It’s the toughest thing in the world to be an independent band nowadays. Talent, unfortunately, isn’t even high on the list of imperatives in order to succeed in the music business. In fact, it’s a pretty damn low rung on the ladder of success. These days, it’s all about who you know, who you can get to back you, how you can creatively use social media to promote yourself, what you look like, how young you are, and, uh, who you know. Did I mention that?

Case in point: The ColourSound. Here’s a band with members from New York as well as Bethlehem and Stroudsburg, PA. Their lead singer, Doug Batt, is an accomplished songwriter, knows his way around a guitar and teaches high school English. His lyrics are poignant, meaningful yet purposely ambiguous. The lead guitar player, Sean Hieter, plays his ax with a psychedelic circus of effects. If he’s overly fond of his wah-wah bar, just remember—so was Hendrix. So what? The guy can play with the best of ‘em, sing an Oasis song like nobody’s business and write the kind of brain-tattoo melody that sticks. With the one-named super-cool Leni on bass, who also writes and doubles on keyboards, plus drummer Pat Wilson, The ColourSound, on their new single, “Guilty For The 1st Time,” have set new standards in the post-alternative adult contemporary sophisticated pop market. Problem is nobody knows it. I mean, yeah, you can buy it at itunes.com/thecoloursound but with all the other things out there, it’s but a blip in the cosmos, a grain of sand on the beach of eternity. And that’s a damn shame because talent—raw, pure, unadulterated—should count for more.

Their 2009 Reclaim EP made some waves. Hell, I bought one. A 2006 issue of Merge that services the Lehigh Valley area of Easton, Bethlehem and Allentown PA had ‘em on the cover. The journalist, Gabrielle Salerno, called ‘em DILFs (Dads I’d Like To Fuck). There’s no proof that she actually fucked one of ‘em…or all of ‘em, but it just goes to show this band inspires the kind of fanatical devotion that transcends the art of the groove.

I’ve been to about a dozen ColourSound shows in the last few years. They’ve become friends. At each show, be it in New York City at Arlene’s Grocery or here in PA where I live, their fans are loud, vocal, well-dressed, upscale, hard-drinking, hard-dancing 20- and 30-somethings who literally scream for their note-perfect renditions of David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Bee Gees, Carly Simon and a host of obscure British bands I never heard of. Half the time I feel like tellin’ their fans to shut the hell up. I mean, Doug’s singing sweet and they’re yakkin’ it up like they ain’t listenin’ but as soon as the song stops, they burst into wild appreciation. Meanwhile, I’m usually sittin’ in the back by myself nursin’ a Long Island Iced Tea, not able to groove properly because there’s too much damn noise.

I like their originals best. That’s when vocalist Batt unleashes that hard to define high tenor voice of his…maybe akin to a rejuvenated Art Garfunkel crossed with Matthew Bellamy of Muse. It can get unearthly in its unadorned power and strangeness. Hey, I’m somewhat of a singer myself but my influences and roots all stem from the blues and early rock ’n’ roll. With Batt, when he opens his mouth, there’s really no precedent for his wailing. It comes out on a line like one of those low line drives off the bat in baseball that reach the stands on a rope and you go “Whoa! What was that?” It’s bat. On Ball. In ColourSound parlance, it’s Batt at-bat belting it out of the park again. Every time. The dude’s a freak. You gotta hear him to believe him. Okay, stop. Maybe I’m letting my baseball juices run rampant with the advent of a new season upon us. Doug Batt is a monster vocalist. Period.

So The ColourSound is pretty damn cool. They ain’t kids. They all hold down jobs, are raising families—hell, one’s a damn stockbroker, another one works for fashion designer Robert Graham. I think the drummer’s unemployed. Figures. The cool thing about the fashion designer aspect is that they gig during Fashion Week in Manhattan every year and when you go see them in New York, there’s all these highfalutin’ models hanging out and they’re all in good moods and slightly drunk and quite approachable. I know this from experience.

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