Prenatt’s picks: 50 bands and artists to look out for in 2017 – part one

Our resident music critic brings you 50 bands to look out for in 2017

Chris Prenatt, Staff 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 first 10:

Casey Bolles

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Out Now: Freshman EP (Pure Noise Records)

For Fans Of: Kevin Devine, The Front Bottoms, Into It. Over It.

Currently residing in Grand Island, this singer-songwriter has slowly been making a name for himself here in the 716. The 21-year-old artist spent a majority of last year recording songs for his Pure Noise Records (Counterparts, Less Than Jake, Stick To Your Guns) debut that’s set to come out sometime this year. Even though he might still be young, he has a lot of stories to tell, especially those on his EP Freshman, which was released in late 2014 and re-released by Pure Noise in 2015. With killer songs such as “Potential,” “Inside Voices,” and “Tattoo,” it’s pretty clear that Bolles will be one of the Buffalo music scene’s best underground artists and songwriters. Expect big things from him later on this year.

Song to listen to: “Potential”


Hot Mulligan

Hometown: Lansing, MI

Out Now: Opportunities (No Sleep Records)

For Fans Of: Joyce Manor, Pentimento, The Wonder Years

This Michigan based quintet is the newest face of indie label No Sleep Records (Drug Church, Koji, WSTR). Channeling the energy of bands like The Swellers and Real Friends, Hot Mulligan are here to stay. The band has ridiculous titles for songs, such as “Something about a Bunch of Dead Dogs,” “I Played Tony Hawk Ride Once, and It Sucked,” and “Jimmy Neutron Had a Dog, So Why Can’t I Have a Friend?” Their newest EP Opportunities was just re-released by No Sleep late last month. You can catch Hot Mulligan on tour later this month with The Cardboard Swords.

Song to listen to: “Dary”


Kap G

Hometown: College Park, GA

Out Now: El Southside (Atlantic Records)

For Fans Of: Drake, Future, Travis Scott

George Ramirez aka Kap G has been slowly growing in popularity. You probably heard the young Latino rapper collaborate on songs with other rappers like Chief Keef, Wiz Khalifa, and Jeezy. The 22-year-old rapper’s career started back in 2014 with the release of his Real Migo Shit and Real Migo Shit 2 and had a cameo in the 2015 dramedy Dope. Pharrell Willams, who produced the closing track for El Southside, once called Kap G “The Future.” Expect big things from “the Future” of hip-hop.

Song to listen to: “Freakin ‘N’ Geekin”



Hometown: Athens, GA

Out Now: Fool’s Gold – Single (Rise Records)

For Fans Of: Bleachers, Emarosa, Night Terrors of 1927

After his old band Nightmares folded, vocalist Carter Hardin decided to make the switch from metalcore to indie, recruiting his friend Kortney Grinwis to form Chapel in late 2016. So far, the duo has released two singles, “Fool’s Gold” and “Caught Up.” Unlike most indie bands, Chapel blends elements of post-hardcore into their indie pop vibe, sounding like a mash up of Emarosa and Big Data. While that may sound odd, Chapel makes it work. If metal vocalists Tyler Carter (Issues) and Jonny Craig (Slaves) are able to cross into the pop scene, then so should Hardin and his partner in crime, Grinwis. The duo will be in Buffalo on May 8th at the Waiting Room as the opening act for Emarosa’s spring tour which also features local acts Rescue Dawn, Of Night and Light, and Tetelestai.

Song to listen to: “Caught Up”


Night Riots

Hometown: San Luis Obispo, CA

Out Now: Love Gloom (Sumerian Records)

For Fans Of: AFI, The Killers, POP ETC

Isn’t it a bit weird that this California rock group is signed to a metal label? Never mind that. Night Riots, one of Sumerian Records’ (Asking Alexandria, CHON, From First To Last) best secrets, is trying to make 2017 their year. Just last year, the quintet released their second album, Love Gloom, to some success. The album is packed full with memorable tracks such as “Breaking Free,” “Nothing Personal,” and their smash hit “Contagious,” which has been getting radio play on alternative rock stations across the country. Their live shows are just a treat to watch, and if you find any footage of them performing live on YouTube, you’ll totally want to see them live then. The band’s vocalist Travis Hawley’s vocal style has been compared to The Cure’s Robert Smith and his stage presence is equal to The Killers’ Brandon Flowers. If you dig bands like Arctic Monkeys, The Cure, or U2, then you’ll fall head over heels for Night Riots. You can catch the band on tour this spring as the opening act for Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness’ Zombies on Broadway tour.

