Ten Favorite Indie Bands You Should Hear

Updated 5 years ago

The music business is in shambles.  Long after the industry falls there will remain... music.  Music is the soundtrack of our lives.  We work to music.  We dream to business.  We fight to music.  We make love to music.

In a perfect world... or even a past world, these ten bands would be million dollar rock stars.  Alligator Jackson is sharing his ten favorite indie rock bands.  Indie is a loosely-used term these days.  Just about every band is indie.  Alligator Jackson defines indie as bands you won't find in Wal-Mart or FYE.

These ten bands are based in classic rock, because that is the music that the gator loves.  Music is objective and that may be why music will last forever.  But if you love classic sounding indie rock, you may be discovering some new favorite artists.   Hopefully, rock fans will discover great bands to listen to that they have never heard of before they read this article.  The ranking is totally in AJ's eyes, it would probably be best not to rank them, but AJ does not believe in this liberal no win, no loser stuff.  So here is AJ's Top Ten Classic Styled Indie Bands.  Love it, hate it – just crank it up!

10. KLII WORLD'S BEST BAND ---   Alligator Jackson described this band perfectly with a review of their cd earlier this year:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/WorldsBestBandKLII    http://klii-stl.com/ 
With a name like World's Best Band KLII, these St. Louis rockers have a lot to live up to. Up to now, their claim to fame is that ex-guitarist Bobby Schneck toured as part as Slash's band in 2011. Up to now, that is.

Now, the band has released their debut self-titled cd. Let their real legacy begin. And begin, it does right from the start with their first single – "The Boat." Yes, "The Boat" is a definite party cruise. A bouncy, riff- laden rocker with the nostalgic feel of 70's arena rockers like Starz and Shooting Star.

"Outta Control" is another tasty slice of AOR (Album Oriented Rock) that controlled the FM radio dial in the late 70's. "Outta Control" is a more restrained party song but has a nice hooky chorus that has you tapping your toes and singing the chorus.

"Substitute Love" sounds like Bad Company adding a bluesy touch to Foreigner's power ballads of the 80's. The vocalist Jimmy Rohlfing has a Lou Gramm touch to his voice but adds a good shot of the blues to "Substitute Love." The rest of the band recalls Bad Company with searing guitar solos.

"Number One" displays a rocking Bad Company style comparable to "Rock Steady." "Number One" is probable the first classic rock song to mention Facebook as in the line "talking trash on Facebook." Again, the song is chock full of sizzling guitar riffs.

"STL" is an ode to St. Louis's great music scene. Another foot stompin' rock anthem that makes one yearn for the days when you could raise your lit lighter high at a rock concert. "Stop The Train" is an out-right addictive songs with riffs that slap you in the face. "Stop The Train" is like that girl in every bar on the dance floor getting' down all by her self, 'nasty' in a good way, highlighted by nasty wicked riffs and screaming guitar.

"Cryin' In The Dark" is restrained but still catchy rocker with just a shot of 70's funk. "NaNa Song" is a real surprise, a groovy little number that recalls Kim Mitchell and Max Webster or even perhaps Joe Walsh. A feel good simple song, it is the kind of tune that haunts you for days. "Destination" takes the cd out-rocking with yet another guitar fueled rock anthem.

Definitely inspired by the groovy rocking 70's, The World's Best Band is more than just a tribute band to a decade. They create original straight forward melodic rock, that although has the feel of classic rockers like Foreigner, Boston, and Bad Company, still the songs stand on their own and in today's world of angst filled rock, is a welcome breath of fresh air. So roll down the car windows and crank up the 8 track... I mean cd player, let the Summer of 2012 begin with a rock and roll party in the streets."

9.  PREACHER STONE  - Here is a song that made it on the soundtrack to "Sons Of Anarchy."  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_CsU6_ILsA 

Here is an old review from Alligator Jackson:  The 'Reese Cup Effect'

The 'Reese Cup Effect'

"New southern rock is often a mixture of rock music and country music. Modern country music has progressed since the traditional days of Johnny Cash and often features louder and faster music and hard rock guitar solos. Old Reese Cup commercials used to show a person carrying chocolate running into a person carrying peanut butter and the collision resulting in the creation of Reese Cups.

