15 up-and-coming drummers you need to hear
DRUM EXPO 2014: Despite all of the jokes other band members throw at drummers, the drum world is brimming with talent, whether it be delicate folk brush players, sublime percussionists, human metronome prog fiends or lightning fast metal merchants. Yep, there are scores of super talent sticksmen and women out there.
So, to help point you in the direction of some of the finest new drum talent, we've rounded up 15 drummers (and a pair of percussionists) we think you should check out.
Powered by the beats of Gavin Maguire, Dearly Beloved shoot out infectious blasts of distortion, reckless energy and feedback. The Toronto band is the brainchild of vocalist/ bassist Rob Higgins and singer Niva Chow.
Mars Volta sticksman Dave Rlitch battered the skins on the title track of their latest album, Enduro, while Maguire handled the rest of the album and showed some serious skills in the process too. Seven Plagues is an unbridled rock wrecking machine, while Between Finger & Thumb builds a wall of fuzzy guitars as Maguire hammers away.
For fans of: Pixies, Sonic Youth, Queens of the Stone Age
There are plenty of big riffed, hard hitting, meat and potatoes rockers on the US active rock scene but drummer Paul O'Brien and Texans Nothing More are a real gem. The band's sound packs one part Sevendust, one part Killswitch Engage and the merest hint of Nickelback.
O'Brien's tasty kick and fill work on This Is The Time proves he has the chops to fit in with even the hardest rocking of US hard rockers.
For fans of: Sevendest, Godsmack, Nickelback
South African band of brothers Kongos' genre-swapping ways belie their mass mainstream appeal. Recent hit single Come With Me Now is a juddering dance rock cracker filled with percussion, hand claps and a funky beat from Jesse Kongos.
The jaunty faux shuffle of I'm Only Joking hints at a darker underbelly while Escape is reminiscent of a stripped back modern day Killers. It seems to prove that whatever these brothers try their hand at, it works.
For fans of: The Killers, Bastille, Kings of Leon
Levi Dickerson and this troupe of barely-out-of-their teens rockers were clearly raised on southern rock and pure unfiltered blues, and they’re not afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves. But they’re also comfortable adding a heady dose of modern metal, as tracks like Words of Wisdom and Stagnant Water prove.
Their 2014 Bob Marlette produced album is a lesson in hard and heavy kit work from Dickerson.
For fans of: Seether, Clutch, Black Stone Cherry
As the latest in a long line of Brit rock bands channeling the spirit of sunshine drenched Los Angeles pop punk, it's difficult to see anything other than success for drummer Dan Clarke and Decade.
The band have a brand new album out called Good Luck, and it’s packed with upbeat, radio friendly tunes. Clarke’s unbusy and to-the-point playing works particularly well on Brainfreeze, while latest single Callous is coated in sugary sweet hooks.
For fans of: You Me At Six, Set Your Goals, Don Broco
Portland indie folkers Ages and Ages feature not just tasty drummer Levi Cecil, but also a pair of percussionists - Sarah Riddle and Annie Bethancourt - adding (literally) all kinds of bells and whistles to their sound.
Divisonary, the band’s recently released second album, has jangling beats peppered throughout its mainstream ready indie pop. Big Idea is centred around hand claps and Cecil’s kick drum before being filled with bright snare shots through a perky final salvo. Brilliantly inventive.
For fans of: Dawes, Fleet Foxes, Mumford & Sons
Drummer Matt Puhy and the band Wilson built their reputation as top class creators of rock mayhem in their home state of Michigan. With the release of their debut album, the unapologetic Full Blast Fuckery, they're taking their hell raising juggernaut on a mission of global conquest.
Tracks like If You Ever Leave Me I Will Find You and Snake Eyes give Puhy license to assault the drums, while beard enthusiast and singer Chad Nicefield hollers for his life. It’s not subtle or sophisticated, but it’s brash, loud and a five-man riot in musical form.
For fans of: Five Finger Death Punch, Mudvayne, CKY
Is there something in the Australian water when it comes to producing quality, no-nonsense hard rock drummers? Following in the hallowed tradition that spawned AC/DC's Phil Rudd and Airbourne skin-smasher Ryan O'Keeffe comes Jarrod Medwin, drummer for Melbourne four-piece Massive.
The band released their album, Full Throttle, independently in Australia last year but now it’s coming to the UK courtesy of Earache Records. It’s the soundtrack to a party that always ends with the cops knocking down the door, and you know you’re heading for hard rock nirvana when Medwin busts out the cowbell on Lacey.
For fans of: Rose Tattoo, Airbourne, Buckcherry
You might not know the name Kaz Rodriguez yet, but Aaron Spears does. That's because the gospel superstar uses Kaz's tracks when he heads out on clinic tours. Not too shabby, right? Penning tunes the great and good of the drum world can play insane grooves over isn't Kaz's only talent - he's also an impeccable drummer in his own right. Undoubtedly one of Brit drum's brightest stars.
For fans of: Tony Royster Jr, Gerald Heyward, Aaron Spears
If you want to know why Pepe Clarke, drummer for SoCal metal troupe Kyng, is in this list you need to check out the drumcam footage of Clarke blasting through Daath Ovum. It's not just the fast kick work that impresses us, nor the raw power Clarke plays with or his neat cymbal accents. They're all great, but what we love the most is the dead-eyed consistency with which he plays throughout the four-minute track. Precise work from a metal master in the making.
For fans of: Lamb of God, Slipknot, Machine Head
Jonathan 'Jonny' Wolf
Husband and wife duo Carley and Jonathan Wolf dub their raucous, raw music ‘stomp and roll’. Carley howls and plays guitar while Jonathan, who names Daru Jones, Earl Palmer and Jon Theodore as among his influences, batters the drums.
The couple started gigging as the Ghost Wolves in 2011, recording their debut album, Man, Woman, Beast and while playing in a duo means there’s plenty of room for drums, Jonathan is a keen exponent of less is more, laying down the perfect stripped-back foundation for his wife's primal screams.
For fans of: The White Stripes, Deap Vally, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
As sticksman for eclectic LA upstarts togetherPANGEA, Erik Jimenez has a tough old task. One minute tP are wallowing in post-rock reflective melancholy, the next they're blasting out a fat slab of garage indie. Luckily, Jimenez takes it all on the chin, as seen by the well-placed off beats strewn throughout Offers and the straight-up but solid as you like snare smashes that punctuate Snakedog.
For fans of: Parquet Courts, Fidlar, Black Lips
It takes a gutsy band to throw together elements of classic Bay area thrash, modern metal and boundary-testing prog, but that's the stylistic mish-mash Empress AD somehow manage to pull off. Drummer Edd Unwin can be grooving in 7/8 one minute and launching a ferocious double kick flurry the next in a playing style that echoes Gavin Harrison, Brann Dailor and even Dave Lombardo. Needless to say, he's got chops to burn.
For fans of: Mastodon, Opeth, Metallica
Metalcore has become somewhat oversubscribed in the last few years, but Heartist are one of the finer examples the genre has spawned post-2010. Matt Marquez's playing on tracks like Pressure Point is key to the band's appeal - it's packed with in your face snare and rapid-fire kick.
While their 2012 debut EP pointed at promise, their first full-length, Feeding Fiction, released this summer, is all set to deliver the goods.
For fans of: Of Mice and Men, Killswitch Engage, Trivium
Anika is fast making a name for herself in 2014 thanks to her impeccably played YouTube videos. The online sensation is fast-approaching 600,000 views on her Alter Ego video. The track was written in its entirety by Anika and features a stunning combination of assured groove, mature feel and startling technical skill as the Meinl artist splices tasty hat work with fleet-footed kick work. Proving that Alter Ego was no fluke, her latest track Queenz is every bit as impressive.
For fans of: Marco Minnemann, Benny Greb, Thomas Lang