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Absolute 100 of 2012

Written by: Adam Pfleider (08/07/12)
There's nothing like the moment when you hear a new band that blows you away. It could be through a friend's car stereo on a drive or a track on compilation you bought from your favorite label. These bands are found among close friends and mixtapes and shared playlists every year. Some get huge, and some make it six months before calling it a day. Fortunately, music lasts forever - especially that moment when you find your new favorite artist. This isn't about hype or best new music or buzzworthy behavior. We once again bring you 100 bands that we've heard this past year where we felt that moment of "Oh man, I don't want to listen to anything but this for days straight." We hope you find something special, just as we did. Enjoy.
- Frank "Grimey" Grimes






Abel - Poughkeepsie, NY
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: It's no secret that AP.net are huge fans of Brand New, As Cities Burn, Manchester Orchestra, and the like. So it shouldn't be a shock to learn that we're quickly falling in love with the Poughkeepsie quartet, Abel. With a handful of releases already under their belt, the band will be releasing their scorching new album Make It Right this fall. It's in-your-face, chaotic, and melodic throughout, as vocalist Kevin Kneifel's frantic yelps are backed by the fire and brimstone of Abel's music. It'll undoubtedly work its way into your daily rotation, just prepare for a total auditory assault.
RIYL: Brand New, Manchester Orchestra, As Cities Burn

(alt-J) - Leeds, England
AP.net Profile | Official Website
Why We Like: "Art-rock" is a term that can be thrown around quite loosely but if there was a staple sound for the term, then alt-J fit the top spot nicely. Sounding like a mix of Wild Beasts with more angular structures and intricate harmonies plus a more electronic and beat driven sound, their debut album An Awesome Wave has been creating a storm in the UK. With appearances at festivals throughout the country and many more to come including tours in North America, the band are quickly becoming the "one to watch" and talk about this Summer. Already on the lists of best albums released this so far amongst many critics, it's time for the band to bloom further.
RIYL: Wild Beasts, Foals, Django Django

Born Without Bones - Milford, MA
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Why We Like: I kept the RIYL to one artist – Foo Fighters. They are the only band that I think truly epitomizes a career modern rock arena band. Born Without Bones revolves around the frontman, Scott Ayotte, and his knack for writing fantastic rock music. Not to mention the charisma he exudes both on stage and through his songs, Born Without Bones could be poised to be bigger than anything we could ever imagine. Ayotte’s ability to transition from straightforward rock n’ roll to stripped down ballads, his talent is only exceeded by his potential. My fingers are crossed that he’ll still be playing twenty years from now.
RIYL: Foo Fighters

Brighter Arrows - Chesterton, IN/Chicago, IL
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Why We Like: It's hard for me to identify trends anymore. I once thought I knew what people wanted but then something like Anger Management scores a billion viewers and I'm like, "just quit." But this sort of jangly, yell-y, mix-matched music made popular by bands like Wavelets and You Blew It! and about a million other weirdly named bands really seems to be taking off. But I suppose that doesn't matter, because I'm selfish and this is my list and a record like Division and What it is to Abide is just so instantly arresting and interesting. This young band dances all over the place with plenty of ADD guitars and affected vocals, but at the heart of an EP like this is just the intense infatuation with turning your thoughts and dreams into something tangible. Brighter Arrows make music that feels instantly ethereal and real-life. It's how we want life to be jammed into how it actually turns out. Great.
RIYL: Dikembe, Wavelets, Old Gray, You Blew It!

Foreign Tongues - New Hampshire / Massachusetts
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Why We Like: We like Foreign Tongues because we like Balance & Composure, and because occasionally we need to yell, not sing, the lyrics to songs. Imagine a slightly more hardcore-influenced, slightly less Nirvana-influenced B&C, with the DIY indie-rock ethic still fully present. The band's self-titled EP is a step in the right direction, and there is an insane amount of talent lying in this five-piece...what they do in the future will be something to monitor.
RIYL: Balance & Composure, Nirvana

Gallows - Watford, England
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Why We Like: Chances are you'll have seen or heard of Gallows before, but not in their current form. The addition of former Alexisonfire man Wade MacNeil has brought a whole new energy to the band whilst maintaining what they do best - being one of the greatest bands in modern punk. Their upcoming self-titled album looks set to showcase the all-new, same old Gallows at their finest; visceral, assertive and intent on kicking the backside of anyone and everyone in their path.
RIYL: The Ghost of a Thousand, Cancer Bats, The Bronx

I The Mighty - San Francisco, CA
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Why We Like: Mass appeal is a tough task these days, yet I The Mighty's ability to channel the best traits of their peers has thrust them into "next big thing" talks. Combining the charm of a Bemis or Fuentes with the technicality of Circa or TREOS, the band has built a sound that has fans running from every scene. If you can find a bad thing about this band, you'll be the first - watch for I The Mighty to take over sooner than later.
RIYL: Circa Survive, Say Anything, Armor For Sleep

Joey Bada$$ - Brooklyn, New York
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Why We Like: Joey Bada$$ has a catchy, old school flavor. He seems to capture the flow of MF Doom and resurrect the spirit of early Wu-Tang days, all to the backdrop of groove beats. Out of all the 90s babies making their b-boy mark (Odd Future, Casey Veggies, A$AP Rocky, and more), he's probably the only one who my 30+ year-old friends can get down with, which is saying a lot. Joey dishes out quite the tongue twisters lyrically; they're springy, and despite him being only 17, they're packed with some old-age realism. Check out his mixtape 1999, and then thank us later.
RIYL: MF Doom, Damu the Fudgemunk, early Nas


King Krule - London, England
AP.net Profile | Official Website
Why We Like: Archy Marshall hasn't even turned 18 yet and he has already created an abundance of fantastic music, most recently releasing his first EP on True Panther Sounds under the name King Krule. Coming from a very musical background, Marshall's influences range from rockabilly to dub and drum 'n' bass to old school hip hop, all elements which he manages to mix into a pot and produce his unique sound. It's not only the music that sets King Krule apart, but also his vocal tone and delivery, sounding like a heavily baritone version of Joe Strummer (The Clash) with the delivery and style of Morrissey. A personal favourite release of mine in 2011, his EP is not to be missed out on.
RIYL: The xx, Gang Colours

Lianne La Havas - London, England
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Why We Like: English folk mixed with jazz and soul and praise from a mixed bag of artists such as Erykah Badu, Prince, Bombay Bicycle Club and Bon Iver and you know this is somebody to pay attention to. With a couple of highly praised EPs under her belt, Lianne La Havas finally released her debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? earlier this year and it is packed full of infectious pop anthems, heartbreaking folk scores and swinging jazz tracks. Her ability to mold these genres into one with great ease is something fresh and perfect for this summer. At the age of 22 there's plenty of room for La Havas to really become one of the big hitters in popular music within a very short space of time.
RIYL: Erykah Badu, Corinne Bailey Rae, neo-soul

Lowtalker - Milwaukee, WI
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Why We Like: Over the past year and a half, No Sleep Records has become one of the premiere indie labels in our scene, signing a variety of different acts to its growing label. One of its most exciting recent signings is the post-hardcore/punk outfit Lowtalker. Taking its name from the classic "Puffy Shirt" episode of Seinfeld, the quartet is offering up a brand of hardcore that'll tickle fans of Living With Lions and Comeback Kid. They'll be releasing their No Sleep debut EP, The Marathon, later in September and it's a doozy. Prepare for sing-along anthems and crunchy breakdowns to worm their way into your brainhole later this fall.
RIYL: Comeback Kid, Living With Lions

Make Do and Mend - Boston, MA
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Why We Like: Every once in a while, we have a band on the ABS100 that simply should have been here the year before. In this case, we might be two years late on the inclusion of Make Do and Mend, who have released one of the best albums of 2012 with Everything You Ever Loved. They're one of the best signings in Rise Records' recent roster overhaul, and are poised to make a true name for themselves in the coming year and a half. If anything in this world is right, these boys will open up for a Foo Fighters world tour in summer 2013.
RIYL: The midpoint between Hot Water Music and Jimmy Eat World, with some Foo Fighters thrown in, but still a very punk sensibility.

Meg Myers - Los Angeles, CA
AP.net Profile | Official Website
Why We Like: Meg Myers is a female vocalist with wit, charm and an air of menace about her. Her recently released (and free) EP, Daughter In The Choir, showcases every tool that she holds with skill in her box of tricks: the dark and brooding anthem of "Monster", the wry and witty "Tennessee" or the angular pop gem of "Poison"...and that's just scratching at the surface. Taking influence and inspiration from great artists new and old from the likes of Dire Straits and The Police to Pinback or Arcade Fire, Meg Myers is an artist to keep an eye and an ear out for without a doubt. We can expect big things in the future.
RIYL: Fiona Apple, Nirvana, Sharon Van Etten

Night Verses - Fullerton, CA & Long Island, NY
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Why We Like: In a world where musicians shove themselves down your throat, Night Verses are playing it slow to great success. With a free EP and a handful of shows under their belt, the band has already made a name for themselves as one of the latest and greatest. Each member of the band is more talented than the last, giving Night Verses every tool needed to be a big name by next year.
RIYL: Heavier versions of The Sleeping, Circa Survive, The Receiving End Of Sirens

NGHBRS - Long Island, NY
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Why We Like: If Gatsby's and Envy On The Coast merged into a bar band, you'd get NGHBRS. Something about their attention to groove and solid rock 'n roll vibe just sounds perfect for a night of friends and beer. Every track on Hellomind is entertaining as could be, and their recent singles have shown that the train ain't stoppin' anytime soon.
RIYL: Gatsby's American Dream, Envy On The Coast, Japandroids

Old Wounds - New Jersey
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Why We Like: We've all heard the Converge clones, but there's just something about Old Wounds' skincrawling brand of metallic hardcore that is intrinsically carnal. It's thus no surprise how the subject matter of their lyrics is heavily influenced by pessimistic wordsmiths Wes Eisold and Chris Colohan. And, ever since their black-and-white thriller video "The Watcher" hit our site, we've been keeping our own watchful eye on them. The track below, though released last year, should motivate you enough to cop their latest offering, II.
RIYL: Cursed, Spitfire, Converge, crust and sludge

Pity Sex - Ann Arbor, MI.
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Why We Like: The first lyric of Pity Sex's EP is, "How did I get so depressed?" And ok, sure, that's not an amazing way to start this. All bands are depressed in one way or another, even when they're happy. Nobody likes music without drama or contrast. That's fine. But Pity Sex do this sort of i-hate-me jangly rock music in a way that is very intuitive. And they have a lady. Which is always great. More ladies, I say. They aren't afraid to get grungy and static-drenched and loud. They are basically afraid of nothing, which is something too few bands make their MO. It's nice to hear a young group who are just making music that they want to hear in the hopes that other people want to hear it too. So forget about all the weird cliches that Pity Sex represent and just latch onto the fact that they are young, smarter than you expect and punk-rock lovers at heart.
RIYL: Brave Bird, My Bloody Valentine + Weezer, Anne

Silver Snakes - Los Angeles, CA
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Why We Like: As the recent ascent of hardcore continues, it was only natural for other styles to blend in for a new take. Silver Snakes shows all the qualities you love from the popular No Sleep bands while adding doses of raw 90's and big hooks. From start to finish, Pictures Of A Floating World shows a controlled aggression that bursts forth at all the right times.
RIYL: Engine Down, The Felix Culpa, At The Drive-In

Tharsis They - Detroit, MI
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Why We Like: Aggression is easily created in music. It is not so easy to replicate that feeling in the listener when listening to your music. Tharsis They incites a fire inside that suggests they write music well beyond their years and time together. The Detroit-based quartet’s debut Ominous Silence is a 13-track barnburner that not only suggests they can craft powerful tracks, but that they have a promising future ahead of them as well.
RIYL: Converge, Trap Them, Botch

The American Scene - Berkeley, CA
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Why We Like: The first time I was handed By Way Of Introduction…I thought it was a very good EP. It was an EP from a band still trying to finds its identity. Then the California based band released a split with Daybreaker and everything changed. Now The American Scene was a band on a mission to shake the indie rock scene to its core. While maintaining its punk roots, the band had taken a more indie rock sound. Now with its debut full length on the way, The American Scene is the band to watch the latter of 2012 into 2013.
RIYL: Daybreaker, Manchester Orchestra, Brand New

The Tower and The Fool - Providence, RI
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Why We Like: Combing from the likes of Ryan Adams, Wilco, and a delicate balance between indie rock and the blues, The Tower and The Fool's debut album, How Long, may be one of the most brutally honest albums you'll hear in all of 2012. Alex Correia and Chris Rosenquest share a distinct chemistry between the contrast of their wine and vinegar vocals. Emotionally heavy and complex with its fusion of Americana and modern indie rock, The Tower and The Fool has created an album that will stay with you through thick and thin.
RIYL: Ryan Adams, Wilco, Tom Petty

The Xcerts - Aberdeen, Scotland
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Why We Like: This band have supported Brand New, Taking Back Sunday and Manchester Orchestra. Now I've got your attention, let's talk about why they're really brilliant. Combining pounding drums, a searing Scottish brogue and more than a smattering of hooks, their breed of clever noise-pop is an enthralling, cataclysmic listen. 2010's Scatterbrain was a disorientating triumph of a record and with a new album likely to be on the way soon, 2013 looks very bright for these guys.
RIYL: Yuck, Nirvana, Brand New

With the Punches - Newburgh, NY
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Why We Like: Hey, double-time pop-punk still has its place in the summer months, and nothing spells summer like the heat we've been having across the country this year. Perhaps With The Punches' fault is being a bit generic, but that's never been something to stop hoards of young adults from flocking to stage-dive-centric locations. Their Seams and Stitches LP is their most recent release, and if they can keep evolving, they should be a force on Doghouse Records in no time.
RIYL: New Found Glory's self-titled, Fireworks' We Are Everywhere EP

You Blew It! - Orlando, FL
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Why We Like: You Blew It! does a fantastic job of bringing back memories without sounding contrived or a carbon copy of the past. While they come from the school of Owen and The Get Up Kids, these Floridians also unleash an aggressiveness that's also heard in bands like The Wonder Years and Into It. Over it. What makes the Florida quartet so endearing is just how real they are. There's nothing fake or insincere with them or this record, as it contains that DIY charm. The raw imperfection – the rough guitar chords, the casual off note – gives the record's twelve tracks a devil-may-care attitude that is at once relatable. They're equal parts calm and chaotic, as You Blew It! is certain to bring back memories as well as create them.
RIYL: The Get Up Kids, Owen, American Football

