Prenatt’s picks: 50 bands to hear in 2017 (part five)

Chris Prenatt, Contributing Writer

Although a third of 2017 is behind us, there is still plenty of music to come. While most of you might be listening to your favorite bands from years ago, don’t sleep on the up-and-coming talent out there that you aren’t paying enough attention to. Over the course of five weeks, The Record will introduce you to some hot talent primed for a breakthrough from a variety of genres such as rap, metal, pop and others. Here’s the final list:


From: Atlanta, GA

Out Now: Much Love (SideOneDummy)

For Fans Of: All Get Out, Free Throw, Taking Back Sunday

Don’t be fooled by the bland name. Microwave is filled with pure raw emotion that will tug on your heartstrings and make you dance at the same time. Formed only five years ago, the group consists of vocalist/guitarist Nathan Hardy, guitarist Wesley Swanson, bassist Tyler Hill, and drummer Timothy Pittard. They have released a slew of EPs since forming, most notably a split EP in 2015 with Buffalo based post-emo band Head North. The band’s mixture of pop-punk, emo, and post-hardcore have made them one of the most interesting bands in the scene, even though they’ve toured with popular groups such as Motion City Soundtrack, The Wonder Years, and Real Friends. Sadly, they aren’t getting the attention they deserve. Their newest album Much Love was released last year on SideOneDummy (Jeff Rosenstock, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Superheaven) Microwave will be playing all dates on this year’s Warped Tour.

Song to Listen to: “Vomit”

Boston Manor

From: Blackpool, UK

Out Now: Be Nothing. (Pure Noise)

For Fans Of: Better Off, Trophy Eyes, The Wonder Years

Named after one of the ancient manors of Middlesex, UK, this band has been gaining some popularity in the states after signing with California-based label Pure Noise Records (Casey Bolles, Four Year Strong, Reggie and the Full Effect) in 2015. They would be more known if the group didn’t pull out of the Pure Noise Records Tour last year. It would’ve been their first U.S. show. Instead, they made their American debut later that year as the opening act for Pure Noise labelmates Like Pacific. Boston Manor has this sound that makes them strong and unique. Their lyrics come from another world, stating things such as “I found your number in a box of muffins.” You can catch Boston Manor on tour this summer as part of the Vans Warped Tour.

Song to Listen to: “Lead Feet”


From: San Diego, CA

Out Now: Homey (Sumerian)

For Fans Of: Animals as Leaders, Polyphia, Strawberry Girls

Are progressive metal bands like Prephiery and Animals as Leaders too aggressive for your liking? Then check out the progressive rock/jazz fusion trio CHON. Named after the mnemonic acronym for the four most common elements in living things (carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen), these boys blend in elements of jazz, djent, and post-hardcore, creating songs that are both relaxing and energetic. Forming in 2008 when guitarist Mario Camarena, guitarist/current vocalist Erick Hansel, and drummer Nathan Camarena were 16 (Mario,) 18 (Erick,) and 11 (Nathan,) the group started to gain success after signing with metal label Sumerian Records (Betraying the Martyrs, Night Riots, Veil of Maya) in 2014 and touring with acts like Dance Gavin Dance, Circa Survive, and Prephiery. Their melodic and vibrant melodies will either sooth or excite you. Their new album HOMEY comes out in stores and online June 16.

Song to Listen to: “Sleepy Tea”

Dams of the West

From: New York City, NY

Out Now: Youngish American (30th Century/Columbia)

For Fans Of: EL VY, Hippo Campus, The Vaccines

When beloved indie rock band Vampire Weekend went on hiatus a few years ago, drummer Chris Tomson decided to do something with his new spare time: create a solo project. Under his new moniker Dams of the West, Tomson shows off his creative side in which he plays every single instrument on his debut record, Youngish American. He got the name from an article debating whether the dams in western America have outlived their usefulness, fearing that he too, since he’s in his 30s, is useless. Using this logic, he crafted the 10 songs off of Youngish American, writing songs like “Death Wish,” “Pretty Good WiFi,” and “Will I Be Known to Her.” Dams of the West is currently on a short tour with their final show in Chicago at the Chicago Theatre with Father John Misty.

Song to Listen to: “Tell the Truth”


From: Portland, OR

Out Now: REDMERCEDES – Single (Republic)

For Fans Of: André 3000, Chance the Rapper, GoldLink

2016 may have been a horrible year for a lot of people, but it was the best for Adam Daniel aka Aminé. Using his middle name as his stage name, Aminé started his career in 2014, making diss tracks about rival high schools in Portland. His popularity started in 2016 when he released “Caroline,” which peaked at number 11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and had constant airplay on MTVU. Later that year, he partnered with Republic Records (Black Veil Brides, Drake, Nickelback,) releasing two more singles, “Baba” and “REDMERCEDES.” His newest song “REDMERCEDES” has been compared to sounding like early 2000s rap artists like Missy Elliot and OutKast. His next show is at the Soundset Festival in Minneapolis, MN, which features artists like Atmosphere, Lil Uzi Vert, and Mod Sun.

Song to Listen to: “REDMERCEDES”


From: Manchester, UK

Out Now: Equal Measures – EP (Fearless)

For Fans Of: Boys Like Girls, Mayday Parade, There For Tomorrow

Listen up folks, Milestones will blow up this year, I promise you that. Starting only three years ago, Milestones have becomes one of the most underrated bands in the pop punk scene. Milestones, composed of vocalist Matthew Clarke, guitarists Eden Leviston and Andrew Procter, bassist Mark Threlfall, and drummer Andrew Makin, have been gaining speed in the UK, playing shows with bands like Hawthorne Heights, Simple Plan, and WSTR, and are finally played their first U.S. tour as the opening act of Mayday Parade’s A Lesson in Romantics 10th Anniversary Tour with Knuckle Puck. With the UK already giving the pop punk scene several great bands like Trash Boat, Neck Deep, and Boston Manor, Milestones will obviously be your next UK act to check out.

Song to Listen to: “Call Me Disaster”



From: Montclair, NJ

Out Now: Cardinal (Run For Cover Records)

For Fans Of: The Hotelier, LVL UP, Parquet Courts

Seems I’m not the only one who sees potential in these upcoming lo-fi heartthrobs from New Jersey. Many entertainment articles like PAPER, Culture Trip, and the Odyssey have also put these guys on their own lists, claiming them to be one of the biggest upcoming bands in the emo scene. Starting seven years ago, the band remained independent for several years before signing to Run For Cover Records (Citizen, Elvis Depressedly, Modern Baseball) in 2015. Their newest album Cardinal came out last year, appearing on multiple best album lists by NPR, Pitchfork, and Consequence of Sound. They released a compilation of live songs titled Elsewhere in February, with all profits for the album being donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Pinegrove is currently on tour in Europe and will be coming back to the U.S. later this summer.

Song to Listen to: “Old Friends”


Knocked Loose

From: Oldham County, KY

Out Now: Laugh Tracks (Pure Noise)

For Fans Of: Code Orange, Earth Crisis, Kublai Khan

Do you like music that makes you wanna beat the ever-loving hell out of people? Knocked Loose is here to give you the musical equivalent to a full-blown breakdown. Fueled by adrenaline, fear, and vocalist Bryan Garris’ panic attacks, this Kentucky based power violence has been gaining quite the attention. The group signed to Pure Noise last year and released their debut Laugh Tracks the same year. In an interview with Alternative Press, Garris said, “Everything that I say in Knocked Loose is very honest…People very much think we’re an angry band, but it doesn’t mean all you’ll ever get from me is an angry song. Knocked Loose is an opportunity and an outlet. If I’m at my lowest, you will hear me at my lowest.” You can hear him at his lowest on the track “Last Words” and hear him at his angriest in “Oblivion’s Peak,” where Garris gets mad at a fraternity that banned his friend for being gay. If you like friendship, death, justice, or heavy riffs, check out Knocked Loose. You can catch Knocked Loose this summer on the entire run of the Vans Warped Tour.

Song to Listen to: “Deadringer”


Julien Baker

From: Memphis, TN

Out Now: Funeral Pyre – Single (Matador)

For Fans Of: Conor Oberst, Elliot Smith, Japanese Breakfast

Fueled by her voice and her guitar, Julien Baker is becoming one of the most fascinating singer/songwriters of the decade. Her voice is so soothing yet powerful, it’s one of the best you will find around. She is a little duckling begging to be seen as the swan she one day will be. She’s already toured with popular bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), and Belle & Sebastian. Baker is one of the burgeoning breed that has left college in order to pursue a career in the arts, specifically singing, when she abandoned Middle Tennessee State University. Thus far, her gamble is paying off quite well. Her second album is set to come out sometime this year on Matador Records (Car Seat Headrest, Fucked Up, Queens of the Stone Age), but has yet to receive a title. Of all the bands on this list, I would claim that she is the one that you’d really have to perk your ears up to look for. But please do! She is so worth it. Currently, Baker is on tour in Europe.

Song to Listen to: “Funeral Pyre”


Made Violent

From: Buffalo, NY

Out Now: Made Violent – EP (Startime International/Columbia)

For Fans Of: Cage the Elephant, Jay Reatard, White Reaper

This is Buffalo’s dirty little secret that’s starting to come out. This trio, composed of vocalist/guitarist Rob Romano, vocalist/bassist Joe White, and drummer Justin Acee, have been gigging the Buffalo area since forming in 2013. They later signed to Startime International in 2015 and released their debut self-titled EP in 2016. With their awesome style sounding like a mixture of the White Stripes and Cage the Elephant and a huge fanbase in their hometown, Made Violent are not only a band you should check out, they’re proving that the Buffalo music scene is alive and kicking (if you didn’t know already).

Song to Listen to: “Basement Ghost”

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