10 Best New Bands of 2014

By Jenn Rose Smith

Between tabletops and decor, it might surprise you that music is actually one of the most talked about subjects in this office. Whatever project we’re working on, our Sonos speaker is constantly jamming our favorite Pandora and Spotify channels. This has lead to discussions — some might even say arguments — about everything from André 3000 to ZZ Top. At risk of wearing out the old favorites, there’s really nothing better than discovering something fresh to listen to. With a little help from our most in-the-know friends in the music industry, we’ve injected our playlist with a whole lotta new. Proudly presenting, our ten best new bands of 2014:

featured image by collin hughes

The Strypes

“The best new band I’ve seen or heard so far this year is The Strypes, from Cavan, Ireland. Amazingly, they range in age from 16-18, but they sound like hardcore rock and roll veterans. I was skeptical at first, but when I saw them at SXSW, it was like seeing The Who or The Clash when they were teenagers. Their music is definitely old-school, with shades of Muddy Waters, The Ramones and the Rolling Stones, but you can hear modern influences, too (think Arctic Monkeys). They are the real deal, seeing and hearing is believing. And you’ll be seeing and hearing a lot more of them before this year is out.” listen here

Terry Lickona, producer at Austin City Limits

The Wood Brothers

“While going through lists of new acts coming to SXSW, I stumbled across The Wood Brothers. They are new, however sharing a very rich history. Chris and Oliver truly are brothers, although they each pursued their own respective careers for nearly 20 years. Deciding they should have been playing together all this time, you now have Oliver’s unique voice and Atlanta southern folk, combined with his younger brother Chris’s stand up bass, fueled by over a decade in a NY contemporary Jazz trio. If you’ve worn out your Mumford or Avett and you’re looking for some new folk rock you’ll fall in love with on the first listen, look no further than The Wood Brothers, now calling Nashville home.” listen here

JB Hager, Co-Founder of On-Airstreaming and 25-year Morning Radio Veteran (JB will be announcing his new home on the radio in Austin, Tx very soon!)

Sonny & The Sunsets

“Sonny Smith’s got his own ever-changing recipe, and I love all the ingredients: surf rock, outer space lyrics, bad ass cover art and plenty of reverb… A lot of his stuff sounds like some dreamy lost recordings from the late 50s. He’s absolutely, wonderfully weird. My boyfriend and I saw him play a show in Portland — he was opening up for Tao and The Get Down, but we were there just to see him. Check out his 100 Records project. It’s great.” listen here

Jennifer Rose Smith, Art Director at Camille Styles

Parker Millsap

“Parker just opened for LeAnn Rimes at ACL Live, and the crowd loved him. And apparently everyone else does, too… he’s currently number four on the Americana charts. It’s hard to believe the singer-songwriter from Oklahoma is only 20.” listen here

Colleen Fischer, General Manager/Director of Booking, ACL Live

Emma Louise

“The first time I heard Emma’s haunting single ‘Jungle,’ I knew this Australian singer-songwriter was something special. Some of her tracks are dreamy and others are driven by an electronic dance beat, and her always-creative and unexpected melodies undoubtedly stir a different emotion in everyone who listens to them.” listen here

Camille Styles, Founder and Creative Director

Portugal. The Man

“Hands down. Probably the most exciting live band I have seen in years. Download all of their albums and get ready to have a groovefest and then dig deep into all the creative videos and artwork from the mind of John Gourley. Mike D just did a cool remix of their song “Modern Jesus” and Dangermouse produced their current album. They will be on tour all summer so make sure to follow their insane instagram and keep up on their moves.” listen here

Shelby Meade, Founder and Chief Breakdancer at Fresh and Clean Media

José James

“I was first drawn in by the hip hop beats combined with modern jazz instrumentation, but then stuck around to hear more of José’s smooth, soulful vocals. If you’re in the market for feel-good, easy listening, José James is your man.” listen here

Chanel Dror, Executive Producer at Camille Styles

Shakey Graves

“Some have called the music of one man band Shakey Graves (aka Alejandro Rose-Garcia) mountain folk while others have deemed it alternative country blues, but whatever this special sound is, I can’t get enough. He started his career as an actor (loyal Friday Night Lights fans may remember him as Julie Taylor’s lifeguard fling from Season 2), but we are convinced that on the stage with his guitar in hand is just where this soulful renaissance man is supposed to be!” listen here

Lauren Smith Ford, Editor-in-Chief at Camille Styles

Sir Sly

“I’ve been listening to this LA-based trio for a while now (ever since hearing the addictive track ‘Ghost’ from last year’s EP Gold), and while they’ve managed to fly under the radar over the last several months, I have a feeling Sir Sly is poised for a breakout hit in 2014. Their electronic sound is slightly mysterious, but just pop-y enough to make it an energetic soundtrack to a workday spent behind the computer.” listen here

Camille Styles, Founder and Creative Director

Sylvan Esso

“What I love most about SXSW is discovering a brand new artist by chance, then rooting for them as they gradually climb the charts. My friend at Partisan Records convinced me to check out Sylvan Esso with her, and they were one of the best bands I heard all week. See them live in a city near you in the coming months, and keep an eye out for their debut album when it hits shelves in May.” listen here 

Chanel Dror, Executive Producer at Camille Styles