It’s that time of the year again, that distinguished month when us swashbucklers here at AP.net return from sailing the corners of the music scene in search of the best of the uncharted. The purpose? To present our findings to an audience proven to perk up at the first sign of good music, and then promptly devour it whole. Though the Absolute 100 is now in its 4th year, no one can say our enthusiasm has been chafed by time; if anything, we probably hit an all time high this year in terms of the correlation between “excitement” and “putting the Absolute 100 together.” The reason is really simple: we might always be finding bands that aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, but we know just the trick to put that to an end – turn AP.net on them. And so, amidst a flurry of anticipation and satisfaction, we present 2010’s Absolute 100. Sick ‘em, boys.
- Matthew Tsai
The Absolute 100 - Part One (1 - 25)
Admiral Radley - Los Angeles, CA
AP.net Profile| Last.fm Why We Like: So, what would one expect other than greatness when members of Grandaddy and Earlimart get together? Because that is exactly what Admiral Radley’s debut album, I Heart California, is. It’s a great indie pop album that fans of either bands should be able to not only appreciate, but love. Ariana, Aaron, Jason and Aaron make a great team, almost making one wish they would just focus on this new project. Thankfully, their talent does not run out, so luckily for us, we can expect more greatness to come out of this unstoppable four, as well as their other projects. RIYL: Grandaddy, Earlimart, indie-pop
AM Taxi – Chicago, IL
AP.net Profile l Myspace Why We Like: AM Taxi is The Gaslight Anthem’s old-time sound applied to the best of radio rock anthems. Whether it’s “Fed Up,” “Dead Street,” “Maydays and Rosaries,” or any of their debut album We Don’t Stand A Chance’s rollicking tracks, the Chicago band is penning only the best of modern rock ‘n’ roll with a pop-punk flavor that will breed addiction. Hint: keep your ears out for this band, because they are about to blow up.
RIYL: The Gaslight Anthem, The Replacements, The Clash
Avi Buffalo - Long Beach, CA
AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: When we spotlight bands still in or barely out of high school, odds are pretty good that they're of the pop-punk variety. Not so with Avi Buffalo, whose self-titled debut captures the warm retrofied pop sound of "grown-up" bands like The Shins and The Morning Benders. Their age shines through at times (song titles include "Five Little Sluts" and "Summer Cum"), but there's no shortage of wow-factor. "Remember Last Time" is clear evidence of the band's compositional prowess, and the single "What's It In For?" is absolutely not to be missed. The latter is just about the cuddliest song you'll find this side of "Two Weeks". RIYL: The Morning Benders, The Shins, Band of Horses
Why We Like: Last year, we featured The Chemist Vs. The Computer, which gained quite a following on our site. This year, Chris, the guitarist of the band, brings us his solo project – an instrumental album that’s reminiscent of his many influences (Caspian, Maybeshewill, etc). For such a great album that’s been recorded in a living room, it makes one wonder what this, and his future projects, would sound like under much better circumstances. Until then, sit back and listen to this post-rock goodness. RIYL: Arms & Sleepers, Caspian, Maybeshewill
Why We Like: This year hasn’t exactly suffered for mind-blowing and breathtaking albums, but even then, some still manage to stick out as they go above and beyond. That would be Bombay Bicycle Club, who have released a stunning sophomore album, Flaws, that every single folk fan should get a hold of. Think Damien Rice meet Foals and you get the idea. It’s stunning. Simply stunning.
Why We Like: Sustainable farming isn’t an issue a lot of bands speak out about, but it’s one Carpenter hold close to their hearts. Influenced by John Mellencamp, the band’s singer Dan Sioui started to write songs, found a band and started to gain a following across western Canada. Their first full length came out on Winnipeg’s Smallman Records in 2008 and now the band is gearing up to release more music hopefully this September.
RIYL: Texas is the Reason, Hot Water Music, farmcore
Why We Like: The new solo project from singer Eric Berglund of The Tough Alliance, ceo is close enough to Tough Alliance to pretty much satisfy the appetites of any major TA fans hungering for a new album. It's exactly what you would expect from a man with a musical past such as his, with the debut ceo album being a collection of some insanely catchy left-field Swedish pop.
Why We Like: Though the band's frontman and drummer are brothers, the members of Family of the Year aren't all family, but listening to their fluid dynamic, you'd never know the difference. Their debut, last year's addictively eclectic Songbook delivers just about everything that's great about indie rock, like affecting acoustic ballads ("No Good at Nothing"), achingly sweet piano-led tunes ("Summer Girl"), '80s-style jangle-pop gems and straight-up powerpop ("Treehouse"), all delivered with alternating male-female vocals and beautiful harmonies.
RIYL: The New Pornographers, Vetiver, Good Old War
Why We Like: How in the world Farewell Flight's full-length debut Sound Color Motion was so blatantly ignored by the mainstream, remains one of the biggest mysteries of the past couple years. On their new album, Lonesome Traveler, Luke Foley and crew offer up a cinematic collection of lo-fi folk-pop. There's a sturdiness at work here that comes along so rarely. With deeply probing lyrics, confident vocals and a captivating sonic landscape, it will be criminal, if this album doesn't turn some heads.
RIYL: Death Cab for Cutie, Pedro the Lion, Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos, Matt Pond PA
Why We Like: Side projects can sometimes end up a dud because member A from band X wants to "explore" his outreach to other landscapes and genres. For fans of Converge and Integrity, this isn't their respective bands' sound, nor is it a dud. We've only been introduced to one song off the Deathwish Inc. Summer compilation this year, but "Letting Go" is the type of feature that crawls under your skin and leaves the senses paralyzed in intrigue for the whole six minutes it carries. Irons doesn't capitalize on being a stretch from the members' other projects, it banks on its dark beauty and stimulation.
Why We Like: James Maddock isn't exactly a newcomer. Now in his early 40s, Maddock was the frontman behind the British imports Wood, who made a splash with their major label debut Songs From Stamford Hill. After a 10-year hiatus, he returned last year with Sunrise on Avenue C, chock full of deeply emotive ballads and heartfelt sincerity. It's a charming work and the re-emergence of a true talent.
RIYL: Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne, David Gray, Cary Brothers
Why We Like: This Kitchener, Ontario four piece is just starting to lift off and with one listen, you’ll understand why. Their EP Goodbye Debris was released last year and just a few months ago, they signed to Dine Alone, one of Canada’s most successful independent labels. The raspy vocals and sing-along choruses should appeal to any punk fan so be sure to keep an eye out for their full-length.
RIYL: Off With Their Heads, Small Brown Bike, The Lawrence Arms
Why We Like: Full disclosure: I don’t know what bands will be on this list. But if there are more than 5 instrumental bands I’d be super duper surprised. Not because I think my colleagues are against the genre, but because there just aren’t a whole lot out there that haven’t been pissed on by The Silent Ballet to a point where said bands are no longer bands but just some sort of super duper sad urinal. But Moonlit Sailor keep it real - real smooth that is. HEYO! Both of their albums, A Footprint of Feelings or this year’s So Close To Life, are relaxing and still dramatic. The band’s youth hasn’t hindered them from becoming well-versed in the art form of strong wordless passages. Maybe you should listen to them.
