Monday, August 18, 2014

The 11 Best New & Unknown Bands of 2014

We're on the verge of the big fall release season for music.  Leading up to that, let's take a quick look at some of the new musical entries from this year.  For a band to be eligible for one of my usual lists, they need to have at least two full length albums out (or one album and two EPs).  So for this list, I've only included bands releasing their first full length album (or EP) this year.  This list goes to 12 because the last two bands only released EPs this year. Enjoy! Here are the 11 Best New & Unknown Bands of 2014:
  1. Antemasque (Antemasque) - This is the greatest album that At the Drive-In never made.  With Omar and Cedric from ATDI and Mars Volta on board, it's tight, neat punk that delivers with all the force of their angriest moments.  Having Flea as your bassist never hurts either.
  2. Eagulls (Eagulls) - This band is as punk as they are 80s. It's hard not to listen to the band and not hear Robert Smith's guitar influence supporting the raspy vocal explosion.  Ian Curtis would be proud.
  3. White Sea (In Cold Blood) - Morgan Kibby of M83 branches out with a solo project that is as much M83 sounding as it is her own.  The lyrics can be surprisingly vulgar for such an innocent sounding voice.
  4. Cheetahs (Cheetahs) - While a lot of critics are quick to call this band the second coming of My Bloody Valentine, there's equal parts Jesus and The Mary Chain & Echo and the Bunnymen trickling from under the fuzzy guitars and droning vocals.
  5. Ought (Ought) - While we patiently wait for Fugazi to release some new material (or old material) we have Ought to fill in the gap.
  6. The Sunshine Underground (The Sunshine Underground) - Don't call them the Killers part 2, though hints of the Nevada lads may be in there, you can also hear the best parts of other dance rock bands from VHS or Beta, Bloc Party, the Editors to The Bravery.
  7. Protomartyr (Under Color of Official Right) - Remember the Libertines?  Well, the Libertines were never cool enough to sing about Judge Mathis.  Protomartyr sings and plays like they grew up in a working class neighborhood in Brixton, UK...that said, they're from Detroit.
  8. CLAIRE (The Great of the Escape) - With no M83 album this year, the softening of the Naked and Famous, and Ellie Goulding shedding her indie skin for the pop chanteuse crown, an alt EDM void has formed; CLAIRE is here to fill that void.
  9. Oh My! (Slow Moves) - Sometimes it's okay to be a generic rock back.  You don't have to be emo, grunge, punk, nu metal, or brit pop.  You can just bust out a guitar and dominate with good old fashion riffs and fist pumping songs.  Just ask U2 how it worked out for them.
  10. Temples (Sun Structures) - What is most compelling about Temples new album is how much fun they sound like they're having.  They draw on influences from almost every decade, creating music so layered with melodies, you can't help but be drawn in to their festive atmosphere.
  11. Wolf Alice (Creature Songs EP) - If Tegan & Sara were angry, angst-filled rockers they may sound something like this.  It's also the closest thing we may hear that sounds like the band lush for awhile.
  12. Movement (Movement EP)- This band is so overtly sexual, you feel like you need a cigarette after each song.  Taking the sensuality of the xx and combining it with R. Kelly at his dirtiest, you begin to crack the surface of what Movement brings to the dance.
Honorable Mention: This is one of the best new bands out there, but this being their second album, I didn't want to include them in the above list.
  1. Garden & Villa (Dunes) - Their song Colony Glen is blowing up the scene but their entire album has just as many great songs sprinkled through-out.  The music is so 80s, I have to double check check if I'm listening to G&V or Talk Talk.
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