The 10 Best Bands in Provo Right Now
In recent years, Utah has developed a thriving creative culture, spawning national YouTube sensations like Lindsey Sterling, Kid History, Devin Supertramp, Studio C, and Stuart Edge. Utah as a whole is home to one of the most successful groups of YouTubers (or UTubers, as they have dubbed themselves) in the world - ranked 3rd behind Hollywood and London.
Provo is a huge part of this creative wave and is thriving. The music scene has spawned critically acclaimed acts Neon Trees and Imagine Dragons. Largely unknown to the rest of the country, the music here deserves to be heard.
This 9-piece band knows how to put on an incredible show. With a voice like a Michael Buble/Adam Levine hybrid, lead singer Chris Crabb's sultry tenor voice effortlessly belts catchy hooks over the top of screaming guitar solos, groovy basslines, and a legendary horn section. Their music recently received widespread attention after their song "Atom Bomb" was placed in Nordic Track's viral video, "World's Largest Treadmill Dance With Over 40 Treadmills." The video sits at an impressive 2,900,004 views as of this article's publication. If you're a fan of Bruno Mars, Kool and the Gang, or Maroon 5, you will enjoy The Str!ke.
Recommended tracks: "Atom Bomb," "Warriors," "Robbing Me Blind," "One Night of You"
The National Parks
Lead singer and songwriter Brady Parks has somehow managed to capture the beauty of the state of Utah and describe it in song without being cliche or overly sentimental. Using image-heavy lyrics, striking male/female harmonies, and brilliant string arrangements, the National Parks' unique brand of folk knows how to tug at the heart strings. The National Parks were nominated as the best band in Utah by SaltLake CityWeekly, and rightfully so.
Recommended tracks: "Ghosts," "Wind and Anchor," "As We Ran"
A soulful R&B singer with an impressive range and charisma like no one you've ever seen, this half vocalist half rapper out of Provo, UT will be at the top of your playlist. Mimi Knowles has been in a number of successful YouTube videos with collaborators Eric Thayne and Ashley Hess. Their 19 song mashup has almost 400,000 views on YouTube. Knowles has stated once that he wants people to hear his music and find the perfect blend of John Mayer and Kanye West. In addition to being a stellar musician, Knowles also runs his own clothing line: M1M1K clothing.
Recommended tracks: "A Little Bit Of," "In the Mood"
A well-received performance at Provo's Rooftop Concert series in the summer of 2014 brought these guys to my attention. Their sound evokes images of wide open spaces. The soaring vocals of lead singer Travis Van Hoff scream 80's arena rock, but their modern synth flourishes and bass heavy groove make them perfect for blasting on road trips. Vanladylove is starting to receive national attention after being placed on national television 6 times to date.
Recommended tracks: "Neverland," Alibi," "Bottle of Bad Ideas"
Foreign Figures recently took first place in the battle of the bands competition at The Wall, a venue on BYU Campus. Imagine Dragons took first place in this same competition years ago, so it's no small feat. Foreign Figures' piano laden, drum heavy tracks are OneRepublic-esque in their delivery. If you are a fan of OneRepublic's "Dreaming Out Loud" or Boyce Avenue covers, these guys are great for you. Find them on Rdio, YouTube, or iTunes, press play, and enjoy as a wall of earnest sound envelopes you.
Recommended tracks: "Ocean Tide," "Mine," "Breaking Through"
One thing's for sure: Na-G puts on a killer show. He recently performed at Velour, downtown Provo's most popular venue, and dropped 45 minutes of clever rhymes and dope beats, provided by producer Danny Olguin. Na-G is a passionate performer, and his persona is one that evokes crowd participation. One second he's jumping around stage, the next he's crowd surfing. It's nuts. He even had a guy in a Panda suit on stage with him once. It was entertaining and crazy to say the least. Although his tracks currently borrow beats from well known artists like Schoolboy Q, his verses are all original, and man can this kid throw down.
Recommended tracks: "Jungle," "Man of the Year"
Fictionist is a Provo act that, for whatever reason, can never seem to catch the break they deserve. Well beloved at home, their song "Momentum" opens every countdown to kickoff show broadcast before football games on BYUtv, and local soda shops have named beverages after them. Their sound pushes modern rock boundaries, and while experimental, still feels familiar. They have toured nationally and have opened for acts like Imagine Dragons, Vampire Weekend, Neon Trees, Young the Giant, and Shiny Toy Guns. Fictionist was signed with Atlantic Records from 2011-2014.
Recommended tracks: "Free Spirit," "Momentum"
Can't Stop Won't Stop
When people hear "Provo, UT" most do not immediately think of rap music. Once you hear Can't Stop Won't Stop, that'll change. With a sound reminiscent of Vanilla Ice, Marky Mark, and M.C. Hammer, these guys know how to kick it old school. It's perfect summer music. Their collaborations with Lindsey Stirling and Fresh Big Mouf (known for his Beat Scout series on YouTube) are memorable and radio friendly. If you're looking for catchy melodies, silly lyrics, and impressive flow, Can't Stop Won't Stop is for you.
Recommended tracks: "Scrape the Sky (Feat. Fresh Big Mouf)," "Come With Us (Feat. Lindsey Stirling)"
The New Electric Sound
Out of all that can be said about The New Electric Sound, one thing is for sure: nobody quite sounds like them. Everything from their album production to their tinny, echo heavy guitars screams nostalgia. The poster-boys for the 2013 Google Fiber take over in Provo, their music reached a broader audience that helped rocket them to local stardom. It's every musician's dream to have their music on TV and playing in movie theaters, and TNES is living that dream. Their music video for "Heartbeat" follows an axe-wielding motorcycle gang in an alternate reality where that sort of thing is totally normal. You should check it out.
Recommended Tracks: "What if I Disappear," "Heartbeat"
The Brocks are currently the poster boys for "Mankind," a new scent from Calvin Klein. The band members are like super heroes - they're living double lives. While they appear to be normal, down to earth college students, their music just happens to be playing on commercials during Monday Night Football. How cool is that? Their recent collaboration with EDM favorite Kaskade has seen incredible success; the music video for "Summer Nights" is currently sitting at 372,000 views.
Recommended tracks: "Carousel," "Circles," "Summer Nights"
There you have it. The Top 10 Best Bands in Provo right now. It's time the world heard what was coming out of this small town and took notice. Lack of major label attention in Provo is saddening, considering the incredible atmosphere and the musical growth it fosters. No city since early 2000's Chicago has had this kind of energy and excitement surrounding its music scene.