To a lot of listeners, southern rock is the result of mixing rock music and country music. Now, to traditional southern rock fans, southern rock is more of a lifestyle than a genre. It is a life that is built around honesty, God, southern pride, hard work, and hard play. Many traditional southern rockers prefer a bluesy mix thrown in and slide guitar.

Preacher Stone

Preacher Stone is a relatively new band formed in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2008. Preacher Stone leans more toward the classic rock side of the 'Reese equation'. They have the thunder of classic rockers like Bad Company and Led Zeppelin. They add a touch of Skynyrd and create a good heaping of southern fried rock.

They have released two Excellent southern rock cds. Their debut album contained two powerful singles ("Ass Whooping Son of A Bitch" and "Not Today" that brought the band world-wide notoriety. Their just released second disc (Uncle Buck's Vittles") promises to push the band to the forefront of the new southern rock movement.

The new album starts strong with "Can't Keep a Good Man Down" which features the guitar attack and Ronnie Riddle's whiskey soaked growl which has forged the band's signature sound. The new cd also contains "Carved In Stone" which is a heartfelt tribute to veterans everywhere and a powerful ballad. The bonus track is a delightful southern fried version of The Beatles classic "Come Together." Preacher Stone is definitely a band to keep your eyes on and your ears open as they continue their rise to international stardom."

8.  STONE MACHINE  - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjpudJ9Bpng 

AJ reviewed Stone Machine's new cd "American Honey" earlier this year: " Stone Machine has returned to the time that music forgot. They take you back to the 70's when music was fun, simple, and intoxicating as a bottle of ice cold Boone's Farm. "American Honey" is a reckless ride down a rock and roll highway.

Stone Machine started as a side project for musicians in the Huntington, WV / Ashland, KY. area. The project took on a life of it's own after they received favorable reviews on The Lex and Terry Show for their first album.

Now on Grooveyard Records, Stone Machine is back for another heavy dose of 70's inspired blues rock. The vocalist, Jason Mayes, is the perfect singer for the project. Mayes has a smooth voice that is a mixture of Paul Rodgers from Bad Company and Lou Gramm of Foreigner with a touch of Robert Plant thrown in.

The music is simple but it crunches. The title track "American Honey" is a double entendre song about whiskey and women that gets the cd rocking from the very beginning. "Better Days" throws in a hint of Lynyrd Skynyrd but has a heavy dose of Bad Company. It's a mid-tempo song that is a highlight of the album.

At times, it does feel like you have heard these songs before but that is the fun of this album. It's a trip down a rockin' retro highway that you've traveled before but differently. The nostalgic feel is there but the songs are new. There are alot of trains going down the line in the lyrics but a few 70's cliches add to the overall feel of the album.

"Cornbread" is a fun funky blues song and "Shake That Thing" is another fun 70's style blues number. "Bye Bye Baby" and "Speed Demon" are out and out rockers. "Midnight Gypsy" features bluesy riffs by guitarist Dirk Blevins. "Rock and Roll Queen" and "Bad Lovin'" are more searing blues rock meets melodic rock tunes. "May You Run Forever" is a beautiful tender song in the vein of Led Zeps softer bluesy ballads with more excellent handiwork from Blevins.

Stone Machine does not take you down new roads but it is a hell of a ride down a familiar travelled highway. It takes you back into a time when music was simple and fun. Roll down the windows and crank the volume, the tie die shirts and Boones Farm Wine are optional but Stone Machine's "American Honey" is totally necessary for a nice retro rawking party.