RIYL: Explosions in the Sky, Instrumental Bands, Stuff
Why We Like: Since the release of their Minus the Bear-copping debut Wooden Teeth, Mouse Fire lost vocalist Joey Bruce, and the departure has resulted in a reinvention of sorts. Their sophomore album Big Emotion is sleeker, dancier and delivers emphatically on its title. "Big" as in big production-- the band retained their rhythmic approach while adding layers of synthesizers, string and horn accents. And guitarist Shane Schuch's heart-on-sleeve lyrics provide the "emotion." It's less technical guitar-wise than its predecessor, but it's so chock-full of hooks and other goodness, you almost don't miss the math.
Why We Like: Restless People, at least conceptually, represents a vision of the future of music. A seamless blend of art pop, dance music, world music and the occasional hardcore influence (oddly enough), the band is able to pick and choose bits of multiple genres to create their own brand of some of the most easily-likable pop music you'll hear nowadays, short of going straight for Top 40 radio. Featuring the members of Tanlines as well as most of Professor Murder, Restless People release their short and powerful debut album in September.
RIYL: Tanlines, Gorilla Biscuits, Phil Collins, General Public
Why We Like: River City Extension sound like a more eclectic Bright Eyes. If they’re not bringing you a humorous swashbuckling bridge, then they’re playing you a sing-along chorus; if not trumpets and brass, then mariachi flavor. But don’t let the diversity fool you into thinking they’re all about having a good time, because behind all the music is a disturbed man who sings about lost love, cancer and God. That’s what the somber strings are for: a more serious look at life’s frustrations.
RIYL: Bright Eyes, Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers
Why We Like: Coming from a city well known for its pop punk scene, Safety Word Orange have to deal with listeners' expectations before they even listen. The Richmond, Virginia natives don't disappoint, though, as their On Your Mark. Get Set. EP is one of the most encouraging releases in the genre in 2010. Showcasing a mellower pop punk sound that fans of The Dangerous Summer will fall in love with, Safety Word Orange are making a case for being the unsigned pop punk group of the year. Earnest vocals laden the EP, and although it only contains five songs, On Your Mark. Get Set. should be enough to get listeners excited for this band's bright future.
Why We Like: On her debut, When You Dream, Jackson-Holman proves she’s ready to run with the big dogs of the female-fronted indie pop scene, but here’s the catch: she’s only 21. Songs like the wry “Cellophane” and the sprawling, classical beauty “Red Ink,” suggest she will be a bold musical presence in the years to come. Nevertheless, make sure you don’t overlook the bold musical presence she already is – When You Dream is a warm work of elegance and success.
Why We Like: They were promoted heavily on AP.net this year, so if you are somehow unfamiliar with them, then that’s a shame because a band like this, and especially their newest album We Built A Fire, should not go unnoticed. Everything that needs to be said has already been said, over and over, so go listen for yourself and get lost in the beautiful world that is Seabear. They’re from Iceland, a country that’s expected to produce music-goodness, so you know you’re in for an amazing ride.
Why We Like: They've been tagged as a folky Arcade Fire, and that comparison pegs Telegraph Canyon pretty accurately. On last year's The Tide and the Current, the band demonstrate mastery of contrasting sparse, whisper-soft arrangements with sweeping orchestral flourishes, bells and chimes, and huge crashing drums, and when frontman Chris Johnson's cathartic wail breaks free, it bears similarities to Win Butler. Throw the occasional Fleet Foxes-like harmony into the mix and you have the recipe for a surefire stunner that's beautiful and muscular in equal measure.
Why We Like: Many people like to use epic indie rock ballads as homework music, but those who delve into The Americas' Sweet Release EP will have a hard time focusing on anything else. A raw, unproduced sound strengthens the core of this group's style, as crashing symbols and pulsing bass lines underlie the doodling guitar parts. While at times the vocals take a backseat here, that's nothing to be worried about as The Americas will be sure to turn listeners into fans with their extensive instrumental portions. Eight songs totaling almost forty minutes, Sweet Release is an EP worth your dollar in a year packed by quality releases.
RIYL: American Football, a more raw Explosions in the Sky
Why We Like: If you liked Rachel’s, then you might have already heard of this new project from Greg, Christian and Jason. Just like Rachel’s, The Young Scamels create beautiful and captivating music, which is sometimes accompanied by soft and gentle vocals. While this new project will never replace the amazing Rachel’s, it gets pretty damn close with the upcoming album called Tempest. If you’re unfamiliar with either bands but consider yourself a fan of beautiful music ala Max Richter, Eluvium, etc.. then stop reading this and go track down their discographies; you’re in for a beautiful ride.
Why We Like: This Condition aren’t necessarily a new band, they have been around Long Island for awhile now. But with a few line up changes and a natural progression the band has gotten increasingly better with each release. I haven’t been this excited about a pop rock band in some time. With positive attitudes and even brighter music, their craft is like candy to the ears. With a new EP containing some of the strongest songs they have recorded, This Condition are about to be an epidemic.
Why We Like: It seems a musical renaissance of sorts has occurred recently with female fronted rock bands making a return in a big way to 2010s sonic landscape . Tonight Alive are Australia’s answer to this movement. The Sydney based five piece have gone from strength to strength in their native land down under in 2010 winning fans with their infectious pop punk tunes. A tireless tour schedule has proven rewarding for the band, earning their placement on a variety of international tours including The Wonder Years, 3oh3, Lost Prophets and Owl City and turning a lot of heads in the process. With their debut single “Wasting Away” receiving radio play across Australia and crowds flocking to see the band in action it seems the bands next move is to spread their music internationally. Jenna McDougal, the female vocalist for the five piece, recently had the welcome 18th birthday gift of news that their debut EP All Shapes And Disguises had reaching the #1 position internationally on the itunes alternative charts just six hours after the self released EP hit the store. This recent success coupled with their songs making two recent appearances on MTVs The Hills seem like the tip of the iceberg for the young band with recent news of the band travelling to California in January to record their debut album with legendary producer Mark Trombino who boasts a resume that needs no namedropping. It is safe to say Tonight Alive will be the soundtrack to many Summers with or without shrimp on the barbie.
Why We Like: I was going to write a review for View From An Airplane’s EP All The Right Words, but a user beat me to it and I got lazy/disinterested. Rehashing someone’s sentiment is not my thing. But clearly hypocrisy is, because I am going to rehash that person’s sentiment: View From An Airplane is a great little pop project. It’s definitely something you’ve heard before, but also something you’ve loved before. With an emphasis on chorus harmonies, youthful vocals and Fueled By Ramen aspirations, View From An Airplane are your best bet for reliving 2005. The EP is a faithful offering to the pop gods, and there are only bigger and better presents to come.
