2017 was a strange year. For news, politics, scandals, you name it. Some felt like the end of the world was near. Personally, I felt like we were in a transition. Especially musically. Every year I listen to thousands of new tracks from tens of thousands of artists (believe me, we counted) and I recently had a revelation. Maybe, just maybe, for the first time in music, we are in a new era of true divergence in music. With the downgrading of relevance of record labels and more and more of the publicity portion of the music business being placed directly into the hands of the artists themselves, as well as the price of software, hardware, and all products musical being slashed at an ever more feverish rate, we may be seeing a time in music where truly anything is possible and everything possible is inevitable.
Having said that, it becomes harder to stick out amongst a large crowd that is becoming more and more immersed in white noise. So we here at Jammerzine came up with a list of 17 artists that we feel stood out among all of the other artists that were submitted to us in 2017 (again, out of thousands), for whatever reason. Regardless of genre or popularity. These choices are simply based on the work they have done in 2017.
Of course, we have already done reviews, premieres, exclusives, interviews, or features on each of these artists. Click on any artist’s name below to see what we’ve featured. As stated earlier, these choices were made regardless of genre or popularity, and even started a few arguments here in the office, but we had to keep the list down to 17. Why 17? Three reasons: 1: We had to come up with a number, 2: 17 artists coincide us of 2017, and 3: Even though 2,017 artists would coincide with 2017 even better, that would be f*cking stupid. These are the artists that, in our collective opinions at Jammerzine, gave it that little extra something. Ran that extra mile. And showed us what originality and ambition sound like.
These artists are in no particular order or rank.
So sit back, listen to the playlist featuring these 17 pioneers of #indie & the tracks that got them on this list, and read on…
Half the Animal
Formed in 2016, Los Angeles-based alternative rock quartet Half the Animal produces an infectious sound, which blends catchy, hook-laden rock attitude and pop-driven styles. Originally founded by vocalist Chase Johnson and drummer Nick Gross—who were featured cast members in the hit MTV reality TV series ‘Laguna Beach’ during their formative days as the band Open Air Stereo—Half the Animal also includes bassist Evan Smith (Silversun Pickups/Chromeo/Big Data) and classically trained guitarist Dan Graham.
Formed in Liverpool in 2016, Acadian Driftwood makes roots music for the digital age. The band draws on both Americana and their own British musical heritage to produce a diverse alchemy of rock, blues, country, and surrealism.
The band have already earned airplay and support from BBC Radio Merseyside’s Dave Monks and are winning an army of fans thanks to their presence on Liverpool’s vibrant music scene.
We Are Parasols
We Are Parasols began as a shoegaze-electronic hybrid band. Their debut full-length ‘Infrastructure’ was followed by their ‘bite_your_tongue’ EP, a more minimal ambient release. The song ‘No Movement’ off the band’s debut album, which was about an android sex worker, ultimately spawned the musical world of their new album ‘Inertia’.
Unlocking The Truth
By now, the story of teenage metal trio Unlocking The Truth (who walked away from a seven-figure deal with Sony) is well known. After years of media excitement, late-night TV appearances, and breakout sets at Coachella and Bonnaroo, the band’s debut album Chaos was finally released independently last year. The Brooklyn-based band is now back with a new music video for their latest single “My Chains”. The video (directed by JP Brasca) cuts through much of the hype surrounding the group and shows a different side of the band.
Megan Landry is rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with. I’m not just saying that now, I also said it two years ago with our review of her 2015 album ‘Stills’. That album, by the way, made it on our ’25 Best Indie Albums of 2015′ list. But since then, Megan has done what most artists consider privately unthinkable. She evolved. I say that most artists seem to consider evolving unthinkable because, let’s face it, most artists stick either with what they know or with what works for them. There’s nothing wrong with that, however, evolving is growth. And Megan shows a sheer evolution of revolution with her new outing titled ‘Socio-Political Trilogy’.
Satisfied with what they had created Easy pressed some CDs of the tracks they had recorded and gave them away to their friends, the band were on a creative roll and decided to write some music for Johan Holmlund’s poetry collection ‘Swimming with the Beast’.
‘Pop Songs’ might well be the loveliest tune Easy have ever recorded, ‘I Can Tell You Why’ is as catchy and joyful as any Tamla Motown tune you can think of, ‘Little Boy’ is what Phil Spector would sound like if he was in a Swedish Indie band and ‘A Picture (I´ve Got Mine)’ is the love child of The Chills and Velvet Underground.
Comprised of two members from Sweden and two from England, The Franklys have created something unique, commonly described themselves as “frenetic garage rock with heavy and psychedelic overtones”. But don’t fool yourself by assuming this is just another band on the London rock scene.
The Franklys have built a reputation for themselves as one of the most exciting live bands on the London circuit and beyond with relentless touring across the UK, Europe, and America the past couple of years. They are best known for being a band that can’t be pigeonholed and have proved that by making festival appearances at both Isle of Wight 2015, Download Festival 2016 and Rebellion Festival 2017.
