Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
At the heart of this column is music discovery. Following this trend, I present to you a new series called Bands on the Rise. My goal is to highlight some of my favorite up-and-coming acts from different parts of the globe. Being a California native, I felt it would be appropriate to start things off with a feature on a city in my home state: the City of Angels and a hub for talented bands, Los Angeles.
Headed by Asa Taccone and Matthew Compton, Electric Guest already has some serious backing after being together for less than a year. Asa’s brother, Jorma Taccone, is one of the members of The Lonely Island (and responsible for such SNL hits as “I’m On A Boat”), so making musical gems may just be in the man’s genes. Additionally, Danger Mouse (of Broken Bells and Gnarls Barkley fame) has assumed production duties for the music of Electric Guest. This fact alone makes me confident that the band’s debut release, Radical Miracle, will be one of the best releases of 2012. It seems that every music project Danger Mouse decides to partake in these days is hugely successful. Within the first few seconds of hearing “This Head I Hold”, I knew Electric Guest had something special. The track hits a sweet dance groove and evokes the instrumentation of Broken Bells with the vocal soul of Raphael Saadiq. Electric Guest demonstrates impressive diversity in the form of “Troubleman”, an epic eight minute adventure with slick piano backing and Taccone’s smooth vocals. The band’s most recent single, “American Daydream”, possesses a neo-soul vibe and powerful refrain. The promise of Electric Guest is incredibly high after only three releases and I eagerly await future tunes.
I initially discovered GROUPLOVE back in 2010 when I came across their self-titled debut EP. The first song I listened to was “Colours” and I remember having mixed feelings about the voice of lead singer Christian Zucconi. His whiny, throaty sound was definitely unique, but did not particularly blow my bangs back at the time. Feeling underwhelmed, I did not revisit the band’s music until December of 2011, while home on winter break. My father mentioned that he loved the song featured in the new iPod Touch commercial, which he informed me was GROUPLOVE’s “Tongue Tied”. This track was a recent release from the band’s debut album, Never Trust a Happy Song, and I was immediately intrigued by its catchy electro-pop sound. Put simply, my love for GROUPLOVE began to grow. Upon listening to “Colours” again, I gained a newfound appreciation for the lead singer’s unique voice. Within the context of Never Trust a Happy Song, Zucconi’s vocals perfectly emulate the carefree ways of youth. Combine this with the sunny voice of Hannah Hooper, and the result is music you can’t help but love. My current favorite from GROUPLOVE is “Lovely Cup”, which features infectious beach-tinged guitar hooks and Hooper’s simple yet sweet “sha-la-la” refrain.
*GROUPLOVE is opening for Young the Giant at The Electric Factory on March 10th!