Arkells - Hamilton, ON AP.net Profile l Myspace Why We Like: If you’re Canadian, chances are you already know about Arkells. They released their debut Jackson Square on Dine Alone and they won the Juno Award for New Group of the Year. But the rest of the world isn’t as familiar with their soulful rock tunes and hopefully that will change soon. The band is finally coming to the States this year with Tokyo Police Club and it shouldn’t be the last time you hear of them. RIYL: Gaslight Anthem, soul, “Springsteenesque” rock
Audra Mae – Los Angeles, CA AP.net Profile l Myspace Why We Like: “When I meet the Lord so kind / I’m gonna give Him a piece of my mind / And I’ll tell him I wanna know why oh why / He’s so damned forgivin’” sings Audra Mae on “The River.” It’s that kind of snarky tone, cast over a beautiful folk melody, that has earned Mae attention in the past year, and will continue to earn her attention in her career to come. The Oklahoma native is young, but undeniably precocious, and that warrants some buzz at the very least. Yet something about her music indicates that she’ll go on to receive much more than just “some buzz.” RIYL: Neko Case, Jenny Lewis, The Decemberists
Brooke Waggoner - Nashville, TN Why We Like: Female singer/songwriters always make me weak in the knees but one that incorporates piano with appropriately placed strings is just out of this world. Sure there are the Regina Spektor type artists that make indie pop bliss music, but the other side of the spectrum is just as beautiful. Last year St. Vincent released a stellar album in Actor and while Brooke Waggoner may not be as spastic and animated, she sure brings her own to the table. Soothing vocals, tightly placed strings, and classical arrangements are nothing less than terrific. Waggoner seems to be on a hot streak and with a solid backing she can only catapult her name to the forefront of the piano goddesses.
Brothers At Sea - Los Angeles, CA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Easy listening music has always been a pleasure of mine. Although I love heavy music and pop music like everyone else on here, I’m a sucker for simple melodies and spacey guitar. Brothers At Sea are the best young band crafting easy listening pop tunes. Confidence leaks from this band in every pore, their sound is so defined and sure you would think that they are veterans in the music business. Think of your ideal scrubs soundtrack, and Brothers At Sea could fit in anywhere in that album. They are just that polished and impressive. If confidence is any indicator of how far a band will go, these boys should have been to the moon and back by now. RIYL: Fair, Seabird, The Fray
Cady Groves - Oklahoma City, OK AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Acoustic driven, female fronted music isn’t this sites forte to be exact. But some people can appreciate it more than others and for those that do, Cady Groves is something special. The 20 year old singer-songwriter has gotten a big burst into the scene, going on her first big tour over the past couple months (Bamboozle Roadshow). With an infectious personality and bubbly pop songs, Cady is sure to win you over with her voice and smile. RIYL: Taylor Swift, He Is We, Poema
Candy Hearts - Purchase, NY AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Candy Hearts is like the greatest bowl of mac n' cheese you've never eaten: they write the songs you want to play in a boombox that you hold up outside the window of the girl you love; they sing the lyrics you pen on your notebook during math lectures; they are the melodies ice cream trucks chime out for all children to run to. The Purchase, NY quartet's full-length debut is composed of 13 songs that are cute, bouncy and will make you swoon more than the first time Michelle Tanner popped her thumb up and said, "You got it, dude." Don't think this is Kidz Bop for the Hipster Generation - this is like great modern pop-infused rock music with a timely bounce that makes you feel like you're on a trampoline even when you're standing still. Everything comes out fast and fuzzy, like a baby ostrich with adult legs. Make no mistake: it's not an overproduced, super-polished romp through a weekend. Ripped Up Jeans & Silly Dreams barely stretches over half an hour, but it packs an entire summer break into that time without any theatrics or oversized novelties hats. Give 'em a listen, then have a roll in the hay. You won't regret either... unless you have hay fever. In that case, stick to playing with a yo-yo. RIYL: Teenage Fanclub, Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer, Lemuria
Eagle Scout - Greenville, Illinois AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Eagle Scout’s latest record New Hands seems like something a maniac would pen after finding the right cocktail of anti-psychotics. Even the calm moments drag you in, if only because the calm moments always precede the absolutely bonkers ones. And for a band from the docile Midwest, this is a quality that should attract lots of you depressed white people: when life hands you part time jobs at Home Depot, there’s always the opportunity to do something completely unexpected. And if that unexpected something means you end up sounding like So Many Dynamos or Native, well, sweet. RIYL: So Many Dynamos, Native, This Town Needs Guns
Eli "Paperboy" Reed - Allston, MA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Taking an ultra-old-school approach on how remarkably timeless pop music is created, Eli "Paperboy" Reed is that rare combination of debonair charm, talented machismo and fun-loving spirit. When was the last time we had such a vividly passionate voice singing about the quiet restraint of young love, and actually sound sincere while doing so? With his backing band, the True Loves, Reed is a professor with adept knowledge and influence, leading the way on a new thought process to popular music: by going the traditional route, bringing his fiercely dynamic talents along for a showcase of how classic American music has yet to perish. RIYL: Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Chuck Berry
Gabriel The Marine - Long Island, NY AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Perfecting your craft live is easier said than done and is greatly overlooked in music today. It use to be that when you created something on record, you were able to pull it off no matter where you were. Gabriel The Marine is the real deal from front to back. Their live show is even more enthralling than their action packed discs. With a sound that draws comparison to Anthony Green running into Manchester Orchestra in a bar, you need to be that fly on the wall. Gabriel The Marine is one of the youngest and freshest talents to storm the scene in some time. Do yourself a favor and show them the love they deserve. RIYL: Manchester Orchestra, Anthony Green, John Nolan
Gifts From Enola AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: The Mylene Sheath never disappoint with their releases and Gifts From Enola’s newest, the self-titled fourth full length, is no different. Among the hundreds of post-rock and instrumental bands that have spawned as of late, the band still manages to remain original, creating albums that will simply knock your socks off. The album is still featured on their AP.net profile, so if you haven’t heard it yet, please do your ears a favour and go listen because this band has created one of the better instrumental rock albums of 2010. RIYL: Caspian, If These Trees Could Talk, pg.lost
Givers - Lafayette, LA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Fun. That's what we need in our lives right now, just a little bit of party and harmonious dancing and singing. While Louisiana is still filtering out all that oil, Lafayette produced one of the best things to come out of the state in a while. Reminiscent of the quirk and wit of a David Byrne's birthday bash, Givers went out on a tour with The Dirty Projectors last year and haven't stopped the party since. Time to join up. RIYL: Talking Heads, Dirty Projectors, Ra Ra Riot
In Bear Country- Vancouver, BC AP.net Profile l Myspace Why We Like: Daggermouth guitarist Stu McKillop fronts this new band that carries on in a similar vein. So far they’ve just played a few shows in Canada and released their EP on cassette tape, but hopefully we’ll hear a lot more from this band in the future. McKillop has an incredibly gruff voice and it’s more at home yelling over the crashing drums, bass and guitar than the electronic beats of Aspirations, yet another project he was involved with. RIYL: Polar Bear Club, Jawbreaker, Daggermouth
Lowercase Noises - Albuquerque, NM AP.net Profile l Myspace Why We Like: There’s an underlying quality to Andy Othling’s Lowercase Noises project that sets it apart from most acts of similar ilk. You could call it transcendence, but it’s a transcendence few writers are capable of capturing. Casting lethargic guitars against landscapes of spiritual ambience, Lowercase Noises is the poster child of music you can escape the worries of life to. It’s powerful without ever having to resort to cacophony. RIYL: Hammock, Oriin, The Album Leaf
Maker - Springfield, MA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: The argument can be made that more hardcore pop punk is harder to pull off than the sound on the poppier side of the spectrum. With a sound similar to that of Such Gold, Maker's short and sweet four song EP, I-91, has grabbed listeners by the ears. "I-91" and "Stand By Me" are both worthwhile tracks of fast-paced, furious punk that beg for pile-ups and stage dives. It's bands like Maker that keep the underground going, but only when given the chance. Although their catalog is limited, Maker show the potential to make a dent in the nautical brand of pop punk if they keep things rolling. RIYL:Such Gold, Transit, Fireworks
Maniac - Oakland, CA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: From the wreckage of The Matches comes Maniac, a vocal-driven duo that's buoyant, unconventional and downright infectious. Wading in the sun-drenched optimism of The Beach Boys, Maniac's EP Extended Play is a triumphant, hook-heavy collection of harmonic genius. Sure it's a complete 180 from The Matches, but that doesn't mean you can't embrace it.
