Just for a moment, imagine if there was no new music being created and shared. Considering how many of our favorite artists here at idobi Radio have broken through in the past few years, that is a truly horrible thought. Young and upcoming artists are however too often overlooked and not given the attention that their talent deserves. We spoke with our team and compiled a list of special artists we think rule and labels should be paying attention to. Remember: the classics of tomorrow are being written today.
– Denis Simms, editor
The Baby Grand
More often than not, great musical artists come out of great cities and The Baby Grand is no exception. Hailing from Washington D.C., indie rock solo act The Baby Grand (comprised of artist Miguel Tenicela) has worked to establish a name for himself in the music world, including releasing several EPs on iTunes; his most recent, titled ‘Dirty City’, was released on August 19th of last year. The Baby Grand has worked with numerous credible artists, including John Keefe and Morgan Door of Boys Like Girls and producer Paul Leavitt. But what makes The Baby Grand special has nothing to do with his colleagues or positive feedback from critics; there’s something so genuine about his work, and genuine things are pretty difficult to find these days.
Each song feels so incredibly personal, as if you are reading Miguel Tenicela’s inner monologue and harboring his private thoughts. But at the same time, his thoughts are universal–agony of lost love, a longing for home and the past, and countless other experiences we all potentially go through. This is an artist who can assure us that we are not alone in our own heads. People turn to music for many reasons, but most of the time, they are looking to feel something; relaxation after a long day at school, confidence before embarking on a job interview, and so on. Well, without a doubt, this guy is going to make you feel something. (Danielle DeSisto)
The Big Time
The Big Time is a pop rock band hailing from Altoona, Pennsylvania with a sound that has an infectious quality. The band has been around for nearly five years and has progressed from a high school hobby to a fully fledged career choice. Staying true to the “rock band” mentality, they manage to have a big sound without feeling the need to ditch their instruments for track-filled charades that most pop-y bands lean towards nowadays. Their sound resembles the bands of the Warped scene from the Drive-Thru Records era, but with a twist of a progressive sound. Their most recent EP Imaginary Heart, which they recorded with Zach Odom and Kenneth Mount (Mayday Parade, Jimmy Eat World, Cartel), is a huge step in the right direction and seems to be catching the attention of anyone within earshot. The best part? They’re all 21 or younger. One of them is still in high school. Expect to see this band blossom and blow up within the upcoming years. (Joseph Britton)
The Black Sox Scandal
Born out of Ewing, New Jersey, The Black Sox Scandal lie somewhere on the spectrum of alternative rock and pop punk. The band is small, but they don’t need to stay that way. The Black Sox Scandal have been building up a local fanbase, playing shows across the state. The band released three EPs out in the last year alone, proving they are ready to make an impact–and their punchy, hook-laden melodies are doing just that. The band’s instrumentals are perfectly cohesive, and coupled with raw vocals, it makes for a sound that is simple, satisfying, and won’t go out of style. Even their acoustic EP is as addictive as their full band music, if not more so. It’s easy to spin through their entire discography, and the band undoubtedly create a lasting impression almost immediately. The Black Sox Scandal has hinted at a full length record in the works, and it could be just the thing to put this band on a record label’s radar. When something catches your attention like this band, you can’t ignore it. (Hannah Pierangelo)
Here’s a quick #humblebrag for you: I get sent dozens of emails from PR agencies every day promoting the up-and-coming bands they work with and while a good portion of the tunes in those emails are from bands who absolutely deserve every kind of support I can muster, some of them are just “eh.” Arguably one of my favourite discoveries from those emails, though, are a band called Fickle Friends who hail from Brighton in the UK. Take a dash of CHVRCHES, a pinch of Two Door Cinema Club, and a whole heap of infectious synth-pop, and you’ve got a band who certainly knows what they’re doing and how to get you to dance. One listen to their debut single ‘Swim’ (which has earned over 500k plays on SoundCloud) will have you wondering how in the hell they haven’t been picked up by any sort of label with its 80’s-reminiscent sound that could easily take over the airwaves. (Tarynn Law)
[*EDIT: Fickle Friends signed to Killing Moon/Crazy Heart Records late last year.]
Friends Of Foes
Some bands were destined for greatness. Something in the air surrounding Friends of Foes’ career suggests they’re one of them. The fire was lit when the members joined forces in early 2013. Since then, they’ve released an impressive amount of exceptional material. A starry eyed quality is written into every story told on their debut album, Chronophobic. The assistance of a positively indie rock guitar and sleepy alternative tempo let the one and only Celeste Nicholson’s vocal stylings soar even higher. If you’re interested in digging a little deeper, past the melodious drums and breezy simplicity of each track, you won’t find yourself disappointed, seeing how each song is just as skillfully composed lyrically as it is sonically.
Friends of Foes are also kicking ass and taking names in the game of promotion. Sleek and professional Facebook updates provide a glance at their coming escapades, while maintaining their steady social media presence. Countless press features have come their way over the past year, including articles in Flow Magazine Saskatoon, Canindie, and a slot on Morning News Saskatoon. Plus, thanks to their intoxicating live show, they’ve found their way around Canada, playing alongside local icons like Royal Canoe, We Are The City and Zerbin–leaving those of us stateside begging for an American tour.
