I have no idea which new artist will be the next [Insert popular artist from an earlier time period here]. I can only tell you what I think sounds good and that there are more than 10 artists to pay attention to in 2018. This time, we have a lot more of New York’s underground and a few international acts that I’m sure you’ll be proud to boast your awareness of if they gain more mainstream attention. Happy discovery!
1) A Place To Bury Strangers
Veteran Brooklyn based noise rockers A Place to Bury Strangers have returned from their tour of Asia to announce a new album and, you guest it, another world tour! The new album Penned is coming to us in April with a massive release show planned for Bushwhick’s brand new venue, Elsewhere. This album marks the debut of the energetic drummer Lia Simone Braswell, whom I have affectionately called “maniac” because of her incredible job matching the on stage fire and fury of front man Oliver Ackermann and bassist Dion Lunadon. The first offering for Penned, “Never Coming Back” tells me that 2018 is theirs for the taking.
2) Hockey Dad
Australian born childhood friends, Zach Stephenson and Billy Fleming aka Hockey Dad, are looking to siege 2018 with their sophomore effort, Blend Inn out February 9th. Although this album has yet to see the light of day, that hasn’t stopped them from selling out a number of dates in their native continent. Their latest single “I Wanna Be Everybody” shows off a maturation in their songwriting and arranging that delivers an interesting approach to the all too familiar surf rock sound. Whenever Hockey Dad comes around your way, go see them because its all party.
3) Foxy Dads
Long Island based duo (sometimes trio) Foxy Dads have graced us with a late 2017 album Songs from the LIRR. Ilana Hope and Marissa Carroll do a great job of bringing hope to sadness with their beautiful lo-fi pop tunes. You may have seen them on bills on various DIY spots on Long Island and Brooklyn. Their emotionally aware sound is charming and I’m sure they’ll win you over in 2018. They are also featured on Vol. 4 of my Watchout Playlist series on TIDAL. You can check it out here!
New York via Tufts University trio Crumb bring a smooth, mysterious, psychedelic take on rock that’s so eclectic that I can see Common rap over their arrangements. Their music is a result of singer/guitarist Lila Ramini’s creating a foundation that bassist Jesse Brotter, multi-instrumentalist Brian Aronow and drummer Jonathan Gilad fostered into something complete. With two EPs under their belt and a nationwide tour booked for March and April, who knows what this group has in store for the rest of 2018?
This St. Petersburg, Florida quintet have been sprinkling a couple of 7” singles for about two years and they have yet to disappoint. I was first introduced to them through the “Motorcycle Song” single and was drawn in by the shoegaze inspired washed out guitars and the beautiful, ethereal vocal style of Heidi Richards. Fans of Honeyrider might appreciate this because their alum Gary Strickland serves as the Seafang bassist. 2017 saw them playing some local Florida shows, the release of the fantastic “Solid Gold” single as well as an original Christmas tune “Happy When It Snows”. Seafang see no end in sight as they plan on touring and releasing more music so keep a close eye on them this year.
6) Nervous Dater
Brooklyn based quartet Nervous Dater have been putting out a string of EPs since 2015 and last year we saw the release of their debut full length, Don’t Be a Stranger. Since then, they have been playing numerous shows throughout New York City, Chicago, Massachusetts and even Long Island; a territory that some Brooklyn bands almost never touch. Their raw, melodic, take on punk will make you reevaluate any preconceptions you might have of “Pop-Punk”. Maybe it’s not all whiny suburban boys crying the blues about a breakup.
7) The Royal They
Brooklyn punks The Royal They first stepped on the scene with their 2016 self-titled debut and followed up two years later with Foreign Being. This offering brings a combination of cathartic mantras from vocalist Michelle Hutt on the album opener “C.N.T.” and beautiful slow burners like “Veritas”. They do an excellent job with re-arranging familiar sounds of punk and grunge and putting a modern twist to it. If you recently moved to Brooklyn and are looking for bands to get into, keep The Royal They on your radar this year.
Superorganism are a musical hive-mind; a summation of eight musicians from all over the world slowly spreading its presence in the music world. With their debut album slated for a March release, they’re already grabbing some attention with singles ”Something for your M.I.N.D.” and “Everybody Wants To Be Famous”. When you have so many artists contributing to a project, everything feels like a big production. Superorganism take a community approach to their music to build a connection that’ll only improve their chemistry. I am very curious to see how this will play out in a live performance setting.
9) The Spook School
For the past five years, Scottish indie poppers The Spook School have been vocal about the battles consistently faced by the LGBTQ community. In January, they arrived with their latest full length, Could It Be Different? and it’s a quick burst of fiery, fuzzy, pop tunes. They first caught my eye on the spectacular Slumberland/Fortuna POP! compilation, Continental Drift released back in 2016. I really dug their explosive delivery of their sweet, tender, harmonic sounds. I admire how In a world plagued with bigotry, The Spook School make resiliency sound so alluring.
10) Sloppy Jane
This group is more of an interchangeable, evolving, openly collaborative process with a revolving door of musicians. New York City native Haley Dahl is the conductor of Sloppy Jane and invites up to 11 other musicians on stage at a time. They are one of those groups that offer more than a musical experience when you see them live. Dahl utilizes the entire venue as her stage almost to keep your attention from wandering into your phones. Sonically, they have an experimental rock approach that rooted in punk aggression and unpredictable melodic moments. They have a new album Willow coming soon that should be exciting given the overwhelmingly expressive nature of their live show.