Nowadays we have an almost unlimited choice of new alternative underground indie artists to watch that are just coming out of nowhere and blowing up on Soundcloud, Bandcamp or Youtube. Here’s a list of the best new alternative indie artists who’ve probably passed you by so far, but are definitely worth exploring.
Charlotte Day Wilson
With the self-assurance of Adele, the candor of Santigold, and a voice that bears a resemblance to both, Charlotte Day Wilson makes full-bodied alternative R&B that’s an enticing mix of vulnerability and confidence. 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.
Related Reads: Genre-Bending R&B Artists You Should Know
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. Perfect for fans of other psych-driven acts like Can, early Tame Impala, The Fresh and Onlys and Kurt Vile. Keep an out for their self-title debut album, releasing on June 15.
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. 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.
Helado Negro is one of the most interesting alternative 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.
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, dream pop, indie electronic and R&B to deliver a compelling, unique and brutally honest sound. 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.
Related Reads: Fears – Oíche Album Review
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. Their albums to date combine jagged, off-kilter rhythms with fuzzy guitar riffs and elements of folk to sublime effect.
Related Reads: The Japanese Psych Rock Magic Of Guruguru Brain Records
The narrative arc of Dijon’s 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 culmination of his alternative indie pop experiments 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. 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’s 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. Holy Hive manages to unearth a vibe that’s simultaneously modern and nostalgic. 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
Pulling from garage rock and post-punk, Fake Fruit’s music is jagged, off-kilter, and furiously fun. 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.