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The Absolute 100 (Aug. 2007)
|From your warm barstool, you watch a new band take the stage. You've never seen them before but their opening chords ring in clear and true and damn good. An instant connection between the ear and the instinct, this will be the band in which you rave testimonies. Here at ABSOLUTEPUNK.net, we like to provide you with that same tummy-filling. After we report the news and churn out the reviews, interviews and exclusives, we are here to serve you up with more music to obsess over. That being said, here are 100 blazing up and comers that we, the staff of AP.net, are losing sleep over. Caught between a rock and the big time, these 100 are aimed for a 2007 killing in potential alone. We toast our glasses to them, and to you, hopefully, for giving them a chance. |
*Shels – Don’t let the asterisk fool you. *Shels needs no lame, comic-book style qualifier. Mixing genres like doom, post-rock, metalcore and a teensy bit of pop makes Sea Of The Dying Dhow wonderful and strange. This isn’t necessarily an experiment in sound, especially when members come from bands like Eden Maine and Fireapple Red, but that doesn’t mean we’re any less interested in the outcome.
1994 - 1994 is a part of a growing Atlanta pop punk scene being led by some band called Cartel. Sure, they might list the typical New Found Glory as one of their influences, but they actually deserve to use them. They're a dash more punk then pop, which already sets them ahead of half their competition in terms of that. Watch out for them in the next couple of years
65 Days Of Static – Electronically-enhanced post-rock. Sweet. 65DOS released a true grower of an album this year, The Destruction Of Small Ideals, and previously released eternally replayable The Fall Of Math. Inventive sounds and hard rock tendencies put this UK band high above their peers. Well, it’s a small subgenre. But still, they rock.
A Sense Of Belonging - Once you listen to this band, there's no doubt that you're going to want to make room for their music on your iPod. These guys offer some of the most regenerating music that you wouldn't mind turning on the radio to listen to. Each song off their new EP Memories, Big Dreams, and Everything provide the stuff you need to keep your fingers snapping and to get your toes tapping. Pick it up, it’s available for your consumption now.
Algernon Cadwallader – AP Staffer Rich Duncan spent his high school years religiously listening to Midwest greats like Braid and Cap'n Jazz and wishing he was born a few years earlier so he could have been a part of the 90's era emo explosion where basement shows were not a dying breed, but rather a regular occurrence. Thankfully, bands like Algernon Cadwallader and fellow PA residents Street Smart Cyclist give him a chance to experience this feeling first hand and offering those who were around the first time a chance to relive their glory days. Think equal parts American Football, Cap'n Jazz, and a dead on Tim Kinsella impression, and you get Algernon Cadwallader. Algernon Cadwallader plays with a passion and intensity that goes unmatched by most, and taking this passion and combining it with the fact that they breathe new life into an almost extinct (yet still relevant) genre gives Rich the feeling he first had when he truly got into music. The band is currently recording a full-length.
Amestory - Everyone from Smother.net to SPIN magazine raved about Amestory's 2005 self-titled release on Portia Records. Hell, even Entertainment Weekly's website likened it to something you might hear on the then still mega-popular (and not yet played out) Fox TV show, The O.C. Their new EP dropped in May and we here at AP are expecting the buzz on this band to be deafening in no time. They Can Sing, They Can Sing, They Can Sing Underwater available now.
Amity - Amity is one of the hardest working bands to come out of southern California. After 4/5 of the members left, they band regrouped and recorded Internecine. Though they are not together anymore, everyone should definitely check them out because they are deserving of overdue recognition. Internecine is out now on Negative Progression Records.
An Angle - Enough with the Bright Eyes comparison. After their release of "5 Days, 5 Songs," singer/songwriter Kris Anaya has proven that he is far better than simple comparisons and is ready to shine on his own. Their new album is out and this band is poised to take over; watch out for this one. For fans of Bright Eyes, Kevin Devine, and Bob Dylan. The Truth Is That You Are Alive is now available.
Andrew Bird - Written with a vast variety of styles and a savage wit, Andrew Bird's latest release, Armchair Apocrypha is an example of creative songwriting at its best. Although not a new artist by any means, Bird's latest release is one that is sure to gain momentum based solely on the strength of the songs, which range from folky blues jams to intelligent numbers based on fiery plane crashes. No matter the topic at hand, Andrew Bird remains consistently interesting, infusing every word with a lyrical sophistication absent in a lot of modern music. In the mood for something different from the standard folk fare? Armchair Apocrypha is a good place to start. Armchair Apocrypha is available now.
Annie - The Norwegian star brings a slight indie flair to her beautiful pop sound. Armed with a brilliant voice and soothing beats, Annie's singles have been extremely successful in Scandinavia. Her Anniemal thrilled listeners everywhere, and her contribution to the DJ-Kicks series proved her mixing capabilities. Her debut for Island Records should drop later this year, so keep an eye out. Anniemal is available now.
The Apprentice - The fact that The Apprentice made it on this list should not take any reader by surprise seeing as how the band has released one solid album after another. The Apprentice followed up their critically acclaimed full-length concept album in the end of 2006 with Good Friends Don’t Come Easy, a collection of upbeat, feel good songs focusing on friendship. Good Friends Don’t Come Easy expands on the acoustic leanings of the band’s debut and captures a feeling of warmth and friendship that makes this album a truly enjoyable listen. If the talent demonstrated on these six songs is any indication, the next full-length album from The Apprentice will put them in the spotlight where they belong. Good Friends Don't Come Easy is available now.
