It’s a new year, time to reinvent ourselves, better ourselves or just stay the same! When it comes to music though, I personally like to explore new musical territory, and thought you guys might too! So, I’ve made a list of 30 underground artists (in no peculiar order, whatsoever) that might help groove up your year. Here’s to discovering great artists and slowly becoming underground connoisseurs!
SALES is an American band formed by Lauren Morgan, Jordan Shih and Joy Cir. This indie pop band from Orlando, Florida started out back in 2013 and have been writing songs since the duo (Morgan and Shih) met in high school.
The band dropped their first full length album in 2016. Sales’ song Getting it On is their most popular song on Spotify. Watch the video here and listen to SALES on Spotify and SoundCloud.
Sports is a dream indie pop band with 80’s sound influences from Dallas, Oklahoma. The band is formed by the brothers Jacob (bassist) and Christian Theriot (guitarist), and Cale Chronister (vocalist). The band’s latest album was released on July last year, and it’s called Crimes. Sports’ song You Are The Right One from the album Naked All The Time , is the most listened on Spotify, you can listen to it here and watch the video here. You can also check their website right here!
3. Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish is a sixteen-year-old singer songwriter. Her career took off with the hit Ocean eyes which went viral on SoundCloud in 2016. (Listen to Ocean eyes here and watch the video here). In 2017 Eilish released her debut EP called Don’t Smile at Me. Although Billie is on this list, she is certainly achieving more recognition and fame; her song Bored became the soundtrack of hit Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. If you dig Billie, she’s having a gig in Amsterdam on February the 20th. Tickets are sadly sold out, but you can always check Ticketswap!
Rhye is an LA based musical duo formed by Milosh and Robin Hannibal, who started out as an online mystery (they published music anonymously). In 2013 they debuted with the album Woman. Although Rhye has received quite some recognition and has even played in Coachella, they are on this list because of their exquisite unusual sound. The band’s charm lays in their aesthetics (which you can have a taste of on the MV of their song Open here) and thanks to their romantic soul pop sounds which you can listen to here. Rhye is coming to Amsterdam on April the 1st (It isn’t an April’s fool joke I promise) you can buy tickets here.
5. Boy Pablo
Boy Pablo is a 19-year-old singer songwriter from Norway. Although Boy Pablo has made quite a name for himself in his homeland (he has played in Norway’s famous Vill Vill fest and even played for the Queen of Norway), he is still busy trying to conquer the world with his lo fi videos and happy melancholic sounds.
You can listen to Boy Pablo’s viral hit Everytime here and watch the video here.
You can also watch him live @ Bitterzoet on March the 25th, buy tickets here.
6. Billie Marten
Billie Marten born Isabella Sophia Tweedle is an 18-year-old singer songwriter whose been called the prodigy of folk music. Billie has been singing covers since age eight and has posted several covers on YouTube along the years. In 2014, at the age of 14 she released her first EP called . Marten creates ethereal songs with moving lyrics and a passion that can be heard in her voice. You can listen to Billie here and check out her page here.
7. Cigarettes After Sex
Cigarettes After Sex is an American band from El Paso, Texas that makes ambient pop. The musical collective started out by putting out Ep’s and singles online; when their videos became popular they consequently released a full-length album last year. Cigarettes After Sex songs could be the dreamy soundtracks to your life you didn’t know you needed until now. I spent months in love with their track Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby, honestly, I haven’t gotten over it yet. You can listen to it here or on Youtube here. You can also check their website here.
8. Declan McKenna
Declan McKenna is a rising British indie singer-songwriter who started out when he brought out the single Brazil which critiques the corruption that was going on at FIFA in 2015. This singer is only 18 years old yet he brings out politically charged singles that discuss topics such as terrorism, police brutality among others. Young of age but this artist has already been named the voice of a generation and is currently busy touring in the US. You can listen to McKenna’s single Brazil here and of course check out the video.
Lany which is an acronym for LA/New York is a band that makes songs with 80’s radio pop with 90’s R&B soul and synths. The band started releasing music anonymously on SoundCloud where their singles received a lot of positive attention, specially their hit ILYSB was massively streamed. In 2015 the band signed with Polydor Records and in 2017 they brought out their self-titled debut album (which became number 4 on the billboard). You can listen to their hit ILYSB here and watch the video here.
10. Rex Orange County
Rex Orange county is an acronym for the British singer Alex O’Connor. At the tender age of sixteen Rex was admitted to the music college THE BRIT school. After gaining a lot of media attention he has made songs with artists like Tyler the creator and Marco Mckinnis and performed with Skepta and Frank Ocean. In 2017 he released his second album Apricot princess. O’Connor’s songs are jazzy, catchy ad filled with R&B like vocals. You can listen to Rex’s latest hit Loving is Easy and watch his endearing music video here. If you dig Rex you can buy tickets for his concert in March here.
Lauv is an American artist that writes and produces his own music. Lauv’s background certainly works in his favour, he followed a music technology program at NYU. His single “The other” gained great media attention and was the first song released under the name Lauv. The 23-year-old artist has shortly released a hit called “Easy Love”, you can listen to it here.
12. Jimi Somewhere
Jimi Somewhere is the artist name of a Norwegian pop singer who according to sources (there is not much information about him online) still goes to high school. Although the artist is already gaining recognition in his homeland I’m convinced his music will cross borders. Jimi’s songs are from the pop genre and just like the artist itself his music videos are enigmatic and enchanting. You can listen to his single The Beach here and watch the aesthetically pleasing video for his song Escape here.
13. Mura Masa
Mura Masa is an artist that gained quite some recognition last year when his hit Lovesick went viral on Spotify. Mura Masa has been experimenting with music since the age of 15. Nationally though, the artist had already gained some recognition in his homeland when at the age of only 17 one of his tracks was discovered and showcased by BBC radio. You can listen to Mura Masa here and watch the MV of Lovesick here.
Klangstof as you may have noticed by the title is a partly Dutch/Norwegian band. The band has achieved some great things last year, they were the first Dutch band to play Coachella ever and have won Best Alternative act at the Edison awards. Their latest EP is called Close eyes to exit which was written when the band was on tour in the us. The Ep is full with synthetizer vibes and you can listen to it here.
Palmsy is a Dutch band that mixes indie pop and pop punk. With songs that will definitely keep you up and dancing Palmsy seems to be heading the right way, they were named 3fm talent and played at the Down the Rabbit hole festival. Recently they brought their EP Lost in a Cardbox out and are looking forward to releasing their album this year. I fell in love with their track You Are Far Too Cool For Me and probably you will too because it describes how crushes work perfectly. You can listen to Palmsy here and check their site here.
16. Softcore untd.
This band from Norway is an amazing mix of trap indie and hip-hop. They have played at the very famous Norwegian festival Vill Vill fest. Although their songs are in Norwegian the beats are so catchy that you can’t help but vibe to it even if you only know how to say hi in Norwegian... hei. Also, there is no denying that these guys have a sense of aesthetics and it shows on their video. Listen to Softcore’s track Skolebenken here and watch the video here.
17. Post Malone
Post Malone is a rapper that started out on the site SounCloud.
He debuted with the singe White Iverson which contained the hit by the same name that got him recognition from other fellow rappers like Mac Miller. Other latest hits of Post’s are Rockstar and Congratulations. Honestly s/o to Post because he is the humblest most sweet rapper I’ve ever seen; he is always experimenting musically bringing out fire tracks. Cheers to you, buddy! You can listen to Post here and watch the MV to White Iverson here.
Cuco, originally born Omar Banos is a Mexican American singer songwriter who makes songs in “Spanglish” (Spanish and English). Cuco writes about love and heartbreak in his sweet yet nostalgic songs that make one daydream. As he himself describes, his songs are super soft, just like his personality really. You can listen to Cuco here and listen to his popular hit Lo que siento here.
Ratboy is a 21-year-old musician from England who makes songs with hip hop and indie rock influences, a combination that is truly sublime. After years of trying to form a pop punk band, he decided to go solo and Last year his first album dropped called Scum. Rat Boy’s track Sign on was the first track he released. You can listen to it here.
Mitski is a 27-year-old American-Japanese alt-rock musician whose music is filled with lo fi guitar sounds and a sense of otherness in her lyrics. Mitski moved a lot during her teenage years because of her parents’ job which is probably the reason why she captures strangeness in her lyrics so well. Her career started when she started recording songs while she studied music at her college. Mitski makes songs that have a sense of sadness in them and truly moves the listener. You can listen to Mitski here and watch her hit music video Your best American Girl here.