Elstow formed in 2012 after playing Peats Ridge Festival (Australia) on the back of a few rough demos. The songwriting duo Jared Shaw and Chel Browne expanded to five members by 2014 and released their debut EP ‘As The Sun Falls’, a low-fi Psych Folk offering drawing on the melodic psychedelia of the late 60s. Described as “a psychedelic romance”, it preceded the single ‘Evil Dreams’, which blended their hazy 60s vibe with a 90s neo-psychedelic sound, with crisp tambourines, dreamy vocals, and self-indulgent lyrics.
NYC-based Japanese-Russian duo The Dayoffs have announced ‘Next To Nothing’ as the second single from their forthcoming self-titled debut album. The Dayoffs are Vladimir Komarov and Atsuo Matsumoto – both are producers, having met in the studio while working on other artists’ output. Always busy working on other people’s music, Vladimir and Atsuo recorded some instrumental improvisations during studio downtime, gathering enough material for a debut LP. Hence, their name The Dayoffs – from constant lack of studio time for their own music.
Victories tunes come infused with infectious melodies, sometimes served up with a side order of southern fried, gospel vocals and creamy, full phat Hammond organ. Other times they’ll prefer just to batter you into submission with a brick wall of angst-ridden guitars. Either way, you’ll be unable to resist.
This is what doom sounds like with steel-toed dancing boots on. Play Victories at maximum volume and share the love, or your neighbors will complain.
Partisan formed in Manchester, UK, early 2013. As the name implies they are passionate about their cause, which is to inject some authentic rock into the limelight, as serious contenders to pick up the music scene with punchy, bold and unflinching rock anthems!
The band’s members are Stuart Armstrong (lead vocals and guitar), Dan Albon (bass guitar) and Rob Jones (drums). Founding member Stuart Armstrong (lead vocals and guitar) left his previous band Six10Repeater, that disbanded in 2012 but returned to the scene with Partisan working on new material with his rock edge and progression from Six10.
They have achieved numerous accolades including being awarded as ‘Best Unsigned Band’ by XFM in 2009, two tracks, Hearts and Nails and Today Somehow featured Pro Evolution Soccer, supported prominent bands such as Nine Black Alps, Baby Shambles, Status Quo and The Damned as well as being reviewed by influential peers within the industry, Mark Radcliffe, and BBC Introducing.
Juniper Nights is a four-piece alternative rock band from Oxford, formed at the start of 2017. The band consists of James Gallagher (Vocals/Guitar), Zach Wilmott (Guitar), Rob Crussell (Bass), and Tom Lindsay (Drums).
James, Zach, and Tom previously performed together in the indie band ‘Pipeline’, with bassist Jason Rich. Jason and Zach were friends from university and found James and Tom online through a musician finding website. In February 2017, Jason moved to Sweden to pursue his career, and Rob took his place to complete the lineup. The band changed their name to Juniper Nights to reflect their change in lineup and darker sound.
Das Fluff is the brainchild of Dawn Lintern. Next, to fronting the band (vocals/guitar), she writes all songs, creates the electronic arrangements and co-produces.
The Das Fluff sound is a bi-polar mix of raving guitars and heady dance beats splattered with electronica. Lyrics express unpredictable fury, explicit honesty and dis-arming emotional fearlessness.
The current line-up, Christian Ruland (live electronics/visuals) and Stefan ‘Misty’ Missfeld (Guitar), join Lintern playing headline gigs across Europe, Asia, and the US.
The Winachi Tribe
The Winachi Tribe are at it again! Yes, it’s new single time and I love it! Every time The Winachi Tribe release a single I have to check it out. It was that way with ‘A Room With A Zoo’, ‘Plant The Seed‘, ‘Time For Love‘ etc… And now they team up with Danny Saber, mastermind engineer, producer, musician, and remixer who has worked with the likes of Madonna, David Bowie, U2, The Rolling Stones, Public Enemy, and more. The list goes on and on with the talent train collaboration as Danny joins forces with members of the tribe in the form of ‘Get Your Boots On Skinny’, which is also offered as a free single HERE.
The Winachi Tribe are the ones to watch in the #indie community.
Mother(formerly Temper Cartel)
Temper Cartel is a furious, often introspective four-piece, fusing an indie work ethic with huge alt-rock anthems and a subtle sprinkling of psychedelia that manifests itself within the hard-hitting new single and child-esque tantrum inspired video for ‘Babysitter’.
Pain In The Yeahs
Pain In The Yeahs, often referred to as PITY is the music of Virginia native James Wagner. The project started in 2012 as an escape of sorts from playing in a long line of hardcore bands with varying degrees of notoriety. The first demos were constructed at home when roommates were out, using a second-hand keyboard, freeware recording software and a limited understanding of audio engineering. The early material took influence from the stripped-down nature of The Cure’s Pornography, whereas the current and evolving sound takes cues from new wave, proto-punk and various eras of rock and roll.
A Shoreline Dream
Colorado’s A Shoreline Dream released their single, ‘Room For The Others’, on July 14, 2017. This is the fourth single from their ever-evolving new album, which is being released digitally one track at a time, before the full vinyl-only album is finally ready. After fine-tuning the song over the winter months, it has become a favorite for the duo to play, partially due to the resonance of the song’s message.