Birthday Boy are why we do what we do. Covering tons of music is no picnic, but when you come across acts like this Philadelphia 3-piece, you believe to hope again. The guys have recently released their second EP while letting fans download their first for free. If you dig DIY alt-rock with shades of Dashboard Confessional and The Used, with a modern twist of melodic swells, then look no further. Their isn’t much info about the guys online, which is disappointing, but one listen to songs like “DNR”and “Hi Anxiety” will make you fall in love with their honest songwriting and ambitious soul lifting sound. We cannot recommend this band enough.
The music of songwriter Son of Dov makes me feel something different with every listen. The talented musician from New Jersey is able to layer a song with creative arrangements and haunting lyrics that build into something as heartbreaking as it is uplifting. The man behind the moniker, Dennis King, has a background in post-punk and will undoubtedly draw comparisons to NJ’s native son Bruce Springsteen (especially on the theological “Gold Dust”). Yet, what Son of Dov is able to do so beautifully, is to transport listeners to a sound without genre or comparison. His EP is named after his song “Ulysses” which is perhaps my favorite track so far of ’16. He is criminally overlooked, and it is with honor that we expose you to your new favorite songwriter.
Canadian electro alt pop outfit Van Damsel are guaranteed to make you move. Reminiscent of acts like Phoenix and LCD Soundsystem, the quartet has earned some major praise from MTV and various opening slots for bands like Tokyo Police Club and Mother Mother. Their new self-titled LP is energetic, fun, and highly infectious. The band is also incredibly intentional: “Being human is never being satisfied,” says lead singer Sebastien Ste Marie. “Whatever you’re trying to do, there’s always something to strive for and work towards.” The band mixes styles like EDM, New Wave, and beautiful dance inducing pop. When done right, as these boys do, it is a joy to listen to. “Best of Everything” is the type of song that artists spend an entire career attempting to create. These guys are the most accessible act on this list and are a surefire “Next Big Thing”.