Nirvana was a band that made a massive impact back in the 90s, and there’s never really been a band like it since. It all ended with Kurt Cobain‘s tragic death, and we’re still waiting for another figure like him to rise up and grab the music industry by the horns. But today, many promising artists are eyeing his vacated throne with ambition, and although you might not have heard of some of these bands, you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of them in the future.
The best thing about Nirvana was that they brought something completely new to the table. Their sound was unique. No one had heard anything quite like it. In fact, they gave birth to a whole new genre of music, which was dubbed “Grunge.” This list isn’t about only grunge bands, it’s about bands who have the power to create a whole new genre, just like Nirvana did back in the day. Bands who really push the limits and take music in a new direction are unfortunately rare these days, but we’ve found 15 of these artists that are making a real effort to do something unique.
These bands are a welcome, refreshing change to so many other mainstream bands right now. Although Nirvana became mainstream, the band always seemed like something completely at odds with mainstream media and MTV. Indeed, Kurt Cobain often talked about how much he hated how “mainstream” his band had become. In any case, there’s something really satisfying about listening to music that’s not being shoved down your throats by a major record label. Here are 15 bands that are worth keeping your eyes on.
15. Electric Ray And The Shockers
This band hails from Linz, Austria, and they are striking all the right chords with their fans. Just by looking at them, you’re immediately reminded of Nirvana, with their relaxed, cool image and their bright style. Although they came from Austria, they’re now living in America and are taking the folks there by storm. Their new album California Torpedo is a reflection on the influence American culture has had on their music.
Their music is a fun mix of punk, alternative rock, and surf styles. The main track off their new album is “T.R.O.U.B.L.E,” and the music video really shows off their wacky and wild side. Their music is easy on the ears and definitely fun to listen to. It’s the sort of tune you’d play while driving alongside a beach in California. The one thing they might consider, however, is exploring the less “fun” side of music, as I think it would really add to their range and depth as artists.
14. Andrew Goldring
You simply HAVE to hear this guy sing. He is incredible, and I absolutely love his music. Kurt Cobain had a totally unique vocal style, and although Andrew Goldring sounds nothing like Cobain, his voice is every bit as unique and sends chills down your spine just like the Nirvana lead singer used to do. His style is dream-like, ambient, and really calming to listen to. This was actually a hallmark of Nirvana as well, with songs that sounded a little bit like children’s lullabies at times. Although it’s a different musical style, Andrew Goldring’s music goes in a similar direction. He operates out of Salt Lake City, Utah, and is becoming more and more popular every day. This is clearly a very talented individual, as he writes all of his own songs, which is pretty rare these days. I have nothing but kind words for Andrew Goldring. If you search up his newest single, “Cosmic Dance,” I guarantee you will be blown away.
13. Eva & The Oak
Another band that is really spreading their wings in the calm, soothing genre of music known as “Dream Pop” is Eva & The Oak. Their vocal style is such a treat for the ears, and listening to their music really plunges you into a deep state of relaxation. The interesting thing about their music is that it can start off dreamy and then easily transition into slightly eerie vibes that tantalize the mind and catch you completely off guard.
This band is based out of Boston, and right from the get go it’s clear that this band isn’t worried about appealing to anyone or sacrificing their identity for a more mainstream sound. Their lead singer is Madeline Parascandola, and she is both confident and quiet, singing in a way that just makes you want to hear more. It’s probably a good thing that they don’t seem too concerned about going mainstream, because they’re probably going to need to come out with a more widely appealing hit in order to do that.
12. Sterile Jets
One band that really doesn’t mess about is the Sterile Jets. This band is pretty much the definition of hardcore, and their music doesn’t make any apologies for laying it all out and holding nothing back. Their sound is dirty, unrefined, and straight up. In this way they are similar to Nirvana with their gravel-like sound, but the Sterile Jets take it ten steps further. This band is comprised of three members: Robert Moore on guitar and vocals, Parnoff on bass and vocals, and GS Bean on drums. They’re located in Long Beach, California, which has been the birthplace of great bands over the years and a continuous source for amazing music. Their newest album is entitled No Gods No Loss, and is a typical representation of this band, bringing elements of Noise Rock, Old School Metal, Punk, and Post Hardcore. Their band benefits from the loose structure of their songs, which is part of their charm, but they will have to tighten it up if they want to reach the levels of Nirvana. Maybe there’s a happy compromise in there somewhere?
