KROQ’s Summer New Music Mega Guide A-Z: Atari Teenage Riot To The Wonder Years

If you are like us, even as perpetual purveyors of new music, we get a little swamped with the diverse amount of fresh cuts available. It’s not just our favorite artists coming out with new albums; it’s up-and-coming musicians with one foot in radio-rotation fame.

To give you (and us) a little helping hand with someone of the stuff coming out this summer, we’ve started a Summer Music Guide. Every day we will briefly review a new album coming out, gives the pros and cons of why you should listen to it, and give you a track sampling off the new album.

This is a constantly evolving project, so check back daily to read a review about your favorite artist!

Band Glossary:

[Reviews written by Nadia Noir & Derek Waltz]

Atari Teenage Riot

ATR return after an eleven-year hiatus with This Is Hyperreal, violently pounding listeners with hardcore techno that’s both politically charged and apathetic.

Album Notes:

This Is Hyperreal will knock a smile right off your face.  Just think techno on steroids and full of shouting, monster guitar riffs, and anti-Nazi sentiments recycled for over 40-minutes.

Why You Should Listen To The Album:

Fans of techno who are looking for something a bit more potent will thoroughly enjoy this entire album.  The music is both chaotic and pernicious, fitting for those looking to unleash their inner animal.  Check out the track “Codebreaker,” and you’ll get it.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To The Album:

Not for the fragile-minded or the politically incurious, This Is Hyperreal will provide a maddening dose of headaches and/or ear impairment for listeners who could care less about techno or German radicalism.

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Alec Empire[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Slayer[/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Crystal Castles[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]EC8OR[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Nic Endo[/lastfm]

“Blood In My Eyes”

Black Rabbits

With their new album, Hypno Switch, this Florida four-piece brings organic, easy-going rock ‘n roll riffs combined with Beatles-esque vocal harmonies and a tinge of plaintive dream pop.

Album Notes:

Black Rabbits’ kaleidoscopic swirl of straight-forward instrumentation with warbling pop vocals makes this new band both interesting to the more cerebral listener and relatable to those who just want to pump out the jams and decompress.

Why You Should Listen To The Album:

With their freshly sex-up brassy tones and raw passion, Black Rabbits are a band that can easily evolve into the next big thing with a more polished sophomore effort.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To The Album:

This lack of polish reflects on the production and mastering of the album. Lead singer Jetson Black’s vocals are expressive, but sometimes need a lush wall of ’60s-tinged sound behind them to even out the cracks in tone.

Who It Sounds Like They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Pixies[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] The Strokes [/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Pixies[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Lil Daggers[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Sleepy Vikings[/lastfm]

“Hypno Switch”

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/15396446"]

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Black Veil Brides

Resurrecting the glam-metal genre made famous in the 1980’s, interlaced with modern-day’s screamo, Black Veil Brides’ attempt to compound summer’s sweltering heat with their sophomore effort Set the World on Fire.

Album Notes:

It’s Post-hardcore metal on overdrive – twin guitar solos and blistering drums, conjoined by sticky choruses that speak for the underdog.  Set the World on Fire is an unrelenting whirlwind of sonic fervency meant for the untamed ear.

Why You Should Listen To The Album:

Black Veil Brides are scooping up outcasts and outsiders by combining inspiring and rejuvenating lyrics with their goth-glam décor.  Not since KISS has a rock band found its own fandom on a similar scale with such elaborate garb and quality of sound.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To The Album:

Unless you’ve acquired an inner angst or bitter worldview along your lifetime, you likely won’t take Black Veil Brides seriously.  Whether it’s men wearing face paint, their over the top persona, or your deep resignation towards metal music in general, each chord might be more relative to a stab to the face than an act of music.

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Motley Crue[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]KISS[/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Motley Crue[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]KISS[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] My Chemical Romance[/lastfm]

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Bon Iver

With an appropriately posh, yet organic name meaning “good winter” in French, Bon Iver’s founding father, Justin Vernon, is more likely to have a good summer as the newest Pitchfork-acclaimed pet with his highly-rated new self-titled album.

Album notes:

Elaborately constructed but still haunting with a sparse, synthy dissonance, the albums overall subjective tone is reminiscent of electronic raindrops falling through a lush forest of trees. Bon Iver’s specific brand of soul-folk creates a very visceral afterglow of feeling.