Gary with Asphalt Ballet http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6DgVrYWw00

Gary with Alligator Stew   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4hYmDAr-dQ

from his debut solo cd  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6dxzJfp9JM 

AJ reviewed Gary's debut solo release when it came out last year:

GARY JEFFRIES - "MIDDLE CLASS MAN" On his first solo cd, Gary Jeffries delivers a set of true working man's rock. Loaded with grit and southern pride, Jeffries may be a 'middle-class man', but he is far from average. While the screaming lead guitars, the tasty slide guitar, and occasional harmonica give the cd a coheisive southern feel, Gary shows unparrelled vocal range on songs that range from anthemic southern rock ("Ashes To Ashes" and "Middle Class Man"), radio ready country rock ("Mississippi Girl"), cajun rock ("Southern Pride"), classic rock ("Blood On The Highway"), Great White and Mott The Hoople style boogie rock ("Know You Too Well"), a touch of modern rock ("Free My Soul") and even southern grunge ("Flowers on My Grave").

The CCR classic "Bad Moon Rising" is countrified with a slight party vibe thrown in to give the song a modern edge. "Free" kicks the album off with the sense of urgency of a man breaking through the chains that have restrained him for years. "Free In Heaven" ends the album with a heartfelt tribute to children from Gary's hometown who died in a school bus crash.

Gary Jeffries is a music veteran who has performed on MTV's Headbanger's Ball with his band Asphalt Ballet, appeared in videos on CMT and GAC with his southern rock band Alligator Stew, performed on stage with Guns N Roses in Axl Rose's absense, and auditioned for Quiet Riot. He has the swagger of a grizzled rock 'n roll warrior but also the freshness and energy of a new voice ready to make his name known.

"Middle Class Man" is one of the best southern rock albums to emerge since the southern glory days of the seventies. It is also much more than just a southern rock record. Gary walks the tightrope of several genres in creating a blend of rock and country that should be blasting from car stereos this summer in not only the South, but the North, East, and West as well."

6.  RICHIE CALLISON  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zN68tV2SQ2A 

Richie has two excellent new singles out with a Zep sound "I Got Time" and "Do I Know U".  Both are from a forthcoming cd release as is his new ballad coming out soon.  Alligator Jackson reviewed Richie's last cd:

One of 2010's Top Indie Releases

Richie Callison returns to the forefront of today's singer-songwriter music scene with his self-titled album on Clearview Records.

Callison perfects key ingredients; such as searing guitar solos, and roaring, deeply rooted vocals, elements hidden in too many of today's albums. His undeniable masterpiece certainly deserves it's place on modern and classic rock radio.

Callison's voice rips through intelligent lyrics on the opener "Love Of Money": "You win some, you lose some, you're 'bound to get the blues sometime if you wanna' be free," the song continues to raise a middle finger to overwhelming economic disparity in all parts of the world. The lyrics in "Love of Money" call up Callison's experiences in life and in observing the world from both sides of the financial coin.

Richie Callison continues his vocal prowess on the single "Run Back", a driving, melodic rocker, packed with musical hooks. This album begs the question "Richie , where have you been all of these years?" The eight song release is absolutely void of filler, and actually, flows and sounds like a greatest hits album. One would think this the best of a stellar rock career, but that is not the case, this is just simply the latest from a rock and roll warrior who has played with The River Dogs, fronted Black Sabbath's bassist – The Geezer Butler Band, and sang and played lead guitar for the classic rockers Head East.

Callison offers audiences an auditory thrill ride; with the changing tempo of "My Angel", to the blues rock fun of "Crazy Woman", and also the 'Montrose'- flavored closing stomper "Lonely Times". Callison recreates the 'classic' of classic rock, no doubt making this the top indie release of 2010. Here's hoping today's market will receive Callison's work with thirst for another album, reportedly due out in 2011.

5.  MARION CRANE  - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DS9xnArCB2s 

Marion Crane hails from Jacksonville, Florida.  They have a more modern sound but they bring it hard.  This band will hit the big time soon.  http://www.marion-crane.com/ 

4.  HYDROGYN  - www.hydrogyn.com    

from debut cd http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPIHq2wVL4o 

