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Alternative Artists that You Need to Stop Sleeping On

One of the best feelings for music-lovers is the moment when you stumble across a new artist that truly impresses you. And while the music industry is ever-changing, we don’t always get these moments from what’s playing on the radio. Have no fear — these following artists will undoubtedly make you say, “Oh my god,” and leave you wanting more.

Declan McKenna

Although his name is relatively popular in the indie rock world, and you might’ve heard his hit song, “Brazil,” his music is definitely underrated. He had his humble beginnings at the Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition in 2015, with his victory drawing some attention to his biggest hit about the FIFA World Cup in Brazil and its effects on the country’s poverty. If you’re a fan of The 1975, you’ll love the electro-rock music with a powerful and inspired message behind it, most commonly addressing political and social issues within our current society. It will make you dance while also contemplating the corrupt ideologies of the world around us — what could be better than that?

Clairo

This young artist’s name has been thrown into the mix while discussing talented new artists such as Billie Eilish — and for good reason, too. Her soft indie rock sound is one that appeals to many, while her words of self-love and searching for identity in her youth are lyrics that people can universally identify with.

FINNEAS

Speaking of Billie Eilish — if you’ve ever watched a live performance, you’ve most likely seen the young man playing alongside her. Ever wondered who that was? It’s actually her brother, Finneas O’Connell, who has helped write and produce a majority of Billie’s music and other well-known artists’ music. He just released his debut EP entitled Blood Harmony, and if you’re looking for catchy songs that will tug at your heartstrings, this is the album for you.

Matt Maltese

It is quite rare that a musician has such a range of music and a unique sound. Matt Maltese is a breath of fresh air, with beautiful lyrics and original sounds. And, like the aforementioned Declan McKenna, he has a different perspective of the connection between music and politics, often writing with apocalyptic themes and perverse love stories — all of which make for really interesting songs.

Christian Leave

His face may be recognizable from Vine, Twitter, or TikTok, but what many people might not know about him is that his music is, for lack of a better word, amazing. His creativity is ever-present in the music he releases, with every song stunning you with a unique chord progression or technological sound.

Maggie Rogers

Though she is gaining in popularity, Maggie Rogers is still not a household name like she deserves. Her big break came from when she played her song, “Alaska,” to Pharrell Williams at an NYU masterclass — cool, right? Her alt-pop music always demonstrates her beautiful voice and her honest perspective of the world, the things around her and herself.

Ben Platt

This face is definitely recognizable. If you don’t know Platt from Netflix’s new show The Politician or from the Broadway hit Dear Evan Hansen, you most likely know him as the weird magician kid from Pitch Perfect. He excels in both of his talents of acting and singing, but his original music is something that is not as widely listened to as it should be (though it is more pop than alternative). His artistry combined with his stunning voice makes for music you can’t get enough of. You might, as I had, end up falling into a deep hole of all of his work. And trust me when I say that it was definitely worth it.

Glen Hansard

If you’re looking to cry, get ready to meet Glen Hansard. Hansard is completely and utterly original in the way that he conveys emotions through songs. His raw voice and his emotional folk rock sound will trigger emotions that you didn’t even know you had. The way his music is a literal manifestation of his emotions is something that has never really been done before, and really worth the experience.

Wallows

I’m not exactly sure how long Wallows can still be considered underrated, for they are climbing quite fast in popularity. If you’ve ever seen 13 Reasons Why, or the Hulu show T@gged, you’ll probably know ⅔ members of the band. Actors Dylan Minnette and Braeden Lemasters, alongside Cole Preston, make up the rock trio that has been blessing our ears since the release of their first single, “Pleaser,” back in 2017. Though they’re fairly new, this band is undoubtedly hitting the popularity that we see in other indie rock bands.

There are so many more artists whose music is both underrated and amazing, like COIN or Greer. And though one might not be able to list all of them, it sure is heartening to see so many great and original artists surfacing and redefining the alternative genre of music as we know it.

19. Love/hate relationship with politics and college.
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