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Absolute 100 of 2011

Written by: Adam Pfleider (09/01/11)
Each year we highly anticipate albums by our favorite artists that we've been following for years. Not to get too tangled up in what we've come to be familiar with through our headphones, there's always a new class of upstarts singing, arranging and bashing out new tunes to be part of the grand music community of artists. Every year we're more than fortunate to come across some new gems. Now it's time to present to you our annual Absolute 100. We hope you find yourself something new and special for your playlist as we already have discovered ourselves.
- "Thrillhouse" Van Houten







Arrange- Ft. Lauderdale, FL
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: Malcom Lacey has been releasing music for the past year or so now and with each release he manages to combine a plethora of beautiful pieces of music with Conor Oberst-esque vocals that are both fragile in their delivery and their roots, in a truly captivating way. His debut album, Plantation, is full to the brim with layers of noise, beats and delicate instrumentation all of which end up producing an exciting and ambient melancholy.
RIYL: Perfume Genius, Bright Eyes, The Field
Tiny Little Boy


Around the World and Back - Albany, NY
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: These gentlemen from upstate New York first caught our ear when their Van Go '08 EP appeared in our mailbox a few years ago. Their loud but shimmering guitars were evocative of The Appleseed Cast and Antenna-era Cave-In, and there was no shortage of songwriting smarts. Fast forward a bit, and Big Beat, the latest full-length from Around the World and Back, delivers on the promise and then some. Their spacious sound seems to have taken some cues from '90s Britrock, which has tempered their muscle and angst with jangle and grace. The results seem primed for bigger audiences. How a label signing has eluded them thus far remains a mystery, but don't let that dissuade you from giving Beat a spin now; the bandwagon could be full before you know it.
RIYL: U2, Dredg, Evaline
Old Man


Bad Rabbits - Boston, MA
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Who would think a pop/hip-hop/rock group would gain such a backing from the scene? Even though the band belongs nowhere near a bill with the likes of A Loss For Words, Four Year Strong, and more, but Bad Rabbits is always the band that finds its way on shows with much delight. Fusing several genres of music to create a hybrid sound that one could only fathom in their dreams, the band recently grabbed a spot on Warped Tour and is poised for more in the fall.
RIYL: Vonnegutt, Michael Jackson meets The Deftones
Booties


Beeches - Kent, England
AP.net Profile | Soundcloud
Why We Like: Beeches is the project of Tom Middleton Joseph from Kent, England. With the majority of his tracks being self-produced in his bedroom, it has now got to a stage where he has started to assemble a full band and take the songs out to a live setting as well as work with other producers. What started as a mainly acoustic setup has now turned into brooding and dramatic, baritone fueled songs full of hooks and dizzying effects. Receiving local radio play and a dedicated following, this is just the birth of Beeches.
RIYL: Interpol, Grizzly Bear
Never More


Believe You Me - Chicago, IL / South Bend, IN
Ap.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Full of energy and youth, Believe You Me capture a Hit Lights Feel throughout their debut record, For The Record. Taylor Katt can clearly belt his lungs out throughout each strong, and the other musicians don’t pause for a second, either. With this kind of fervor and dedication, Believe You Me could very well release a solid sophomore record, expanding even further the sound that made us enjoy their debut record back in October.
RIYL: Hit The Lights, Blink-182
Same Old Story


The Cinema - Los Angeles, California
Ap.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: When The Cinema were introduced, I’m pretty sure all of us Lydia fanatics thought we’d died and gone to heaven. If you were worried about how this would sound – as it’s clearly different than Lydia – look no further than “Kill It” and “The Wolf” for reassurance that Leighton will always deliver. As always, his vocals are uniquely delicious, making the need to hear more from both The Cinema and Lydia even greater. As we anxiously await My Blood Is Full Of Airplanes and further Lydia news, one thing is certain, The Cinema will be one of the most watched bands of the year, with the record being highly anticipated by many.
RIYL: Lydia, The Postal Service
The Wolf


Code Orange Kids - Pittsburgh, PA
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: When I first heard that the members of Code Orange Kids were seventeen, my jaw dropped. Then I thought about the naive nature of most young punk upstarts and how they had the complete lack of "what is the moment" and not "what was it that made the moment" as an ideology. With one EP and a cassette, a bunch of kids are making better hardcore and thrash than most of you elders that are just now starting to figure yourself out.
RIYL: Majority Rule, Trash Talk, Ampere
I. (FOUNDATIONS STAND STILL)


Daytrader - Queens, NY
Myspace
Why We Like: We all miss early Further Seems Forever and similar acts. We miss all of the early 2000’s emo sound and the music of those days. However, it seems Daytrader are here to remind us the reason we all fell in love with the sound. One of the most direct and honest EPs of the year thus far, Last Days of Rome is a staple pop-punk EP of 2011. Musically and lyrically, Daytrader are ahead of the pack, which is expended due to the background of the members. As we await their full-length, we are all expecting to be blown away.
RIYL: Further Seems Forever, Anberlin, Saves The Day
Kill My Compass


Elway - Fort Collins, CO
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: This band made headlines when former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway threatened legal action. And if that didn't persuade you to listen, now's as good a time as any. Formerly known as 10-4 Eleanor, this band sounds better than ever on Delusions, which was released through Red Scare Industries earlier this year. If you feel like you've heard every punk release so far this year, make sure you've heard this one too.
RIYL: The Lawrence Arms, The Copyrights
Spent So Long


Forever Came Calling - Twentynine Palms, CA
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Remember when pop-punk was care-free and was all about having fun? This So-Cal 3 piece is the definition of having fun at a show. Whether they are playing a cover of "Seventy Times Seven" or blazing through the incredible track, "The Office," the band has been on the road non-stop for the past year. Doing everything completely DIY, they have been building a sizable fan-base by having some of the hardest work ethic in the scene today. Oh, and you might recognize them as the stars in the upcoming Warped Tour documentary.
RIYL: Transit, Handguns
The Office


Former Thieves - Cedar Falls, IA
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: For a while there, hardcore's marriage to metal had become a tough guy scene of no thoughts and expected breakdowns - one after the other. Thankfully, the Midwest has produced some mathematical thought back into the heavy game with this year's The Language That We Speak. The band's first full-length is a bold sharpie slowly crossing out the last few years of boredom. Anything that is forceful and intelligent at the same time has the best features when getting noticed, especially in the swell of music that is this year.
RIYL: Botch, Native, Poison the Well
First World Blues


Gypsyblood - Chicago, IL
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: If metal and post-punk and pop had a strange child, it would sound like the Chicago outfit Gypsyblood. Cold in the Guestway is bright at times and comes off as bitter at others, but is all entrancing throughout its delivery. The band's live show pushes the studio sound to this shell of clean vocals and nasty overdrive from one of the Midwest's next promising acts to take their love of different styles by leaving the cap off the blender on high.
RIYL: Pavement, Jesus and Mary Chain, Gang of Four

