45 of the Best Up & Coming Rock Bands 2017


  
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There's a lot of subjectivity in rock and roll. 

For example, what does "up and coming" mean?  Where is a band "coming up" from and where are they supposed to go exactly? 

For some people, if you make music in any capacity, then you've made it.  For others, you need to play a venue like Madison Square Garden or Red Rocks.  And for others still, you need to reach some commercial milestone like chart a single or sell 100,000 units, to have 'made it.".

For many bands, it's easy to tell if they're still an "up-and-comer."  Your neighbor's garage band, that one that knows three chords and four songs, is an up and coming band.  U2 is not. 

After much consideration, we realized that if you have to ask if a band is "up and coming" then they're "up and coming."  Of course, all this really means is these are bands you should be listening to.

The 45 bands listed below are all at different stages on the "up and coming" scale.  Some are just starting out, while others have released several albums, and some have even celebrated their 10th anniversary.

We really didn't care when a band was founded per se.  "Up and coming bands" with a discography means you have plenty of new music to listen to.  Bands without any sort of recorded material were excluded.

All 45 entries are actual bands (two or more people).  There are no solo acts, or solo acts disguised as a band—sorry Japanese Breakfast!

Every entry performs rock or some variation of rock.  The rock genre casts a large shadow, and determining what is and isn't rock music is subjective. 

For instance, we excluded Let's Eat Grandma but included The Accidentals and The Cactus Blossoms.  In the end, we think all the bands on our list perform music that has the spirit of rock and roll.

Whether the band has released multiple albums, or just one song, whether the band was founded in 2004 or 2014, whether the band plays traditional rock or something on the periphery, the following 45 groups are worth your time, energy, and hard drive space.

Not only do we think these bands are going places, we also think they have a lot to offer music fans right now.  We encourage you to listen, and experience in concert, every entry on our list.

 

The Accidentals


It's a good thing that The Accidentals are first, because by the time you finish reading this article they probably will have made it.  Look for a new Accidentals album in 2017, reportedly with a guest appearance by Jack White.  Katie Larson and Savannah Buist met when they were in high school.  They formed The Accidentals and released their first album all in 2012.  Together, Larson and Buist can play 12 different instruments.

Why are they on our list?

The Accidentals draw inspiration from just about every kind of music you can think of, but it really doesn't matter what you label them as long as your label contains the word "great."  They are also virtuosos.  Larson and Buist are probably the best musicians on this list.

Founded: 2011
Hometown: Traverse City, Michigan
Check Out:
"Parking Lot"
Line-up
Katie Larson
Savannah Buist
Michael Dause


The Accidentals performing in October of 2016.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

The Aces


When we Googled "The Aces," an image of this group was placed next to information for a Chicago-based blues band of the same name.  Our up-and-coming Aces are from Utah and, as their website tells us, they are "four girls about to rule the world" and not a blues outfit from the Windy City.  The Aces were recently signed by Red Bull Records.  Does Red Bull Records give you wings too? 

Why are they on our list?

The Aces have a long way to go to reach the stature of the original Aces, but they're off to a great start.  Their debut single, "Stuck" is fun, catchy, and has a great beat.  It also has some meat on its musical and lyrical bones.  Some pundits have called their song a prom anthem, but it deserves much more consideration than that.

Founded: 2008
Home State: Utah
Check Out: "Stuck" Line-up
Cristal Ramirez
McKenna Petty
Katie Henderson
Alisa Ramirez


The Aces performing at the Stadium of Fire in Provo, Utah.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Air Traffic Controller


The band's creative force, Dave Munro, served in the U.S. Navy as… you guessed it… an Air Traffic Controller.  He soon formed an alliance with Casey Sullivan and the rest is indie history.  ATC is an award-winning band that's charming, witty, and very creative.  Their songs are so profound they cause critics to use words like "sonorous," "exuberant," and "infectious." 

Why are they on our list?

Their song "The House."  It's the perfect pop song.  Their other songs are pretty good too.  If you like good songwriting with a bit of an edge, then listen to Air Traffic Controller.

Founded: 2009
Hometown: Boston
Check Out: "The House"
Line-up
Dave Munro
Casey Sullivan
Steve Scott
Adam Salameh
Adrian Aielloac


Air Traffic Controller performing in Boston.  Photo, by Eric Burton, was taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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The Amazons


For The Amazons, the "up" part of "up and coming" is happening fast enough to give them the bends.  The Amazons met while attending the Theale Green School in Berkshire.  Since forming, they've toured Europe, opened for The Kooks, and landed on the long list of BBC Music Sound of 2017.  We can't wait to see what this band accomplishes in the next couple of years.

Why are they on our list?

The Amazons play a straightforward kind of rock that hits the sweet spot of loudness, speed, and melody.  Matt Thompson's voice fits well into the band's musical scheme.  The Amazons will have you dancing, singing along, and air guitaring.