Young Statues – Philadelphia/South Jersey
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Why We Like: One of the most talented indie-pop bands around right now, Young Statues is prime for the bright lights. The group’s self-titled debut on Run For Cover received overwhelmingly positive reviews. Crafting infectious upbeat pop numbers while tilting on the line of the Pitchfork crowd, Carmen Cirignano and company have the unique ability to draw in a large range of fans. With a strong group of people backing the band, the sky is the limit for Young Statues.
RIYL: The Early November, Death Cab For Cutie
 
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Adam Pfleider
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2:54 - London, England
AP.net Profile | Official Website
Why We Like: Managing to toe the line between minimal and noise beautifully, London based 2:54 are like the love child of the great shoegaze acts of decades past with the pop-rock sensibilities of The Joy Formidable mixed with Garbage. Full of intensity and drenched in a brooding cloak, their debut self-titled album is perfect for the summer nights that we have left. Moody yet beautiful.
RIYL: DIIV, The Joy Formidable, Lemonade

Bastions - Anglesey, Wales
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Why We Like: With a Frank Carter (ex-Gallows) feature in the track "The Length (When Wants Become Needs)", it seems that Bastions have already gotten off on the right start. It's the shrill and gruff guitar tones accompanied with collective bloodthirst from the rest of the pack which creates their distinctive hardcore punk sound. Wale's Bastions are just brooding enough to be mystically entrancing, and spazzy enough to be highly entertaining. We think you'll feel the same way.
RIYL: Narrows, Trap Them, Refused

Blacklisters - Leeds, England
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Why We Like: Probably the filthiest band in this year's Absolute 100, England's Blacklisters bring their immeasurably fun sludge-rock to our otherwise sparkling clean list. Recent album BLKLSTRS made a mark with its biting riffs, bone-shaking grooves and sheer unpredictability. With a disjointed, confusing, almost off-the-cuff live show also in their armoury, one thing is clear - we love Blacklisters' brand of (barely) organised chaos.
RIYL: The Jesus Lizard, Kong, Turbowolf, Pulled Apart By Horses

Cancer Bats - Toronto, Canada
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Why We Like:Hardcore punkers Cancer Bats are unique for one reason and one reason only. Bat Sabbath, their Ozzy-inspired split personality that pays tribute to metal legends Black Sabbath. Alright, there are more reasons. Dead Set on Living, Cancer Bats' latest release, is probably their most consistent headbanging effort to date. Frontman Liam Cormier makes it known that he and the gang have firestarter tendencies, spewing everything from devilish oaths to anthemic hooks.
RIYL: Every Time I Die, a hint of Gallows, southern rock

Coasta - NJ
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Why We Like: I mean, I wrote a review for this band that did an OK job of talking about why a group like this are unremarkable despite the remarkable fact that one member is Jesse Lacey's brother. And as much as it pains me to mention that completely stupid point, this is an article that's one purpose is making you check bands out. So if that makes you interested, fine. But really, Coasta would be fantastic even if their only claim to fame was, say, a background role on Man Vs. Food. Or whatever. This band makes loud, intense music that is still fine for a weird summer evening; much like the one I'm having right now. It's As Tall As Lions meets Moving Mountains, which might be setting me up for failure, but their self-titled EP is a head-scratcher in the best ways. You'll find yourself grooving to "Michael Traction" and calling ex-lovers to "Sunzal." So just enjoy this for the great, anthemic music that it is. Please.
RIYL: As Tall As Lions, Moving Mountains, Brand New, Anything

Dikembe - Gainesville, FL
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Why We Like: The movement of this twinkle daddy stuff (I still hate that name) has been especially interesting living in Gainesville. For some reason, it seems to be pretty heavy in central/north Florida, and Dikembe is by far my personal favorite band out of this wave. Less twinkly than most, with a more driven emo-indie sound, the band's Broad Shoulders LP is a riveting listen. The production value is light, but that's just how this music should sound. It's a logical progression from the brilliant Chicago Bowls EP, and it should help Dikembe become one of the most recognizable names in this community within the next calendar year.
RIYL: You Blew It!, Algernon Cadwallader, Little League

Gameday Regulars - The Bronx, NY
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Why We Like: Hot Water Music worship isn't something that's hard to come by, but it's something that's hard to execute correctly. More on that point, it's hard to keep us interested when we've heard it before. On the ...But It's Hell In the Hallway EP, Gameday Regulars both executes the style well and makes it fun to listen to. With a rumored new EP in the works for a fall or winter release, it's just a waiting game until the band comes out with an LP, which will define their success. In the meantime, I'll belt out the chorus to "Pale Reflections" over and over.
RIYL: Hot Water Music, duh

Happy Body Slow Brain - San Jose, CA
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Why We Like: Blending prog rock with R&B, 80's synths, big riffs and a laundry list of left field influences gives Happy Body Slow Brain the ability to soundtrack any and every mood. Their debut Dreams of Water knows exactly when go soft with ambient keys or heavy with chunky guitars, showing dynamics most bands could never fathom. What completes the package is the balance between the music's complexities and Matt Fazzi's soothing vocals, making HBSB accessible to fans of multiple genres.
RIYL: Rx Bandits, As Tall As Lions, HRVRD

Heart To Heart – Pismo Beach, CA
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Why We Like: Although Heart To Heart’s discography is short, the band is charged and ready to take on the post-hardcore scene. The band’s upcoming album draws influence from Brand New, Make Do and Mend, and more that will play to the band’s strengths. Frontman Nick Zoppo uses his vocal talents to the best of his abilities, using his powerful screams to propel the band’s driving sound. Look for the band’s debut full-length on Anchor 84 Records to turn a lot of heads this fall.
RIYL: Brand New, Title Fight, Make Do and Mend

Jr. Juggernaut - Los Angeles, CA
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Why We Like: Some of us just enjoy this brand of '90s-alt-rock-worship more than others, but if you have enjoyed any of the previous three Cheap Girls LPs, Jr. Juggernaut will be your new obsessions. It's a better-produced, more rocking version of Cheap Girls with better guitar prowess, and the vocals are instantly nostalgic even though you might not know exactly what you're remembering. It just sounds like something you're going to want to listen to for years to come.
RIYL: Cheap Girls, Superchunk, Pavement, '90s alt-rock, just listen to the song below

July – Toronto, Canada
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Why We Like: I first met July on Warped Tour 2011 in Canada when the members were handing out the group’s debut EP in line. With all of the CDs you get on Warped Tour, how it made its way into the van’s CD player is beyond me. However, mere seconds into the EP I was hooked. Self-produced and recorded in the drummer’s basement, it hit me perfectly. Aggression yet refined, catchy yet still edgy. With a new singer and brand new EP, July is looking to cross the border and earn a fanbase in the US.
RIYL: Hit The Lights, All Time Low

Koji - Harrisburg, PA
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Why We Like: Of all the things you could say about one Andrew Koji Shiraki, better known simply as Koji, it would be that in all of his days you will probably be hard pressed to find someone as honest and earnest in the music business. Aside from that, the man is a great songwriter, fueled by a passion for others and the community he is a part of. Whether it is the stripped down acoustic work of Spring Song Vol. 1 or the full-band jams of his split with Into It. Over It., Koji arguably has something for everyone.
RIYL: Ted Leo, Kevin Devine, Chris Carabba