Recommended If You Like: The Beach Boys, Sherwood, The Mamas and the Papas
Oberhofer - Brooklyn, NY AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Oberhofer isn't a name that probably sounds familiar to you, but it won't take any time for you to remember them. Oberhofer is a band out of Brooklyn fronted by the 19 year old Brad Oberhofer. The band has gained notable amounts of buzz from having their song "o0Oo0Oo" featured on the Ashley Greene Sobe Life Water commercial. Feel good lo-fi jams make for good times and Oberhofer seem to be riding the waves of hype just fine. Pitchfork has jumped on the bandwagon, so it's only a matter of time before Oberhofer is a household name in the indie community. RIYL: Waaves, The Unicorns, Noise Pop
Paper Arms - Adelaide, Australia AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Put down that Vegemite sandwich and listen up, people: post-hardcore melodic punk rock ain't dead yet. To prove it, look no further than this Aussie quartet's recent full-length Days Above Ground, a record that urges listeners to grab their ankles and prepare for aggressive awesomeness. This isn't mosh-till-your-feet-hurt punk rock here; this is powerfully brain-rattling music that cleans house with its wickedly ferocious message inside its melodies. Be on the lookout for an impending wave of Australian upstarts much like this - but Paper Arms should be the first blip on your radar screen. RIYL: Strike Anywhere, Small Brown Bike, Hot Water Music
RVIVR - Olympia, WA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: You miss Latterman? Sure you do! Now, what if Latterman were still around, with all their intense melodic strengths and abrasive anthems, but had a girl backing them up vocally? It is just as wonderful and exhilerating as it might sound. Matt Canino and Erica Freas are like a melodic hardcore Sonny & Cher, giving a pretty standard aggressive melodic punk style a big lift. RVIVR is the type of band that builds off the remains of their previously celebrated acts, and makes you forget them all while remembering why you fell in love in the first place. Time to fall in love all over again, this time with RVIVR. RIYL: Latterman, Holy Roman Empire, Off With Their Heads
S. Carey AP.net Profile| Myspace Why We Like: S. Carey will release his solo debut, All We Grow, later this summer. When he’s not making his own music, he plays the drums for Bon Iver, so if you’re a fan of the latter, then you are probably already on your way to track this down, or perhaps you already knew about it. Either way, while the album does resemble Bon Iver’s For Emma, it is special in its own right. Carey’s beautiful voice is accompanied by gorgeous, heart-wrenching music, making this an absolute must for every playlist this fall / winter. RIYL: Bon Iver, Elliott Smith, indie-folk
Stay - Boston, MA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Sugary pop rock music tickles my fancy. No questions asked. Bands like Holiday Parade may get tanked on for not having substance, but by god can they write catchy hooks and melodies. Which is what leads me to my New England boys Stay. Sure, Stay isn’t the best band name, but then again when are any band names that great anymore? The music is what matters and these guys deliver big time. If you are looking for some more sugar for your summer, here you go. RIYL: Holiday Parade, My Favorite Highway, The Downtown Fiction
Summer People - Syracuse, New York AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Summer People’s new album is called Good Problems, and I guess that’s kind of what you get after being featured on a list like this. It’s good because more people check out your music, but it’s bad because AP.net haters are checking out your music. However, I wouldn’t feature a band like Summer People, which is to say a band who employs punk bitterness and lo-fi mentalities with genuinely catchy songwriting, if I didn't think such haters would become lovers. Good Problems is a record with layers, a record that requires attention, comprehension and more attention. So I guess if something loud and thoughtful interests you, step on up. If not, I hate you. RIYL: The Hold Steady, Whiskeytown, Plus More Punx
The Best Week Ever - Poughkeepsie, NY AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Pop Rock is an easy and a tough genre to make music in. Easy because the formula for success is out there. Tough because you need something special to stand out above the rest of the radio prepped wolf pack. Maybe there is something in the water in Poughkeepsie, but there has been two bands this year that are carrying the torch as the new front runners of the scene. The Best Week Ever mesh piano pop with pop punk hooks led by the one two punch of Lacey Steinel and Tom Degrazia. If winning a shot to open for Bon Jovi is any indication of where this band is headed, you best start believing. RIYL: We Are The In Crowd, Hey Monday, The Summer Set
The Dopamines - Cincinnati, OH AP.net Profile l Myspace Why We Like: So many bands play fast, gritty punk rock with tons of catchy hooks tossed in, but not everyone does it as well as the Dopamines. Their new record Expect the Worst just came out in June through Paper + Plastick and you’ll get more than your fill of dual vocals and crunchy power chords when you give it a spin. If you remember the days when Green Day was still on Lookout! Records then you’ll have a faint idea of what this band sounds like. RIYL: Green Day, The Menzingers, Broadway Calls
Washington Square Park - Essex County, New Jersey AP.net Profile | Myspace
Another rising band out of New Jersey, Washington Square Park are converting listeners into fans with their unique fusion of pop punk and rock and roll. While paced by a pop sensibility, the group bring dark lyrics and an instrumentation that sets them apart from the pop punk scene. These guys make music because they want to and as an outlet for themselves, not for the fans or the fame. It's this do-it-yourself mentality that resulted in the group's self-titled, full-length debut which dropped earlier this year. The record has made Washington Square Park a band worth keeping your ears peeled for coming out of the Northeast. RIYL: The Movielife, I Am the Avalanche
Yukon Blonde - Vancouver, BC AP.net Profile l Myspace Why We Like: So far this year, Yukon Blonde toured the States with Good Old War and made the long list for the Polaris Music Prize. They also released their first self-titled record and if you love catchy melodies it probably won’t disappoint. Plus if you're looking for more music that might remind you of the 60's and 70's, chances are Yukon Blonde won't disappoint you either. RIYL: The Beatles, Fleet Foxes, indie pop
Brighter Brightest - Aurora, ON AP.net Profile l Myspace Why We Like: It’s over polished and the lyrics about girls can get a little bit cheesy, but this Canadian band does it better than many of their American peers. The band’s lead singer Derek Hoffman has a great voice and it really shines on catchy tunes like “Welcome Home.” “Guardian Angel” is another catchy song that might remind you of a song from Anarbor’s Free Your Mind EP. The band is in the studio recording so keep your ears open for new stuff from them in the future. RIYL: All Time Low, Cartel, The Maine
Colourslide - Gainesville, FL AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Florida's Colourslide plays grand-scale arena rock not unlike U2 and Muse. With large swelling choruses, layered guitar textures and Alex Lawhon's compelling vocal work, the quartet's newest album Everybody's Right About Everybody is a deeply hypnotic, undeniably potent collection of a half-dozen should-be radio singles. There's a certain X factor that separate the good from the bad and whatever it is, Colourslide most definitely have it. RIYL: U2, Civil Twilight, Muse, Snow Patrol