Founded: 2014
Hometown: Reading, England
Check Out: "In My Mind"
Line-up
Matt
Chris
Elliot
Joe


The Amazons performing at the Ruby Lounge in Manchester, England in December of 2016.  Photo, by PHOX, taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Archie Powell & The Exports


Before he became the Archie Powell we all know and love, he played in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.  Makes sense since his father was a violin prodigy.  Archie started the band with keyboardist Ryan Export.  Their debut studio album, Skip Work, dropped in 2010.  That was followed by Great Ideas in Action in 2012, and then by Back in Black in 2014.  The band is set to perform at the Dunn Dunn Fest 2017, in Chicago, on Feb. 17.

Why are they on our list?

Archie Powell & The Exports write and produce great rock anthems.  When they're not doing that, they're writing and producing slick pop-rock gems.  At all times, they wear their Midwest, beer-guzzling, garage band sensibilities on their sleeves.

Founded: 2009
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Check Out: "Tattoo on my Brain"
Line-up
Archie Powell
Ryan Export
RJ Export
Alex J. Export
Austin Z.Z. Export


Archie Powell & The Exports performing in Kansas City.  Photo, by Ink Magazine, taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Assuming We Survive


Assuming We Survive has emerged from Southern California to become a major force in the genre of pop punk.  The band was founded by singer Adrian Estrella and drummer Kris Pasos.  You may have seen them on the Vans Warped Tour.  They were part of that touring festival in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2016.  See them live this February and March as they have dates scheduled all over North America.

Why are they on our list?

Sometimes, pop punk bands can be a bit silly.  Assuming We Survive is anything but silly.  They bring much needed maturity and perspective to their genre. They are pop punk for adults.  Yet, they still know how to play hard, loud, and fast.  Assuming we survive this article, we're better off with their song, "Better Without You."

Founded: 2007
Hometown: Inland Empire, CA
Check Out: "Better Without You"
Line-up
Adrian Estrella
Kris Pasos
Phil Adams
Joe Lawson
Johhny Silva


Assuming We Survive during a performance.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Big Thief


Big Thief released their Masterpiece on May 27, 2016.  Literally.  The Brooklyn rock band's debut album is called Masterpiece.  Critics loved it.  Adrianne Lenker wrote all the songs and the LP was produced by Andrew Sarlo.

Why are they on our list?

Big Thief are excellent story tellers and Adrianne Lenker's has the perfect voice to tell those stories.  Their alternate rock sound has some folk and country music mixed in to it.

Founded: 2015
Hometown: New York City
Check Out: "Masterpiece"
Line-up
Adrianne Lenker
Buck Meek
Max Oleartchik
James Krivchenia


Big Thief performing at Chicago's Thalia Hall in October of 2016.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Boom Said Thunder


Boom Said Thunder has struck the Boston music scene like lightning.  In 2012, the year after the band formed, Boom Said Thunder released an EP, toured with a bunch of veteran rock bands, and even got a taste of the festival scene.  While they started in Beantown, they have since moved to Brooklyn.  BST has received a lot of good ink and cultivated a fervent fan base.

Why are they on our list?

Abby Bickel's beautiful voice sings over heavy, fuzzy guitar riffs, and pounding beats.  The combination is dark but surprisingly danceable.  They are usually lumped in with noise rock bands.  We prefer to place them in the category of good music.

Founded: 2011
Hometown: Boston
Check Out: "Carnivore"
Line-up
Abby Bickel
John Magnifico
Will Thomas


Boom Said Thunder performing at the Cobra Club in Brooklyn in 2014.  Photo, by Manya Kuzemchenko, taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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The Cactus Blossoms


Despite having different last names, Jack Torrey and Page Burkum are brothers.  They've been playing together as The Cactus Blossoms since 2010.  Their studio LP, You're Dreaming, bloomed in 2016.  The boys cut their musical teeth playing in and around the Minneapolis-area.

Why are they on our list?

The Cactus Blossoms are "rock" in the loosest sense of the word.  Still, their country-western sound is refreshing.  There's no "bubble gum pop" in their twang.  They're brothers but they don't perform "bro-country."  The Cactus Blossoms perform a type of music, and perform it quite well, that was popular about 70 years ago.  

Line-up
Jack Torrey
Page Burkum
Founded: 2010
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Check Out: "Stoplight Kisses"


The Cactus Blossoms getting ready to perform.  Photo, by Lou Hallwas, taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Champion Lover


Champion Lover released their self-titled, debut studio album in 2014.  The following year they issued their first EP, Take One.  The band is signed to Unprofitable Records.  Champion Lover is greatly influenced by Sonic Youth.  A great live band, the Ontario quartet has earned the honorific "Toronto's Loudest Noise Punk band."

Why are they on our list?

