7 underground NYC bands you need to hear
With all the indie music that has been bursting out of Brooklyn in the last couple of years, people tend to forget that the greater New York City area has an incredibly dedicated post-hardcore and metalcore scene. Punk rock basically took over the world from down in the Bowery, so sure enough modern heavy and alternative music giants like Anthrax, Glassjaw, Dream Theater, Stray From The Path and Type O Negative all got their start playing in and around the Big Apple. With local venues like The Place, Revolution Bar and The Studio At Webster Hall promoting bands in—and rising beyond—the local scene every day, there are so many up and comers you probably haven't heard of yet. Here are seven bands from the area that are notably loyal to the locals and on the verge of breaking through to the nation.
Polarity, a metalcore act from Staten Island, formed back in 2013. Though they have just over 2,000 followers on Facebook, Polarity is quickly blowing up in the scene—they’ve played with Crucible, Ice Nine Kills, Motionless In White and the Devil Wears Prada. In fact, they even have a single out featuring guest vocals from Asking Alexandria's Denis Stoff. Even though they've played with some major acts in the metalcore scene, you can typically catch one of the guys at a local venue like Staten Island’s Hashtag Bar jumping onstage to throw down his own guest vocals for a friend's band.
Check Out: "Hale's Own" ft. Denis Stoff
Varsity only launched in 2014, but have been gaining traction in the scene like tires on a NASCAR speedway. Though they’ve only been around for about two years, rumor has it the band has already gained enough heat for labels to be looking at them. With a sound reminiscent of Tyler Carter or Jonny Craig’s various bands, this self-proclaimed "post-hardcore metal ambient" band is definitely one to watch on the rise.
Check Out: "Risen"
Heroes love to promote their DIY ethic, which may be why they put on some of the raddest local shows in New York City. Whether they're playing a large music festival like Loud Fest or the back room of a pizza parlor in Brooklyn, Heroes are sure to make some waves. Not to mention, Heroes are very loyal to their scene and city. Many of their city-based shows are booked through the DIY startup and fan-run agency Hollow Grounds Booking, while a lot of their merchandise promotes their hometown base with phrases like “New York Hardcore” adorned on the items.
Check Out: "Never Enough"
Call It Home
The Long Island-based post-hardcore group Call It Home have been local powerhouses ever since they formed in 2012. With numerous shows around the city and surrounding areas such as Revolution Bar, Webster Hall and even Andrew WK's co-owned venue Santos Party House, this band hustle has earned them just over 9,000 likes on Facebook. Call It Home is characterized by a classic pairing of clean and unclean vocals, but it's the biting lyrics and intense growls that come out of frontman Chris Christofi that are sure to blow you away.
Check Out: "Homewrecker"
Zoúme formed in the fall of 2014 and have since grown to over 12,000 likes on Facebook. Having been booked to play sets for bands like Escape The Fate and the Word Alive, it's hard to believe that most of the members are still too young to legally drink. While their classic metalcore sound is what has gained them a lot of the local credit they deserve, it's their dedication to the scene that makes them such a standout act. Not only do they strictly use local photographers and videographers, but they are notorious for going to just about every local show around. So next time you're hanging out in a crusty NYC venue, just look around— vocalist Chris Tito or bassist Jeff Freedman are probably only a few feet away.
Check Out: "Someday You'll See"
Awake At Last
Initially formed in Dover, Delaware, New York City has become a second home to Awake At Last as their rhythm guitarist and main booking agent Imran Xhelili is based in the Empire State. Awake At Last grew in popularity due to their ability to successfully mesh melodic, poppy vocals with heavy instrumentals. Whether you're watching vocalist Vincent Torres light up a stage with his incredible showmanship or listening to their cover of Magic!’s "Rude," you are sure to have a good time at any Awake At Last show. While they have opened for bands like Hawthorne Heights and played all over the country, chances are you can find them jamming out in the Marlin Room at Webster Hall or a local basement show with an abundance of friends, fans and family present.
Check Out: "King of the World"
Okay, so you've probably heard of Sylar. The Queens-based rap-meets-metalcore group signed to Razor & Tie for their debut full length launching them on tours with everyone from Beartooth to Sworn In. In fact, they just recently announced their switch to Hopeless Records this week. So why are they on this list? Because they are still a NYC staple. Not only can you catch their members at local shows, but you might even run into them at neighborhood guitar and gear stores. While they haven't quite blown up in the national music scene, they are sure to get a huge and highly dedicated crowd at every single New York gig they play.
Check Out: "Prescription Medication"