Asteria – This Indiana five-piece may be young, but their brand of rock reeks of maturity. Mixing catchy hooks with crunchy guitar riffs and terrific vocals, Asteria’s Broken English Records debut, Slip Into Something Comfortable, is a must-own for fans of The Early November and is in stores now.
theAudition - Chicago, Illinois has gained a reputation of churning out some of today's most recognized pop-punk acts. Soon the Windy City will have another name to add to its list, theAudition. The band is known for it's rigorous road schedule and has been touring non-stop across the globe to support their debut album Controversy Loves Company. The CD is packed with pop-rock riffs and enough catchy hooks to keep their shows packed full of pogo-dancing fans for many tours to come.
The Avett Brothers – After hearing their impressive new album Emotionalism, and seeing a very abbreviated live set on Conan, AP was sold on The Avett Brothers. Not enough people are making good alt-country-bluegrass anymore. The inclusion of a stand-up bass and plenty of banjo will keep this band in your head for months, while they easily bridge the gap between country fans and those who “hate” the genre. Powerful, to say the least.
Band of Thieves - Mix classic rock stylings with a modern ear for melody and you have some of the most fun music to come out in years. Defining it themselves as "sunny music for shady people," these guitar-driven critical darlings from New York seem to belong to a different decade but their pure, straight-ahead blues-influenced rock and roll can transcend the times and will become the soundtrack for all your self-indulging good times. Their Woman EP is available now, but expect a full-length from these guys in the near future. Check out one of their songs on their AP profile.
Bedford Drive- Southgate, Michigans own Bedford Drive have been playing together for almost a decade now. This quartet puts together a sound that some have called the ridiculous genre fusion known as "powerpop post-hardcore". They put together a sound that is unique in its own right, and is fun in its own right. For fans of old Motion City Soundtrack, and girl backing vocals. The In-Between EP out now.
Between The Trees - A group of up-and-comers from Orlando, FL, Between the Trees created a lot of buzz in 2006. They sold close to 10,000 copies of their debut album The Story and The Song, and that was without distribution. Though catchy and hook laden, lead singer Ryan Kirkland's powerful yet serene voice is not lost in this intense journey that seems to be wise beyond any of these boys' years. They have created an album that is an experience. A swirling array of love, loss and faith, with a message a lot stronger than it may originally seem. Between the Trees are strong supporters of the organization To Write Love On Her Arms, whose goal is to provide solace through love for those who suffer from depression and harm themselves. We strongly recommend picking up this release, as it has recently gone nationwide, and look forward for what is surely to come from this extremely talented group. A little love is all it takes.
Brilliant Red Lights – A howling indie number with thumb-thumping bass lines. From their Myspace description as "Tech Pop," I think of BRL as a bunch of AV nerds getting down, and we all know that's secretly cool and trendy. Aaron Davidson's vocals chord are slicing and unique next to his guitar's twanging upbeat riffs. 2005's Touch Like You Want It is available for purchase and they are streaming fresh beats on myspace.
Built For Burning - Built For Burning, out of Taylor, Michigan, are no rookies to the music scene. While they are all in their early 20's, they have been playing together for quite a few years now. Formerly known as the band, Phineas, they have managed to create somewhat of an original sound that isn't quite what you see in todays pop punk bands. For fans of Bayside, Senses Fail, and Punchline.
Cassino – Scene kids everywhere shed a tear when Northstar broke up, but were soon placated when Nick Torres and Tyler Odom announced they were going to start up a mellower, folkier new venture. Cassino takes the vulnerable, contemplative beauty found in full bloom on Northstar's "Two Zero Two" and stretches it out to an album full of country-tinged, dust-coated lyrical exhibitions.
Chase Pagan – After getting caught up in the game of major label musical chairs, Chase Pagan has finally settled on The Militia Group to release his debut LP, Oh, Musica! An eclectic stew of jazz, cabaret, ragtime, folk, and baroque, Pagan sounds like he could have arrived from another time entirely. Toss in his glass-breaking falsetto and everything lines up for an indie success story. Just quirky enough to be challenging, but still accessible enough for everyday enjoyment.
The Chemist Vs The Computer - Within the post-hardcore genre, you get a lot of "same shit, different band" throughout. But five guys from Crown Point, Indiana, aim to stand out amongst the bland with the release of their debut EP, Loki. With a touch of At The Drive-In blended in with the ferocity of Glassjaw, Loki has everything you want out of the genre: it's loud, intense, and in your face. Put a stop to the same old rehashed band and take a gander with The Chemist Vs The Computer, a bright spot in the midst of a bleak genre. Check out "Coasting Toward the Tide, Not the Latter" on their AP Profile.
Crash Boom Bang – A solid pop-rock reppin' the Nation's capitol and surrounding areas. These four are fluent with sturdy hooks and echoing riffs. They used to capitalize on a punk/reggae/rock collective called Urbanstyle but transitioned into a swooning and successful pop mix in pace with their contemporaries. Their Dangerous EP is available, along with new demos up on myspace.
Cynthia G. Mason - Cynthia G. Mason is a singer-songwriter based out Philadelphia and records and performs with fellow songwriter Larry D. Brown. Strong lyrics, a haunting voice, and delicate guitar melodies combine perfectly on her self-titled album to establish her as one of Philadelphia's premier singer-songwriters. You may find yourself kicking yourself for not finding out about her sooner, because her songs are some of the most honest and genuine songs you will ever have the pleasure of hearing. Think Amy Millan’s solo work crossed with Cat Power and you have Cynthia G. Mason. Cynthia released her new album, Quitter’s Claim, earlier this year on High Two Records.