While they do utilize screaming, distortion, and sheer loudness, they are also very musical.  Champion Lover's songs are complex and frequently melodic.  Some pundits claim that they "play loud noise punk to fight, f**k, or drug to."  That's doing them a disservice.  They also play music you'll enjoy listening to.

Founded: 2010
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Check Out: "Rob Ford"

Line-up
Edward Masuda
Erik Tokar
James Cain
William Masuda


Champion Lover performing at the Smiling Buddha in Toronto.  Photo, by Sarah Budden, taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Charly Bliss


Frontwoman Eva Hendricks and guitarist Spencer Fox met when they were 15.  They soon started writing songs together, and before too long, Charly Bliss was formed.  The Brooklyn-based quartet released their first EP, Soft Serve, in 2014.  They also released a three-part music video and a comic book trilogy.  In May of 2016, they released the single "Ruby" which garnered the band a lot of praise.  If there's one band on this list that will make it, it's Charly Bliss.

Why are they on our list?

Charley Bliss describes themselves as "bubble grunge" (we've also seen it spelled "bubble-grunge" and "bubblegrunge").  While their sound hoovers around the genres of punk, post-punk, and pop funk, Charly Bliss writes and records catchy songs with catchy hooks.  They are also cooler than you.  They are cooler than everyone.

Founded: 2012
Hometown: New York City
Check Out: "Ruby"
Lineup
Spencer Fox
Eva Hendricks
Sam Hendricks
Dan Shure


Charly Bliss during a performance in January of 2017.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Cherry Glazerr


In 2013, Cherry Glazerr released their first album, Papa Cremps.  Their sophomore effort, Haxel Princess, hit streets in 2014.  Their third studio album, Apocalipstick, just landed on the proverbial store shelves.  They've also released an EP, Had Ten Dollaz.  Former members include Hannah Uribe and Sean Redman.  Their epithet is a riff on the name of a radio host.  Besides fronting this band, Clementine Creevy is also an actress.  You can see her in Amazon Prime's Transparent.

Why are they on our list?

Cherry Glazerr is groovy, funky, and fun.  They have a great sense of humor and some awesome guitar riffs.

Founded: 2013
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Check Out: "Told You I'd Be with The Guys"
Line-up
Clementine Creevy
Tabor Allen
Sasami Ashworth


Cherry Glazerr performing in 2016.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Cut Ribbons


Cut Ribbons are from that hot bed of rock and roll, Llanelli, South Wales.  They released their debut studio album, We Want to Watch Something We Loved Burn, in 2015.  That platter earned them major honors including being one of BBC Wales' Horizons Artists for that year.

Why are they on our list?

Had they done nothing but "Luna" they would have made our list.  Definitely, listen to that track.  High-pitched vocals, dance beats, memorable melodies, and intelligent lyrics means there's a lot to love about Cut Ribbons.

Founded: 2009
Hometown: Llanelli, Wales
Check Out: "We Want To Watch Something We Loved Burn"
Line-up
Aled Rees
Chris James
Lluan Bowen
Chloe Morgan
Ray Thomas


Cut Ribbons performing in Llanelli, Wales in 2016.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Diet Cig


In the summer of 2014, Alex Luciano was at a house show when she needed a cigarette lighter.  So, she did what anyone would have done in her desperate situation.  She interrupted the band.  One of the members of that band was Noah Bowman.  By autumn of that year, the two had joined forces and formed Diet Cig.  The band is set to release their debut album, Swear I'm Good At This, on April 7, 2017.

Why are they on our list?

Diet Cig is a little rock and roll, a little punk, a little pop, and a little alternative.  They are also a lot of passion, heart, and energy.  On their Facebook page, they list their genre as "slop pop."  That's an appropriate appellation. 

Founded: 2014
Hometown: New Paltz, New York
Check Out: "Dinner Date"
Line-up
Alex Luciano
Noah Bowman


Diet Cig performing in New York City in September of 2016.  Photo, by tino_mcgarry, taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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The Eiffels


The Eiffels dress up.  Every once in a while, it's nice to see a band that looks like they didn't dress in the dark at a Goodwill.  This SoCal band has garnered a bunch of positive media attention.  Their debut EP was the 15th most added record on U.S. college radio.  That's quite an achievement when you consider how much music is out there.

Why are they on our list?

Their synthrock sound conjures up the good old days of Spandau Ballet, The Blow Monkeys, and Scritti Politti.  They are like The 1975 only with more soul—they're like The 1985. 

Founded: 2009
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Check Out: "You Got Me"
Line-up
Sean Ulbs
Lee Marciniak
Jade Michael


The Eiffels performing at The Study Hollywood.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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The fin.


I challenge another band on this list, or any list, to have the following destinations on their 2017 itinerary: China, London, and Austin, Texas (SXSW 2017).  Their schedule might have something to do with the fact that The fin. are from Japan.  Their song titles are in English, and although we haven't heard all their songs (yet), they sing in English too.  They released their first EP, Glowing Red on the Shore, in 2014.  Also that year, they released their first LP, Days with Uncertainty.  Their second EP, Through the Deep, came out in 2016.

