A consistency in disorder breathes into existence a quintet bound to the loud and impulsive. Gritty and jangled on some occasions, then mangled and diverting in others. The only thing planned is the outburst itself.
A hypnotic trance is created through guitars painted heavy and a rhythm section bound for movement, but beneath the distortions and muddled screams Junior Astronomers seek to achieve more than just reactions from onlookers; the band itself tries to document the human experience. "Music needs to sound like human beings, like it's alive," frontman Terrence Richard declares. "A lot of people want to make sad shit all the time--that's one part of life but it's not all life. There's fun, there's happiness, there's sadness."
On stage the mess of humanity is embraced through a livid live show—devoid of controlled manipulation each night's set stumbles onto new devices. Passion bleeds over lofty construction making sure the songs themselves are the frame. The rest is unhinged and never over thought. "If something is forced it feels like a job," the band echoes.
Continually on the move since forming in 2007, with only two EPs to their name, Junior Astronomers have toured and shared stages with the likes of Harvard, The Weeks, Dignan, Color Revolt, Des Ark, and Polvo. Poised to not take a break in the near future the North Carolina natives bring with them a promise, there is an elemental energy that lies in-between art and craft.
The Francis Vertigo
In March 2016, South Carolina quartet The Francis Vertigo released their latest EP “Reception”, a fascinating mix of power and finesse, blending adventurous full-kit drumming with layered, melodic guitar lines. The band’s music had a bit of progressive rock experimentation in the mix, but Knights’ skill at creating catchy vocal hooks made the challenging rhythms more palatable.
Brother Oliver is a musical project formed by two brothers, Andrew & Stephen Oliver. The brothers have made their way with high energy performances through the lens of a folk-rock / psych-rock aesthetic. Brother Oliver has been picking up steam in the Southeast since their arrival with engaging and intuitive musical presentations that strike a chord with any audience.
The band was started in 2011 in the small town of Greenville, Michigan — where the brothers were born and raised. Just two years later, they moved to Greenville, South Carolina as a result of 20-year-old angst and longings for change. Upon arrival, Andrew (the eldest of the two) opened a small recording studio where they would write and record their first record, Stubborn Fool (which was featured in NoiseTrade.com’s ‘Best Music of 2014’). The band is currently preparing for the release of their 3rd full- length record, which is self-titled Brother Oliver.
Wasted Wine is a band based in Greenville, SC. Their songs combine Eastern European melodies, Middle Eastern instruments, cryptic lyrical storytelling, and complex, suite-like song structures, woven together in their own strange blend of homemade prog-rock.
Excons might be the most unassuming and under the radar band in the Upstate music scene. In appearance they look like four average Joe's and in schedule they do not play with the frequency of some other local names. In practice, however, they are cooking up something special and that is exactly how drummer John Byce likes it.
For Byce, the musical journey began in Clemson when he played in the band Grass Cactus in the 1990s. Upon graduation and moving to Greenville he played in a series of bands such as Spicket, Outer Space Ways Inc. and Rocket #9. "I was just hustling, trying to play anywhere I could," he recalls.
Seeking to get his feet wet in a larger music scene, he moved to Chicago with hopes of making music a full time career. As it turned out, it was a pretty eye opening experience in terms of understanding the music industry. "I just wanted to play music full time in a band," he says "and then I met the artists that were in the bands I liked and they all had day jobs. This was my end game and they were still working as stockboys."
Still, he found success with The Fruit Bats who were signed to Sub-Pop Records and were a classic case of a band that almost made it big. Ironically, their recordings from the early 2000s are more popular today than they were then and Byce laughs that the band "was just a late bloomer."
Eventually Byce and his wife returned to Greenville, started a family and all but left music behind. "I didn't play for a very long time. I missed it." That changed when he and some other parents of his children's elementary school put together a Rolling Stones cover band for the school's annual art fair. Rebitten by the music bug, Byce teamed with Porter Whitmire and Taylor Vandiver and the three started playing in his basement. Originally thought to be a jam session among friends, Byce insisted they write their own material and Excons were born. Last summer they added Brett Helsel and the band became a complete four piece arrangement.
Musically, The Excons are everything there is to love about indie rock. These are four guys that are playing for the love of music with absolutely no end game in mind.
"We want to write music that makes you think the song is going one way… and then we take it in a whole different direction." It is this attitude that makes a band sound fresh, different and worth listening to and Excons execute this perfectly.
Estuarie cites their debut EP, Floodgate, as being influenced by Local Natives, and boy are they right. The velvety vocal melodies and melancholic optimism of the music is out in full force. The Upstate band is set to release their sophomore EP later this year, self-described as more aggressive, energetic and honest than their debut.
What, exactly, is going on in the music of Greenville’s Apricot Blush? What is this odd combination of nakedly emotional singing, lilting acoustic guitars, and muted percussion? What is that eerie, haunting howl moving throughout these delicate, passionate songs? And what is it about this self-titled album that’s so compelling and frightening?
To answer these questions, we have to turn to Jackson Wise, the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist who for a time was the only member of Apricot Blush. Because in every way, this startling work is a personal one for him.
On Apricot’s Bandcamp page, you’ll find a paragraph that Wise wrote to explain the record, and for a 20-year-old, his reasons are startling to say the least. “This started as a conceptual album about the journey into celibacy,” Wise wrote. “It’s mainly focused on the trials of being a young adult with a high sex drive and trying to fight that nature in order to grow further in my relationship with a higher power.”
Wise has expanded Apricot Blush into an interesting lineup that, in addition to his guitar and musical saw, features Jonah Terry on banjo, Dan Fetterolf on drums, trumpet player Wesley Heaton, and bassist Mike Robbins
The Apartment Club
The Apartment Club is the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Acen Herron. At its onset, and with the help of a few close friends, Herron started construction on first drafts of songs that would later become Apt Club favorites. After a few member changes and additions (Geoffrey Kelly/Drums, Jake Bagwell/guitar and Nathaniel Kelly/bass) the lineup was set and Herron's passion project was free to take form for what is now becoming a serious artistic endeavor for not just him, but all members alike.
With lyrics that are not afraid to explore life's ups and downs, The Apartment Club is taking stages by storm to bare heart, soul, and mind in their fun filled, sorrowful, angry, happy go lucky musical expression of life, love and loss.
Italo & The Passions
Italo and the Passions contains four out-of-step dudes that have lived rock’n’roll longer than most twice their age. From the streets of New York to the mountains of Virginia, they came together as one in the foothills of the Carolinas for one reason only -- producing the sexiest, grooviest, grittiest, and most soulful rock’n’roll imaginable.
Learning life on the stage and road, not letting school, or any other, bring them down. Casey Taylor, Drew Pack, Kyle Fletcher, and Italo have been playing in bands as early as the second grade. Sharing the stage with such artist as The Ramones, The Misfits, Dick Dale, and many other legendary acts, before even reaching the age of sixteen.
Your local indie band repping the talented Pablo Generation collective of rising Upstate bands alongside Apricot Blush, Beach Bug, JS Terry, Daddy’s Beemer, and more.
These heartfelt indie rockers move a room and fill your soul with their cascading structures and melodies.
Just three best pals passionate about making sweet, sweet tunes to caress your ears.