I’ve watched Friends of Foes grow from the time of their formation, and it’s been nothing short of an honor. Undoubtedly, they’ll keep progressing from here in the pursuit of making an impact on an industry that is in need of hard working individuals with undeniable ingenuity. (Emillie Marvel)
Machines Are People Too
Hailing from Chattanooga, TN, Machines Are People Too deliver a unique synth-pop sound by effectively using… well, machines nonetheless. And though electronic and synthesized-filled pop music floods the airwaves nowadays, this three-piece outfit delivers something a lot more. With their aesthetically pleasing sound and energetic live performances, JJ Clark (production, bass, synth), Brian Sylvester (vocals) and Daniel Hoisington seemed to have mastered what it takes to catch the eyes and ears of an audience. Despite several member changes, Machines Are People Too have already hit the stages at major festivals including Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Hangout Fest, and Nocturnal Wonderland. “We’ve always worked hard to make music that we like and put on the best shows that we can because we want the best from ourselves,” Clark said. “I’m sure it’d probably be nice to have budgets for recording, touring, and gear (our Amazon shopping cart is out of control) but so far we’ve always been able to make it work which is probably more rewarding.”
The band independently released their latest EP Nickels & Dimes in 2013, but it’s their 2012 debut EP Dreams that will blow you away. The record is pure gold, seamlessly blending flawless vocals and synth-pop with indie rock and roll. When asked if Machines Are People Too should be signed to a label, Clark responded very confidently and full of infectious enthusiasm. “Yes!” he exclaimed. “Because we’re friendly and badass.” Don’t worry, JJ. We think so too. Here’s to the rest of the world catching on. (Alyson Stokes)
Pop punk has always been under the command of the states, but those across the pond have got some mighty fine talent when they put their minds to it. Portsmouth, UK’s Midday Committee have found their niche, and they’re damn good at what they do–it’s rare to find such a refined sound from a fledgling group. Formed four years ago, the band have reached far beyond their years and gelled from the get-go, bringing a hint of sunshine to the grey British weather. And they’re not afraid of hard work–the Portsmouth quartet have played festivals across England such as Butserfest and New Age Festival, as well as shows with Kids In Glass Houses, Lower Than Atlantis, and Mallory Knox. Midday Committee have everything you want from your new favorite pop punk act–gang vocals, catchy hooks, and complete, unabashed honesty. They keep their melodies deceptively simple, and their dual vocals rough and ready–it’s all part of the charm. Their latest EP, Girls In Open C, has a lazy summer’s day vibe so irresistible you can almost feel the wind in your hair and sand beneath your feet. It’s this effortless elegance that sets them apart from the masses; there’s a certain grace in their carefree attitude. Whoever said simplicity doesn’t work? For them it sure does–so if there’s any band worth rooting for, it’s Midday Committee, because their sheer talent needs to be heard by everyone. (Alex Bear)
It all comes down to a moment. Small venue, pre-door, sound check; a guy in suspenders seems to be standing around until his guitarist calls him forward. The guy in suspenders sings while the guitarist strums and it’s good. Titanic Pop, hell yeah, but sung in a vocal range that would’ve made Freddie Mercury smile. These are Matt Hasenmueller and Kyle Culver of The Millenium, and you step out of the shadows for a closer listen. Later, when Kyle Featherstone and Sean Koran join their band mates on stage, it’s nearly post-apocalyptic–there’s so much happening as they perform “Ghost Town” where Matt sings, “this is where I make my fall,” then the entire band loses it in movement and rhythm. The harmonies are tight, the songs grab you by your face, and you believe every lyric because The Millenium does. You pump your fist to the classic punk chords of “No Knocks Tonight” and sing the chorus like you’ve known it your entire life. And maybe that’s true. “They say we outgrew the city, but I know damn well the city outgrew me.” By the end of the show you’re a fan. Somehow Matt’s energy, Tall Kyle’s crooning accompanying vocals, Sean’s gravity defeating leaps with his bass, and Blond Kyle’s relentless strum have become an addiction. You don’t care how many moments it’ll take to live through The Millenium. You’re all in.
Listen to their current release It’s So Much Friendlier With Two and you’ll feel the same excitement we do. Better yet, the guys tell us they’re working on new music. Saying we can’t wait would be understating the obvious. In the meantime, The Millenium recently played NAMM 2015 in SoCal and will be touring the midwest, not too far from their Eau Claire, Wisconsin hometown, in February. You really need to see them take the stage live. As a matter of fact, go now! (Sherin Nicole)
If A Day To Remember and You Me At Six were to have a musical lovechild in the form of a band, it would be Trophy Wives. Hailing from Rhode Island, this pop punk quintet have shared the stage with Sum 41, Yellowcard, Hands Like Houses, Hit The Lights, Transit, and more. And they’ve hit the stage nearly a hundred times since their formation in 2012, including being voted onto this summer’s Warped Tour date in Boston through the Ernie Ball contest. The past two years are a testament to their talent, and this dynamic group certainly have more to come, with new music to be released next month. It’s well-deserved–Trophy Wives’ blend of pop punk and post-hardcore is filled to the brim with bouncy choruses you can feel the sheer energy of. With vocalist Sam Boxold’s smooth singing that seems to glide through each note to Chris Piquette’s violent unclean and funky riffs that have a summertime feel to them, Trophy Wives are headed for another big year. Record labels and fans everywhere, take note; this is one up-and-coming band you don’t want to miss out on. (Emily Yee)