Take Your Picture


He Is We - Tacoma, Washington
Ap.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: What’s not to like here? Rachel Taylor is absolutely gorgeous, and My Forever is simply a feel good, heartfelt pop record. It’s fun, catchy, and cheerful. Only one record in and with the massive takeoff that “Forever And Ever” has already had, He Is We could very well be the next huge female fronted group.
RIYL: The Morning Of, Sara Bareilles, States
Kiss It Better


James Cleaver Quintet, The - South Coast, England
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: A band that oozes frantic energy both live and on record, their songs are so packed full of frenzied riffs and relentless drive that it feels as though whatever speakers you have, they just aren't enough to contain what The JCQ has to offer. Sounding like At The Drive-In at their most dynamic combined with an air of DIY punk, their debut album, That Was Then, This Is Now, is sure to add to their ever-growing fan base.
RIYL: Refused, At The Drive-In
Eyes For Ears


La Shark - London, England
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Combining unique vocals with a hint of Talking Heads and David Bowie's pop sensibilities, La Shark make for a very interesting listen. Fitting in perfectly to supporting slots with the likes of The Maccabees or pop queen Paloma Faith, it's clear that this group can cover many demographics with their music. They manage to sound like an art project on record without ever sounding pretentious or confused, now it's just time to wait for their debut album.
RIYL: Egyptian Hip Hop, Talking Heads, Patrick Wolf
I Know What You Did Last Summer


Louellen - London, England
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Mix layers of perfectly executed drones, tones and noise with infectious melodies and lyrics that could be likened to the style of Conor Oberst or Elliott Smith and you get Louellen. But there's a lot more to this band than any quick comparisons will do justice. They balance their angst with the intricacies perfectly in every one of their songs, as shown by the delicate and catchy guitar hooks contrasted by walls of sound and a pounding rhythm section in a quick switch. They worked with Charlie Hugall (featured on The Guardian's "Best New Producers of 2011" list) on their debut release, The Watch Clock EP, which is out this year and it won't be long until you see this band truly making a name for themselves or fitting in perfectly on any part of the Beggars Group record company.
RIYL: The National, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine
Enid


Lucy Rose - London, England
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: After providing backing vocals on their acoustic album and touring with Bombay Bicycle Club, Lucy Rose has started to attract a very dedicated following. Managing to write songs that toe the line perfectly between folk and pop, Lucy Rose also sings with a voice that is delicate, husky and melodic all at once. Changing from upbeat sing-a-long tracks to songs that make you listen so intently that you end up holding your breath. Currently getting ready for the release of her first single, "Middle Of The Bed", Lucy Rose looks like one to really watch make a name for herself in a similar way to Laura Marling.
RIYL: Laura Marling, Bombay Bicycle Club, Julia Stone
Middle Of The Bed


O'Brother - Atlanta, GA
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: You have to be damn good to get signed in the indie rock scene. It's even more impressive when Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra signs you to his label and co-produces your debut full length. With layers of heavy guitars and pounding drums, the 5 piece from Atlanta, GA is poised for immediate success. Drawing from a wide array of influences like Isis, Muse, and Radiohead, O'Brother will melt your ears on their debut full length record.
RIYL: Manchester Orchestra, Brand New, The Appleseed Cast
Division Of Man


Pepper Rabbit - Los Angeles, CA
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Pepper Rabbit are definitely not afraid of change, which is pretty much a prerequisite for being a band worthy of interest in our current ADD-addled culture. Last year's Beauregard was filled with gentle acoustic strums, stately horn flourishes and laid-back harmonies, evoking Fleet Foxes and Okkervil River in equal measure. Their newly released Red Velvet Snowball is a drastic about-face, relying heavily on sparkling electronic touches and giving off an Animal Collective-lite psychedelic vibe. Such a sharp stylistic turn is ballsy, but just like it's predecessor, Snowball is buoyed by strong vocal performances and instantly hummable songs. This SoCal duo is a rare combination of the consistency that has produced material already worth celebrating and the unpredictability to keep us wondering what's next.
RIYL: Grizzly Bear, of Montreal, Phoenix
Dance Card


Rumspringer - Tempe, AZ
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: Yet another punk band you have to listen to is Rumspringer. They released the underrated Empty Towers through Traffic Street, a label that's fairly underrated as well. They sound so familiar, almost too familiar sometimes, but they're still worth listening to if you can't get enough of bands that sound like Latterman. And "Sometimes Dead Is Better" has a chorus that's guaranteed to have you shouting along.
RIYL: The Flatliners, Dear Landlord
Sometimes Dead Is Better


Shabazz Palaces - Seattle, WA
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Having led jazz-rap collective Digable Planets in the mid-'90s, Ishmael Butler seems to have a knack for placing himself firmly on the fringes of hip-hop. His latest project, Shabazz Palaces, does little to change the trend, eschewing the singsong-y flows employed by mainstream and indie acts alike, instead favoring fractured beats and minimalist production. You can't argue with the results which are often disconcerting, occasionally dizzying, and always reflective of an artist who obviously still retains more than enough fascination with sonic possibility.
RIYL: Dalek, Antipop Consortium, Dr. Octagon
Are You... Can You... Were You? (Felt)


Sundials - Richmond, VA
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: Mix C heap Girls with Pavement and you might have Sundials. Never Settle has been overlooked by many people in 2011, which is a shame because this band really knows how to write a catchy hook. The production is so raw it almost sounds like they recorded the songs at a show. And the singing can be a little monotone, but that's just part of this band's charm. And this band does it better than most.
RIYL: Cheap Girls, Pavement
Names That Matter Most


Thing About Rivals, The - Pasadena, CA
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Sabrina, a meaty six-track EP that clocks in at a shade under a half-hour, introduces us to The Thing About Rivals' woodsy Americana, a mixture of organic arrangements and dreamy harmonies propelled by just a splash of reverb and crunch. Nature figures heavily in their artwork and lyrics, and it's apropos; their sound is as spacious and free as a clear blue sky and as refreshing as a breath of cool mountain air at sunrise. While it's more than sturdy enough to stand up on its own, we can only hope Sabrina is merely an aperitif for the full-length the quartet promise is currently in the works.
RIYL: Local Natives, The Walkmen, The Morning Benders
Crystal Lounge


Themes - Portland, Oregon
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: The members of Themes understand what it is to convey emotion. Each and every track bleeds with personality and atmosphere, creating aural soundscapes that are both beautiful and bleak in their composition. Vocalists McIntosh and Crawford signature delivery styles play off each other well, a sorrowful combination that lives up to the band's name. Their latest release The Phantom is as thematic as they come, lush and heavy in a way few artists these days can imitate. If you're in the mood for something with a bit of weight to it, look no further than Themes.
RIYL: Dense, atmospheric musical landscapes.
Valdez


True Widow - Dallas, TX
AP.net Profile | Blog
Why We Like: Lush, haunting, and heavy is what describes the band's immense sound made by only three people. With their second record, True Widow stepped it up for themselves with more tightly arranged songs and better ebb and flow than their self-titled debut, which already turned a few heads. If after one listen you're not submerged into what the band has to offer, I'm not sure I have faith in your musical tastes.
RIYL: Pelican, Warpaint, Young Widows
Jackyl
 
