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four bands you may not have heard of.. until now!

October 4, 2010

The first band I want to mention is called Resonner. fronted by a dude named Richie Cooks (who has an excellent rock and roll name, I think). Richie used to be in one of the best bands I ever heard (seriously!), called The Arcane Empire. They were beyond amazing – sort of like blending Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Mars Volta and Led Zep together, yet still having their own sound! This was in part due to Cooks’s voice – very high, strange and unusual, heartbreaking and maddening – it not only gets under your skin but into your veins. I am predicting this guy will soon have his own Wikipedia page, assuming he doesn’t already.

In a horribly tragic turn of events (tragic for their fans, anyway), The Arcane Empire disbanded. I still don’t know all the details – something to do with Richie having re-located to L.A. for awhile, and the rest of the guys (all of them EXTREMELY talented) getting musically restless and moving on to other projects. They only recorded a few demo tracks, and that was it.

I’m still weeping.

I never got to know the Arcane Empire guys well, but have hung out with them a bit, and keep in touch via facebook from time to time. The former A.E. drummer is now focusing on recording/studio engineering, as far as I know, and I think the bassist is into radio production. I don’t know what the lead guitarist is currently up to. Mr. Cooks, who not only sang for The AE but also played Hammond organ and guitar, recorded some solo acoustic music, which can be found on myspace, and hopefully elsewhere (Richie, could you PLEASE change that green background color on your myspace page? It hurts my eyes). He is now making new musical history with Resonner.

Resonner is a French word. I found this out by accident when I googled the band. The word is pronounced “ray-zon-eh” (sort of), and means “to clang, to clatter, to resonate, to ring out.” Excellent name for a band! Considering that this is an American band, the name will of course be mispronounced. Likely, we out here will call them “re-sunner” or “re-zoner,” – something like that. The average American not living in Louisiana knows no French. When it comes to knowing a foreign language, most Americans are dunces, except for those who learn a foreign language to get better jobs, and people brought up in families in which more than one language is spoken.

Ok..moving on..

Once upon a time, there was a band called Jupiter is Useless. This was an instrumental band. They .. well, I don’t know what they did exactly, except for not calling themselves Jupiter is Useless anymore, teaming up with Richie, and renaming themselves Resonner. There’s probably more to the story than that, but I don’t know anymore, so there it is.

Resonner (like The Arcane Empire and Jupiter is Useless) makes VERY trippy music!! I just listened to two tracks by Resonner – including, at the time I am writing this, a free download via their FB page, and I am feeling weird. And, like the previous two bands, this group is hard to classify. I don’t know what genre I would put them in – unusual heart-felt space rock..hmm… anyway..

Last band I want to mention is a shoegaze group called Solar Powered People. Although I think that is an excellent band name, I have always thought this particular name never fit the band. In my opinion. Their sound is mostly too dark to be called Solar Powered People – that name would better suit an Acid Jazz/Ska/Funk-Punk sort of band – imagine crossing Parliament with Mighty Mighty Bosstones , throw in a few Chili Peppers, and toss in some of those very funky but little known Beastie Boys instrumentals from their “Ill Communication” and “Check Your Head” albums. Yeah.. that’s what I would guess a band called Solar Powered People would sound like, but such is not the case.

Their sound is not doom and gloom, nor light and happy, with the exception of one of their best tunes, “Commercial Flight.” How do I describe the sound? Hard to say.. especially since I don’t, in general, listen to shoegaze – I’m not familiar with the genre, so don’t really have anyone to compare SPP to. On rare occasions, one of the guys will throw in a brief guitar riff that sounds vaguely inspired by The Cure, but overall the band does not sound like The Cure. Heavy and edgy at times, and with distortion, but certainly not metal. Not screamo or emo either. Very moody music for overcast days – some songs have energy to get you moving, but others.. wow.. just drift man!

So.. in summation.. if you are looking for some unconventional and extraordinary music, it is likely you can find The Arcane Empire, Jupiter is Useless, Resonner and Solar Powered People on youtube, myspace, and probably facebook.

Check ’em out! Just don’t drop any acid while listening unless you want a wilder than usual trip. You won’t need any psychedelic drugs to go along with this music!!

Enjoy.

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