Why You Should Listen To The Album:

Bon Iver is not only considered one of the best albums of the year, Vernon is creating a progressive new brand of electro-soul that could influence the state of modern music.

Vernon’s vocals have already been featured heavily on Kanye West’s remarkable album, Runaway. It will be interesting to see what happens next with this specific musical movement.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To The Album:

If you are a fan of a heavier guitar-driven rock sound, Vernon’s sometimes lackadaisical attempts at sonic experimentation can feel like pulling teeth when you would rather him just drive the emotional point home.

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Sparklehorse[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Iron & Wine[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Flaming Lips[/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Iron & Wine[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Grizzly Bear[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Bonnie “Prince” Billy[/lastfm]

“Calgary”

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Cassettes Won’t Listen

Album Notes:

Make-believe “supergroup,” Cassettes Won’t Listen, is actually the one-man musical project of lo-fi dream pop producer, avid indie remixer, and multi-instrumentalist, Jason Drake. With his third effort, Evinspacey, Drake gives us the same shimmering, low-barreled synth that was popular in the late noughts.

Why You Should Listen To The Album:

Full of fastidious chord progressions and electronic gloss, Evinspacey is a technically superior album that always has a breezy, ethereal quality that makes it the perfect “set the morning mood” kind of album.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To The Album:

There is a disharmony between what Drake seems to be trying to accomplish precisely with what he actually does emotionally with the music. Both the lyrics and music seems a bit sterile, overdone, and, frankly, not at all original.

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]DJ Shadow[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Postal Service[/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Postal Service[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Tapes ‘n Tapes[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Wolf Parade[/lastfm]

“Stuck”

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Diamond Rings

Canadian singer-songwriter John O’Regan is Diamond Rings, a provocative and vocally brooding indie-pop artist.  Special Affections is his colorfully charismatic debut.

Album Notes:

Buzzing and catchy, Special Affections takes you back to the days of Ziggy Stardust, but spices things up with a modern synthpop twist.  O’Regan swaggers through his introduction to the music world with effeminate bravado and baritone seduction.

Why You Should Listen To It:

Fans of The National will pleasantly digest O’Regan’s vocals, which are generally a nice contrast to the neon vigor in his music.  It’s playful and definitely confident, but not an overbearing arrogance.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To It:

There’s nothing ordinary externally or internally about Diamond Rings, and if you have trouble getting over an artist’s appearance, this will certainly be unappetizing.  The contrast between O’Regan’s crooning delivery may sound incongruous with his 80’s pop inspired sound.

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Panicks[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Operations Big Shots[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jimmy and the Strangers[/lastfm]

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]David Bowie[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Grace Jones[/lastfm]

“Wait & See”

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Emily’s Army 

A foursome of youthful and exuberant punk rockers test their status amongst the big boys with their début Don’t Be A Dick.  Produced by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and featuring his 16-year-old son Joey on drums, a novice band such as this will certainly pay dividends with such expert guidance.

Album Notes:

Familiar pop punk and garage rock flavors breeze by on an album composed of 2-3 minute fits. Themes of adolescent struggles are abundant, but signs of a band ahead of its teenage face surface with socio-political themes as well.

Why You Should Listen To The Band:

Frenetically-paced and straightforward, Emily’s Army is a rare case of raw and undeveloped talent that’s still good enough to be injected onto a mainstream setting.  Participation by punk deity Billy Joe Armstrong makes for an intriguing subplot for a band without much of a background. Prime for younger demographics or the young at heart.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To The Band:

For music fiends looking to transcend or transmute along an illustrious soundscape, Emily’s Army will flounder under your musical hopes and aspirations.  More aligned with vanilla than Neapolitan flair.

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Clash[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Ramones[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Rancid[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Stiff Little Fingers[/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Green Day[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Clash[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Ramones[/lastfm]

“Asslete”

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Gomez

English indie-rockers Gomez showcase their veteran status and growth with their seventh studio album Whatever’s On Your Mind. 

Album Notes:

Whatever’s On Your Mind for the most part is innocuous pop-rock, but the album doesn’t shy away from taking a few left turns. Interludes featuring buzzing electronics and familiar 60’s inspired vocal melodies showcase Gomez’s sophisticated yet refined personality.