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11:52 PM on 09/01/11
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Adam Pfleider
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A Common Year - Indianapolis, Indiana
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: A Common Year sound as if they’ve been around a lot longer than just over a year. Between Cities was a small gem in early 2010 as a pop-rock album perfect for the wintry weather. If their debut record is any indication of what’s to come, it’s clear we can expect big things from the sophomore follow-up this year. Lyrically leagues above other new artists in their genre, A Common Year are a band to watch out for.
RIYL: Jimmy Eat World, Armor For Sleep, Acceptance
Try


Aficionado - Albany, NY
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: Hooks sometimes get associated with the word pop music just a bit too much. The hooks that lay across Aficionado's first full-length album aren't pop in the least - they're well executed rock numbers. Aficionado's mature sound is reminiscent of when our favorite bands learned to play their instruments and write songs with precession and rock accuracy. The damn thing is, Aficionado are doing pretty much out of the gate.
RIYL: Piebald, Hey Mercedes, Criteria

The Things You Like


Batwings Catwings - Los Angeles, CA
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: A four-track EP from earlier this year entitled Peacock Collection is all we know about these Los Angelinos, but it's more than enough to get hooked on, establishing the band as one the more unique acts around. Jittery beats, sharp guitar blasts and riot-grrl vocals fill the disc's short run-time and generate a palpable excitement, which is all too hard to find in the era of been-there-heard-that. If your playlists are starting to sound stale lately, let Batwings Catwings supply a shot of adrenaline straight to your headphones.
RIYL: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sleater-Kinney, Pretty Girls Make Graves
Endless Summer


Birds In Row - Laval, France
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: Rarely do we spotlight a band hailing from this area, but when we do, one should acknowledge that it's a real gem; a diamond in the rough. A French trio on fire, Birds In Row possess the awe-inducing intensity of Refused and robust songwriting abilities that will both enchant you and make you scream for more all in one breath. It's more than enough to say they're the band to keep an eye on in 2012.
RIYL: Pariso, Tragedy
Among The Ashes


Casting Curses - Upstate, New York
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: A familiar name on the site, we felt it was an opportune time to finally showcase upstate NY's Casting Curses' admirable work ethic, especially when hardcore seems to fall below the receptive radar periodically. Fueled by elements of metal, defiant, and flat out hungry for the wild ride that defines life, Casting Curses have taken musical cues from the best of Detroit hardcore and long-standing pioneers 108, with a good hint of eeriness.
RIYL: Like Wolves, Last Lights
Let's Ride


Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea - Brighton, England
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Last August, Crooked Mountain, Crooked Sea dropped a criminally underheard beast of an EP on the world. I Watched It From the Roadside is a striking display of Dischord revivalism with a dash of Slint-like dynamics and a sprinkling of Brand New circa Devil and God, it's cold, penetrating songs forging the perfect soundtrack for the gray fall days that followed its release. The shoutier approach taken on the band's latest album What's There to Write About? doesn't work out as consistently well for them, but any band with an album like Roadside in their catalog is more than worth keeping an eye on.
RIYL: Fugazi, Bear vs. Shark, La Dispute
They Don't Mean Anything


Dangercat - Winnipeg, MB
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: Winnipeg is starting to learn about Dangercat and chances are the rest of Canada might start to catch on as well. This brand new pop-punk band just released a four song EP back in October and they've scored slots opening for Living With Lions and The Flatliners in their hometown. And it's not a surprise because these guys have written some great punk songs that could be at home on a label like Paper + Plastick.
RIYL: The Flatliners, Living With Lions
Head In The Clouds


Death Grips - Sacramento, California
AP.net Profile | Website
Why We Like: Sacramento natives Death Grips are a ballistic force to be reckoned with. Led by accomplished percussionist Zach Hill (Hella, El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez Lopez), these hip-hop innovators incorporate a vast array of influences to create a sound that's both refreshing and unnerving. The intimidating combination of distorted production and gritty screamed vocals makes every track on their recently released mixtape Exmilitary an extraordinary experience. If you're in the mood for something abrasive and unique, look no further than Death Grips.
RIYL: Progressive sounds, breakbeat and punk influenced hip-hop, gnarled and heavy production.
Takyon (Death Yon)


Dinosaur Bones - Toronto, ON
AP.net Profile | Myspace
These Canadians sound like something of a throwback to a time when moody bands like Hum and Far ruled the indie-rock roost with brooding, contemplative songs punctuated with explosive guitar bursts. Their latest album My Divider contains its fair share of navel-gazing and cathartic release, but is far from a knockoff of the mid-'90s. Vocalist Ben Fox would make a convincing Tim Kasher impersonator, and his band occasionally show off some Cursive-like angularity, though they are perhaps at their best when laying down a smooth key-heavy ballad like "N.Y.E.", one of the years most memorable cuts.
RIYL: Hum, The Wrens, Cursive
N.Y.E.


Frontier(s) - Louisville, KY
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Chris Higdon probably isn't a household name, but more than a few of you will recognize the name Elliott, his chameleonic former band. In Elliott's heyday, it was often postulated that bands like Texas Is the Reason were going to usher in post-hardcore as the next big thing after grunge. That never happened, of course, but the songs certainly didn't know that. Higdon's new project Frontier(s) seems cut from the same cloth, with songs that sound ready for arenas even though they'll never be heard in that setting. Fans who have equal affection for Elliott's aggressive U.S. Songs and the artsier False Cathedrals will likely fall for the restrained bombast of Frontier(s)' debut There Will Be No Miracles Here.
RIYL: Jimmy Eat World, Texas Is the Reason, Elliott
Abul Abbas


Gem Club - Somerville, MA
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: Thinking of Gem Club's debut album Breakers, two words come to mind: delicate and captivating. Slated for a late September release, this is by far one of the most beautiful and mesmerzing albums of 2011, and one that most certainly deserves your attention. If you're looking for music to get lost in, then look no further -- this band's work is bound to leave you in awe with its soft vocals and stunning piano ballads.
RIYL: Seabear, dream-pop
Twins


Great Cynics - London, UK
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: Lots of good punk bands have been emerging from the UK as of late and Great Cynics is just one of them. The band just released their debut, Don't Need Much, back in June and it's filled with 10 soulful punk tracks that are on the slower side. And it's not on the same level, but you'll definitely hear the Against Me! influence in their music. Front man Giles Bidder has an incredibly gruff voice that really sets this band apart from the rest.
RIYL: Sharks, Against Me!
Home Measures


Half Hearted Hero
- New Bedford, Mass.
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Massachusetts' Half Hearted Hero may be classified as a pop-punk band, but they aren't exactly following most of the popular trends in the genre. Their Running Water EP, released earlier this year, is a dive into more technical musicianship than we normally hear from similar groups. Resembling A Wilhelm Scream and The Fullblast more than any popular new-school pop-punk bands, Half Hearted Hero keeps alive a certain niche that we aren't ready to see go away just yet. If you dig the song below, be sure to check out their debut full length Defining. Refining. as well.
RIYL: A Wilhelm Scream, The Fullblast, Transit/Fireworks (for newer pop-punk recommendations)
Mirrors


