New Releases from DIY and Indie Label Artists The Hot Dark, Norwegian Arms, Brave Baby, John Haesemeyer and Eric Howl

The Hot Dark

The Hot Dark from San Francisco dropped a new EP this past week


Earlier this week, IRC ran the Best New Releases of the week, featuring singles from new albums by artists like Yo La Tengo, Virals, Free Energy, Christopher Owens, as well as the Band of the Week,Scarlet Youth.  This post is basically volume two with great new singles from DIY and small label artists like The Hot Dark, Norwegian Arms, Brave Baby, John Haesemeyer and Eric Howl.

First up is San Francisco DIY post new wave, sax-rock band The Hot Dark who dropped their new EP, oddly titled January 2013 EP, earlier this week. The two singles the band sent in from the new EP are fairly good for a DIY band has been together for less than a year. As you’ll hear, the six-piece fog city band has a big sound and a lot going on in their tracks with all kinds of instruments – from electric guitar to the saxophone. The lead track, “Blossom,” is simply a great track, easily of the best of the week.

“Blossom” – The Hot Dark from January 2013 EP

The band actually started out as a duo in 2007 when musicians Kiel Williams and Rick Moore joined forces in a trashy Boston apartment. Since then they have released two studio albums under the nameDescendants of Prospectors. The duo grew to a six piece touring band to play the complex arrangements of the recordings on the road. As the band progressed, their sound ventured far from the electronic folk sounds of their original album, and with the added influence of singer/songwriter Owen Ridings, it really began to feel like a whole new band. Despite the resistance from a core group of die hard fans, they decided their new band, now based in San Francisco, needed a new name, thus the birth of The Hot Dark .

“In Retrospect” – The Hot Dark from January 2013 EP

The band members consider among their top musical influences artists such as Francis and the Lights, Minus the Bear, Rubblebucket, m83 and Tuneyards.


Philly duo Norwegian Arms dropped their debut album this past week.

Philly Musicians Brendan Mulvihill and Eric Slick’s Debut as Norwegian Arms

Written in Siberia over the course of an intense, cold year, knee deep in snow and cultural shock, musician Brendan Mulvihill returned to Philadelphiaa few months ago to begin recording the songs that he wrote while isolated in the frozen tundra overseas. Mulvhill reunited with his Norwegian Arms partner,Eric Slick from Dr. Dog, one of Philly’s most popular local indie rock bands, to craft the first Norwegian Arms LP released earlier this week.

“Like a Stray Dog” – Norwegian Arms from Wolf Like a Stray Dog

Charleston’s Brave Baby Drops Debut LP

Here’s another band that you’ll probably not read about or get a chance to hear on any other site we know of. Charleston, South Carolina indie band, Brave Baby, crossed our radar for the first time last week after they sent in a couple of tracks from their debut LP, Forty Bells, dropped this week via the small indie label, Hearts & Plugs. We’d say, after listening to Forty Bells, that Brave Baby is a band to watchin 2013.

On the standout track, “Magic & Fire,” the band grooves on a feel good rhythm, soaring lead guitar jams by Christian Chidester, chorus-led vocals, rounded out by Wolfgang Zimmerman’s steady drum beats and crashing cymbals, and an understated bass line. On the second single the band shared with us, “Living in a Country,” the overall sound is a bit more melancholy, especially as delivered by the wonderfully emotive vocals of Keon Masters, and cut with erie, high-pitched synth notes. But the song is largely dominated by the jangling, shoegaze-style electric guitars.

“Magic & Fire” – Brave Baby from Forty Bells

“Living In A Country” – Brave Baby from Forty Bells

The band has opened for groups like Holy Ghost Tent Revival, ELIM BOLT, The Rejectioneers, and others, and consider among their musical influences Arcade Fire, The Killers, Fleetwood Mac, and Bon Iver.

Brave Baby Artist Page – Hearts & Plugs


Acoustic Artist John Haesemeyer Fuses Folk with Other Genres

Inspired by legends like Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen, San Francisco acoustic folk artist and singer/songwriter John Haesemeyer dropped his new album, Come Along Quickly, earlier this week. Originally from the Midwest, I am a San Francisco singer-songwriter who fuses folk, country, and popular genres. In April of 2012, Haesemeyer quit his corporate job to focus on his “lifetime passion” of songwriting.

“Musically, the album spans a variety of genres,” Haesemeyer said, “unified by my voice and acoustic guitar.” He recorded the album at the legendary Hyde Street Studios (where artists like Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s Deja Vu was recorded) and at the nationally renowned San Francisco Conservatory of Music, featuring 15 instruments and four vocalists. Haesemeyer is reportedly working on a music video for the album’s title track with the talented film director, Sebastian Sdaigui, and his esteemed production team from the highly acclaimed Berkeley Digital Film Institute.

“Come Along Quickly” – John Haesemeyer from Come Along Quickly

“A Little Confidence” – John Haesemeyer from Come Along Quickly

“Indie rock means that you are focused on the art of music , not the commercial aspect – being true with yourself and your listeners.” – John Haesemeyer


Pennsylvania Musician Eric Howl Records with Houshiarnejad Farzad

Doylestown, Penn. – Local musician Eric Howl, a DIY singer/songwriter of various styles, including rockabilly, blues, indie and folk, was lost in 2009 and down in the dumps. But a 50-something schizophrenic called Cal, snapped him out of his depression and inspired him to record a new album.

“Your generation doesn’t want to study you all want is to be famous tomorrow,” Cal said. That comment set Howl on a journey of devouring and studying the music of legends such as Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and Blind Willie McTell. But it wasn’t enough; Howl’s soul was still torn and he felt buried beneath the earth. He flew to New Orleans after a Reiki Healer in a Chicago airport told him he should be a healer. Howl also fled to NOLA because he was tired of making music with machines, and sick of the rapid pace of the east coast. While couch surfing and traveling with strangers, he pursued a rejuvenation of his love for jazz again, and learned about ragtime and skiffle. In 2012, Howl recorded I’m Going Down with his friend Houshiarnejad Farzad of the indie band Drink Up Buttercup.

“I’m Goin’ Down” – Eric Howl from I’m Goin’ Down

“You Already Know The Way To Brahma’s House” – Eric Howl from I’m Goin’ Down

Eric Howl’s Official Website

Major Musical Influences included Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith, Jay Electronica, The Beatles, Buddy Holly, and The Shins

“Indie rock is the resonance of how American music began; from the swamp. The power and freedom of voice and people, community and spirit. Being haunted and thrown on the back of a violent wolf on the way into hell, then climbing out with a guitar.” – Eric Howl