Saints of Valory embrace the vague term ‘alt-rock’ and make it their own. The Austin band have all the big, anthemic power of rock, accentuated with formidable electronic elements and production. With muscular vocals and massive-sounding instrumentals, both real and electronic, Saints of Valory are larger than life. With songs tackling everything from civil unrest to life as a musician, the trio present their opinion in an irresistibly appealing format. Alt-rock has always been a tentative umbrella term, but Saints of Valory embody it. They’ve got all the power and potency of old-school rock coupled with the electronic elements that set them above the crowd, and reinforce their sound with crisp beats. Saints of Valory show that there’s no need to leave rock ‘n roll behind and start something totally new; evolving the genre works just as well.
Favorites: “FIGHTING,” “SET IT ON FIRE,” “NEON EYES”
Similar to: Vista, The Unlikely Candidates, Crown The Empire
Inheaven are preparing for the release of their debut album “Inheaven” this September by releasing a stream of grunge-y, shoegaze-y singles. The South London quartet have already garnered the approval of Strokes’ frontman Julian Casablanca, and are poised to break through to a much larger audience with their full-length debut. The band’s sound is dense and swirling, near impossible to separate into distinct layers or melodies. Grunge riffs break through the haze of are alt-rock sound, giving Inheaven a distinctly gritty, fuzzy feeling that’s enforced by layered or distorted vocals. The compact wall of sound that backs their songs can vary effortlessly in mood and tone, from melancholy and bittersweet on “Drift” to poignant and combative on “World On Fire,” but always leaves one with a feeling of both playfulness and importance.
Favorites: “World On Fire,” “Treats,” “Vultures”
Similar to: Baby Strange, Estrons, VANT
Pvris are already a pretty big name in the scene, rising quickly through the ranks after the release of their debut album “White Noise” in 2014. The Boston group pack enough punch to start mosh pits, but temper their aggression with eerie, echoing verses and almost-whispered lyrics. The band have fused rock and electronic pop and come up with a final product with an impressive level of depth and intensity. Pvris are known for wearing all black, all the time, and their music follows suit, each track drenched in darkness. Vocalist Lynn Gunn switches in a heartbeat from soft crooning to bold, forceful choruses, her vocals twisting and turning elegantly over a bed of soft keys, throbbing synths, and dark basslines. Whatever Pvris are doing, and no matter what genre it might be, they’re doing it elegantly, and with a dark sense of style. The band’s sophomore album “All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell” is due for release August 25th.
Favorites: “Winter,” “St. Patrick,” “Mirrors”
Similar to: Too Close To Touch, Tonight Alive, Against The Current
The Sherlocks’ first single “Live For The Moment” was a resounding success, which is why the band are using it as their calling card for their upcoming debut album, “Live For The Moment.” The band’s other singles have the same blithe indie rock hopefulness and idealism that “Live For The Moment” embodied. There’s a sweet optimism and belief present in The Sherlock’s music that carries through both in the band’s simple, positive lyrics and their bright, upbeat instrumentals. The group’s straightforward indie rock is light and buoyant, dance-ready and carefree. The Sherlocks are thoroughly dedicated to living the way they want to, and believing what they want to, and this results in a peace of mind that shines in their music. “Live For The Moment” is the band’s breakout single because it describes their music in four words.
Favorites: “Live For The Moment,” “Chasing Shadows,” “Will You Be There?”
Similar to: High Tyde, Young Earth, The Night Café
The Night Café are well on their way to perfecting their style of brooding, electronic-inflected indie. Beginning with singles released in 2015, and continuing up until the release of their latest single “Felicity” this year, the Liverpool group have explored gently melancholy songs and their capacity to be catchy, touching, and intriguing all at once. Earnest lyrics melt into upbeat rhythms, given a hint of mysteriousness and atmospheric sensibility by electronic tinges. On “Felicity,” The Night Café are at their best yet, seamlessly melding cheery indie rhythms, endearingly hapless lyrics, and moody ambience. With a band name like The Night Café, this group are destined to make an impact in the indie world, hopefully making their corner a bit darker and more sophisticated along the way.
Favorites: “Felicity,” “The Way Of Mary,” “Addicted”
Similar to: Circa Waves, The Sherlocks, VANT
Originally hailing from Twin Peaks in San Francisco, Ken Franklin started indie alt pop band Dutch Party shortly after moving to LA. While living in Echo Park, he made it his goal to add more subversion to the American airwaves. Dutch Party create music dubbed “pop with a purpose.” The band’s influences range from 90s hip-hop to the British Invasion bands of the 1960s, and result in a quirky genre-blending mixture that is simultaenously old and new. In 2016 Ken Franklin moved into a house in Highland Park, and began using it as a musical headquarters to create a new record and enhance the band’s live show. Dutch Party’s second, self-produced EP is slated for release in fall of 2017. Franklin had this to say on the upcoming EP, titled “Combat Pop”:
“The whole record was such a DIY effort. We love lo-fi records but based off the first EP there was some expectation for us to make a true pop record. So from the get go our mantra kind of became this thing called ‘high flying lo-fi’ where essentially we would record 3 minute ear worms in such mad hatter raggedy ways, then try and polish and lift these tracks as high as we could. Some weekends we’d scrape enough money together to rent a Fairchild 670 limiter and other times we’d record a piano part mono on someone’s iPhone. The whole purpose being to create a record to inspire future iconoclasts to live and think differently than the status quo.”
Favorites: “Howl,” “Blade Runner,” “Echo Girl”
Similar to: COIN, Vinyl Theatre, MisterWives
Listen to Dutch Party’s newest single “Blade Runner” here:
ROMES’ essence is captured best by their single “Summer Sound.” On top of the song’s title, which is a short-and-sweet description of the band’s music, it’s a prime example of why ROMES’ music is going to be stuck in your head for the foreseeable future. Cheery synth melodies and easygoing vocals create an enchanting current that’s ready to propel you towards your next beach day. Based in Toronto, this alt-pop quartet have enough sparkling melodies and dreamy soundscapes to last you the whole summer. Light and airy vocals, irresistible hooks, waves of soft electronic ambience, ROMES have got it all. With this band as your soundtrack, you’ll have no problem forgetting all your worries. Even lyrics that touch on meaningful matters are undercut with playful rhythms and delivered with a sense of ‘it is what it is.’ ROMES is our favorite summer sound.
Favorites: “Summer Sound,” “Someone,” “Deja Vu”
Similar to: Half The Animal, Island Apollo, Nightly