Shalom Life | April 16, 2014

Top 10 Bands to Watch in 2012

Check out our list of the best bands you probably haven't heard

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: June 29th, 2012 in Culture » Music » News

Top 10 Bands to Watch in 2012

With musical acts like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Goyte being played 150 times a day on any given radio station, sometimes it’s best to step back and discover some new music.

After searching high and low, Shalom Life has compiled a list of the 10 best indie acts you should give a listen to, assuming you decide to take a much-deserved break from the mundane Top 40 acts heard day in and day out.

All of these bands have at least one member who is Jewish, so let's show some love to some amazing talent:

BAND: AUTOMATIC TOYS

GENRE: Electro/Pop/Rock

HOMETOWN: Toronto, ON

WEBSITE: www.automatictoysmusic.com

BIO: Automatic Toys is about living with passion and inspiring creativity, reviving rock 'n' roll with a soulful electronic sound and playing raw music with truthful lyrics. Automatic Toys is a duo from Toronto, Canada, formed by Nachum Peterseil and Yasha Gruzman. After releasing their 2011 EP "Not Enough Glue", radio and online attention were soon to take notice. The Band won the 102.1 The Edge's indie online competition. That was followed by “Electric Playground,” a daily television program, featuring Automatic Toys in a piece about its sound and unique in-house production.

Currently creating their debut album, the duo are in the studio, writing , recording, and producing their songs and sounds for 2012. Putting a big emphases on their live show, Automatic Toys work hard on making memorable and high-energy, live performances.

BAND: YAEL MEYER

GENRE: Indie-Pop, Folk Electronica

HOMETOWN: Santiago, Chile

WEBSITE: www.yaelmeyermusic.com

BIO: Compared to artists such as Jose Gonzalez, Jack Johnson, Feist and Death Cab For Cutie, her new album “Everything Will Be Alright” released November 15, 2011 on her own label Kli Records, debuted at the top of the charts on various national radio stations (USA) entering the top 200 CMJ charts it’s first week after release where it stayed for several weeks thereafter. The album was also featured as New & Noteworthy on i-Tunes homepage and appeared on several best of 2011 lists including Chile’s Radio Horizonte Top 75 albums of 2011.

SPIN Magazine praised the songs on Everything Will Be Alright, Yael’s newest release as “artful simplicity, offering refuge from modern anxiety”.Her songs have appeared on several prime time TV shows including “Drop Dead Diva”, “Private Practice”, “Life Unexpected” and “Awkward”.

Based in L.A. Yael has toured the U.S, Europe and South America having recently returned to the U.S. after a 2 month tour of her native Chile where she played several sold-out dates culminating with a performance at the famed festival Lollapalooza Chile 2012 alongside the hottest acts in music today including, Foster The People, Bjork, Band of Horses, MGMT and Skrillex. Her outstanding performance set her apart as an artist to watch, earning her praise as one of the best shows of the festival by critics and audiences alike.

BAND: THE DRUMS

GENRE: Indie pop/rock

HOMETOWN: Brooklyn, New York

WEBSITE: www.thedrums.com

BIO: Emerging from Brooklyn via Florida in 2009, The Drums initially caught the ear of the indie world with their Summertime! EP. It was an escapist collection of beach pop fantasies; tracks suffused with a wistful, longing nostalgia that never pandered to cheap sentimentality. Their rise, particularly in the UK, was meteoric. Early buzz led to a prestigious spot on the BBC Sound of 2010 shortlist, followed in short succession by a slot on the Shockwaves NME Tour in 2009, and the publication’s Phillip Hall Radar Award in early 2010, well before the album’s release that summer.

Their terrific self-titled debut LP, released in June, was bifurcated into a first half dedicated to more upbeat pop songs, and a second half revealing a darker, more introspective side of the band. A resounding success, the album has sold 200,000 copies globally to date (90,000 in the UK alone) and found the band touring relentlessly, playing triumphant sold out gigs worldwide throughout 2010 and 2011, including a 6 week tour of the USA and shows in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Germany, France, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Mexico and Indonesia, as well as a sold out UK tour, culminating in two nights headlining the London Forum.

For the often difficult sophomore LP, the band sidestepped the pitfalls of a slump by recording it quickly, again self producing, often laying down tracks spontaneously in singer Jonny Pierce’s kitchen. Following the departure of guitarist Adam Kessler, drummer Connor Hanwick switched to guitar, and guitarist Jacob Graham picked up his more natural instrument of synthesizers. Titled Portamento, the new album, released just 14 months after their debut, reveals a band tugging lightly at the boundaries of their sound while still retaining their recognizable sonic signatures—sweet rushes of melody, winsome lyrics, and brittle synthesizer sheens colliding with wiry Spector-esque guitar and bass lines. Pierce’s lyrics have also assumed a more starkly intimate, personal tone, evinced from the outset on opener “Book of Revelations,” with its brazen examination of religion, through the bittersweet closing love song “How It Ended.”

BAND: THE GROGGERS

GENRE: Jewish pop-punk

HOMETOWN: Queens, New York

WEBSITE: www.thegroggers.com

BIO: The Groggers are a unique Jewish pop-punk band with a comic twist. Based out of New York, the band formed in early 2010 and took the internet by storm with their controversial music video, "GET". The song, which brashly dealt with the delicate issue of a Jewish husband withholding a ritual divorce from his separated wife, sparked much controversy surrounding the video and the band. The uproar caught the attention of several prominent bloggers and websites, including those dedicated to the resolution of such sensitive domestic complications.

After surviving their tumultuous internet debut more determined than ever, The Groggers began work on their first full-length album and unveiled their second video "Eishes Chayil in November of 2010. The new video featured Jewish music legend Rav Shmuel and was well received by critics and fans alike. In August 2011 they officially released their debut album "There's No 'I' in Cherem" which harnessed a powerful blend between unrelenting pop-rock melodies and cleverly entertaining lyrics. With their highly eccentric, yet accessible, messages and authentic musical chops, The Groggers are able to captivate both Jewish and Non-Jewish audiences alike.

BAND: TASSEOMANCY

GENRE: Neo-Folk/Rock

HOMETOWN: Toronto, ON

WEBSITE: www.tasseomancymusic.com

BIO: Tasseomancy is a continuation of what was a bare bones neo-folk duo. Formerly known as Ghost Bees, Canadian twins Sari and Romy Lightman have found a heavier, more ambient sound, ripe with dreamy, dissonant vocals, influenced by eastern song, drone music, phonography and myth.

The duo released their debut EP Tasseomancy in 2008. Its cover is a photograph of the sisters' great-great grandmother Clara Chernos, a Russian Jewish tea-leaf reader who moved to Canada in the 19th century during the Russian pogroms. The pair toured extensively in support of the record, including shows in the UK and Europe.

As the Ghost Bees project developed, new sounds and influences not heard on the original EP began to be incorporated; prompting a name change to Tasseomancy in 2010.[4] The twins recorded their debut full length under the new name that year, produced by fellow Toronto based musicians Taylor Kirk and Simon Trottier of the band Timber Timbre. They released a 7" single on friendDiamond Rings' boutique label Hype Lighter, and began performing in friend Katie Stelmanis' electronic outfit Austra as touring backing singers.

The debut album Ulalume was released on Out of this Spark/Turf Records in August 2011.

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