Landscapes - Somerset, England
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Why We Like: Like hardcore? Hate nonsense? You'll love Landscapes. This south England mob's new album Life Gone Wrong showcased everything that is right about their no-frills approach. Uncomplicated and more importantly uncomprimising, they've stripped back everything superfluous and produced a vicious, life-affirming record. It's no holds barred, there are no pulled punches and it's pure hardcore brilliance.
RIYL: Bastions, Trap Them

Logic - Baltimore, MD
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Why We Like: A young rapper from the DMV area (native turf to Wale, Fatrel, and more), he released his Young Sinatra mixtape in late 2011 to instant critical acclaim. While many say his rhyming style is comparable to J. Cole and Drake, he's mostly identifiable by his Sinatra/RattPack/Bobby Soxer schtick, memorable beats, quick delivery and, whether he prefers it, his mixed race identity that he occasionally battles with in prose. It doesn't hurt that his producer uses Paramore's "Decode" for the track below, either.
RIYL: J-Cole, Lupe Fiasco, Drake

Loma Prieta - San Francisco, CA
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Why We Like: After being a bit on the fence with this band prior to seeing them live with Converge, it would be easy enough to say that Loma Prieta is quickly rising up the ranks amongst their peers. Abrasive yet melodic, fiery yet smart, the band’s technical, off-the-tracks style of post-hardcore seeps complete and utter anguish in their latest effort I.V. Even if you’re just getting acquainted with the band, this album is the perfect introduction to a rather impressive catalog.
RIYL: Orchid, Converge, Amphere

Misser - Boston, MA / Walnut Creek, CA
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Why We Like: Misser are two dudes from two other bands: Transit and This Time Next Year. But calling this a side-project or part-time gig feels like a half-truth. Their debut album, Every Day I Tell Myself I'm Going To Be A Better Person, is a biting and utterly catchy look at life in your mid-20's. It's one of those classic searches for the meaning of whatever it is we need to find meaning in. And it's all played out with scratchy vocals and guitar riffs that are as big as they are working-class. This is one of those albums that is sure to be a turning point for younger aspiring musicians; one that makes some weird, sad kid stuck in his bedroom take action. It's a start for this young band, but also a start for a certain vein of intelligent, inspirational punk rock.
RIYL: Transit, This Time Next Year, Daytrader

Obi Fernandez - New Jersey
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Why We Like: The former frontman for Westbound Train, Obi Fernandez has already made a bit of a name for himself - but his best work is coming out now in his first solo album, Confessions, Waves, and The Garden State. His pipes are great, so imagine a Jason Mraz single that's a little slowed down and complemented by some reggae influences. The album will surprise those who have the patience to get through it - it's a slow, relaxed listen.
RIYL: Jason Mraz with reggae

Options - Chicago, IL
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Why We Like: Options is really just Seth Engel. And it's one of those partly acoustic, partly fantastic bands that fans of Owen or Into It. Over It will just absolutely fawn over. His recent EP, I'm Only Gonna Be Here Now, is a soothing, deep statement. It's not as whiny as you're thinking, but it's just as smart. What Engel does well, and does better, than lots of people is take his viewpoints and make them memorable. We all have opinions and thoughts and whatever, and most of them, as I paraphrase David Sedaris here, are the same. We are all pretty much the same. And that's sad. But Options make me feel like even though we are kinda thinking the same thing all the time, we can at least express it in new and interesting ways.
RIYL: Owen, Into It. Over It. Penpal, Little Kingdoms

Periphery - Bethesda, MD
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Why We Like: Everyone loved djent. At least for a minute. Now everyone seems to detest it. It happens. Periphery might not wear their djented heart on their sleeve anymore, but their evolution into something more has come to fruition with Periphery II. Heavily steeped in progressive rock while still keeping a foot in both metal’s doors, the band has arguably never sounded better, putting out one of the best albums of its kind in 2012.
RIYL: Dream Theater, Final Fantasy Soundtracks, Protest the Hero

Stars In Stereo – Los Angeles, CA
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Why We Like: Just because a band has a female lead singer it does NOT make them Paramore or should warrant any comparisons to them. Stars In Stereo brings a darker and heavier sound with a more mature touch in the group’s writing than is found among newer bands now. With the opportunity to work with some incredible and renowned producers and songwriters, Stars In Stereo is prepping to release the band’s debut full length this fall. It shouldn’t be long before we hear Stars In Stereo on modern rock radio.
RIYL: The Used, Flyleaf

Suis La Lune - Stockholm/Gothenburg, Sweden
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Why We Like: I don’t believe that Suis La Lune will bring Sweden as much fame as say, Nicklas Lidstrom or IKEA. But in all rights, they really ought to. The band’s twist on good old screamo, albeit with a slower, much more melodic vein to tap, is both forward-thinking and refreshing. In a genre with so many attempting to create emotions, Suis La Lune channel their own into something that is truly memorable with their newest LP Riala.
RIYL: Pianos Become the Teeth, This Town Needs Guns

Tallhart - Tampa, FL
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Why We Like: After just one listen to Tallhart's latest EP Bloodlines, you may be somewhat surprised that Tallhart isn't on Favorite Gentleman's roster, given the similarities to Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra. Rather, they are the torch carrier for Max Bemis' new imprint label, Rory Records. Throughout the EP are fantastic indie flourishes, such as the rich instrumentation on opener “Fever (Sister of Mine)” finishes with dizzying guitar leads, while “Wolves” folky demeanor is crafted towards perfection. These Floridians also know how to write potential hits, as the jaunty “Drunk Kids” carries out the EP's most infectious chorus – a chorus I envision being the background of the next “hip” commercial. Expect Tallhart to gain even more fans this fall when they head out on a national tour with Say Anything.
RIYL: Kevin Devine, Say Anything

The Composure – Pittsburgh, PA
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Why We Like: When you get the chance to open up for The Boss, (And for you young’uns out there, that’s Bruce Springsteen) you’re doing something right. Coming from the rich Pittsburgh music scene, these veterans, comprised of members of act like Punchline and The I Drive, bring the perfect combination of gritty rock with a more polished edge. With more than just a four chord rock sound, the band throws in complex parts that aren’t found in a lot of modern bands considering the group only has a full length and EP under the act’s belt. With unlimited potential and talent, only time will tell if the band will soon be selling out large venues.
RIYL: Punchline, newer Weezer

The People, The Poet - Cardiff, Wales
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Why We Like: These Welsh upstarts featured in Absolute 100 2010 under the guise of Tiger Please. Now they're a little older, a little wiser and in a band called The People, The Poet. Although everything's a bit more softly softly nowadays, they still swing from thunderous to delicate at the drop of a hat and in frontman Leon Stanford possess one of the most distinctive, powerful voices in modern rock music. With all of that in their armoury plus an uncanny knack for storytelling akin to their all-American contemporaries The Gaslight Anthem, these guys look to be on the verge of something spectacular.
RIYL: People In Planes, The Gaslight Anthem, Tiger Please

