Alternative Picks

The Spotify playlist features all the picks from 2017 plus others by the artists.


BAD SOUNDS    Meat On My Bones
BAD WAVE    Time To Get Lost
Bad boys from both sides of the pond. This is the latest single from Brit band Bad Sounds, who had my #3 song of the year last year, “Avalanche”. West coast synth-pop duo Bad Wave have put out a steady stream of singles over the last year and a half, 10 in all.
DU TONC    Keep Movin’
PRIDES    Away With The Night
I guess it’s synth-pop duo time. There’s something wildly hypnotic about this tune from French boys Du Tonc. Prides hails from Scotland and have done covers of Roxette’s “It Must Have Been Love” and Scotland’s The Blue Nile’s song “Tinseltown In The Rain”. Like Bad Wave they have released 10 singles, but this time since 2014.
BANKS    Trainwreck
This California singer songwriter had an alternative hit with her song “Beggin’ For Thread” in 2014. Her moody alt-rock has shades of r&b. She claims her main influences are Fiona Aplle and Lauryn Hill.
DREAMCAR    Kill For Candy
AFI    White Offerings
BLAQK AUDIO    You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)
What happens when you mix the lead vocalist of 90’s and AFI and the members of No Doubt sans Gwen Stefani? You get Dreamcar’s new wavey, alt-pop killer song. AFI’s polished punk has seen 10 albums since 1995, their biggest song was 2006’s #1 alternative song “Miss Murder. Blaqk Audio is AFI lead singer’s more goth side project, here paying tribute to Pete Burns, the lead singer of Dead or Alive, who passed away last October.
FAMILY OF THINGS    Don’t Look Back
First single from Hamilton, Ontario band who use a n insistent guitar hook to drive this song. Other recent songs are more subdued.
WATT f/ POST MALONE    Burning Man
Andrew Watt had 2 songs reach my personal chart last year, “Ghost In My Head” and Seeing Red”. Here he makes a bluesy alt-rocker with hip hop artist Post Malone to amazing effect. While rock is the genre that most shows off his guitar styling, as a songwriter he has had 2 huge pop hits in the last 6 months, DJ Snake’s :Let Me Love You” and Kygo’s “It Ain’t Me”.
ALEX VARGAS    Inclosure
LOREEN    Statements
LUXXURY    Feel The Night
As with the above,there are definitely blurred lines between pop, dance and alternative. Songs like Jon Bellion’s “All Time Low” and the Chainsmokers collaboration with Coldplay are receiving alternative airplay as examples. The first 2 songs from Scandanvia (Vargas, part Uruguayan from Denmark and Loreen of Moroccan descent from Sweden) could sound equally comfortable in either format. On Luxxury’s webpage it says Disco. Made In Los Angeles. The funk and 70’s disco string flourish on this infectious song certainly indicate that. Luxxury is L.A. producer Blake Robin.
I keep discovering songs from progressive rock band The Dear Hunter and mostly loving them. This is from their 2013 album “Migrant” and definitely more alt-rock than their more theatrical Five Act album cycle. Their 2011 36 song collection “The Color Spectrum” also showcases their varying stylistic vision, in songs like the driving “The Curse of Cynicism”. Prolific they are.
TREBLE    Ten Thousand Floors
Energetic, anthemic and insistent song from Canadian band that has been together since 2008 but just released their first album “Modernaires”.
VHS COLLECTION    The Longest Drive
Electro-rock trio from NYC. This song just came in as the #84 Alternative song on Beyond Radio for the month of March. They played Lollapalooza in 2016 and have charted 6 songs on Beyond Radio charts in the last 6 months.
DIONYSIA    Zombie
2 songs I found on my Spotify “Discovery” playlist this week. Dionysia is from Burlington, VT, claims Red Hot Chili Peppers and Led Zeppelin as influences and may or may not be named after an ancient Greek festival in honor of the god Dionysus. This list comes full circle with Brit band Ginger Snaps who have a psychedelic sound, in a similar vein to Bad Sounds.