Daggermouth - Set Your Goals may have dominated your stereo last summer, but expect Daggermouth to claim that spot this year. The Canadian five-piece recently released Turf Wars, which is basically 22 minutes of pure fun and mischief, in stores now.
Damiera - Some slept on Damiera’s M(US)IC in 2006, but thankfully Equal Vision re-released it earlier this year. Completely stunning, don’t make the same mistake many made and pick this up immediately. A perfect blend of prog and indie, the sky’s the limit for Damiera. M(US)IC is available now.
Dance Gavin Dance - With the uprising of the hardcore/screamo scene it is very hard to find a band that makes a lasting impression, but finally one can set aside the strenuous search; Dance Gavin Dance could be the answer. Their debut LP "Downtown Battle Mountain" picks up exactly where their EP left off, and showcases their extreme vocals talents.
David Shultz and the Skyline - People should take more notice of the words they choose. David Shultz makes it a point of not wasting any time with unnecessary adjectives or declarations of love. His soft alt-country is catchy but never fake, poppy but never overdone, and Sinner's Gold is a flooring release despite your musical persuasion. If Ryan Adams found the pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow, we would call him David Shultz.
The Day After... - Hailing from Las Vegas, an environment that has bred synthesizer-based bands The Killers and Panic! at the Disco, among others, this band does not need a keyboard to enhance their sound as they make dynamic music that succeeds wildly where so many other bands have recently failed. Though it may sound like other bands that you've heard before, you're going to be left wanting more of this indie-rock hybrid. The vocals on their album, A Different Way To Get By, soar alongside the crashing instruments and mesh together to create controlled cacophony that truly conveys emotion that other bands lack. If you're looking for something new, yet something familiar, this is a band you should listen to.
The Dear Hunter – What do you get when you free one of the main creative forces behind The Receiving End of Sirens, and leave him with complete artistic freedom? Well, he puts together one of the most imaginative lyrical storylines and backs it with an anachronistic, jazzy undertow. The end result sounds more like a movie soundtrack than more traditional music offerings, and The Dear Hunter's new LP only elaborates on this vivid dreamscape. Act II is in stores now.
Defiance, Ohio - If you haven't listened to Defiance, Ohio's The Great Depression yet, then go download it and prepare for one of the best albums of last year. Yes, I said download it. The band has posted all of their material on their website for you to download to check it out and decide if you want to spend your parents' hard earned cash on a physical copy. So, if you're interested in one of the best blends of folk and punk that could grace your ears, go check it out. The Great Depression is available now.
Dorsey - At current press time Dorsey only has 356 friends and a meager 3,818 profile views on their myspace page, and it's simply amazing the band has flown so far under the radar. Listening to Dorsey's short and sweet collection of folk-inspired songs is a welcome release from the stale, overproduced tracks that dominate the online music world. Though their fanbase is small now, expect things to change once word of Arizona's best kept secret gets out.
Driving East – If you are anywhere near the ago of twenty, chances are that you grew up on a steady diet of Drive Thru's greatest offerings. While that era has since faded, Driving East whisks us back to that heyday, to a time where hooks are massive, chords are powerful, and innuendos can liven up any lyrical exchange. If you love New Found Glory, The Starting Line, or tunes that drag a smile out of you, Driving East will not disappoint.
Dropout Year – Breaking into the mainstream is not an easy thing to do. It takes the right amount of accessibility and intelligence, but even bands with such attributes fall short. Dropout Year, however, will not stay a local band forever with their upbeat and raucous pop-punk. They are front-runners in the impressive East Coast scene, and we’re sure they are looking to see the country just as much as the country is looking forward to seeing them.
Echo Screen- If you were ever a fan of this band from the beginning, you'll remember eagerly awaiting a full length album after their 2005 release of An American Tale. If this is your first time hearing about them, their new album Euphoria can be summed up into two words: "Big Hit." Every one of their songs contains the ingredients to be the tune playing on everyone's Myspace and although this band may fall under the genre that many other bands occupy, Echo Screen simply does it better than the rest. Check out Euphoria, out now.
Every Move A Picture - A dance rock four-piece from San Francisco that shares similarities with The Killers and The Rapture, their record Heart=Weapon will not leave your car stereo for months. It is a great driving record and with summer upon us, it is definitely going to be on a lot of people's August soundtrack. Heart = Weapon is out now.
Everybody Else – The Militia Group must have ears of gold. Maybe it was Everybody Else's affectionate nuzzling with the handclap, or maybe it's because we haven't bopped along this much since The Format. Everybody Else compliments pool-side lemonade and Frisbees. Consider this a summer sensation. Everybody Else's self-titled full-length out now.
The Farm League - For those of you who do not already know, The Farm League guitarist Mike Saffert was in the now defunct band, Hidden In Plain View. Although the band has only been together for barely a year, their songs make it seem like they have been together for years. The Farm League's brand of infectious indie rock with strong pop sensibilities will be sure to be stuck in your head for days and their demo is perfect for the summer season. Demos now available on the band's myspace.
Faulter - If you like Jimmy Eat World, this catchy pop-rock band from Orange County is for you. Not only are they a great band and great people, but their live show does not disappoint. Check them out when they come to your town! Darling Buds of May is out now on Abacus Records.
Fly Upright Kite – If you were at all a fan of Copeland's Beneath Medicine Tree, then you need to check out Fly Upright Kite. Simple as that. Airy, ethereal vocals pillowed over well-placed guitar lines and a somber violin creates a beautiful set of songscapes meant for rainy days and chilly nights. Boston is churning out a lot more than Sam Adams it seems.
