UTG’s 9 Artists To Watch In 2015

9 artists to watch

We don’t keep many traditions around UTG, but one column we look forward to piecing together every year is our annual Artists To Watch list.

We have highlighted several bands in recent years who later went on to make big impacts on music, including Tiny Moving Parts, Dangerkids, and Bad Rabbits.

This year we could not settle on only choosing five so, in hopes of keeping our editors from violently assaulting one another in the name of promoting good music, we decided to include nine fantastic artists on the rise that we feel you need to watch in the year ahead. Some are punk, others are far more indie/rock, but every artist mentioned deserves at least a few minutes of your time. Good music is good music, after all. Forget genres. It’s 2015 – grow up and listen to whatever the hell you want. You’ll be a lot happier in the long run.

Well Kept Things (Buffalo, NY)

Upstate New York has produced a number of great bands in recent years, each bringing their own unique twist to the indie punk scene. Well Kept Things continue this tradition with a bit of a pop rock twist. Their debut release, which Antique Records will release in the spring, should provide the perfect soundtrack to summer road trips and late night sing-a-longs with your closest friends. Until that arrives, you can find the band playing in their area and likely exploring the New York/Pennsylvania/Massachusetts region on weekends.

No Good News (Long Island, NY)

This has been said about a lot of different artists by a lot of different people, but sometimes in life you encounter an artist seemingly out of nowhere and they quickly make a lasting impact on your life. For me, the most recent group to do that was No Good News, and I think they’re about to make a lot of waves in the alternative music community throughout 2015. Their December 2014 release, Disposable Summer, will keep you warm as this strange winter carries on. If “Nervous” doesn’t make you an immediate fan for life, I suggest visiting your local otorhinolaryngologist as soon as humanly possible.

Head North (Buffalo, NY)

Our friends at Bad Timing Records were smart to make Head North the latest addition to their fast-growing roster of talent. The second act from Buffalo to make our list this year, the band delivers a heavy take on modern indie rock, and I mean that in both a musical and emotional way. It’s the kind of thing you listen to when you feel like no one else understands except your headphones, or when you need to take a late night walk wearing that hoodie you never wash. They’re your new best friend, but as soon as you hear their art it’ll feel like they’ve known you for years.

LAVOLA (Orlando, FL)

It’s not quite rock ‘n’ roll, it’s not ambient, it’s not quite experimental. LAVOLA hits this balanced middle ground music lovers haven’t seen since the likes of Seattle’s post hardcore poster child, The Blood Brothers. The band’s latest LP, This Book is My Cowardice, is a vibrant display of all of the above mentioned genres. Songs like “Show Your Face, Motherfucker,” harness a blast of uncontrolled energy, while tracks like “Watch Your Step” and “Please Excuse The Blood” are so fittingly strange that no other up-and-coming band in the scene could come close to duplicating. It is a truly unique sound no fan of alternative music should sit on. This Book Is My Cowardice was released independently in early 2013, with a vinyl pressing to come later in the year.

Fossil Youth (Enid, OK)

Enid, Oklahoma’s Fossil Youth is giving pop-punk music new life in 2015. The band’s new record, Intertwined With You, which is due out Feb. 3 via Take This To The Heart Records, is set to skyrocket the band’s career to places the group has never seen before. The mixture of unabashed honesty and wholehearted melody makes the band’s entire discography addictive and powerful. It mixes all of the elements anyone would want from a pop-punk band: aggression, transparency, and youthful energy. Circle pit and gang vocal advocates everywhere will be stoked on the impending release of Intertwined With You.

No Tide (Lincoln, NE)

No Tide‘s summer 2013 release, Daydream, was a prolific and mature release from the indie punk group. The music isn’t quite as abrasive as pop-punk, but it’s not as passive as an indie rock band. The songs on Daydream don’t gravitate one way or the other, yet sit in a calm and fitting middle ground. Tracks off the record like “Smoke Ring” and “Where We Went Wrong” have a nostalgic gleam, while still being undeniably relevant. With how good Daydream is, we can only hope for more music in the future from No Tide.

Lyger (Ealing, London)

Lyger emerged just over a year ago with a debut single that blew us away. “Stroke” immediately flooded our minds with thoughts of late-90s Foo Fighters, and now, current, Shake-era Diamond Youth. The English trio boasts a big, distorted, pure rock and roll sound and it’s some of the best grungy goodness we’ve experienced in some time. With just four tracks provided in the past year, we sense something big coming from (and for) Lyger in 2015. Their newest track, “Skinned Alive,” which the band released for Christmas, is evidence of the fact Lyger hasn’t lost any steam since initially appearing in late 2013 and likely have plenty more to offer.

Mariage Blanc (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mariage Blanc have been around a little longer than most of these bands we’re featuring this year, but they still haven’t quite caught on the way they deserve to. 2015 will hopefully be the year that all changes. With their latest release, the fantastic Undercurrents EP, coming up on 2 years of age, we’re thrilled to have heard rumblings of a new full-length being prepped for 2015; a release we have reason to believe will be nothing short of fantastic. With a smooth, almost-melancholic, indie rock sound that could be described as an amalgam of Real Estate, Elliott Smith, Copeland and Mew, Mariage Blanc should have no issues appealing to a massive fanbase with word of mouth and the right attention setting the hype ablaze.

TEAM* (Dallas, TX)

If you enjoy the upbeat, indie-pop stylings of acts like Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Two Door Cinema Club, The Kooks, and Vampire Weekend then you better join the TEAM* fast, because their train is set to take off. Following a handful of singles and an excellent EP in 2013 (not to mention a tour with Third Eye Blind), the Dallas duo released Good Morning Bad Day this past October, a 9-track effort produced by Cartel’s Will Pugh. Comprised of Caleb Turman and Rico Andradi of Forever The Sickest Kids, TEAM* offer up some fun, danceable indie-pop with infectious choruses, inescapable guitar lines and some smoother, relaxing moments, too. It’s not worlds apart from their work in FTSK but it’s a nice departure and an exciting new path for two talented musicians to explore. How this band is yet to explode in popularity is beyond me.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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