AJ reviews latest Hydrogyn release:  HYDROGYN - Private Sessions

"Hydrogyn blasts off into new territory on their fifth studio album. Though Jeff Westlake's metallic riffs are still present, the band puts more emphasis on melodic rock and adds an European flavor on the new cd – "Private Sessions." The band shows definite maturity and they blast out of the ruts that appeared to be chasing them on their last release "Judgment."
From the start of the album's opener – "Something to Say" – the change is evident. The song starts with the commercial feel of a modern rocker and then breaks into the kind of arena rock chorus that has built Hydrogyn a massive worldwide following. "Scream" follows the same formula and will be a live stomper in Hydrogyn's notorious stage show.
"Heated Nights" is briefly reminiscent of the Scorpions 80's rock classic "Big City Nights". "Creeper" is a ripping melodic rocker that comes out snarling from the opening notes. "Creeper" is a true highlight of the cd.
"Roseline's Song" is a tender, emotional tribute to a little girl that tragically passed away. It is a beautiful emotional song that also offers hope. "It Doesn't Matter" rounds out the album on a high note. Or it does it? If you follow the track list it is number eleven on the eleven track cd. Also, if you examine the track list you notice that for the first time Hydrogyn has not included a cover song on a new release.
Ahhhh, but there is a bonus track. The US version of "Private Sessions" includes a cover of the Kiss classic "Heavens On Fire." As on remakes of earlier classics "Back In Black" and "Eighteen and Life", lead singer Julie proves she can sing with the best of the classic rock boys.
Hydrogyn steps out into new territory even though they stick have the kick of a hydrogen bomb. The cd showcases the bands coming of age as they graduate into veteran rockers. Even though this is their fifth studio release, they manage to keep growing and expand their sound. The album cover has matured as well as Hydrogyn steps out from behind the sexy image that many criticized past Hydrogyn cds for. "Private Sessions" may just be the best Hydrogyn cd yet."

3.  RHINOBUCKET - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uSpmnE8IOk    www.rhinobucket.com    This band was formed in 1988.  They have long been compared to AC/DC.  Brian Forsythe from Kix now rocks on guitar.  They landed a song, "Ride With Myself", on the soundtrack to "Wayne's World" in 1993.  Play it loud!

2.  AMERICAN DOG  http://www.americandog.us    

The video to "Sometimes You Eat The Pussy" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijZvuZrfNUQ 

The hard partying Columbus, Ohio rockers have been at it for years.  With a party rock sound that crosses George Thorogood with Motorhead.  American Dog are currently touring the world.

1. THE GODZ  - The classic "Gotta Keep Runnin'"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-t4hU3hhc8 

The Godz started out as major label rockers but now are with indie F'N'A Records.  They have released their first new cd in years and have re-released their classic "Mongolians' cd.  They are going to release cds from the vault soon.  They are back loud and proud.

Here's a story on The Godzthat AJ wrote for The Music Hotwire a few years ago.


The Godz rode out of the heartlands of Columbus, Ohio, in the middle seventies and onto Casablanca Records and the opening spot on the Love Gun Tour for KISS with fellow opening act Cheap Trick.

The Godz were more like a motorcycle gang than rock band in looks, attitude, and hard party lifestyle. But, oh, could they rock!

Sounding like Chuck Berry on steriods at time, they took a simple pure rock and roll beat, cranked it up, and turn it into whiskey-soaked, pure rock and roll joy. A real rock and roll celebration.

As can be expected, critics hated them, radio wouldn't play them, but grassroots rock and roll America gave them a cult following. The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide described them as a "Miserable hard-rock quartet from Columbus, Ohio, epitomiz[ing] the most wretched excesses of Seventies rock," and rated both of their first two CDs as "worthless." But fans loved them and followed them on the road.

The orginial lineup consisted of Eric Moore, Mark Chatfield, Glen Cataline, and Bob Hill. In addition to touring with Kiss, they embarked on a tour with glam rockers Angel, which was dubbed the Heaven and Hell tour.

The Godz website says the following about the band's leader Eric Moore: "Eric Moore was the real deal, the genuine article - the true embodiment of the sex, drugs and rock and roll credo. And, he's as American as apple pie and Chevrolet, with a slightly different viewer rating. His songs and his on-stage banter relating war stories of drugs, women, guns, and freedom have won him devoted fans everywhere he performs. Eric's notorious partying and rock and rolling exploits are legendary throughout Ohio and beyond."