Why are they on our list?

The fin. isn't just an entry on our list, they're one of our new favorite bands.  They have an amazing sound.  It's cerebral, smooth, and melodious.  Their songs are the sonic equivalent of velvet.  You want to put their music on, lay down, close your eyes, and let them whisk you away.

Founded: 2010
Hometown: Kobe, Japan
Check Out: "Till Dawn"
Line-up
Yuto Uchino
Ryosuke Odagaki
Takayasu Taguchi
Kaoru Nakazawa


The fin. performing at Sofar Sounds London in November of 2016.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Good Graeff


On their Facebook page, it says they were founded in 2004, but since Brooke and Brittany are twin sisters, they've pretty much been a band their entire lives.  The sisters' musical journey started in earnest when they were living in Vietnam.  Unique for a rock band, Brittany plays the cello.

Why are they on our list?

Good Graeff's music and lyrics are uplifting without being maudlin.  Their sweet vocals are well-balanced with dance beats and cool cello riffs. 

Founded: 2004
Hometown: Fayetteville, New York and Sarasota, Florida
Check Out: "Good Touch"
Line-up
Brooke Graeff
Brittany Graeff


Good Graeff performing at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles in November of 2016.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Hemmingbirds


The Hemmingbirds started in 2010 when Yoo Soo Kim, on his own, recorded ten tracks.  Those ten tracks went on to become the band's first album.  Zach Benkowski and Tim Cap joined the fray so the Hemmingbirds could take flight as a live band.  They followed their rookie release with a concept album, The Vines of Age.  In 2015, they took several seconds to release an EP, Half a Second.

Why are they on our list?

Musically, Hemmingbirds know how to mix it up.  They are very creative.  Their songwriter is also top-notch.  They remind us of The Strokes had they been from the Midwest.  Hemmingbirds is a shrewd, talented band that's fun to listen to but also comes at you with some complexities.

Founded: 2010
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Check Out: "Mess of Things"
Line-up
Yoo Soo Kim
Zach Benkowski
Timothy Cap


The Hemmingbirds performing at the House of Blues in 2016.  Photo, by Johnny Chiang, taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Hinds


Originally, this Spanish band was called Deers.  They were forced to changed it when another band named "Deers" threatened legal action.  Cleverly, the band adopted the sobriquet of "Hinds"—hind is another name for a female deer.  This might be the only band on our list with a "best of" album.  Very Best of Hinds So Far was issued in 2015 but limited to 2,500 copies.

Why are they on our list?

Hinds sing in English but are one of the few bands where you can hear their accents (which are super cute).  Their quirky and endearing songs are a pleasant swirl of garage rock, punk, surf rock, and pop.  They don't have a lot of distortion but they do have dynamic melodies, two singers, and toe-tapping beats.

Founded: 2011
Hometown: Madrid, Spain
Check Out: "Chili Town"
Line-up
Carlotta Cosials
Ana García Perrote
Ade Martín
Amber Grimbergen


The Hinds' Carlotta Cosials crowd surfing during a show in Glasgow.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Hop Along


You're drawn to Hop Along by Frances Quinlan's voice, but you stay for the band's edgy, alternative resonance.  They have two albums in their discography, Painted Shut and Get Disowned.  This July, Hop Along has a couple of dates with Conor Oberst.  Why you haven't heard of them before is beyond us.

Why are they on our list?

Hop Along demands your attention.  Their music grabs you and doesn't let go.  We describe their amazing rock din as sexy, mysterious, and mature.

Founded: 2008 
Hometown: Philadelphia
Check Out: "Waitress"
Line-up
Frances Quinlan
Mark Quinlan
Tyler Long
Joe Reinhart


Frances Quinlan of Hop Along.  Photo courtesy of CRUSTINA!

 

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Ian Sweet


Their debut record, Shapeshifter, dropped Sept. 9, 2016.  This spring, look for Ian Sweet at a venue near you.  Their dynamic sound is characterized by fuzzy guitar riffs, DYI drums, and high-energy vocals.  They love to write and record songs about the simple things in life, like skateboarding, shoes, and candy.

Why are they on our list?

Ian Sweet is raw, quirky, and sweet—in an edgy sort of way.  Not only that, but we love Jillian Medford's pipes.

Founded: 2014
Hometown: New York City
Check Out: "Shapeshifter"
Line-up
Jillian Medford
Damien Scalise
Tim Cheney


Ian Sweet performing in April of 2016.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Iceage


Copenhagen's Iceage are appropriately named.  They are as cool as an ice age.  When the band formed, its members were 16 and 17.  In their home country of Denmark, they signed with the record label Tambourhinoceros.  Say that three times fast.  Speaking of threes, they've released three studio albums and three EPs.  All three of their studio platters have been nominated for IMPALA's European Independent Album of the Year Award.

