This Madison psych-rock band already has a number of large opening gigs under their belt, including sets for bands The Districts and Pond, along with a regional tour alongside other list selectee PHOX. In a short time playing together the young band has earned a tight-knit following that continues to spread outwards from their hometown. Their new EP, Peach Fuzz, offers the kinds of bubbly rhythms, whimsical breakdowns and addictively catchy vocal melodies that make it the ideal lakeside mix-tape. With a building reputation for infectiously giddy live performances and recent national exhibitions through NPR and Daytrotter, Dolores’ status as an “up-and-comer” will likely have a short half-life.
(Next Stop, Mary, Messin’)
Arguably the most widely-recognized band on the list, PHOX, out of Baraboo, WI, has already proven they are ready for the big time. Over the last handful of years PHOX’s presence has permeated the major festival circuit and blogosphere. Based on a listen to their library, it’s no wonder they’ve reached such acclaim. Front-woman Monica Martin layers an entrancing melodic blanket with her smoky, yet insistent voice, upheld by some refreshingly understated indie-folk instrumentals, especially within a genre that too often divulges into EDM-style build ups and group chants. They also bring it live; catch PHOX at Justin Vernon’s Eau Claires Festival this summer to see for yourself.
(Slow Motion, Noble Heart Live at iTunes Festival, 1936)
Milwaukee is home to a faction of young and hungry hip hop artists, and the 22-year-old WebsterX is leading the way. X’s raspy baritone has a tendency to melt into the cosmically warped beats for which he’s become known. His rap effortlessly walks the line between soulful and hard, political and entertaining, and some big names have taken notice. The likes of Atmosphere and Lupe Fiasco have invited the young emcee to open for packed houses. He and a local community of equally ambitious artists including Vonny Del Fresco, Mic Kellogg, and Klassik are heeding a call to action, the faces of what promises to be a longstanding, powerful and unique culture of hip hop in the Cream City.
(Lately prod. by Mic Kellogg, Too Long prod. by JordanxLewis, Doomsday feat. Siren/prod. by chants)
Chicago has gained a serious reputation for its boisterous young rock bands and flourishing DIY music scene. That said, The Walters break free from a formula that bands like The Orwells and Twin Peaks so firmly engrained in the city. They opt for relaxed and swooning melodies over the coarseness existing in much of Chicago’s popular rock. The band’s pop-sensible instrumentation and Luke Olsen’s calculated vocal warble have landed them a growing local fan-base and a two song release on Canvasback Music, the same label that hosts The Orwells and Alt-J. Expect to find The Walters’ catchy tunes breaching beyond the Midwestern sphere very soon.
(Fancy Shoes, I Love You So , Old Friend)
From beneath a layer of Minnesota frost emerged a refreshingly dynamic warm-weather record. Rupert Angeleyes’ Young Sunset delivers that ‘just-right’ amount of summer feels, balanced alongside Kyle Sobczak’s unique brand of lyrical melodrama. In short, this psych-pop release is an emotional ride, but a fun one that could be easily pulled apart and divided into every playlist from “Be Mine” to “Ending It Tonight” to “I Can’t Believe It’s Over.” As a former member of the dismantled indie-rock troop Sleeping in the Aviary, Sobczak has experience in the position of “up-and-comer,” but this solo project indicates a second serious shot at success outside of his home state.
(Delicate Guy, I Believe In Love, Jealousy)