Looking to expand your musical horizons? Fill out your go-to playlists with songs from these under-the-radar bands and solo artists.
While Tierra Whack has gained serious traction in recent years, earning a coveted Best New Music nod on Pitchfork, we think she still has potential to reach an even bigger audience. Her debut album, Whack World, is comprised of 15 one-minute songs. Compact, playful, adventurous, and loaded with hooks, Whack World would be a crowning achievement in any artist’s discography. For Whack, it is a first of what we hope to be many more to come. The accompanying audiovisual album serves to highlight the range and scope of the record. Says NPR hip hop writer Rodney Carmichael, “each song vignette offers a deeper level of revelation into her black girl’s blues.”
Where to start: Whack World audiovisual album
Venezuelan electronic artist Arca has established herself as one of the prominent figures in the underground music world. Having co-produced Björk’s Vulnicura and Utopia to critical acclaim, as well as contributed to Kanye West’s Yeezus, Arca has also released a consistent string of challenging, thought-provoking solo records. Arty and avant-garde, her latest album KiCk i features lyrics that challenge gender binarism, empowering listeners to embrace every aspect of themselves – and that every aspect is transmutable. As Arca herself explains, “We’re all transitioning: from birth to death, it’s inevitable.”
Where to start: “Time”
Atlanta-based rapper, singer, and producer Kenny Mason draws from an array of influences – everything from old-school hip hop to ’90s alt rock – to deliver his cinematic approach to storytelling. On his debut album Angelic Hoodrat, Mason explores the hardships faced living in Atlanta – and how he perseveres. “This whole album is about the conflict that sometimes comes about in living your life,” Mason explains. “There’s a time to be an angel, and there’s a time to be a hoodrat.” With a memorable flow and an ear for catchy hooks, Mason is definitely an artist to keep your eye on.
Where to start: “HIT”
Blending funk, punk, pop rap, and early emo, Just Friends is a band filled with youthful energy. Formed in 2013, the band added vocalist Brond in 2017 – propelling the music to all new levels. Sam Kless and Brond’s duo vocals perfectly play off each other, adding another layer and building excitement over exuberant music. The band’s sound is tight, with its nine members working cohesively, allowing everything from the horns to the drums to the guitars shine in the production. The band is currently working on Hella Nasty, a follow-up to their 2018 album Nothing But Love.
Where to start: “Supersonic”
Ha! Just kidding. (But seriously, you should probably check them out if you somehow haven’t.)
It’s always magic when you find a new artist that just clicks with you. What have you been listening to lately? Be sure to check out the Alta Dairies blog for more fun lifestyle and entertainment ideas.