While of course I try to see bands I know and love, I leave a little room for spontaneity and wandering too (and free-drink-chasing!). Plus sometimes the lines are just too long to get into the shows you want to see (a problem getting worse and worse each year unfortunately).
But whether they were opening for bands I wanted to see, or I wandered into their show by chance, every year I discover artists that I'm really excited about. In past years, this list has included Fantastic Negrito, Magic Giant, Melanie Martinez, Joseph, Priory, Christine & the Queens, and more.
So without further ado, here is who I was most excited to stumble upon this year:
I was actually familiar with Lizzo before because I had seen her perform with GRRRL PRTY at Paisley Park for Prince's last album release party before his death. GRRRL PRTY sadly broke up last year, but Lizzo had a growing solo career even before they parted ways. This was the first time I got to see her live on her own and she was freaking incredible. She's a powerhouse with awesome style and dance moves. Plus all her music is very feel-good and upbeat so it's a really fun show in general. I wasn't surprised by her talent but I hadn't honestly realized she was part of the lineup (I had gone to see Sylvan Esso).
Good As Hell [Spotify - iTunes]
The National Parks might have one of the worst names I've ever encountered from a Googleability factor (and from a merch factor because a fan in the audience at the show I was at was wearing a shirt with their name but outside of their show, I imagine most people think it's a shirt for the National Park system of the US). That said, they were fantastic. If you like Ra Ra Riot, you'll love The National Parks. With a full, melodic folk-pop sound that incorporates violins, trumpets, banjos, and other instruments, their music tells contemplative stories. Fittingly, their songs are full of nature references and odes. I see these guys going on to big things if people can find them, haha.
As We Ran [Spotify - iTunes]
Canada House was one of the places with the most free drink events so I ended up there a few times when I didn't have other shows on my schedule. There were a few gems there, but my favorite was Close Talker. Catchy hooks, solid vocals, and syncopated rhythms make this trio one to add to your playlists. And good news: they're going on tour (mostly around Canada but there are US and EU dates too!) starting April 12th and releasing a new album on April 21st! So check them out, follow them, tweet at them, help spread the word about these awesome Canadians.
Waking Up [Spotify - iTunes]
Hailing from my former hometown of Brooklyn, The Britanys have a jangly, catchy, pop rock sound similar to The Strokes. From what I can tell they've only been around two years but I think they have a lot of promise and it seems other music publications agree. Check them out so you can say you discovered them before anyone else!
Basketholder [Spotify - iTunes]
Part 2 of this list coming later this week! Stay tuned!