If you’re like me these days, you turn on your iPhone, go to your music, and then start scrolling … and scrolling … and scrolling. The As become Bs become Cs and then all of a sudden you’re down in the Vs and starting to panic. There are only four letters left and you already know you don’t want to listen to The XX again!
Alas, such is life in the music doldrums, when you’ve somehow exhausted the useful life of your 10,000 songs. Now comes the daunting task of finding new music.
Fear not! We’re here to get you started on that long and arduous journey with six under-the-radar indie bands that are destined for big things come 2016.
1. The Districts
Who: Rob Grote, Connor Jacobus, Braden Lawrence, Pat Cassidy
Genre: Indie rock
Latest release: A Flourish and a Spoil
Sounds like: The love child between The Black Keys and The Lumineers
Hailing from the small town of Lititz, Pennsylvania, The Districts formed while they were still in high school. Their addictive sound blends indie rock, blues, and folk. Throw in Rob Grote’s inflected vocals, and you easily forget that these talented boys are barely legal. The band has received a lot of buzz this year coming off of appearances at Austin’s SXSW festival, Lollapalooza, Sasquatch, and The Governor’s Ball in NYC. Start with lighthearted tracks like “4th and Roebling” and “Rocking Chair.” When you’re ready to jump off of the deep end, dig into “Lyla,” where Grote’s lusty voice truly shines.
2. The Dear Hunter
Who: Casey Crescenzo, Nick Crescenzo, Maxwell Tousseau, Nick Sollecito, Robert Parr
Genre: Progressive rock
Latest release: Act IV
Sounds like: Of Monsters and Men meets Silverchair’s Young Modern, with a hint of Vaudeville
If you have an ear for the avant-garde, you may already be familiar with The Dear Hunter. This modern prog rock ensemble from Providence, Rhode Island, pairs epic instrumentals with dramatic melodies and vocals. Their latest album, Act IV is very accessible and serves as an easy introduction to Casey Crescenzo’s theatrical style of storytelling. Get acquainted with “Waves,” then move onto the aural rumpus that is “A Night on the Town.”
The Dear Hunter is currently on tour in the US, with upcoming stops in Nashville, DC, and New York. You can find the complete tour schedule on their website.
3. The Clear
Who: Three-piece band from Sheffield, England
Genre: West Coast pop
Latest release: Love Internationale / The Cashier (Double A-Side)
Sounds like: Lalo Schifin’s debut pop album
If you’re looking for original pop at its finest The Clear is one of the more promising pop acts to come onto the scene in 2015. Their latest offering Love Internationale / The Cashier is a Double A-Side provides listeners with a pair of tracks that invoke a mix of 60s nostalgia, dreamy melodies, and indie guitar riffs. “The Cashier” has a Tarantino-esque vibe to it that’s extremely catchy. “Love International” on the other hand sounds like it came straight out of a Bond film, with its hauntingly melodic theme and alluring harmonies. We cannot wait to see what they come up with next. Definitely one to watch
Who: Molly Rankin, Kerri MacLellan, Alec O’Hanley, Brian Murphy, Phil MacIsaac
Genre: Indie pop
Latest release: Alvvays
Sounds like: The Beach Fossils, if Dustin Payseur was a chick
This Canadian quintet has a nostalgic quality to their captivating brand of indie pop that’s hard to ignore. You may have already heard their sleeper hit “Archie, Marry Me” with its melancholic vocals and charming melody. Cheerier numbers like “Adult Diversion” will certainly add some pep to your step. Their self-titled LP has already topped college charts. World domination is imminent.
You can catch Alvvays in Austin at Auditorium Shores this November. For full details, visit their official site.
Who: Raury Alexander Tullis
Latest release: Indigo Child
Sounds like: Psychedelic folk meets Andre 3000
Raury Alexander Tullis, better known by his stage name “Raury,” is an up-and-comer making his mark on the music scene. This fresh faced singer-songwriter from Atlanta, Georgia, has a trademark sound fusing electronic with hip-hop, soul, and folk. His debut album, Indigo Child, is a respectable showing for the fledgling artist, whose famous fans include Kanye West. Start off with “God’s Whisper,” then make your way to Kid Cudi-esque track “Superfly.”
Raury is currently touring in North America this fall with stops across the US and north of the border. The complete schedule is available online.
Who: Acle Kahney, Jay Postones, James Monteith, Amos Williams, Daniel Tompkins
Genre: Progressive metal
Latest release: Polaris
Sounds like: Tool set to an ambient soundtrack
UK progressive metal band TesseracT is back with a new but familiar sound that will surely resonate with their dedicated fan base. Their latest album, Polaris, takes their trademark djent to a more creative and sophisticated level. Ever-present is TesseracT’s signature synthesis of poly-rhythmic riffs, strong melodic hooks, thick base, and eccentric time signatures. Polaris also marks the much anticipated return of lead vocalist Daniel Tompkins. Standout tracks include “Survival,” “Utopia,” and “Seven Names.”
You can see TesseracT live on tour in North America this fall, with scheduled dates in Philadelphia, Chicago, Portland, LA, and Dallas to name a few. Visit their site for a complete list of tour dates.
(Photo credit: By Paul Hudson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Flickr.)