Soundclouds of the Underground: Opening Acts Edition

Published April 25, 2013

ABOVE: STARRED. PHOTO COURTESY OF LOGAN WHITE

These days, music truly lives online, with an infinite number ofwebsites dedicated to hosting tunes for the laptop-wielding masses. However, the web’s bottomless pit of blogs isn’t the only place to troll for mp3 treasures—some of the newest and most exciting (Internet-friendly) artists can be sought out via Soundcloud, the online stage that allows musicians to promote and distribute their music to fans and friends across the globe. In this weekly column, expert Internet sleuth Alex Chapman goes deep into the depths of the music-sharing site, in hopes of shedding light on emerging acts, as well as sharing some digital diamonds in the rough.

We are long past the point of browsing a show’s bill and wondering which opening acts are worth seeking out—nowadays, nearly every group on the road has some sort of online presence (some stronger than others, of course). That’s why for this week, we picked out three opening acts that have star quality, both on the stage and in cyberspace.

Starred: “Committee”

Who: Starred is LA’s Liza Thorn and Matthew Koshak. The match was made in musical heaven—Thorn’s raw, beguiling tone fits perfectly over the duo’s wave of washed-out guitars, forming something classic and peculiar all at once.

The Song: “Maybe I’ll do it on my own,” Thorn sings on “Committee,” a soft and sweet song exuding a tint of hazed melancholy. An organ drives the melody, but it is Thorn who tends to catch the ear—although she may not be the loudest thing on the track, the singer stuns with her straightforward vocal, which helps the track float along nicely.

Current Project: Armed with a new live band featuring the likes of Jon Catfish DeLorme (pedal steel), Abe Pedroza (drums), and Errol Bilgin (keys), Starred will be opening for DIIV on April 26 at Tralf Music Hall in Buffalo, New York. For more info, head here.

Young Fathers: “I Heard”

Who: Based in Edinburgh, Scotland, Kayus Bankole, Graham Hastings, and Alloysious Massaquoi make up Young Fathers, an exciting group that makes sultry, psychedelic R&B and rap with oftentimes subtle, traditionally African-inspired percussion.

The Song: “I Heard” is a track with many alluring elements—the chorus vocals mirror the shouty soulfulness of Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, the verses’ steamy falsetto sits sexily on top of the understated synth and clicking rhythm, and the whispering rap towards the song’s middle proves that these guys can do just about anything.

Current Project: The band will head to St. Gallens, Scotland tomorrow to play with Spoek Mathambo at Palace—check out more details on this show and others by hitting up the Young Fathers Facebook page.

Futurebirds: “Heavy Weights”

Who: An indie-folk rock outfit based out of Athens, Georgia, Futurebirds are a band who practice both mellowness and an interest in experimentation—when listening to their latest record Baba Yaga, one can hear the tracks go far beyond the traditional floorplans without distorting the group’s distinct identity.

The Song: A prime example of the aforementioned, “Heavy Weights” (a choice cut off Baba Yaga) could easily be an old folk song made new, the call and response element combined with the steady flow of the song giving it a classic, almost country feel.

Current Project: The Futurebirds are set to play some dates with Band of Horses, starting April 29 at the Lyric in Oxford, Mississippi. For info on that show and others, head to the band’s Facebook page.

Soundclouds of the Underground runs every Thursday. For more, click here.