4 rock bands to give a listen

…before they really hit the big time

Sasha Larson

April might ring in spring cleaning season, but when it comes to your music library, you should be making room for more. Check out these four acts on iTunes, Soundcloud, Spotify and even in concert before they’re playing sold out arenas.

TB&SDBlues rock: Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown

By 2007, Honey Grove, Tex. native Tyler Bryant won the respect of Eric Clapton. Last year, he toured with fellow guitar god Jeff Beck, jammed with ZZ Top and recorded a number with Robben Ford. With his band the Shakedown in tow, he’s opened for countless groups – Aerosmith and Lynyrd Skynyrd, just to name a few. In the next few years, though, expect to see him headlining. Bryant’s is a flavorful sound, bursting with zesty hooks, sprinkled with Southern twang. His first LP, 2013’s “Wild Child,” plays like the anthem of a humid summer night – essentially the soundtrack to Georgia in July. He hits Alpharetta May 10 with both Beck and ZZ. It won’t be a show to miss.

Song to check out: the hip-swinging hard rocker “Lipstick Wonder Woman.” Listen here.



tumblr_static_tumblr_mqaorkkzis1rx9bgyo1_500Soft rock: The Tragic Thrills

The Tragic Thrills combine folksy acoustics with soulful, imagerial vocals and heavy beats. Their self-titled first album, re-released under Washington Square just last year, should appear on TV show soundtracks. Lead singer Zach Porter pens quirky, romantic lyrics, apparent on ballads like “Everyday” and “The Garden.” Yet the LP’s final track, “Main Girl,” establishes the band’s silly side. Porter attempts a rhythm-less rap about the girl who can “clean me up like Purell/charge me up like Duracell.” In an age where teenage girls swoon over mellow coffeehouse-type jams, the Tragic Thrills know what they’re doing.

Song to check out: the autobiographical “Creeps and Strangers,” which blends poignant vocals, melancholic piano and a climactic, echoing pulse.


GardenWeird rock: The Garden

If you couldn’t care less about sound quality, Wyatt and Fletcher Shears are the men for you. The Orange, Ca. twins make up the sounds of the Garden, which grows thrashing bass riffs and haphazard drums. They’ve already won the hearts of tumblr girls in stretch chokers and vampy lipstick, and for good reason. Despite a slight lack in instrumental talent, they’ve got soul. They’ve got ambient vocals. Also, terrifying YouTube videos – “Glimpse #12 – Aunt J” will give you nightmares. They call their style Vada Vada. “Vada Vada is equality and pure creativity,” Wyatt wrote on Instagram. “Vada Vada is a way of thinking. It is universal and limitless.” Cultish? Definitely – but cool nonetheless.

Song to check out: the music video for the eerie “Crystal Clear.” Listen to it here.


Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 9.43.15 AMPop rock: Jesse Jo

Don’t let the term “pop rock” fool you – the Cramps-influenced Jesse Jo recorded her 2014 EP with the Sex Pistols’ Steve Jones. The four-song “Down Your Drain” encompasses her party girl past, love for horror and preference for punk. Her breathy vocals and danceable melodies are punctuated with hard rocking guitar, like on the clubby “Baby Love.” Other tracks, like the titular “Down Your Drain,” could serve as the theme song for a modern day Twilight Zone. My only reservations? 1. At times, it seems Jesse’s holding back from belting it out, and 2. We need more songs. Hopefully 2015 has new releases in store.

Song to check out: “Down Your Drain,” a creepy twist on the classic love song. Check it out here.