These are a few bands that are new to me (and with the exception of Stars probably new to you) and while not entirely tight packages they all do have a few tunes that are worth a listen.
I can't remember where I found Derby. It could have been when I started my eMusic account and spent an entire day tripping through links to "other bands like this" and poking around random music lists. But it doesn't really matter cause I found em.From what I have found of their stuff and by listening to their MySpace posting they are still developing their sound but If Ever There's A Reason demonstrates good use of hand clapping (look for a post on this oft overlooked percussive addition soon) and simple guitar.
If Ever There's A Reason
I will admit I haven't done an exhaustive search into Hello Saferide but I can tell you they are one of the many Indie Pop groups bustin out of Sweden as of late. I'm not sure whats in the water over there but the music talent per capita is astonishingly high. Hello Saferide is not the best they have to offer but their songs are good and their lyrics intriguing. Their music ranges from v. perky pop tending towards a Twee sound to fairly standard indie sweet wit. I'd point you towards Anna, Get Sick Soon and If I Don't Write This Song, Someone I Love Will Die.
Recently there has been a trend in my concert going, perhaps due to my growing familiarity with up-and-coming music, but I have been going to more shows to see the opening acts rather than the headliners. In this case I was going to see Bell X1 a newer band from Ireland who were opening for Stars at the Trocadero. Stars totally won out over Bell X1 who still needs to work on their live show. Stars got big last year with the release of their album In Our Bedroom After The War. I had heard a few tracks but nothing had really grabbed me. But let me tell you seeing them live changed that. They opened the show with The Night Starts Here which got the crowd going then laid out their set with character and spunk. I liked a lot of what I heard, most of it their older stuff like Elevator Love Letter and My Favorite Book. Live they really bring their great lyrics to life a spark they don't seem to capture on recording. Reunion is the track I find myself listening to most since that night.
The Weakerthans are no more but they ruled the Canadian music scene in the mid nineties. I know, that doesn't really imply much talent, but hey Canada has given us some undeniable talent; Ryan Gosling, Bare Naked Ladies um I'm blanking on other right now but I digress. I found them when I picked up the story behind their Cat songs. The band wrote two songs from the perspective of one of the member's cat. Plea from a Cat Named Virtue and the follow up Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure are strangely sincere and drew me in. And I recommend you seek out some of their nonfeline related music, the Reunion Tour stuff to start. Left and Leaving is a well phrased end of the line relationship song.
Left and Leaving
And finally Miss Esperanza Spalding. I saw her at the First Annual Root Picnic on Festival Pier this summer. The day was freakishly hot (topped out at 102) but my concert going crew were hardcore and we hung in there for the majority of the day. The line up was great DJ Jazzy Jeff (who is SO MUCH MORE than a reoccurring character on Fresh Prince of Bel Aire and if you don't know why do some readin about the history of hip hop/DJ's in Philly NOW), Gnarls Barkley, Deerhoof, Cool Kids and of course the Roots. But Esperanza Spalding stole my heart.
There was a time when I had lofty aspirations to make the stand up bass sexy while legitimately funky. I quickly realized that I was not going to be the person to carry that message to the masses but when I saw Esperanza's set I knew she was just that person. She played that bass like it was her dance partner and sang like she was channeling some late greats. She is the exception to this list in that her entire album is excellent from her Spanish take on Body & Soul to the strong lady ballad Precious. See her if you get the opportunity but for now enjoy...