Features > Columns > Pepper

    So every shmuck rock critic has made a list of who they think are the next big artists. So here at the EmpyreLounge.com, we are fighting for some respect so we figured lets rip off the idea and do one of our own. Now we didnt go the Spin route and put just whoever is popular now – well in a couple instances we did, but that is besides the point. The majority of this list are either new bands or bands just about to explode on your radio. Regardless of how hard we tried, we did leave off a ton of great artists that are definitly worthy of our little list, O.A.R., Familiar 48, Rosey, and Wayne to name a few. So sit back, have a beer (or 8 or 9) and enjoy the 10 artists ready to blow up. Don't go sitting back to much though as want to know who we missed or who on our list has no shot in hell.
Rusted Root
Rusted Root

1. Rusted Root
I would like to reach out my hand and welcome Rusted Root back to the party. Sure, the band never really went anywhere, actually even putting out three really good cds since hitting it big in the early 90s with "Send Me On My Way." But the band is back April 9th with a new cd with original member, Jenn Wertz returning to the fold. Well her return back equal more record sales? Only time will tell, but this is a great band that lightning is ready to strike once again.

Michael Glabicki & Jenn Wertz Interview
CD REVIEW – 'Welcome to My Party'
10/22/00 – "The band seemed to be rejuvenated and..."
Mike Kaveney: "Messages Music Can Provide"

2. John Mayer
With a plethora of singer songwriters on the scene now, you would have to be an idiot not to include one on this list. With Ryan Adams and Rufus Wainright scoring big critic success last year, it sure looks like John Mayer will be the next in line to strike it big and surpass the others. With sold out concerts all over the country, John Mayer has an underground following, much like the one that launched the Dave Matthews Band into superstardom close to 10 years ago. Songs such as "83", "Why Georgia" "Body is a Wonderland," and "Back to You" show that Mayer is ready to hit the big time.


3. Rubyhorse
So last year, I went and saw a Flickerstick show and was blown away by one of the opening bands, Rubyhorse. They were an unsigned band from Boston, MA (by way of Cork, Ireland) and blew all the other bands on the bill away. Couple weeks after the show and BAM, the news comes out that they have a record deal as well. With their 1st Island Def Jam release (Rise) on the way (probably mid-2002), Rubyhorse is set to make a big splash. With killer melodies and great songwriting, Rubyhorse stands out in the cluttered crowd of new bands.

07/18/01 – Flickerstick & Rubyhorse
• Dave Farrell Interview

4. Disturbed
Another band that probably shouldn't be included on the list since they were everywhere last year. Their debut cd, The Sickness, exploded onto the scene with numerous rock singles. Everyone has heard "Down with the Sickness," "Stupify" "Voices," and "The Game," but the whole disc is much more that those songs. Their move from the second stage to the main stage at last summers Ozzfest just goes to show that Disturbed is one of the top metal bands in music today. Disturbed is currently in the studio recording their 2nd CD.

Greenwheel5. Greenwheel
Ready to be released in May, Greenwheel's debut Soma Holiday is already on my list if top CDs of 2002. This five member group out of St. Charles, Missouri are ready to explode on rock radio. With a sound somewhere between matchbox twenty and Fuel, expect Greenwheel to first break sometime in April with first single "Shelter." I guaran-fuckin-tee that you will be hearing a lot about this band by the end of the year.

CD REVIEW – Greenwheel 'Soma Holiday'

6. Phantom Planet
With an upcoming spot as the opening act for Incubus, Phantom Planet look to be right on the verge of something big. Sure the band may have gotten its first big break thanks to the acting skills of drummer Jason Schwartzman (Slackers, Rushmore), the band has proved its musical worth with their second CD, The Guest. But this is more than just an actor trying to play music. First single, "California" is all over radio dial, and even debuted recently on TRL. While The Guest has gotten strong critical praise, anyone who has seen the band live will tell you that Phantom Plant is a band on the rise.

Dashboard Confessional
Dashboard Confessional

7. Dashboard Confessional
Christopher Ender Carrabba has Trent Reznor syndrome. Instead of playing and recording under his own name, Carrabba is the only member of the band Dashboard Confessional. According to Carrabba's Web site, "Chris didn't want to name his new act after himself because right from the start he wanted his fans to sing along and be a part of his performance. He thought a solo name might discourage his audience from being an integral part of the show." The name fits though; Dashboard Confessional, at least the "Confessional" part of it, is the perfect description for Carrabba's songs. Carrabba's songs are all acoustic, all sorrowful, all about relationships, and all pretty good. All-acoustic acts don't usually hit superstar status, but Confessional's most recent album, The Place You Have Come to Fear the Most, has been receiving some radio play and could be the calm before the storm.

8. Dispatch
Dispatch are a three member college-band who mingle folk, funk, rock, and reggae sounds. They are Brad Corrigan, Pete Heimbold, and Chad Urmston and their unique sound has clubs and bars across the Northeast, and farther, filling up with fans. Dispatch are four albums deep into their existence, with a live album to boot. They feature both acoustic and electric talents, and have had enough practice in the game to be noticed by more than just us losers at Empyre Lounge. Rolling Stone ranked their 2000 release Who Are We Living For? among the top ten albums of that year. That particular accolade hasn't brought Dispatch fame and glory, but their music still has a shot to bring them whatever they want, or wherever they want go.

Interview with Brad Corrigan of Dispatch
04/06/02- Dispatch live @ the Electric Factory


9. The Coup
Both Rolling Stone and Spin said The Coup's most recent release, Party Music, was among the best releases of 2001. Boots Riley and DJ Pam are The Coup, and Party Music is the duo's third major label release. The Coup are one of those groups that are right on the verge-critics love them, their fans love them, but the rest of the world has yet to hear of them. It could have something to do with their overtly political motivations-they give the former Rage Against the Machine a run for their activist money-or something to do with their hip-hop sound that doesn't reverberate every other rapper and rhymer out there. Whatever the reason may be, it isn't reason to hold Boots Riley and DJ Pam down. Whether they make it big, or remain low-key, their music will always be forceful even when it's funny. The Coup know how to grab a listener's attention not only with their beats, but with their near-preaching lyrics as well. If you can listen to what they have to say, you won't be able to wait to hear what's next.

10. Default
Who knows if this one should even count. Is it hard to pick a band as a "Next Big Thing," when their debut cd, The Fallout, has already gone gold in the United States as well as their Native Canada? Default is a killer rock band that exploded onto the scene last year with "Waisting My Time," a song that does nothing but continue to pick up momentum. With great vocals and crunching guitars, Default looks like a band that will be around for some years to come. "Live a Lie" could easily be the best song on the cd and will be a big hit.

Interview with Dave Benedict & Jeremy Hora of Default!
CD REVIEW – 'The Fallout'
03/16/02: Bush & Default live in Philly
Exclusive Default Download