Taking Back Sunday - Like I’ve stated before, I’m not a very big Taking Back Sunday fan considering I haven’t listened to much beyond their most famous singles, but I haven’t been able to stop listening to their newest record. Their sound is appropriately mature considering how long the band has been around, but still capable of appealing to both their old fans and any younger fans that might find them via Hopeless Records. Many people don’t realize how incredibly difficult it is for a band to stay relevant after just a couple years and Taking Back Sunday have once again proven that they aren’t going anywhere.
Betty Who - Betty Who has been heralded as one of the frontrunners of the current “alt-pop” movement, although in my opinion she could easily by a major pop star selling out a run at the STAPLES Center if she plays her cards right. She combines Pink’s aesthetics and attitude with Katy Perry’s soaring hooks but with lyrics that don’t constantly make you cringe. She’s pop music you can listen to without feeling guilty.
Tokyo Police Club - This song is hands down possibly my favorite indie pop song I’ve heard all year. Everything from the opening guitar riff to the chorus hook is perfect. It’s the perfect addition to alternative rock radio stations across the nation and outdoor festivals during the summer. Although none of the other tracks on the album compare to this one, it’s still an infectious, danceable package as a whole, and I’m glad it exists after that disaster of a record that Foster The People put out.
Cathedrals - I found this band while scouring the Internet for unmanaged bands for my internship. They only have two songs out right now, but this one in particular displays enormous potential. The band reminds me of a more upbeat, indie pop version of Lorde. I love the warm, comforting tone in the vocals and once that synth beat enters at the beginning you can’t help but enjoy listening to this song. I hope to catch this band at a festival somewhere over the summer.
Captain, We’re Sinking - Another small unmanaged band, besides their incredible music garnering them the attention they deserve, people may also know this band because the vocalist’s brother sings in The Menzingers. Like The Menzingers, Captain, We’re Sinking produce raw, cathartic punk rock but always remember to add the hooks as well (my favorite hook being in the song above). The band already boasts an impressive resume including releasing their latest record on Run For Cover Records and opening for such scene darlings as Tigers Jaw and Balance & Composure. Listed as one of AltPress’ 100 Bands You Need to Know this year and already booked for Fest in the fall, this should be their biggest year yet.
Vanaprasta - I caught these guys opening for Incan Abraham at the Bootleg last night (definitely one of the coolest venues in Los Angeles that I’ve been to). My biggest issue with the current indie guitar rock scene burgeoning in east LA is that the bands always seem to get lost in their own music, bobbing their heads through monotonous waves of guitar fuzz for the majority of their set. While Vanaprasta is definitely a part of that scene, they still make sure to entertain the crowd in front of them. Steven Wilkin is one of the best modern rock vocalists you’ll ever hear, effortlessly soaring through octaves of notes throughout the set. While still mostly a local band, I’m stoked to see what the rest of the year holds for such a talented act.
Seahaven - While some people have expressed disappointment about the overwhelming lack of fast songs on their new record, I’ve found the album to provide the perfect soundtrack for long bus rides and late-night homework sessions. It will definitely be interesting to catch them at their upcoming live shows and see how the band will deal with a crowd used to constantly diving while they play. This record is obviously a turning point in the band’s career and I’m curious to see where they plan on taking it.