watch your step
by Sean Connelly
After watching the MTV Movie Awards I realized how big the band The Black Keys have gotten. This was a band that three years ago had only a cult following. How did they get so big in just a few short years? They, according to hardcore fans, “sold out” by selling one of their song Tighten Up to an advertising agency. This agency then put the song into several commercials and The Black Keys became an instant success. After this happened many agencies have switched to advertising with unknown musicians in the hopes that people will recognize the artist by the advertisement their first big song was featured in. This has been a hit or miss technique with only a few bands making it as big as The Black Keys. Here’s to hoping that another band as good as The Black Keys is found this way. In this article we’re going to take a look at commercial bands that are definitely worth a listen.
Obviously at this point a good portion of people know who The Black Keys are, if you don’t you should give them a listen. The Black Keys were formed in 2001 in Akron, Ohio. This band is a throwback to an old school style of music. Too much music nowadays is computer assisted or computer generated. This music on the other hand is not helped or made by computers, it is just man-made. The Black Keys feature a drum kit, a guitar, and last but certainly not least vocals. With three simple things (and a few other instruments thrown in from time to time) this band has been able to create seven albums with three of them being commercially successful. This new old sound is definitely appealing to many types of listeners from blues lovers to the 90’s grunge rock fans The Black Keys have a new sound for, hopefully, a new wave of actual musicians. Unfortunately, The Black Keys are ending their current tour soon and are on the other side of the country. Hopefully though you can catch them the next time they come around.
This is another band you should know from several commercials. The song We Are Young has been featured in numerous television shows and most famously was used in the Chevrolet commercial during this year’s Super Bowl. Fun. was formed in 2007 and received success much early than The Black Keys. This band unlike The Black Keys does not have very many hit songs. This makes me think if Fun. does not have another single very soon their 15 minutes of fame is up, but for now we have a great song to listen to! Fun will be performing in Massachusetts in July as part of The Vans Warped Tour, tickets can be purchased here.
The Duke Spirit: The Duke Spirit are an English rock band. This is definitely a more obscure band compared to the first two. The Duke Spirit have a very unique sound in today’s rock scene because their singer, Liela Moss, is a woman. With the female lead vocals this alternative rock band can shred fast and hard or slow it down to a soothing melody. The Duke Spirit received most of their exposure two years ago when their song, Love Is An Unfamiliar Name, was featured in several commercials. These commercials ranged from iPod using the song without the lyrics, to a shoe company using their song with the lyrics. This band is currently very underground, and not to sound like a hipster here, but they are so good. I saw them live three years ago and they absolutely killed their set opening for Incubus. If you like alternative rock this band is definitely worth checking out. The Duke Spirit have a show coming up in Massachusetts and if you’re interested in going I know for a fact you will not be disappointed. You can purchase tickets here.
The Crash Kings: This band is different from the rest of the bands for one particular reason. The Crash Kings have not had their songs featured in a commercial, The Crash Kings have had their songs featured in several movies, the most famous being Zombieland. The Crash Kings are a three man band featuring a drummer, a bassist, and a hyperclav keyboardist, vocalist. This band has a unique sound because the keyboardist is constantly switching from piano to guitar noises. This seamless transition makes the band hard to classify into one particular genre but I would say alternative rock with more on the side of rock would describe them pretty well. They have also had singles on the radio about three years ago. The single they are most known for is Mountain Man. Again, I have seen this band live two times and both times they were full of energy and you could tell they loved performing. The second show I saw them at they played for close to 4 hours, mind you they have one album. These guys are great to see live and if you get a chance to see them take it. Unfortunately, like The Black Keys, they will not be around the Massachusetts area in the near future.
Now I want to share a band that you haven’t heard but you should really give a listen to, The Mountain Road Ramblers. This is a band out of Rindge, New Hampshire and Nick already did a write up of them here, but thought I would give them a shout out here as well. This, I hope, is the new sound of mainstream music. I literally haven’t been able to get Turn It Up or M.R.R. out of my head since I first heard them play. If you like music, you’ll love The Mountain Road Ramblers. You can listen to the “Ramblers” on PureVolume.