A Musical Exploration on the Geek: What’s Your Favorite Little-Known Musical Group?
D a v i d B u r k e y
United States
Fort Smith
Arkansas
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Recently, thoia posted a neat Geeklist on the Finnish metal band, Amorphis. I had never heard of this band before thoia’s post, and enjoyed being able to give them a listen.

I then had a clever idea (at least I think it's clever)—why not expand on thoia’s Geeklist by starting one where everyone could post an item describing his or her favorite, lesser-known musical artist or group. So, if you have a favorite band that you think deserves more exposure, post a Geeklist item extolling their virtues. Include an audio file or video of one of their best songs (if possible) for everyone to listen to. And when all is said and done, we will all have some cool new songs to add to our music collections. whistle
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1. Board Game: Octopus [Average Rating:5.50 Unranked]
D a v i d B u r k e y
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Fort Smith
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The Octopus Project (Website: http://www.theoctopusproject.com)

I recently ran across a video of this electronic instrumental band while reading about the latest SXSW music festival held in Austin, and was instantly hooked. Their music is infectious, energizing, and haunting all at the same time. And their songs often feature the coolest instrument on the planet, the theremin. My favorite Octopus Project video is for the song, I Saw the Bright Shinies:



Here is another video that shows the band:

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2. Board Game: Tri-Ba-Lance [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:5423]
Mike Young
United States
Sterling
Virginia
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I like Tripod who may be more well known in their native Australia, but are less well known here in the USA.

This is perhaps their most well known song:

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3. Board Game: Front Line [Average Rating:7.33 Unranked]
Gunther Schmidl
Austria
Linz
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Front Line Assembly, a Canadian Industrial band. They've been around for a long time, but I'd still put them under "little-known".


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4. Board Game: Beethoven's 2nd [Average Rating:2.00 Unranked]
Chris Ferejohn
United States
Mountain View
California
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Does Camper van Beethoven count as "little-known"? They were on a major label (Virgin) for at least a couple albums back in the day, and David Lowry went on to be in Cracker, which did get some "mainstream indie-rock" radio play.

If we're looking more obscure, how about the King's Singers, 'cuz I'm a madrigal nerd (also their Beatles and Gilbert and Sullivan albums are pretty awesome).
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5. Board Game: Gusher [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Michael Bachelor
United States
Washington
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Guster.



This Band is kind of in that middle range - not well known but not completely obscure. Anytime I get a reason to push them or Better than Ezra I take the opportunity.
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6. Board Game: Tide of Iron: Days of the Fox [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked]
Chris Bailey
United States
Broomfield
Colorado
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For me these days it's Fleet Foxes.
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7. Board Game: Mad Math [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
Rik Van Horn
United States
Livonia
New York
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I could post a thousand bands here, but I'm always looking for new music and Black Math Horseman is my current favorite.
Their debut album, Wyllt is produced by Scott Reeder of Kyuss.
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8. Board Game: Voice of the Mummy [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Wendell
United States
temporarily Arlington VA
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Obscure is in the eye of the beholder I realize, and the New York Times did once do a piece on Bob Pollard, but I think Guided By Voices qualify as my favorite obscure band. Approximately one bazillion albums between GBV and Pollard's various side projects. Rock and roll goodness. Here's a sample



Side note: I was having a conversation with a twenty-something who HAD NOT HEARD OF THE KINKS. If the KINKS are obscure, then they're probably my favorite. But I refuse to believe the Kinks are obscure.



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9. Board Game: Hotel Tycoon [Average Rating:5.40 Overall Rank:10868]
Chris Hansen
United States
Salt Lake City
UT
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Neutral Milk Hotel is easily my favorite little known band. Even when their last album was released 11 years ago they weren't exactly mainstream.




