Have you been listening to bleak, flavorless, overrated artists? If yes, this is the article for you, if no, you’re lying.
I have compiled a list of underrated artists that I believe are essential to anyone’s music library. Within this list I will describe the artist, list the genre, and give a song or album that I believe is an easy segway into that artist’s music.
- Neutral Milk Hotel – Definitely one of my favorite indie-rock/experimental-rock bands, they take the top of the list. Their music is quite abstract, in addition to the cover art for many of their albums. I highly recommend listening to the entire In An Aeroplane Over the Sea album. If you are unsure of what song to start with, I recommend Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2. When you listen to Neutral Milk Hotel, you will feel like you are disconnecting from reality as you hum along to the unique guitar riffs and the quirky instruments sounding underneath the blanket of alternative lyrics. It truly is a wild ride– I also recommend listening to Neutral Milk Hotel with earbuds/headphones, specifically with noise dampening/canceling, it is a different experience all together.
- Kings Princess – Queen. That’s all I have to say. She is a queen! Her music is the perfect mix of pop, indie, and funk-pop. Her music can allow anyone to relax, read, take a nap– anything! Her music fits almost any environment. She is openly genderqueer (she still uses she/her pronouns) and gay, which strongly connects her to the LGBTQ+ community and makes her one of the best, modern artists to represent the community. Anyone I come across, who hasn’t listened to King Princess, I automatically recommend her EP Make My Bed and the song Upper West Side. Her soothing, pacifying voice will certainly give you The Feels™.
- Rejjie Snow – Rejjie is an interesting artist– he’s an Irish rapper, who makes music in Dublin, Ireland. Of all the genres of music and where they come from, I never expected rap to come from Ireland. Egyptian Lover from his Dear Annie album was how I found out about Rejjie and his music. His music is an odd mix of NAS with a dash of Childish Gambino, and a sprinkle of XXXTentacian. If you feel over saturated with the mainstream Hip Hop artists, he’s a brilliant artist to listen to. Since I was introduced to Rejjie with Egyptian Lover from Annie, I recommend you start off with those.
- BØRNS – ICONIC. Iconic. I originally thought BØRNS was a band with a female singer… it turns out it is run by a man named Garrett Borns. He embodies the spirit of the 60s and the 70s, as well as the modern gender-bend movement. His high tenor/alto vocals will have you swaying and moving to the psychedelic indie-pop beats. The first song I heard by him was American Money, it is a certified Bop™, and will have you jiving in your LED lit bedroom, with lavender incense permeating throughout the room. You must listen to the entire Dopamine album, you will not regret it.
- Eevee – I know many of the readers are probably sick of listening to songs with anime girls on the cover, but trust me, Eevee is worth it. Her songs sound like they would be on the “Beats to relax/study to” playlist. Her genre mostly consists of hip hop, rap, and lofi. It is something you could totally listen to while you take a bubble bath and lull asleep. Feel is a good starting point, as well as the album ep seeds.
6. Katie Smith – Who says you have to have a million or more listeners per month on Spotify to be a brilliant artist? Katie, only 19 years old, brings in about 99 listeners per month on Spotify– so I beg you to flock over to her Spotify and show her some love. Get Through the Night is one of my personal favorites; the beginning instrumental sounds like a mix of The Beach Boys and The Smiths (surf music and alternative). Her vocals are soft and full-bodied, which flow well with her Billie Eilish like range (minus the whispy-ness). Nineteen Sucks is the only album she currently has out, along with her countless, heavenly singles.
7. Kali Uchis – Kali has blown up immensely since I began listening to her 3 years ago. She remains one of my go-to artists for when I need to jam in my car and forget about my exes. Dead to Me will have you “arguing” with an ex you never had while cruising down Interstate 279. Kali writes and produces all of her music. I can’t compare her to any other artists because she is original— she might sound like Blood Orange or WILLOW, but barely. Her voice and the instrumental have their own sound separate from any other pop artist I have ever listened to. She only has two albums, and out of the two I recommend Por Vida, which is the first album she ever produced, and it is also her first attempt at singing, ever.
8. No Vacation – No Vacation is the creme de la creme of dream-pop. Unlike some of the other artists on this list, No Vacation isn’t as melancholic. They provide a more upbeat and light instrumental, as well as the vocals. Yam Yam and Days are tied for a starting song, why not listen to both! They only have one album and plenty of singles, like Katie Smith. Amo XO, even though it is their only album, Amo XO is all you need.
9. SALES – Sales is another band that I got into before they were Tik Tok famous with their song Chinese New Year. Their Spotify biography is simple and straight-forward: “All pop, no industry bulls**t”. Their music is a blend of lo-fi, dream-pop, and indie-rock– it may seem like all the other basic lofi artists, but the vocals that Lauren and Jordan offer make the music its own brand of lofi. Lofi is typically somber or has underlying optimism, SALES is all of the above. Other than their Tik Tok hit Chinese New Year, I think Sorry Bro is a great aperitif paired with their SALES LP.
10. Michaeal Seyer – Michael Seyer reminds me a lot of Boy Pablo, but Michael adds a different style of alternative-indie. I am fond of Michael for his originality and personality. He writes about the things that make him tick, the things that depress him, the things that make him happy, etc. He is honest and open– his music, especially his albums, listen as if they are his diary. I Feel Best When I’m Alone is one of his more personal songs, but it hits different when you’re laying on your bed, spacing out. Ugly Boy is his first, and best album. This album listens exactly like a diary and each song flows into the next.
11. Yung Heazy – Despite his stage-name, Yung Heazy doesn’t produce rap, he produces rock music. His uncanny guitar riffs and rich lyrics create a satisfyingly new experience for any new listener. I was surprised when I began listening to him, his music can be an acquired taste, much like Neutral Milk Hotel. Cuz You’re My Girl and Kool Musik are two beginner songs to ease yourself into Yung Heazy. He only has one album, Whenever You’re Around I Hate Everything Less, and the entire album is definitely an acquired taste, but you won’t be disappointed. It might open your ears to a whole different world of experimental-rock.
12. Bad Suns – A relatively newer band, formed in 2012, Bad Suns fuse alternative-rock with dream-pop and post-punk. They are basically Nirvana with “lofi beats to relax/study to” vibes. Daft Pretty Boys is their most popular song, but rightfully so. They do have heavier stuff off their Language & Perspective album, but I think Disappear Here is their better one to vibe to.
If you would like to listen to any of the albums or songs mentioned in this article, you can listen to it on Spotify! I made a “Vibe Check (underrated)” playlist, so if you want to check your vibe with new artists, you can do so: vibe check!