There are some musicians that live and breathe musical expression to the extent that their talent spills over into other projects. These side gigs can be a chance to hear new sounds from an artist outside of their work with bigger-name bands. Some of them have taken off, while others have stayed comfortably niche and low-key. We put together a ranked list of some of these groups that are still active.
7. VCMG — "Lowly"
consists of Martin Gore of Depeche Mode and Vince Clarke of Erasure. Yes, that's right, Depeche Mode and Erasure. This synth-pop duo's members are from the 80s and you can still hear it in their music, but they've appropriately revamped for contemporary audiences. While the song could have benefited from more instrumentation, we like that these guys are still at it and making music.
6. The Shouting Matches — "Gallup, NM"
The Shouting Matches
is a project that features the talented Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. He has teamed up with musicians Brian Moen and Phil Cook to form a rock trio with a noticeably bluesy hint. The Shouting Machines released their debut LP Grownass Man
in 2013 on which they serenaded listeners with their lo-fi aesthetic.
5. Volcano Choir — "Comrade"
The six-piece project Volcano Choir
is another side-piece of Justin Vernon's. This majestic sounding outfit comes from Wisconsin where they formed in 2005. The blend of experimental folk on their two LPs, Unmap
(2009) and Repave
(2013) is as entrancing as any of Vernon's highly praised Bon Iver work. "Comrade" is an energetic and colorful single that showcases their style.
4. Discovery — "Swing Tree"
is the electronic collaboration of Vampire Weekend keyboardist, Rostam Batmanglij and Ra Ra Riot's Wes Miles. Their 2009 LP conveniently titled LP
is full of subtle jammers and the track below is a good introduction to their sound. This experimental tune with Auto-Tuned R&B flavor will pop back into your head when you least expect it.
3. Les Sins — "Fetch"
Chaz Bundick goes by a few names — Toro y Moi
and Les Sins to name two. The savvy, once-chillwave artist draws from a range of influences, but these more dance oriented tracks needed a new moniker. Dubbed Les Sins, though he only released one LP under the name — 2010's Lina
— he's continued to publish singles every so often. If you've frequently listened to his music, this track will instantly feel familiar, yet it still manages to distinguish itself from his other work.
2. Broken Bells — "Holding On For Life"
has Brian Burton better known as Danger Mouse and James Mercer frontman of The Shins. Danger Mouse has been with other well-known projects, like his collab with Cee Lo Green as Gnarls Barkley. This collaboration with James Mercer first appeared in 2009 and has an infectious space rock energy. They released two LPs, their self-titled debut in 2010 and After The Disco
1. DARKSIDE — "Paper Trails"
Electronic producer Nicholas Jaar teams up with Dave Harrington who plays more than just a few instruments, and each track is a trove of glittering sounds. Their 2013 LP Psychic
is an atmospheric, alt-rock, jazzy effort that proves very refreshing. The same can be said about their live performances.