James Vincent McMorrow - Dublin, Ireland
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Man locks himself up with his guitar and several months later emerges with a warm, intimate folk album. For most, this will be a familiar story. (If not, see: Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago.) That scenario also applies to emerging Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow. The comparisons to Justin Vernon, in terms of both style and story, are inevitable, but you'll also hear shades of Fleet Foxes in those harmonies, Mumford and Sons when the banjos enter the mix, and there's some Van Occupanther-era Midlake smoothness topping it all off.
RIYL: Bon Iver, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake
Breaking Hearts


Junior Battles - Toronto, ON, Canada
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Junior Battles isn't anything you've never heard before. Flaunting enormous hooks a la Blink 182 and The Offspring, Junior Battles does manage to shake up the formula just a bit by injecting some Midwestern 90s emo-ish guitar parts into the fray. The noodle-y guitars complement aggressive dual vocals, and the musicianship on their debut full-length, Idle Ages (Paper + Plastick), makes the record a must-listen all the way through.
RIYL: Blink 182 and The Offspring mixed with some Tigers Jaw-esque instrumentation.
Nostalgic at 23


Move Forward - Phoenix, Arizona
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: Think about the rush of energy one gets finger pointing at a Bane show, or the chills that run down your spine whenever you listen to Comeback Kid. Move Forward combine the musical ferocity of both artists, bringing out the positive influences as Minor Threat did. Their recently released self-titled EP is just a sneak peak of what's to come from Arizona's power-packed hardcore outfit.
RIYL: Bane, Comeback Kid
Speak For Yourself


Scattered Trees - Chicago, IL
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: Sympathy, the band's debut album that was just released, is catchy and emotional all at the same time as it explores themes of love and loss. The lush and often melancholic harmonies, and Nathan's deeply personal lyrics, are infectious and the kind that inflict an emotional reaction on the listener upon first listen. And despite being written after the loss of a loved one, there is still a lot of hope in the music, which is what makes it so remarkable. It's indie-rock at its finest.
RIYL: Wilco, Lydia, Local Natives
A Conversation About Death On New Year's Eve


Spraynard - West Chester, PA
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: Not only is the album cover amazing, but so are the songs on Funtitled, which was just released physically earlier this year through Asian Man. Their sound a lot like Latterman, though that's not necessarily a bad thing. Listen to them for awesome pop-punk that's short and sweet. Also listen to them for their lyrics because they have some great one-liners. Listening to "Spooky, Scary" is almost certain to make you feel somewhat motivated.
RIYL: Latterman, The Wonder Years
Spooky, Scary


State Champs
- Upstate, NY
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: A group of young kids making energetic and catchy pop-punk is all you need to know about these newcomers. Although some of the members aren't even old enough to legally drink, the band has released 2 damn good EPs, with the latter catching the attention of Ice Grillz Records to release the record in Japan. With a growing fanbase in the northeast and a strong buzz, the band will surely be on a solid indie label by next year's time.
RIYL: The Wonder Years, Latin For Truth
How It Used To Be


Still Rings True - Watertown, NY
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Still Rings True isn't your average modern day punk/hardcore band. The 3 piece uses strikingly amazing harmonies with lyrical topics including today's political, social, and economic environments to create a different spin on the DIY scene. With every song coming at you at breakneck speeds, every word hits you hard and keeps the energy flowing without rest. Their latest full length record, Tear Down The Walls, on Third Time Lucky Records is filled with anger, disgust, and the need to reform for the betterment of society.
RIYL: Such Gold, Daggermouth
Tear Down The Walls


Summer Camp - London, England
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey sound like a lo-fi, 1980s soundtrack to a movie that would make anybody feel nostalgic or unable to stop swooning. Their songs feel like what an old sepia Polaroid photograph would sound like, a sweet sense of melancholy particularly on stalker-like track "I Want You" with lyrics such as "If I could, I'd kiss your lips so hard your entire face would bruise. Write your name in blood on every wall, it would make the evening news." Catchy, fuzzy and fun, Summer Camp are the perfect pop duo, ready to be featured on numerous summer mixtapes for the next few years.
RIYL: Emmy The Great, Cults, Tennis
I Want You


Timeshares - Oneonta, New York
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: Timeshares are the classic feel-good singalong punk band riding along the waves of positivity. With a Captain! We're Sinking split already under their belts, this band is ready to give us more high fives and stage dives than we're prepared for with their upcoming full-length debut, Bearable.
RIYL: Latterman, Spraynard

Too Many ELO Days


WU LYF
- Manchester, England
Ap.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: WU LYF (World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation) is more than a band, it's a permanent membership to a community or a fanclub. Sending vinyl, LYF-logo bandanas and more to lifetime members for a small fee, the band then use that money to spend on rehearsal time, touring or recording. As for the music, it reflects the feeling of a club or a gang, echoed drums and spacious guitars mixed with lead singer, Ellery Roberts', inimitable yelping and chant-like vocals. An exciting and polarising group shrouded in mystery for the past year or so, they are finally opening up in an exciting way.
RIYL: The Horrors, Salem, Foals
Dirt


Yuck - London, England
AP.net Profile | Myspace
If imitation equals flattery, indie-rock guitar gods like J Mascis, Doug Martsch and Thurston Moore should consider themselves flattered by Yuck's self-titled debut. What Yuck lacks in inventiveness, it more than makes up for by imitating the right bands and doing their legacy its due justice. Yuck axemen Max Bloom and Daniel Blumberg aren't changing the game like their forebears, merely carrying the flag for guitar-based indie-rock-- a sadly endangered species lately-- into the next generation. One listen to their record should be enough to convince any naysayer that it's more than enough.
RIYL: Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Built to Spill
The Wall


Zechs Marquise - El Paso, TX
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: "Chops" must run in the family, as Zechs Marquise's rhythm section is absolutely incredible. Backed with guitars that are incredibly smooth and viscous, and you have one sexy run of a sound. While the band's debut was talented, they've honed their skills on this year's Getting Paid to the point where tightening up their execution only makes them a more direct blow to the nervous system once pumped through your ears.
RIYL: RX Bandits, Omar Rodriquez-Lopez

Everlasting Beacon of Light
11:53 PM on 09/01/11
#3
Adam Pfleider
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Bayonet - Jersey City, NJ
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Despite the fact that the band is somewhat of a "scene" supergroup (Senses Fail, The Banner), the band brings an old school feel with a new school twist on hardcore. Completely straight to the point, it's gritty hardcore that isn't meant for the "bros" just looking to mosh to breakdowns. The band's debut full length is filled with a relentless assault of aggression that is meant for the VFWs and floor level shows that does not disappoint.
RIYL: Senses Fail, The Banner, Shai Hulud

New York Minutes


Boy and Bear - Sydney, Australia
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Boy and Bear's rustling folk and soaring vocals make Fleet Foxes spring to mind instantly, but they replace the baroque tendencies with a driving rock edge. Though hailing from Down Under, the band recorded their latest Moonfire in Nashville, which is fitting, as their sonic formula is similar to the recent output of heartland rockers like My Morning Jacket-- that is, heavily indebted to folk and classic rock while sounding distinctly modern, and uncannily able to impart a bright, whimsical air to otherwise reflective material. While Moonfire might be too straight-up-the-middle to earn the highest accolades from the indie powers-that-be, its sparkling songs are not to be missed.
RIYL: Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket

Feeding Line


Broadside - Richmond, VA
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: This is what Hit The Lights might have sounded like if they never lost Colin. With only 2 demos on their Myspace, the band went on several tours throughout the east coast impressing everyone that they played to, earning the respect and attention from several northeast pop-punk heavyweights. With a squeaky clean sounding debut EP filled with huge hooks entitled Far From Home, the band will be hitting the road and playing to anyone willing to take a chance on a band that is playing pop-punk when it wasn't about just acting tough.
RIYL: Hit The Lights, The Starting Line, The Years Gone By

Far From Home


Caravels - Las Vegas, NV
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: If there's another band combining melodic post-rock builds and post-hardcore execution - and pulling it off well - it's easily Caravels. Floorboards, the band's debut EP, is a captivating number of heavy hits and desperate swells of emotion. The band's two song 7" steps up the brute force, and there's more coming from the guys before the years end. Caravels is the reason I turned away from post-hardcore a few years ago, because there weren't enough bands like this one getting noticed through all the Myspace photos.
RIYL: Pianos Become the Teeth, Orchid, Still Life
Iceland



Fallen From The Sky - Boca Raton, Florida
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: In the sea of Rise Against copycats, many bands woefully get swept away by the tide. In respect to Rise Against's sound, Boca Raton's FFTS are a saving grace that should not be overlooked. Rich melodies, hook driven choruses, and raw DIY punk attitudes are all the assurances we need to know they'll be a hard-hitting act to be reckoned with.
RIYL: Rise Against, Tiefighter
Rebuilder


Handguns - Harrisburg, PA
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: It has taken 3 singers and 31 (and counting) members, but it seems like the road warriors known as Handguns have solidified their lineup and have been touring more than ever. After self-releasing Anywhere But Home, the band was on the road for 250 days. Following the release of their label debut, Don't Bite Your Tongue, the band went out with the likes of Hawthorne Heights and Veara to broaden their fanbase. After having both of their EPs featuring Taylor Eby on vocals and produced by Nik of Man Overboard, the band is another product of the flourishing northeast pop-punk scene.
RIYL: Man Overboard, Transit, The Wonder Years

A Year In Review


Hollerado - Manotick, Ontario
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Sometimes a band's heavy-handed appeals to instant gratification work against them-- we're looking at you, New Politics-- but Hollerado's irresistible hooks and genuine levity place them at the head of the class in the powerpop sweepstakes. The Canadian quartet know their way around a driving riff ("Juliette"), but are equally adept at delivering slow-moving ballads ("Hard Love") and mid-tempo swagger ("Fake Drugs"). As a result, their album Record in a Bag offers something for everyone and is a wall-to-wall jam.
RIYL: Cage the Elephant, Weezer, Free Energy
Juliette


Hostage Calm - CT
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: Why be another hardcore band when you can show your strength in "power pop" and really standout. Hostage Calm have so much bite, but it's subtly hidden within their bright tinge of the band's guitars and gang vocals. The band's self-titled album showed their on the path to stick out amongst the rest of old school revival as of late.
RIYL: Braid, Against Me!, Moneen

A Mistrust Earned


Le Butcherettes - Los Angeles/Mexico
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like:
Teresa Suaréz is a mad women. When she gets on stage, she has the ability to absolutely steal your heart with the evil stare she gives off. Besides just getting up on the stage every night and playing a few songs, she controls not only the stage, but the crowd as well - holding attention to every single move. Backed by one hell of a rhythm section, Terri is already catching the eye of other big names, touring with the likes of Queens of the Stone Age and The Flaming Lips. There are very few punk rock girls that are grabbing hold of a feeling these days and strangling it by the throat.
RIYL:
Queens of the Stone Age, Janis Joplin, The Stooges
New York


Mister Heavenly - Toad Suck, AR
AP.net Profile | Myspace
A supergroup of sorts, containing members of Islands, Man Man and Modest Mouse initially sounds like a great idea on paper, though knowing that the trio label their music as "doom wop" might be enough to change your mind. Fear not, as Out of Love, the debut from the collective known as Mister Heavenly, more than lives up to its pedigree. Honus Honus's rhythmic barks will endear themselves to fans of his day job, and while the band claim influence from '50s R&B acts, their actual sound still leans quite heavily on Man Man's quirky cabaret stylings. It proves to be an intriguingly fun-filled formula.
RIYL: Man Man, The Features, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground
Reggae Pie


No Trigger - Bedford, Massachusetts
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: These Massachusetts punkers are no strangers to the current alive-and-kicking melodic hardcore scene. Tom Rheault's rough vocals are piloted by a direct, pissed off attitude that lays the truth on thick; from social to ecological concerns and everything else in between. The band is set to release their latest effort, Tycoon, which is sure to be as aggressively catchy and immediately rewarding as their previous works.
RIYL: Strike Anywhere, Protagonist
Commonwealth


Punch - San Francisco, California
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Why We Like: We've been aching for some scathing female vocals and a brutal hardcore sound that grabs us by the throats. Bringing out the dark side in San Francisco, Punch have recently delivered their How Nothing Lasts EP on Deathwish Records. They've branded their own signature thrash sound that's quite memorable, and wear a badge of brutal honesty that promotes self-empowerment rather than being idle about change.
RIYL: Comadre, Loma Prieta
Do It Yourself


Seapony - Seattle, WA
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: The release of Seapony's debut album, Go With Me, couldn't have come at a better time of year. Just in time for summer 2011, this takes all of the catchy and direct "surf-rock/pop" elements and mixes them up with the ability to make you feel energetic and chilled all at once. Chord sequences, riffs and vocals that sound full of fun, youth and a sense of abandon which make it impossible to not want to turn this up loud, jump around and be carefree.
RIYL: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Beach Fossils, Best Coast
Dreaming


Sleeper Agent - Bowling Green, Kentucky
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: The classic indie garage rock sound has returned with a bang, fronted by peppy, candy-sweet vocals. It barely suffices to say that Sleeper/Agent are a never-ending slumber party soaring on a Strokes high. The first single,"Get It Daddy", from their debut LP Celabrasion, was featured as iTunes' "Free Single of the Week" in late July/early August of this year.
RIYL: The Strokes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Get It Daddy


A Social State- Scranton, PA
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: Coming from a community that has produced Title Fight, The Menzingers, Tigers Jaw, Breaking Benjamin and more, A Social State is continuing the music pedigree from Scranton, PA. The band's debut full length, Everyone's Your Friend, is a cornucopia of wailing vocals, layered guitars and booming drums that fits perfectly in the modern indie rock scene. Recorded on 2 inch tape on live tracking in the studio, it seems to hard to imagine that the songs are created by only 4 people.
RIYL: Manchester Orchestra, Cave In, Superdrag

