As a music photographer, I find myself at an alarming number of shows weekly. Here is a list of 13 of my absolute favorite artists and bands I've been dazzled by in the past year of living among New York City photo pits whose names you might not know yet, but, hopefully, you will someday soon.
The first band I'd like to lovingly introduce you to is a nifty little group called Cosmonaut. Based out of Brooklyn, and highly capable of entertaining the grumpiest of city critics, Cosmonaut is easily one of the most lovable bands Ive stumbled upon since moving to New York.
Next up is Philly group, Cold Fronts. The band is led by one of the quirkiest guys I've met thus far in the music industry, and every show oozes raw talent and energy. Craig and the rest of the band have been endlessly supportive of my photography since we've known each other, and I get all warm and fuzzy thinking about how lucky I am to have such wonderful artists backing me up. The full album, Forever Whatever, is dropping in October, and I would oh so highly recommend hopping on the bandwagon between now and then.
Also from Philly is Wesley Bunch, otherwise known as Suburban Living. Wesley moved to the Northeast about a year ago and has clearly found exactly where he needs to be in order to convert his creative energy into consistently mesmerizing music. Take a listen to the full album, and keep an eye out for a new EP sometime soon.
Around the world, New York is known for its terrifyingly competitive art scene. For Danny and Gerry of NYC's Secret Weapons, however, there isn't much competition when it comes to upbeat pop hits. The duo are physically incapable of writing a song that won't make you want to dance around uncontrollably. Not only are their recorded tracks instant hits, but their electric on-stage chemistry makes the live performances just as good. Make sure to catch them at Bowery Ballroom on August 10th if you're in town (or within a 10 hour drive).
Truth be told, DRGN KING's music is exactly as whimsical as you would expect. The group's insanely beautifully crafted tracks are the types of songs you can listen to on repeat for hours and never tire of. Every DRGN KING release is infused with the calming energy of rainy afternoons, grain from old black and white photographs, and the most worn in of tye dye t-shirts.
Do you ever feel like your life has become a series of glorious moments between shitty public transit encounters? I discovered Vacationer through a friend not too long ago, and I can say with confidence, that any of their songs on shuffle will make an hour long New York subway commute immensely less disgusting. I promise.
Did you love Vacationer? Yeah. Cool, you'll definitely like Day Wave too. Tunes equally as dreamy with some additional garage grunge vibes intertwined have made Day Wave easily one of my favorite artists to watch this year.
Bandits on the Run
Up next is a local group of charismatic buskers who go by the name Bandits on the Run. I first met Adrian, Sydney, and Regina at a local Sofar NYC event. Since then, I haven't been able to get enough of the perfectly paired harmonies and instrumental dynamite. I was lucky enough to attend the band's EP release party in the Lower East Side this year, and have been nothing but pleasantly impressed with the trios indescribable progress and talent within the short time I've known them.
City of the Sun
The wait is finally over. On this day, you can officially share with the world that you do, in fact, like instrumental music. Though there definitely aren't many artists today who can dazzle sold out crowds without strong lyrics and catchy choruses, City of the Sun are consistently the exception. Take a listen.
I was first introduced to CRUISR last year when they opened for The 1975's North American tour. Since the brief photo pit encounter, I've been lucky enough to consider Andy, Bruno, Jon, and Kyle good friends of mine. I always seem to be in the right place at the right time in order to catch a frightening number of CRUISR's live shows, and they manage to get spunkier each time I see them. They just released my all-time favorite track of theirs, "Moving to Neptune," and I've had it stuck in my head for days on end.
The next insanely underappreciated artist goes by the name Japanese Wallpaper. Based out of Melbourne, Australia, Japanese Wallpaper constructs some of the most interesting melodies that are always slow and soft and seem to melt delicately into my bones every time I have a chance to sit down and listen to them.
If youre a fan of the old days of Mumford and Sons or Bears Den [Ed. Note: Hold up; hold up. Are we considering Mumford and Sons the old days now? Getting old is going to be the death of me.], I can't recommend Winterbourne highly enough. Also from Australia, long-time pals James and Jordan have mastered the art of merging their laid-back oceanfront lifestyle with the hustle and chaos of downtown Sydney where they often busk. Winterbourne's busking roots from city streets translate beautifully into the acoustic, indie, folk rock tunes that I have come to know as the All But the Sun EP. All of us non-Australian fans have been assured that new songs are being recorded and released very soon.
The very last underappreciated artist who made it onto the list is a magical little creature who goes by the name SOAK. Listening to SOAK feels like collapsing into clouds. Her Irish accent blends into smooth dream-like beats and hooks that are all to die for. If you're ever having trouble falling asleep, put on the "Sea Creatures" music video and let it rock you into the most peaceful slumber.