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8 Bands That You Should Keep on Your Radar

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JMU chapter.

As the semester comes to a close and summer is just around the corner, Spotify’s “Discover” page will be heavily trafficked. Everyone is looking for their perfect summer 2015 soundtracks. But, if you want to avoid striking out on your music search, we’ve created a little cheat-sheet for some awesome bands that might just strike a chord. Put on your headphones and get ready for a musical journey because here are 8 bands that you should keep on your radar.


Their song “Shut Up and Dance” has recently been taking over radio stations everywhere and it’s hard not to start dancing when it comes through the speakers. This indie-rock band knows how to write a catchy hook and their songs make you want to get up and groove. Their second album, Talking is Hard, hit iTunes in November of last year and it’s full of upbeat, fun songs that are perfect for summertime dance parties and long drives to the beach.

Song recommendations: Aquaman, Portugal, Anna Sun, Iscariot, We Are the Kids


2. The 1975

This alt-rock band hails from across the pond and certainly made a splash when their songs “Chocolate” and “Girls” hit airwaves in 2013. The band’s lead singer, Matty Healy, has a knack for songwriting and each track off of their self-titled album is more beautiful than the last. They have a special ability to captivate listeners with their mix of catchy hooks, soulful lyrics and dreamy vibes. The 1975 are the perfect band for late night drives and bonfires with your closest friends.

Song recommendations: Robbers, Head.Cars.Bending, Menswear, Heart Out, Medicine, Undo


3. Parachute

Straight out of Charlottesville, VA Parachute has a more pop-y, soulful vibe than any of the other bands on this list. Despite having UVA as an alma-mater, this band is actually pretty cool. Their songs “Kiss Me Slowly” and “She is Love” are two of their most popular tracks and they have toured with artists like Kelly Clarkson, The All-American Rejects and Plain White T’s. Their combination of sweet love ballads and heartstring tugging heartbreak songs are sure to hit you right in the feels.

Song recommendations: Drive You Home, Under Control, Meant to Be, What I Know


4. Handsome Ghost

Having snuck into several of Spotify’s indie and late night playlists, Handsome Ghost is a severely underappreciated indie/alternative/electronic music duo. Their latest EP, Steps, dropped at the beginning of March, following their Bloodstutter EP from 2014. Their songs are both atmospheric and catchy and the lyrics have the ability to reach out and form a connection with the listeners. Their tracks “Blood Stutter” and “Steps” are the kind of songs that you want to play on repeat forever. Handsome Ghost is the perfect band for late night drives or days when you’re feeling a little bit nostalgic.

Song recommendations: Steps, Blood Stutter, We Won’t Sleep, Bloodshot


5. Kodaline

Alongside artists like Ed Sheeran and Birdy, Kodaline graced movie-goers with their musical presence on the “The Fault in Our Stars” movie soundtrack. The track “All I Want” is beautifully melancholic and their music is a skillful mix of indie folk/rock with a heavy emphasis on acoustic guitar. Hailing all the way from Ireland, Kodaline has been compared to their Irish predecessors, U2, and were one of many bands to play at the 2014 Firefly Festival in Dover, DE. Whether you’re reading a book or just hanging out,  Kodaline is the perfect band for rainy Sunday afternoons or low key relaxation sessions.

Song Recommendations: Pray, Love Like This, One Day, After the Fall


6. Darlingside

There are few bands that can say that they have a mandolin/tambourine/violin/cello in their arsenal, but Darlingside is most definitely one of them. Their four part harmonies are magical and their take on the indie folk genre is incredible. Like Handsome Ghost, this band is severely underappreciated by music connoisseurs everywhere. Their first full-length album dropped in 2012 and features tracks such as “The Ancestor” and “Still.” If you’re a fan of Mumford and Sons, Darlingside is a most definitely worth a listen. Plus, “The Ancestor” is perfect for speeding down the highway at 1 a.m. (Disclaimer: Don’t speed because it’s against the law and VA tickets are hella expensive)

Song recommendations: The Ancestor, The Catbird Seat, Good Man, Surround


7. Mumford and Sons

After announcing their musical hiatus a few years back, many fans (including myself) were devastated by the news. But, now they’re back and back with a vengeance. Over the past few weeks they have been releasing songs from their upcoming album, Wilder Minds, set to drop on May 4. Best known for their songs “Little Lion Man,” “The Cave,” and “I Will Wait,” Mumford and Sons are most definitely looking to reclaim their spots as kings of the indie folk persuasion. Perfect for anytime or anywhere, Mumford and Sons should be making their way into your headphones.

Song Recommendations: After the Storm, Winter Winds, Sigh No More, The Wolf


8. Strong Water

Rounding out this list of bands is one based at our very own James Madison University. Strong Water is a folk/blues band that writes and performs all of its own music. After winning JMU’s annual Battle of the Bands, Strong Water performed at the 2015 Madipalooza event held on the festival lawn. Their music is a soulful and fresh take on the classic indie folk genre and is sure to make you appreciate all of the talent we have here at JMU. They are set to release some new stuff pretty soon so if you like awesome bands and supporting your fellow dukes, Strong Water should definitely be on your radar.

Song Recommendations: I Remember, Lion Comes, Sweet Virginia, The Fall



Writer of words and animal sweater enthusiast.Twitter- @SydneyEsThierInstagram- @sydney_esther
Aleixka has a B.A. in Media Arts and Design and a minor in Spanish from James Madison University. She loves all things books, traveling, food, and photography.