Golden Gate Bridge


Sóley - Hafnarfjörður, Iceland
AP.net Prolfie | Myspace
Why We Like: Sóley has spent the better part of the past two years touring with Seabear, of which she is a member. This year, however, she decided to make her own solo music which ended up turning into a collection of songs known as We Sink. To say that this upcoming release is gorgeous would be an understatement. Her beautiful voice and these harmonies, which have been describes as "catchy and other times amazingly quirky," are simply breathtaking. If you're into female singer songwriters, then this is a must listen.
RIYL: Caroline, Lykke Li, Seabear
I'll Drown


Stolen Parts - Brooklyn, NY
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: The fact that this band features members that have come from Off With Their Heads, Bridge & Tunnel and Discount should be enough to make you listen. And it's worth listening just to hear "782" because it's a perfect example of how a punk song should be written. With the catchy chorus, raspy vocals and crunchy chords, it's got it all. And don't forget to check out the 7" they released earlier this year.
RIYL: Off With Their Heads, Bridge & Tunnel
782



Streetlight Fire - Sacramento, California
Ap.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: Honest pop-punk can go a long way. Take a look at how far The Dangerous Summer have come. It seems Streetlight Fire could be the next band to do this, mixing candid lyrics with soaring vocals and technical guitars. The dual vocals between Joshua Cosico and Keaton Nelson are incredibly enjoyable, as their chemistry is a standout point throughout Architects. Just out of high school and with only one album under their belt, Streetlight Fire are set up to be an authentic and genuine piece of the modern pop-punk scene.
RIYL: The Dangerous Summer, As Cities Burn
Prospect Park


Trap Them - Seattle, Washington
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Why We Like: Seattle/Louisville based Trap Them are truly one of hardcore's finest. Their lovability lies in how they express a mishmash full of tricks: contorting guitar leads akin to Converge, but not before they're slung through a cathartic sludge fest summoned by Black Flag-esque psychosis. With their latest release, Darker Handcraft, they have accomplished a tighter sound and more structured songwriting, packaged to deliver a completely massive production experience.
RIYL: Cursed, Converge
Damage Prose


Turnover - Virginia Beach, Virginia
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: As most of the members are still in their teens, it's amazing to hear such refreshing, well written music reminiscent of punk pioneers Jawbreaker, and newer artists like Title Fight. In a scene that is rapidly becoming over-saturated with an indie-alt pop punk rock sound, Turnover are reawakening the genre all on their own. If we're to draw anything from how one user described their self-titled debut EP on Broken Rim Records: "it combines the musicianship of Jimmy Eat World, the anger of Brand New MFW era, the honesty and energy of Untitled Blink era", it would be that honesty and immense energy can transcend those heydays. We're positive you won't stop repeating their infectiously catchy lyrics and humming along to the upbeat melodies.
RIYL: Title Fight, Citizen

Solitude


Verbal Kent - Chicago, Illinois
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Why We Like: The Chicago native has been around for awhile. His recently released 6th studio album titled Save Yourself is a product as experimentally abstract as his complex mind. With such an impressive collaboration track record featuring the legendary Pete Rock, his ability to fuse politically sensitive issues with an addictive flow proves his staying power within the blooming hip hop era.
RIYL: Gangrene, Zion I
My City ft. Sadat X and Edo G


A Winged Victory for the Sullen -
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: Hearing that Dustin O'Halloran, an all time favourite composer, and Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie (Stars of the Lid) were working on an album together -- one to be released on Erased Tapes (Ólafur Arnalds, Peter Broderick, Nils Frahm) nonetheless -- made my expectations jump through the roof. Since then, those expectations have not only been met, but exceeded as well, for this duo have created something so ethereal with their haunting compositions. Who needs lyrics when music such as this is able to convey human emotions better than any spoken words could?
RIYL: Ólafur Arnalds, Dustin O'Halloran, neo-classical music
Steep Hills Of Vicodin Tears


The World is a Beautiful Place... - Willimantic, CT
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: Name aside, The World Is…'s music is honest and earnest in the vein of the beauty that is a Midwestern and Northeastern poetic ritual. The band rides the line of quivering vocals and beautifully instrumented paintings that build and build into joyous sing-a-longs and shining choruses. There are very few bands I've come across today whose work can audibly fill a room like these guys can.
RIYL: Days Away, Elliot, Joie De Vivre

Bread For Brett


Xerxes - Louisville, KY
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: Brash hardcore just like your older brother used to listen to during his break-ups. Xerxes is a prime example of "they just don't make them like they used to" in today's scene of heart-on-the-sleeve nervous breakdowns. It's okay to put your feelings out there, but just don't dress up like your ex-girlfriend to do so. Xerxes is comprised of five young kids executing hardcore from a living room floor - no bullshit, just a full on collapse of emotion under the weight of the instruments.
RIYL: Funeral Diner, You and I, Neil Perry

But I Don't See You Anywhere

11:53 PM on 09/01/11
#4
Adam Pfleider
wait. what were we talking about?
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Andy Zipf - Northern, VA
AP.net Profile - Facebook
Why We Like: It's not everyday when you run across a singer songwriter like Andy Zipf. Not only does he carry exuberant amounts of talent musically, but contains something that's unexplainable but hits home harder than anything you've come to know. Vocally, Andy goes unmatched by his peers and delivers on every level. His latest album, Jealous Hands is available for free here. What do you have to lose? Give it a listen and go and see Andy live, you won't regret the small investment.
RIYL: Augustana, The New Frontiers, Copeland
Reach Is Wide



Childish Gambino - Los Angeles, CA
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Why We Like: Childish Gambino started out as the hip-hop side project of actor/comedian Donald Glover, but it has grown into so much more over the past two years. He gained attention with 2010's Culdesac but Glover really turned heads with this year's EP release, which featured instant classics like "Freaks and Geeks" and "Not Going Back." Now Childish Gambino is gearing up for his first proper release, Camp (which will be put out by Glassnote Records later this fall), and it has blogs everywhere buzzing about it. With Camp, Childish Gambino is banking on being streets ahead of everyone else.
RIYL: wordplay, hot beats, Community
Bonfire


Critics - Kiama, Australia
Ap.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: Pop punk Critics defy their young age with their mature and refreshing sound on this years To The Beat Of The Drunk EP. Backed up by a seemingly effortless ability to bring out their best on stage their live show is sure to catch the attention of fans and critics alike. With so many pop punk bands throwing their very similar sounds of late with the genres rise in popularity it is exciting to see a band so young produce a sound that stands out from the pack.
RIYL: Anberlin, Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World
The Flashing Lights Won't Capture Us (One For The Felons)


Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. -
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: Many people seem to be turned off by this band's name, but little do they know that these guys have put out one of the funnest indie-rock albums of the year. Their music is lighthearted and fun without being corny, and it's one of my go to albums when I need some cheering up. If you've held back from checking them out due to the name, all that needs to be said, "do not judge a book by its cover." Go take a listen--you'll fall in love.
RIYL: indie-rock, Givers, Passion Pit
It's A Corporate World


