The GMAT Staff reflects on their top picks for new or breakout artists of the year...
Fight The Fury
I like metal music, but Fight The Fury made me love it. Every song they sing is so powerful! When I was able to shoot them for their first show ever, I was so happy! A song to check out from this band is "My Demons".
A War Within
Before I became friends with A War Within, I discovered them as a band who just wants to make music and enjoy time with their fans! They are a definitely another reason why I started liking metal music more. A great song by this band is "Bittersweet"!
Eva Under Fire
This is another local Chicago band that I fell in love with this year. They just signed with Seven Eleven Records! The lead singer has a bad ass voice, and I love her style of singing! I would say "Misery" is my favorite song by them!
The Lemon Twigs
2018 was undoubtedly the year of The Lemon Twigs, and I am so grateful for that. They are the first modern band I found that perfectly encapsulates the 70’s classic rock sound I love, while also creating a style that is completely their own. The release of Go To School this year really put them on the radar, showcasing their ability to tackle any genre, and produce as well. The D’Addario brothers are unafraid of avoiding the mainstream and making weird, outlandish music that almost doesn’t have a place in today’s world; that is a trait I really admire, and hope to see more of in the future.
Lunar Vacation, as they describe themselves, are a group that produces “Atlanta moon tunes”. What really drew me to this band was how young they are, and how passionate they are about both their music and other music in general. Their sound, infused with soft surf pop and psychedelic vibes, is akin to Twin Peaks or Spendtime Palace - music they have grown up appreciating as well. It’s nice to see the passion behind what they make - their outgoing, fun personalities are an added bonus too. Lunar Vacation has a busy 2019, including playing SXSW and a tour with Calpurnia, which is sure to only bring more them more attention.
The Greeting Committee
With the release of their debut album This Is It in October, and a successful string of shows, The Greeting Committee is a band that is truly on their way up. They bring their Kansas City soul to their music, with a touch of rock that really gets their crowds riled. Their show in D.C. earlier this spring was one of the best ones I have been to, full of energy and crowd surfing. Lead singer Addie Sartino is also adamant about making her identity as a woman in music, as well as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, heard and understood. The Greeting Committee presents an accessible and inclusive sense of family surrounding their music, making them a refreshing face on the scene.
Lili Trifilio, better known by her alter ego Beach Bunny, has been taking Chicago by storm. Her EP Prom Queen has blew up on Spotify this year, and for good reason. Her lyrics are earnest and true, speaking to the insecurities of being a teenage girl (body image, personality, etc), but letting those insecurities make her a stronger person. I also have been super into her whole prom queen aesthetic, performing her rock anthems on stage in a frilly prom gown. Beach Bunny has a classic sound, almost reminiscences of early 2000’s rock, but is also soulfully her’s. I’m anxiously awaiting a full album sometime soon.
The Aces, to put it simply, is one of the only pop-groups to make music for themselves, not for radio. This female quartet has a behind-the-scenes bond that allows their music to flow in an artistically pleasing way. Color coupled with amazing songwriting creates an aura of poppy brightness to disguise heartbreak. All around, the Aces are a force to be reckoned with and they've merely scratched the surface of their success.
She takes her own stories and puts them into an R&B-Pop mix. The tone of the smooth, emotional tracks, such as "Pussy is God" and "1950" can transform the atmosphere of any room, car, or mind. Her calming voice has such a unique, natural beauty to it and it is coupled with lyrics to draw anyone into an experience.
After reinventing themselves from their previous identity, "House of Lions", Junodream has created a sound that is both genuine and meaningful. I have loved the boys since they started and I truly believe that their sound as Junodream is the sound they connect to the most. The passion behind their music and their image radiates like it never has before.
Brantwood is a band full of some of the best people in the world. After working so hard to come together and create an image for themselves, they finally have pinpointed their roots in basement rock and they surely don’t disappoint. Their dream of their lives as Tennessee rockstars brings power to their music and allows for their sound to stand out in a world full of copycats.
Though this band of glam-rock brothers have been releasing music for years, Palaye Royale really hit their stride this year. Playing the final Vans Warped Tour, the boys gained attention through their stellar live performances. With the release of their second studio album, Boom Boom Room (Side B), Palaye did not disappoint in their follow up of ‘Side A', which was released in 2016. Touring the world, selling out shows, the band says this is the "Final Boom" and there will be big changes from them in 2019. I am so excited to see what they’ll do next!
Boston student/guitar pedal queen Sidney Gish started releasing music only last year, but with the release of her second effort, No Dogs Allowed, Gish captured my heart. Having seen her open for acts like Vundabar, (Sandy) Alex G, and even Mitski, her humble stage presence and relatability to other kids in their twenties, Sidney Gish has been a popular name in the Boston music scene. A few months ago, Remo Drive played at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA and rumor spread through the crowd that the Sidney Gish was in attendance – I don’t think she actually was, but it made me smile to see so many people get so excited about Ms. Gish. If it’s not already at the top of your mind, remember the name “Sidney Gish” because it’s for sure all you’ll hear about in 2019!
Texas native Conan Gray, known for being a Youtuber, shook all of his fans last year with the release of his single “Idle Town”. Since then, people, like myself, have been itching for more from the fluffy haired soft-boi who filled our hearts and ears with nostalgia, wanderlust, and enchanting vocals.
After several teases, Gray dropped the first single, “Generation Why”, off his newest EP Sunset Season, and did not disappoint his fans, who had high expectations. Gray sings, “ ‘Cause we are helpless, selfish, one of a kind Millennium kids that all wanna die,”, expressing his frustration towards older generations who put down young people for too fragile, or being too lazy, when they are actually just trying their best. To accompany all of Conan’s works, he writes, directs, and edits all of his own music videos. The video for “Crush Culture”, while incredibly aesthetically pleasing, shows Conan’s comedic side, showing how irritating it can be to a single person when they are constantly surrounded by couples.
Having gone on a small trial tour recently, Conan will take off in 2019 touring the US. While most of his shows are already sold out, select dates still have availability, but not for long! If you can, catch Conan Gray on tour in 2019, but for now, stream Sunset Season and subscribe to his YouTube channel!