15 Chicago Bands You Need To Listen To Now


1. Workout Music


Talk about some funky fresh sounds… Workout Music is full of high-drive energy, and they definitely aren’t lacking in stage presence. Their first single, “All Over Town,” just debuted, and it’s already catching on in the underground scene. It has a Coheed & Cambria meets Fallout Boy kind of sound to it, and we dig it. We think you will too!

See, you liked it. They’ve recently played shows at the Sheffield Garden Walk, and they’re sure to be playing again sometime in the near future. We think they’re about to blow up, and it shouldn’t be long.

2. Model Stranger


Foo Fighters meets Indie with these guys, and the result is damn near perfection. The music evokes a sense of nostalgia at times, but in a way that brings back good memories. Or maybe that’s just us? Who the hell knows, but we do know that we love their music.

The good news is that you’ll get a chance to check them out at Elbo Room on October 31st for the 5th Annual Halloween Party. What makes it even better is the fact that it’ll be an even more fun, party setting, so you can get a true feel for the guys. We can’t wait.

3. Fleeting Suns


Ever wonder what it would be like if Counting Crows went a little folkish? Well, look no further than Fleeting Suns. They’ll start you off with something smooth and soulful, and then break out in foot stomping madness three seconds later. No song shows that better than “Olly Olly Oxen Free.”

Yeah, we still have no idea where the name of the song’s name came from either, but it’s definitely a fun little song. Maybe you can ask them on November 1st when they play at the Beverly Art Center?

4. The Ivorys


It seems like Indie bands are a dime a dozen these days, but The Ivorys have a little something extra that seems to be catching a lot of people’s attention these days. Maybe it’s the catchy guitar riffs, maybe it’s just the fact that they have chill grooves that everyone can jam to, but it’s hard not to enjoy them, especially live.

They’ve played everywhere from SXSW to plenty of local shows, and now they’re going on tour all around the country. So, unfortunately, you won’t be able to catch them live any time in the foreseeable future unless you want to travel to L.A. or NYC, but, hey, we know they’d love the support.

5. Alaya


So, you’re looking for something with a little more grit to it? Well, Alaya may just be exactly what you’re looking for. Instead of happy-go-lucky music, they turn up the distortion and have plenty of wailing guitar riffs and double-bass pedal to prove it. Their singer’s voice is full of passion and epicness in one of their newer songs, “Inside.”

They recently announced that they’re planning on a bunch of new tour dates in the near future, and they’re sure to announce them soon. After seeing some clips from their performance at Tech-Fest in the UK, we know we’ll be sure to keep our ears to the ground.

6. Super Happy Fun Club


C’mon, you know you want to check them out just after hearing their name. The Super Happy Fun Club is a band that definitely has a more unique vibe. Featuring an awesome synth player and lyrics that everyone can relate to, Super Happy Fun Club is one of those bands you just have to sing along with. Don’t worry, the rest of the crowd will be doing the exact thing.

While they’re currently hard at work writing new music, you can still take the time to enjoy all of their older hits. We recommend “My Life’s A Mess.” You can check all of them out here. You’ll be glad you did.

7. American Wolf


American Wolf’s about to release their new album, My Main Sport, and you’re not going to want to miss their Halloween Show at the Throne Room on the 31st. Transient guitars, and smooth, flowing vocals lead you on a harmonic journey in their new song, which shares its name with the name of the album.

With their new album coming out, you can expect them to be playing quite a few local and regional shows to spread the word. With recent success from similar bands such as Walk The Moon, it’s only a matter of time before they’re going on huge tours. Guys, you kick ass.

8. IAmDynamite

IAD top 2

What can two guys with an eccentric style and funky fresh music accomplish? Well, quite a bit, it would seem. Plus, something tells us that they’re the type of people we’d love to party with. What some may seem to think is “all over the place” in terms of musicality is fun, lively, and catchy. Check it:

Sure, they may be on the road quite a bit these days, but everyone seems to be in love with them. They’re currently working on a new album, and have even set up a series of videos to follow them behind the scenes as they get ready for its release. Also, we gotta give these guys props. These are some of the best music videos we’ve seen.