Why are they on our list?

Even though they're a cross between Chris Isaack, Pulp, and INXS, they're not afraid to challenge you.  Their music is sexy and sensual but not in a gimmicky way, it's organic.  It's who they are.

Founded: 2008
Hometown: Copenhagen, Denmark
Check Out: "Forever"
Line-up
Dan Kjær Nielsen
Elias Bender Rønnenfelt
Johan Wieth
Jakob Tvilling Pless


Iceage performing in March of 2013.  Photo courtesy of the band's Facebook page.

 

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J and The 9s


Sometimes we forget music is supposed to be fun.  Then a band like J and The 9s comes along and reminds us that music is supposed to be fun.  That's not to say you shouldn't take them seriously, because you should.  Their sound is a wild mix of punk, glam, and rock and roll.  Their second EP will be released sometime this spring.

Why are they on our list?

Their fun.  They rock hard.  J9 plays the flute.  What else do you need in a band?

Founded: 2011
Hometown: New York City
Check Out: "Ball and Chain"
Line-up
J9
Apex
Kevin Jones
Beatz


J and The 9s performing in December of 2015.  Photo courtesy of Randall Goya.

 

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Joyce Manor


Joyce Manor is a four-piece outfit from the South Bay area of Los Angeles County.  They are named after an apartment building.  In 2016, Joyce Manor released their fourth studio LP, Cody.  It was produced by Rob Schnapf.  In 2017, you should get to know this urbane pop punk outfit.  Listen to their entire repertoire to see how much, and well, their sound has evolved.

Why are they on our list?

Calling Joyce Manor a pop punk band is like calling the Mona Lisa a doodle.  These guys are smart, inventive, great musicians, and they can write a good song.  They are a pop punk band 2.0.

Founded: 2008
Hometown: Torrance, California
Check Out: "Last You Heard of Me"
Line-up
Barry Johnson
Matt Ebert
Chase Knobbe
Jeff Enzor


Joyce Manor performing in Toronto in August of 2012.  Photo courtesy of CRUSTINA!

 

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Mexico City Blondes


Allie Thompson has the voice.  Greg Doscher has experience in the music business (he was the guitarist for Tripdavon).  The two met in Santa Barbara, California and not only formed a musical relationship, but Mexico City Blondes.  In the summer of 2014, their single "Fade" grabbed a lot of attention even though MCB had no record label promoting their track.  Their self-titled EP dropped in September of 2015.

Why are they on our list?

Allie Thompson has an indelible voice.  Her singing is certainly one of the many reasons to check out MCB.  The sparse and sexy music that accompanies her sultry crooning is another reason.  If you need a third, they create engaging pop/rock songs.

Founded: 2014
Hometown: Santa Barbara, CA
Check Out: "Fade"
Line-up
Allie Thompson
Greg Doscher


Mexico City Blondes performing on the Canary Rooftop in Santa Barbara.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Midnight Mob


Midnight Mob is an anachronism.  They play honest to goodness rock and roll in a day and age where electronic music is ubiquitous.  As their lead guitarist Mickey Squeeze tell us, "We play what we dig and people seem to dig what we play."  Look for new music from Midnight Mob in 2017.  Also, look for them at your local music festival.  You'll dig what they play.

Why are they on our list?

Built upon Blackey Deathproof's powerful vocals, Midnight Mob successfully combines rock, metal, blues, and punk.  They skillfully merge all these influences together without leaving fans of any one genre behind.

Founded: 2009
Hometown: New York City
Check Out: "Swing On"
Line-up
Blackey Deathproof
Mickey Squeeze
Carly Quinn
Beatz


Midnight Mob's lead singer Blackey Deathproof.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Muncie Girls


Muncie Girls is a punk rock trio from west England.  They released their debut album, From Caplan To Belsize, in March of 2016.  The name of their debut album is taken from Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar.  We mention this so you'll know that we're not pulling it out of thin air when we say they're literate punks.  The trio is set to perform at SXSW 2017.

Why are they on our list?

Lande Hekt has a haunting voice and plays a mean bass.  Her other bandmates, Dean McMullen and Luke Ellis, bring it too.  Everyone's music collection has room for a band like Muncie Girls that writes and plays important music.  Don't let their talent fool you, they're still rebels. 

Founded: 2012
Hometown: Exeter, England
Check Out: "Respect"
Line-up
Lande Hekt
Dean McMullen
Luke Ellis


Muncie Girls performing in Nurnberg, Germany in 2013.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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New Candys


New Candys were brand new in 2008.  They are from Italy.  In 2012, the band released its first full-length studio album, Stars Reach the Abyss.  Their sophomore effort, New Candys as Medicine, dropped in 2015.  New Candys have extensively toured the U.K. and shared the stage with acts like Crystal Stilts, Dead Skeletons, and The Warlocks.

