Truth: I’m not that edgy and before-the-times. Therefore these bands and artists in my list aren't some underground, never-before-heard-of acts; they already have a following and are past the fledgling stage. Most have even seen a single or two on mainstream radio.
So why should you like these five bands and artists?
Because I like them.
And it really makes my heart smile when other people like the same music that I like.
However, I realize that’s not a convincing argument, so I’ll try to provide alternate persuasion below.
1. The 1975
I’m sure everyone’s heard of these extraordinarily skinny English lads (or at least I hope that’s the case). Okay, so maybe it’s a tad difficult to understand what lead singer Matt Healy is singing and yeah, maybe all the songs aren’t necessarily about the happiest subject matter (think drugs, violence, depression, etc.). BUT there’s no arguing that “Chocolate” is insanely catchy. The rest of the album is golden and sets well as the soundtrack to a drive through the rolling hills between Edinburgh and Manchester. Or a drive home from work will suffice too, I suppose. In whatever setting you choose to listen to the album, it will leave you feeling oddly nostalgic for something you can’t quite pinpoint.
Super bummed that I missed their London show at Royal Albert Hall (it was sold out, BLAST IT) and also will be missing their show at Marathon Music Works in Nashville Thursday, but I’ll catch them one day on tour I hope.
The remainder of their tour dates can be found here and their self-titled debut album is available on iTunes.
Until then I’ll just listen to their album on repeat, especially this crazy addictive yet rather dark song:
2. Wolf Gang
As I’ve written in a previous post, alternative band Wolf Gang stole a piece of my musical heart when they opened for Coldplay on their Mylo Xyloto tour in 2012. I greatly enjoyed their debut album Suego Faults and was excited to learn they were releasing a new EP, Black River.
You know how sometimes you really, really like an artist’s first album, but then listen to subsequent albums and are left begging said artist to return to their original sound (ahem, OneRepublic…)? Fortunately for these lovely Brits, this isn’t the case at all. In fact, Black River is really good, maybe even better than their original album. If their next full-length album is anything like this EP, then it’s guaranteed to be a winner in my meager book of musical taste.
Both Wolf Gang’s original album and new EP are available on iTunes and are totally worth spending real, actual money on. You can catch them on their U.S. tour currently and also as support for some of Bastille’s dates (UGH THAT WOULD BE SUCH A GOOD SHOW TO SEE).
I’m trying to be succinct and consistent with this post and only put one video per artist but, like… this cover, y’all.
3. The Royal Concept
Hailing from Stockholm, The Royal Concept is Sweden’s dance-pop answer to Phoenix. They have one EP available in the U.S., Royal, and it’s a solid collection of fun, I-feel-like-being-happy-today songs. The entire EP will have you embracing your youth like a Belmont student embraces the opportunity to affirm his/her singer-songwriter status (“Why, yes, my songs are on iTunes and Spotify, thank you very much” says the Belmont student with an overconfident smirk as she continues creating the Facebook Event Page for her Sweet CeCe’s show). Each song will call forth your inner dance, which in my case means throwing my arms around in a mildly rhythmic manner. (P.S. if anyone needs some killer dance moves for their upcoming music video, I’m game.)
Royal is available on iTunes.
I had the delight of seeing British singer/songwriter Passenger open for Ed Sheeran at his Royal Albert Hall debut in London. Previous to the show, I only knew the song “Let Her Go,” so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed his mellow set, regardless of the fact that I wasn’t familiar with any of the other tunes he played. He even had a humorous stage presence with a dose of charming self-degradation to boot. His set sold me (literally and figuratively); I became a fan and I also went home and immediately bought his 2012 album All the Little Lights, a sweet compilation of wonderfully melancholy tunes.
In various cities, he can frequently be found busking, which is a term I was introduced to during my time in London. Real question: Is this term used here in America? Second real question: If no, why not?! It’s a great word! Nonetheless, it’s always admirable to have someone who’s willing to play his tunes in public spaces in order to win over new fans.
His newest album, Whispers, has an expected release date of June 10 and will be available on iTunes.
During the show, Ed and Passenger performed “Heart’s on Fire” from Whispers as a duet and it captured my vulnerable heart and never let it go. I was going to share a video from that very show, but turns out none of them are of great quality. So here’s the two performing this song in an empty O2 Arena in Dublin instead:
5. Wild Cub
Wild Cub is a Nashville-based alternative band (and our lone American band on this list). They've been receiving a good bit of media buzz lately, which they well deserve. I first learned of them during my internship at Brite Revolution a couple of years ago, and I’ve been keen on them ever since. Their most popular song, “Thunder Clatter,” will make you want to parade down the street in a synchronized routine involving an overabundance of snaps, head bobs, and animated bluebirds, much like that one scene from (500) Days of Summer.
Wild Cub’s debut album, Youth, is a collection of solid tunes with a Phil Collins-esque flare. It can be found on iTunes.
The band will be playing several shows and festivals throughout the summer. Those dates can be found here.
In the era of short attention spans, I am obligated to end my list at 5. However, there will be a Part 2. Try not to get too excited about another post where I attempt to push my musical tastes onto you (I hope I’m successful).