Foreign Islands - The New York underground is a bitch to break through. A veteran of the NYC hardcore scene, Mark Ryan knows that better than most. Though, breaking through is exactly what Foreign Islands is doing. These days, Ryan would rather you groove than floorpunch to his band's funky, inspired dance-punk beats, but the hardcore heritage still looms in the band's frantic energy and passion for the music they make. Restart Now! is available now.
Forget Cassettes - Forget Cassettes is a hard band to pigeonhole considering the fact they cross the lines between quiet, introspective melodicism and loud rock bombasts at will. It is refreshing to discover a band like Forget Cassettes, because they favor complex arrangements and experimentation yet they are able to pull their abstract approach into cohesive songs that are both memorable and enjoyable. Forget Cassettes may not be on your radar now but we think they should be. U.K. fans, Salt was recently released in early March, so check your favorite record store for this stellar release.
Four Year Strong - "Start the takeover." There's a reason that their newest album, Rise or Die Trying commences with this proclamation--this band is getting ready to do just that. ABSOLUTEPUNK.net's Jason Tate has said that he hasn't been this excited about an album since Fall Out Boy's Take This To Your Grave; the rest of us at AP agree: this band is something special. This band defines what pop-punk should be and is a lighthouse beacon to a sinking ship of a genre. Although the album comes out on September 18, expect to hear much more about this band in the near future. Jump on the bandwagon now before the takeover begins.
The Gaslight Anthem - New Jersey natives The Gaslight Anthem may have just produced one of the most authentic punk records of the year with Sink Or Swim. Mixing the no frills style of Against Me! with the sincerity of The Lawrence Arms, The Gaslight Anthem should be enough to satisfy any mood you are in. Although only forming in 2005, The Gaslight Anthem sound like a band that has been playing together for a decade. In fact, the comfort and maturity of their full length debut is so evident on just one spin of the disc that by the second run through, you will even feel as if you have been listening to them for a decade due to the instant familiarity demanded. Sink Or Swim is available now.
The Get Go – The Get Go is easily one of the biggest pop punk supergroups we've seen in a long time, containing former members of Allister, Mest, Showoff, and Home Grown filling out this quintet. When you put a group of seasoned and respected veterans like this, you can never go wrong. Look out for this bands full length in late 2007.
Go Crash Audio - In an over-saturated pop rock scene, very rarely do you discover a band who processes impeccable song writing ability. Enter Go Crash Audio. Coming from the indie capital of the world, Go Crash Audio is dead set on shifting our thought that Omaha, NE is not just the hometown of Mr. Oberst. This band is riding high off their self-funded LP ..With Wings and Radar produced by Ed Rose ( The Get Up Kids, Motion City Soundtrack, The Spill Canvas, Limbeck) and are the only unsigned band to be featured on Smartpunk.com. With the addition of the Nada Studio's 2005 drummer of the year, GCA (if inked the right deal) is sure to be a household name by Winter of 2008.
Goodbye Tomorrow – When Goodbye Tomorrow (sans Matt Gilbert) joined up with former Terminal frontman Travis Bryant, it signified the convergence of two disparate indie fragments to form a fresh, revived group. After a gorgeous three-song EP, Goodbye Tomorrow is ready to release their Mark Trombino produced, Equal Vision debut. If you miss Elliott, then here is your suitable replacement.
Goose - These four Belgian rockers started out as an AC/DC cover band. Realizing that such a musical career wasn't entirely fulfilling, they ditched the old songs and chalked up some of their own. These tracks were significantly more synth-heavy, and the sound immediately paid off as their debut single was featured in Coke commercials throughout Europe. Check out their Bring It On, an album full of frantic electro and dance-punk, and pay special attention to the phenomenal "Black Gloves."
The Graduate - Very rarely does the AP staff sit down and actually agree upon something. Usually someone has to be the odd-man (or woman) out and disagree or go against the majority. However, by a stroke of luck, the AP staff has finally agreed upon one thing: The Graduate. Hailing from Springfield, Illinois the break-ups of beloved Midwest bands J.A.C.K. and Best of Winter spawned a band that mixes enough rock with just a splash of pop to create the perfect summer record, Ahendonia, that is now in stores. Pick it up and see what all the fuss is about.
Guillemots – Our European members will scoff at this band being involved with a “Who To Watch For” list, but sadly us Americans are a little slow. Their fantastic, epic and pop-magnificent Through The Windowpane has finally arrived on our jagged shores. Mixing your grandparents’ love of orchestral instrumentation and a strange infatuation with retro pop, these Scots truly cause jaws to drop. Their album finale, “Sao Paulo,” takes the audience through so many settings and moods that we might need a travel journal just for the occasion. Emotional and grand, Guillemots are it.
Holiday Parade - If Jack’s Mannequin and Cartel had a one-night stand, Holiday Parade would be their bastard child. So sugary it’ll rot your teeth, don’t be surprised if your kid sister is rocking out to this very soon. Say hello to your new guilty pleasure. This Is My Year EP is available now.
Hot Cross – Although recently broken up, Risk Revival had been a long time coming for Hot Cross, as early sessions for the recording were scrapped because they were not up to the band's standards. What was created in its place demonstrates one of the most honest hardcore/punk albums to come in a long time. Vocalist Billy Werner has become a force to be reckoned with due to the performance he put forth, which sees the front man layering passionate vocals with lyrics that actually have something to say. Any guitar player will enjoy the angular guitars and blazing hardcore punk riffs courtesy of Casey Bowland, who shows that you don't need two guitars to rock. If you are at all a fan of The Fall Of Troy or Drive Like Jehu, then you owe it to yourself to check out Hot Cross, a band that should not be forgotten. Risk Revival is available now.
