When was the last time you heard a unique guitar riff? How about mad rock lyrics that only speak to you? Unless you spend five hours on youtube every day, odds are you are having a hard time finding new alternative rock music! Luckily for you, I have no life and spend all of my time searching for new music, both popular and under the radar. Today, I’ll be giving you a list of alt bands that are truly amazing, have amazing potential, but haven’t hit the radio. This list is in no particular order, so be sure to give each band a listen!
Anyone who loves a good indie/alt-rock band probably knows about Alt-J. Those peculiar high-pitched yet low-toned lyrics can get us every time. Skylar Mckee captures that same vibe, but almost—dare I say—in a better way? Super Whatevr has easily become a favorite band of mine. They released their first album, Good Luck, early in 2017. They are fresh out of the gate and they have already found themselves signed to Hopeless Records. It isn’t a coincidence. Super Whatevr is planning to release another album soon. They have released two songs off of the new album so far, For You and Bloomfield, and somehow they managed to do even better than their first album, which blew so many of us away. I know that alt-rock bands don’t often end up on the radio, but my biggest dream would be to see these crazy guys on every rock station. Did I mention the sick bass that is more than noticeable on every track? The unique guitar track that makes every song its own hit? I guess I was too distracted by the wonderful themes displayed in the lyrics. Suicide awareness and loneliness seem to be a common theme for far, and it works amazingly for them.
Recommended songs: Benjamin Alphabet; Good Luck; Someone, Somewhere, Somehow
I find myself conflicted when I try to describe this band. Are they post-hardcore? Alt-rock? Indie? I don’t know! What I do know is that they are amazing. If you are looking for a good band to recapture that emo phase while still maintaining a mature theme, look no further: Patrick Miranda’s vocals capture the essence of rock, his unclean vocals capture everything great about metal, and his spoken-word singing is on a level of its own. Having released their first EP in 2016, they are still fairly new. When you listen to Movements, you may find yourself either in tears or headbanging, both in a good way. Their guitar work seems to slowly be evolving, based on what I have heard from their most recent album, which shows that they are willing to grow out of the alt-rock instrumental norms. I can see this band either becoming huge or flying completely and unjustly under the radar.
Recommended songs: Kept; Worst Wishes; Full Circle; Nineteen
Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties
Ever wonder what a folk/alt-rock band would sound like? Look no further than this one-man band run by Dan “Soupy” Campbell. You may recognize him from the pop punk band The Wonder Years. Dan has time and time again shown that his yelling vocals are goosebump worthy. In 2014, he announced his side project, Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties. The album released in that wake, We Don’t Have Each Other, is a concept album that follows the story of a man going through divorce. It is catchy, unique, and tear jerking. Dan captures the life of a fictitious man losing everything, and the entire album merits a listen (in order, of course, as concept albums go). Getting yelled at has never sounded so good. Check it out!
Recommended songs: Grapefruit; Get Me Out Of here; Our Apartment; The Thunderbird Inn; Runnin’ Scared
Vinyl Theatre is one of those bands where you will either listen to every track a thousand times, or you will avoid them like the plague. They create a wonderfully unique sound, mixing a subtle electronic sound with metal instruments and pop vocals from Keegan Calmes. If you are a fan of Twenty One Pilots, you will adore Vinyl Theatre. They have similar sounds, though Vinyl Theatre is more upbeat in a way. You could also be like me in the sense that the hipster in me doesn’t like how popular Twenty One Pilots has become, so I listen to Vinyl Theatre instead. They are a truly fun to listen to band with catchy beats and cool ideas. Have just released their first EP in 2014, it is no wonder they aren’t well known, but if they keep up the good work, they will see the radio someday.
Recommended songs: Breaking Up My Bones; New Machines; The Island
The Front Bottoms
The Front Bottoms are in no way new, but in every sense of the phrase they are up and coming. No matter how much I try to resist their fame, Brian Sella’s vocals will be heard on the radio sooner or later. After releasing their first EP in 2008, The Front Bottoms have made a steady climb up the ladder, gaining fans at a steadily inclining rate. They have a little something for everybody, and I would be lying if I said they weren’t going to be my first tattoo. Brian uses non-traditional singing techniques that can be compared to the style of The Mountain Goats. They have this uncanny way of singing, in detail, about every issue you could possibly have in life: anxiety, loneliness, addiction, betrayal, fun stuff, memories, you name it, they have it. I can’t quite put into words how great their music is; I can only tell you to get out there and listen. I won’t lie, it is a unique sound that may be a bit of an acquired taste, but once you dive in, you will not regret it.
Recommended songs: The Plan (F*ck Jobs); Vacation Town; Twin Size Mattress; Ginger; Cough it Out; literally everything by them
Ting Ting Chen