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. October highlights a few up-and-coming acts changing indie pop and new age rock n’ roll.
NOTES: With The Strokes letting their swagger slowly drown in their outlook of being experimental, these four 20-somethings from the suburbs in Atlanta take that potent bit of alt rock and make it seductive again. Through teenage rampage (see video for “Let You Have It”) and an immense debut (it’s called Balkans) the group fire through slurred, love-drunk angst that isn’t afraid to dance with psychedelia, take a swig of garage punk or find comfort in basement lo-fi jams. Rules are meant to be broken, and Balkans reassure why that’s fun.
NOW PLAYING: Balkans (May 2011 – Double Phantom)
NOTES: There may not be a shortage of indie pop in today’s hip society but there’s a severe lack in making sounds make sense. San Diego duo TV Girl are one of the few that don that artistic necktie and put it to use, creating material that unites retro pop with a jittery hip hop rhythm to give a hook the capability to build a house somewhere in your memory (“Girls Like Me”). With so many chasing after this goal to be the next best thing, it almost seems as if TV Girl aren’t bothered by fame. To them, it’s an add-on; if it somehow seeps into their motives to create, then cool, if not, well that’s pretty cool too.
NOW PLAYING: Benny And The Jets (July 2011 – Self-Released)
NOTES: Pop punk has inspired many and Man Overboard is practically a university paper on that with their intent to revive emotion, an accomplishment influences like Blink-182 and Taking Back Sunday have attached to their name. Their sound is raw, complete and has developed to a point where their latest effort is highlighted by that rough polish that made albums like Sirens And Condolences and Dude Ranch prized possessions. It’s just the New Jersey/Philly group do it in their own way that’s brutally honest (“Dead End Dreams”), bold (“Headstone”) and oddly catchy (“Rare”), which is just where they want to be.
NOW PLAYING: Man Overboard (October 2011 – Rise)
NOTES: Keaton Henson is 23-years-old. He’s a Londoner. He’s a victim to anxiety. And he’s signed to a digital label managed by a band from Abingdon (hint: Radiohead). Now most would expect there to be “a catch” with Henson but his acoustic foreplay is more vulnerable than the saddest note in the world. The songwriter turns brushes of heartbreak into art, convincing you that every reverberating chord and every lyric sung is as affectionate as flickering love and as dim as the hole that swallows your heart after a relationship. Henson has yet to find comfort in performing in front of an audience, but listening to his voice and strain of despair is a warm rush of cold air.
NOW PLAYING: Dear… (Early 2011 – ATC)
NOTES: A new San Francisco resident who’s been playing the saxophone since he was ten, Mikal Cronin is an artist who belongs on the radio. Not because he’s glamorous or fits right into anything classified as Top 40, but because Cronin has the innate ability to “rock” without sympathy. An instrumentalist who’s recorded LP’s and covers of “Suffragette City” with fellow garage revolutionist Ty Segall, Cronin isn’t shy of being melodic (“The Way Things Go”), lovable (“Hold On Me”) and displaying a fondness for damaged guitar rock (“Gone”), something Bay Area kids speed up when the amps are plugged in.