By Cole Parkinson
With Apple Music, Google Play Music and Spotify making the rounds these days, finding new music has never been easier.
Personally I still buy albums either physically or digitally instead of streaming but the fact of the matter is, there is plenty of fantastic music out there, it’s just a matter of finding it.
Now some may not seek out new music and just stick to what they know.
I on the other hand am always looking for new bands to throw into the mix and through a variety of means I’ve come across some pretty cool bands that I don’t think people know about, but they should.
So let’s take a look at some new bands that I have come to love in the past few years that haven’t seen a huge mainstream success.
All of these bands have only released one or two albums max and have different levels of “known” factor.
Let’s start off with two Canadian bands that have been on heavy rotation ever since I heard about them.
First off is the Toronto based punk rock band PUP.
PUP released their self titled debut record in 2013 to modest success and followed it up with an even better record in 2016 with “The Dream is Over”.
I found out about PUP from reading a CBC article about can’t miss punk bands right after they dropped their first record and PUP was listed as the second band.
I immediately checked them out and I can’t describe the joy I had when I heard their song “Reservoir” for the first time.
Upon release of “The Dream is Over”, I thought it would be tough to top their debut album but they not only matched it but in my opinion made a better record!
Now their records are fantastic but you really can’t match their live shows, if you ever get a chance I promise they won’t disappoint.
Essential tracks — “Sleep in the Heat,” “My Life is Over and I Couldn’t Be Happier” and “Reservoir”
Secondly is another Ontario band from Hamilton called The Dirty Nil.
The band was formed in the mid 2000s but didn’t release any official music until 2011.
Their first album meanwhile titled “Higher Power” didn’t see a release until 2016 but along the way The Nil released several EPs and singles that received heavy praise from the Ontario rock scene.
Those EPs and singles were released as a compilation record called “Minimum R&B” last year.
Certain people have classified The Nil as a punk rock band but really they are straight up, in your face rock n’ roll and the world can always use bands like that.
“Higher Power” didn’t come on my radar until I bought tickets to see Billy Talent and low and behold The Dirty Nil were opening.
Anytime I get tickets to a show if I don’t know the opening bands I’ll always check them out.
It’s usually 50/50 with my interest in opening bands but upon hearing a few previews of Nil songs, I bought the album and jammed it for the several days leading up to the concert.
Like PUP, The Dirty Nil are a live band and you really need to get to one of their shows to truly see what they can do.
Essential tracks — “Friends in the Sky”, “Bury Me at the Rodeo” and “Wrestle Yü to Hüsker Dü”
The next wave of two bands have something in common which probably explains why they have a bunch of musical talent.
The bands are Mt. Eddy and SWMRS (pronounced as Swimmers) which both feature songs of Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong.
Now when people hear this they probably think both are just Green Day clones but really neither are and they both have two different sounds all together.
Mt. Eddy released their first album called “Chroma” last summer and while it was certainly on the radar for most Green Day fans it probably slipped by for everyone else.
Mt. Eddy has a certain indie rock flair and sounds more in line with bands like The Strokes and The Cure which have been cited as influences for the band.
Being a massive GD fan I had heard about Mt. Eddy pretty early on and never really expected to like them as much as I did but after multiple listens it kept getting better.
Essential tracks — “Chroma”, “Working Title” and “Metaphor”
SWMRS, formerly known as Emily’s Army, was also a band I knew from very early on.
The band members are all around my age so it was easy to latch on to them as they had songs that were easily relatable.
SWMRS is also one of those bands that I think have gotten better over time especially since they switched their name and re-tooled their style.
Technically they have released three albums but two of them were as Emily’s Army and since those first two albums really don’t sound a lot like their latest, I’m making an exception and this is my column so I make the rules!
Their “debut” album came out in 2016 and at first I wasn’t totally on board with the shift in musical tone especially since the first song released was a massive departure from their Emily’s Army days.
That being said the album as a whole was immensely impressive and really was a step up in quality from the prior released material.
The new iteration of the band heavily leaned on styles from garage rock, punk rock and alternative. I’m incredibly excited to see what their next release sounds like as they have entered the studio for SWMRS album number two.
Essential tracks — “Brb”, “Uncool” and “Silver Bullet”
The last two bands on this trip through bands you should listen to as soon as possible.
First up is my favourite new band as of right now – Remo Drive.
Every now and then you come across a band that knocks you on your ass (in a good way) and it certainly happened when I first heard the band’s debut album, hilariously titled “Greatest Hits”.
The Minnesotan emo band self released the album in 2017 and they have been gaining steam ever since as they signed to Epitaph Records earlier this year.
This may be recency bias but I genuinely think it may be the best debut album ever released and the fact they did it without a label makes it even that much more impressive.
Since I bought the album, there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t at least listened to one of the tracks.
They also have several EPs and singles that were released before but they feel very different from the full length release.
That being said there are still some very strong songs on those releases namely “Heartstrings” just naming one.
Essential tracks — “Strawberita”, “Art School”, “Summertime”
And finally, last but certainly not least, California based band — Bleached.
Bleached is genuinely a band that I’m surprised hasn’t received more attention.
Led by a pair of sisters, the female led band is straight up California pop rock with elements of 90s alternative and punk rock all mixed into one.
Imagine if Weezer, The Ramones and The Beach Boys mixed together to create a rock band, that’s essentially what I hear in Bleached, music wise.
The first time I ever heard Bleached was through video game Grand Theft Auto 5, but I never truly became a fan until I saw them play on a bill with Against Me! and The Dirty Nil.
The next day I purchased their two albums and became hooked with their simple California based rock.
Both albums they’ve released, “Ride Your Heart” (2013) and “Welcome the Worms” (2016), feature plenty of catchy songs that are perfect for summer weather.
Essential tracks — “Sour Candy”, Keep on Keepin’ On” and “Next Stop”