Robbing Johnny – “Highbridge Park”
Have you ever imagined what it would be like if Elton John fronted The Avett Brothers while covering Panic at the Disco? Well, chances are if you have, it would sound eerily close to NYC act Robbing Johnny. Their debut album betrays many influences and sounds in a way that results in a pop explosion that we love. Aptly named Cold March, the band are experts at keeping you guessing. “Highbridge Park” is a tune that goes ten different directions stylistically without trying to overreach. The harmonies remind us of the brothers Avett, and the guitar that closes the track, reminds us the southern rock of old. Perhaps the most magnificent thing about their sound is that it isn’t fully matured yet. Look for them to continue to craft their sound on the road and continue to blow listeners away with a much-appreciated sound.
Outlya – “Volcano”
We know, we know, this act gets a lot of play from us. The reason we cover them though, is because they are just that good. While there might not be much left for us to say about their tight indie pop stylings, we will continue to scream of their sound until everyone is listening. Each track they release seems better than the last and the prime example of this is the upbeat Imagine Dragons ‘esque “Volcano”. Their EP of the same name is something special indeed. Fans of a varied rock and indie pop sound will absolutely be floored at the way they bounce between genres. Their strengths, which are many, can be best shown with their hooks that grab and force you to repeat over and over.
Nahko – “Dragonfly”
This is a near perfect example of the power of songwriting. The folk power of this artist compelled us to cover almost immediately. Like many great artists, the songs this artist creates are birthed from personal experience. Oregon born Nahko was given up for adoption at an early age, which led to asking the bigger questions of life. Being of Apache, Puerto Rican, and Filipino descent, he was raised by a white family. Questions of family and roots are prevalent in his songs. It is also worth noting that the video for “Dragonfly” features Paris Jackson, who herself knows a thing or two about questions of family and maturity. The result of this one is something incredibly soul-stirring and compelling.
Zander Bleck – “Battlecall”
Are you a fan of cinematic rock? Then look no further than the soaring sounds of this New York artist. After working with a full band, he is out on his own now continuing to craft anthemic stadium rock that reminds us of Thirty Seconds to Mars. “Battlecall” is the essential rally cry for anyone looking to raise their hearts and spirits above their current circumstances. Working with some heavy hitters in the industry, Bleck has continued to sharpen his already tight sound. Listeners are sure to feel empowered and if you are like this reviewer, you will be seen mouthing the triumphant lyrics within a local coffee shop.
Faulkner – “Hot Streak”
Oh this is good. I mean really, really good. The Venice, CA band have the perfect recipe for the current mood of the music industry. Their diverse sound has drawn some interesting collaborations and opportunities too. Their song “NY Anthem” led to the praise of Wu-Tang Clan mastermind RZA, while earning a spot in New York Yankees home games as well. The bass on this one is killer and the hook will get you jumping no matter where you are. We look for this act to be the next big thing in indie alternative in the new year. They are experts at crafting seamless explorations in genre bouncing sound.