I have a massive collection of old Elephant 6 stuff which I really don't listen to enough anymore.
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10. Board Game: Music Mystery [Average Rating:5.33 Unranked]
Rik Van Horn
United States
Livonia
New York
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Since I referenced them and I do love their music, here is some Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares.
I was a bit shocked they actually appeared on the Tonight Show though.
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11. Board Game: Knots [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:7901]
Daniel Danzer
Germany
Stuttgart
southwest
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31 Knots

http://www.myspace.com/31knots







If you have an opportunity to see them live - do it !!!!!
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12. Board Game: Blood Bowl (Third Edition) [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:169]
Mike Holyoak
United States
Idaho Falls
Idaho
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I can't say he's my favorite artist, but this is definitely my favorite song right now.
And I"m pretty sure he's still pretty unknown.
But the plethora of college rock geeks on this list may prove me wrong.

Bon Iver—Blood Bank

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13. Board Game: June 6 [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:4757]
Michael Lavoie
United States
Nashua
New Hampshire
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June

This band called it quits last year, in the wake of the commercial failure of their second CD Make it Blur. Here's their best song. The video is lame in the extreme, a hodgepodge of cliches with a heavy dose of writhing, scantily-clad women, but the song is great.
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14. Board Game: Lite'n Up: The Diet Survival Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Miikka Rytty
Finland
Oulu
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LITE

My recent obsession has been a Japanese instrumental math rock/post-rock band called LITE. I had a holiday in Japan a month ago and I decided to buy some local rock music. So I visited a local record store, found the J-indie section and picked up some CDs quite randomly. I was lucky (or the section was pretty good), since I picked some pretty solid records and the gem among them was Phantasia by LITE.

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15. Board Game: Tiki Mountain! [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:7886]
Paolo Robino
Italy
Dueville
Vicenza
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Do non-US bands qualify?

Sikitikis (website)

I've been mildly obsessed with this band for something like two years, mainly because I could not find their albums anywhere, and I don't like to download music or anything else from P2P. For a while, my BGG avatar had a Sikitikis überbadge (now replaced by a Wolfmother one, a band known enough to be in Guitar Hero). In the end, I've found that this year in February Sikitikis put their albums on the net free to download. This is my favourite video of them: it's a cover of legendary Italian singer Mina [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mina_(singer) – no way to show this URL right, with that parenthesis]. The lyrics were kind of risqué when the song was written, in the '70s, alluding to a not fully consensual sexual intercourse. The gender shift of this cover, from a female to a male singer, just adds to it. The video has nothing of it, really: it's reminiscent of noir and espionage movies, "Reservoir Dogs", and a touch of "Nikita" (surveillance post in the laundry).

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16. Board Game: The OC Game [Average Rating:4.67 Unranked]
Jake Melone
United States
Anaheim
California
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Limbeck is a pop rock band from orange county with a slight country influence. I have been listening to this band since my sophomore year in high school. They recently broke up but are playing a reunion show at Chain Reaction in Anaheim (my hometown) and you can be sure that ill be there

Here is on of their best songs:


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17. Board Game: Ghost Stories [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:136]
Peter Dahlstrom
United States
Arlington
Virginia
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MOGWAI!

I've heard it was created by a bunch of friends who wanted to play "serious guitar rock".

Definitely not damn hippie music.

No vocals (ok, sometimes mumbling in the background), lots of hypnotic guitars, drums. Beauty.

"Post-Rock"

A couple of their songs have gotten into famous semi-famous notable places, like the Miami Vice movie.

My favorite band.

Maybe not their best songs, but very good ones:

Nothin' quiet about it:


Starts quiet (they extended the ending too much in the vid):


Edit: Mogwai apparently means ghost in Chinese (I don't know which Chinese language). Or, equally likely, they named it after the Gremlin.
Also, different style, but very good: Vanessa Daou (sultry), Alexi Murdoch (whistful), Dawn Landes (indi), Alexi Murdoch (celtic rockin')
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18. Board Game: Voodoo Party [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
howl hollow howl
United States
Hillsboro
Oregon
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I found two obscure treasures in my current 1970 stop of my Project 250 tour. Van Der Graaf Generator is almost as amazing and easily more accessible than its prog peers of the time; so how come this is the first I've heard of them? Exuma is more understandably obscure, bringing the voodoo vibe to vinyl (unfortunately, the track with zombie vocalizing is not on YouTube; y'all would've dug that).

