10 bands like Imagine Dragons
Imagine Dragons exploded to fame in 2012 with the release of their hit Radioactive, and they’ve only gone from strength to strength since then.
The American rock band — fronted by lead singer Dan Reynolds with Wayne Sermon on lead guitar, Ben McKee on bass, and Daniel Platzman on drums — has toured the world, released countless chart-topping hits. They’ve even teamed up with the likes of Kygo and Lil Wayne. Adding to their overwhelming success, they’re also the first rock band in history to have two songs, Believer and Thunder, surpass the one-billion-stream threshold on Spotify.
With a signature sound that blends pop rock with arena rock, R&B, hip-hop, and eDM, Imagine Dragons’ music has taken the world by storm. If you’re looking for similar artists to jam out to, try these ten bands. You can listen to all of them on our Spotify Playlist.
1. Mercury Machine
Manchester-based band Mercury Machine is a relative newcomer on the music scene. This ‘80s inspired dark electro band released a handful of singles in 2018 before launching their debut self-titled album in February 2019 to a sold-out crowd in their hometown.
Like Imagine Dragons, Mercury Machine’s music is grounded in rock but weaves in synthesizers for a layered electro vibe. On top of this, lead singer Lee Maguire’s experience with autism features heavily in the band’s tracks, with themes of isolation and stifled communication flowing through their work.
2. Jack Leopards & The Dolphin Club
Who on earth are Jack Leopards & The Dolphin Club?
That’s a question without a straightforward answer. This virtually unknown band shot to prominence in May 2020 after their haunting cover of Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do was praised by the singer herself.
Aside from the name of the producer (Nils Sjoberg), there’s no information about this band — and a deep dive into the treasure troves of the internet reveals that Sjoberg is an alias that Swift has previously used to help write Calvin Harris and Rihanna’s hit This Is What You Came For. If you like your rock tunes with a side of intrigue, this one-hit wonder ‘band’ is worth checking out.
3. Arrested Youth
Singer-songwriter Ian Johnson is Arrested Youth, the artist behind cult hits such as The Kid I Used to Know, Mirrors, and My Friends Are Robots. He debuted on the music scene in 2018 with his album FEAR, and since then has amassed over 50+ million streams and close to a million Spotify listeners.
Arrested Youth’s music blurs the line between alternative rock and hip-hop styles, while his thought-provoking lyrics reflect on the self-doubt, ego, and hyperstimulation caused from social media. With a strong ‘misfit’ theme running through his tracks, Arrested Youth is the perfect listen for Imagine Dragons fans who also love some good hip-hop.
German duo Erik Macholl and Andreas John are the musicians, composers, and producers behind Fahrenhaidt. In early 2015, the Berlin-based pair released their first single Frozen Silence, a collaboration with Danish singer Amanda Pedersenin — then dropped their first album The Book of Nature just one week later. The band then went on to release another album, Home Under the Sky, in 2016, which peaked at number 36 on the German charts.
Despite being relatively quiet in recent years, now’s the time to get into Fahrenhaidt. Macholl and John recently put out a new track on YouTube, and are reportedly working on another album. Any fan who loves the haunting elements of Imagine Dragons will love Fahrenhaidt’s dreamy New Age sound.
5. 8 Graves
With a name like 8 Graves, it should come as no surprise this band has the same dark pop style as Imagine Dragons. Singer-songwriter Brent Carpentier and keyboardist/guitarist Nick Goncalves are the duo behind this alt-rock and future-grunge band based out of New York City.
8 Graves has released three EPs since emerging in 2015 and been featured on several prominent Spotify playlists including New Noise, Digging Now, and Rock This. Their latest EP, Red, features a number of hard rock hits, such as Bury Me Dead and Begging to Bleed, that are perfect for a head-banging jam session.
6. Oh The Larceny
Big, confident, and brash — Oh The Larceny made waves in the alt-rock world with their debut in 2017. The band, consisting of musician Tyrone Wells and producer Dustin Burnett, are known for combining driving beats, electrifying guitar tones, soaring vocals, and body percussion into one intense, energetic, and gritty sound.
The band has three EPs to their name: Blood is Rebel, Move With It, and their self-titled first release. And even if their name doesn’t sound familiar, their music likely is — Oh The Larceny’s songs have been featured in promos for Game of Thrones and Call of Duty. If you’re looking for Imagine Dragons’ rebellious younger brother, these guys are a must-add to your playlist.
7. Green River Ordinance
Although they have a similar pop-rock sound to Imagine Dragons, Green River Ordinance actually predates the band. This American rock band was formed at the turn of the millennium in Fort Worth-Dallas, Texas and released their first studio album, The Beauty of Letting Go, in 2005. However, it wasn’t until 2009 when the band shot to prominence with the release of their album Out of My Hands under Virgin Records, which peaked at Number 10 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.
Since then, they’ve released a number of singles, five EPs, and two albums, the most recent of which was in 2016. Don’t worry — with almost two decades of music in their discography, there’s plenty of listening material to get through.
Theresa Jarvis, George Edwards, Alex Crosby, and Robert Mason are YONAKA, a rock band hailing from Brighton, England. The band catapulted to local fame after an appearance on BBC Music’s Introducing segment in 2016 and put out three independent EPs before signing to record label Fueled by Ramen in 2019. Their debut album, Don’t Wait ‘Til Tomorrow, was released that same year.
Like Imagine Dragons, YONAKA labels themselves as pop/alt-rock. However, YONAKA’s penchant for heavy riffs and synthesizers gives their music an almost dream-like ‘bedroom pop meets indie rock’ sound.
9. The Unlikely Candidates
Like Green River Ordinance, The Unlikely Candidates was formed in Fort Worth-Dallas, Texas. Band mates Kyle Morris, Brenton Carney, Cole Male, Kevin Goddard, and Jared Hornbeek formed the band in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2013 that they made their big debut with their first EP, Follow My Feet.
Combining pop-rock with indie pop and rock, The Unlikely Candidates is a no-brainer for any Imagine Dragons fan. The band has three EPs to their name and a number of singles, including the chart-topping hit Novocaine that shot to the top of Billboard’s Alternative Airplay list in 2019.
10. Foreign Air
In the same year that Imagine Dragons released their second studio album Smoke + Mirrors, ex-U.S. Royalty bassist Jacob Michael and ex-HRVRD lead vocalist Jesse Clasen were teaming up to create Foreign Air. The pair released their first single, Free Animal, in 2015, then followed that up with their debut EP For The Light the next year. It’s only been up from there, and their electro-rock hits have been featured on shows like Animal Kingdom and How to Get Away With Murder.
Foreign Air has an incredibly similar sound to Imagine Dragons, with the same forceful guitar and haunting vocals. The cherry on the cake? The band is hard at work on their 2020 album, Good Morning Stranger, which means there will be plenty of new listening material to keep up with.