Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Playlist: Alternative musical inspiration for 2016

Official And The Kids Facebook Page
Official And The Kids Facebook Page

With a new year comes new music. Getting tired of listening to the same old albums over and over, just hoping you’ll find something new to please your eardrums? Here are some of the lesser-known gems to check out, based on your musical tastes.

If you like Arctic Monkeys, you’ll like…

The Last Shadow Puppets. This is a side project of Arctic Monkeys’ lead singer Alex Turner so if you’re a fan of his super British vocal style, give these guys a listen. With those guitar riffs that induce uncontainable head nodding (or banging, depending on what you’re into), once you’ve listened to “Whatever You Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not” to “AM,” feel free to move on to The Last Shadow Puppets without losing that sexy, glamorized rock and roll sound.

If you like BØRNS, you’ll like…

MØ. Just because of the slashed ‘o.’ That is all.

But really, the electric vocals and the feeling that you should be on the beach with your hair blowing back in slow motion totally fits with this match-up. If it’s that indie electro-pop vibe that you’re looking for, but you’re tired of BØRNS’ “Electric Love,” definitely give this band a listen.

If you like Foster the People, you’ll like…

Youth Lagoon. If you’re like me, you probably didn’t realize until recently – if at all – that Foster the People has, in fact, written and performed songs other than “Pumped Up Kicks.” The band’s lesser-known songs are cool, dreamy indie-pop. If you like songs like “Helena Beat,” you’ll enjoy Youth Lagoon. On a scale of zero to totally experimental, this group certainly reaches the right end of the scale. Echoing vocals that sound like they’ve been run through an old cassette tape, cool keys and all sorts of strange miscellaneous sounds, Youth Lagoon is sure to quench your thirst for dream-pop.

If you like Alabama Shakes, you’ll like…

Gary Clark, Jr. As a strong anti-country listener, I’m not usually a fan of southern-influenced alternative music. Artists like Alabama Shakes and Gary Clark Jr., however, take all that is well and good in the south and puts it into some sounds I love. Their southern influences shine through in their soul, grit and power. I love the strong vocals, hard-hitting guitar riffs and heavy bass in these two artists’ music. So, if you just can’t listen to “Don’t Wanna Fight” anymore, then explore Gary Clark, Jr. for the grit.

If you like Hozier, you’ll like…

City and Colour. I discovered recently I was totally out of the folk-rock loop when I almost missed out on City and Colour in Northampton to end last fall semester. I’ve been on the Hozier train for a while but was beginning to get bored. City and Colour has those deep, resonating, emotional vocals that keeps Hozier fans coming back, along with a band with quite the repertoire – a drummer from Constantines, a bassist from The Raconteurs, and frontman Dallas Green’s experience with artists ranging from Alexisonfire to P!NK.

If you like Nirvana…

Wolf Alice is for you. It has super heavily distorted guitar, head-banging rhythms and its lead singer is certainly reminiscent of the female version of Kurt Cobain. It’s deep and emotional – the kind of stuff that makes you want to sit there with your eyes closed and contemplate your entire existence while nodding your head in slow motion to the riffs.

If you like Cage the Elephant, you’ll like…

The Orwells. The group’s songs are head banging, jump-around rock, but they still manage to keep it light and fun. A lot of the songs are anti-establishment or critical of society, which is cool and insightful. Both The Orwells and Cage the Elephant have some social commentary going for them if you look deep enough. If you’re into chaotic, yelling indie rock with driving guitar riffs, you’d be into The Orwells. And if you like The Orwells, you’ll like White Reaper too.

And for your local fix…

And The Kids are the quintessence of the Pioneer Valley alternative music scene. Meaningful lyrics, catchy riffs, vivacious vibrato vocals, and make-you-wanna-dance alongside make-you-wanna-cry beats. Here’s another fun fact: they hand-made their electric ukulele.

Calico Blue, a little more underground, hits you with their enchanting vocals and sexy, fun sound. The lead vocalist is comparable to Ellie Roswell of Wolf Alice and their tracks feature some lighter instrumental work. Don’t miss these awesome local acts when they come back into town.


Morgan Hughes can be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *