After a very pleasant year of mostly newer artists, where the heavyweights decided to take a step back and allow some fresh faces to grace us with their musical genius, I have decided to bring back an oldie but a goodie – 10 You Should Know, Vocalist Edition. Now, just because 2012 gave us a new look at some outstanding vocalists, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all the artists/bands were “actual new” this year.
Nevertheless, there is an obvious call to arms going on here. We are at a premier time to put some of these leads on a pedestal and give them some of the support and recognition they rightfully deserve. This is a closer look at some of my personal favorites – those who may not be so well-known. Who knows, maybe we will even give you some nice listening clips to get you through the reading. Enjoy.
Peter Liddle – Dry the River
Obviously, it would be less than smart to start with anyone else but the biggest reason for my 2012 New Artist of the Year. Liddle’s vocal ability brings both darkness and light in this perfectly stunning display of noise. Their full-length debut Shallow Bed released earlier in 2012 and it literally stopped me in my tracks. His power and subtle tone was everything that I could ever want to hear and more. While it is only their first true effort, my expectations and belief in the band are forever escalated due in large part to Peter Liddle – don’t let me down, mate (Europe, not Australia – whatever).
K.C. Simonsen – Outline in Color
I am a sucker for an outstanding clean vocalist with a beautiful tone, in any hardcore/metalcore/scream-sing type band. Tyler Carter, Jonny Craig, whatever. The new addition is the clean vocalist of Outline in Color, a band that burst onto the scene in 2012. The band will truly find their way much like their peers considering they have K.C., which is something that others cannot claim. Unfortunate for the competition I would say.
Laura Stevenson – Laura Stevenson & the Cans
My love for Laura Stevenson has been both obsessive and short. With the fact that she and the Cans released their debut full-length only a year ago, combined with their questionably low level of popularity, I still feel as though I can lay some kind of claim to them (much like I still do with Paramore). Obviously they have yet to really “burst onto the scene,” even though Sit Resist was definitively magnificent in my opinion. You walk up to any person in the mall and ask them who Laura Stevenson is, and unless they know someone at school/work by that name – they stare at you blankly. Not that I have done that, just saying – unfortunate truth.
Bear Rinehart – Needtobreathe
Christian Rock is not the most intriguing genre out there. Yes, it allows one to act like both a non-Christian in the rock star sense and a wholesome and devout Christian in the spiritual realm, which is a pretty cool concept, I suppose. But the overall pleasure, with regard to musical ability? Not so much, if you ask me. Bear Rinehart completely shatters that stereotype. If I could sing, and my voice could be any voice out there in the world today, I would want Rinehart’s voice to grace the world in my voice’s place. Seriously, it’s good.
Jason Cameron – Bury Tomorrow
Bury Tomorrow’s debut full-length back in 2010 featured a Ben Burnley (Breaking Benjamin) looking fellow by the name of Jason Cameron. The lead guitarist took advantage of highlighting his voice in that debut while his screaming counterpart (Daniel Winter-Bates) shrieked away, non-inspiring, I should say. When their second full-length released earlier this year, my anticipation was mild considering the level of skill Bates brought to the table; however, I was amazingly surprised by his improvement. This improvement only escalated Cameron’s talent – a soaring clean vocalist with devastating power.
Kyle Istook – Belle Epoque
My review of Belle Epoque’s 2012 EP (their third) showed my undying love for Kyle Istook’s voice. I am still scratching my head, trying to figure out why the band has not hit a level of popularity to get a full-length onto their resume. Istook apparently doesn’t seem to take it as personally as I do – he only needs a half-dozen tracks to make a lot of record labels look extremely silly. Either way, I am confident that with Istook at the helm, Belle Epoque will one day share more than just a taste of what they are capable of.
Bradley Walden – Squid the Whale
Much like most of the vocalists appearing on this edition of “10 You Should Know,” Bradley Walden has this certain emotion to his voice. Something that is completely natural, yet breathtaking all at once. Another calculating measure of what Walden (amongst others) brings to the table is that soulful flare. Again, there are others (not many, but a few) who have this same magnitude of soul, pitch, tone and vibrato that is an absolute blessing. For that reason, everyone should know of him.
Joe McFaddin – This Love
There are not too many singers who I would enjoy listening to without any musical backdrop in their presence. Joe McFaddin is one of the very few that I would say has that ability to sound well, all on his own. This Love’s concept album from late 2011, At War, really showcased McFaddin as a force to be reckoned with in the music world. I’ll be the first to admit, his appearance on “Oh the Depths” from Wolves at the Gate’s EP We Are the Ones was my first experience with his voice. Since then, though, I’ll be the first to uncover everything he touches from now on.
Jane Smith – Belle Histoire
Another talented vocalist who has been around for more than a year but has yet to see the high level of praise and credit – so I am taking it upon myself to show her some support. Jane Smith is a riveting talent delivering a high level of ability in the presence of her indie/pop band. She and the rest of Belle Histoire immediately impacted me with their 2011 debut EP Spirits. They again delivered a solid release in the form of a full-length. Once again, the main reason for my appreciation came in the form of Jane Smith (I wonder if she is married to a John? I should ask).
Ryan Devlin – Corelia
Although this one may be dedicated to our fearless leader, Drew Maroon, Ryan Devlin is a vocal powerhouse for the freshly (phreshly, I should say) formed progressive metal group Corelia. Their 2011 debut, aptly titled Nostalgia, was both powerfully refreshing and melodically enchanting. Blending those two things should never be allowed, but in this case I’ll let it slide, and I think Drew will too. Devlin, who also had a short touring stint with another progressively brilliant act going by the name of The Human Abstract, definitely found his way with this one. Keep it up dudes.