Best New Band: 1974
1974 is the kind of band that aims high. Their 2011 album 1974 and the Battle for the Lazer Fortress was a conceptual piece about a dystopian future world locked in an epic battle for the preservation of humanity's very consciousness, and it opened with a 16-minute instrumental overture. As four of the five members of the band explained in a conference call (they're also the kind of band that tries to operate democratically), they spent over three years woodshedding material before they even played live. So, in other words, the average listener would probably call 1974 a prog rock band. But, as guitarist/singer Mike Forgette explains, "We all come from different backgrounds. The progressive output is because of the myriad of influences," which range from classic rock and prog to punk and pop-rock. "We're very much traditionalists, if I can use that terminology," says guitarist Clymer, who calls the band's arranging process "90 percent a collaborative edit" of a song any of them might bring to the table. A story line is important — bassist Gary Dionne explains, "We do write an outline of a story, workshopping together the music over the story" — but Forgette says the music is meant to convey the narrative. "Even if you don't know the story, you're ready for the next song," he says. The band is currently working material for a series of EPs, which Forgette calls "as ambitious as, if not more ambitious than" last year's album. And eventually — next year, they hope — they want to return to the world of Lazer Fortress, which has massive backstory Forgette says "kind of deserves to be its own thing."
Listen to the band: