Alternative indie artist Helado Negro

Indie Artists You Should Be Listening To In 2023

A List Of Today’s Best Under-The-Radar Alternative Indie Pop Artists

Nowadays we have an almost unlimited choice of new alternative indie artists to watch that are just coming out of nowhere and blowing up on Soundcloud, Bandcamp or Youtube. Indie music has been on the rise since the early 2010s, and its widespread growth means there are thousands of new alternative indie pop artists to check out. It can be overwhelming sorting through all that’s available to find new talent that you haven’t heard before. With this list of great new alternative indie bands and artists, I hope to help recommend some lesser-known acts that deserve attention for their music and artistry. In the interest of expanding your musical horizons, here’s a list of my favorite new alternative indie artists who’ve probably passed you by so far, but are definitely worth exploring.

Charlotte Day Wilson

Charlotte Day Wilson is a Toronto-based alternative R&B singer whose vocals extend beyond genre. With the self-assurance of Adele, the candor of Santigold, and a voice that bears a resemblance to both, Charlotte makes full-bodied alternative R&B that’s an enticing mix of vulnerability and confidence. Her music is a hybrid of R&B, pop and electronic elements, but her vocals are always the focal point. Charlotte Day Wilson possesses a voice that can carry the most weight when the song calls for it and still sound effortless. Her music includes touches of pop, gospel, jazz, electronic and soul, but her deeply moving voice is always the focus, soaringly expressive even in its hushest tones.

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Ghost Woman

In the midst of a budding psych rock revival, Evan Uschenko has quietly been grinding away with his Arizona-based band Ghost Woman, crafting hypnotic, groove-driven garage rock songs that are destined to see him take the stage as a household name. Ghost Woman craft a unique sound that retains old-school psych sensibilities – dreamy guitar licks buried behind layers of fuzz, psychedelic textures, and hazy sound collages. Ghost Woman’s self-titled 2022 debut album was also one of the best releases of the year in any genre. Perfect for fans of other psych-driven acts like Can, early Tame Impala, The Fresh and Onlys and Kurt Vile.

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TONE

London-based musician TONE creates music that is at once mellow and powerful, combining guitar and piano riffs with R&B elements and influences of dub and shoegaze. The music has an emotional depth that sets him apart from most artists in his field. His combination of piano riffs with R&B influences such as blues, gospel and soul adds up to make sublime pop music that moves effortlessly between genres. Drawing from many influences, TONE’s solo debut So I Can See You ebbs and flows with a minimalist warmth, forging a unique blend of post-punk swagger and synth-pop bounce to beautiful effect. For anyone who appreciates experimental sounds, this is a must-listen.

Related: Indie Playlist – Alternative R&B

Automatic

Automatic is an alternative indie band making music with an old school vibe. The all-female trio, who named themselves after a song by The Go-Go’s, channel their shared devotion for 80s-era new wave into a sound that draws on the raw, hissy feel of cassette-recorded demos and the urgency of punk, but with a tendency toward exuberantly soulful hooks. Comprised of Izzy Glaudini (synths, lead vocals), Lola Dompé (drums, vocals), and Halle Saxon-Gaines (bass), Automatic have made a name for themselves with indie pop songs that combine sparse post-punk melodies into a sound that’s incredibly fun to dance to. They’ve built up a substantial local following through lean and effective live sets that combine throbbing synths, jangly guitars and driving rhythm sections with catchy lyrics that explore urgent and subversive themes.

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Helado Negro

Helado Negro is one of the most interesting indie acts around. Roberto Carlos Lange, the mastermind behind the band, was born to Ecuadorian parents in Florida and currently resides in Brooklyn. His upbringing plays a crucial role in his band’s sound, particularly the songwriting, which blends multiple languages and analog electronics with guitar and reverberated vocal loops to create vibrant, genre-expanding pop music. A gifted storyteller and an audacious producer, Helado Negro creates a hypnotic melting pot of multilingual indie pop. He brings everything from guitar to analog electronics and vocal loops into his atmospheric music, which blurs lines between genres and languages.

Fears

One of the best records of 2021, Fears’ Oíche is everything you want to hear on a debut album. Over the course of 10 tracks, Fears intermingles folk, dreamy indie pop, indie electronic and R&B to deliver a compelling, unique and brutally honest sound. It’s an understated record that delivers lyrics of honesty and beauty, which are perfectly complimented by her vocals which range from soft whispers to soaring highs. Her voice is unique and haunting, crafting ethereal lyrics in a style reminiscent of Björk at her most raw yet with a delivery like PJ Harvey at her finest. Talented and unique, Fears is on her way to becoming a household name.

