PHUTURE DOOM - “Burn The Knowledge”
This electronic black-metal trio are completely shrouded in mystery and occult imagery with barely a trace of a nonfictional backstory, (despite being on Skrillex’s OWSLA Records), leaving them relatively intangible beyond the danceable yet mildly scary music they create. How exciting is it to pretend you live in a world of man-made robot gods awaiting your eventual extermination at their hands (the concept of their self-titled LP), listen to music and not worry about the personal lives of the people behind it? Many would argue it’s a welcome relief. — Cassie Whitt
RADKEY - "Out Here In My Head"
Even though punk never died, this trio of brothers from the middle of nowhere, Missouri, are reviving the genre with a unique blend of fast-paced '70s punk with a dead ringer for Danzig on vocals. If I were writing eBay feedback for this number, I'd say, "A+++++ EXCELLENT SONG WOULD LISTEN AGAIN." — Scott Heisel
STAGES & STEREOS - "Cool To Be Vain"
While flipping through the vast selection of AP 100 Bands, Stages & Stereos caught my eye with both the Killers and Jimmy Eat World name-checked. Already aware that former Go Radio guitarist Alex Reed is in their ranks, it was finally time to go on a blind date with a new band. Turns out "Cool To Be Vain" does have that flashy Vegas swagger with obvious scene roots. It's like the first time we heard A Lesson In Romantics all over again. —Brian Kraus
TINY MOVING PARTS – “Dakota”
It may come as a surprise to some, but the editorial department does indeed listen to every band that goes into our annual 100 Bands issue. When it came time to listen to Tiny Moving Parts, I knew I’d be voting yes for them as soon as I heard frontman Dylan Mattheisen belt out the opening line to “Dakota”: “I have never felt so scared and sad at the same time.” Mattheisen’s voice lies somewhere between Jordan Dreyer and Max Bemis, his earnest proclamations never coming across as anything but. As the opener from the band’s debut full-length This Couch Is Long And Full Of Friendship, “Dakota” is the first thing many people will hear from Tiny Moving Parts, a band poised to break through but who sound like they’re on the cusp of breaking down. (“I finally will figure out what life truly means when it's all been left behind.”) In a scene full of fast music played very loud (and not always very well) on guitars, it’s refreshing to hear a band that can craft lyrics this moving and play some kickass guitar riffs. – Brittany Moseley
W.C. LINDSAY – “Hum & Roar”
“Hum & Roar” is completely out of left field for this normally synth-glossed rap-dance-punk trio. It’s somber, folky and spliced with an emotive lead moonlighting as Southern twang. “You can breathe fire, and you can breathe flames/But you can’t keep your heart the same,” frontman William Charles Lindsay sings, with the conviction of a Rascal Flatts ballad, over a drummer-boy buildup. Good luck not projecting your failed romances onto this one, guys, even as it uplifts with lovesick uncertainty: “She can breathe fire/She can breathe flames/Hold back your desire.” — Matt Crane