This band brings so much to the table. Just like Nirvana, they’re taking pre-existing genres of music and taking it in a totally new direction. They spread the genre of “Rapcore” proudly throughout America, and they remind me a lot of bands like Rage Against The Machine, although they really do have a completely fresh take on this style of music. If you listen to the lead singer, Adam “Atom” Cruz, he’s rapping in the same way as the best rappers today. But that track of hardcore metal riffs that they lay over the vocals creates an extremely satisfying sound, in large part because it’s never really been done before like this. The band is based out of New York City, and they’re already immensely popular. They toured with members of the Wu-Tang Clan, and have over 100,000 streams on Spotify. Once you hear their newest single, “Might As Well,” you’ll know why so many people love Xombie.
10. Grown Up Avenger Stuff
Of all the bands on this list, Grown Up Avenger Stuff probably sounds the most like Nirvana. I find their simple but powerful musical style thrilling. Strong guitar tracks backed up by amazingly fierce vocals make this a band that has every chance of claiming Nirvana’s throne. Give these guys a little more time and they’ll be on everyone’s radar, if they choose to be. I hesitate to call their music “mainstream,” because it’s not, but their music is very accessible to the average person who just wants to hear some cool rock music. The genres they fit best into would be indie rock, alternative, and heavy rock. The lead singer, Ray Stern, is a great face for the band and her personality really shines through in her music, something Kurt Cobain also did very well.”Give their newest single, “All In Motion,” a listen to make up your own mind about whether they have what it takes!
9. Post Death Soundtrack
Right off the bat, the first thing that you notice about Post Death Soundtrack is that they have a really unique name. But when you think about it, the name is actually very similar to “Nirvana.” Nirvana is actually the Buddhist version of heaven, or the afterlife. “Post Death Soundtrack” also seems to draw influences from the afterlife. And it’s not just in their name. Their music is so far out that you feel like you’ve left your body and are floating through space, wondering where it all went wrong.
Their music is a very interesting mix of psychedelic and industrial rock. The result is the kind of music you play alone in your room while contemplating life. Their newest single, “Through The Gates” is definitely not the type of tune you’d play at a party, but that’s not at all what this band is going for. It really does sound like a soundtrack, and I find myself wondering how this band will reach a large audience with songs like this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s captivating music, I’m just not sure how they will climb the ladder of the music industry without making some adjustments, such as creating more melodic tunes and bringing a stronger beat into the mix.
8. He Is Me
He Is Me is an extremely dark band that is just brimming with passion and emotion that spills from these gripping tracks. The band actually comprises of just two people: Casey Braunger and Steve Moore. Steve Moore, who is from Calgary, Alberta, handles the songwriting and vocals. Casey Braunger, who is from Portland, Oregon, handles the musical elements and the production side of things. This seamless mix of artistic talent makes this a duo to look out for in the future. I’m a huge fan of their electronic style of music, but many times I found myself waiting for the beat to “drop” so to speak, which never happened. Their most recent song, “Resurrection,” was gripping and emotional, but again I felt like the whole song was building up towards something that never came. That’s probably because He Is Me just doesn’t design their songs that way, as they are meant to be unpredictable and almost like a mantra. But I think if they tried to give us that release, then their music would be much more accessible and popular.
7. The Psyatics
This is a truly wild band that doesn’t play by any rules. Nirvana and Kurt Cobain would have been proud. They actually have a very similar sound to Nirvana, with really modulated guitar riffs and dirty, unapologetic vocals. This band plays a blend of Garage, Punk, and Surf Rock, loud and proud. They are based in the city that never sleeps, Las Vegas, and the same frenetic vibes of this wild city really come across in the music of The Psyatics. This band is keeping really busy, having just completed a major tour through Japan in 2016. They just released a new album called “Famous Monsters,” and they have really reached a new level of awesomeness with their latest tracks. I wouldn’t change a single thing about The Psyatics, as their music is right up my alley. It’s definitely the kind of “pump up music” you’d want to play before doing something totally extreme.
