The beginning of the year is always interesting because that’s when everyone is miserable to return to their regular routine that was blocked out by the madness of the holiday season. More importantly, the usual drought of shows during the holidays ends, tours get announced, and the conversation of new music begins! Below are 10 artists that are worth paying attention to in 2018. Happy listening!
For the last 2 years my least favorite month of the year saw the release of some of my favorite albums of the year. Since 2016, Long Island one man band John Velsor has been consistent with some of the most inventive projects to ever come out of Nassau County. His Astronauto project has seen its third iteration this year in the form of The Flourescent Album. Having played over 80 shows in 2017, who knows what 2018 has in store for this psychedelic folk one man machine?
I first saw this Atlanta based Glam Punk outfit play the now defunct Brooklyn venue, The Rock Shop in August 2015 before the release of their debut album Heavy Petting. Two years later, they returned to Manhattan to play Bowery Electric and I saw a completely different band. This time, I saw a matured stage presence and a deeper connection with the crowd. This new found confident energy has bled into their music because through out 2017, Starbenders have been releasing a series of singles, the most notable being “Julian”; easily the most melodic the band has ever been with beautiful ghostly harmonies throughout. Whether a new album or another single is in their plans, I’ll be paying attention.
3. Smol Data
Smol Data is a new Long Island based quartet formed by guitarist/vocalist Karah Goldstein (formerly of Catlike). They have spent the last year going on mini-tours and working tirelessly on a new EP. They’ve been keeping us up to date on their progress by sharing some demos on bandcamp and an interesting lo-fi take on Charly Bliss’ “Westermark”. I would also give them the award for best twitter of 2017. They don’t even try to be funny, just brutally honest. The future is Smol, get used to it.
This Philadelphia quartet sure have a way with sounds. Palm possess this gorgeous, inventive, and unpredictable approach to rock music that would leave you confused but curious. Last year’s Shadow Expert EP is well organized in its chaos and a great way to hold us over until their new full length ‘Rock Island’ comes out on February 9th.
Native New Yorkers Dan Lardner & Alex Niemetz spent the last few years working tirelessly on their long awaited debut album that finally saw daylight this past December. For most of 2017, they have been touring across the US, releasing single after single all culminating into a beautifully humble and lyrically driven self titled project. In 2018, they hope their emotions expressed in their music and live show relate to you. That sounds corny, but its so true.
6. Miss Eaves
Brooklyn based rapper, Miss Eaves is one of the most charming artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Her shows are deeply intimate and attempts to make a connection to whomever is closest to her at the moment. She caught some attention with her “Thunder Thighs” video and even got her track “Hump Day” on Issa Rae’s brilliant show Insecure on HBO. I’m sure last year’s Feminasty EP is merely scratching the surface to what the gold tooth chain wearing rapper has in store in 2018.
Baltimore’s lovable pedal pop outfit Wildhoney have been hibernating working on their follow up to 2015’s Sleep Through It. They recently released their two offerings from the fantastic Slumberland Records/Fortuna POP! compilation Continental Drift. “Horror Movie” & “TL Reprisal” are set to be remixed and remastered for a limited edition cassette release this month.
The Central Islip trio of brothers, MJT have released two EPs in 2017; The World Is A Broken Toy & Home. The latter being their best work so far. They are gifted musicians, but its one thing to be good at playing instruments and another if you can get the crowd to care about said talent. They received an uncanny response at a recent Knitting Factory show. It was the first time I had ever seen a band get their named chanted at that space. Having such an overly dedicated fan base made up of close friends is dangerous in the best way possible.
9. Screaming Females
Writing this on a frigid day in January brought back memories of this past summer when I found a sealed copy of ‘Baby Teeth’, the first album from veteran New Jersey punk outfit Screaming Females at a flea market. When I put this album on, it was never more clear to me that Scremales have come so far in their decade long existence. Their latest single, “Glass House” is the shape of punk to come as Refused said in 1998. Its going to be a hot winter when their forthcoming album All At Once comes out on February 23rd.
10. Sunflower Bean
New York rising stars Sunflower Bean exploded seemingly out of nowhere in 2016 with their debut album Human Ceremony. Being signed to an indie giant like Fat Possum can serve as the beginning of life as a headlining act. They have spent the last 2 years playing festival after festival, and somehow finding the time to record new music. Their latest gift to us “I Was A Fool” released on another indie behemoth, Mom + Pop, is a tender, collected tune that shows us the other side of their energetic psychedelic-dream rock style.