The end of this nightmare year is so close. SO CLOSE. 2021 is officially within reach to hold on for dear life and hope it takes us somewhere less stressful. As we wrap things up, there are still so many bands we didn’t get a chance to cover in 2020. With hundreds of submissions coming in every day, it’s impossible to write about it all and still provide something meaningful with each song! But here are ten artists we definitely want you to check out before the year ends — even if the whole year sucked, maybe you can end it by discovering your new favourite band.
If you’d like to check out these tracks on Spotify, you can follow our “As Seen on SSP” playlist for a running list of everything we cover on the site!
Longfriend Timefriend – Chemical Change
FFO The Wonder Years, Real Friends, super emotional pop punk
Longfriend Timefriend is on my list of bands I need to see live when we’re allowed out again. “Chemical Change” takes me back to some of my fave pop punk shows I’ve ever attended, back in 2014 when I was still figuring out my place in the world. Maybe this band can be for you what The Wonder Years was for me when I was 22. Or if you’re like me and pushing 30, this band can put a new twist on an old favourite.
We’ve written about Bad Flamingo before, but every song makes me love them more. I feel like I just walked into a saloon and the whole room stopped talking to stare at me in fear. And I just walked up to the bar and ordered a drink… and then I coughed and someone started crying because the sudden sound spooked them. Seriously, you’re not going to find this specific feeling in many other places, and it’s a great one, especially in a year where I don’t often find myself in situations where I feel powerful or in control. It’s indie rock with a western spin, and I cannot get enough of it.
Charit Way – Garden Room
FFO between “Don’t Panic” era ATL + “That’s The Spirit” era BMTH, arena rock
Charit Way exists somewhere between the poppier side of pop punk and the lighter side of post-hardcore. Like if All Time Low decided to change their sound in the opposite direction and get heavier. Listen to those “whoa”s in the chorus and tell me you don’t hear Alex Gaskarth. It fills a void between genres that I didn’t even know was empty in my catalogue… and now I’ve got three new songs from them to clutter that space up. *chef’s kiss* perfect.
MVCO & Casey Shirin – Tiny Little Thing
FFO Bebe Rexha or Maren Morris featuring on a DJ’s earworm track
With all of these major label collabs between festival DJs and female vocalists (so specific), sometimes I forget these aren’t just one-off tracks and there’s a whole genre that exists in this space. MVCO & Casey Shirin have created their own earworm that feels like a muggy summer evening. It’s the sonic equivalent of getting one of those real sun lamps. Listen and feel yourself immediately warm up, it’ll change the whole course of your day.
sleeplore – let go
FFO something between Yellowcard and Stars… if that makes sense
sleeplore has really honed in on the ability to create a whole sonic landscape in “let go.” I feel like there’s music coming at me from all angles, around every corner and hill. It’s like I’m actually in motion and coming across parts of the song as they happen. It’s wild. This track is downtempo so thankfully, it’s not a stressful journey through this universe. Maybe this is the future of safe travel? We just… go into our minds? Astral project? Idk sleeplore might be sitting on a gold mine here.
Sunny Smith – Ziggy
FFO… why am I inclined to say Rod Stewart??
Sunny Smith may just be tapping into a niche part of my brain because “Ziggy” sounds a bit like “Maggie” but… why am I getting Rod Stewart vibes from this? This is a compliment, let me be very clear. I grew up in a Rod Stewart household and I think everyone here is going to end up stanning Sunny sooner rather than later. The harmonies are stunning, it’s dreamy and nostalgic and makes me feel safe. If that’s something you’d like in your life right now, this song is your song.
FFO Walk The Moon, Portugal The Man, sunny indie rock
You ever hear a song and just know it deserves to be in a car commercial making BANK for the band? Alternately, one of the old Telus commercials with the animals (I’m thinking specifically chameleons). Truly hoping Slowride gets that superstar treatment because I wouldn’t mind hearing this track every time I walk through my living room for the next 18 months. It makes me want to drive fast, walk fast, live fast die hard. Do not put this on your driving playlist, I can almost guarantee we’ll all get our licenses revoked for going 50 over.
Miynt – a bit of papaya
FFO Dua Lipa disco beats + Lana Del Rey vocals
Something about this track from Miynt sounds like it’s a mashup, but it’s just…. organically this cool?? Almost unbelievably so. Never thought I’d hear these soft, crooning vocals over psychedelic disco. Now that I’m officially experiencing it, I’m glad I no longer live in the before times. This is a whole new world, and it could be your world for 2021 if you spend the next 4 minutes and 17 seconds correctly.
WCB – Fabric
FFO music that would play on Riverdale when Betty becomes Dark Betty
WCB now lives so deep in my soul, just because of how far this song dug into me. The beat itself felt like it changed my natural heartbeat, but then you add in the lyrics and video? I feel like I’m witnessing a superhero origin story. I hate knowing how many of us have gone through bullying and harassment, but god does it ever feel good to see art created from it that shows how much that person is truly shining now.
Viper Club – Nice Guys
FFO Phoenix (the band and the place)
When I saw the name “Nice Guys,” I immediately felt nervous about listening to it. Thankfully I didn’t let my brain get the best of me, because the latest from Viper Club is unreasonably fun. Every time I find a new band I like, they’re ALWAYS from Phoenix, and it always makes me wish I lived there so I could experience finding these bands IRL. At 1:05 when they sing “I’m not like the other guys,” it’s the least threatened I’ve ever felt hearing that statement.