AMY SHARK    Adore
Australian indie pop singer songwriter.
ARTIFICIAL PLEASURE    I’ll Make It Worth Your While
Gang Of Four meets funk from new London based band.
This Brit band is currently #3 on the Untapped Resources Alt chart. They released their first album in 2003 and have been compared to The Cure and Joy Division.
This quirky Swedish indie pop band has been putting out singles since 2014. “Gold is from 2015 and their latest release from earlier this month is “Work”.
DEPECHE MODE    Where’s The Revolution?
These alt superstars will release their 14th studio album on March 17.
FINDLAY    Waste My Time
Brit female artist debuted in 2013 with “On And Off” (featured in a BMW commercial) and just released her first full length album.
Dream pop trio from Boston whose first album came out in 2015.
HARLEA    You Don’t Get It
Somewhere between Amy Winehouse and Elle King with a bluesy rock edge.
MYSTERY JETS    Bombay Blue
Another British band who debuted in 2006. They cite Pink Floyd and King Crimson as influences of their latest album.
TEMPLES    Strange Or Be Forgotten
Current #6 song on Untapped Resources Alternative chart, this neo-psychedelic band was also featured last Nov.

THE AMAZONS    Little Something
Right behind at #7 is another Brit band who travel between the styles of Nirvana and Arcade Fire.
THE CHAIN GANG OF 1974    Slow
Moniker for Kamtin Mohager a US. multi-instrumentalist who veers on the side of alt-dance.
Brotherly duo from England who have pt out 4 tracks in the last year, bringing on comparisons to MGMT and Phoenix.
THE ORWELLS    They Put A Body In The Bayou
More family ties in this Illinois indie-rock band. Comprised of 2 brothers, 2 cousins and a friend, they serve up a gritty intro to their latest album “Terrible Human Beings”.
THE XX    Say Something Loving
Finally this week’s #2 Untapped Resources Alternative song is the second single from the band’s latest album “I See You” which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s album sales chart on Feb. 4.


MALLORY KNOX   Lucky Me/Giving It Up/Citalopram (Better Off Without You)
Three recent singles from guitar heavy UK band named after Juliette Lewis’ character in Natural Born Killers
THE NEW DIVISION    Vices/Vicious/Murder Shock
This L.A. combo takes their cue from New Order (whose current song “People On The High Line” I am loving) and Depeche Mode (I hear a new album due in 2017). Synth heavy and gloriously new wave.
GUNGOR    Walking With Our Eyes Closed
Husband wife duo who have a background steeped in religion but they claim they are not a Christian band. In 2016 they put out a trilogy of albums called One Wild Life Body/Mind/Soul. They can go from poppy (title track) to dirgy (Body and Blood) and clearly thier music is still grounded on spirituality.
Old School Reunions
SLOWDIVE    Star Roving
These three bands still sound like their old selves on these three current singles. Boston’s Letters To Cleo most recently put out an album in 2009 while the former two bands in 1999 and 1998 respectively.
Party like it’s 1985/1991/1994.
Canadian co-eds
JULY TALK    Push + Pull
I fell in love with Vancouver’s Mother Mother in 2011 when both “The Stand” and “Problems” spent multiple weeks at #1 on my personal chart. The album Eureka spawned 4 top 3 songs on my chart. They haven’t reached the top 10 since (although numerous songs have reached my weekly top 100) but that will change with ‘The Drugs’.
July Talk, whose ‘Push + Pull’ is my current #1 song, are a bit grittier with singer Peter Demeitris’ gravelly voice front and center..Both bands are quintets and feature male/female vocal interplay that certainly works well on the former and “Picturing Love”, both recent top 2 rock hits in Canada.”Guns + Ammunition” is from their self-title 2012 debut album which won the Juno award (Canada’s Grammys) for best Alternative Album.
ATOMIC TOM    I’m Coming After You
The beauty of personal charting is that the only rules are the ones you impose on yourself. Thus some charts will feature older songs that are newly discovered. This 2010 track from Brooklyn’s Atomic Tom was on Webinator’s top 100 (along with “Now or Never”) in the fall and currently ascending my top 40 as a result. Of course looking back I had another song from that album, “Take Me Out” on my personal chart, peaking at #62 in early 2011.
BRETT    California Nights/Die Young/Modern Classic
Dream pop trio originally from DC and now based out of L.A.