2017 has been a great year for music. With the vast amount of new artists that are making waves on the internet, it’s hard to keep up with everything that’s coming out. I’ve put together a list of 7 projects that might have flown under your radar this year. Hopefully you’ll come away with some some great new tunes to listen to and a new artist or two to keep your eyes on in the future. Read and listen below!
Greta Van Fleet – Black Smoke Rising
Hard rock junkie? This band is for you. Michigan’s Greta Van Fleet is a quartet of youngins that love to rock and man, they absolutely shred. Their debut EP Black Smoke Rising released this past April and since then the group has been on a tear of live shows all over the U.S. Each of the 4 songs on the project would sound right at home on any early Led Zeppelin album. With that said, don’t mistake the obvious influence for a lack of talent. Lead singer Josh Kiszka loves showing off his impressive range and the band has a polished stadium rock sound, best exemplified on the soaring “Highway Tune” and the beautifully arranged “Flower Power”.
Jay Garden – Verano. (Vol. 1)
The next artist on this list is San Diego rapper Jay Garden. Back in June he dropped a summer themed EP titled Verano. It’s a short, vibrant collection of funky hip-hop tracks. There are some really solid grooves on this thing and they are well complimented by Jay’s laid back delivery. At times, his vocal tone almost sounds like a young Kendrick Lamar, especially on the lustful title track. The vibe switches on the back half with three trap inspired cuts, “Boulevard (Interlude)” perhaps being the catchiest. Hopefully we’ll hear an extended project from Jay in the near future.
Jelani Aryeh – Suburban Destinesia
Jelani Aryeh is another Southern California based creative who’s been making waves in recent time, coming fresh off the release of his debut project Suburban Destinesia. Aryeh pulls from a number of musical influences and if his first album is any indication, he’s got potential to stick around and do this music thing for a while. Suburban Destinesia is a smooth blend of alternative R&B, exploring themes of self-reflection, longing, and the desire to create space. Some highlights are the the moody “Where We Go” and the dancy “Destinesia II”. Read Aryeh’s dope interview with SoundChips right here and stream Suburban Destinesia below.
Bandini – Songs Vol. 1
Songs Vol. 1 is the project of Manchester folk act Bandini; it’s a raw, lo-fi record packed with emotion and heavy lyrics. The strength in this record lies in the autobiographical songwriting, which is rather depressing at times. The subtle progressions in instrumentation allow each song to develop into its own somber mini-odyssey, most of all on “If That’s the Way It Goes”. Musically speaking, it would be really interesting to see these themes and ideas expanded on in a full-length project, as Bandini already shows great skill as an evocative songwriter.
The Shorelines – Somewhere in Time
The Shorelines’ debut record Somewhere In Time is one of my favorite finds of this year. It’s a smooth listen that showcases all sorts of different psychedelic and jazzy influences. Songs like “Sunday High” create pure atmosphere, while tracks such as “Hurricane” embody an alternative garage sound. I really just love this project’s sonic aesthetic, and I couldn’t be more excited to hear what the band does next. Read my interview with members Maxton Schulte and Justin Kass here.
The Bleeskiez – The Bleeskiez
On their debut, self-titled record, San Diego reggae-rock band The Bleeskiez bring a great energy. They play reggae at a harder, edgier style, but do so without compromising melody or rhythm. This record is also unabashedly bluesy; there is mean lead guitars from front to back, echoing everyone from Muddy Waters to Santana. Some of my favorites include “Better Vibes” and “Conformacy”. To sum it up, this album is riff heavy and easy to vibe to. These guys play shows on the regular, so if you’re ever in the San Diego area, make sure to check their Instagram page for their next gig.
Bolywool – From Void to Matter Volume 2
Swedish duo Bolywool has been an active outfit since 1998. Their most recent release is a three track EP titled From Void to Matter Volume 2. Here, they specialize in lengthy compositions that gradually evolve in both tone and texture. Their songs can be ultra-aggressive and pretty at the same time. The EP is mostly instrumental and I highly recommend it if you are a fan of big, ethereal soundscapes. Elements of shoegaze, post-rock and psych-rock are present throughout, repeatedly executed with a great sense of craft and direction.