21. The Walters
The Walters are a five-man dreamy indie band from Chicago. In 2014, they released their first album called Songs for Dads which received a big amount of positive reviews and even made the top 50 list on Spotify. The band makes touchy melodic songs that you could see a couple dancing to in your favorite movie. Honestly all the songs in their albums are truly breath-taking and I can honestly daydream to them for hours on end. Listen to the Walters here and watch their adorable video for the song I love you so here.
Boyscott can best be described the way they do on their website: “Boyscott is a band to fall in love to, the soundtrack for a movie in progress, a movie about mountains and lakes, skinny dipping, sleeping head to toe, wanting, dreaming, and waking, the type of sunlight you can almost hear, the long drive back, how when you are traveling you wish you were home and when you are home it’s never enough.” Honestly every word described there is true. The dreamy nostalgic vibes of the band make it unique and the perfect soundtrack to daydream to. Listen to their dreamy song Nova Scottia here.
23. Lil peep
Lil peep born Gustav åhr was an American rapper who mixed trap, hip hop and punk. Lil peep’s music was called the post emo revival of hip-hop and he was called a game changer in the industry by many. Lil peep’s career started as many other artists online, he recorded songs and posted them on Soundcloud and Youtube. Subsequently Lil peep was discovered and signed to First access and Warner music Sweden. Lil peep was named by many The Kurt Cobain of rap and the Shakespeare of the emo. You can listen to Lil peep’s most listened song on Spotify here and watch the video here.
Gengahr is a British indie rock band from London and yes their name is inspired by Gengar, the Pokémon (iconic really). In 2015 they released their debut album A Dream Outside. The band is playing in Amsterdam in April and you can buy tickets for the concert here. Currently the band has gone through some creative changes and have claimed that they have grown artistically and are very different from how the band was at its beginning. They will release a new album in March. Listen to Gengahr’s soft catchy She’s a Witch here and watch the video here.
Whitney is an American indie pop band from Chicago formed by duo Julien Ehrlich en Max Kakacek. In 2016 they released their debut album and started touring internationallyThe band’s song embodies their life as mid-20’s individuals and are soft, soulful and melodic. Whitney makes music to enjoy life to and their strength can be found in their powerful song writing. Whitney is one of those bands you just fall in love with, you can listen to Whitney’s hit here and watch the video here.
Skegss is an Australian band that makes warm surf punk songs and captures the teenage life very well, which is probably the reason why the band has now a cult formed around it. The band has also been preached for their amazing live chemistry and unique sound. If I had to think of a soundtrack for my teenage, aspiring skater days then Skeggs songs would be it. You can listen to Skegss hit L.S.D here and watch the video here.
27. Day Wave
Day Wave is an indie rock band from Auckland that makes melancholic songs with ambient and noise pop sounds. In 2015 the band released their first EP called Headcase and received attention from Los Angeles Time and Billboard. Listen to Day wave’s hit Wasting Time here, listening to it is definitely far from wasting your time.
28. Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens is a singer song writer that makes nostalgic soft songs you can cry or be happy to anytime (honestly it is one or the other). You might have already heard his song The Mystery Of Love , which is the soundtrack to hit coming of age movie Call Me By Your Name. I first discovered this lyrical genius by watching THIS video and honestly have never recovered ever since. Every song of Sufjan is a lyrical poem. Watch the video for Mystery of love here and listen to it here.
Homeshake is the solo musical project of musician Peter Sagar (with collaboration of musicians Mark Goetz, Greg Napier, and Brad Loughead) who was the former guitarist of well-known musician MacDemarco. Homeshake’s sound is a mix of indie pop, r&b and smooth lo fi soul. You can listen to Homeshake here.
Oscar, originally born Oscar Scheller is a 27-year-old British pop singer who started his career at the age of 22, when he recorded an EP in his bedroom in London and was discovered by music producers on his SoundCloud account.
Oscar’s song Daffodil Days is his most popular song on Spotify and one of my favourites. You can listen to it here and watch the video here.