Why You Should Listen To It:

An album that shows many faces of sound, but done with such delicate nicety.  Whatever’s On Your Mind is welcoming and cheery, but intelligently designed and creative beneath the surface.  Fitting for casually tempered rock fans that are entertained by subtlety.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To It:

Fans of Gomez’s older material may find this a bit less experimental and invigorating than previous releases.  While there are hints of the band’s creative side of years past, Whatever’s On Your Mind may be too tame for longtime fans.

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Pearl Jam[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Blur[/lastfm]

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Pavement[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Beck[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Beatles[/lastfm]

“Options”

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Handsome Furs

Album Notes:

While popular indie rock band, Wolf Parade, is on hiatus, their frontman, Dan Boeckner, and his wife, Alexei Perry, create sexy, synth-heavy beats with their third album, Sound Kapital. The album has dusky shades of quintessential Cure sobriety mixed with steely electro-world rhythms.

Why You Should Listen To The Album:

With its incessant mid-tempo dance-driven punctuation, Sound Kapital rarely meanders or falters. The album also doesn’t force the listener into a sonic black-hole of effete electronics; Boeckner does a great job of using his frenzied, and ofttimes, overwhelming emotionality, to match the pervasive heartbeat tempo. Suffice to say, this is a great work-out album.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To The Album:

If you are looking for highs and lows, Handsome Furs don’t give the listener much breathing time after an entirely “cardiovascular” musical experience.

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Wolf Parade[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Jeff Buckley[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Neutral Milk Hotel [/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Hercules and the Love Affair[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Fischerspooner[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Lightning Dust[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Cure[/lastfm]

“Repatriated”

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I Set My Friends On Fire

Album Notes:

With their unique future-focused slant on electro-screamo metal, I Set My Friends On Fire combines manic metal shrieks and gut-wrenching guitar chords with disconnected glitch-pop and precise math-rock with their album Astral Rejection.

Why You Should Listen To The Album:

Few bands have so perfectly amalgamated tech-heavy instrumentals and psychical lyrics with primitive howling. I Set My Friends On Fire practically creates a character with their music–that of the tortured robot constantly being ripped apart from rapid change.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To The Album:

If you aren’t the sort of person who can stomach primal screaming, the disjointed quality of I Set My Friends On Fire’s music will render you a little nauseous.

Who They Sound Like They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Boards of Canada[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Aphex Twin[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Linkin Park [/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Prefuse 73[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Boards of Canada[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Locust[/lastfm]

“Life Heartz”

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Junior Boys

The Canadian indie/pop duo return with their fourth album, bringing along their signature icy-cool vocals and infectious sputtering beats – a welcome juxtaposition for your warm summer nights.

Album Notes:

Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus appear revitalized two years removed from their last album, amicable as ever with sounds that are cerebral yet not overly contrived.  It’s All True playfully arouses listeners with a drizzling pitter-patter that’s both musing and refreshing.

Why You Should Listen To It:

Junior Boys placidly maneuver through tracks infested with whispering drum kicks and effervescent waves of synth that are agreeable for even the frailest of ears.  More rhythmic and livelier tracks are perfect compliments for the jaunty late-night spirit.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To It:

Those stimulated by lyrically driven or conventional song structures will find Junior Boys to be lacking in both areas.  It’s music that’s mostly emitted from a slower pace, intended for audiences who would like to breathe along with it.  Head bangers will either fall asleep or immediately become bored.

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Depeche Mode[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Fennesz[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Timbaland[/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Hot Chip[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Passion Pit[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The XX[/lastfm]

 ”ep”

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Limp Bizkit

Fathers of the popular rap-metal movement of the ’90s,  this intimidatory quintet includes musical icons Fred Durst (lead singer) and Wes Borland (guitarist). Limp Bizkit’s brash, street-smart raucousness has made many of their most defiant songs into cultural mantras.

Album Notes:

Their latest endeavor, Gold Cobra, is full of tight, taunting, take-no-prisoners anthems.

Why You Should Listen To The Album:

Arguably their ballsiest album since 1997’s Three Dollar Bill, Y’all$, Gold Cobra is full of rapid-fire radio singles and gutsy hip-hop swagger.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To The Album:

If you never liked Limp Bizkit’s original sound, you probably won’t like Gold Cobra which brings the boys back home to their rap-metal roots, albeit with modern production.