The Stellar Life – NJ/NY
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Why We Like: It takes a whole lot to convince Richard and Stefanie Reines to slap a Drive Thru Records logo on your album. But to do it in 2012? That’s even tougher. These young guns are coming to us with a pop-punk sound that sits more on the pop side of music, preferring to write songs with catchier choruses and bigger hooks rather than relying on a breakneck speed and heavier guitar riffs. The Stellar Life’s debut EP Motherf*ckers is only a glimpse of what to expect from this young group.
RIYL: All Time Low, The Summer Set
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Alta - Milwaukee, WI
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Why We Like: Brash and fearless. I saw Alta light up a living room just a few weeks ago and it brought me back to being a young kid with no aspirations besides doing something that seems special to you at the time. With their new EP, Places, Alta are quickly making a name for themselves in the underground combining siren like tone and intense vocals to create a mood of heighten awareness with each listen. Alta is another call of the "new beat" I so often seek.
RIYL: Kidcrash, Native
Winter/Mute


Canyons - Kansas City, MO
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Why We Like: Sometimes compression doesn't have to be a band thing. Canyons sounds like someone is just unloading fax machines in a wood chipper over the distress of loss. There's calculated anger matched against much warranted fury. There's a ball of anguish rolled up in a lot of bands fists at the moment, and Canyons is poised to be a leader in that. They just released their whole discography for free online, which must mean they're giving away the past to pave way for an even stronger future.
RIYL: Former Thieves, Breather Resist, Converge
Small Sprite, No Ice


Chelsea Wolfe - Los Angeles, CA
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Why We Like: Vibrant and silencing. When Chelsea Wolfe takes the stage, her presence casts an eerie, intoxicating touch to the room that's a mix of intrigue, slight fear and nirvana in the most potent of ways. Wolfe's ability to use her voice as an instrument, layering one melody over the other is breathtaking. On Ἀποκάλυψις, she makes a bold statement burned in the back of your senses as an inescapable awareness that mixes Kid A's textures with Tidal's attitude.
RIYL: St. Vincent, tUnE-yArDs, Fiona Apple
Movie Screen


Citizen - MI and OH
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Why We Like: Citizen is my favorite “young” band. I think they’re next. They recently signed to Run For Cover Records and put out a split with Turnover, and it’s great. Within the next six or eight months they’ll be recording a debut LP with Will Yip (Title Fight, Circa Survive), and I’m sure it’s going to be great. Between upcoming tours with Mixtapes/Aficionado and the push that Run For Cover will be giving them, Citizen is a band to look out for.
RIYL: Balance & Composure, Title Fight
Detached


Culprit - Los Angeles, CA
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Why We Like: When it comes to Warped-type bands, you either subscribe to technicality (see: Thrice, Circa Survive), accessibility (Envy On The Coast and Pierce The Veil come to mind), or screamers running around like their heads are cut off. Culprit thankfully ignores the third option, choosing to weld solid hooks into aggressive sounds with ambient qualities. Top it off with all the right influences and you've got swelling potential for a new favorite.
RIYL: Circa Survive, Pierce The Veil, Moving Mountains
Knock On The Sky


Cut Teeth - Chicago, IL
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Why We Like: Attitude and swagger. Few bands pull it off clean without sounding cheap overly ambitious. With Cut Teeth's debut, their confidence and appeal hits the mark before you're even through with the first track. There's a resurgence of early to mid-'90s grunge as of late, but Cut Teeth seem more focused on its heavier, more blunt late-'90s younger brother, taking cues from Jade Tree and Kill Rock Stars best-of catalog.
RIYL: Sparta, Q and Not U, Against Me!
Desert Vines


Duck. Little Brother, Duck! - Portland, OR
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Why We Like: This is the first band in awhile that I've heard where it didn't sound like they were part of any specific scene. It sounds like DLBD are pulling from so many influences, it's making a pretty special statement. Quick driving, noodling guitars mixed with gang vocals to form a robust atmosphere, the band have crafted an exciting new full-length. Interesting. It's a word I rarely use lately, but the first word that came to mind when hearing the band for the first time.
RIYL: The World is a Beautiful Place, Tera Melos
Calvin Young


Fell to Low - CA
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Why We Like: The band seems fresh in the way they vary their style when moving not only from song to song, but in between the phrases as well. They can be as brash as any hardcore act, or as moving as an post-rock behemoth. It's all exciting and gripping throughout. Through each consecutive album, Fell to Low has grown stronger and angrier. Here's to their next release being the most intense yet.
RIYL: Rorschach, Pelican, Cave In
Sartoris


Full of Hell - Ocean City, MD
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Why We Like: Violent noise from the Midwest. It's not exactly the powerviolence of Deklab, but it's scary. The band combine quick hardcore spurts with menacing slowed tempos and wash it out with just controlled feedback and noise. Sweet, heart-pounding noise. There's an evilness that runs through Full of Hell's small, but powerful catalog thus far. Give these guys a few more years, and who knows what kind of menacing machine they can turn into. I personally cannot wait.
RIYL: Majority Rule, Capsule, Code Orange Kids
Fox Womb


Indian Handcrafts - South Simcoe
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Why We Like: I love riffs. I love heavy, thick as paint riffs. Indian Handcrafts deliver. What separates them for the other "duo" bands out there? Confidence. There's no slop effect or accidental cover up. Each drum fill and guitar lick is executed with precision and perfect mold. Add that to the tone of street tavern blues amped up into Hydra Head worship and you might be wondering why this Canadian duo isn't headlining as many festivals as they should have this year.
RIYL: White Stripes, No Age, Red Fang
Starcraft


Jowls - Grand Rapids, MI
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Why We Like: Crushing and loud. In fact, I feel like Jowls' only purpose is to be loud. With their debut EP, Cursed, the three piece can blowout the front windows in any small DIY space. There's also a rawness, like bone scratching against bone that churns out each track, toppling your senses with each stroke of the guitar, pick of the bass and blast of the bass drum.
RIYL: Unwound, Cloud Mouth, Victor! Fix the Sun
Shamewalker


Late in the Playoffs - Chicago, IL
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Why We Like: The Drive-Thru era may be over, but the resonating sound pioneered by bands like the Starting Line is far from dissipated. Late in The Playoffs have the same charm and pop influenced rock sound as many will find on their debut EP Everything I Know.
RIYL: The Early November, Cartel, New Found Glory
The Wayside


Mansions - Seattle, WA
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Why We Like: I’ve been paying attention to Mansions since he released his debut LP via Doghouse Records several years ago. The only way to describe it was emo-acoustic-rock-y, and it was great. But Mansions’ release of Dig Up The Dead showed just how great the band is, and how great their future material can be. The band is currently demoing material for their next record and are touring this fall with Taking Back Sunday, so please check out this band if you need new music or are having a sad day. They’ll make you more sad, in a great way.
RIYL: Kevin Devine, The Early November
Dig Up the Dead


Marriages - Los Angeles, CA
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Why We Like: Powerful shoegaze flows through the side project of three parts of Red Sparowes. The music is coldly calculated, yet played out in a natural build that just layers one tone over the other to create an ever evolving painting. The band's focus on tone is key. While their debut flows in one well sewn together blanket, each patch and stitching is unique. As much as I enjoy Red Sparowes' work, I hope this isn't a one-off deal.
RIYL: Warpaint, Red Sparowes, Russian Circles
Ten Tiny Fingers


