It's time, now more than ever, to either drown out the noise of the world seemingly burning down around us or get your adrenaline pumping to fight the system with these exciting new alt-rock acts.
KennyHoopla burst onto the scene this past year with an ambitious and exhilarating new sound that blends shattering garage-punk vocals with snappy indie-rock production. A masterful control over the pace of each track allows the Wisconsin native to shift the overall direction and tone in a split second. Kenny, real name Kenneth La’Ron (the Hoopla is a Spongebob reference), is repurposing nostalgic mid '00s indie rock sounds of Bloc Party, Foals, and Maximo Park into something fresh, modern, and incredibly exciting.
Duluth, MN’s Social Animals deliver sweeping guitar melodies that build alongside explosive drums and emotion-dripping vocals. Their latest release is an ambitious blend of heartfelt Americana blues with British New Wave. The end result is a glistening alt-rock sound that swells the hearts of fans and envelops the room with a cascade of emotions.
Canadian duo Crown Lands hit the ground running with the immediate buzz surrounding their self-titled debut album- a new piece of work that features captivating vocals, charming guitar work, and a reinvigorated take on that classic '70s rock sound. While many folks are still recovering from the regurgitated Led Zeppelin impersonations of Greta Van Fleet, Crown Lands' classic rock influences are surely not missed but the duo dig a bit deeper into their songwriting to include sounds that sweep across psychedelic rock to folksy blues.
Having already performed sold-out shows alongside acts like Sum 41, The Spill Canvas, Belmont, Broadside and many more, the rising alt-punk act Drop Out have quickly been gaining the attention of many fans around the world. The Orlando band's single “All My Friends” already sits at over 600k streams after only 8 months thanks to their charming vocal harmonies and passion-driven chrouses. Add in hard-hitting percussions, plus masterful production on the backend to add a modern flaire, and this band is easily one of the most exciting new acts to hit the alt-punk scene in quite some time.
My God, what to say about Another Sky that doesn't sound like a love letter meant to be written on old parchment paper, rolled up, delicately placed in a glass bottle, and sent out to the unforgiving tides. But, at times, that's what their music can feel like. The London four-piece deliver an ambitious sound that blends large arena-like rock with stripped-down moments of intimate interactions with lead vocalist Catrin Vincent. Another Sky exists masterfully in the juxtaposition between a riot of the heart and a sense of calm.
Pairing heavy metal rock sounds with catchy and endearing pop vocals was a quick recipe for success for rising act Dayseeker. Unapologetic on the wailing chorus, while boldly incorporating subtle electronic production, Dayseeker create these shimmering undertones that dance behind the explosive rock sound. This is why the group has made themselves a staple on most major alt-rock playlists throughout the year.
Groovy layers of washed-out vocals and punchy rhythms separate Spacey Jane from the rest of the psych-rock bunch. Their distinctive sound helps modernize the sometimes wandering '70s psychedelia to create more rhythmic tracks full of playful upbeat guitar riffs.
The Dublin-based four-piece Inhaler have easily stolen the show this past year with a shimmering garage punk sound and appealing vocals. Their guitar and synth-infused pop help create a glimmering rock experience that has (or had) fans around the world packing out sold-out shows with hopes of getting as close as possible to the young lead vocalist and the son to none other than iconic rock singer Bono.
The Shreveport-Louisiana band are anything but new to the scene having released their debut album back in 2016. But since that early introduction, Seratones have slowly evolved by incorporating new synth work and taking better advantage of singer and guitarist AJ Haynes powerful vocal range by adding moments of deeper soul to their already wall-reverberating grunge sound.
Enigmatic, outlandish, and eccentric, the 27-year-old Oliver Tree's debut record Ugly Is Beautiful which was quickly met with mixed reviews from critics earlier this year. But his absurd antics, tongue-in-cheek online persona, and undeniably catchy electro-pop punk sound helped him gain armies of dedicated fans around the world. Don't be fooled by the amusing antics because beneath all the idiosyncrasies lies an incredibly brilliant songwriter that's harnessing mainstream power by blending complex electro-pop production with indie-rock.
Florida indie/alt-rock outfit The Spring feature a dynamic blend of melody and a pugnacious alt-rock drive to create a distinct sound that's not quite glimmery pop but not floaty indie-rock either. The light airy guitar work mixed with the steady garage rock pace creates an undeniably inviting experience for listeners. Manny Fawcett (vocals/rhythm guitar), Tomas Lopez (lead guitar), Gabe Ottomanelli (bass) and Levi Tate (drums) all have an extensive music background, that include multi-instrumentalists, multiple vocalists and a trained musician from Berklee College of Music. The Spring's modern pop sensibilities add an inescapable catchiness to the adrenaline rushed rock rhythm that has us praying for live music to come back as soon as possible to catch this group live.
A bit off-center but undeniably alluring, the London group Dry Cleaning offers a unique post-punk sound full of electrifying guitar riffs and a driving bass. After hitting the play button, you're instantly consumed by the unsettlingly composed vocal delivery from lead singer Flo Shaw. Before you know it, the track is finished, you have a complete disconnect from where you are, what you are doing, who you are but somehow maintain an involuntary impulse to press repeat.
The Blue Stones
With raw distorted guitar riffs, brutish drums, and inescapably charming singalong vocals, The Blue Stones were made for everyone's Alt-Rock playlists. They are set to get some heavy radio play this summer, so keep an eye out for this Canadian rock duo who have steadily been building a solid following over the course of the last couple of years.
The Unlikely Candidates
Coming off the heals of the massive success from their viral hit single "Novocaine" at the end of 2019, the Unlikely Candidates have not slowed their momentum down one bit. The Fort-Worth, Texas five-piece have kicked up the production value with the release of their latest single "High Low" but still have not lost the multi-layered alt-rock melodies that have captivated millions of fans around the world, including me.
The Things We Were
A battering ram of distorted guitar riffs and fast-paced drums drive the moody emo lyrics of LA-based band Stretched right into the soul of any listener. The charming vocals, the overdriven bass, and the hard-hitting instrumentation all add a fresh take to the classic early '00s emo-punk sound that is sometimes too easily confined by the darkness of the lyrics. After an early debut performing live for fans in the heavily attended 'Emo Night' party circuit, this group have just started releasing studio music in 2020, so keep an eye out for more to come.
With vivid storytelling lyricism, LA-based Badflower create a dynamic listening experience full of explosive rock sound that takes listeners on a captivating journey from start to finish. But it's a ride where the driver is singer and guitarist Josh Katz, who already cut the brakes and has now blindfolded himself. So it's best to just strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.
Lucia and the Best Boys
The Glasgow four-piece Lucia and the Best Boys deliver electrifying 80's synth sounds with dark menacing pop-grunge melodies to create something truly infectious. If the shadows that crawl along the edges of a sweaty, dim-lit basement punk show could release its own music, it'd do so as Lucia and the Best Boys.