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Artist Profiles
7 Bands to Know
09 24 2019
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I “came of age” musically at 18.

 

This didn’t mean much more than finally coming to an amicable arrangement with my parents that would allow me to go to shows in New York City by myself. But much to my chagrin, by the time I was able to immerse myself in any sort of musical scene, most of the notable DIY venues spread across the industrial waterfront of Williamsburg were already on their way out. 

 

In 2014, Vice was in the process of driving Brookyn DIY venues like 285 Kent (a Pitchfork mainstay), Death By Audio, and Glasslands out of business. These places and the people that filled them were nothing more to me than pictures and videos, relics of people with the freedom to be themselves and explore art in unconventional spaces. It’s hard to imagine the person I might have been, had I the opportunity to immerse myself in this world. 

 

Similar to the Death Of The Hippie funeral procession in October 1967, many were quick to call late 2014 the beginning of the end to DIY and true independent music culture. 

 

Luckily, neither did die with the shuttering of Glasslands and 285 Kent. There are still artists out there — it’s just a little harder for them to break through the constant noise and influx of new music. But when you find that one band…one that flourishes beyond labels and proves that independent art still can have a space in 2019, they could very well change your life.

 

These seven bands represent the future of the music scene that I — and so many others — coveted so much.

The Hails
GENRE: ROCK

 

LOCATION: GAINESVILLE, FL

 

LINKS: Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram

 

 

Over the last year, the Floridian group has released a handful of singles, which have worked together to gather a legion of fans taking the group out of their humble hometown roots and into the spotlight. 

 

Their latest single “Nothing” is a smooth affair that contemplates the conflict of feeling like you believe in nothing but also the need to believe in something.

Duncan Fellows
GENRE: INDIE ROCK

 

LOCATION: AUSTIN, TX

 

LINKS: Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram

 

 

Fuzzy and distorted, Duncan Fellows feels distinctly Texan but with a modern twist.

 

Formed in 2012, Duncan Fellows hit the ground running to accumulate a prolific and solid catalog with a wide range of guitar-driven rock songs across seven years worth of full-lengths, EPs, and singles. But it was the quintet’s infectious and charismatic energy on stage that quickly found them billed alongside bands like Middle Kids, Post Animal, and Ron Gallo.

 

 

Their latest effort, Eyelids Shut, is a collection of four songs that simultaneously widens the scope of possibilities, while also focusing in on something strikingly unique. The EP’s title track is a sprawling, almost dramatic number that swells to an impressive climax, whereas “Aliens” will find audiences pogoing and moshing along with the sustained organ notes and noodling guitar lead.

THE WLDLFE
GENRE: INDIE POP

 

LOCATION: INDIANAPOLIS, IN

 

LINKS: Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram

 

 

THE WLDLFE seamlessly combines modern pop and rock tropes into a sound that is cinematic and maximalist, evoking a feeling not dissimilar to rock-oriented pop bands like The 1975 and Twenty One Pilots. With a clean production and guitar/synth combo that floats beneath the star-power vocals of Jansen Hogan, the tracks are instantly engaging.

 

All of this was evident in the band’s early projects, but the three-song EP Self-Lovin finds all of these pieces refined and stronger than ever before: the hooks are bigger, the production is tighter, the melodies are catchier. It’s a promising taste of what’s to come from the Indianapolis-based quintet. With an opening slot for Halsey already under their belt, it wouldn’t be surprising if THE WLDLFE is one day headlining stages alongside massive indie-pop acts like the ones mentioned above.

Hardcastle
GENRE: POP ROCK

 

LOCATION: NASHVILLE, TN

 

LINKS: Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram

 

 

Playing music with a sibling is one of the most rewarding experiences — the shared DNA allows for a creative air that exists without superfluous communication. Having played together since they first realized that instruments could be played, Hardcastle’s Graham and Miles Laderman are lucky enough to take advantage of this. 


Even when life sent each of the band’s four members their separate ways, they all eventually found their way back to each other. Hardcastle’s latest release This Side Or The Other combines elements of modern pop with rock music from the latter period of the 20th century, marking them as next in line for the pop-rock throne in today’s music world.

Sipper
GENRE: INDIE ROCK

 

LOCATION: NEW YORK, NY

 

LINKS: Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram

 

 

After years of cold emailing to find a release partner for their project, Sipper finally connected with artist development incubator Invertebrate for the release of their debut EP Adam Driver. It wasn’t long before the tracks started rolling out to the attention from blogs and tastemakers across the board. 

 

Adam Driver is a perfect example of the peaks that bedroom pop tracks can reach. Named after one of Hollywood’s most enigmatic but reliable actors, Sipper’s debut project occupies a similar space. Filled with simple but ear-catching melodies and instrumental compositions, the six-song effort grabs your attention within its first few minutes (and holds it for the rest).

Blush Cameron (fka COMPs)
GENRE: ALTERNATIVE/INDIE POP

 

LOCATION: PHILADELPHIA, PA

 

LINKS: Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram

 

 

Geoff Webb has been releasing music as COMPs (now Blush Cameron) for the better part of the last three years, culminating in last year’s full-length album Life As A Baller, listed as one of UPROXX’s the best punk album of 2018. Despite the lo-fi nature of songs, they feel fully realized with great fuzzy pop choruses.

 

Released in early 2019, the new single “I’ll Apologize One Thousand Times (And Then One More Time)” is the first taste of a new direction for the band that takes influence from 80’s greats like Tears For Fears. Webb is currently prepping a brand new LP that is set for release in the coming months. 

Monster Bad
GENRE: ALTERNATIVE/CHAOS POP

 

LOCATION: NEW YORK, NY

 

LINKS: Spotify, Apple Music, Twitter

 

 

Monster Bad’s 2017 EP Spark Thrush flew under the radar for the most part, but still remains as one of the more unique and interesting underground projects in some time.

 

Hailing from New York, the experimental nature of the band’s music is evocative of iconic acts like The Talking Heads and Patti Smith. Tracks like “Providence I (Cicada Year)” sound unlike most other bands in the same echelon but still maintain an air of convention that makes them especially desirable.

 

Monster Bad is also prepping a new project that serves as a rebirth for the band, with songs that really come to life as you listen, creating a world within which they can exist and dance around.

Zac Gelfand is a writer, creative consultant, and artist manager based in Brooklyn, New York. He currently serves as the Director of Engagement & Artist Relations for Indie Mixtape, a new joint initiative of Uproxx and Warner Music Group, and is a member of the A&R team at Elektra Music Group.

 

 

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