Houston Calls - Synth-laden pop-punk is the best way to describe Jersey band Houston Calls. Whether it's an upbeat song or a slower-paced ballad, there's no song on their Rushmore/Drive-Thru debut, A Collection of Short Stories that'll put listeners in a bad mood. Look for the band to release a new album on Drive-Thru later this year.
The Hsunami - Ever heard of the er-hu? It's an asian-based instrument that this band fuses with metal elements to form a sound that is completely unlike anything else you've ever heard. Fresh out of college, this band has a bright future ahead of them, mixing blazing guitar solos and the atmospheric sound of the er-hu into a refreshingly cohesive and original sound. If you like bands like Sigur Ros and Explosions in the Sky but want something a little rougher around the edges, The Hsunami is the band for you. Download a free song from them on their AP profile.
Jena Berlin - Jena Berlin have to be tired of all those Bear Vs. Shark comparisons. The Philly act will admit to Marc Paffi and crew being an influence, but quickly point you in the direction of other lesser-known acts like King For A Day as to the genealogy of their sound. When the band's new disc Quo Vadimus shouts in your face later this year, we're betting it'll be Jena Berlin that will be doing the inspiring. Quo Vadimus comes out in August.
The JV All Stars - In this day and age, it is hard to find a pop punk band that is as refreshing as those ones you grew up with. Every band comes out hoping to be seen as the new Blink 182 or the next New Found Glory, but nothing is ever as good as the original. Well the JV All Stars, out of Lincoln, Nebraska, are here to show you that while you will never get the glory of the early part of the decade and past decade back, you can still remember and have fun with what they have to offer. If you're looking for good straight up pop-punk, this is for you. For fans of New Found Glory, Bowling For Soup, and Blink 182. Boys Forget Your Girls Forget Your Boys out now! They are currently recording.
Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground – Self-described as sounding like “nothing and everything you’ve heard before,” Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground couldn’t have put it better. A group (of at some points over 10 musicians!) that hails from the Seattle area, and composed of members of an array of different bands including Gatsbys American Dream and The House of Breaking Glass, there are obviously a plethora of influences that inspire their work. Though the Beatles’ is obvious, most is left up to your imagination. Not the catchy pop record you’d expect from a group with their background, Kay Kay’s sound is classic, and broad enough to appeal to any listener. Quickly gaining mass appeal, they are currently working on a full length and have already made some high-profile television appearances. We highly recommend Kay Kay for music lovers of all ages; pick up their DVD Live At The Pretty Parlor and thank us later. Current fans, can you blame us?
The Late Night – Coming out of Maryland with more swagger than bands selling out arenas across the country, The Late Night play a funky, danceable type of rock. But make no mistake – I Said Goddamn! is no sissy suite of pseudo-club bangers, but rather a crashing rock assault that you can still shake your ass to. Rock out, party, and say you knew this band when they were unsigned.
Lido Beach - It all started in 2007 and the rest will be history. Passionate alternative music from the left coast (despite being named after a small long island town). Upbeat music that will get you dancing but they also have a softer side that will move you! This band is just starting out but it will be one of the biggest names you will hear in the coming future!
Lo-Fi-Fnk - Lo-Fi-Fnk started up as two boys inspired by dance music and club fantasies. Through the release of singles and EPs, Leo Drougge and August Hellsing earned radio play that led to overwhelming Scandinavian love. The now young men released their first full-length, Boylife in 2006. Check out the Stockholm hotshots and their dance-crazed electronic pop on the Boylife tour. Dates are here.
Locksley - Generally, it's fairly easy to place a band to a city of origin—some cities just have a sound that are easily identifiable. One listen to Locksley and you'd think they were British, but these boys hail from New York and are one of the best unsigned acts out there just waiting to hit it big. They recently finished touring with The Rapture and are looking for the right label now to sign onto, so start listening to these guys now before your friends do.
Lorien - Taking wide influences from groups like Gatsbys American Dream and Muse, these Nashville rockers are ready to take the Midwest by storm. Their lyrics are catchy, their set is fun, and they know how to keep fans coming back night after night. It's really time for this quartet to come out of the tracks of its Midwestern dirt and shine.
Lost Ocean - If there is any justice in the world, 2007 will prove to be a very successful year for Lost Ocean. Their self-titled full-length is equal parts pristine piano-driven indie pop and hard-hitting guitar-driven rock, a combination that will appeal to fans of Copeland, Mae, and also those who prefer their piano-rock with a little more edge. Look for Lost Ocean’s self-titled debut to be one of this year’s sleeper albums. At the rate Lost Ocean is progressing, it is only a matter of time until they are on the same level as their peers. Lost Ocean is available now!
Love Me Electric - Every once in a while, you come upon a pop-rock band that fulfills everything you expect from the genre. Cue Chicago's Love Me Electric and their unique take on injecting that necessary dose of giddy pop into a well-established rock formula. With new demos coming down the pipeline, following the release of their notable Medicine and Magic EP, it's relatively easy to see this band is going the right direction to become a truly defining sound in the scene. Mark your calendars because Love Me Electric is touring and you don't want to miss the beginnings of something truly remarkable.
