8 Illinois Bands Worth Adding to Your Summer Playlist


By Jack Kelly and Ryan Graves

Editor’s Note: This content comes from Buzz. Go to their website readbuzz.com for more content like this

Sometimes its easy to forget how many hardworking independent music scenes exist and across this corn-filled state. It’s hard to be more than a few hours from a city that boasts an actively functioning music community of people. Here’s a list of eight bands from Illinois that Ryan and Jack think deserves your attention this summer. Bands are listed in no particular order.

LOOMING (Springfield, IL)

Looming is highly ranked in the Springfield, Illinois music scene giving off an indie/alt/punk rock sound. Their newest release “Nailbiter” is a hard album to top in recent releases of Illinois. Their vocalist has a very unique voice, something like The Cranberries, which explains their spot-on cover of “Zombie.” This band is worth checking out and even more so seeing live. – Ryan Graves


Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!
Photo by Brian Galecki
Photo by Brian Galecki

EURIAH (Urbana, IL)

Euriah brings emo back from the dead. Although the band has only released one EP to date, it’s jampacked with great songs. “Clock,” “Composure,” “All Good Things,” “Start Over New,” are all very solid songs. The band is very close to releasing new music and after listening to their EP you’ll definitely join the rest of us in anticipation. If you like emo – especially if you like the band Bayside – then you’ll dig their sound. – R.G.

Photo by Veronica Mullen.
Photo by Veronica Mullen.


The Kickback is another one of those great bands from Chicago that is currently blowing up; the lead singer even did the weather for a news station in Cleveland, Ohio. They’ve played a few times at The Accord in Champaign and both have been great. The band is really fun to watch as the lead singer continually tells stories and jokes throughout the set and the music is even better. They’ll be playing at several festivals in Chicago this summer as well as The Accord again. – R.G.



The Fights are an alt-country band from Urbana, Illinois. They push their power from tele’s and steel guitars to really emphasize their folky sounds. The Fights break the mold in Urbana where folk bands don’t come a dime a dozen, especially considering the young age of the majority of their players. They give off a Old Crow Medicine show sound within their vocals, “Mary’s Song” is a definite “give it a listen” song of theirs that will give you an idea of exactly what they’ve got going on. – R.G.
The Fights

–  Ryan Graves

TIGRESS (Chicago, IL)

Tigress is a hardcore band that drips with anger, and it shows through their sonic intensity and politically charged lyrics. The guitar and drum action is composed of frantic, simple riffs followed by pillaring but concentrated shouts of vocalist Bryanna Bennett. Despite their simplicity, they’re still able to dish out thrilling moments in every song. See it for yourself at one of their handful of shows coming up this summer. For now, you can rock out to their demo they released back in September 2015. – Jack Kelly


AWE HOWLER (Johnsburg, IL)

Awe Howler is a delightfully dreary band from northern Illinois. In lieu of a recent lineup change, they’ve scrapped all old material and are moving forward playing only songs from their split with Minnesota’s Infinite Me and any new material. Now chugging along as a three-piece, they’re trying their hand at a darker, heavier approach to their original brand of grunge rock. The band recently dropped a fresh single they released earlier this month that will appear on their upcoming “Commiserate” EP. Be sure to drop by their I4C show on July 4 with Krelboyne, Split Tongue and more to be announced. – J.K.

Photo by Joe Weiler.
Photo by Joe Weiler.

LUME (Chicago, IL)

Lume deliver growling, often sludgy, riffs that thunder and eventually cascade into an swirl of noised feedback. The band hint at influence from a plethora of genres, ranging from the gentle side of shoegaze to the more abrasive potential that grunge and post-rock have to offer. But what’s most captivating about Lume is not what you hear in your headphones, but what you hear from their actual speakers. The band have created a reputation for being the loudest and for being really good at it too. If you live in the city or anywhere near it, I implore you to attend a Lume gig sometime this summer. You won’t believe that three dudes are capable of making this much noise. – J.K.

Photo by Jade Amey.
Photo by Jade Amey.


Ghost of a Dead Hummingbird is one of the coolest bands to come out of Illinois in recent years. Their debut album, “Sin Forma,” has received exceptional acclaim since its release back in April 2015. The band released their follow up endeavor just last week, a new EP titled “Under the Ultraviolet Light.” The band takes obvious influence from early screamo in their wilder moments, but they also dish out a number of ethereal guitar parts that are equally groovy as they are broody. What’s most impressive about Ghost of a Dead Hummingbird is their ability to craft a genuinely hard-hitting sound without sticking to typical formulas of emotionally heavy music. – J.K.

Photo by Andrew Boschini.
Photo by Andrew Boschini.