If you’re a full-time singer – or at least, a really serious one – you probably have a good voice. Singing is not easy, and only a select few can really do it. Through really no fault of their own, many vocalists sound the same, and that includes ones in our scene. However, some really stand out, and that instant recognition only makes an artist all that much better. In this post, we’ll run down some alternative vocalists that you definitely know when you hear them.
Brian Fallon – The Gaslight Anthem
In a scene full of high-pitched, whiny and nasally vocals, The Gaslight Anthem stand out not only for their Jersey Shore-influenced brand of punk, but the gravelly voice of their frontman. With a deep, resonant rasp that reminds of his idol, Bruce Springsteen, Brian Fallon tackles more mature themes than many of his counterparts, and does it in an equal voice. As an aside, he also kinda looks like our next vocalist….
Chris Conley – Saves The Day
Chris Conley has not only provided one of the more unique voices in underground music over the past fifteen years, he’s managed to adopt a new voice while staying as unique. Over Saves The Day’s eight albums, Conley’s voice has gone from youthful exuberance to pleasant sweetness. The band’s sound has evolved too, but Conley has also become a much better singer technically. Throughout, he’s been easy to pick out.
Matt Pryor – The Get Up Kids
On just a “talent” standpoint, Matt Pryor isn’t really a great singer, and I say that as someone who adores him. Whether fronting The Get Up Kids, doing his solo thing under his own name/New Amsterdams/whatever, Pryor sounds good because 1) he’s hella unique, hence being in this post and 2) the pure emotion in his voice. He’s best in his quieter singing, but his strained yelling really works almost as well. You could give an honourable mention to his Get Up Kids bandmate Jim Suptic too for this post, come to think of it. And speaking of one band having two unique vocalists…
Matt Skiba/Dan Andriano – Alkaline Trio
Alkaline Trio have two frontmen, and they’re both unique and awesome. Combine Skiba’s rasp with the slightly-less-raspy and syrupy vocals of Andriano, and you have a formidable 1-2 punch. I wonder what drummer Derek Grant’s singing voice sounds like…
Davey Havok – AFI
I find Davey Havok’s voice harder to describe than others, but I’ll be damned if I don’t know it when I hear it. High-pitched but not whiny, Havok has enough balls in his voice to snarl with the best of them while cleanly bursting into his upper register. His voice is absolutely one of my faves. But, maybe my favourite voice of all belongs to…
Ben Kowalewicz – Billy Talent
Billy Talent is one of the most unique, ass-kicking rock bands around today, and that’s just thinking of Ian D’Sa’s hair guitar playing. Then, you think of the perfect snottiness of Ben Kowalewicz’s voice and it all comes together. It would be hard for him to front another type of band I think, mainly because his voice lends itself to punk so, so well. Kowalewicz is also just a talented singer, who has range and a nice vibrato. I just love the guy, and his band.
We – as always – could go on, and talk about people like Billie Joe Armstrong, Dave Grohl, Tim Armstrong, Dexter Holland, and Laura Jane Grace. Unique vocals help artists stand out, and while they don’t “choose” their voice – unless they’re Iggy Azalea or Shaggy – it’s a big, inadvertent help in making them awesome.