Dreamend AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Listening to new albums is part of the job and like many others, you become indifferent towards certain aspects of it, simply because you do it so often. Once in a while, however, when an album is playing in the background, a song suddenly catches your attention and makes you want to listen to the whole album all over again. This time, you pay attention. That was the case with Dreamend’s newest, So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite. For an album that is about a serial killer (Charles Manson, to be exact), this is too playful and too happy, even, at times. Or perhaps it’s simply hopeful. It’s gorgeous either way, and if Animal Collective have made it big, there is no reason for this band not to blow up as well. Highly recommended for fans of Black Moth Super Rainbow, as this is the main project of the guitarist Ryan Graveface. RIYL: Black Moth Super Rainbow, The Appleseed Cast
Fairline - Arizona AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: One of the most underrated pop rock bands in the scene, Ivory broke up not too long ago. Nathaniel Moon took some time off and relocated a few times and eventually landed in Seattle where he would have a chance at a new beginning. After getting together a group of good friends, Nathaniel assembled Fairline. With one of the most engaging and underrated voices in the scene, Nathaniel could use all the attention he can get. One travesty doesn’t mean it should happen twice so take a listen and show some respect for one of the true talents of rock music. RIYL: Ivory, Brighten, Nathaniel Moon
Hooray For Earth AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: These guys would fall under the same category / genre of indie music that has been blowing up as of late (Passion Pit, Yeasayer), so there is no reason for their debut EP, Momo, not to grab people’s attention. It’s fun and entertaining, the perfect mix for a summer album. If you’re into that kind of music (how could you not be at this time of the year?), go give them a listen. They might just be the next indie band to make it big. RIYL: Passion Pit, Yeasayer, Phoenix
I Call Fives - Washington Township, NJ AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: These days, few pop-punk bands catch my ear. To be honest the genre has so many generic bands that it’s stifling. So when something fresh comes around, you remember why you fell in love with the genre years ago. I Call Fives is that band for me. Infectious pop punk gems that go soar above the rest while kicking ass and taking names. Repping the Garden State the right way, only bigger and better things are to come from these boys, they are in it for the long run. RIYL: New Found Glory, Man Overboard, Fireworks
My Arcadia - Bronx, New York AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Is there anything more wonderful than loving what you do? Now “What you do” isn’t simply code for your job. What I mean is much more simple. Just love how you spend your time on a day-to-day basis. Too many of us waste our lives weeding rich people’s gardens or watching TBS Very Funny at 3 PM. So to hear a band like My Arcadia, led by songstress Jacqui Sandell, completely rock their faces off on EP City By The Sea, an album that will probably make them no money, is completely and ridiculously awesome. The band’s controlled angst and expertly produced, crunching guitars make for one hoot of a time. If My Arcadia came into prominence a few years ago, they’d be headlining Warped. But they didn’t and now all they have to rely on is their amazing talent. Warped 2011, make room. RIYL: Paramore, Hey Monday
Narrows - Seattle/London/Chula Vista AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: The underground post-hardcore scene is a revolving door of band members from one band getting together with band members from other bands. Narrows is no exception - but is exceptional. Containing ex-members of Botch, nineironspitfire, These Arms Are Snakes and Unbroken, the band are a heavy blend of mathcore elements and a thoughtful beatdown on the ears. Dave Verellen sounds as sharp as his Botch days, but don't think of this as v.2. Narrows bring a luminous sound all their own with New Distances and are breaking bones on their newest split with Heiress. Welcome your new punch to the face. RIYL: Elements of the members' past bands rolled into its own
Pearly Gate Music AP.net Profile| Myspace Why We Like: You know a band is special when Barsuk records signs them to release their debut album, and Pearly Gate Music are, indeed, special. Zach Tillman is the brother of J. Tillman, Fleet Foxes’ drummer, and just like them, he has released a stunning first album that’s not to be missed. Think J. Tillman meets Rocky Votolato and you have Pearly Gate Music. If that does not catch your attention, perhaps the music itself will. RIYL: J. Tillman, Rocky Votolato, Fleet Foxes
Raised By Swans AP.net Profile| Myspace Why We Like: Raised By Swans hail from London, Ontario – a city that is not particularly known for its local music scene. However, that might just change now. So far, Raised By Swans have been compared to Snow Patrol, Death Cab for Cutie, the love child of Interpol and Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World, and the list goes on. Either way, the band's latest release No Ghostless Place has left quite an impression on critics and casual listeners alike. It is a sad and melancholic album that pulls at your heartstrings, yet cheerful at times. It’s beautiful and Eric’s voice could not compliment the music any better. A must-have album for fans of Snow Patrol. RIYL: Snow Patrol, Death Cab for Cutie, Copeland
Spanish Gamble - Gainesville, FL AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: I know what you're thinking: great, another Gainesville punk band! Turn that frown upside down, negative Nancy because there is something in the water in that Florida city, and whatever it is has blessed everyone from Less Than Jake to Tim Tebow -- and now the magic has been bestowed upon Spanish Gamble. Formerly the band known as Dirty Money, these dudes know how to deviate destruction and get results. They're fast, angry and prone to slap you silly until you realize that honest, gritty punk rock made by genuine dudes is still remarkably fresh with every new listen. RIYL: The Menzingers, Nothington, Anchor Arms
The Artist Life - Toronto, ON AP.net Profile l Myspace Why We Like: The band is fairly new, but their vocalist Ian Blackwood did time in bands like Jersey and The Fullblast. You can certainly here some Jersey in The Artist Life, but the Rancid influence isn’t nearly as major. And while they’ve played many shows with Stereos, don’t assume they sound anything alike. The Artist Life is under polished pop-punk at its finest and when you listen to “Sleep So Sound” you’ll be pumping your fist and shouting along. Check back for their debut full-length which will be out sometime through Underground Operations. RIYL: Jersey, Living With Lions, The Menzingers
The Bear Romantic - Raleigh, NC AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Last year, Harvard was featured in the Absolute 100 with good reason. Their vocalist Jesse Clasen is an absolute animal with incredible range and pitch. So naturally this year we must feature his side project: The Bear Romantic. Instead of making progressive alternative jams, Jesse has gone to a more stripped down and organic sound that is ear candy, experimenting with various different sounds. The hot streak continues for this diamond in the rough because you won’t hear another record like this all year. RIYL: Harvard, Motions and Miles, Anthony Green
The Henry Clay People - Glendale, CA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: They recently released their third album Somewhere on the Golden Coast, which means The Henry Clay People have gone unnoticed for far too long. Fans of no-frills rock will appreciate their sound (an unpretentious mixture of 80's punk and college rock with a healthy dash of powerpop), as well as the everyman themes of songs like "Working Part Time", "Saturday Night" and "Your Famous Friends". Sleep on Coast or any of the band's records, and you're missing out on some of the best jams out there for cruising down the highway or raising a glass. RIYL: The Weakerthans, The Thermals, The Hold Steady
The Middle East - Queensland, Australia AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Septet The Middle East play earthy, organic folk not unlike Mumford and Sons and Anders Parker. While Mumford goes for the histrionic, and Anders tackles the sublime, The Middle East seem to rest somewhere in the middle. The moments of subdued grace and resonance aren't scarce, but the rising crescendos, most notably on lead single, "Blood," are something worth coming back to. RIYL: Mumford and Sons, Anders Parker, River City Extension
