Sounds Like: Catcher in the Rye-level alienation (with a slim window of hope) set in a pulsing hip-hop/EDM landscape
For Fans of: Awolnation, Barns Courtney, Imagine Dragons
Why You Should Pay Attention: Earlier this year, Missio's angst-ridden "Middle Fingers" shook SiriusXM's Alt Nation, cracked Billboard's Alternative Songs Top 10 and stoked anticipation for their RCA Records debut, Loner. The Austin-based band have since landed on festival bills and some opening slots on Muse's tour with 30 Seconds to Mars.
"If you look on the surface, we'd seem like a really black sheep," Missio instrumentalist-producer David Butler says. "Our story is not, 'We played local clubs and blew up.' We're more of an Internet success story. That's how we got our start."
Over the past three years, Butler and vocalist-producer Matthew Brue morphed Missio's sound from ambient roots – an inventive Lana Del Rey cover lurks among earlier tracks on YouTube – to its current booming, razor-sharp state. Loaded with bruising bass, icy synths and dark imagery, Loner is an exploration of Brue's winding road to sobriety. "If we can have one thing out of this record," he says, "it's just to let people know that they're not alone."
They Say: Thanks to "Middle Fingers," Brue says "maybe like 8,000" people have flipped them the bird at once. "It is not an 'eff you' song," he says. "When we play 'Middle Fingers,' it's a chance for everyone in that room to be united. There's so much stress that people go through in a day. It's a really unique situation to come into a venue and leave all that stuff aside – political beliefs or whatever people disagree about outside of those rooms. It's really cool to see 500, 1,000, 5,000, or however many people uniting for that three minutes and 40 seconds."
Hear for Yourself: A disgruntled synth-rock "My Generation" for the millennial loner set, "Middle Fingers" is the year's anti-anthem. Reed Fischer