Music is such a huge industry that many well deserving artists seem to be wrongly pushed aside and hidden from the general masses. The following are a selection of some artists that I believe everyone should give a quick listen to. Music is very personal, so many people won’t agree with some of my selections, however I have selected artists who I think could make it in the mainstream. Oh, and I have put a ‘best songs’ part to the lists, which include firstly the best song off the album shown, then two other songs that are good by the artist.
This first band I probably wouldn’t consider to be too alternative, many people know about this band in England, at least. However this album is so good I had to include it. Vampire Weekend is an American indie rock band from New York City, formed in 2006, and signed to XL Recordings. The band released their eponymous debut album on January 29, 2008. The album produced brilliantly unique sounding songs such as ‘A-Punk’ and ‘Mansard roof’. Many may recognize the song ‘A-Punk’ as the title song from the Will Farrell film ‘Step Brothers’. The bands genre has been described as Alternative rock, Indie rock, World beat and New wave. I love this album because it brings an excellent, up-beat indie rock feel which many love. The band are a festival favourite, performing exceptional sets at the world famous Glastonbury festival. The band have also brought out a second album called ‘Contra’.
Best songs: ‘A-Punk’, ‘Oxford Comma’, ‘Cousins’.
The Get Up Kids are an American alternative rock band from Kansas City, Missouri, formed in 1995. The band have been described as ‘emo’, but don’t worry we’re not talking ‘all in black’ teen emo, this is deep musical stuff! The band actually try and disassociate themselves with the emo scene, with the lead singer even apologizing for founding the emo scene which, in his words, has ‘developed into nothing more than pretentious glam rock’. The Get Up Kids are truly deserving of being the founding fathers of the punk-emo scene, with their excellent album ‘Something to write home about’ still ‘doing the rounds’ today. The Band just recently performed a 10th anniversary comeback tour celebrating ten years of success of this album. The album boasts twelve brilliantly catchy songs with deep lyrical meaning. The albums best song (in my opinion) is ‘I’m a loner Dottie, a rebel’ which I have to say Is probably one of my all time favorite songs. This album really speaks for itself so give it a listen!
Best songs: ‘I’m a loner Dottie, a rebel’, ‘Overdue’, ‘Campfire Kansas’.
Mumford & Sons are a folk rock band which formed in London, England. The band is made up of Marcus Mumford (vocals, guitar, drums, mandolin), “Country” Winston Marshall (vocals, banjo), Ben Lovett (vocals, keyboards, accordion), and Ted Dwane (vocals, double bass). The band formed in 2007, and contributed to the rising popularity of folk music in young people. Along with artists such as Laura Marling, Johnny Flynn, Jay Jay Pistolet and Noah and the Whale, this album really captures the powerful genre of folk/rock in a new and enjoyable way. Mumford & sons really translate this genre for the masses, with truly moving songs such as ‘Thistle & weed’ and ‘little lion man’. The album also fulfills the musical needs of the mainstream, with the title track ‘the cave’ which many of my friends who ‘only like rap’ (for some reason) say even they adore. The album is a must have for anyone who loves Folk, and even for people who (like me) don’t particularly like it.
Best songs: ‘The Cave’, ‘Little Lion Man’, ‘Roll Away Your Stone’.
‘The Academy Is…’ are an American alternative rock band from Barrington, Illinois. They formed in 2003, and signed to the ‘Fueled By Ramen’ label. ‘Almost Here’ was the band’s debut album. This is a great album for those who don’t like heavy rock or over complicated tunes. ‘The Academy Is…’ keep it simple in a brilliant way, with lead singer William Beckett bringing wonderful lyrical genius to the equation, followed by simple yet catchy guitar riffs and drumming solos, this album is sure to please. ‘Almost Here’ is a great chill out album.
Best songs: ‘Attention’, ‘Classifieds’, ‘Slow Down’.
