617 Day: Ten Local Artists You Need To Know

617: 10 Local Artists
Graphics by Ainsley Basic

Happy 617 Day! Today, WERS is having an all-day celebration of the local music, local businesses, and local radio that help make our area code so awesome. Tune into 88.9 FM to hear a rotating cast of guest DJs from all around Boston play their favorite local artists. Check out the full line-up and read more about our 617 Day festivities here.

Earlier this year, we made a roundup of Ten Boston Artists You Need to Know, and now we’re back with more! From indie-folk to R&B, our music staff highlights these ten talented local artists.

 

WILL DAILEY

Bio: Will Dailey is one of many artists who's been faced with the choice between a paycheck and independence. He famously left a major label ten years ago to retain creative control, and as a result, stayed in Boston when others would have long ago left for New York or Nashville, becoming a regular at 88.9 in the process. 

Favorite Songs: Check out “Hollywood Hills” from Backflipping Forward for musical sunshine, and the closing track on 2018's Golden Walker, “Ultimate Companion,” for delightful melancholy.

What’s Next: It would appear that he's trying to play 100 shows this year; keep an eye out!

- Phil Jones, Afternoon Host

 

BAD RABBITS

Bio: Bad Rabbits are one of the rare bands that truly blend R&B and Rock into one complete package. They've been active in Boston since 2007 (though most members had been in other bands before then), and have consistently blended synth and guitar into an ever-changing sound that is always conducive to booty shaking. 

Favorite Songs: Check out the irresistible early track “Can't Fool Me” for a younger band bursting with confidence. Listen to 2018's “Feels Good” for the chiller side. The band has a heavier side too; the extremely relevant “American Nightmare” is a ride all the way through. 

What’s Next: The band has been quiet since 2018 but has been releasing old material on vinyl, and it would seem, plotting a return soon.

- Phil Jones, Afternoon Host

 

TALL HEIGHTS

Bio: The indie-folk duo Tall Heights, composed of Tim Harrington and Paul Wright, first met in their hometown of Sturbridge, MA. Once they realized their musical potential, the two took to the streets of Boston, first busking and then making their way to open mics. Since those busking days, the duo has put out three records and toured with artists such as Ben Folds and Jose Gonzalez. 

Favorite songs: “Spirit Cold,” “Keeps Me Light,” “River Wider” 

What’s next: The duo just released a new song called “The Mountain” that they wrote during quarantine. They plan on releasing all the new music they wrote during that time, over the next few months. 

- Meghan Hockridge, Staff Writer

 

BELLY

Bio: Tanya Donelly, based in Boston, formed Belly with Gail Greenwood and Chris and Tom Gorman, all of whom met in high school in Rhode Island. Donelly had also co-founded The Breeders with Kim Deal of the Pixies. Belly released three albums Star and King before breaking up in 1996. The band reunited in 2018 and released DOVE. 

Favorite Songs: “Feed The Tree,” “Slow Dog,” “Seal My Fate” 

What’s next: The band is enjoying the newfound autonomy they have over their releases. And they hopefully might tour again soon.

- Meghan Hockridge, Staff Writer

 

SLOTHRUST

Bio: Once students at Sarah Lawrence College and now a successful local band, Slothrust has come a long way. And their sound is only getting better and better. The band’s fifth album, Parallel Timeline, is coming out September 10th, and you can catch one of my favorite Slothrust songs and one of their new singles "Cranium" on our new music hour All New from 8-9!

Favorite Songs: "Cranium," "Let's Stay Together"

What's Next: Slothrust is set to release a new album on September 10th titled Parallel Timeline.

- Tatum Jenkins, Music Coordinator

 

AMANDA PALMER

Bio: Amanda Palmer has been a stripper, an author, a theater director and a living statue, but she absolutely shines as a musician. She found success through her band The Dresden Dolls and now has released six solo albums.

Favorite Songs: "Do It Like A Rockstar," "Astronaut"

What’s Next: While she hasn’t released any new music yet this year, Amanda Palmer is keeping fans up to date via her blog

- Tatum Jenkins, Music Coordinator

 

PALEHOUND

Bio: After releasing an EP at Sarah Lawrence College that became successful, Ellen Kempner known by the stage name Palehound, moved to Boston and found her voice as an artist. She got signed in 2017 and has released three amazing albums. She and Jay Som formed the band Bachelor, and you can hear their song "Stay in the Car" on our new music hour All New from 8-9.

Favorite Songs: "The City," "Stay in the Car," "Sea of Blood"

What’s Next: As Palehound, Ellen Kempner will be touring with Adrianne Lenker in November and December. Bachelor just made their live debut this month and has plans to tour across the U.S. later this year.

- Tatum Jenkins, Music Coordinator

 

FUTURE TEENS

Bio: Future Teens has been mixing upbeat instrumentation with unapologetically truthful - and often ironic - storytelling since their 2017 album Hard Feelings. The Boston-based quartet, composed of Amy Hoffman, Daniel Radin, Maya Mortman and Colby Blauvelt, labels their music as “bummer pop.” Their latest EP Deliberately Alive came out in March, capturing the struggles of growing up but also highlighting the growth made along the way. 

Favorite Songs: “Guest Room,” “In Love Or Whatever,” “Believe” 

What’s Next: Future Teens will perform at Four Chord Music Festival in September and seem eager to get back to doing more live shows soon.

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

 

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER

Bio: This Boston-based band had its beginnings (and got its name) when lead singer-songwriter Dave Munro was deployed in the U.S. Navy as an air traffic controller. Munro sent demos home before meeting Casey Sullivan and officially forming the group. Air Traffic Controller has released three albums and an EP. Along the way, they’ve earned many awards and recognitions, including being a Billboard Hot 100 Fest performer in 2015. 

Favorite Songs: “Blame,” “Hurry, Hurry,” and “Sometimes”

What’s Next: Air Traffic Controller was in the middle of recording their latest album when the pandemic first hit, postponing production. They put out the single “Sometimes” last August and are hoping to release the rest of the album later this year.

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

 

MIRANDA RAE

Bio: Born in Cambridge, R&B singer-songwriter Miranda Rae is known for her smooth vocals and timeless yet modern sound. She made her debut in 2016 with the EP Defying Love and has since released a second EP and several singles. At last year’s Boston Music Awards, Rae won R&B artist of the year. 

Favorite Songs: “Moonlight,” “Thinkin’ Bout You,” and “Sure”

What’s Next: Miranda Rae has already released three singles in 2021, so it seems like another big release could be on the horizon.

- Nora Onanian, Web Services Coordinator

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