10 Bands from NYC’s Music Scene to Stream or See Live

In a city that never sleeps, a new band is always on the rise

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Joywave performs on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” / Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

New York City is a well-known hub for breeding some of the greatest musicians and bands of our time—The Ramones, The Beastie Boys, Blondie and The Strokes to rattle off a few. NYC has produced arguably some of music’s top talent. From small gigs at venues like Mercury Lounge to sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden, every band that forms in NYC walks the same path in the beginning by playing late nights and rehearsing anywhere that won’t end in a noise complaint. In a city that never sleeps, a new band is always on the rise, so we picked ten of our favorites. 

1. Late Night Episode

Formed in the East Village neighborhood, Late Night Episode is an alt-rock band that successfully blends alt-rock instrumentals with youthful pop lyrics for a sound comparable to Kings of Leon. The foursome—lead singer Daniel Lonner, guitarist Eric Sherman, drummer Brett Daniel and bassist Giovanni Stockton-Rossini—is worth putting on your radar. In addition to producing their own music, they also have executive produced Topaz Jones’ notable soul-funk record, Arcade. With praise from music outlets like Billboard, Crave, Nylon and Pigeons and Planes, LNE will no doubt go a long way. 

2. Bird Language and Sebastian Adé

NYC production duo Bird Language and Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Sebastian Adé come together to create a moody, soulful sound on “Parachute.” While this group is just now tapping into their creative journey together, several more collabs are coming soon. The combination of carefully crafted songs and superb genre-blending production are the perfect ingredients for a very strong album in the future.

3. Joywave

Growing up in Rochester, New York, Joywave is an indie-rock band known for creating the stimulating “Like a Kennedy” music video, debuting their albums in Marvel comic books and captivating audiences with live performances. The group was first formed in 2010 but recently entered a new level of success by currently touring with popular British band Bastille. Joywave—made up of Daniel Armbruster (vocals), Paul Brenner (drums), Joseph Morinelli (guitar) and Benjamin Bailey (keyboards/guitar)—is on their way to becoming big-time. 

4. The Shacks

Singer/bassist Shannon Wise and guitarist/producer Max Shrager make up the alternative indie duo The Shacks. Their sound is a combination of early-age rock and classic soul layered with dreamy delicate vocals. The band first received much-deserved accolades with the release of their debut album, Haze. With an iPhone commercial feature under their belt, we’re confident The Shacks will only go up from here. With a unique and saturated sound that masters the art of modernism and retroism, this is a duo you’ll want on your playlist. 

5. The Britanys

Coming together in Brooklyn, The Britanys perfectly resemble a Bushwick rock band. Formed by Steele Kratt (drums), Jake Williams (guitar), Burke Williams (bass) and Lucas Long (vocals) in 2016, the foursome frequents venues like Rough Trade, Baby’s All Right and Bowery Ballroom. Aside from success with their mixtape 1-833-IDK-HTBA [I Don’t Know How to Be Alone], the band has performed at SXSW, toured the U.K. and played at the Velvet Underground Experience. The group's sound is both punchy and refreshing, and their stage performance is nothing less than stellar. A combination of memorable guitar melodies with nostalgiac lyrics sets The Britanys apart.

6. Native Sun

Originating from Florida, Colombia, Mexico and California, Native Sun was formed by vocalist Danny Gomez and lead guitarist Jake Pflum before drummer Alexis Castro and bassist Mo Martinez completed the lineup. Now living and recording in Brooklyn, Native Sun faces no challenge in ingraining their roots in their production. Blending culturally saturated lyrics with guitar solos, the band displays what it’s like to create music in a tense political environment. With songs about starting a revolution and tearing down the government, the rock band taps into topics that many other bands have dared not to explore. 

7. Laundry Day

Composed of five high school seniors, Laundry Day is an alternative pop band based in New York City. The young group—including Sawyer Nunes, Etai Abramovich, Jude Lipkin, Henry Weingartner and Henry Pearl—has performed all over the U.K. and North America, a huge triumph for a band that’s been on the rise since the release of their first album, Trumpet Boy. Inspired by Brockhampton and Tyler the Creator, the quintet’s music is chilled out yet soulful, often featuring a jazz instrument like a trumpet or saxophone. Their lyrics are relatable for listeners their age and nostalgic for their older fan base. For a music group formed accidentally (a group of friends all making their own music who decided to collab), we’re glad they figured things out in unison. 

8. Modern Diet

This Brooklyn-based indie rock band was formed by Jake Cheriff (vocals/guitar) and Dan Hemerlein (bass) during their freshman year at New York University. Cheriff would create songs in his bedroom and the two would then transform them into recordable content to fit the band’s ensemble. Since then, Bernardo Ochoa on guitar, Emily Sgouros on synth and Leah Scarpati on drums joined the group, forming Modern Diet. If you ask a band member how they would categorize their sound, there’s a great chance that “indie rock soul food” will be the response. Their songs are richly textured with indie rock, R&B and psych-pop influences and vibrant harmonies, resulting in a fan base of different genres. 

9. Daisy the Great

Fronted by Kelley Nicole Dugan and Mina Walker, Daisy the Great is Brooklyn-based indie rock band that finds power in resonating with fans. Their sound ranges from playful to powerful with soft folk-pop undertones and banging rock melodies. With lyrics that dive into both heartbreaking and funny topics, a fan base connected to their vulnerable material is steadily growing all over North America. 

10. Uni

Glam rock band Uni was formed in NYC by frontman Nico Fuzz, guitarist David Strange, vocalist Jack James and bassist Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Their music is The Beatles meets Parliament-Funkadelic. Crazy, right? The foursome’s sound is both psychedelic and futuristic—music from Mars, if you will. Politically charged lyrics and trippy, neon-infused visuals continue to set the group apart from anyone else on your playlist. 

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