Harlea is the stage moniker of a London-based singer who combines catchy guitar riffs with pop-inspired vocals to deliver hits that weave together stomping, bluesy rock with mainstream pop. Thundering basslines and sultry vocals recall the days of classic rock, but a lack of guitars leaves room for crashing drums and production-slathered vocals. Confrontational lyrics complete the image of Harlea as an honest, straight-forward, modern-day rock star.
Favorites: “Miss Me,” “You Don’t Get It”
Similar to: Halestorm, Dorothy, The Pale White
Cemetery Sun are a Northern California- based quintet, with an irresistible blend of alt-pop, informed by pop-rock and electronica. Choruses will have you singing along at the top of your lungs, while more quiet, introspective verses allow keyboards and synths to shine through. The band combine a remarkable intensity and focus with intense vocals and an atmospheric sound broken up by flickering guitars, rolling drums, and steadfast basslines.
Favorites: “Fake Love,” “Diamonds,” “Wish It Was Love”
Similar to: Sir Sly, Against The Current, Ghost Town
“Stay With Me” opens the album with clashing percussion and roaring guitars, guaranteed to get your attention. “Burn My Eyes” proves that those loud instrumentals weren’t just a ploy for attention, and proceeds to deliver the sonic punch of a monster truck revving up. “In My Mind” is a stand-out, if only because it slows things down a bit, and “Raindrops” isn’t far behind. Some of the heaviness is stripped away, and soaring melodies and isolated bluesy riffs take the spotlight. “Black Magic” is without a doubt the best song on the record. It’s got all the elements that make this album what it is, from punishing guitars to raucuous drums, plus particularly elegant vocals and lyrics, and a killer guitar hook that cuts straight through all the background noise. “Little Something” is filled with scraping basslines and cutting vocals, and the effect of limiting the instrumentals for much of the track is to cause each sound to feel stark against the relative silence. It is the only song on the record that truly feels dark, and its eerie nature is refreshing. The album ends with “Palace,” a piano ballad that feels abrupt, considering the rest of the album’s sound, but fits lyrically and is gently compelling.
The Amazons have successfully established a brutal indie rock sound with their debut album. The heavy guitars occasionally break off into clever little riffs, and there’s a degree of experimentation with the vocals, but for the most part this is a very straight-forward rock record. “The Amazons” is very good. But it also feels like playing it safe. The best tracks are the ones where the band took risks and stripped some of the instrumentals down, or played around with the vocals. The rest of the songs have a tendency to feel like framework, when we would rather have more details added to the picture within. Each song has strong elements, and many of them are catchy rock anthems, but they could be pushed to reach the level of singles like “Black Magic” and “In My Mind.” However, this is a debut album. The Amazons have created a record chock-full of arena-ready hits, and should be very pleased with themselves.
Favorites: “In My Mind,” “Little Something,” “Black Magic”
Similar to: Estrons, VANT, The Pale White
Favorite Song: “Moods Like English Weather” – The Gospel Youth
Favorite Music Video: “Paradise” – Broadside
Favorite Cover: “Misery” – Eliot Ash (originally by Creeper)
Favorite Album: “The Amazons” – The Amazons
Favorite Artwork: “The Amazons” – The Amazons
Favorite Artist: Neck Deep
Watch the music videos for their new singles “Where Do We Go When We Go” below and “Happy Judgement Day” above
Pre sale ticket bundles available here.
The Skins are a five-piece band from New York City, who mix hip-hop sensibilities with soul, R&B, and rock. The band see-saw between straight-forward hip-hop and rock-oriented tracks, but always maintain a catchy, in-your-face momentum. Frontwoman Bay Li delivers soaring, airy vocals that still convey a fiery, spunky attitude. This, paired with clanging drums, pounding basslines, stuttering guitars and inventive rhythms, gives The Skins a distinctive sound. Each song is well-produced, unexpected, and full of boundless energy.
Favorites: “Killer,” “Bury Me,” “Go Off”
Similar to: DNCE, Betty Who, Tegan and Sara