Decoder
- St. Petersburg, FL
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: Ocreana fans mourning the departure of Keith Jones and Jack Burns found comfort in Decoder's 2011 debut self-titled album. Along with former members of Of Machines and VersaEmerge, Decoder is a haunting post-hardcore treat. Drawing similarities to Oceana (duh) and late As Cities Burn, the album is a heavy and rich throughout its 10 tracks and fans will be drawn into the depth and complexity of Decoder's sound.
RIYL: As Cities Burn, Oceana
Believers


Dry The River - London, UK
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Why We Like: Do you remember when Mumford and Sons blew up? Well Dry The River are bound to follow. Everything about them screams big time sucess but time is the factor. If Bon Iver joined Local Natives and The Killers joined in at times, Dry The River would be the outcome and it couldn't be better. Mark my words that this is a band you need to hear.
RIYL: Mumford and Sons, Bon Iver, The Killers
New Ceremony


Emil and Friends - Brooklyn, NY
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: Brooklyn-by-way-of-Boston band Emil and Friends released their seven song EP Downed Economy last August, and it is quite a statement. Ostensibly the group isn’t really a group, so much as it is a banner under which singer-songwriter Emil Yves Hewitt performs. His sound is something akin to glitchy laptop pop but pigeonholing Emil to that moniker is selling him far short. Truth be told, there’s equal amounts of disco, funk and pop throughout the EP. Whether it’s the feathery albeit funky title track or the slinky groove of “Short Order Cooks,” there’s something sunny, carefree and effervescent about every passing second.
RIYL: The Postal Service, Freelance Whales, Broken Bells
Crystal Ball


Gabe Hascall - Portland, OR
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Why We Like: Finding out that Gabe, the frontman of Slowreader, had been working on new music was one of the best surprises of 2011. While the latter made the kind of folk music that you'd expect from Elliott Smith, Gabe's solo work is more poppy and fun. And rightfully so, because his gentle and soothing voice is simply perfect for indie pop. Now one can only hope that his new collection of songs will see the light of day, for it needs to be heard by many.
RIYL: Elliott Smith, Death Cab for Cutie, Andrew Kenny
Love It All


Ghost Thrower - Boston, MA
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Why We Like: From the ashes of Therefore I Am emerges Ghost Thrower. Led by former TIA guitarist Travis Alexander, Ghost Thrower is offers up a dirty and chaotic punk sound, swelling with urgency and desolation. Ghost Thrower's debut EP laces their aggression with catchy hooks, as each track will bounce around in your head for a while. At the end of the day, Alexander's words will resonate with any listener who has experience their own tough times.
RIYL: Fear Before, Therefore I Am
Prima and Sinatra


Holly Ann - Portland, OR
AP.net Profile - Facebook
Why We Like: We've been promoting Holly Ann ever since her debut album, Ravens dropped. It's one of those records that hits home as soon as you hear it. Tons of gorgeous layers and beautiful piano sprinkled on top of her soothing voice is a combination that can't be beat. If you're looking for a record for this fall and winter, look no further.
RIYL: Regina Spektor, A Fine Frenzy, Norah Jones
Pilgrim's Road


letlive. - Los Angeles, CA
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Why We Like: We'll remember letlive.'s debut album "Fake History" as the album that introduce the scene to the next great frontman, Jason Butler. The screams are sporadic and gutsy, and they're accompanied by a wide variety of tempo changes throughout Fake History. The band transitions seamlessly from jazzy pop passages and moving ballads to crazy time signatures and crushing heavy moments. Fake History never gets stale, proving to be one of the most cohesive albums you'll hear.
RIYL: Glassjaw, Refused, craziness
The Sick, Sick, 6.8 Billion


The Lulls In Traffic - CA/FL
AP.net Profile - Facebook
Why We Like: There's no need for an explination as to why Aaron Marsh is an iconic figure in this scene. After Copeland decided to call it a day, Aaron decided to produce and start his new project, The Lulls In Traffic. Matched by the smooth Ivan Ives, The Lulls are the perfect mix of Aaron's signature voice with Ivan's sleek rhymes.
RIYL: Copeland, Atmosphere, Murs
The Rope To Pull Yourself Together


Kerouac - London, England
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: The UK's Kerouac serves up the kind of crushing metalcore that very few of their American peers can match. Armed with a handful of splits and their EP Cold and Distant, Not Loving, Kerouac will be an instant favorite amongst metalcore fans that prefer the stylings of The Chariot. Tracks like "Fiends," "Little Mountains We Move," and "A Sheep. A Well." deliver colossal riffs and devastating breakdowns, all paced by the unforgiving growl of vocalist Thom Denson. Don't miss out on the next great import from Europe.
RIYL: The Chariot, Norma Jean, This Is Hell
Fiends


Permanent Bastards - Toronto, ON
AP.net Profile | Bandcamp
Why We Like: This band has been slugging it out in Canada these last few years, but it seems like all that hard work is starting to pay off. The band just announced that they signed with Anchorless Records in the States and will be releasing a new 7" this fall. In the meantime, be sure to check out Emericans. It's a great punk records that fans of bands like Smoke or Fire will probably appreciate.
RIYL: Smoke or Fire, Against Me!

Prussia - Detroit, MI
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Why We Like: Some groups just have it. That magical component that makes everything sound so effortless, polished and compelling. Whether its a highly specialized musical acumen, a keen eye for detail or just a persistent work ethic, there are just some bands that churn out first-rate music so easily, it’s just downright mind-boggling. Exhibit A is Detroit quintet Prussia. On their slithery and enchanting debut EP Four for Attention, the group unravels four groove-based personal narratives that borrows on vocalist Ryan Spencer’s reedy timbre and a haunting landscape that’s akin to Broken Bells. Four short songs, four powerhouse statements. This is the kind of stuff that signals the arrival of a bonafide and breakout talent. Prussia is such a band.
RIYL: Vampire Weekend, Broken Bells, Cold War Kids
What Am I Gonna Tell Your Mom?


