Editor's Pick: Top 5 ReverbNation Artists to say WTF to

This playlist compiles my top five picks for most interestingly awesomely-weird songs found via this ReverbNation cycle. Any number of things can deem a song weird or interesting, but to make them awesome, there has to be a certain je ne sais quoi. Sometimes this falls under lyrical content, when the words outline an odd scene or subject that I wouldn’t expect someone to sing about. Other times the music itself is experimental; maybe I had to listen to it multiple times before realizing I loved it. Whatever the reason, and no matter if these songs will make it big, they are all worth a listen. I suggest that you shut your eyes, press play, and find out why I picked this five songs.

Reality Serum – “Roaches”
First impression: What the fuck?
Second impression: This is great.
Third impression: You’ve gotta hear this, guys. One of the most important things that I suggest to ReverbNation artists, is to set your profile so that your best song plays. Reality Serum knows what’s up. Not only did they present their strongest song first, but their strongest song is about something most starving-artists, like myself, can relate to: bug infestation. We’ve all had problems like ants, spiders, moths or flies; the most annoying of all bugs, though, are roaches. People say that when you see one, there are a hundred more you don’t see. I feel the same way about good songs.

With such humorous and relateable lyrics, it is also important to mention that the vocals are executed clearly, so every verse disgustingly illustrates the horrors of roach infestation: in your oven, in your snacks and “in the back of her throat — ew!” The beat is as simple as most good, catchy songs, and the overall vibe reminds me of some early ‘90s reggae-ska. Check out more from them here.

Bread and The Man – “Rumblestrip Lullabies”
First impression: Jazzy, a little trippy
Second impression: I want to figure out what these guys are about, a couple older guys from England? Upon closer inspection, they were once called Gingerbread Man, and had three members. One dropped off, and they are now Bread and The Man. I’ll admit, this name was the main reason that I pressed play. The sound that they produce is weird, clinky, while at the same time jazzy. This would fit well as the soundtrack to an experimental cartoon series or anime. Samples, synth and groovy bass-lines work well together, however lo-fi.

The first song I heard from them was “Rumblestrip Lullabies,” which opens with a fun racket of horns, followed by some heartfelt vocals. As if the title of the song wasn’t enough — a nice, roll-off-the-tongue pairing of words that I’d just like to mull over for a moment. Rumblestrip Lullabies… Rrrumblestrip Lullabiiies… It’s soothing, and reminds me of long trips in the car as a kid. This band is unpolished, but unfettered. I appreciate what this duo is putting out, and hope to hear more from them since the recent release in May. Check them out here.

Menage – “To The End”
First impression: Brassy as hell
Second impression: Expressive, with a hint of manic desperation that I find energizing and creepy. When I saw their featured song was “To The End” and one of the musical inspirations was My Chemical Romance, I had to dive in and take a listen. This five-piece group, three of which are the Ferreira siblings, create a noisy concoction of vocals and grungy guitar. I imagine this band in a live setting would elicit auditory hallucinations.

This song in particular certainly harkens back (a whole 11 years) to MCR’s Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge with driving guitar, maniacal harmonies and brash overall composition. Curious, I looked deeper into their repertoire to find out what else they could do, and I will say their sound varies. They do have a strong footing in alt rock, though, one which verges on noise rock to such an extent that some of their songs would set the tone for a young-adult action-movie scene. This band is energy, 100%, and you should check them out now so you can play the “I knew them before they were huge” card later. They’re rough, they’re tumbled amongst rocks, they’re a dapper heroine-chic. Find their latest release here.

Optivion – “Prince of The Moon”
First impression: In-your-face ambiance, verging on electronic-metal.
Second impression: Something about this dense but light-weight composition makes me visualize a myriad of stories and scenes to pair with this song. If I were to have a scene in a movie where I was the hottest person in a club, I’d want this song to be playing: it would best parallel my cool facade and intensity. This song spans a multitude of genres really, it has its lulls, which leads me to believe that Optivion was intending for this to be an all-in-one sample for prospective listeners.

The biggest flaw in so much electronic music is the lack of dynamics to the piece, but the only thing this song lacks is lyrics. I’m sure there was a good reason that there are none, but I always push for an artists to layer their work — I suggest if Optivion can sing, that they should, so we can get the entire package. Listen to them here.

Skittish – “Regarding the Wolf”
First impression: This is too weird to be called folk.
Second impression: All of the darker subjects that folk music has tackled for decades, this band achieves through instrument as well. Lyrics like “I just want to mess you up…” parallel this macabre tone that I wish more folk music had today. This genre has roots in some of the most depraved, unspoken things from the past, if a contemporary band is going to tackle such a genre, bring on the depth and grit.

I won’t pidgeonhole this group as a folk band, they’re much more than that, but it’s obvious that they have a better understanding of folk than most. Perhaps the phrase which would best describe this group would be ‘Hard and Nasty’, with a final production polish that anyone hoping to make it big today needs. Find their work here, and get a taste of the real shit.

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