My Mouth Is The Speaker - Kent/Akron, OH
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Why We Like: Adding new flavors to established genres is what keeps the tastes going. Pop/punk needs it more than anyone - good thing My Mouth Is The Speaker is around to throw some prog stylings in with unique song structuring. Great storytelling from songwriter Danny Palmentera only adds to a bright package, making the band appeal to a wide range of should-be fans.
RIYL: Into It. Over It, Say Anything, Person L
Give Us A Sign


Pentimento - Buffalo, NY
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Why We Like: The Northeast kicks out some good gritty-rock/punk-rock music, and Pentimento are definitely the next band to look out for from that area, even if they like Carly Rae Jepsen too much. Their two recent EPs have shown great potential, but we’ve been lucky enough to hear their upcoming full-length, and it’s diverse in great ways that many fans will not have thought was imaginable for Pentimento. Definitely check these guys out if you like the harder spectrum of the scene.
RIYL: Make Do And Mend, Polar Bear Club
Everything's Eventual


Sohns - San Antonio, TX
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Why We Like: I've been able to watch this band grow over the last few years that I've lived in Texas. With the release of their new 7", Ripe/Rot, and the direction and tone (and I don't use that word loosely) the band have taken their music into has been a remarkable growth to hear. I grew up on noise and records that I thought would level whole cities. Sohns has restored my faith in that notion again. It's sad to see so many metalcore acts continue to churn-n-chug out when bands like this exist.
RIYL: Some Girls, Blood Brothers, Jesus Lizard
Soul Salvation


Terrible Feelings - Malmö, Sweden
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Why We Like: Though their full length debut, Shadows, came out in April, Terrible Feelings are much more suited for the fall and winter months. Treading a fine line between punk, goth and surf rock the band knows how to showcase each member's talent without ever relying on an individual. Yes, singer Manuela Iwansson can wail bleak lyrics with a gut wrenching passion but before your mind focuses wholly on that guitarist Anton Collinder takes you in an entirely different direction with a surf rock guitar solo. Somehow it all times together in an image of a desperate future that is, surprisingly, quite danceable.
RIYL: Wipers, The Hellacopters, Murder City Devils
Lady Luck


The Hotel Year - Dudley, MA
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Why We Like: Pop Punk isn't dead, it's perfected. That is what The Hotel Year have been demonstrating time and time again. Their latest EP, It Never Goes Out demonstrates a wide range of instrumental ability and purely youthful lyrics penned with experience. This is a must-know band for any pop punker.
RIYL: The Wonder Years, The Story So Far, A Loss For Words
Vacancy


Thieves- Austin, TX
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Why We Like: The pop-punk genre is flooded with much of the same, so hearing a band that likes to do something different is refreshing. For Thieves, that something different is a lot of time changes and more technical musicianship than we're used to hearing. On Achiever, an album that centers around the trials of being forced to grow up but wanting to do what you live, the band combines the passion of the pop-punk of yesteryear with an endearing and identifiable concept.
RIYL: Fall Out Boy, Relient K, New Found Glory, Rufio, Moneen
Quarter Life Crisis


Troubled Coast - East Bay, CA
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Why We Like: Pure Noise is known for their pop-punk bands like The Story So Far and Forever Came Calling, but Troubled Coast have been the main band on that label as of late that have been drawing my attention. In early 2012, the band released an EP that was a giant leap from their past material. If you’re a fan of “the wave” bands, Troubled Coast is certainly one to check out. They’ll be releasing a new LP sometime soon that was recorded with Sam Pura at The Panda Studios, so get into this band early.
RIYL: La Dispute, Touché Amoré
Amends


Turnover - Virginia Beach, VA
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Why We Like: With members just fresh out of high school, Turnover had been one of indie/pop punk's best kept secrets. That all changed last year, when their self-titled EP witnessed critical acclaim. Turnover's blend of lyrical hooks and youthful sincerity have allowed them to travel the road with the likes of Young Statues, Citizen, and Title Fight, and gain well-deserved respect for being teenage talents. If a recent signing to Run For Cover Records is any indication, Turnover is guaranteed to be your new favorite band within the alt-indie punk scene.
RIYL: Transit, Title Fight, Jimmy Eat World
No Sun


Verse - Providence, RI
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Why We Like: Aggression never felt like it should have been a swan song, and with their new album Bitter Clarity, Uncommon Grace, Verse has risen from the depths of a hardcore graveyard of sorts. Never truly conventional, the band continues to push the boundaries of hardcore, and their own as well, crafting an emotional, yet aggressive album that begs you to soak in its every passing moment.
RIYL: Have Heart
The End of All Light


Willis Earl Beal - Chicago, IL
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Why We Like: Willis Earl Beal oozes soul, whether that's a product of his life in the Army, to living on the streets and to finally making a name for himself or something inherent within him is hard to say, but what we do know is that it enables him to write and perform some of the most honest and pure soul music around today. There's a brutal rawness to his voice much like you would hear in the like of Bobby Womack but mixed with the lo-fi recording aesthetic not dissimilar to Daniel Johnston's tapes and you really have something special. Check out his debut album Acousmatic Sorcery now on Hot Charity/XL Recordings.
RIYL: Bobby Womack, Daniel Johnston, soul
Take Me Away


Young Colossus - London, England
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Why We Like: It's very rare that such a unique treat comes along like Young Colossus. A story and a soundtrack written by Orlando Weeks (The Maccabees), produced by Nic Nell (Casually Here) with the help on the performance side by Alessi Laurent-Marke (Alessi's Ark) and then all put into a beautiful and illustrative picture book format by artist Rob Hunter. The idea is to read the picture story as you listen to the corresponding tracks for each section, allowing for you to be fully immersed in the wonderful world. The use of harmonies, the mix of acoustic guitars and electrical backdrops and vocal modulations create an incredible landscape as you read along. Looking to re-release this very limited idea soon and hopefully start to perform live too, it's a diamond of a project that you should be a part of too.
RIYL: The Maccabees, Grizzly Bear, Animal Collective
Franky
09:43 AM on 08/07/12
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Adventures - Pittsburgh, PA
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Why We Like: Yes, this is the same young kids that make up the powerhouse that is Code Orange Kids. A complete homage to '90s heart-on-the-sleeve indie rock we know as "emo," the band's debut 7" is a well fabricated blanket of harmonies and heartbreak worthy of anyone's sweater and Hemingway collection. There's no telling if Adventures will be a one-off, but here's to knowing how strong a couple of musicians can be both destructive in one sense, and pulling at your heart strings in another.
RIYL: Boy's Life, Braid, Christie Front Drive
Reach Out to You


And So I Watch You From Afar - Belfast, Ireland
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Why We Like: There's a force of strength that runs through the dynamics of Ireland's bold instrumental powerhouse. It's untouched by many back here in the states, and heralded even more back home in the East. The band also has a soft spot, and it's that range of musicianship that empowers the stage with every live show. The band's recorded tracks are finely wound spurts of heat and energy, and when you see it performed live - you're standing as close to the open fire as possible - a warm reminder that rock and roll isn't just America's covet.
RIYL: Don Caballero, Death From Above 1979
BEAUTIFULUNIVERSEMASTERCHAMPION