Why are they on our list?

New Candys are usually described with words like "fuzz-drenched," "psychedelic," and "moody."  Those words certainly describe their sound, but not their quality.  They transcend those descriptions.  New Candys are an engaging band that generates fascinating music. 

Founded: 2008
Hometown: Venice, Italy
Check Out: "New Candys As Medicine"
Line-up
Fernando Nuti
Diego Menegaldo
Stefano Bidoggia
Dario Lucchesi


New Candys performing at the St. Pancras Old Church in London in September of 2016.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Paperhaus


Paperhaus released their first EP, Lo Hi Lo, in 2013.  Their self-titled debut album came out in 2015.  They spent most of 2012 to 2015 on the road.  This earned Paperhaus a following in, and around, their home town of Washington D.C.

Why are they on our list?

If you're looking for some far out jangly guitar riffs, groovy bass lines, and trippy beats, then look no further than the psychedelic rock of Paperhaus. 

Founded: 2006
Hometown: Washington D.C.
Check Out: "Cairo"
Line-up
Alex Tebeleff
Matt Dowling
Rick Irby


Paperhaus performing in June of 2015.  Photo courtesy of Mike Maguire.

 

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Phantom Party


Phantom Party started in a whirlwind.  The band formed in March of 2015.  That May, they released their first EP, Stellar.  They played three shows in their hometown and then embarked on a tour.  The band is preparing to release its debut LP, Hundred Skeletons, on March 4, 2017.  Phantom Party is a trio but they started as a quartet.  They became a trio after their fourth dropped out as well as his replacement.

Why are they on our list?

Phantom Party makes our list because they insist on creating dreamy, brainy, complex surf music.  You don't have to surf to enjoy their sound.  They are from a landlocked state after all.  A lot of critics say they are what The Smiths would sound like if The Smiths were a surf band.  While we hear Johnny Marr here and there, we don't think Joshua Capati sings like Morrissey.  Capati is doing his own thing and we really like it.

Founded: 2015
Hometown: Chandler, Arizona
Check Out: "Derby Daze"
Line-up
Joshua Capati
Matthew Slusser
Austin Cooper


Phantom Party performing at Horizon High in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Poynte


This hard rock band can be described in one word, honesty.  Poynte knows who they are.  They know what they want to do.  They know what they want their music to sound like.  We love the fact that Poynte comes right out and says they want to sell records.  Of course, they want to sell records their way and their way is making sincere and heartfelt music.

Why are they on our list?

Poynte is pure rock and roll.  Each member of the band can really play—Poynte is super tight.  Their lyrics are sagacious and their music is very compelling.  If you want to rock out with some cool guys, and not feel like a simpleton, listen to Poynte.

Founded: 2012
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia
Check Out: "Hold On"
Line-up
Kenny Hathorne
Matt Bryant
Jake O'Donnell
Ben Greener
Josh Fulcher


Poynte's lead singer, Kenny Hathorne, singing to a fan at The Warehouse in Clarksville, Tennessee.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Ringo Deathstarr


Ringo Deathstarr can trace its lineage all the way back to Austin, Texas and 2005.  They released their first EP in 2007 and their first studio album, Colour Trip, in 2011.  Ringo Deathstarr has toured the world and even opened for Smashing Pumpkins.  Their name is a portmanteau of Ringo Starr and the Death Star from Star Wars.  They play a genre of music pejoratively called "shoegazing."

Why are they on our list?

The genre is called "shoegazing" because in order to make a guitar sound so loud and fuzzy, the guitarist must constantly look down at his feet and at a plethora of foot pedals.  It's true that Ringo Deathstarr is loud and fuzzy, but they're not only loud and fuzzy.  They have something to say and their music has a real charm.

Founded: 2005
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Check Out: "Guilt"
Line-up
Alex Gehring
Elliott Frazier
Daniel Coborn


Ringo Deathstarr performing in Oklahoma City in December of 2015.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Savoy Motel


Savoy Motel formed out of the bands Cheap Time and Heavy Cream.  Their single, "Hot One," hit the streets in July of 2016.  Their self-titled debut album dropped that October.  The band will be on the road through early March.

Why are they on our list?

We don't know if they serve a free continental breakfast, but the Savoy Motel definitely has a dance floor.  Their sound is classified by epic bass lines, funky guitar riffs, cool vocal hooks, and a lot of fun.  Occasionally, they'll throw in a southern rock inspired guitar solo and some 1970s-esque keyboard sounds.  Regardless, it all works.