Make Believe - It's a wonder some bands aren't more well-known. In this case, we are speaking of Chicago's Make Believe. Headed by the legendary Tim Kinsella and the illustrious guitar-stylings of Sam Zurick, this Windy City quartet have all the mathy rhythms, charismatic vocals, and all-around engaging rock fixture that should be a household name by now. If you haven’t heard the band's recent release, Of Course, you haven’t heard one of the best albums to come out in 2006.
Man Man - Straight out of Philadelphia, Man Man is certainly one of the most unique bands you are likely to hear all year. Take the gruff vocals of Tom Waits coupled with the over the top song structures of Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart and you can get a pretty good idea of the range of influences Man Man include on the latest release, Six Demon Bag. Oftentimes sounding more like pirates swabbing the deck than an independent rock band, Man Man acts as a veritable melting pot of genres that should not sound good together, but somehow blend seamlessly while sounding wholly original. Pirate-core and a live show consisting of white tennis outfits and warpaint equal a band that must be heard to be believed. Six Demon Bag is available now.
Man Without Wax - This is one of Seattle's up and coming bands for sure. A favorite of Forgive Durden, they have a sound that's hard to explain. Instead of trying to peg a sound to them, why don’t you visit their AP profile and decide whether you like this unsigned band or not?
Mando Diao - Mando Diao are one of those bands who are "big in Europe" but just can't seem to crack the charts (or the blogs, for that matter) in America. Their last album, Hurricane Bar was remarkably unheralded for being such an invigorating injection in the world of garage rock, and the Swedish garage rock band's third album has already gone gold across the pond but hasn't even been released in America yet. Hopefully they'll get more attention with this release and we at AP.net believe that they deserve it.
More Like The Moon - Among a sweating sea of Bamboozle bodies, it was easy for Philly's More Like The Moon to get lost in the crowd…before you see them play, that is. Their breathy pop excursion is delicate and subtly sexual. Tracks like "Rosaline" work the listener like a helpless romantic. You will soon be going along with the seduction, swaying to the starry-eyed arrangements and natural flow on "Like Hannah." They sold AP.net at Bamboozle, and they continue to sell us on recording.
Morning for the Masses - A new force in the progressive post-hardcore scene is emerging, a virtual godsend for listeners with an ear for genius. We speak of Morning for the Masses, a quintet out of Baltimore that has a knack for crystalline instrumentation, altering between crunching breakdowns and dreamlike arrangements. All of this is coupled with Ben Hirschhorn's epic vocal range to create such a larger-than-life sound. The band's newest EP, Seconds, will no doubt go down as one of the year's best. Already getting rampant praise in Internet forums and local venues across the country for their new single "Explanations," missing this release would need an explanation in itself.
Moros Eros - Ignore the blue bulldog logo that is plastered on their album case--Moros Eros is not your typical Victory Records band. Moros released one of the most underrated debut albums of 2006, I saw the Devil Last Night and Now the Sun Shine Brighter, and are already working on their follow-up release. This band will without doubt persuade you to become a Moros fan if given the opportunity to see their live set.
Mylo - Mylo was on the course that parents love; he studied at both Oxford and UCLA, earning undergraduate degrees and striving for a PhD at the two schools, respectively. Then, he stalled his academic career in favor of music production in his home back in Scotland. He's had successful singles and has appeared on multiple compilations while also compiling a few of his own. His electronic dance jams energize and invigorate without fail whenever spun. Snatch some of his remixes and mash-ups; they're bumpin' as well.
The New Frontiers – Thoughtful, sincere, and patient, all under an umbrella of undeniable beauty, The New Frontiers is American indie rock's answer to Coldplay. Well, without the clichés, of course. As it stands, The New Frontiers (formerly known as Stellamaris) are able to churn out demos that would be banner singles on most bands' records, so fans are more than justified in wondering how the band's Matt Goldman-produced Militia Group debut will emerge. Breathtaking and gorgeous, we are certain.
New Young Pony Club - The crew hit it big with singles such as "Ice Cream," a track fueled by its funky approach and female vocals. The outrageously catchy semi-pop group toured with Lily Allen, and now you can catch them with Cansei De Ser Sexy and Klaxons. NYPC fits snugly into the dance-inspiring rock stylings of the tour. Get ready for their debut album this summer.
Peter and the Wolf - Austin, TX is known as the Live Music Capital of the World and with so many local bands vying to distinguish themselves from all the other acts, Peter and the Wolf are one of the few acts who have floated to the top. The band made headlines last year when they did a coastal tour where they sailed from one city to the next and were hailed as visionaries by environmentalists everywhere, but besides that, this folk collective makes some of the most haunting and delicate music you'll hear for a while. It's perfect music for a rainy Sunday afternoon or some soft music for you to lay around with if you want to take your mind off of your troubles.
Pistolita - Pistolita is a piano rock band out of San Diego, California. They are by no means your average or typical band. Sometimes it seems as singer Conor Meads is quietly harmonizing along with the piano, and then he'll go in a rage of shouting and pounding on the keys that can at times be perfect and shocking. They seem to be influenced by a wide range of bands and are for fans of piano rock mixed with unorthodox, atypical styles of music. Oliver Under The Moon out now!
Pompeii – One of our favorite bands on Eyeball Records, the underrated distributor of bright and nearly brilliant acts that will probably never get the recognition they deserve, is Pompeii. It's simple and special indie in the vein of Death Cab For Cutie, and 2006's Assembly saw a gentle but persistent following, especially among critics. On "Numbers," the mourning cello and muffled snare snap the listener into a sort of hypnotic glare. Pompeii not only entertains but also creates moods and feelings that dictate how each track and tone can journey a soul. Assembly available through Eyeball Records.
