On The Rise: LA Based Dark Pop Act RIVALS


When the music climate is so over saturated it is very difficult for anyone to break out now vs back when the internet and social media wasn’t the monster it is now. While the internet and social media make connecting to bands you may not have known back then easier, the number of bands is also very high. So when you find a gem in the other noise around you, you know it is something special. So Rock Nation would love to introduce our readers to a hot young band on the rise called RIVALS.

To The Point

RIVALS call themselves a dark pop band though there are a ton of those elements in the music, it is also hard-hitting and heavy at times. I would say if Paramore progressed from ‘RIOT!’ this is what they would sound like today or if PVRIS never went as electronic based. Both are good company to be alluded to but they also bring their own flavor of uniqueness to their Smartpunk Records debut ‘Damned Soulwhich was released in February.

Origin Story

RIVALS, consisting of vocalist Kalie Wolfe (pictured right)/bassist Sebastian Chamberlain/guitarist Micket Woodle, began in 2014 in Los Angeles, CA and dropped their debut EP just a year later. So within four years, this young powerhouse has made a growing name for themselves. As stated earlier, ‘Damned Soul is a rollercoaster of emotions which touch on real-life issues and is accessible to anyone making this a strong suit when grabbing new listeners.

Damned Soul: The Summary

This record is great all the way through and is a bold project to take on for a newer band. While the industry is going more singles-based and EPs, a full length is a summation of your band that the dedicated following built can take in. So as a new band, it’s best to wait until you have a solid base to release a full length…That is unless you can deliver such as they did.

The record was produced by John Epsy of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus fame who RIVALS are about to head out with on tour along with Aaron Edwards who is known for his work with Sick Puppies and The Cab. Their touch is felt immensely due to their skills at creating hard impactful music that at the same time get stuck in your head and causes you to keep going back.

The record ranges on topics from mental health to relationships with a personal favorite, Moonlit, being a strong sounding song with a message behind it yet having an infectious hook. Electronics are tinged throughout this album adding another layer of atmosphere for the listener to take in. This element really adds to the sound and without it, it would probably fall back into the pile of just being ok records.

Overall for a young band, this has veteran quality and certainly an Album Of The Year contender for upcoming acts. Take notice now before it’s too late.


Pick up limited vinyl/CDs/Merch HERE

Stream via Spotify HERE

Image may contain: textTour Dates:

4/12 – Las Vegas, NV @ Backstage Bar & Billiards
4/13 – Scottsdale, AZ @ Pub Rock SOLD OUT
4/15 – Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep LOW TICKETS

4/16 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court

W/ Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
5/10 – Lubbock, TX @ Jake’s backroom
5/11 – Dallas, RX @ RBC
5/12 – Houston, TX @ Houston Underground
5/13 – Austin, TX @ Come and Take It Live
5/17 – Kansas City, MO @ Davey’s Uptown
5/18 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Miramar Theatre
5/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ Amsterdam Bar and Hall
5/20 – Berwyn, IL @ The Wire
5/24 – Des Moines, IA @ Vaudeville Mews
5/25 – Omaha, ne @ lookout lounge
5/26 – St. Louis, MO @ Fubar
5/27 – Springfield, MO @ Outland Ballroom

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Trenton has been writing in music and doing interviews with artists since late 2014. Starting with Soundlink Magazine, he has built a reputation for being a unique journalist in his approach to interviews. As of 2017, Trenton is with Rock Nation as well as with Soundlink Magazine.

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