Founded: 2014
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Check Out: "Sorry People"
Line-up
Jeffrey Novak
Jessica McFarland
Mimi Galbierz
Dillon Watson


Savoy Motel performing at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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The Schizophonics


Pat and Lety met in Casa Grande, Arizona.  They moved to San Diego in 2008.  They formed The Schizophonics in 2009.  While they've played arenas, and opened for big time artists, it's a great thing that The Schizophonics can still be experienced in small clubs across the United States.  Those intimate settings are perfect for such an awesome live act.  Even if you don't like their brand of fast, fuzzy, garage rock (which is impossible), you'll love them in concert.

Why are they on our list?

They've been compared to MC5 and the Stooges.  That seems like hyperbole until you actually experience them live.  Yes, The Schizophonics are that good.

Founded: 2009
Hometown: San Diego, California
Check Out: "Rat Trap"
Line-up
Pat Beers
Lety Beers


The Schizophonics performing at the North Park Festival of Arts in 2015.  Photo, by Jason Bang, taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Screaming Females


Screaming Females have six albums under their belt.  Their first two were self-released, and then before their third opus, Power Move, they signed with Don Giovanni Records.  The band has played with Arctic Monkeys, Garbage, Throwing Muses, and Dinosaur Jr.  In 2010, Spin magazine named Marissa Patermoster the 77th greatest guitarist of all-time.  They are obviously less of an "up and coming band" and more of a band you should be listening to. 

Why are they on our list?

Screaming Females play an exciting and energetic brand of punk rock.  Driving bass lines and memorable guitar licks characterize their remarkable sound.  We've already alluded to Paternoster's guitar prowess, but she also has a distinct singing voice too.

Founded: 2005
Hometown: New Brunswick, New Jersey
Check Out: "Leave it All Up To Me"
Line-up
Marissa Paternoster
Jarrett Dougherty
King Mike


Marissa Paternoster performing at SXSW 2011.  Photo courtesy of Jason Persse.

 

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Seratones


The four members of this astonishing group played in various punk bands before joining forces and forming Seratones.  Lead singer, AJ Haynes, learned how to perform by singing in church.  While some bands toiled for years, Seratones were instant hits.  Fat Possum Records signed them not long after their debut.

Why are they on our list?

A word that seems to follow Seratones around is "eclectic."  They'll praise Jello Biafra as much as they'll praise Miles Davis.  While rock and roll is the band's foundation, their sound has elements of soul, R&B, and pop.  Regardless, they always have a nice groove and AJ Haynes is a phenomenal power.

Founded: 2013
Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana
Check Out: "Necromancer"
Line-up
AJ Haynes
Connor Davis
Adam Davis
Jesse Gabriel


Seratones performing on stage.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Sheer Mag


In January of 2015, Rolling Stones named Sheer Mag one of the "10 New Artists You Need To Know."  Two years later, we're saying the same thing.  It's a mystery why Sheer Mag isn't more prominent on the national music scene.  They're a punk band playing 70s glam rock.  If you attend a Sheer Mag show (and you should) with a rock neophyte, they'll probably ask you what band Sheer Mag is covering.  You'll get to tell them that they're not covering anyone.

Why are they on our list?

Sheer Mag is super fun and extremely likable.  We've already mentioned how they sound like a band from 1970s, but don't think they're a nostalgia act.  They're not.  They play for the here and now and they have something important to say.

Founded: 2014
Hometown: Philadelphia
Check Out: "Nobody's Baby"
Line-up
Tina Halladay
Kyle Seely
Hart Seely
Matt Palmer
Ian Dykstra


Sheer Mag performing in April of 2015.  Photo courtesy of Jay Roc.

 

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The Starkins


The Starkins are British.  They've garner critical acclaim with the release of their single "Roundabout."  The Starkins are also young.  Nonetheless, their music has a maturity.  Parents, and even some cool grandparents, will hear The Starkins and say, "Hey, that sounds like the jangly guitar bands of my era."

Why are they on our list?

The Starkins play a fun and nostalgic brand of pop/rock that's catchy but substantial.  We can't wait until these lads have some serious real-life experiences to influence their creativity.  They will be unstoppable. 

Founded: 2011
Hometown: Sheffield, England
Check Out: "Paper Cuts"
Line-up
Matt Elliss
Jo Elliss
Will Campbell
Andy Daniels


The Starkins performing at the Rotherham Slamfest 3 in 2014.  Photo courtesy of Chris Page.

 

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The Sun Parade


The Sun Parade's sound is far more complex than what you'd expect from a band from an idyllic New England town.  The core of the band, Chris Marlon Jennings and Jefferson Lewis, are polar opposites.  The former looks like the traditional sexy rock frontman, while the latter, who's a foot shorter, looks like the kid who fixes your computer.  Together, they create beautiful music.  

Why are they on our list?

The band lists The Beatles, The Clash, Nirvana, and The Beastie Boys as inspirations.  Not only are those some of our favorite bands, but you can hear those influences in their music.  Their rock-folk-pop sound will have you clamoring for more.