The Story So Far - Walnut Creek, CA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Four out of the five members of The Story So Far are still in high school, but they're making better music than most kids their age listen to. Having already made a name for themselves in the pop punk scene with a couple of EPs and weekend tours, the band is sure to only get better with age. Keep an eye on them, because once they graduate, record a full length, and get on the road, they will blow up. RIYL: Title Fight, The Movielife, Set Your Goals
This Love - Dayton, OH AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: It’s funny how I use to loathe the likes of The Maine and Cute is What We Aim For but yet This Love draws comparisons to both and I’m addicted to them. While I gave The Maine a second chance and found something to like in CIWWAF, This Love shines brighter than both. Focusing on a more polished piano pop / rock sound and delivering memorable vocals from Joe McFaddin, these guys are off to a hot start. With their first EP just dropping, they have a lot of room to improve, but they also have a lot of room to blow up. Both are bound to happen in a very short amount of time. RIYL: The Maine, Brighten, Cute Is What We Aim For
Tiger! Tiger! AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: I guess raw music is just something that I have always been attracted to. I guess that’s why I’m on this site. There is just something about a non-polished track that tugs on my heart strings. Tiger! Tiger! out of Michigan have just that, raw and fierce tunes. It doesn’t help that they are friends with the like of Nic Newsham and Thomas Dutton, two of the west coast’s finest. While they just released their new album, It’ll Still Be There When You’re Ready For It, the band has me ready for what’s to come. RIYL: Bayside, Gatsbys American Dream, Forgive Durden
Tim and Sam's Tim and the Sam Band with Tim and Sam AP.net Profile| Myspace Why We Like: How could such a ridiculously awesome name not catch someone’s attention? It probably did yours if you’re reading this! So now that you’ve read this, you’re probably curious as to what they sound like. Is their music as ridiculous as their name? Perhaps so, but in a good way. Their sophomore album, Life Stream, was released earlier this year and it is easily one of the best and most beautiful instrumental folk-rock albums that you will probably come across – it’s simply lovely. So whether you check it out because of their name, or because you like the genre, that is an album that you should not miss out on this year. RIYL: Blamorhea, Beirut
Touche Amore - Los Angeles, CA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: I'm unsure what exactly Touche Amore are trying to do. Do they want to be a hardcore band? Do they want to be a traditional screamo band? Their "on the surface" identity crisis is a positive one, as their debut serves as a well ridden line of beautiful lyricism and instrumental bite. Who says you have to be all tough and no heart? Touche Amore have set themselves up for a bright future with a great beat through the amp and in the chest. Even better, that can mean anywhere. RIYL: Thursday, Bane, Since By Man
Two Hours Traffic - Charlottetown, PEI AP.net Profile l Myspace Why We Like: The Maritimes is known for its breathtaking scenery more than its music scene, but bands like Two Hours Traffic are proof that could change soon. This band isn’t entirely new and their previous record Little Jabs was even considered for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize, but they’ve remained rather unknown despite their big hooks. Their third full length Territory was released this past fall and the tracks will be stuck in your head instantly with their infectious melodies. RIYL: Pop rock, Joel Plaskett, catchy hooks
Ultrageist - Long Island, NY AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Talk about combining computers, chaos and carnage in one brutal freak-out. Did I mention there's some harmony in all of this? Welcome Long Island's Ultrageist to your next mix of ridiculous and interesting metalcore - in a good way. The band's self-titled debut is part doom, part Patton and a ton of fun. It's all over the place like your last math final, but not as sloppy as your answers. RIYL: iwrestledabearonce, Glassjaw, Mr. Bungle
Voxhaul Broadcast - Los Angeles, CA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Playing a catchy mix of just-pop-enough indie rock and soulful vocals, Voxhaul Broadcast have been groomed in the same scene as Local Natives and The Outline as well as other up-and-comers such as The Union Line and are sure to take on the mantle as one of the next big indie rock bands to come out of Los Angeles. RIYL: Local Natives, Eastern Conference Champions
Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys - Boston, MA AP.net Profile | Website Why We Like: Walter Sickert & The Army of Broken Toys consists of some of the most talented musicians and artists from the Boston area. Individually they are good, but banded together they create a unique sound that falls somewhere between musical theater and circus music. The same can be said about their engaging live show, which ranges from a duo to upwards of a dozen performers. Each song, layered in a variety of instruments, takes listeners on a whimsical journey. They may not be the most marketable group, but they are certainly one of the most original. With a number of eclectic releases under their belt, the band is content with being your local arthouse's best kept secret. RIYL: The Decemberists, The Dresden Dolls, Johnny Cash
We Are the In Crowd - Poughkeepsie, NY AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: While most pop rock is lost in a crowded shuffle nowadays, We Are the In Crowd manage to stand above the rest. Dual vocals from Tay Jardine and Jordan Eckes paced their latest EP, Guaranteed to Disagree, and were complemented by backhanded lyrics and an easygoing vibe. While We Are the In Crowd may not be the most creative or distinctive group around, they do have the potential to be mainstream crossovers. A summer-long gig on Warped Tour should see this group convert some listeners into fans as one of the burgeoning pop rock acts right now. RIYL: All Time Low, Paramore
Angel Eyes - Chicago, Illinois AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Angel Eyes were a band I instantly loved but expected nothing from. Their 2007 album scared the shit out of me in the most welcoming of ways. It was a record where broad, prolonged, extensive instrumental sections wove like ivy before terrifying screams dropped doses of knowledge. So when the band unveiled Midwestern this year, I peed my pants from terror and excitement – people who were recently virgins, you know what I’m talking about. Midwestern contains the same emotion, yet in a more structured form. Its 4 songs last more than 40 minutes, yet the marathon flashes by like the most demented of psychological thrillers. But please, only apply if you’re ready to see what lies in the void. RIYL: Pyramids, Suis La Lune, European screamo stuff
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/Midwestern I.mp3"]Angel Eyes - "Midwestern I"[/button]
Angus & Julia Stone AP.net Profile| Myspace Why We Like: Angus & Julia Stone came back stronger than ever with their sophomore release, Down The Way, gaining many new fans. This brother and sister duo have created one of the finest indie folk albums to date and it would not be a stretch to call it one of the most beautiful and captivating albums, musically and lyrically, to have come out this year so far. If you enjoyed their debut album, or if you have yet to hear this little gem, then please do yourself a favor and find a copy of Down The Way; you will be blown away. RIYL: Fleet Foxes, Elliott Smith
[button=http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/04 - Big Jet Plane.mp3]Angus & Julia Stone - "Big Jet Plane"[/button]
