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Denizens of the mid-2000’s alternative California rock scene may remember them as The Jakes, but with a shake-up of the band’s roster in 2010, that moniker was officially changed to the instantly memorable Young the Giant. Their self-titled debut album was very well received, buoyed by two hit singles, the pleasantly rippling “Cough Syrup” and “My Body,” a raw up-tempo jam. Driven by lead singer Sameer Gadhia’s commanding, clear vocals (“One of the great contemporary rock voices” –New York Times), YTG surged ahead with 2014’s Mind Over Matter, which critics and followers alike raved over. Breaking new ground in 2016, their third album Home of the Strange exposes the full breadth of this band’s massive talent. The dreamy single Amerika (named from the Kafka novel) displays a multivalent, layered sonic voyage.
True to their name, the California-based Cold War Kids’ banging sound is tinged with melancholic melodies reminiscent of another era. With the release of their debut album Robbers & Cowards in 2006, the CWKs immediately cultivated a crop of avid fans, who appreciated the band’s powerfully crisp vocals, taught guitar riffs, ear-grabbing piano and precise percussion. Ten years of worldwide touring and several successful albums later, the Kids popped up in October of 2016 with the release of their politically-charged single “Locker Room Talk,” a song referencing the crude, prurient speak of the current president. Most recently, fans have been enjoying the inspiring track “Love Is Mystical,” the first single off their fresh album L.A. Divine, out April 7th.
Hailing from upstate New York, this crew of indie rockers has a distinct sound that fuses unforgettable power pop with synth-heavy electronic rhythms. They first rose to prominence with “Dangerous,” am eerily infectious single spawned from a collaboration with Big Data. Joywave was cemented as a mainstay in the multi-genre sphere of indie-electronica with 2014’s How Do You Feel?, featuring their YouTube sensations “Somebody New,” an undulating, peppy number, and “Tongues ft. KOPPS,” a relentlessly catchy, melodic modern opus. The five members of Joywave continue to blaze new e-trails; the 2016 release Swish contains a reworked version of the hit “Destruction,” a haunting, metal-laced ballad (check out the ironically hilarious accompanying video).