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19. Board Game: Waz Baraz [Average Rating:5.64 Overall Rank:8438]
Rik Van Horn
United States
Livonia
New York
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Wazmo Nariz
This guy could be the poster guy for obscurity. A couple albums in the late 70's, one of which Things Aren't Right was tremendous and a great favorite of mine.
No video, but this song, The Mind Is Willing, But the Flesh Is Weak comes from that album.
A link to the song on Imeem:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&ct=res&cd=1&url=ht...
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20. Board Game: Super Mario Bros. [Average Rating:3.66 Unranked]
Kent Fletcher
United States
Eagle Mountain
Utah
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YMCK. Japanese 8 bit pop goodness.
Not Sure how obscure they are in Japan, but I think they're fairly obscure here in the states. What can I say, I'm a nerd for 8 bit music.



By the way this video is quite possibly the best music video I have ever seen! You said you wanted frogs puking rainbows? You got it.

I also like the Minibosses, who may be less obscure, But they rock my nes world.
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21. Board Game: Swedish Roulette [Average Rating:3.33 Unranked]
Jared
United States
Berthoud
Colorado
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Sarek, what I describe as a 'Swedish Celtic Techno' group =)



(Video is some Final Fantasy FMV scenes fit to the music.)

I don't think I've ever met anyone that had heard of them, and it's pretty quality stuff. I think I only found them when a friend of mine downloaded some random 'top 1000 songs across the world' torrent or something weird like that which happened to have one Sarek song, hehe. (I do know it was pretty dang hard to track down all their songs )
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22. Board Game: Uncontrolled Squid [Average Rating:4.17 Unranked]
\m/ Stoner Rock \m/ (Joe)
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
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Giant Squid (http://www.myspace.com/giantsquid)

This band has undergone numerous drastic lineup and musical style changes over their relatively brief history. What has been constant throughout has been the incredibly unique and intelligent songwriting, and the compelling interplay of male and female vocals.. Oh, and they rock like nobody's business.

Their original album Metridium Field (2004) was very much in a metal vein with some sparse keyboards. The Monster In The Creek EP (2005) had more of a pop/synth feel due to heavier use of keyboards. They re-recorded their original album as Metridium Fields in 2006 with better production values, some more polished song structures, and more creative use of different instruments. Their latest release The Ichthyologist (2009) features the introduction of an electric cello in place of the previously present keyboards.

This song is one of my favorites on the latest album.. It's slow and plodding, with the cello lending a beautiful heaviness nearly throughout:




And here's a fave from Metridium Fields, which has some beautiful female vocals and almost ethereal keyboard melodies leading up to a rocking second half:

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23. Board Game: Hellas [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:1701]
Ian Wakeham
United Kingdom
Chester
Cheshire
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It has to be Hella. They started as a two piece - guitar and drums - but have recently reincarnated themselves as a five piece. My preference is for their early instrumental stuff - unbelievable drumming and inventive guitar work. In fact, their first album "Hold Your Horse Is" is the album I've played more than any other I've ever owned.

Early stuff:



New stuff:



And just because I like the video, a recent release from Zach Hill - Hella's drummer:

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24. Board Game: Witch of Salem [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:1135]
Sean Victor
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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A couple of somewhat related bands that I think need more recognition.

Witchfinder General (not to be confused with Witchfynde) were a great band from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) movement of the late-'70s/early '80s who never took themselves too seriously but put out some rockin' tunes. The original line-up only lasted for two albums, an EP and a couple singles. They've reformed recently but frankly the new singer doesn't hold a candle to Zeeb and his original vocal work. http://www.myspace.com/therealwitchfindergeneral.

The video is nothing official from the band, but it seems to be about the best on offer from YouTube.

Witchfinder General - Burning a Sinner


Witchcraft is a still-active Swedish band and spiritual successor to WG formed in 2000. Great tunes and great '70s/'80s vibe without sounding dated. If you like Sabbath or any kind of doomy/groovy/stoner rock, check 'em out.

Witchcraft - Child of Fire

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25. Board Game: Walk the Plank [Average Rating:5.19 Overall Rank:9917]
Alfred Das
Netherlands
's-Hertogenbosch
Noord-Brabant
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Plankton, bluesy and funky.



Also check out Kamchatka from the same Grooveyard record label. www.grooveyardrecords.com
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