Portugal. The Man - Composed of former members of Anatomy of a Ghost, Portugal. The Man is one of the most unique and original groups of current time. Hailing from Alaska, these gentlemen aren't afraid of exploration or straying from the norm. John Gourley's enigmatic vocals are only the starting point, as you will undoubtedly be drawn in by his hauntingly falsetto croons. Not just your typical three piece guitar, bass and acoustic drum trio, as the use of keyboard/synth effects as well as a drum machine at times creates an almost ethereal feeling that one can only experience while listening to this band. Each record is a journey, and with some hints of funk and soul added to their avant-garde form of rock music, this band is not one to easily forget. Make sure you check out their latest release, Church Mouth, out now on Fearless Records.
Powerspace - Hailing from the town of Chicago, Illinois, Powerspace is the band to listen to if you're ever wanting music to give you that dance-rock fix. Their 2006 release of their EP Houston, We Have A Party brought them success to the point of announcing their signing with Fueled By Ramen records that December. Put on your dance shoes and get ready for the band's debut full length The Kicks Of Passion, hitting stores July 31st.
Quietdrive- Much like their single's title, Quietdrive are rising from the ashes of the dime-a-dozen rock scene and have been holding their own on tours with Cartel and Boys Like Girls. If you're a fan of their tour mates and All American Rejects, you'll probably find a soft-spot in your heart for Quietdrive. Their Red Ink/Epic Records debut album, When All That's Left Is You, is in stores now to add to your CD collection.
Racing Kites - Formed not too long ago, the guys of Racing Kites love crafting pop, rock and punk into one genre. This band has the tendency to put you in a great mood, regardless of how good or bad yours was originally with their contagious hooks and catchy lyrics. After listening to their recent EP We Hold It All Together, you'd be lying if you said those songs don't make you want to get up and move around. We Hold It All Together is available now.
Radio Pirate DJ - In April of 2004, this band formed and soon after self-released their first LP, Liar. Since then, they've been working hard and playing every venue in the state of Michigan that they can, gaining new fans with each and every performance with their catchy hooks and songs you'll sing in your sleep. Currently, they're writing new songs and are planning to blow people away with their next release, and they won't have a problem doing it. Hollywood Endings is available now.
Reubens Accomplice - An indie rock duo out of Tempe, Arizona, these guys are signed to Jim Adkins own Western Tread Records. You west coasters may have seen them out on tour with The Format sometime in the last couple years and probably remembered them distinctly, as they are a band that doesn't just use typical instruments. On their last album, they showcased a banjo, accordion, and cello. These guys will have you be that guy at a show against the wall bobbing your head in no time. The Bull, The Balloon, and The Family is out now and the band is currently recording.
Scenes from a Movie – Walking a fine line between pop punk and rock is business as usual for Scenes from a Movie of Charleston, WV. Tony Bush’s pop sensible vocals set to the backdrop of pulsing instrumentation from his bandmates makes Scenes from a Movie a band to watch for fans of multiple genres. Their debut album The Pulse is available now.
Secondhand Serenade – "Emo" is a word that gets thrown around a lot nowadays. The word started off meaning one thing, and has morphed over the years to mean quite another. And in its current state, there is no more fitting definition for "emo" than Secondhand Serenade. If Chris Carrabba was still a roving, solo-acoustic troubadour, then he would be running neck and neck with John Vesely for the affections of teen girls everywhere. Secondhand Serenade is going to be absolutely massive in no time at all, guaranteed.
Seems So Bright - Synth elements are abound everywhere in music these days to the point that it's becoming stale. Thank goodness for bands like Seems So Bright that take the sound and turn it into something completely different. Don't get them confused with any pop punk band though, as they have more in common with Snow Patrol and other indie-pop acts. Seems So Bright takes the epic music that bands like U2 and Radiohead often use and molds it into deeply personal anthemic reflections of life. Check out their debut, Blinds Down, for more or head over to their AP profile and hear a song off of it.
Shearwater - Shearwater, featuring two members of Okkervil River, released one of the more underrated albums of 2006, Palo Santo. The band was originally an outlet for Will and Jonathan from Okkervil River as an outlet for their softer music, but now has progressed into an experimental act that deserves to step out of its Okkervil River shadow.
Sleeping at Last – It is never welcome news to hear that a band has been dropped from a label. But when Sleeping at Last split from Interscope, it was a travesty. Ghosts was a gorgeous, mature record, but when the self-released Keep No Score came out, it was evident that the band far outdid themselves. Majestic string arrangements, subtle instrumentation, and full-bodied vocals all made for a masterpiece, and one of 2006's finest records.
Small Leaks Sink Ships- An outfit of Mesa, Arizona, Small Leaks Sink Ships grew from the ashes of Beyond Analog. Their sound is called "progressive indie rock.” This statement is a fact, and this band will hopefully blow you away like for some of the AP staff. For fans of The Mars Volta, Minus The Bear, and Modest Mouse, check out Until The World Is Happy; Wake Up You Sleepyhead Sun now!
Stacy Clark – There is something about the right chanteuse that can disarm even the most rugged of punk rockers, and California’s Stacy Clark is just one such siren. As another of Loren Israel’s promising finds, Clark takes the right cues from Imogen Heap, Tori Amos, and the rest of the estrogen all-stars to make music that is just the right degrees of sensitive and strong.
The Stiletto Formal – Is that a cello? Or am I just dreaming? Arizona post-hardcore crew The Stiletto Formal are fierce, electric, and still unsigned… somehow. This Is My Boomstick EP available now; full-length in the works.
