Lately I have gotten in the habit of asking bands about other acts they've performed with/heard/respect that may benefit from a little more attention. So far the results have been fantastic. I have discovered a whole mess of new groups and since its what I do I'm going to start sharing them with you. Starting with this twofer.
The Darlings were brought to my ears by Greg Sullo the lead singer of Dinosaur Feathers. While discussing what promising indie pop there is out there today he dropped their name and when I said I wasn't familiar with them he gave me a look that implied I needed to immediately get my hands on some.
I have been beyond plused by their work. There is a Pogues-esqu balance in their arrangements with smart lyrics delivered sincerely (even if that means agrily like on If This Is Love) while
punkier instrumentals keep you on your toes and wanting more. They have been getting some excellent, and well deserved, press and I'm glad to add my ups to the pile. Try these two tracks on
Hezekiah Jones is a group suggested by James of
River City Extension [who are playing at The Fire tomorrow night incidently]. HJ is a group that records with a whole troupe of contributors and then performs live with whomever is available and both deliveries a equally delectable. Perhaps due to the rotating cast's constant; Raphael Cutrufello. Cutrufello writes the songs and provides lead vocals as well as a number of other instrumental noises and does so with luring beauty. His voice is clearly informed by the folk tradition but maintains an authentic indie balladeer vibe pushing HJ's songs towards a really fresh end of the spectrum. This ripe flavor is made even more potent by the variety of "instruments" used to create arrangements surrounding the vocals. Whether the song calls for sweet lilting support from a guitar and tender harmonies or raucous banjo strumming and banging pots and pans there is always the right mix there to create the perfect sound.
They cover a range of topics from love to politics and all of it draws you in, makes you think and more often than not bob your head in time. Hezekiah Jone performs quite a bit in Philly and the surrounds so you should have no problem catching the live action. In the mean time start your collection with these two superb tracks: