10 Bands To Watch (and Listen To)

Every day, the West Michigan music scene grows and changes, adding new faces and developing strong talents. So with our annual Music Issue, we here at ​Revue​ strive to highlight just a few of those bands and artists who showcase the shifting landscape and ceaseless creative wellspring we have right here in our community. Here’s our guide to who’s heating up this summer. 


Rising DJ/producer Karlie Powell, a.k.a. KAR POW, describes her sound as “in your face party music with a bad bitch mentality.” Her live sets hit hard, heavy on bass, but never constricted to any one genre. She drops everything from deep, dark, warehouse-ready techno to angsty SoundCloud rap, and has already blown up on stages like The Intersection and last summer’s Breakaway Music Festival. This summer she’s set to return to Breakaway, as well as Chicago’s massive Spring Awakening Festival alongside some of the top DJs in the world. 

Hometown: Grand Rapids 
For Fans of:
Alison Wonderland, Whipped Cream 

Flexadecibel. Photo: Adam Berta


Helping to reinvigorate the Muskegon music scene, high-volume seven-piece funk band Flexadecibel has grooved its way into the hearts of music fans of all ages. The group has hosted rowdy dance parties at Unruly Brewing, jammed out by the lakeshore for the Burning Foot Beer Festival, and even helped bring live music back to Muskegon’s L.C. Walker Arena earlier this year when it opened for electronic duo Pegboard Nerds. With a summer already packed with festivals all around Michigan, the future looks bright for this good-vibe band. 

Hometown: Muskegon
For Fans of: Lettuce, Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers 

The Quirk. Courtesy Photo

The Quirk

 It’s no coincidence that The Quirk has emerged as one of the most exciting acts in GR’s resilient punk scene. Led by frontwoman Bek Graham, the band has a healthy dose of light-hearted ska sensibilities balanced by the bludgeoning beauty of ’90s era girl-grunge.  The band has torn it up on stages like The Pyramid Scheme and 741, and looks to be hitting its stride now, following spots on the Pouzza Fest in Montreal and the final Bled Fest in Howell earlier this summer.

Hometown: Grand Rapids 
For Fans of: The Distillers, War on Women

Parlor Voice. Photo: Kendra Kamp

Parlor Voice 

With a chill yet somber sound that feels like eavesdropping on an intimate conversation even in the largest of concert spaces, indie outfit Parlor Voice recalls the genre’s origins in the early ’90s. Currently gearing up for a 10-day summer tour – while also beginning work on a forthcoming full-length album – the band’s blend of crisp guitar lines with careful, nuanced vocals creates a captivating experience that more should definitely discover for themselves. 

Hometown: Grand Rapids 
For Fans of: American Football, The World Is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid To Die

Callab. Photo: Terpstra Photo


 The come-up for singer/rapper Eric Carter, a.k.a. Singa Callab, is real. Long in the making, Callab’s moment has arrived, with his recent return to Grand Rapids after a 17-month stretch on the road that saw him doing more than 200 shows all around the world with the legendary Def Jam Recordings. Sharing tours with everyone from Lil Baby to Dru Hill, Callab’s sound has connected with a wide range of audiences and artists alike, including GR’s own Great Ones — Lady Ace Boogie and JRob — whom he’s frequently collaborated with, including on his definitive new single, ​Stance​.

Hometown: Grand Rapids
For Fans of: Trey Songz, Tee Grizzley 

Kaitlin Rose. Courtesy Photo

Kaitlin Rose 

A storyteller in the purest sense of the term, Rose bares her buoyant soul with songs of personal struggle and strife, set aloft by her powerful voice. A gem and a fixture in Kalamazoo’s music community, she adds another great chapter to the city’s already rich roots music history. Look for her to shine this summer when she returns to her hometown of Delton for the Buttermilk Jamboree on June 14. 

Hometown: Kalamazoo
For Fans of: Brandi Carlile, Joy Williams

Twinz. Courtesy Photo


From childhood friends to party DJs, then aspiring EDM producers, the duo of Austin Rios and Caymen Riley has blown up in just three years. Voted by fans onto last year’s Breakaway lineup, the pair slayed the stage, earning their way back to the fest this summer after an explosive year of high-profile opening gigs. Get ready for more bone-rattling bass drops and game-changing moves from this innovative partnership. 

Hometown: Caledonia 
IG: @_twinzofficial_ 
For Fans of: ​Excision, Space Jesus 

Secret Forte. Courtesy Photo

Secret Forte

Fresh off celebrating the release of its debut EP, ​We Say Go​, late last month, indie trio Secret Forte has made getting out its mission this summer. Already slated for Festival of the Arts, the group aims to gain lots more exposure soon, with shows around GR and outside the area. Originally formed as the duo of vocalist Juan Rincones and guitarist Eric Grundy, the band recently expanded to a trio with the addition of drummer Elyssa Snow, and plans to record a follow-up this fall.

Hometown: Grand Rapids
IG:​ @secretforte
For Fans of: Young The Giant, Hippo Campus

Free Hat. Courtesy Photo

Free Hat 

Nearly indefinable, the otherworldly sound of GR’s Free Hat swirls together everything from jazz and psychedelia to industrial and punk. Somehow the five-piece manages to make a vibraphone and a saxophone work as natural co-stars, while simultaneously containing its cosmic creations to surprisingly conventional song structures. It’s a work of staggering curiosity that will surely only get weirder and wilder when the band releases its debut album ​Bovine Beauty​ on June 6 at Founders, so keep your ears – and mind – open.

Hometown: Grand Rapids
Genre:Jam/Experimental jazz
For Fans of: Lotus, Moon Hooch