Song to listen to: “Nothing Personal”



Hometown: Denver, CO

Out Now: Critical Mistakes EP (Island Records)

For Fans Of: Atlas Genius, The Moth & The Flame, Vinyl Theatre

Now here’s something you don’t hear every day. The three members of 888, vocalist Danny Stillman, keyboardist Aaron Rothe and drummer Danny Cooper, originally didn’t dabble in the indie scene. Years ago, the trio used to be a part of the metalcore group Drop Dead, Gorgeous, who went on hiatus in 2011 and then later made Bleach Blonde in 2013, but quickly became dormant. Switching their metalcore roots to alt-pop radio-friendly music, 888 are here to make a brand new start, releasing their debut EP Critical Mistakes last June. With such alt-radio hits like “Critical Mistakes” and “Seattle Rain” and a slot on the Advanced Placement Tour with MISSIO, Coast Modern, and Sundara Karma presented by Sirius XM’s Alt Nation, 888 are here to show the world that three times is the charm.

Song to listen to: “Critical Mistakes”


Carousel Kings

Hometown: Lancaster, PA

Out Now: Charm City (Victory Records)

For Fans Of: City Lights, New Found Glory, Seaway

Carousel Kings aren’t a new face, but they’re picking up momentum quickly. You might have seen them on tour with Rise Against, Panic! At the Disco, or Less Than Jake. The easycore quintet formed in 2009 and went through several member changes, releasing three full-length albums on their previous label CI Records. Now on Victory Records (Broadside, Islander, The Tossers,) these boys are ready to show the world what they’re made of. Their newest release Charm City was released in February and entered the iTunes rock charts at number 14. “Bad Habit” and “Grey Goose” are some of the biggest tracks off this album. You can catch these guys later this summer on the Vans Warped Tour.

Song to listen to: “Grey Goose”


Home Sweet Home

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Out Now: Where The Heart Was – EP (CI Records)

For Fans Of: Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, Enter Shiakri, Motion City Soundtrack

Originally known as Crunkasaurus Rex, this Indianapolis based band composed of guitarist/vocalist Sean Potter, drummer Austin Puckett, bassist Daniel Obermeyer, and trombonist/vocalist Samuel Oliver first gained popularity in the Revive Easycore Group 3.0™®© on Facebook. Their first release under their new name, Where the Heart Was is coming out on May 19 via CI Records (Centerfolds, The Great Heights Band, One Year Later). Home Sweet Home blend multiple genres into their “experimental alt-rock” style, like orchestral, electronic, and pop punk. The band was recently here in Buffalo on a tour with Knockout Kid and We Were Sharks.

Song to listen to: “Desire”


Swet Shop Boys

Hometown: London, UK

Out Now: Cashmere (Customs)

For Fans Of: GZA The Genius, Run The Jewels, Tech N9ne

This British trio is composed of members Heems (formally of Das Racist,) Riz MC (well known for his roles in Rogue: A Star Wars Story and Nightcrawler,) and producer Redinho. Combining modern hip-hop with elements of Indian culture and music into their beats, Swet Shop Boys are a unique group in the hip-hop world. Their debut full-length Cashmere was released last year on their own label Customs, featuring “Aaja,” “Zayn Malik,” and “T5,” a callout track to the TSA. Swet Shop Boys’ music is packed with colorful metaphors and head nodding gems. They must be doing something right since NME listed them at number 36 on their “Albums of the Year 2016” list and number 24 on Rolling Stone’s “40 Best Rap Albums of 2016” list. Swet Shop Boys will be performing at this year’s Coachella in Indio, CA.

Song to listen to: “T5”



Hometown: Southampton, UK

Out Now: Eternity, In Your Arms (Roadrunner Records)

For Fans Of: Alkaline Trio, FVK, My Chemical Romance

Horror punk has been mostly used to describe bands like Aiden, The Misfits, and Tiger Army, but there is a newcomer to the genre. Enter Creeper, a sextant from the UK that has been gaining a lot of popularity in their home country. Formed in 2014, the band features vocalist Will Gould, guitarists Ian Miles and Oliver Burdett, bassist Sean Scott, keyboardist Hannah Greenwood, and drummer Dan Bratton. They’ve even won two awards since their inception, winning the “Best New Band” award at the 2016 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards and the “Best British Newcomer” award at the 2016 Kerrang! Awards, not bad for a band with only three EPs and one album under their belts. Their debut full-length Eternity, in Your Arms is a concept album based on James Scythe, a fictional missing paranormal investigator. Released late last year on Roadrunner Records (Code Orange, Slipknot, Turnstile,) the album has been called a critical success in the UK, debuting at number 18 on the UK Albums Chart and number 1 on the UK Rock & Metal Albums Chart. The band will be in the U.S. this summer as part of the Vans Warped Tour in which they’ll be on the full tour.

Song to listen to: “Black Rain”

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