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. August’s picks highlight a few up-and-coming acts changing rock n’ roll and pop punk.
NOTES: London’s Still Corners do two things right: a) they blend newgaze dream pop with shards of 60s surf without letting it sound like an effortless project and b) add a cinematic focus you want to sink your teeth in. The latter achievement, complimented by Tessa Murray’s exquisite voice, has given the group enough character to be likened to The Jesus And Mary Chain and Beach House. The only difference is they’re not, as their sound is traditional 2010s’ due to its enrapturing nature that goes from theatrical to romantic in seconds.
NOW PLAYING: Creatures Of An Hour (October 11th – Sub Pop)
JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD
NOTES: Two Nashville bros with one purpose: to tour relentlessly and let their patented brand of stoner-meets-fuzzed-out jam rock imprint your mind. Hooked on vinyl and cassettes, guitarist Jake Orrall and drummer Jamin Orrall aren’t a two-piece bent on Black Keys superstardom. They’re a duo with a DIY ethic that just goes out, plays a set and hopes your face doesn’t melt too much due to the way they knot together Pavement and Sonic Youth. In other words, if they’re playing a set in your town, make sure to buy a few tickets.
NOW PLAYING: We Are Champions (2011 – Infinity Cat)
THE RIOT BEFORE
NOTES: If there’s one band that could call themselves a revival of pre-New Wave Against Me! and get away with it, it would The Riot Before. The Richmond pop punkers imitate that rebellious, don’t-give-a-shit-attitude godfathers of punk utilized in relaying messages and passion backed on slides and fierce riffs but also throw in a youthful side of honesty and desperation Paper + Plastick admire. Such a trait is often left for one-offs, but to show it in both recording studios and bathrooms shows guts and a lot of potential.
NOW PLAYING: Rebellion (2010 – Paper + Plastick)
NOTES: Having been caught in a storm of Rolling Stone madness and stirred up quite the ruckus across the Great White North, Saskatoon rockers The Sheepdogs seem like they’ve finally made it big. To them, that’s not quite the case. Their style of southern rock that touches upon CCR and Cream will have their face plastered on an infamous cover but it won’t have the same effect their vintage harmonies and ear-twitching psychadelia will have on listeners while on tour. Even that – and 2010’s gem Learn & Burn – has musicians, such as Kings Of Leon’s Caleb Followill, anticipating each live lick.
NOW PLAYING: Learn & Burn (2010 – Dine Alone Records)
NOTES: One minute you’re listening to Cage The Elephant and Manchester Orchestra jams and the next you’re touring with said acts (not to mention Circa Survive this fall) and headlining a South By Southwest showcase. For Sleeper Agent, they’re still riding a major wave, having fathered their two-minute mind-numbing tempos from Bowling Green to big cities, filling rooms full of charming vocal warfare (“Get It Daddy”), stimulating party anthems (“Proper Taste”) and pop rock brouhahas (“Scream Out”). As the sextet’s 18-year-old frontwoman Alex Kandel puts it, “it’s definitely sink or swim time”.
NOW PLAYING: Celebrasion (2011- Mom+Pop Records)