Music from the Hearts of 'Space

[HTRK photo by Emma Pop] Ed Note: Boingboing's current guest blogger Gareth Branwyn writes on technology, pop and fringe culture. He is currently a Contributing Editor at Maker Media. Recent projects have included co-creating The Maker's Notebook and editing The Best of MAKE and The Best of Instructables collections.

I love making serendipitous musical discoveries via MySpace. It's amazing how many unique, talented, unsigned bands there are on the site. Okay, they are somewhat overwhelmed by the Tbits of less-than-unique-and-talented bands, but that makes the accidental discoveries all the happier. Musical taste is clearly and utterly subjective, so YMMV, but here are a few of my recent MySpace finds.


Lunabee & Swan I love how bands categorize themselves on MySpace. Belgium/UK duo Lunabee and Joanna Swan describes their music as "Melodramatic Popular Song/Trip Hop/Electronica" and that's pretty accurate. The two artists, Lunabee the musician, Swan the singer, actually met on MySpace. Swan bumped into Lunabee's page (again with the serendipity) and sent her a message saying she wanted to collaborate. A week later, an album's worth of music showed up in Swan's inbox and Lunabee & Swan were born. Their song "Smoke Rings" blew my wig off the first time I heard it... and the 20th time (I gotta get stronger toupee tape!). It's like Annie Lennox on the lower register, Shirley Bassey in the middle, and Prince wailing away up on top. I have to sit up and listen to any band that lists Poulenc, Ella Fitzgerald, and Tod Browning's Freaks as influences!


ZAZA My pal, Pete Kennedy, of the most-excellent psychedelic folk duo The Kennedys, turned me on to these 21st century shoegazers, another duo, this one from Brooklyn. Pete says they've only done a handful of gigs, but they're already generating a buzz, on both coasts. Echoey, ethereal singing over smeared-out gothy soundscapes. The male singer sounds a little like Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips (never a bad thing in my book). One reviewer described their sound as "like drowning with a smile on your face." Yeah. It's like that.


HTRK My favorite "MySpace band" of the moment is HTRK, pronounced "Hate Rock." This trio of young ones from Melbourne, Australia makes a primitive, minimalist form of noise rock (vocalist Jonnine Standish's percussion instrument is a single maraca and a floor tom). They also do some poppier fare, like "Fascinator," the first song to prick my ear. When I started listening to their MySpace jukebox a few weeks ago, Fascinator had 80,000 listens. It's now shot up to over a quarter million. At least some of those are not me. HTRK just released a three-song MP3 bundle "Ha-Panties," which includes the tracks "Ha," "Panties," and "Fascinator." It's tasty, GBP2.97, and deliciously DRM-free.


  1. Lunabee & Swan are on iTunes too which is pretty neat, especially since i like iTunes interface better than having to squint through some of those.. um… blinding… site themes.

  2. The best way to support bands is to buy their music. If they come to your town, leave the house and go see them!
    Myspace has done a world of good for local bands.

    I don’t receive any tribute from myspace.

  3. Always glad to get music recommendations from BoingBoing but no free mp3 downloads?

    I don’t have all day to listen to streams, and even if I did I can’t do it in my car or on the train.

    I wish talented and unknown bands the best of luck on becoming rich and famous, but I think many more of them would benefit by remembering that it is the fame that always comes first.

  4. “Back in the day”… I used to be active on, and used to find scores of unsigned bands that were really good. I had somehow developed a good system for discovering said bands. With Myspace, I dig and dig and never manage to find much ontop of all the really BAD stuff. How do you go about finding decent unsigned bands on there?

  5. “How do you go about finding decent unsigned bands on there?”

    One way is to start with bands you know you like, and then hop through to the bands that they list as ‘top friends’, then hop through those band’s ‘top friends’, and so-on, until you start to get to the truly obscure and unsigned.

  6. Some that impressed me last summer:

    UMelt – Railroad Earth – Umphrey’s Mcgee – Ryan Montbleau Band

    But the music that really blew me away came from the after hour sessions in the parking lots and behind the stages.

  7. I so excited when I saw the headline, though I thought that you screwed up with the ‘ in the title. Then I clicked and found out this had nothing to do with “Hearts of Space” even though you used their catch phrase! Bastard!

