The Last Hope
Fun-loving old-school punk. Raw, but textured. Reminiscent of Flatfoot 56 or Dropkick Murphys (especially the chant-along “Brick By Brick”).
Melodic yet chunky metal a la Red, Tool, Chevelle.
They sound like they’re going to kill you with their aggressive (Demon Hunter-esque) music, and they’ve got the tones and chops to do it.
Classy chill acoustic music that’s part pop, part jazzy. Totally top-notch.
Icris & Crucified
This is a team made up of two noteworthy hip-hop artists – Icris and Crucified (not the hardcore band) – who make some good rhymes on their own, but together they’ve got an aggressive vibe and smooth flow.
The Radiance Effect
Clean, infectious and almost-too-polished melodic rock.
J Sky Walker
This New York area hip-hop artist has an awesome sound and production on his Loud album. Tunes like “Jesus 4 President” are fast and aggressive.
This Nashville band knows how to marry an atmospheric sound with a good hook-filled song. Obviously inspired by the current crop of organic piano rock (Muse, Coldplay), but carving out their own melodic sound.
Before We Sleep
Pleasant vocals meets mutated screaming. In other words, a lot like the screamo you hear a lot of today. Done w/ equal measures of sweet sing-along melodies & bone-crunching riffs. Sad thing … they just broke up.
Super clean piano rock that emphasizes vocals over a laid-back rhythm base and chiming, atmospheric yet bluesy guitars.
The Everyday Visuals
A quartet emphasizing singer/songwriter tunes. Real good and plenty slow. Varied influences might include John Lennon, Sufjan Stevens and Terry Taylor. Interesting song, “Heal Me,” shares disillusionment with God, a doctor and a girl. hmmm…
So Long Forgotten
This 5-piece band (one of the first on Come&Live Records) draws easy comparisons to mew/outYou w/swirling crescendos & dynamic vocals.
Divided By Friday
Imagine Relient K vocals and lyrical wit with Emery-style musical arrangements and muscular rock power chords.
Conspiracy of Thought
This LA industrial-influenced metal band mixes dark samples and tracks alongside heavy nu-metal riffs in a way that actually sounds fresh in 2009. High quality production and a good voice really helps. Ben Stewart delivers in the vocal department, but also handles duties with guitars, keyboards and sequencing. Each member of this quartet, actually, has a full plate of responsibilities: Guitarist Devanand Bassando also plays keyboards and adds backing vocals and more sequencing; drummer Tony Vasquez brings a collection of electronic percussion samples; and bassist Michael Parshall does some vocals and “guitar demolition.” A good friend of mine with similar musical taste saw these guys tear it up at Cornerstone and immediately bought all three of their independently-released albums, which means they made quite an impression. Lyrically, you could say this band is “aware,” as songs like “Blowback” and “The Plan” both fire off like an angry Rage Against The Machine, with a fiery rap/rant meets geography and history lesson. The band expands into the visual with a video for their latest title track (“Nothing More Than Light”). (Doug Van Pelt)
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