A Running List of Bands to Listen To

This is just a running list of bands that I have found through Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud and other music sites. Some are bigger than others. Some are more rock or pop or rap. Others are just bands that I believe are bands that should be on your playlist. It only takes a second to search them up… and who knows, they might be your next favorite band!

  • Vinyl Theatre
  • Against the Current
  • Panic! at the Disco (Skip listening to I write sins and those you know, and check out some of their less-known songs)
  • Saint Motel
  • Walk the Moon
  • The Griswolds
  • Grizfolk (Yes, it is a different band than the one above it)
  • Max Frost
  • Moons of Mars
  • Mutemath
  • Bastille (Not just their most popular songs, take a listen to their whole new album or some of their old stuff!)
  • The Hunna
  • Weathers
  • COIN
  • Nahko and Medicine for the People
  • We the Ones
  • Dirty Heads
  • SOJA
  • Run River North
  • Finish Ticket
  • Judah & the Lion (they are opening up for Twenty One Pilots with Jon Bellion on the 2017 winter tour!)
  • Sylvan Esso
  • Barns Courtney
  • Pits
  • Ripe
  • Cardboard Kids
  • Young the Giant
  • Days n Daze
  • Andorra
  • Crystal Fighters
  • Phantogram
  • Night Riots
  • Mantaraybryn
  • Vesperteen
  • FEiN
  • The Humble
  • Royal Tongues
  • Grouplove
  • The Strumbellas
  • Metric
  • The Maine
  • Man Overboard
  • Palisades
  • Rafferty
  • Alan Walker
  • Arbors Lane
  • Kiiara
  • Real Friends
  • Rainbow Kitten Surprise
  • Little Dume
  • Harper and the Moths
  • State Champs

BASSIC the band

I found BASSIC one day while I was in the deep depths of YouTube’s suggested videos list, and I immediately fell in love… They only had around two songs out on YouTube at the time and I just could not stop replaying them. They have this very unique sound that compliments rock, grunge, alternative and rap to make this incredible mesh of genres. Shortly after finding them, I got in contact with their guitarist, Trevor Kaikane Silbert. He told me how they are working on putting out their music and are working in the studio to get that done. They sound a bit similar to Twenty One Pilots, but also have a sound very unique compared to anything else out there. They sing and rap about anxiety and the monsters inside of them and other problems that are set in their teenage lives that are easy to relate to.

Short List of Small Bands

You may or may not have heard of these bands, but they are most definitely bands you will want to check out:


  • BASSIC the band is based out of California. They mix rap with alternative sounds to create something similar to that of twenty one pilots, but are something completely different in their own way.glass-caves
  • Glass Caves is  an Alternative-Rock band from the UK. I found them while I was walking the streets in York two summers ago. They were set up on the sidewalk next to a busy road and they were killing their “set”. I was mesmerized with their performance and the way their hair flopped as they played.
  • Hunter hunterhuntedHunted is an indie-pop band from Los Angeles, California. I saw them in the spring of 2014 when they opened for twenty one pilots alongside NoNoNo. Their set was short but I still managed to fall in love with their catchy songs.
  • Max Frost is an extremely talented mulit-instrumentalist who is his own band. He plays every instrument on his tracks and while playing live he will make live loops to create tmax-frosthe background to each of his songs. It is quite amazing how one guy and his instruments provide such a lively and upbeat show that the crowd always loves. I saw him for the first time on February 11, 2016 where he opened for Grizfolk. His set was captivating and his lyrics and beats made the whole crowd dance along with him.
  • Vinyl Theatre is one of chrisnickkeegsmy favorite bands and I consider them my friends. I have seen them four times and will be seeing them on their next tour (which has yet to be announced). Their synth heavy indie rock music is phenomenal. In 2014 they were signed by Fueled by Ramen, where I am also a senior ambassador for their street team.
  • Chef’special hails from Haarlem, Netherlands and their music is a beautiful blend of indie pop, chefspecialreggae and rap. The fast lyrics on different topics mixed with thumping beats and positive vibes create this amazing sound. I first saw them at the Radio 104.5 9th birthday bash. I had knew their songs that had been released in America, but the songs they played in their set astounded me. They had the entire BB&T Pavilion jumping up and down.  irontombath.jpg
  • IRONTOM is weird, but wonderfully weird. Their lyrics and the semi-sexual dance moves catch the attention of the mass of people. IRONTOM’s show channels Freddie Mercury and the rest of Queen, but also has a sound that is unlike any other I have heard.

Music as Medicine

Throughout time, music has been an influential force that impacts everyone. Whether it is being played on a phonograph, record player, boombox, Walkman or iPod music is heard all over the world no matter how old or young. From the start of a child’s life they are played lullabies, and as the child progresses in life the music changes with their personality. For some people music has even saved their lives. Although that is a statement that seems to be a really cliche thing to say, but in all actuality it is a valid point. For a lot of children, teens, adults and elderly, music heavily impacts their lives, whether it is saving their lives, putting them in a good mood or just calming them down. Music can do a lot for people, and without it, many would not still be alive on this planet.

The blaring speakers bump the lyrics that are being sung by Mike Kepko and the rest of Civil Youth on stage at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. The lights blazing bright, pigmented, and dramatic colors, the lyrics of “Follow Me” from Civil Youth’s new album, Ossein, are running through the heads of everyone in the crowd. The fans arms are bouncing up and down to the beat, their heads bobbing to the beat of the music. The venue is a place where everyone has escaped everything they entered the venue with, left it at the door and have been filled with music and positive vibes.

Not only does music help performers, it helps the listeners. Those who listen to the voices of bands and the messages that a specific band tries to convey to their fans. Crim Nguyen of Finish ticket says that it is one of the most humbling things to hear when a fan tells him that his music has helped them get through something, or that it just simply has affected them. Music has affected me in a way where it has had such a huge effect on me that I credit it for saving my life. Chris Norton of The Casual, a local band from Philly, speaks on how music helped him through depression. “Music has had substantial effects on me. For a few years, I struggled with depression, and music became therapeutic. Depending on the genre, it can make me feel complete bliss, or total heartbreak, which I think is what makes music amazing.”

“Hard to explain what a feeling I’ve found, Between hope and a doubt that holds me to the ground, Low in dry fields of California I dream, Of a life lived with ease; simple and serene, But it’s hard to find the optimist in me, When the life I’ve loved is slowly wrecking me, It’s more, it’s more, it is more to you than it was when we were kids, And now, and now, you see the world, oh, plainly as it is, And boy, were you wrong, And boy, were you wrong, Booze is the kindest of poisons these days, You wake up, a fresh start, troubles masked in the haze, But it’s hard to find the optimist in me, When the life I’ve loved is slowly wrecking me.” These are lyrics from Finish Ticket’s song “Wrong”. Some might say that these lyrics are dark or sad, but it is lyrics like these that help people connect and give them something to relate to and to not feel so alone. Many people are in search of something that they can relate to and they find that in music like this song. A huge amount of people of all ages listen to music to connect and to relate, and songs that Finish Ticket, Civil Youth and the Casual perform and sing do just that.

When asked why each of these musicians got into music they responded with similar answers. Nguyen comments, “I actually started music for myself but after my parents passed away, I wanted to do something to be a role model for my little sister and at the same do something that helps other people so I chose music.” Norton describes why he writes and performs music, “ I play music primarily for enjoyment right now, but if my talents somehow changed or helped someone for the better, that would be incredible. If I knew what I was playing had an effect on those listening, I would strive to write/play with them in mind…… The otherworldly high I get when I play music is what motivates me. There is no feeling like performing in front of crowds, and it’s a feeling I will always want to experience. Also, the thought that I could one day make a living playing music is a huge motivation. That would be a serious dream come true.” And Kepko makes remarks as to why he enjoys playing music for Civil Youth’s fans, “It’s a bit of both [playing music to make a change and playing music for enjoyment] because I love the enjoyment of playing, and seeing people sing our songs, and it’s serendipitous that it helps both them and I.

Each of these artists have had a situation in which they have turned towards music for an escape of their problems whether it was a coping mechanism to help with the death of family members, or depression, family problems, heartbreak or any other situation where a person needs someone to relate to, and something to help them get over it. Kepko credits music for single handedly saving his life.

By tuning out and escaping to the world that is music creates a surreal feel that can mend whatever you need it to. An upbeat song can change your mood from sad to happy for some. Others a pop punk song will bring their mood from down in the dumps to happy hippy, giving someone a drug free high. The rush that one can get from simply streaming a song through their headphones and having the lyrics pump into their brain. The chords playing on and on relieving them from their thoughts is something that one can hardly resist.

No matter how old or young a person is, music will always have an impact on the human race. Just about everyone in the world listens to some sort of music. Music unites people, and saves people and helps people. In the end it is clear to say that music gives people the opportunity to escape whatever is bothering them, at the click of a button. The other world that is created when listening to music is something that is truly incredible and that is why music helps people and saves people, it gives them and out and gives them something to relate to and to care about.

Interview with Mike Kepko From Civil Youth

Mike Kepko is the front-man in the band Civil Youth that is based out of Philadelphia, PA. Recently they won “battle of the bands” type contests that led them to open up for Radio 104.5’s 9th birthday bash in June of 2016, and they were set to open for the pop-punk group Blink-182 and their tour mates of the time, but the show was cancelled due to the timing of an incoming hurricane. Since their first show in March 2015 the band and their following has grown tremendously and is still on the rise with the anticipation of their next album to drop in the year to come.

Though that is information that can be found anywhere, in the interview I question him about his road to becoming a musician, which most usually don’t know about.

What High School did you go to, and what year did you graduate?

I went to Neshaminy High School and graduated in 2012.

In high school where did you see yourself in the future?

I saw myself as a drummer in a touring band, but then nearly gave up the dream when I was in college because of my anxiety with “change”.

Why were you interested in music, and was that always what you wanted to do?

Drumming was always my outlet and it just made me happy. No other reason honestly. Until college when I almost stopped music, but then I bought a one way ticket which lead me into piano and writing music and singing.

If you hadn’t gone into music what would you have done?

I never thought about anything other than music. I know that’s cliche but I didn’t see myself doing anything else.

Would you have enjoyed doing your other options as much as music?

I honestly probably would’ve killed myself if I didn’t do music which is why it’s so fragile to me.

What made you want to go into music?

I have always just enjoyed listening to music. Growing up with my dad showing me Rush, The Cars, Genesis, and bands like that, it’s just always been there for me.

Did you go to college?

I went to Berklee College of Music, for Professional Music with my focus in Drum Set, but dropped out after 2 years to pursue my career as a front man.

In high school were you involved in music/what other activities did you do?

At the beginning of high school I was getting out of my soccer phase and started the drums outside of school. I then took symphonic band and other music courses in my high school. It got to the point where I was failing my classes to skip and practice drums set in a secret drum room my one teacher let me sneak off to practice in.

What could have stopped you from going into music?

I think anxiety would’ve been my only way of stopping which now is what drives me the most.

Was your family supportive of your choice for going into music?

They were always supportive of me, even with me dropping out to tour. They see the vision, like the rest of the ¥outh.


Featured picture from: http://www.sciolidesign.com/portfolio/civil-youth/   http://www.sciolidesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Civil-Youth-Home-PAge.jpg


Our Brains Are Sick, but These Guys Help

By Ashley Pagan

October 5, 2016

“Nah, I didn’t understand a thing you said, If I didn’t know better guess you’re already dead, Mindless zombies walking around with a limp and a hunch, Saying stuff like, “You only live once.””These are lyrics from the song that Tyler Joseph and Joshua Dun hop onto stage with as they begin the first minutes of their 2 hour set on the Blurryface tour. Twenty One Pilots (TOP) is a Columbus based band who have completed tours throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. They were formed in 2009 by Tyler Joseph and he was joined by Josh Dun, who are the two current members. The duo put out their fourth album, Blurryface on May 19, 2015. They began playing their new songs on June 6, 2015 in Mountain View, California. They toured in 17 countries, hitting 26 out of 50 states, in over 85 shows in around half a year. They have sold out shows at notorious venues like; Terminal 5 (NYC), The Greek Theatre (Los Angeles), House of Blues (Orlando), Hammerstein Ballroom (NYC), and many other well known venues around the world.

The most recent show they have played in the tri-state area was on September 15th and 16th, 2015. In which they played two sold out shows at Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City. These two shows were filled with energy, lights, blaring speakers and decked out “Skeleton Clique” fans. Starting the show off was Finish Ticket, the power that they put into their short set got the fans pumped up. Their songs are very well written, and they sound great made their set very enjoyable. Next in the lineup was Echosmith, unfortunately their eight song set was quite disappointing. Compared to the wild energy given off during Finish Ticket, Echosmith was a big flop, they mellowed out the crowd rather than amping them up.

Saachi Bhandari has seen two of TOP’s shows and has been to many other concerts, she said, “Echosmith was okay, but everyone only knows like one song. Finish Ticket was good but no one knew of them, and no one really knew that they were opening until they were on stage.” After Echosmith cleared the stage everyone was buzzing with excitement, and all of a sudden the first chords to Heavydirtysoul are played through the large speakers in the grand ballroom. If you were to take a look around the room everyone is jumping up and down to the beat and singing along to the catchy lyrics. In between many songs Joseph would speak to the crowd and talk about how much they mean to him, and how much their music means to them and how everyone matters. That is another reason why many people credit them for helping them and saving them from their dark thoughts, which is what music should do. Music should mean something and their music affects and helps people. As the show came to an end Tyler and Josh climb into the crowd with a drum each, and perform drum solos of their song “Trees” atop their dedicated clique. Brandon Jump has seen TOP live nine times and has admitted that Trees is his favorite live song, “it means something to me, and they make it even more special when it’s played live.” The show ended with confetti being sprayed all over, and Tyler closing with his speech he does every show, “We’re twenty one pilots, and so are you.” The night ended with many tears shed from my eyes, and many other fans who were comforted by their words and their performance. The show was perfect, just like any of the other 5 shows I have been to of theirs. And hopefully they will continue to be just as good, seeing that they have just sold out two nights at Madison Square Garden to be played in August 2016.

Concert Pictures

Pictures from the Ones to Watch Tour with IRONTOM, Vinyl Theatre and Finish Ticket on October 8, 2015