Consistently ranked as a top destination for college students, Ithaca, N.Y. has gained national notoriety over the years for its “natural beauty, intellectual stimulation and small-town charm.” But another of Ithaca’s alluring draws is its fabulous, homegrown music scene. Here’s a list of up and coming acts and songs you should check out from this booming city.
1. Second Dam— Swimming: “Brick By Brick”
Lead singer K.C. Weston is a fierce, yowling force of nature on this ambitious single from Ithaca College indie collective, Second Dam’s 2013 LP, Swimming.
2. Monoculture— Wreathed Youth: “Laying Down/Tremblin’”
The upstate New York power duo’s debut LP, Wreathed Youth, is stacked with The Civil Wars call-and-return-style harmonies and breathtaking melodies. Sweetest of all is this easy-rock jam, which sounds like a radiant slice of Ani DiFranco circa 2000 preserved in a jar of honey.
3. Jimkata— Feel in Light: “Beat the Curse”
The fifth LP from electro-rock gurus Jimkata—with its warm, breezy cuts like album opener, “Beat the Curse”— helped jumpstart spring in this gorge-filled town. Listen now and you’ll be humming these pop jams til’ Thanksgiving.
Josh Burns and Co. are one of the most badass, energetic live rock bands in upstate New York right now. Need proof? Check out this Bombtree high-energy, garage rock single, which serves up a meaty rhythm section smothered in a thick layer of punk and pop toppings.
5. Gilmore boys— Future Unlike Any Past: “The Light Inside”
Listening to this slow-burner from Ithaca via Boston contemporary-folk trio Gilmore Boys is the equivalent of sinking into a warm bath while being serenaded by a smokey-voiced, violin-playing chorus of Alex-turner look alikes. Ah, life is good.
6. Batista—Mixtape: “Urban Disposal”
Of all the lo-fi rock gems Ithaca/Brooklyn fearsome-threesome have spit out since the inception of Batista, this quirky, tongue-in-cheek, Dinosaur Jr.-esque thread has become an instant favorite.
7. Participation Trophy—Dead Batteries/Gold Spray Paint: “You Don’t Even Deserve This Song”
As Pat Benatar reminded us, love is a battlefield. And apparently no one knows that better than Participation Trophy’s founder, James Manton, who hit us with this new, heartfelt folk-punk ballad. “I can’t see straight anymore/After what you did to me.” Hurts so good.
8. The Bibliographers—“Andromeda”
Enjoy Tame Impala/Alt-J? Check out this brand new, local trio—a spaced-out project based in shoegaze, indie, folk, explosive electronica, and good ol’ rock’n’roll.
9. Wolf House—Wolf House: “Young Goodman Brown”
Acoustic lovers, brace yourselves. The latest release from Wolf House is majorly mesmerizing—a spooky late night brew of dazed strumming, trembling vocals and dreamy hooks.
10. Mouth to Mouth: “Teeth”
Indie shredders Mouth to Mouth have landed on the Ithaca scene with tightly wound freak-glitch hooks, rolling bass-lines and scuzzy guitars. Let there be fuzz!
Purchase a CD and buy concert tickets from each band’s website, and let us know in the comments which tracks made your list!
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