9. Mighty Fox


How have these guys not hit major airwaves yet?! After listening to just one song, we’re pretty much positive that they’ve mastered their sound in a very, very short amount of time. The vocals, haunting at times, were crisp and clean. This band almost reminds us of an American Coldplay. It’s pretty badass.

You can buy their recently-released album,A�Oceans, on Itunes, and you should definitely get on that. We checked them out at their most recent show at Mojoes, and they absolutely killed it. They’re one of those bands that sound just has good live as they do on the album, and we’re definitely impressed. You need to be at their next local show. Seriously.

10. Big Paraid


Big Paraid is under the radar. Like real under the radar. If you’re a hipster, prepare to eat this shit up, because this band is one that you’ll be able to claim you knew about first before they blew up. Their video for “Walk In Place” only broke 15,000 views a short time ago. Quick, check it out before everyone else does!

You’d better follow them on twitter to find out where they’re playing next. We can tell you that more people are beginning to catch on to their music after seeing the crowd watching their set at BC Fest. If you’re a real badass, you can still grab their most recent, self-titled record in vinyl. Yeah, vinyl.

11. Phosphene


Phosphene definitely has some darker tones to it, but their music is powerful and full of emotion. The lead singer’s beautiful voice is almost mesmerizing, but the accompaniment of the grinding guitars keeps you right in the moment. They may come off as a little rough around the edges, but they’re always fun to watch on stage.

Their recent show at the Cobra Lounge was packed, and it’s no wonder why they’re appearing in interviews all over the place. They seem to just get it, and their target audience falls in love with them. Oh, and the lead singer isn’t exactly hard on the eyes. Phosphene, you’ve just gained yourself some new groupies…

12. Furious Frank


Before there was Ska, there was Americana. What some may claim to be a dead genre of music is still alive and well in Chicago, though, and what Furious Frank can do with their musicality is pretty damn impressive. Easily the largest band on this list, these guys pull a little bit of traditional style and mix it with contemporary themes to create a sound that’s both unique and entertaining.

While you won’t be able to catch them until October, it will be well worth the trip to Urbana to check them out. Every time we’ve seen them, there have been nothing but good vibes all around, and these guys love to hang out and chat with their fans.

13. The Lulabelles


It’s kind of rare to see a folk band come out of Chicago, and the trend of folk music hasn’t quite reached Chicago yet, but The Lulabelles are already ahead of the game as one of the best live acoustic folk acts you’re going to see. Featuring a powerful violinist and moving harmonies, you’re guaranteed to get chills at least once every time you check them out.

They’re the perfect band to check out on a date night with someone special. You’ll get the chance to check them out at the Chicago Folk Fest in November at Jerry’s Sandwiches. You won’t want to miss it.

14. Dead On TV


Punk Rock at its finest here, ladies and gents. Sure, they’re a little strange at times, but it ultimately leads to them being able to keep your attention. Instead of the usual, you’ll get a whole lot of sexual undertones and humor from these guys. We definitely learned this after watching their video for “I’m Easy.”

Hey, you have to appreciate their sense of humor, and that humor is definitely prevalent when they’re on stage, too. While the band’s page says, “If you have any sense of self-preservation, you will avoid the following events,” we think we’ll take the risk to see them on October 18th at Township.

15. Draft Week


These guys literally sound like their music could be straight off an episode of Sons of Anarchy. With a distinctive, edgy sound, Draft Week would be perfect for anywhere from a biker bar to a house party. They’re not quite grunge, not quite alternative, but they definitely kick a lot of ass.

We just checked out their set at Cubby Bear last week, and you’re definitely going to see what we’re talking about when you check them out live. Something tells us it won’t be long until they’re on a Madden playlist.

Did we miss your favorite band? Comment below and we’ll check them out! This is only the first part of a two part series, and we love checking out new music!