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Red Hot Chili Peppers[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Rage Against The Machine[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Korn[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Primus[/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Korn[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Slipknot[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Papa Roach[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Linkin Park [/lastfm]

“Shotgun”

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Owl City

The sparkling good-natured sounds of Adam Young are back for round two with cheery symphonic songs that fulfill the tender soul.

Album Notes:

All Things Bright and Beautiful perfectly illustrates Young’s unyielding kindness for his songs, taking listeners along his most blissful of dreams with synth-pop giddiness.

Why You Should Listen To The Album:

All is sprite and well in the world of Owl City, where willing listeners and uncorrupted youths will tour a bevy of songs that are undistorted candy cane goodness.  Songs buzz along with catchy hooks and good vibes, perfect for singing along with friends on a drive to the beach.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To The Album:   

For more mature and angsty audiences seeking a more ominous tone, Owl City will be your worst nightmare.  If you didn’t find “Fireflies” to your fancy, nothing here will change your distaste.

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Postal Service[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Stars of the Lid[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Armin Van Buuren[/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Postal Service[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Lights[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Secret Handshake[/lastfm]

“Deer In The Headlight”

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Planningtorock

Planningtorock is British singer-producer Janine Rostron’s eerie brainchild, pulling you across strange and digitized landscapes that echo The Knife, but on a grander scale.

Album Notes:

W is a dark expose of some of the boldest electronica you’ll find.  Futuristic beats and digital avenues accompany Rostron’s processed vocals that hauntingly shift from track to track.

Why You Should Buy The Album:

Revealing themes of love and self-identity swim throughout boundless yet sophisticated sounds of chilling electronic and synth.  Rostron takes advantage of the innumerable opportunities modern day production has to offer.  A savory listen for open minds.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy The Album:

Planningtorock comes across as too “far out” or weird for lesser-defined listeners.  If you’re niche lies within prototypical rock formats, Rostron’s androgynous vocals and unforeseeable directions will make you feel very uncomfortable.

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Moloko[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Max Tundra[/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Knife[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Chicks on Speed[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Numbers[/lastfm]

“Doorway”

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Vetiver

Singer-songwriter Andy Cabic brings summer to you with Vetiver’s fourth album The Errant Charm, a laid-back acoustic joyride filled with sunny vibes.

Album Notes:

A relaxing blend of folk and pop music, The Errant Charm is pleasantly divided between ten songs that should embrace any summer excursion. The album is brimmed with good-natured harmonies, buoyed by Cabric’s silky smooth vocals.

Why You Should Listen To The Album:

Vetiver delivers the perfect getaway for audiences looking for respite, or to enhance the summertime high. Tranquil acoustics and dreamy pop ambiance makes this release appropriate for all ages.

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To The Album:

Perhaps too subdued for audiences thirsting for some loud in their life, Vetiver is all about sitting back and relishing some down time. Cabic’s feathery vocals will come across as dull and lack enough stimulation to fulfill some listeners.

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Ian and Sylvia[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Grateful Dead[/lastfm]

Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Fleet Foxes[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Monster of Folk[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Sufjan Stevens[/lastfm]

“Belles”

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Wonder Years, The

As energetic as they are sincere, The Wonder Years are an earnest pop/punk rock troupe poised to attract fans who’ve seen their share of disconsolate days.

Album Notes:

Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing is ridden with songs that could just as well be labeled stories.  The Wonder Years speak of forlorn tales that uncover the aches and pains of every day life on a plain of emotionally charged rock.

Why You Should Listen To The Album:

The Wonder Years bare all of their emotional thoughts and feelings before you, painting pictures with their lyrics and venting with their music.  It’s honest and relatable rock music that needs no decoding.

Why  You Shouldn’t Listen To The Album:

There’s not much novel or unfamiliar in the actual sound of The Wonder Years, so if you’re craving music that’s stylistically new or foreign, you’ll probably want to move along.

Who They Are Influenced By:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Jimmy Eat World[/lastfm],[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] The Get Up Kids[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Motion City Soundtrack[/lastfm]

 Who They Sound Like:

[lastfm link_type=”artist_info”] Hello Goodbye[/lastfm], [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]All Or Nothing[/lastfm]

“Summers In PA”

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