6. Bad Reed
What I love about Bad Reed’s new track “Stained Glass” is that it builds up nice and gradually, until you’re totally immersed in the music. Bad Reed doesn’t rush things, as it starts off pretty mellow and chill, but when it gathers steam and Sydney Sollazzo finally shows us what she’s got with her incredible voice, listeners are left breathless. I can’t stress enough how talented this singer is. Her voice is on par, if not better, than most of the most popular mainstream female singers today, and the best part is it sounds so real! This band is based out of Ontario, Canada, and they’re already capturing the attention of their home nation in a major way. They’ve toured much of south east Canada in 2015, and you can expect to hear them on your radio station soon, wherever you are in the world. The only criticism I have of this band is I want to hear more of their music!
5. Burak Ozmucur
Burak Ozmucur is a very talented artist that’s taking on the music industry all by himself. He certainly has the musical knowledge, passion, and talent that will make him a success, and in that respects he shares a lot with Kurt Cobain. This guy was actually born in Istanbul, Turkey, but now lives in New Jersey, where he’s starting a promising career as a solo artist. He does everything himself, from the recording to the guitar riffs to the vocals. This guy is the real deal. His music is an interesting mix of industrial and ambient rock, and it’s a pleasure to hear his tracks switch seamlessly from a chill, mellow moment to headbanging metal riffs that get the blood pumping. His vocal style is really on point as well, and switches from calm and controlled to heavy and emotional, in tandem with his music. His newest album is A Distant Light, and it’s definitely one of those hidden gems that more people need to discover.
4. Countless Thousands
Countless Thousands is a band whose high energy, boisterous attitude, and powerful music becomes totally contagious when you listen to them for more than a few minutes. This band is from the big city of Los Angeles, and they seem to really love what they do. And that’s part of what makes Countless Thousands such a great band to listen to; you can’t help but feel their positivity and allow it to flow through your own veins. Their sound is pretty mainstream as far as rock goes, but don’t get me wrong, they do have their own unique style. The fact that they sound like a normal, everyday rock band will no doubt serve them well as they get more and more popular. It’s not like they’re trying to sound like everyone else, they just play how they want and it just so happens to come out sounding like some really popular bands of the past, like Sum 41, Blink 182, and The Offspring. Their newest album is entitled, You’re Goddamn Right.
SPiN is a band with huge potential, perhaps even enough to rival Nirvana one day. Their music is gutsy, raw, and full of attitude. They’ve become very well-known in their hometown of Philadelphia, and their reputation as one of the most hard-working bands is spreading like wildfire through America. This band writes all of their own songs, and they really know how to put together a banging rock anthem, such as one of their newest singles, entitled “Dig Your Own Grave.” SPiN has accomplished a lot, including making it to the number one spot on the indie rock charts on iTunes, with their single “Happy Together.” Their music is pretty much classic indie rock, with powerful riffs and great vocals. This band seems to be able to take what we love about the great rock bands of the past, and present it in a new way that is both refreshing and nostalgic.
2. Eric Frisch
You’d be hard pressed to find a more heartwarming singer than Eric Frisch. He seems to have this god given ability to make people happy and you can’t help but like him as you listen to his amazing voice. And the best part is that he’s not trying to make you like him, he’s just being himself, and his personality does half his work for him in terms of winning people over. This is a lot like Kurt Cobain, who had an equally strong persona that people gravitated towards. His music is best described as “Indie Pop,” and he’s based out of New York City. His sound relies heavily on retro vibes from 50s and 60s era pop music, resulting in a light, upbeat song full of innocence and quirkiness. Although this music is very easy on the ears and chilled, I wonder what Eric Frisch would sound like if he ventured out of this style and into something a little more varied. He’s a vocalist with great potential, but I do wonder whether he would benefit from a different musical direction to break some of that repetitiveness.
1. My Silent Bravery
Matt Wade is the face of the extremely popular band known as My Silent Bravery, which is now getting more and more popular around the world. He’s an amazing vocalist with a style of his own, and although he sounds nothing like the late Kurt Cobain, his vocal skill has the ability to carry him to perhaps the same levels of popularity. People get hooked on listening to Matt Wade, because the emotion is so evident in his voice that you feel like you’re listening to someone telling a very personal story. His newest single, “Face To Face,” shows every sign of being just as popular as his past hits. He’s been popular enough to be featured on television, reaching millions of homes through AXSTV programming. He’s also becoming a viral sensation on YouTube with his amazing music videos, chalking up close to 1 million views and becoming a major hit among Brazilian YouTube users especially.