Founded: 2011
Hometown: Northampton, Massachusetts
Check Out: "Heart's Out"
Line-up
Chris Marlon Jennings
Jefferson Lewis
Max Wareham
Karl Helanderals
Eli Salus-Kleiner


Sun Parade performing in May of 2016.  Photo, by Georgia Rae Teesma, taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Surf Rock Is Dead


Surf Rock Is Dead is a duo that calls Brooklyn their base of operations.  The likable lads caused a lot of waves with the release of their latest single, "In Between."  They have a couple of dates on the books for February in The Big Apple.  If you can, check them out.  Their live shows do not disappoint.

Why are they on our list?

Surf Rock is Dead has a dreamy sound that makes you want to drift away.  They don't play surf rock, but the rock they do play has an ineffable quality. 

Founded: 2014
Hometown: New York City
Check Out: "In Between"
Line-up
Kevin Pariso
Joel Witenberg


Surf Rock is Dead performing at Double Door in Chicago in November of 2016.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Sweet Cyanide


Sweet Cyanide likes to refer to themselves as "New York City's favorite bastard sons."  They released their self-titled debut in 2009.  Sweet Cyanide II came out in 2010 and Sweet Cyanide III in 2012.  They also released two successful singles, "In My World" and "Better At Goodbyes."  Their studio works has earned them stage time with some of the biggest names in the business: Alice Cooper, Def Leppard, Slash, Motley Crüe, and Cheap Trick. 

Why are they on our list?

If more hard rock bands sounded like Sweet Cyanide then more people would love hard rock.  While they certainly rock hard, Sweet Cyanide sprinkles their music with the perfect amounts of pop, psychedelic rock, and progressive rock.

Founded: 2008
Hometown: New York City
Check Out: "Heavy"
Line-up
Sal Scoca
Angelo Fariello
Mike Bambace


Sweet Cyanide after performing at Buffalo Chip in South Dakota at the 2015 Sturgis Rally.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Valley Shine


Valley Shine is a Los Angeles folk-rock sextet that's imbued with the DIY spirit of roots rock, Americana, and country.  Principal songwriters Jenna Blake and Sam Sobelman met in 2014.  Yes, a band of this polish and profundity is that new.  These indie darlings released their debut EP, LOCA, in the Fall of 2015. 

Why are they on our list?

Valley Shine shines with great harmonies and melodies.  They are cut from the same cloth as Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers, but without all the pretentiousness and with much more joy. 

Founded: 2014
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Check Out: "Home Away"
Line-up
Jenna Blake
Sam Sobelman
Myke Wilken
Kaitlin Wolfberg
Stewart James
Tim Carman


A fan taking a picture of Valley Shine during a performance.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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Wand


Wand formed in 2013 and already have three albums in their discography: Ganglion Reef (2014), Golem (2015), and 1000 Days (2015).  They've toured extensively after each release.  For most of its existence, Wand was a four-piece outfit.  Daniel Martens left in 2015 when he became a father. 

Why are they on our list?

Wand brilliantly brings together psychedelic rock, garage rock, and glam.  Spin Wand when you want to listen to music that's heavy but not hard, cerebral but not condescending, and challenging but not contrived. 

Founded: 2013
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Check Out: "Sleepy Dog"
Line-up
Cory Hanson
Lee Landey
Evan Burrows

 

Weaves


Weaves started when Jasmyn Burke met Morgan Waters in a bar.  They recorded songs from ideas Burke had recorded on her iPhone.  Soon, they were joined by Spencer Cole and Zach Bines.  The foursome then gathered into Waters' bedroom to record their self-titled EP.  Burke almost quit the music biz in 2009—thankfully she didn't.  Her journey inspired the members of Weaves to always keep things fresh and fun.

Why are they on our list?

Weaves' sound sits at the intersection of art rock and punk.  It's unique and very interesting.  Just when you think you have Weaves figured out, their song weaves in something unexpected.  Burke is a classic showman and fronts one of the best live bands around.

Founded: 2012
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Check Out: "Tick"
Line-up
Jasmyn Burke
Morgan Waters
Spencer Cole
Zach Bines


Weaves performing in the summer of 2016.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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The Wrecks


The Wrecks were about a week old when they learned that a friend had access to a recording studio.  They worked feverishly to use the limited time to record an EP.  They also did a good job of cleaning up after themselves, which is fortunate since they weren't supposed to be in recording studio after all.  They released their first single in March of 2016, "Favorite Liar."  In January, the band parted ways with guitarist Harrison Nussbaum.

Why are they on our list?

The Wrecks rock well-written, melodic, and entertaining tunes.  Their pop/rock sound is bouncy and fresh while also being intelligent and stimulating.  It's clear that The Wrecks know what they're doing and are having fun.

Founded: 2014
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Check Out: "Favorite Liar"
Line-up
Nick Anderson
Aaron Kelley
Nick Schmidt
Billy Nally


The Wrecks performing on stage.  Photo taken from the band's Facebook page.

 

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