Balance and Composure - Doylestown PA
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Why We Like:
The eastern Pennsylvania music scene has been blowing up in the past year or so, with well-known bands like Title Fight and Tigers
Jaw, Balance and Composure fit right into the equation. Hailing from Doylestown PA, the group gained notoriety for a split partnered with Scranton’s own Tigers Jaw. Gearing up for a tour this coming fall with Circa Survive, O Brother, and Touché Amore, these guys won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
RIYL: Christie Front Drive, Brand New, Manchester Orchestra
Kaleidoscope


Camden – Boston, MA
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Why We Like: They’re raunchy and cocky and sexy and their music fully justifies their confidence. Despite their Boston base, Camden reek of California with retro surf guitar riffs played out with precision and intensity but an attitude of nonchalance. It’s their classic approach to rock ‘n’ roll and some bravery in production that gets people over their own self-consciousness and up dancing at a show. After a few EPs Camden have been teasing the self-release of their first full length; it’s anyone’s guess whether it’ll lean towards the vintage rock or experimental indie direction, but hopes are high the attitude sticks around.
RIYL: The Strokes, Tokyo Police Club, Stereophonics
Mustangs


Daylight - Perkasie PA
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Why We Like: Formed in 2008, Daylight brings an assorted mix of gritty vocals combined with riffs in lieu of 90s alternative rock. The group released their debut 5-song EP Sinking in 2009 and have since joined the Run for Cover Records family. Their most recent release The Difference in Good and Bad Dreams has received very positive reviews followed by non-stop touring and an ever-growing fan base.
RIYL: Small Brown Bike, Failure, Polar Bear Club
Youth No More


Diamond Youth – Baltimore, MD
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Why We Like: While these guys are spread out across Baltimore, Chicago and Richmond, forced to stitch together their last two EPs through Garage Band and iChat, the physical separation seems to have benefited Diamond Youth in establishing their sound from the start. Each of the four members’ tastes are clearly distinguished on their last release “Don’t Lose You Cool,” where tracks full of familiar‘90s guitar riff flash backs are made new again by impeccable vocals and thick bass lines – classic, with a bit of moxy. With their first full-length on the way, they’re already in good company through their recent joining of the Topshelf Records family and a tour with Young Statues and Misser this fall.
RIYL: Foo Fighters, Head Automatica, Weezer
The Feeling


Don Broco - Bedford, North London
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Why We Like: 2011 was a rather explosive year of exposure for the band, but 2012 has been an even bigger year for Don Broco, as they've been support on tour to bands such as Four Year Strong and The Used, as well as a return to the massive Reading and Leeds festivals. The band has just released their debut album, Priorities, to a decent amount of success in the United Kingdom, charting at #25 in the first week. Don't sleep on this band, as their catchy brand of rock will arguably be the talk of the town for the rest of 2012 and onto the new year.
RIYL: Deaf Havana, Futures, Lower Than Atlantis
Priorities


From Indian Lakes - Yosemite Valley, CA
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Why We Like: It's not every day that you come across a band like From Indian Lakes. The quintet balance the the intricacy of their musicianship while channeling pure chaos to create a sound that goes unmatched. Their new album, Able Bodies is a record that bands twice or three times their age wish they could create.
RIYL: As Cities Burn, Local Natives, Brand New
Breaking My Bones


Gnarwolves - Brighton, UK
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Why We Like: When you take the threadbare image of some dude's boardsliding with a pizza slice in one hand and a beer can in the other like the anthropological answer to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a Vans commercial, then marry it with ear-worm melodies, fierce, raspy riffs and considered lyrics, the result is a flawless and relentlessly energetic set of dirty pop-punk tracks that will encourage you reflect on your life a little bit before deciding "fuck it" and fist-pumping. Gnarwolves is a decidedly British take on bands like Title Fight and Transit, standing as proof, where it need be, that good UK pop-punk is still a thing. Get stoked on it.
RIYL: Latterman, Spraynard, Joyce Manor.
History is Bunk


Harrison Hudson - Nashville, TN
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Why We Like: Harrison Hudson were on the Favorite Gentlemen Tour, so that should tell you they are great. But they are also the most interesting band on that tour (despite my unabashed All Get Out love). They play a retro-fied, smooth-feelin' form of rock that matches the singer's 50's bifocals. With song titles like "Bookstore Girl", "Cherish the One You Got," and "Turn it Up or Turn It Off," this is a rock band in the most sincere and traditional sense of the word. Their songs play more like stories told over a record store counter than in the dark corner of a bedroom. It's not overly intellectual, but that's the charm. It says what we've all said, except with better melody. Approachable and fun, loud and memorable, this one doesn't do anything too crazy, but it does exactly what you want it to do.
RIYL: Junior Astronomers, Kevin Devine, Manchester Orchestra, sock-hop for 2012
At The Start


Innards - Fort Worth, TX.
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Why We Like: On Innards' upcoming full-length, the Texas band set themselves apart from the growing trend of the same old screamo-revival by using clean tones and head-scratching chord progressions over sharp vocals. The band lend themselves to a more ambient execution of all the harsh styles found on Ebullition Records' "best of," and cast a shining example of how a band should pull from their favorite elements in music and not just their favorite bands' complete popular outfit.
RIYL: Pavement, Orchid, Funeral Diner
Maple Bar


Lions Lions
- Boston, Massachusetts
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Why We Like: A post-hardcore band with sprinklings of pop punk, Lions Lions have been an underrated gem in their scene. Beyond harboring a mighty hardcore sound chock-full of melody, gang vocals, and spacey guitars, the band exhibits a cycling rush of energy that brings you into their experience. Their latest release, fittingly titledTo Carve Our Names, is a clear indication that they'll soon be a household name in the scene.
RIYL: Story of the Year, Vanna, Kid Liberty
Milestones


Living Room - Brooklyn, NY
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Why We Like: I always wonder how people find bands. It's hard enough if they're called The Assassin's Death Whistle, and even more infuriating when it's something like Living Room and the album is simply titled Dream Journal. Just, why? But luckily some music nerds nerdier than me discovered this kinda twinkly, very DIY/rough-around-the-edges midwestern emo-worshipping band. Is that enough weird descriptors for you? Regardless of the strange amount of loathing that's bubbling up right now, this Brooklyn Band are freewheeling, but deep. With lyrics such as, "Like the lines in the letters / Ff the words in each sentence / We're making the meaning / We're building connections / And the things i write down help me remember," this is a band who aren't just making music, but a statement.
RIYL: Glocca Morra, Dowsing-meets-Weezer
Spiral Galaxy


Major League
- Mantua, NJ
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Why We Like: Look, you've visited this site enough to understand the deal. If it's fast, slathered in hooks and probably just a little bit angry about whatever it is that brings kids down these days, someone here's going to love it. I happen to be that simpleton this time, but that's not to say that I find Major League to be "bottom-barrel." The band do angry pop-punk to the nines, which is to say they pay attention to giving us enough melody to cut through the bitterness. With a split and two EPs to their name, the young band may start to grow up, but their energetic approach will surely never slow with age.
RIYL: Handguns, With The Punches, State Champs
Baltimore (ft. Taylor Eby of Handguns


Masked Intruder - Madison, WI
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Why We Like: If you can get past the coloured masks, chances are you'll enjoy this super fun pop-punk band that recently released a full-length through Red Scare Industries. You might expect more songs about mugging people, but these guys honestly prefer to sing about love and heartache, complete with super catchy hooks and even the odd doo-wop influence. It's a great summer record and worth at least one listen before the warm weather starts to fade.
RIYL: Teenage Bottlerocket, Mixtapes, old Green Day
Am I Only Dreaming


