Summertime, and the livin's easy — that is, unless you're an up-and-coming band. Now that summer festival season is upon us, hundreds of bands will spend the next few months traveling the world to play a slew of music festivals. While headlining artists like Tom Petty and Mumford & Sons have the luxury of being more choosy with their tour dates, many smaller buzz bands must tour tirelessly throughout the summer in hopes of gaining fans and cementing a following. Here, seven promising new bands that will be hitting the road:
1. MS MR
After sharpening their live performances while on tour with British soul singer Jessie Ware, New York duo MS MR is "set to be one of the festival season's biggest breakouts," says Alex Gale at Complex. The band's dreamy-yet-grounded pop sensibilities got their songs featured on TV shows like Pretty Little Liars and Game of Thrones, and the duo also just inked a record deal with Columbia.
The sound: Singer Lizzy Plapinger's breathy voice shares some musical DNA with Sia, while producer Max Hershenow's "stadium-sized tribal drums recall a moody Florence + The Machine," says Gale.
Where to see them: MS MR already touched down on the East coast earlier this month for New York City's Governors Ball and Boston Calling, but they've booked sets at Chicago's Lollapalooza, San Francisco's Outside Lands, and Austin City Limits.
Since making their U.S. debut less than a year ago, dance music's precocious British brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence (22 and 19, respectively) have been on the rise. Their debut album, Settle, released earlier this month, received rave reviews and climbed to the top of the U.K.'s albums chart.
The sound: A fresh blend of "pop-aimed vocal songs and traditional club tracks grounded in garage and house," says Jordan Sargent at SPIN.
Where to see them: The guys will be touring extensively on the international festival circuit this summer, but they'll stop stateside for gigs at Lollapalooza in August and San Francisco's Treasure Island Festival in the fall.
Grizzled Saskatchewan native Reignwolf (née Jordan Cook) "finger-picks, pounds, slides, and grinds sounds from his guitar not regularly heard outside an artillery range," says Todd Hamm at Seattle Weekly. The blues guitarist's ferocious live performances at festivals like Governors Ball and Sasquatch have been earning him plenty of raves.
The sound: A one-man display of guitar prowess heavily influenced by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Jack White, and The Black Keys.
Where to see him: Reignwolf will bring his axe to Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and Atlanta's Music Midtown this summer.
Scottish electropop trio CHVRCHES may have only an EP to their name at the moment, but the group's massive buzz has already had them selling out headlining shows in the U.S. Their latest single, "Gun," which will likely be on their upcoming full-length album, is "a perfect example of how to make pop and avoid the pitfalls of triteness and cliché," says Sam Wolfson at The Guardian.
The sound: The band's shimmering synth sounds share a similar vibe with their former tour mates, Passion Pit.
Where to see them: CHVRCHES just wrapped their first U.S. festival gig at Delaware's Firefly Festival and are off to play an astounding amount of international music festivals. Catch them in the states come early September, when they'll begin an extensive U.S. tour.
This appropriately gloomy all-girl post-punk band from London has been making waves both online and at festivals like South by Southwest, where they "knocked out razorwire post-punk anthems," says Tom Breihan at Stereogum. After seeing the band live, MTV's Lizzy Goodman agrees. "This is the kind of band you wait for," she says.
The sound: An "all-girl Joy Division," according to Goodman.
Where to see them: Savages will bring their signature intensity to Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival and Austin City Limits.
6. Chance The Rapper
Chicago's latest hip-hop prodigy Chance The Rapper is a 20-year-old college dropout "standing on the verge of superstardom," says Kyle Ellison at Drowned in Sound. Chance's unique blend of deft wordplay, eccentric delivery, and smooth flow come together perfectly on his breakout mixtape, Acid Rap, which dropped in late April.
The sound: Chance's ability to go from upbeat to vulgar to thoughtful to somber makes his style hard to pin down, but his distinct nasal voice sounds a bit like Andre 3000's.
Where to see him: Chance will play his hometown of Chicago at Lollapalooza, and then spend the rest of the summer on the road opening for Mac Miller around the U.S.
7. Charli XCX
British singer/songwriter Charli XCX has a knack for producing party-ready pop music (she wrote and sang on Icona Pop's smash hit, "I Love It") with an electronic edge. On stage, she seems "like an internet-generation pop star," says SPIN. She has "a voice like Bjork, and a look like Britney."
The sound: Charli has dubbed her music sound "darkpop," — and apt description of the subtle tension that lurks beneath her radio-friendly voice.
Where to see her: She just wrapped a gig at Tennessee's Bonnaroo, but she'll play Washington's Bumbershoot Music Festival this summer before embarking on her own U.S. tour this fall.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- 7 tips for keeping your man (from the 1950s)
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Why does Fareed Zakaria still have a job?
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 4 simple steaks you can cook in a pan
- Does solar energy have a battery problem?
- 10 ways to gain real superpowers that will change your life
Subscribe to the Week