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The 812 List, | Dec 29, 2016

Southern Indiana bands worth a listen

From dream pop to lively soul and fragile folk, these local artists should definitely be on your radar this season.

A local Bloomington favorite, Hoops recently took their underground dream pop on a European tour last summer. /Photo courtesy of Hoops

Southern Indiana has long been a breeding ground for budding musicians. From legends like Hoagy Carmichael and John Mellencamp to the thriving punk and hardcore scene of the late ‘70s, local music is a proud part of our culture.

812 talked to local music historians and record store owners to find eight contemporary artists you should be listening to.

1. Hoops

This Bloomington four-piece will bring a much needed shot of summer to any gloomy day. Since the release of their debut EP last August, the Hoops boys have taken their dreamy pop sound on the road and overseas. Last summer’s European tour took them out of the basement and put them on the map.

Listen to: “Feelin’ Fine” 


2. Durand Jones & the Indications

Durand Jones was forced to join his local church choir in rural Louisiana when his grandmother decided he was singing at home too much. Since then he’s relocated to Bloomington, joined the Indiana University Soul Revue and released his debut album with the Indications. The eponymous LP showcases Jones’ impressive vocals as well as his band’s soulful groove.

Listen to: “Is It Any Wonder?”

3. Sleeping Bag

Dave Segedy started playing drums for people when he lived in the attic above Village Green Records in Muncie. His one-man band eventually morphed into the indie rock trio Sleeping Bag. Segedy’s sunny, melodic songwriting and ‘90s-inspired delivery makes the group classically Bloomington.

Listen to: “Women of Your Life”


4. Vollmar

Solo folk artist Justin Vollmar’s simple arrangements and fragile voice make his songs blissfully smooth. His latest cassette “Open Window” was released last spring by the B-town record label Flannelgraph Records. The tracks were recorded live to a 4-track cassette with the help of notable local artists Erin Tobey, Addison Rogers and Lewis Rogers.

Listen to: “Out to Sea”


5. Thunder/Dreamer

Evansville’s indie-rock ensemble released their first full-length album with local independent record label Winspear Records in 2014. Lead singer Steven Hamilton’s delicate songwriting makes for an easy-listening debut with lots of Midwestern charm. Fans of Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley should give them a listen.

Listen to: “My Own Town”


6. Ladycop

The ladies of Ladycop don’t mess around when it comes to vocals. The six-piece from Bloomington has made a name for themselves with striking three-part harmonies. These vocal aerobics give a baroque flair to their hazy brand of dream pop. Their latest EP “Undercurrent” was released last winter.

Listen to: “Femme”


7. Spissy

Ben Lumsdaine’s technical training in jazz drumming and Aaron Denton’s classic pop songwriting makes their debut “Spissy” record the perfect feel-good listen. Since recording their demo tape in a closet, they’ve tightened their sound to the gratifying lo-fi pop of the standout single, “Her Heart.”

Listen to: “Her Heart”


8. Houndmouth

Hailing from New Albany, this indie rock group carries the same jubilant, country energy as mainstream groups like the Lumineers and Dr. Dog. Their enthusiastic live shows quickly gained them a substantial followin, and in 2013 they released their first full-length album, “From the Hills Below the City” with Rough Trade Records.

Listen to: “Sedona”

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