There was a psychedelic band out of New York that had the same name, but after a cash payoff, the Columbus band was able to remain The Godz.

The Godz disbanded in the early eighties. Eric Moore was in and out of jail and spent some time in the Mansfield, Ohio Reformatory for allegedly shooting someone in a barfight. During this downtime for The Godz, Mark Chatfield joined Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band. The Godz reformed in 1987 and released "Mongolians." The album was a rerecording of a indie release two years earlier and contained the hard charging rock classic "Criminal Mind (Rock and Roll Heart)."

The Godz are back around and playing regularly around the Columbus, Ohio, area. The lineup now consists of Eric Moore, Ronnie Hughes, Bub Adams, Nikki Storm, and Heidi Helser. They now go by the name Eric Moore and The Godz. In 2003, they released a retrospective called "Twenty Five Moore Years" by Eric Moore and The Godz. The 2 disc set included new cuts and live rarities.

Here's a sample of Godz's lyrics that pretty much some up the spirit of Godz rock and roll:

Gotta Keep A Runnin'

I can't see enough I can't feel enough
I can't do enough in one d**n day
I'm gonna lose you baby I'm gonna use you baby
I don't care what you say
I'm gonna burn right up like a two dollar pistol
I like a rocket shot to the sun
I'm alive and I'm a jiving I'm a passing you by
I can't stop for anyone
I gotta live my life I can't stop for you

Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
goodbye baby I'm a leaving you
Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
Gotta keep a runnin'

I've got to see the land in a traveling band
I've got rock and a roll with you
I'm gonna make alittle money make alittle honey
make my connections too

I'm gonna brun right up like a two dollar pistol
I like a rocket shot to the sun
I'm alive and I'm a jiving I'm a passing you by
I can't stop for anyone
I gotta live my life can't stop for you

Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
goodbye baby I'm a leaving you
Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
Godz rock and roll

Now dig up ya'll
Now we're stoned to the bone, hot and sweaty
Look at us, we're everything your parents ever warned you about
They think we're all junkies, but everybody's some kind of junkie
There's money junkies, booze junkies, dope junkies, sex junkies,
And there's one thing they can't understand , all of us, you and I, we're Godz , and Godz are rock and roll junkies

Now every night we get into a different town
Every night we get high, every night we rock and roll
Every night we go crazy and we know we're killing ourselves, but it feels so... good
They try to tell us rock and roll is dead , but Godz rock and roll ain't dead
Rock and roll is why we're all here
Rock and roll is why we got long hair and get high
Rock and roll is why we dress the way we do
Rock and roll has turned us into something that they can't stand, but rock and roll has created us

Rock and roll has made us into machines
We can't see straight
We can't think straight
We can't hear straight
We can't feel nothing , got no heart and soul, but we're Godz
And someday there'll be thousands of us, thousands of Godz, thousands of machines
More of us than there is of them, they can't stop the Godz rock and roll machine, stop the machine......machine
The Godz are rock and roll machines
No hearts but at least we're machines
The Godz are rock and roll machines

The Godz are rock and roll machines (x8)

Eric Mark,Glen,Bob
1.The Godz are rock and roll machine (same)
2.We're all rock and roll machines The Godz are ....
( both lines x 4)
note: last time in live setting, Eric will replace
We're all rock and roll machines with the city name
(ie Cleveland Ohio rock and roll machines)
Note: Eric sings 1 and 2 parts Mark/Glen/Bob sing
The Godz are rock and roll machines followed by Eric parts (hope this makes sense)

Repeat versus #1 from;
I can't see enough........thru.........I can't stop for you

Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
goodbye baby I'm a leaving you
Gotta keep a runnin' gotta keep a runnin'
goodbye baby I'm a leaving you
Gotta keep a runnin' (x7)

Here's corrections made to the article:  THE GODZ - Corrections......

The original band split up in late 1980, but Eric Moore has continued on with the name ever since. In the years since the formation of The Godz, there have only been a couple years where Eric was not using that name - to no avail - as his fans called everything he did "The Godz," regardless.

