It’s hard to ignore the classics, but it’s worse to overlook the rising stars. Each month, we pick five artists worth lending your ears to. May’s selections highlight a few up-and-coming acts making noise in post-hardcore, indie rock and hip-hop.
BALANCE AND COMPOSURE
NOTES: Looking at the “shudder” lyrics and hearing Jon Simmons shred his vocal chords without any remorse, you’d think Doylestown, PA, brought nothing but pain and tormenting heartbreak. It did however, create a five-piece who tear through swarms of tender post-hardcore that combust with the knock of a cymbal and entrap your sense of hearing with it’s quieter, more bitter moments. Don’t be fooled; the shift between erupting and making you hang on to every syllable is common, but it’s never weak.
NOW PLAYING: Separation (May 10th – No Sleep Records)
UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA
NOTES: A kiwi, a producer and a teenager; no this is not some failed one-of-those jokes but instead the team that makes up Portland’s latest culture shock. The trio, led by Ruban Nielson and his retro sparked indie pop croon, don’t live up to the UMO moniker (“orchestra”) and instead, slay with grooves laced with contagious musicianship (“Ffunny Ffrends”) and jams drowned in funk and beaten dry with bass slaps (“How Can U Luv Me”).
NOW PLAYING: Unknown Mortal Orchestra (June 21st – Fat Possum)
NOTES: While a part of metalcore gets flirty with pop hooks and plays dress-up, Boston act Ghost Thrower stand their ground with wounded hardcore punk. It may not be attractive, but the deliberate honest shouts barreling over carving strings is what former Therefore I Am guitarist Travis Alexander and co. have going for them. Construction is simple and delicate but reckless enough to resonate and draw comparisons to Thursday and La Dispute.
NOW PLAYING: Get Miserable EP (Equal Vision Records)
NOTES: “With music, I’m on the honor roll,” the Los Angeles duo spew on “Brain”, a BlackenedWhite cut portraying the arrogance but smooth craft that stains the moniker MellowHype. To say they’re wrong would be uneducated. Left Brain’s contagious production high fives lyricist Hodgy Beats’ flow, giving birth to old-school numbers (“Intoxicated Dreams”, “Hell”) and vicious rap anthems (“64”) that can even seduce the spotlight at gatherings like SXSW.
NOW PLAYING: BlackenedWhite (Summer – Fat Possum)
NOTES: Virtually unknown to the Canadian public that pretends they know en francais by over-exaggerating words such as “croissant”, Montreal’s Passwords are a hidden gem. Their candid, indie rhythms shake with the same vigor as a Sub Pop signee, tying folk strings with hipster howls that sound overdone and overused, but the local roots flavour dipped in alt rock (wait for the latter half of “Life After Summer” below) makes you want to throw up all over yourself in delight. Merci beaucoup for the raw psychedelia.
NOW PLAYING: Passwords (Mercy)
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