The Elwins (Toronto)
If 2012’s And I Thank You got The Elwins’ metaphorical foot in the door, then their latest long-player, 2015’s Play For Keeps, is the boys blasting it wide open. And then having a party.
Even before dropping And I Thank You, their full-length debut, The Elwins – vocalist/guitarist Matthew Sweeney, drummer Travis Stokl, guitarist/keyboardist Feurd, and bassist Frankie Figliomeni – were one of Toronto’s much-hyped hopefuls to fly the upbeat indie pop flag forward.
Since its release, they’ve done the rounds at the major festivals, performed alongside some of the world’s biggest bands like The National and St. Vincent, and been trumpeted by media and industry tastemakers as a (sometimes the) band to keep an eye on. To those that listened, Play For Keeps is what you were watching for.
The 12-song collection builds atop the foundation of fun pop music they established with its predecessor. “We tried to take everything up to the next level, sonically speaking,” says Feurd. “We wanted to be really open and try a bunch of things we hadn’t done before.”
Taking the best bits of pop and rock music from the past five decades (despite the guys having only been alive for a little over two), The Elwins have delivered a dose of dancy bliss that appeals to virtually anyone. “We definitely like making songs that make people want to move,” Sweeney says – and move they will.
Hey Rocco (South Carolina)
Nathan Merli and Tanner Cooper met while attending the same middle school in Charleston. Christopher Cool became friends with the two in Jazz Band later on in high school. In an interview with punktastic.com the band stated, “We formed in Chris Cool’s garage circa summer 2009 and from there we wrote and sucked, and wrote and sucked, and eventually started to suck a little less.”  The band name Heyrocco originated after Cool walked into his bedroom and found his pet turtle Rocco on his bed. Cool recalls saying, ““Heyyy, Rocco. Come on.”
Heyrocco’s first recording was a collection of demos that the band had mastered themselves titled Comfort released in April 2012. The LP was made with the help of a successful Kickstarter campaign in which the band raised over $4,000 from fans. Soon after Comfort was released the band recorded their first EP titled Mom Jeans which was recorded at Hello Telescope studios in Charleston by the record producer Josh Kaler). After roughly three years of touring all over the United States, Heyrocco played their first show overseas in October 2014 at the Cavern in Exeter, England.
Sponsored in part by the fine folks at the Wellington Brewery