Modest Mouse have been around a very long time indeed, they first formed way back in 1993. Today, the band are still going strong and their most popular album, ‘We were dead before the ship sank’, was released on March 20th, 2007, and reached number one on the US Billboard 200 charts, the album spawned the hit single “Dashboard”, as well as “Missed the Boat” and “We’ve Got Everything”. The band have a very iconic style, with lead singer Isaac Brock giving refreshingly unique vocals followed with almost improvised sounding guitar solos. The song ‘The Good Times Are Killing Me’ adds to the improvised feel with moving and talking in the background.
Best songs: ‘Missed the Boat’, ‘Float On’, ‘3rd Planet’.
Jamie Alexander Treays is a 24-year-old English singer/songwriter from Wimbledon, South London. ‘Panic Prevention’ (released on 29th January, 2007) was a huge commercial success in England, with the songs ‘If you got the money’ (which reached number 13 in the charts) and ‘Calm Down Dearest’ (which reached number 9). ‘Back in the Game’ was named as single of the week by DJ Alex Zane. Jamie’s style is a mixture of indie and UK Garage style rap, which culminate in a truly excellent unique style. Jamie won the best solo artist award at the 2007 NME Awards; He also won the 2010 solo artist award for his second album ‘Kings and Queens’.
Best songs: ‘Calm Down Dearest’, ‘Sheila’, ‘Sticks and Stones’.
Taking Back Sunday are probably the most well know band on this list, however many who have heard of them know only a few songs, none of which are on their arguably best album, ‘Where you want to be’. The smooth sounding emotional rock starts heavy with ‘Set phasers To Stun’ to ‘The Union’, until TBS show their delicate side with the brilliant, technically perfect acoustic song ‘New American Classic’. The title track ‘A Decade Under The Influence’ expresses the typical Taking Back Sunday style of neat lyrics and twin vocals, which culminate in a truly brilliant unique sound. Adding to TBS’s unique look is front man Adam Lazzara, who has been praised for impressive stage presence with his trademark moves and mesmerizing mic swinging.
Best songs: ‘A Decade Under The Influence’, ‘Make damn sure’, ‘Cute without the e (cut from the team)’
Passion Pit is also a band many people would have heard of. They are an American electronic band from Cambridge, Massachusetts. They formed in 2007 and their debut EP ‘Chunk of Change’ was released on September 16, 2008. Their first full album ‘Manners’, explores electro synth-pop on an excitingly psychedelic level. The best song on the album ‘sleepyhead’ starts with neat, catchy singing which kicks into erratic keyboard squeals leaving the listener drowned in excellent prismatic tones. This album is perfect for synth and electronic pop lovers.
Best songs: ‘Sleepyhead’, ‘Little Secrets’, ‘To Kingdom Come’.
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly is the stage name of English artist Sam Duckworth. Cape’s debut album, ‘The Chronicles of a Bohemian Teenager’, has been described as an indie/emo fusion. The album was very well received by critics and even made the top 100 albums of 2006 lists of Q and NME, which is admirable for such an alternative artist. Musically, the artistically crafted songs are built around picked acoustic guitar and crisp laptop beats, which are combined in an impressively seamless way. Small segments of cello, violin and cornet prevent the style from appearing too limited. ‘Chronicles’ is a refreshingly upbeat album, sure to please those laid back acoustic/electro lovers.
Best songs: ‘Call Me Ishmael’, ‘War of The Worlds’, ‘Find The Time’.
The Postal Service is an American electronic indie pop band composed of vocalist Ben Gibbard of ‘Death Cab for Cutie’ and producer Jimmy Tamborello of ‘’Dntel, Headset and Figurine’. The band’s debut album, Give Up, was released on February 18, 2003. The albums soft rhythmic beats and up-tempo synthesized tunes, followed by Ben Gibbard’s truly relaxing vocals collaborate for a terrific album. The album’s most well-known single was “Such Great Heights” which brings together interesting lyrics and brilliantly catchy tunes. The album is consistent throughout and, like many albums on this list, produces song after song of excellent material. This is an album truly worthy of the number one spot!
Best songs: ‘Such Great Heights’, ‘The District Sleeps Alone Tonight’, ‘We Will Become Silhouettes’.