Anchorage is experiencing a musical renaissance this summer. Whether as a reaction to our year of quarantine together or just the natural creative cycle that goes with life here, one thing is certain – music fans will experience a journey to hell. So let’s round up some of the acts that get us excited about the most in the press.

The alt-pop duo Jonathan Heynen and Holly Ritterbush have been playing quiet cover versions for two years. However, after a successful debut of their original songs at the third annual Vanniversary, they plan to drop the covers altogether. Equal parts Joss Stone and The Head and The Heart, Heynen and Ritterbush’s eclectic sound and heartbreaking lyrics will leave you begging for more.

Matt Hopper and the Roman Candles

It’s been a while since Matt Hopper took the stage in Alaska, but with COVID in full swing, we’ve been lucky enough to lure him home. Rooted in the classic rock tradition with a touch of delicate folk, Matt Hopper’s band has the guitars and vocals to make everyone smile. While we love Hopper’s old catalog, we look forward to releasing all of the new music he wrote during his acclimatization in 2020.

Punk fans of the early 2000s can rejoice because Anchorage finally has a band to call their own. Although Sideways has gained a loyal following with their ass-kicked covers of Blink-182, Green Day and Sum 41, the guys start producing originals. Their recently released “Dogbite” has that DIY garage sound that makes our hearts beat faster.

The perfectionists at Lilac have been working on their sound for two years and are finally about to step out of the shadows and into the light. Lilac is a cocktail of shoegaze, emo and instrumental and has a song for every taste. Look for them to debut this August.

This hardcore metal band already has an underground following and is on par with the likes of 36 crazyfists. Heavy guitars and even heavier vocals underline the musical art of Beneath Atlantis and make them a metal band that you should watch. Don’t miss their energetic shows at Koot’s.

At the beginning of the year we heard about Husse and his work with the Vitus collective for the first time. Now Husse is stepping into the limelight with his electronic beats and collaborations with local hip-hop artists. His most popular song “HELLO” has 13,000 plays and definitely has Lil Nas X vibes.

This band has been on our radar for a few years, but it wasn’t until we saw them live two weeks ago that we understood the hype. Concrete to Clouds has gone from folk rock to alt rock, and the change is music to our ears. With epic breakdowns and an occasional sax solo, Concrete to Clouds is the kind of band that will keep you dancing all night.

Another band that emerged from COVID, Stone Atlas, is a modern blues rock group. Their live shows are filled with epic drum solos, guitar theater and a healthy helping of croaky vocals. They recently celebrated the release of their new album by playing a set on Girdwood’s Jack Spat. The show was packed and judging by the reception, Stone Atlas is a band we’ll hear a lot more from in the months to come.