Singer-songwriter Dave Munro returned to his hometown, Boston, after serving in the U.S. Navy as a real-life air traffic controller and discovered an impressive number of fans, prompting the genesis of the aptly named rock band Air Traffic Controller. With a refreshing, modern day, indie-rock sound resembling the Decemberists, ATC further infuses its compositions with unforgettable pop sensibilities in the vein of Petty, McCartney, and Springsteen.
Miracles of Modern Science are an unlikely rock band. Using just mandolin, violin, cello, standup bass, and drums, they create explosive pop that upends notions of what these instruments can do. Dog Year, their debut LP, finds MOMS pushing the limits of their antique instruments and throwing aside conventions as readily as their genre-bending idols, Bowie and Bartok. You'll hear unhinged baritone vocals anchored by a looming upright bass, mandolin riffs that share more DNA with post-rock than bluegrass, and a two-man string section shredding as ferociously as the rock drummer behind them. The result is as daring as it is infectious.
Nearing graduation from Northeastern University's music industry program, Ryan Schmidt is coming into full bloom. His full-length debut, Black Sheep, Run, a hook-laden gem, has received local acclaim, and for the first time the singer-songwriter has toured outside of New England, including appearing at the 2011 South by Southwest music festival.