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Part reggae, part alternative rock, island rhythm, and punk spirit, Pepper has coined the term “Kona dub-rock” and it fits perfectly. Over 20 years into their career and eight full-length records, Pepper brought their Hawaii-origins spirit to the beaches of San Diego and kept on trucking. The three-piece band of friends has been close since middle school and began performing in 1996 with sonic influences from Three Plus and Sublime. After moving to San Diego, the band crisscrossed the world on tours like The Warped Tour and playing alongside artists like 311, Snoop Dogg, Slightly Stoopid, The Wailers, and more. Their latest full-length, Local Motion, peaked at #1 on the Billboard Reggae Album charts and #13 Billboard Independent Albums charts. This trio of pals have been still doing it the same way 20 years later, and show no signs of slowing down.
Watch: “Brand New Day” official music video.
Sounds Like: The Expendables, Dirty Heads, Sublime
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Most people when they play guitar sit on the edge of their couch, chair, or stand, very few hang upside down and nail a solo while spinning in a ring suspended in the air. Ariel Bellvalaire is that guitarist. Motivated by combining her passions of gymnastics, shred guitar, and pop songwriting, Ariel is a stand-out, unique creative musician. From playing lead guitar in a Guns ‘n Roses all-female tribute band called Paradise Kitty to playing for Michael Jackon’s ‘I Am A King Experience”, Ariel is now putting her own chops to work as a solo artist.
Watch: “Elastic” official music video.
Sounds Like: Avril Lavigne with shred, Aly & AJ, The Veronicas
Gear: Ernie Ball Paradigm Super Slinky electric guitar strings.
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Although they began as a normal group from Texas in 2010, Polyphia evolved into a group that has taken the instrumental prog rock/metal genre to new heights over the last 10 years. After gaining some fans from sharing covers of classical music pieces like Bach and Mozart, on their YouTube channel, and the ultimate departure of their singer in 2012, the band members released a play-through of their track “Impassion” from their Inspire EP. From there, Polyphia really caught fire, but their later releases really solidified their place in the evolving music scene. The relentless blend of instrumental math rock, metal, jazz, groove, and hip-hop has hooked ears around the world alongside artists like Chon, Covet, Intervals, and Ernie Ball artist Jason Richardson. Their latest release, New Levels New Devils, and subsequent singles have seen the band blend newer elements of EDM, Hip-Hop, and funk, alongside their heavy rock and metal fringes.
Sounds Like: Chon, Covet, Jason Richardson