Denton's Rising Stars: Up & Coming Music Acts of 2016

With so much talent and artistry on display at every corner, this music scène can — and, thankfully, frequently does — inspire others to hone their craft in Denton. Musicians work with each other, in their bands or on their own, to create music of all genres. The following groups were selected by members of the community as some of the best newcomers to the scene. Whatever they do, these five nominees for the Denton Arts & Music Awards' Best Up-and-Coming Artist enrich the city by reminding all Denton creatives that this is a good place to make music.


This trio released their first self-titled album this past year, introducing the world to some of the “best post-apocalyptic Japanese surf rock bebop” Denton has to offer. If you want a glimpse into the band's aesthetic, watch the ridiculously catchy video for “3 Weeks,” featuring Troy Garrick. The lyrics deal with the passage of time and what people decide to do — and not do — for the duration. The video involves a pink horse piñata. We’ll say no more, because you need to check it (and the rest of their album) out for yourself.

MNKR (The Band Formerly Known as Moniker)

MNKR’s On a Friday came out in September of last year, bringing us four tracks that displayed changes in approach and delivery from the previously solo project. Founding member and guitarist/vocalist Jackson Russo joined forces with bassist Ryan Gordon and drummer Hagen Hauschild in 2016 for MNKR’s recent metamorphosis. Fresh off a winter tour, it looks like this garage pop-punk outfit won’t stop growing along with the local music scene.

Noah LeGrand

Noah LeGrand had an eventful 2016: he’s a film student at UNT and is involved in a number of short film and music video projects about town, either as a director or an actor. You Sound So Gross Right Now, reflects on the themes of college life and self-sabotage with a tinge of 90s alt rock wrapped in its aesthetic.

OG Garden

This six-piece group blends R&B, soul, and pop effortlessly with their songs. Troy Garrick’s voice is as thick and rich as molasses, and the vocals and music are at home whether they’re about struggles in life or a newfound, beautiful kind of love. Their diverse leanings and hometown influences have converged to create an urge for exploration — in an interview last year with NuView Magazine, OG Garden explained that fans can expect an album entitled Revive Me and a summer tour.


Sunbuzzed has been sharing their spooky psych-garage rock with Denton since last spring, when an impromptu jam session between the four friends turned into a serious consideration. A common influence for the band is The Doors, and upon hearing a track from Sunbuzzed, one notices their creepy, heart-shaking take on '70s psych rock. Sunbuzzed has kept busy in 2016, regularly pumping out intense tunes in an accessible, catchy vein for audiences across DFW. An album is potentially on the horizon, but in the meantime, you’ll have to experience this act in a city of innovative musicians where they still stand alone.


eader image design by Brittany Keeton