Street Smart Cyclist - There was something special in the Midwest during the 90s. And with Street Smart Cyclist out of Pennsylvania resurrecting that very sound that was a favorite to basement shows in Illinois and beyond, it seems the underground is far from dead with young talent like this still thriving. Sounding along the lines of Braid and Cap'n Jazz, these five guys dub themselves "happy hardcore" on their Myspace and prove they are just that. Not hardcore in the modern sense, of course, but who the hell cares when a band is this damn good?
Tera Melos - It's odd when a band playing instrumental rock music can evoke as much emotion as portrayed on Tera Melos' self-titled debut full-length. The lack of vocals doesn't detract from the overall sound because in their place are manic time signature changes and guitar lines that are completely unpredictable, taking the listener on the entire spastic ride. It's amazing how so few people can produce the wall of sound being emitted from the amplifiers. The band's chaotic live show, which would please even people with the attention span of a cat, is reproduced with distinct precision on Tera Melos. The cohesiveness of the album is never lost and, despite the bursts of chaos, Tera Melos create a surprisingly melodic album sure to satisfy fans of instrumental hardcore. Tera Melos is available now.
Timber Timbre - A folk-ish act out of Toronto that are incredibly hard to find really any information about, Timber Timbre released their full length album, Cedar Shakes, in 2005 and another EP since then. Besides that, however, not much can be found out about them. They employ an organist, a baritone guitarist, a drummer and a regular guitarist and combine all of that to make beautiful folk music. Brave the unknown and give this band a listen.
Uffie - Uffie, born in Miami but now from Paris as well, stole a spot on Ed Banger Records's roster alongside French electro luminaries Justice and lesser-known but equally impressive artists such as SebastiAn and DJ Mehdi. She spits awkwardly flowing but nonetheless instantly infectious lines over beats by producers such as Feadz and Mr. Oizo, both also found on Ed Banger compilations. Check her and some peers out on Ed Banger Rec. Vol. II. Also wait for her debut album, which should be out in late 2007.
The Verdict - This South Carolina-based band is managed by Joe Marro of The Early November. If you're a fan of TEN and are searching for a band to replace that hole in your heart, give that love to The Verdict. With melancholy pop-tunes and tinges of female vocals, The Verdict is on the way to big things.
The Via Maris – The Wilderness Underneath, the debut release from the Phoenix, Arizona band, The Via Maris, is one you may miss if you're not careful. Coming from a city known for cranking out pop/rock bands with each new strip mall, The Via Maris is interested in mining the textured, deeper elements of the Arizona psyche. The album is full of catchy, almost whimsical tunes set against the backdrop of dry acoustic guitars and ringing telecasters that compliment a poetic wordplay reminiscent of the great singer-songwriters of the 70's. It's a voice rarely heard in a world of flashy chart-toppers and sexy press darlings, but it's the sort of voice that will outlive whatever's platinum at the moment. And it's a voice worth listening to. The Wilderness Underneath is out now.
Weatherbox – If Say Anything and Piebald had a little brother, his name would be Weatherbox, and he would be signed to Doghouse Records. The wispy vocals are especially rebellious against the charged riffs of the rest of the band. The San Diego natives give each song something crashing and punchy that gives it a meaningful and meaty feeling. American Art is now in stores.
Whetherman - Whetherman is singer/songwriter Nicholas Williams and drummer Joseph Campbell, out of Columbus, Ohio. Nick will blow you away with his singing ability, but he is by no means a wimpy singer. He serenades while playing the acoustic guitar. This guy has range to knock you off your feet and keep you coming back for more. For fans of Damien Rice, Matt Wertz, and John Mayer. Bull out now!
You Me and Everyone We Know – YM&EWK is a high-octane, melodic cloud nine. Great on recording and double the outstanding on a stage, this five-piece from Maryland is fun, clever, and working hard to climb the big time's teetering ladder. If you like Say Anything, these goofballs are waiting for you. Check out the Party For The Grown And Sexy EP.
09:03 PM on 08/09/07
There are some great bands on here
09:08 PM on 08/09/07
Hope everyone likes this feature. This was a long time coming.
09:11 PM on 08/09/07
Secondhand Serenade is already huge, isn't he?
I've heard him on Sirius Hits 1 many times.
But none the less, GREAT bands.
09:12 PM on 08/09/07
Well, in our defense, when this list was started, he was not. So I guess I was right?
09:12 PM on 08/09/07
this is really rad. thanks for doing this. i have to agree with the bands i see and know and i'm gonna have to check out a lot of the others.
09:12 PM on 08/09/07
I really appreciate the Avett Brothers being put on here. Being from Charlotte, I have seen them a few times, and I can honestly say that they put on one of the best live shows I've ever seen.
09:13 PM on 08/09/07
Wow. That's an incredible list - so much talent waiting to be heard.
09:13 PM on 08/09/07
PS - Cue the following:
"I can't believe ________ isn't on there."
"What the fuck is _________ on there for?"
"AbsolutePUNK my fucking ass."
09:13 PM on 08/09/07
I'm best known for failure
09:13 PM on 08/09/07
a pig in a cage on antibiotics
nice list, some sweet bands coming on strong.
09:13 PM on 08/09/07
Lurking on AP since 2004.
Thanks for putting Cassino on here. Two Zero Two was my favorite song from Northstar, but I wasn't so sure about Cassino. I'm on their myspace right now, and I like what I hear. Thanks ap.net.