2014 is sure to give us a lot of a great breakouts when it comes to artists just on the verge of making it big. Last year, it was the Brits like Bastille and Passenger that made a huge mark on my personal chart for the first time. This year, I think it’s time to throw it back to the Americans. Two such bands based on the West Coast have come on my radar in the past weeks who I think have some big things waiting ahead for them in the next few months. So, take a listen and let me know if you see what I see in these terrific tracks:
JARED & THE MILL – “Breathe Me In”
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Here’s a new band I discovered looking through the adds report the other day. “Breathe” is currently receiving airplay at KMVA/”Trending Radio” in Phoenix, who are presenting a party for the band as they prepare to go on tour on February 13. The dates thus far are along the West Coast and in the Midwest, so check out their social media profiles for more information. The six men of this group formed back in the summer of 2011, and the members are as follows: Michael Carter (banjo/harmonica/mandolin), Larry Gast III (guitar/vocals), Gabe Hall-Rodrigues (accordian/piano), Jared Kolesar (lead vocals), Josh Morin (drums) and Chuck Morriss (bass). This single was first released digitally back in May, and an album, Western Expansion, followed in September. At over 34,000 hits on YouTube with several thousand fans on Facebook and Twitter, the band is definitely going places with their folk-driven pop tunes, a bit of a cross between Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers. So long as the folk movement is around, there’s a place waiting for them.
THE WILD AFTER – “Lesson Learned”
Hometown: Denver, Colorado
This quartet based out of Denver features Chris Beeble (bass), Ryan Buller (guitar), Randall Kent (lead vocalist/guitar) and Jesse Spencer (drums). Buller and Kent were part of a previous band together, but when the four men in this lineup wrote together, they knew something was working right. They’ve previously been on tour with bands like the Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty, and recently served as the backing band for Florida singer/songwriter Matt Hires on his recent outings. (Hires appeared on my 2013 year-end survey with “Restless Heart”.) Currently unsigned but playing a handful of gigs around their local area as recently as December, the four-piece has a likable pop/rock sound similar to that of 90’s rockers Gin Blossoms and Toad The Wet Sprocket. They certainly have promise, and given their radio-ready material and road experience with several well-known acts, I think they could be looking at some sort record deal in 2014 (if they are looking to sign somewhere, of course.) An forthcoming EP will be available sometime this year.
Do either of these acts sound promising? Liking another independent act that I should feature on my blog? Let me know! Comment below or click the “Get Social!” tab to find PGTC on social media.