Eric reformed The Godz in 1982 with original drummer Glen Cataline, which lasted until 1984. Eric flirted briefly with Feddie Salem and the Wildcats, and within the year they were calling it The Godz.

By 1985 they released "Ill Get You Rockin" and in 1987, Mark Chatfield rejoined and they put out "Mongolians." According to John Gard, there are illegal CD pressings of Mongolians floating around going for high dollars. In 1990, Chatfield left again and the band became a three-piece. In 1991 they performed briefly as the Eric Moore Band but were touring as The Godz again later that same year and stayed active until 1998, when Eric decided to take a much deserved break

Confusion over the name of the band is rooted in the period from 1999-2001, when American Dog regularly featured Eric Moore on the bill and performed as his backing band under the name, "Eric Moore and The Godz." It was also during this period that Eric switched from bass to rhythm guitar. Additionally, American Dog was the backing band for the new songs on the 2003 album "Eric Moore and the Godz - Twenty-five Moore Years."

In 2001, Eric continued on rhythm guitar and formed a new version of The Godz with Bub Adams on bass and Nikki Storm on lead guitar. Adams went on to be the longest tenured member in the band's history other than Eric Moore. Nikki Storm would have matched that were it not for a brief absence in the mid 2000s.

By 2009, Eric Moore wanted to play bass again, but not for an entire show.. Vinnie Salvatore was recruited to replace both Bub Adams and guitarist, Ronnie Hughes. The plan was for Eric and Vinnie to switch off. However, longtime Godz associate Chris LaMarca – then working as the band's booking agent, pushed Eric to play bass 100% of the time, and that's exactly what happened for all of 2010.

In 2011, Nikki Storm left the band to play music in Texas with his talented son.

Steve DeMatteo, who served in The Godz during the early 90s returned to share guitar duties with Vinnie Salvatore and Scott A. Martin. Eric and Vinnie finally began switching off as previously envisioned – with Eric playing bass on 75% of the set.

Here's AJ's review of the latest Godz release.

The Godz roared out of Columbus, Ohio in the late 70's and onto Casablanca Records – the label that Kiss built. The leather jacket clad rockers played a simple brand of rock 'n roll but played it loud, proud, and dirty. The Godz released their self-entitled album in 1978 and "Nothing Is Sacred" in 1979. They released "Mongolians" in the 1987 and then disappeared. "Greatest Hits Live" was released in 1995. A retrospective called "Twenty-Five Moore years came out in 2003 with a few new tracks.
Now, twenty-five years after their last full studio album, the Godz are storming out of Columbus again. Eric Moore is the only returning original member, but the music is as wicked as ever. There's more wicked guitar licks and more of a blues edge. On times, it seems that Moore's voice isn't as strong but whose  voice would be after such a long run? The band puts more emphasis on backup vocals than in the past but the music has a harder edge than the classic releases.
Eric Moore is in full form on the title track "Last Of The Outlaws." This song definitely holds it's own with the Godz classic catalogue. The title track sounds like Dan McCafferty wailing on the classic Nazareth album "Hair of The Dog." "Last of The Outlaws", both the song and the cd, is a kick ass ride loaded with nasty blues rock licks.
"Reaction" is another Godz scorcher that stands along side some of the band's earlier outstanding moments. Of course, when a band regroups after a long absence, there are going to be comparisons to their early material. It's hard to top the Godz original releases, but the band gives it a hell of a try. They come close at times on "Born At The Wrong Time" and the catchy "This Time". But, c'mon, it's almost an impossible task when you mention The Godz to not think of the rock 'n roll machine that cranked out "Gotta Keep A Runnin'" and "714."
"Last of The Outlaws" is a fun ride with Eric Moore, who is truly one of the last outlaws. The band flat out rocks like a band of outlaws cornered and outnumbered in a bar fight. A definite must for Godz fans and highly recommended for classic rockers. Hopefully, this isn't the last ride for these outlaws."

There you have it:  Alligator Jackson's favorite indie rockers.  Every town has great bands and AJ will be checking them out and passing the word on them.  Keeping checking back as AJ is out there coming to your town looking for the best indie bands with a classic rock flavor.  Chomp On!!

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