MilanKu - Montreal, Canada
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Why We Like: Canada has given out some great musical numbers over the years, but never an instrumental behemoth such as this one. Wave after wave of build and release wash over the band's discography, and with the upcoming release of their second full-length, Pris a la Gorge, the band deserve a bit more recognition with their style of well crafted pieces worthy of Bob Ross' art gallery of music.
RIYL: Cursed, Envy, Mono
Mepris


Moneta - Seattle, WA
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Why We Like: Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, the band mixes soaring melodies with straight forward rock riffs to create something that is truly memorable. After listening to the band perform, It's not hard to see that Moneta puts in a lot of effort to be as musically tight and dynamically sound as possible. Labels such as Tooth and Nail would be absolutely foolish to pass on this band - they can produce a quality record, put on a stellar live performance, and tie it altogether, what more could you want?
RIYL: Burning Tree Project, The Rocket Summer, The Classic Crime
Save Me From Myself


Mountain Man - Worcester, MA
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Why We Like: Evil. Pure evil. That's what the band's latest (and most progressive) album to date sounds like. There's little to no hope. Unrelenting vocals and thrashing guitars overtake the room found within your headphones. You hear buildings crumbling down and anxiety unleashed. There's a savant texture to the band's aggressive backbone, harnessing the "stereo" sound in every new track. Mountain Man are pushing their own boundaries since their debut, and that's a challenge worth noting.
RIYL: Old Man Gloom, Code Orange Kids, Trash Talk
Take Out the Sun


Peace'd Out - L.A. to NY
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Why We Like: Made up of members of bands that sound nothing like the insanity and intense action of this "mysterious" project, the Mike Patton-esque vocal style and heavy shredding of the group's lead mad men make for a dangerous debut. So many band's have tried to harness the sound of late '90s Relapse and Hydra Head stock, but along with only a handful, Peace'd Out are worthy of the worship within the homage of time signatures and socially vocal frustration.
RIYL: Dillinger Escape Plan, Snapcase, The Sound of Animals Fighting
White Pyramid


Pswingset - Austin, TX.
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Why We Like: A contemporary spin on some of the best classic sounds forgotten. With the release of their first full-length, the band mold bold bass tones with sweeping guitars and killer drum lines made for a cunning statement about what a "hook" should actually sound like. Moving from a three piece to four has added just enough extra texture to make Pswingset a model for harmonious tone in the underground scene.
RIYL: Sharks Keep Moving, Mock Orange, Knapsack
Native Pass


Spook Houses - Ridgewood, NJ
AP.net Profile | Spook Houses
Why We Like: I basically find out about every single band from one blog now. Which is embarrassing, but also kind of cool. To find another musical compadre who likes what you like is great. Check it out. On to Spook Houses, this band seem serious. They are, I guess. On their latest (and I think first) LP Trying, we hear loner/downtrodden indie-punk music that is just as happy being loud as it is being subtle. Deep-voice vocals, the occasional wall of sound/horn accompaniment and lyrics that speak to the universal need of giving your all even when you're too tired to get out of bed - the season of thinking-person rock is back! But here's the skinny: Spook Houses are probably the most exciting band I have heard in 2012. There, I said it.
RIYL: Joie de Vivre, Misser(-ish), Modest Mouse
Trying Pt. 1 / Pt. 2


Sport - Lyon, France
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Why We Like: Sport are from France, but their music fits in perfectly with the type of sounds coming from the more thoughtful and twinkly pockets of the Northeast. (I think I've now used the term "twinkly" in 80% of the bands I placed on this list.) Just two dudes with a super cute blog that is in both French and English, Sport's album Colors is like Dads if Dads ate more wine and cheese. Just kidding, this is some catchy stuff, with some seriously intricate guitar picking. Two dudes making this much noise always amazes me, and Colors is no different. On standout "Helsinki, 1952" the band yells, "When the night ends / sun will be rising." But I think, when this is all said and done, it's Sport that will be on the up-and-up.
RIYL: Dads, Brave Bird, Mane Horse
Helsinki, 1952


Strawberry Girls - Salinas, CA
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Why We Like: If you've ever sat down and listened to Dance Gavin Dance's 2010 record, Happiness, and thought "Whatever happened to that guitarist, Zachary Garren? I wonder what he's doing now?". Well, this is what he's doing now. The band's debut album, Italian Ghosts is a sonically pleasing experience, to be as direct as possible. If you're looking for something to relax to, then you're going to have a great time with this band.
RIYL: Dance Gavin Dance, The Mars Volta, Minus The Bear
Black Night/Golden Circus


The Honey Trees - Sacramento, CA
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: The Honey Trees have been around for a few years and have made quite a splash for only releasing a limited amount of music. You may know Jacob from his other band Lakes. While The Honey Trees aren't in the same vein as Lakes they sure know how to construct something beautiful. If female fronted indie pop with luscious soundscapes is your thing, welcome to your nirvana.
RIYL: Sucre, Brooke Waggoner, Jeremy Larson
To Be With You


Tigers Jaw - Scranton, PA
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: If you don't have a serious amount of time for Tigers Jaw's self-titled sophomore record then I don't wanna know you, man. Four years later it's still one of the most loved and relevant alt-indie punk releases of the past decade, and they've been leaping from strength to strength ever since. Delivered with passion and punch, their distinctive blocked-nose vocals, infectious summer-channeling melodies and hallmark harmonies have a knack of burying their way into your brain and making a permanent home there. For that reason, Tigers Jaw will live on long after they break up, but fingers, toes and hearts crossed that doesn't happen anytime soon.
RIYL: Balance and Composure, The Menzingers, Title Fight.
I Saw Water
10:16 AM on 08/07/12
#5
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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Hells yeah boiiiii
10:21 AM on 08/07/12
#6
TerrancePryor
twitter.com/terrancepryor
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Abel's upcoming album rules so much. One of my favorite releases of the year.
10:22 AM on 08/07/12
#7
JamieTheSonger
05 Fuck Em
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This is my favorite AP thing.
10:27 AM on 08/07/12
#8
wall e
@mattobrien37
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Got some bands to check out now. Also it's nice to see The Tower and the Fool on here
10:29 AM on 08/07/12
#9
Star Slight
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some cool stuff on here. some not so cool stuff on here
10:29 AM on 08/07/12
Jack Appleby
___
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Cannot tell you how excited I am to be a part of this.
10:31 AM on 08/07/12
Born_For_This
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I The Mighty, Make Do And Mend, Night Verses and The Xcerts are all brilliant.
I would recommend Flood Of Red.
10:34 AM on 08/07/12
JimmyAveningo
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this is hands down my favorite segment the AP does. Every year there are some fucking gems
10:44 AM on 08/07/12
georgedcc
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Everyone should check out The Xcerts. Best band on this list.
10:45 AM on 08/07/12
t00latef0rr0ses
Purple Monkey Dishwasher
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there is some stellar stuff on this: abel, born without bones, foreign tongues, i the mighty, lowtalker, night verses, nghbrs, the american scene, with the punches, you blew it, young statues. Thanks, ill be busy...
10:50 AM on 08/07/12
mudwayne
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That Abel tune is fantastic. I shall make sure to try and pick up the album when I next get the chance.
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