Said The Whale - Vancouver, BC
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Why We Like: They've been around since 2007, but it seems like people haven't been catching on until now. Not only did they win the Juno Award for New Group of the Year in 2011, they also shared the stage with well known Canadian acts like Tokyo Police Club. And to be honest, the stage is the best place to see them because their live show is absolutely phenomenal. Their records aren't bad either and if you want some catchy indie pop, they shouldn't disappoint.
RIYL: Tokyo Police Club, Two Hours Traffic

Siskiyou - Vancouver, BC
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Why We Like: Their sound is raw and sometimes catchy, yet intimate. Colin Huebert's sincere vocals complement this music like no other, which is perhaps the reason they stand out so much, and why they caught the attention of one of the most loved indie labels--Constellation Records. And while their lyrics have the tendency to break a listener's heart, that's precisely what makes this band's music so hauntingly beautiful.
RIYL: folk, Great Lake Swimmers, Wolf Parade
Twigs And Stones


Skyway - Queensland, Australia
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Why We Like: Gold Coast 5 piece Skyway first began turning heads with last years breakthrough EP Nauseating Suburbia, an energetic burst of pop punk that was just begging listeners to ‘chuck a mosh’. The success of this release led them to a hectic touring schedule, performing with some of the scenes biggest acts including A Day To Remember, Parkway Drive, The Wonder Years and Asking Alexandria. This year has brought us their terrific debut album Finders Keepers which seems to have further fueled their relentless touring schedule and places them firmly at the front of the current pop punk revival in Australia.
RIYL: New Found Glory, Hit The Lights, Bodyjar
Birthdays (Are For Sluts & Losers)


Stolen Parts - Brooklyn, NY
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: The fact that this band features members that have come from Off With Their Heads, Bridge & Tunnel and Discount should be enough to make you listen. And it's worth listening just to hear "782" because it's a perfect example of how a punk song should be written. With the catchy chorus, raspy vocals and crunchy chords, it's got it all. And don't forget to check out the 7" they released earlier this year.
RIYL: Off With Their Heads, Bridge & Tunnel
782


The Sundelles - Brooklyn, NY
AP.net Profile | Website
Why We Like: Vintage California pop that's quirky and Brooklynite one minute and effervescent and refreshing the next. Vocalist Sam Sundos’ timbre is woody and languorous, almost as if he’s sleepy and/or drunk. But for all its shortcomings there’s something centrifugal about it. Fans of Grandaddy and/or Gomez, should find a lot to like here. Truly terrific stuff. Their debut album Georgia Swan is most definitely the start of something truly special.
RIYL: Grandaddy, Gomez, Earlimart
Kiss the Coast


Sunset Atlantic - New Hartford, NY
AP.net Profile - Facebook
Why We Like: Sunset Atlantic is a 5 piece pop rock band from New York. They pack a lot of punch which that genre definitely needs. With dual vocals and tight musicianship, these guys are the real deal and should get noticed by some bigger labels by next year.
RIYL: Mayday Parade, Go Radio
Wide Awake


Suuns - Montreal, QC
AP.net Profile | Facebook
Why We Like: The first things that come to mind about Suuns: fun and sexy indie-rock. Their debut Zeroes QC , while one of the most under-appreciated releases of 2010, is a personal favourite--it's the kind of experimental indie-rock album that I expect older, favourite bands to release. Sure, it may have been risky on their part to do this on their first release, but their fearlessness is admirable. So go put this insanely catchy and sexy album on and get ready to start moving.
RIYL: indie-rock, Clinic, Radiohead
Up Past The Nursery


The Trews - Nova Scotia, Canada
AP.net Profile | Myspace
Why We Like: There are few things better as a music listener than unexpected surprises. The latest example is Nova Scotia’s The Trews. Their fourth full-length Hope and Ruin might just be the best album American modern rock radio isn’t paying attention to. Whether its the buoyant and hopeful title track, the piano-driven “If You Wanna Start Again,” or the soaring lead single “One By One,” there’s very little about the band that’s flawed or alienating.
RIYL: Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, open highways
Hope and Ruin


Typhoon - Portland, OR
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Why We Like: My first reaction upon hearing the EP A New Kind Of House, besides getting chills that is, was "This band is it." Typhoon really are it. Lush harmonies, beautiful vocals, and incredibly heartfelt lyrics--this band has it all. They're something special, and they most certainly deserve your attention. There is no single other indie-rock album in 2011 that's as captivating as this, so do yourself a favour and track it down. This is the band you will hear about in the coming years.
RIYL: indie-rock, Local Natives, The National
Summer Home


Weekend Nachos - Chicago, IL
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Why We Like: There isn't much to say about Weekend Nachos other than 1. it's a delicious snack after a stressful Friday and 2. their brand of metal will pulverize you. Their latest album Worthless is a 26 minute beatdown dispersed over 14 tracks. So that means you get a lot of fast brutality but the Chicago, Illinois, grindcore outlet stretch their technical prowess over the epic 7 minute closer "Future."
RIYL: Getting your teeth kicked in
Worthless


The Wilderness of Manitoba - Toronto, ON
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Why We Like: Rich vocal harmonies and beautiful organic melodies is the best way to describe this Canadian band. Their own brand of folk is simply lovely--it's the kind that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If you enjoy female + male vocals in the genre, then this comes highly recommended, especially at this time of year. Their music is stunning.
RIYL: Horse Feathers, Ohbijou, Fleet Foxes
November


Yawn - Chicago IL
AP.net Profile | Website
Why We Like: Yawn is a Chicago electro-pop quartet that creates a strain of shoegaze bolstered by sing-along harmonies, African tribal rhythms and a twinge of psychedelia. They sound like absolutely nobody else but are accessible enough to sit alongside alongside Animal Collective and Yeasayer. Their self-titled five song EP— released last year — is certainly all-over-the-place but has a magnetism and polish that places them far above their contemporaries.
RIYL: Animal Collective, Yeasayer, Broken Bells
Sing Low


05:01 AM on 09/02/11
#5
Kyle Huntington
GIVEN TO THE WILD
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Sexy.
05:13 AM on 09/02/11
#6
incognitojones
http://auburn-hills.tumblr.com
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Awesome, I like so many of these bands already. Bad Rabbits, Former Thieves, O'Brother, Code Orange Kids, Arrange, Daytrader. Add in some old Simpsons references and this is a great feature.
05:17 AM on 09/02/11
#7
billysurvive
aimless arrow.
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Awesome, I like so many of these bands already. Bad Rabbits, Former Thieves, O'Brother, Code Orange Kids, Arrange, Daytrader. Add in some old Simpsons references and this is a great feature.
That was pretty much my feelings on it!
05:34 AM on 09/02/11
#8
thehereaway
snickers at the swine flu
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Has it been a year already?

Wow, Pepper Rabbit - love it.
06:01 AM on 09/02/11
#9
alert=danger
twitter.com/christopmclean
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Some very cool bands listed in here. Looking forward to checking out the ones I don't know. Always manage to find some gold with these lists.
06:35 AM on 09/02/11
cococrisp20
3Hunna
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glad bad rabbits is on there, they're so good.
06:47 AM on 09/02/11
Holly HoX!
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First off, thank you for including Shabazz Palaces, but why in the fuck did you put OF in the RIYL? Is that some kind of stupid joke?

Don't get me wrong, I like them both, but to say they are similar in any way is an insult to Shabazz Palaces. The way OF is talked about here you are turning listeners away from a much more sophisticated, forward-thinking and talented group than OF.

Shabazz Palaces debut record is one of the best things released this year - don't let this list fool you.
07:02 AM on 09/02/11
Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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love dis feature.
07:26 AM on 09/02/11
loui
take the meat bridge
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keep being awesome ap.net.
07:29 AM on 09/02/11
Kyle Huntington
GIVEN TO THE WILD
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Anybody had a listen and found anything new they enjoy?
07:35 AM on 09/02/11
Christian Wagner
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LOL MUSIC NERD JOKE. B SHARP DOESN'T EXIST.
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