Bright & Early - South Jersey AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: A breath of fresh New Jersey air in a scene polluted by super bright colors, Bright and Early represent our pop punk past as well as what we hope to be our pop punk future. Catchy, honest tunes infiltrated the band's debut EP in June and set the stage for Bright and Early to be your favorite new DIY band. Having gained some attention from their scathing shot at All Time Low and other sell-out bands in their song "Something Personal", Bright and Early opened more ears when Louder Than Words was released. A group of hard-working, down-to-earth guys who make pop punk the way it's supposed to be made, Bright and Early are a no-brainer Absolute 100 pick and are definitely a band to keep an eye out in the future. RIYL: Midtown, Bayside
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/03. Slow One.mp3"]Bright & Early - "Slow One"[/button]
City of Ships – Penascola, FL AP.net Profile l Myspace Why We Like: City of Ships’ sound is gargantuan: waves of crunchy, bludgeoning chords crash upon airy passages and bestial roars. It’s the kind of music you’d expect to be blaring on Judgment Day, if God was into progressive post-hardcore. Not so many bands nowadays can pull off heavy and technical, but the Florida group does so not only with ease, but with joy. At least, that’s what all the vicious tracks they’ve written would have you believe. RIYL: Constants, Rosetta, Thrice
[button=http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/01 Wraiths in Flight.mp3]City of Ships - "Wraiths in Flight"[/button]
Everyone Everywhere - Philadelphia, PA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: A band being deeply indebted to the past usually isn't enough to make them noteworthy-- unless "the past" means '90s emo, in which case, we're all ears. Everyone Everywhere's new self-titled album would almost sound like lost recordings from The Promise Ring's earlier days were it not for the more up-to-date lyrics like, "spelling the words without vowels, calling people on the phone is out now." Over time, it's easy to forget what it's like to be young and still really feel, but Everyone Everywhere is like an effortless and resonant reminder of our yearning youth. RIYL: Hey Mercedes, Mineral, The Promise Ring
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/Everyone Everywhere - Blown Up Grown Up.mp3"]Everyone Everywhere - "Blown Up Grown Up"[/button]
Exit She Calls - Bergen County, NJ AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Seems these days, anytime a female vocalist is fronting a band, there's only one logical comparison to make: they sound like Paramore. Fun fact: there were female-fronted rock/emo bands before Hayley Williams told us the business of misery, and with all due respect, it's about time more bands approached pop-rock the way Meg & Dia do or Element 101 did. Exit She Calls demonstrates a careful practice in elementary pop music while showing off how enjoyable a more deconstructed sound can be in this day and age. Containing all the glitz and glamour of a Paramore-esque sound while still keeping things off-kilter and bombastic like Veruca Salt, Exit She Calls are the best band 1998 never got to see. RIYL: Smoking Popes, Element 101, Letters to Cleo
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/01-exit_she_calls-miscommunications.mp3"]Exit She Calls - "Miscommunications"[/button]
Grown Ups - Chicago, IL AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Grown Ups have found a happy medium between emo and punk rock. They combine off-kilter melodies with anthemic singalongs, noodly guitar lines with staccato riffs, and rawness with passion. It also doesn't hurt that they have the stamp of approval from Motion City Soundtrack's Justin Pierre, who sang on a demo with the band. The quartet's full-length debut, More Songs, has satisfied those looking looking to relive the glory days of late 90s underground music. RIYL: Algernon Cadwallader, Cap'n Jazz, Lifetime
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/01-grown_ups-weed_science.mp3"]Grown Ups - "Weed Science"[/button]
Gun Outfit - Olympia, WA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: This one is for the few people who will inevitably scroll through our little list of bands and feel the need to remind us that we are Absolute Punk. If you wish you could go back in time if only to score yourself some original pressings from SST Records circa 1984, and you're not already familiar with Gun Outfit, prepare to Flip Your Wig. With those quarter-century-old records still sounding so fresh and exciting today, it's mystifying that more of today's bands aren't ripping pages out of this playbook. Sharp hooks, dual vocals and guitars with that old-school lo-fi buzz will probably never get old. RIYL: Husker Du, Beat Happening, Sonic Youth
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/Gun Outfit - Work Experience.mp3"]Gun Outfit - "Work Experience"[/button]
Kisses - Los Angeles, CA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Kisses is the new band from Jesse Kivel of LA afropop act Princeton and also LA musician Zinzi Edmundson, blending a love for dark and instrumental disco with vocals reminiscent of Belle & Sebastian. It's radio pop meets disco four-on-the-floor dance beats, and is music that evokes scenes of late nights at the beachside dance club. RIYL: Princeton, Delorean, Ceronne
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/03 People Can Do The Most Amazing Things.mp3"]Kisses - "People Can Do The Most Amazing Things"[/button]
La Dispute - Grand Rapids, MI AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: When I first heard Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair, it brought me back a few years, where passion wasn't lost through autotune and cheap lyrics. The remnants of La Dispute so far pull from elements of overseas screamo and homeland "born out of the basement" juggernauts. La Dispute seem to be leading the way with a few others producing quality over eyeliner and cheap synths. It seems like the new class of substance is about to graduate, and La Dispute are poised to be the valedictorians of the new post-hardcore. RIYL: Thursday, mewithoutYou, Envy
[button="http://buzznet-01.vo.llnwd.net/assets/apmedia/03NewStormsforOlderLovers.mp3"]La Dispute - "New Storms For Older Lovers"[/button]
Library Voices - Regina, SK AP.net Profile l Myspace Why We Like: Library Voices formed just two years ago and their full length debut Denim on Denim was released this past April followed by even more touring across Canada. Their smooth vocals, smart lyrics and catchy choruses are sure to appeal to anyone. And with songs like “Love in the Age of Absurdity,” it’s certain this 8 piece band is one of the better things to come out of Regina. RIYL: Fleetwood Mac, indie pop, The Kinks
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/05 Love in the Age of Absurdity.mp3"]Library Voices - "Love in the Age of Absurdity"[/button]
Mixtapes - Cincinnati, OH AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Like a Jolly Rancher, Mixtapes are sugary-sweet, delightfully delicious and keep their enticing pop jingles to minimum satisfaction. Containing the witty and jubilant emotion of '90's alternative bands with a melodic approach assisted by a pleasant female voice, it's like witnessing a Woodstock mentality displaced in the 1990's winding up in a modern-era of DIY pop-punk. The band's debut full-length Maps doesn't even stretch 20-minutes, but it's enough time to hear plenty of promise in this young group that now has two -- count 'em two! -- releases so far this year (both of which are available through their myspace for FREE!). Eventually, their buoyant and bouncy pop music will be able to fill an entire summer's worth of memories. For now, half an hour on repeat will do just fine. RIYL: Lemuria, The Promise Ring, Gin Blossoms
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/04 And If We Both Fail_.mp3"]Mixtapes - "And If We Both Fail_"[/button]
PaperDoll - Brooklyn, NY AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: New York City's PaperDoll are led by emerging chanteuse Teresa Lee Chaisiri, whose charisma, confidence and strong-lunged vocals call to mind Karen O. While the band's debut BalladNerdPop has more of a Brit-rock influence, there's still a good bit of Yeah Yeah Yeahs at work here. Commercially accessible, richly produced and deeply textured, it's a compelling work for a band far too under-the-radar.
