Best Of The Year List: Part 1 – Best New Artists

Every year, I put out a top 10 list of best albums from that year. This year, I gave myself a bit more of a challenge by splitting that list into three parts: Best New Artists, Albums of the Year, and Songs of the Year. This first post (of 3) will give some brief descriptions of some of the best new artists I discovered this year. Some are very well known already, while some are virtually unheard of. Here we go:

9. The Boxer Rebellion, “Union”
– These guys popped up on iTunes pick of the week earlier this week and I downloaded their album to see what got them in that pool of talent. It turns out for a band just starting out, they have direct comparison to early Coldplay, with a more raw guitar sound. “Union” is actually their second full-length, but they are only now getting relatively noticed. While I wasn’t completely impressed with the record, it has some definite strong points and shows the band has potential.

8. The Swellers, “Ups And Downsizing”
– I heard about this band because of their inclusion to Paramore’s most recent tour, and they also are the newest signing to the Fueled By Ramen label. The guys are good friends with the members of Paramore, and for good reason, they’re equally as good musicians. Originating from Flint, Michigan, these guys have toured the country extensively already, and were introduced originally to touring audiences in 2005 on Warped Tour. Their technical second record, “Ups and Downsizing” showcases a harder punk rock sound, with accompanying vocals that fit the band very well. Look for these guys to do nothing but improve in the next few years.

7. The Dangerous Summer, “Reach For The Sun”
– Sometimes I simply download albums because the band decided on a really creative and interesting album cover. The Dangerous Summer was one of these, and this Maryland-based band impressed me just as much with their alternative rock sound. After getting signed to Hopeless Records, they released this album, “Reach For The Sun”. The best thing about these guys is that they write songs that can relate to their audience, with all the emotion and feelings that come with it. Songs like “Weathered” and “Settle Down” showcase an emotionally-driven vocalist and the music compliments it as best it can. Definitely keep an eye on these up and comers.

6. The Ascendicate, “To Die As Kings”
– New to Solidstate Records, The Ascendicate debuted earlier this year with “To Die As Kings”, which showcases a melodic hardcore sound that is hard to miss. Impressive vocals/screaming atop driving guitars and nearly biblical lyrical content, these guys are the epitome of a Christian hardcore band. Be sure to check them out, especially songs like “Fire That Kid”, and the guitar-infused onslaught of “Pride of the Brutish”.

5. Closure In Moscow, “First Temple”
– Experimentation in music can usually either be a huge success for a band or it can have devastating consequences. But when you come into the game with something new and unlike anything we’ve ever really heard before, it can bode well for that band or artist. Closure In Moscow from Australia has a certain distinct sound that can’t be really matched to anyone but a more progressive sound than that of The Mars Volta or Coheed & Cambria. “First Temple” showcases the band literally flying all over the place musically, and definitely isn’t an album to be missed. Songs like “Sweetheart” show vocalist Chris De Cinque stretching his range to nearly every octave. Don’t miss these guys.

4. I See Stars, “3-D”
– Mixing hardcore and electronica, I See Stars’ debut “3-D” proves to be an album that has been a standard nuance in current music. We can all see that electronica is making a huge comeback, with the addition of auto-tune and effects, but this band seems to do it a bit better than most. Huge breakdowns in songs like “Project Wakeup” and “The Common Hours” which are mixed with some serious screaming, running right over top a pop/punk influence, make for quite the enjoyable listening experience. Some think cheesy, some thing genius. Whatever you think, these guys are selling out shows on a regular basis. Don’t miss it.

3. And Then There Were None, “Who Speaks For Planet Earth?”
– While this is the band’s first full length album under a label, ATTWN have been around a while, but under a different style. What started out as a ferocious hardcore band with surging breakdowns has now become a quickly popular techno/rock band that showcases some of the best dance tracks ever seen in Christian music. Songs like “John Orr The Arsonist”, “Reinventing Robert Cohn” and others proves the band has staying power in their new-found home of electronica.

2. We Came As Romans, “To Plant A Seed”
– We Came As Romans is one of the newest bands on Equal Vision Records, and are another Michigan based hardcore outfit. Mixing some effects and electronic features into their hard-hitting breakdowns and screaming, the band also has some fantastic lyrics, making this one of my favorite bands this year. Brutal, yet unique in a genre that is constantly overdone, We Came As Romans has a lot going for them. “To Plant A Seed” is going to be quite a hard debut to overcome.

1. Paper Route, “Absence”
– I reviewed these guys earlier this year, and I’m still spinning their debut record, “Absence”. Electronica is back in, as I’ve said, and this is one of the bands that is pulling it off well. If you haven’t heard of them yet, get on the wagon. They’re likely going to be the next best thing, if 2009 wasn’t their year. Another plus, if you follow them on Twitter they constantly put up free downloads of remixes of their tracks done by other producers and artists. Three have been released already. Go get em.

Look soon for part 2 of my year end list, where I’ll run down the daunting task of my top 10 records of the year.

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