In honor of the heartbreaking news of David Bowie’s return to his beautiful star in the sky, we’re bringing you some of our favorite local jams to ease the pain.

Rock on — it’s what Bowie would have wanted.

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1. Banner and The Hydes —“Ocean Eyes

Banner and the Hydes are a guitar-centric, garage rock group putting out jams full of nasty guitar licks, soulful vocals, and catchy hooks. The classic drums keep the beat steady and complement the stings and bass, allowing them to fill your deepest, fuzzed-up rock fantasies. The tracks are gritty with a slightly dark-feel that gives off a bit of an attitude (which we greatly admire). Banner and the Hydes is just great rock n’ roll without the frills and doodads of modern instrumentation. It’s time-honored and familiar, like your favorite thrift store jean jacket.

2. Drinkard Sisters—“More Rods Than Cones

There’s nothing more peaceful and endearing than the quiet strum of an acoustic guitar, punctuated with the warmth of a ukulele and weaved preciously with the voice of angels. If you’re wondering who could possibly create such a mesmerizing dynamic, well, that would be the Drinkard Sisters with their recent release, You Might Be Saved. This acoustic, folk duo paint beautiful scenes with their lyrics, reminiscent of a folktale passed down from the ages. The vocals are hypnotizing and earthy and silky to the ears. We have to say these sisters hold a musical secret that you definitely want to be a part of — get in on it while you can.

3. Go Tiger Go—“Inhale

Youthful and energetic, Go Tiger Go gets your heart racing with their newest single, “Inhale”. These guys have an undoubtedly catchy sound that’s full of charm and authenticity. We love the malleability in their music, enabling them to mix genres and create differing experiences from track to track. This rock group casts a smidge of a folk shadow with overlays of acoustic filling the space between the electric-heavy guitars and bass. You can’t deny the indie/alternative groove, however; it smacks you in the face with vibrant guitar solos and rampant drums, which definitely give them their edginess.

4. The Messenger Birds—“Lost and Not Found

(credit: Kimberly Rose Tomlin)

(credit: Kimberly Rose Tomlin)

Mastering the groovy fuzz rock genre, The Messenger Birds’ debut release Everything and Nothing is a collection of heavy grunge tracks with outspoken guitar solos, syrupy licks and a ton of bluesy inspiration. The vocals are soulful and raw, while the instrumentation stays tight and well-manicured, leaving room for that seemingly impromptu style. We love how thick the sound is on this record and when we say fuzz rock, we mean fuzzier than the fuzziest of fuzz, friends.

5. The Cheetahs—“Your Window

Nostalgic and titillating, The Cheetahs have an impressive discography of rock and roll jams that will fill your ears with some high-powered guitar riffs and jiving drums. The bass is smooth and rhythmic, while the vocals bounce between dreamy, surf and punk. We love the variety of The Cheetahs and the upbeat attitude carried into their music. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it with these guys. Surf rock, power pop, punk rock—they know how to bring it all.

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6. Fawn—“It’s Never Over

(credit: Photography by Alicia Gbur Design by Michelle Halliday)

(credit: Photography by Alicia Gbur
Design by Michelle Halliday)

Expansive indie rock group, Fawn, takes us on a musical adventure with their 2012 release, Coastlines, under the Ann Arbor label, Quite Scientific. It’s an elaborate release with tracks of climactic harmonies and mind-melting guitar repetitions that will have you hypnotized in your own musical playground. The choruses are undeniably catchy and the instrumentation is modern and original, making this a perfect road-tripping album. A perfect mashup of soothing and uplifting; it’s teeming with the underlying sense of wanderlust.

7. Mover//Shaker—“Boy Scouts Inherit The Earth

Mover//Shaker is a post-hardcore, punk rock group with a short, yet meaningful EP, Living Standards, that’s both emotional and aggressive. The vocals are pleading, the lyrics are on the verge of depressing, and the instrumentation is methodical. The sound is melancholy and self-observant, but with these two tracks, it’s easy to see that Mover//Shaker has the ability to motivate between the ambient and the emo. We’re looking forward to some new material by them, hopefully soon!

8. The Royal Blackbirds—“From Now On

(credit: Photo by Sara Cassabon)

(credit: Photo by Sara Cassabon)

Hyper funky, garage rock group, The Royal Blackbirds will have you on your feet and grooving from the chord of the first song to the note of the last. Their bluesy and soul-packed sound is slick and polished with a just a bit of grit. The lead vocals are sultry and powerful, driving that blues sound into the ground with the greatest of ease. You’ll find some harmonica, keys and tambourines in the mix to authenticate their tracks even more. We can only imagine their live performance, and we encourage you to find out for yourself.

9. DUDE—“In The Next Pocket

Back to the early days of rock and roll, DUDE brings loads of melodic lo-fi pop tunes with a campy vibe that is as hooky as it is original. Each track has its own personality, but the underlying theme is the same—straight old school. The guitar tracks are unique and complex with dabbles of acoustic on some tracks and a boisterous, upfront electric on others. While we don’t like to make comparisons, we’d have to say from track to track, it’s easy to see the Beatles influence in Kid Gloves. The quirky lyrics and play on harmonies is entertaining and really forces you to dive into the next track, because you just have to see which direction he’s going to go next.

10. Mango Lane—“600 Film

Bringing us those west coast vibes is Mango Lane, coming on the scene with some truly groove-worthy, surf jams. We enjoy their upbeat, psychedelia and their laidback, echoing vocals. On these cold winter days, it’s nice to get a little bit of musical sunshine. Their new release (and by new we mean like, yesterday) Liquid Love is roughly fifteen-minutes of chill, fuzzy, indie perfection. The focus seems to be on the jam factor, which we love because sometimes you just want some tunes in your ears without a bunch of words thrown in your face. Look forward to hearing more, guys!


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Who are you listening to these days? Tell us in the comments!