band that matches this iconic sound as well as Allah-Las. 

I highly recommend listening to Allah-Las no matter what music you are interested in. They have a timeless sound that is reminiscent of the 60’s but remain relevant with current music trends and styles. 

Favorite Songs: Don’t You Forget It, Busman’s Holiday, Satisfied, High & Dry, Fish on the Sand, Had It All, Every Girl, Polar Onion

Genres: Psychedelic rock, surf rock, folk rock, garage rock, rock and roll, jangle pop

Score: 10/10 The Perfect Sound

Written by Adam

Best of Locations

Best Canadian Bands

Canada has produced some amazing bands over the years. They have a thriving artsy indie music scene with bands like Arcade Fire, Chad VanGaalen and Andy Shauf and a stable more mainstream sound with groups like The Sadies and The Band. Based on the time I have spent in Canada, the country is very pleasant and full of very nice and polite people. Most of the music on this list reflects Canada’s chill, easy going vibe and overall artistic creativity. 

  1. Andy Shauf- This multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter from Saskatchewan blends elements of indie folk, jazz and baroque pop, making him my favorite Canadian artist. His songs are heartfelt and at times deal with dark subject matter. He likes to tell a story in his songs and creates a very intimate mood. He plays the clarinet and uses this sound often in his music, giving it this big city jazz sound that reminds me of 1970’s Paul Simon. My favorite album is The Party, which exemplifies his complete style, touch and songwriting ability. 
  2. Mac DeMarco- One of the more well known Canadian indie artists, Mac Demarco creates a unique sound that blends lo-fi indie, electronica and folk. He has made a lot of music over the years but has always stayed true to his chill laid back Canadian style that mixes synth elements and his unique off key guitar picking. 
  3. Homeshake- This indie electronica project from Montreal headed by multi-instrumentalist Peter Sagar mixes hip hop beats with smooth jazz licks. He has a sound that is very catchy and easy to listen to. Very similar to Mac Demarco in his laid back lo-fi sound, but with a bit more hip hop and less guitar. 
  4. Arcade Fire- Pioneers of the modern indie sound, this large and talented band began making music in 2001. They grew to enormous popularity with their Grammy winning album The Suburbs. Although I haven’t always agreed with their musical direction, changing to a more electronica/synth style over time, I’ll still always have love for their energy, creativity and innovation. 
  5. The Sadies- This Toronto-based country rock band began making music in the late 90’s. They are influenced by various bands including fellow Toronto-based group, The Band. Many have dubbed them the new The Band, and critics have praised them for being one of the best Canadian bands of all time. They are completely unique and blend multiple genres together including folk, country, rock, western, jangly pop, psychedelic rock, surf rock and Americana. 
  6. Chad VanGaalen- This indie folk artist has just the right amount of strangeness and darkness, while creating an approachable sound. He is not for everyone but something about his style, with his long echoing songs and creepy guitar, draws me in, making him one of the better Canadian indie folk artists. 
  7. Patrick Watson- This talented producer, composer and singer songwriter uses his knowledge of classical music to create a beautiful sound. He has a lot of passion in his songs and the arrangements he creates will make you tingle. 
  8. TOPS- Mixing dream pop with 70’s style soft pop, this group has a great sound backed by vocalist Jane Penny. They have become an influential underground group in Canada and have gained a cult following because of their style and disco swagger. 
  9. Wolf Parade- One of the more influential indie rock bands of the early 2000’s, this Montreal based group blends elements of punk revival and indie rock. Coming with a lot of youthful energy, I’ve always enjoyed their unique singing style and hard edged instrumentals. 
  10. The Barr Brothers- This indie folk group was created in 2006 by two American brothers in Montreal. They blend Delta blues with folk and use a lot of slide guitar, violins and harmonies to create a very pleasant sound. 
  11. Black Mountain- Formed in 2004, this Vancouver based psychedelic rock band blends all the best elements of the genre to create a truly remarkable sound. Their sound is a mix of 60’s style rock like Led Zeppelin, vintage metal like Black Sabbath and 60’s psychedelic pop similar to Jefferson Airplane. They bring a lot of energy and have some amazing guitar solos. Definitely one of my favorite psychedelic rock bands I’ve discovered. 
  12. Loving- This folk pop group has a very approachable and lo-fi vibe. They sound a lot like The Beatles and their layered melodic songs are highly addictive and infectious. 
  13. Men I Trust- This synth pop group from Montreal combines jazz and electronica to create a unique and amazing sound. They use sharp and clean beats with soft, warm vocals. A highly addictive sound that is hard to find fault in. 
  14. Tess Parks- Inspired by 60’s psychedelia, Tess Parks hypnotizes her audience with her deep raspy voice. She has collaborated with many famous groups including The Brian Jonestown Massacre and is an important figure in the neo-psychedelia movement. 
  15. Timber Timbre- Mixing together vintage folk pop and dark gothic folk, this group has a sound that is both unique and creepy. Definitely worth listening to if you are up for something new and bold. 
  16. Meltt- This dream pop group from Vancouver creates colorful soundscapes that are both catchy and subdued. They mix alternative electronica with psychedelic dreamy rock sounds to create a very pleasant style. 
  17. Elephant Stone- This Canadian indie rock band combines traditional Indian styles with western psychedelic rock. Together these styles create a great trippy psychedelic sound that is highly unique and smooth.
  18. Kacy & Clayton- This folk and roots duo from Saskatchewan brings a vintage folk sound with amazing harmonies and chill instrumentals. They have great tone and touch and have a great Canadian sound with a mix of American country and folk. 
  19. The Band- This pioneer folk and rock group began in the 1960’s and have been praised as one of the best Canadian bands of all time. Most of the groups’ members are from Toronto, which most people don’t know and wouldn’t assume as they have a very southern rock, American sound. They have influenced countless bands with their blend of country, rock, blues, folk and R&B. Their songs like The Weight and Up on Cripple Creek are played throughout the world and have had a lasting impact on the music industry.
  20. Blood Ceremony- Beginning in 2006, this Toronto-based hard rock band blends heavy metal, psychedelic rock, stoner rock and occult rock. They love to use the flute, similar to Jethro Tull and rely heavily on Alia O’brien’s wonderful opera-like voice. They are similar to Black Sabbath with a bit more folk inspiration and their songs deal with black magic, witches and mythology. Definitely a unique blend but they put it all together in an organized, clean and heavy package.

Written by Adam