Music discovery has become a far more passive activity in recent years thanks to the Internet. Seeking out albums and new artists in record stores has become a niche activity. There’s a much different experience to be had from exploring a record store than passively downloading an MP3 that can (and eventually will) be forgotten into oblivion.

Because of the staggering amount of music out there, artists are judged by their popularity and virility and draw listeners in that way. In effect, a lot of artists don’t get much love unless Rolling Stone or loves them. Here’s my attempt at bringing some much-needed light to some new artists you may be missing out on.

Newcomers CHVRCHES (pronounced “churches”) sets a new standard in electro pop. The Scotland natives released their debut “The Bones of What You Believe” in September and, if their recent show in Portland was any indication, will take the American mainstream by storm. Their easily accessible pop melodies sung by the graceful Lauren Mayberry, blended with thick bass and synthesizers, are sure to bear at least one Top 40 hit, if not more. It’s an anomaly to find a group so radio ready without compromising any of their artistic integrity.

When CHVRCHES humbly walk onto the stage, they are full-fire passionate for the whole set, possessing something that is missing in pop music. Their lead single, “The Mother We Share,” encompasses the band’s newborn career so well, one can’t help but be optimistic for the future of Chvrches.

All-girl indie rockers Haim (rhymes with “time”) plan to gently dominate the industry with their retro sound. I’d describe them as Fleetwood Mac meets Sara Bareilles, with some early ’90s rock thrown in for good measure. Their tight harmonies and funky bass make for a unique but familiar sound. Their videos’ whole look and feel is like a really well done Throwback Thursday Instagram: full of nature, pretty girls, and gentle sounding funk. Their debut “Days are Gone” came out a few weeks ago and is still in heavy rotation in my car.

Probably the least well-known but by no means less talented of this bunch is San?Francisco Bay Area’s Tony Molina, best known from the group Ovens. His unique style of quick, flavorful riffs and jams (nearly all of his songs are less than 2 minutes long) is much welcome and reminiscent of the crunchy, bite-sized songs Weezer was putting out back in 2002.

Heavy distortion and sweet melodies is an already proven winning formula and Molina is just giving people what they want to hear.

London based alt-rock group Bastille had rocky origins. After a string of unsuccessful singles, they put out “Pompeii,” which was the track that launched them into the international spotlight. Their sound is comparable to Coldplay, with their piano-based songs and big booming sound. Their debut “Bad Blood” was released in March and is still making waves here in the U.S.

Finally, probably the most successful group on this list is LA-based Capital Cities. When they released their debut single “Safe and Sound” earlier this year, they almost immediately impacted the charts. The song was everywhere, playing on virtually every commercial and promo spot on TV. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the track, the tune is probably recognizable, but that’s just the first track on the record! Their debut “In A Tidal Wave of Mystery” is literally full of electro-pop dance jams that can score any party for any occasion. Other great tracks include “Kangaroo Court” and “Farrah Fawcett Hair.”

If you’re already familiar with all of these groups: email me. We should be friends. If not, give them a spin on Spotify knowing they have the coveted Tyler Scruggs approval. Even though it can be overwhelming to search for new music and it’s easier to gravitate to the Top-10 artists, I highly suggest you take advantage of all the new ways the Internet has changed the music industry as the artists themselves have adapted.


Tyler Scruggs is a writer, musician and pop culture enthusiast studying at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton.

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