Related Reads: Fears – Oíche Album Review

Minami Deutsch

Minami Deutsch is one of the most thrilling and compelling bands that’s appeared recently in the alternative indie rock scene. The Japanese rockers are a group of self-professed “repetition freaks” from Tokyo. Their mutual love of minimal techno led them to craft a trance-inducing, groove-laden sound that sets them apart from their psych rock peers. The band’s uncanny ability to make subtle changes in tone is what makes them a captivating listen. Their albums to date combine jagged, off-kilter rhythms with fuzzy guitar riffs and elements of folk to sublime effect. With an organic sound, a minimalist approach and a captivating live performance, Minami Deutsch are the most thrilling and compelling rock band from Japan.

Related Reads: The Japanese Psych Rock Magic Of Guruguru Brain Records

Dijon

Among the new crop of indie pop artists, Dijon is a true iconoclast. Dijon cannot be defined by a single genre. His crackling, infectious sound is like an ethos that’s all his own. His vocal range and emotive soulful voice are both at the core of what makes the music so memorable. Dijon’s career can be described as a study in genre experimentation. He’s experimented in every possible realm of indie pop, and his next project is likely to be just as radical a departure from his past work. The narrative arc of his career is of a singer who mines myriad musical styles for influence, delightfully eschewing any sense of genre purity in the process. His relentless genre experimentation led to his brilliant solo debut album, 2021’s Absolutely – a collection of indie pop songs recorded and arranged in such a way that it includes rock, gospel singing, and a whole lot more.

Nation of Language

Full of warm melodies and lush layers of synths and bass, Nation of Language sound like a lost remnant of the ’80s new-wave / synth pop scene. Fans of acts ranging from The Cure and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark to Hot Chip and Bloc Party will all find something to love in the sounds of Nation of Language. Uplifting and energetic, Nation of Language is an indie pop band that manages to be both melancholic and euphoric, melancholy and optimistic at the same time. Their latest album, A Way Forward, is their most pitch-perfect yet, a retro-pop masterpiece that strikes the perfect balance between intro- and extroversion, a party album that’s also suited for headphone listening. Nation of Language are not only one of the best alternative indie rock bands out today, they also put on one of the most fun live shows around.

Related Reads: Nation Of Language – A Way Forward Album Review

Holy Hive

When you listen deeply to the music of Holy Hive, it feels like a sonic journey. Their signature style has been dubbed “folk soul” but it’s also dripping in elements of psychedelia and pop, making for an intriguing sound unbound by convention. But really all you need to know is that Holy Hive manages to unearth a vibe that’s simultaneously modern and nostalgic. Their music is influenced by complex rhythms and vivid lyrics, creating a distinct sound that offers a modern take on classic pop sensibility. Drummer Homer Steinweiss and bassist Joe Harrison add a tight, classic soul groove while singer Paul Spring’s lilting falsetto adds a beautifully ethereal quality to the mix. Think Simon and Garfunkel meets Tame Impala.

Related Reads: Holy Hive – Holy Hive Album Review

Fake Fruit

If you love music that’s raw, emotional and real, then Oakland quartet Fake Fruit is for you. Pulling from garage rock and post-punk, Fake Fruit’s music is jagged, off-kilter, and furiously fun. They’re an undoutedly raw, energetic and charismatic group—that happens to also make incredible music. Released last year, their self-titled debut album is 11 songs of gritty and furious anthems that are as musically loose and emotionally intimate as they are heartfelt and genuine. Fake Fruit sound like a revamped concert experience, the band laid bare without theatrics or veneers, giving listeners the experience of a friend jumping on the microphone and spitting something out for us all to hear, unfiltered and uncut.

Related Reads: A Guide To 2022’s Best Post-Punk Bands

Wu-Lu

Exemplifying the very best in contemporary music, Wu-Lu’s sound is all his own. Part rapper, part singer and songwriter, Wu-Lu’s music connects with the listener by via a slightly skewed pop sensibility. His sonic world has a familiar feel but with an uncanny sense of disorientation that keeps you guessing. Wu-Lu’s Warp Records debut, LOGGERHEAD, is a fitting introduction to his unusual approach: a delirious mix of drum’n’bass breaks, grunge guitars and brutally honest lyrics pieced together in sound collages that cover a breathtakingly wide range of genres and styles. It featured some of the best indie pop songs of the year and was also one of the best albums of the year, period.