Recommended If You Like: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Morningwood, Duran Duran
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/06 - She Said.mp3"]PaperDoll - "She Said"[/button]
Phantogram - Saratoga Springs, NY AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter, the duo collectively known as Phantogram, create an ethereal brand of trip-hop that's as penetrating as anything the genre has seen recently. With its pounding percussion, reverb-soaked guitars and Barthel's melancholy, chill-inducing voice, their aptly titled debut Eyelid Movies is surprisingly stunning, like an auditory excusion into some eerily distorted dreamworld. It's spooky at first, but immerse yourself long enough, and you might not want to come back to reality. RIYL: Portishead, Massive Attack, Mazzy Star
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/Phantogram - Mouthful of Diamonds.mp3"]Phantogram - "Mouthful of Diamonds"[/button]
Pianos Become the Teeth - Baltimore City/Annapolis AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Passion reigns over modern technology. Pianos Become the Teeth bring us back to the days of intensity through the music, instead of glossy production as a mask. With their debut LP, Old Pride shows us all that great compositions will reign over cheap hooks and well keyed falsettos. Blending late 90's post-hardcore with a contemporary feel, the band are poised to be an underground hit for those of us itching for something a bit more realistic and less animatronic. RIYL: Funeral Diner, City of Caterpillar, Diatro
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/New%20Normal.mp3"]Pianos Become the Teeth - "New Normal"[/button]
Squid The Whale - Detroit, MI AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Like many other kids in this scene Gatsbys American Dream was a monumental game changer in our musical tastes and interests. When they hit the scene it was something new and refreshing. Nic Newsham’s signature voice, the progressives elements and the pop hooks all played seemingly perfect together. Well it’s been years now since they have made music as a collective, but fear not, Squid The Whale are prowl. Led by Robert Weber’s dynamic vocals and backed by a tight rhythm section and intricate guitar leads, there is no excuse for you to not give them a listen. RIYL: Gatsbys American Dream, My American Heart, The Audition
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/02 Anchors.mp3"]Squid The Whale - "Anchors"[/button]
Tanlines - Brooklyn, New York AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: There’s always room for party music. My grandparents still have parties. Heck, people have parties after funerals. Let’s face it: party music is a recession proof industry. Lately party music has meant odes to beach bonfires and weird masturbatory offerings to surfers by people who can’t even surf. Tanlines fall in this group in only a complimentary way. (Obviously.) There’s a nice synthetic 80’s vibe throughout the band’s debut EP Settings. It’s the sort of music you play on day one of your weeklong vacation, regardless of destination. It’s all grins throughout every lyric, percussive flourish or high-pitched electronic note. Tanlines don’t brighten cloudy days; they brighten cloudy lives. SEMICOLON! RIYL: The Tough Alliance, Memory Tapes, Junior Boys
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/Real%20Life-Tanlines.mp3"]Tanlines - "Real Life"[/button]
The Dig - New York, NY AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Don't we have enough "the" bands to last us through the next millennium after the start of this one? Well, don't discount The Dig just yet. The band lays down some sexy beats and beautiful harmonies all wrapped in bar band spirit. Through all our hipster taste or meathead hardcore urges, The Dig sit at a wonderful extreme of chill head nods that follow the band's key rhythms and radio worthy hits. It's hard to pinpoint a genre for the band's debut Electric Toys, but "great rock songs" can be a start. RIYL: The Black Keys, The Walkmen
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/%281%29The%20Dig%20-%20Two%20Sisters%20In%20Love.mp3"]The Dig - "Two Sisters in Love"[/button]
The Felix Culpa - Chicago, IL AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: I’ve stated it time and time again, I know nothing about how music works. Based solely on the fact that bands that deserve to be big, headlining shows, and selling out arenas rarely get it. The Felix Culpa have been around for awhile now and this year they released their strongest and most complete record to date: Sever Your Roots. An album that is more than just music, it’s an experience. Dark and full, Sever Your Roots is a perfect appetizer, dinner and dessert. How can you go wrong with a full course meal? RIYL: Brand New, Engine Down, As Cities Burn
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/02 Our Holy Ghosts.mp3"]The Felix Culpa - "Our Holy Ghosts"[/button]
Tiger Please - Cardiff, Wales AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Welsh outfit Tiger Please have a knack for the bombastic. Their sophomore album Seasons is a sonically dense, arena-ready collection of thumping bass, pounding drums and cacophonous guitars. There's something grandiose, highly ambitious and incredibly confident about every single second on this effort. If this is the sound of a band just now hitting their stride, the future is assuredly bright.
Recommended If You Like: Manchester Orchestra, Gaslight Anthem, Pearl Jam
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/Tiger Please - There's No Hero in Heroin.mp3"]Tiger Please - "There's No Hero in Heroin"[/button]
Tiger Riot - Franklin Square, NY AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Tiger Riot: They happen to be new to the scene but have already made some solid connections that seem to be pointing them in the right direction. With their EP being mixed by Casey Crescenzo and friends in other up and coming New York bands, Tiger Riot has nothing but a bright future. Think if The Dear Hunter and The Graduate had a baby, that sexy baby would be this band. RIYL: The Dear Hunter, The Graduate, Kaddisfly
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/01 Time is On Your Side.mp3"]Tiger Riot - "Time is On Your Side"[/button]
Too Tall Grizzly - Naugatuck, CT AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Heavier music seems to lose it's originality more and more as the days go by. Generic breakdowns that are fed to you with a plastic spoon and sloppy screams seem to be the qualifications to make it. Now with a reoccuring trend of synthesizers being brought into the mix, the equations continues to go down a neverending hill. Luckily there are bands like Every Time I Die and Maylene And The Sons of Disaster that keep the raw passion and feriocity alive. Well there is a new band that is about to become a fan favorite to the genre. Too Tall Grizzly out of Conneticut are giving the Hardcore scene a sucker punch to the face and a swift kick to the balls. Their in your face riffs and throat tearing screams leave you wanting to lay mayhem to hardcore dancers this side of the mississippi. The band just signed to Broken English Records so expect more from these boys in the near future. RIYL: Emanuel, Every Time I Die, Glassjaw
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/01 The Big Finish.mp3"]Too Tall Grizzly - "The Big Finish"[/button]
Valaska - Chicago, IL AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Depressed, somber and crushed were all words that applied to me and my life when I found out that Copeland was disbanding. A band that had shaped my musical spectrum and helped me through the roughest points in my life to date were calling it a day. After I worked through sadness, I came to the realization that all of the guys would still be doing something musically, just in different outlets. Aaron chose to produce music and with that comes unrecognized talent. The spotlight is shifted onto Valaska, a one man project of Dave Valdez. Creating soothing and subtle songs in vein of the likes of Copeland, you can’t go wrong here. RIYL: Copeland, Sleeping At Last, Jeremy Larson
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/03 Maverick.mp3"]Valaska - "Maverick"[/button]
Warpaint - Los Angeles, CA AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: Beautiful music meets beautiful women in this four piece shoegazing project out of L.A. Recently a hit at this year's South by Southwest Festival, the band mix magical harmonies and fluid tones on their debut EP Exquisite Corpse. The band border a hint of post-rock through all their sonic glaze and combine vocal harmonies worth every note they ring out as they play counterpoint to their instruments. RIYL: Silversun Pickups, My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/Warpaint%20%281%29%20-%20Billie%20Holiday.mp3"]Warpaint - "Billie Holiday"[/button]
Zlam Dunk - San Marcos, TX AP.net Profile | Myspace Why We Like: I want to brodown and have it be a party and not an aggressive display of chauvinism. Zlam Dunk know how to bring the jam, throw in some synth without it tasting like rotten cheese and gearing the crowd up for some release - in a non-violent way. It's not about quick words and heavy chugs either. It's an upward roar built on lyrics read more like stories building to the exposition and instruments crescendoing the same. RIYL: Therefore I Am, Fang Island, Dr. Manhattan
[button="http://cdn.buzznet.com/assets/apmedia/zlam%20dunk%20-%20Vice.mp3"]Zlam Dunk - "Vice"[/button]