  8. At the risk of turning this into an “I know a more obscure band on MySpace than you” comment thread, I have to say that I had a similar music-discovery experience finding Aleks and The Drummer:

    Its especially nice finding a local (for me) Chicago band out-of-the blue like I did with them, since they don’t have huge distribution I actually have a chance to support them by picking up their EP and seeing them live!

  9. My job involves researching entertainment listings, so I find a lot of great bands that way when I go to check out their myspace websites..

    I’m really smitten with this group The Loom..

    I didn’t discover these guys on myspace, but they are still a small, indie act who are just outright swell: (caravan of thieves)

    Now this other guy is signed, and pretty well established in Texas, I guess, but not exactly mainstream just yet and he’s really wonderful: (Salim Nourallah).

    I get a kick out of some of the genres these artists pick for themselves too. I found this one guy who just listed his genre as Zouk/Zouk/Zouk. Whatever the hell zouk is.. hehe.

  10. @ #5 DT10111:

    I hear you! used to be a really rich resource for finding sanctioned downloads from all kinds of bands from around the world, signed and unsigned. (I first discovered Jim Infantino through his presence, for example, and he was signed at the time.) I found dozens of great bands/people that way. The day that site changed hands was a sad day.

    I have a much harder time finding things on myspace. Maybe it’s because I hate myspace in general.

  11. I use myspace to post tracks, and have got a couple of great composition commissions that way, but it looks so nasty whatever you do with it, that I don’t like promoting it… it’s just so .. so 3.1, whereas I’d rather have something a bit more Moleskine. I hope I’m not the only one..?

  12. I’m guessing that I’m in somewhat of a minority on this blog simply by virtue of being from London, but I couldn’t resist joining in so please indulge me! Cowboyshoe: use Firefox so that you can download streamed tunes from Myspace or any similar site via their aptly named “Download helper” plug-in. Also, in the hunt for new, exciting and eclectic music, I can fully recommend a London radio show called Xposure on XFM (available on the Web I believe), and in my humble opinion the best thing since the sad demise of John Peel. Lunabee and Swan are the pick of the three on offer at the top of this page; they’re effectively a Portishead tribute act damn them, which is praise, but at its faintest. As for ZAZA and HTRK, sometimes the kindest thing to say is nothing; so here goes……

  13. Hazmat Modine

    From one reviewer: “HAZMAT MODINE plays the kind of Blues one might have found in a whorehouse in New Orleans had the city been built on the Black Sea somewhere alongside Macao and inhabited by Gypsies”

  14. yah, back when myspace had free mp3 downloads….

    I’m working on the road in Indonesia, where the bandwidth is variously, in descending order of frequency: bad, random, intermittent, average-to-ok, acceptable-for-skype.

    Streaming is not an issue, overnight downloading is…not to mention the fact that I can bookmark and get when I come home to Australia, but I’ve met plenty of Indonesian music makers and fans that therefore have minimised access to these band’s music…

    having said all that, I recommend White Shoes and the Couples Company for that sixties aesthetic and some pop/funk/jazz sounds:

    I was hanging out with them 2 nights ago and discovered that they are classically trained and a couple of them are in the Jakarta Philharmonic.

    Also, if electro pop is more your sound, Goodnight Electric are a fantastic party band:

    tracks not available but highly recommended (see youtube…): Am I Robot (party song, got sweaty to it live 2 nights ago, awesome) and Rocket ship goes by (ballad, crowd singalong)


    who needs myspace? If you want the downloads, use the tools!

    Check – all songs CC, using the Internet Archive to serve mp3s AND oggs (smart buggers).

    If you are bamboozled by the number of bands at yesnowave, post-rockers Zoo are tearing apart the Jogjakartan indie, punk and hardcore scene at the moment.

    disclosure: I stayed at an art collective space called Mes56 while in Jogjakarta working on a separate project. Wok the Rock from yesnowave is also a member of Mes56

  15. Kurt: Thanks to George Dubya, New Orleans is dotted generously around the globe, and its former inhabitants are peripatetic nomads, Gypsies in all but name! The reviewer you quote was most prescient!

  16. The recommendation for HTRK is amazing. I’ve been looping this and will have to buy it when I get home. What a great find….

    And am looking forward to the posters’ links…

    Oh keep it coming, yeah?

  17. Lunabee & Swan’s song Black Butterfly sounds exactly like music by the band Black Box Recorder. I mean EXACTLY.

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