WARNING: this article was written a long time ago so some of the artists mentioned have gained more popularity. Stop sending me complaints! I'll write an updated version soon.
It's no secret that I love music. I listen to everything from Lana Del Rey to Travis Scott. My interest in a variety of genres results in me constantly being on a quest for new, upcoming artists. Supporting them, watching them grow as artists and gain fame (sometimes overnight) is always satisfying. For example, in early 2017, I came across a video of a 15 year old girl with platinum blonde hair and huge hoop earrings performing her depressing yet addictive song to a small crowd. Fast forward to today and she has more than 60 million followers on Instagram, 5 Grammy awards and a massively successful album. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm taking about Billie Eilish.
Anyways, here is a list of 5 indie or non-mainstream sensations you need to know about and be on the lookout for.
1. The Kid LAROI
Meet Charlton Kenneth Jeffrey Howard, more popularly known as The Kid LAROI. Howard is a 17 year old emo rapper from Australia who was mentored by the late and great Juice WRLD.
From fame to poverty, LAROI has been through it all. This year, he released his official mixtape entitled 'F**K LOVE'. The collection went on to feature at #8 on Billboard's Hot 200 list. Given the catchy beats and rhythms of each and every song, it is easy to understand why this mixtape was so successful. Needless to say, he has accomplished a lot at an age most of us will be buried in books and homework.
Fun fact: The Kid LAROI released his first EP entitled '14 WITH A DREAM' when he was, well, 14. What were you doing at 14?
He has had remarkable success and I'm sure there's much more to come from him. He may not be mainstream yet but give him a while and he'll get there. Do support this star in the making by giving his songs a listen.
Personal favourites: I WISH, NOT FAIR and SO DONE.
2. The Neighbourhood
Jesse Rutherford, Zach Abels, Brandon Alexander Fried, Mikey Margott and Jeremy Freedman make up The Neighbourhood (my favourite band ever). Anyone who knows me knows that I ADORE The NBHD.
The Neighbourhood is the most unique band you'll come across. The band has collaborated with artists like YG, G-Eazy, etc. No, they are not even close to the typical boy-band. They dabble in four genres: pop, rock, rap and alternative. This unlikely combination results leads to magical results. This is why their pop-rock hits, 'Sweater Weather' and 'Daddy Issues', managed to occupy spots on Billboard's Hot 100 list for several weeks.
Fun fact: one of their best albums, 'Wiped Out!', celebrated its fifth anniversary two days ago (30th of October).
The Neighbourhood is slowly gaining the fame they deserve so much. Their recent album, Chip Chrome & The Mono-Tones, is a journey of its own. I found it a little happier than any of their previous work but it has managed to become one of my favourite albums of the year. Support this phenomenal SoCal band by listening to their work.
Personal favourites: Sweater Weather, Daddy Issues, Lost in Translation, Softcore, R.I.P 2 My Youth, $Ting, Scary Love and Devil's Advocate.
Check this video of Lana Del Rey performing Daddy Issues with Jesse Rutherford. As a huge fan of these two, I couldn't ask for anything more.
3. The 1975
The kings of indie pop-rock and another one of my favourite bands. This British band consists of Mathew Healy, George Daniel, Adam Hann and Ross MacDonald. The 1975 is probably the most famous group on this list but they haven't let their fame affect them from their goal of producing distinct sounds and their constantly growing fanbase loves them for this. In fact, their album 'I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It' topped the Billboard 200 list during spring of 2016. This was a huge accomplishment, to say the least. For context, Rihanna's 'ANTI' and Adele's '25' occupied the #2 and #3 spots respectively. You might have heard their song 'Love It If We Made It' in 13 Reasons Why.
So what's the secret to The 1975's somber, futuristic songs? I don't know. But maybe it has something to do with the members' experience as a punk-rock band before they were The 1975. Maybe this is why one of their songs will make you smile and the next one will leave you in tears.
I could go on and on but I have more artists to cover. With more than 10 million monthly listeners on Spotify, it is safe to say The 1975 are one of the bands that have put indie pop-rock on the map.
Personal favourites: Love It If We Made It, Sincerity Is Scary, Somebody Else, Chocolate, A Change of Heart and Settle Down.
4. Arctic Monkeys
Meet the Arctic Monkeys, a soft grunge band that has attained royalty status in indie rock. If I'm being honest, I'm relatively new to the renowned band and there is still a lot I don't know about them but I couldn't write about indie music and not mention the Arctic Monkeys.
The band's current members are Alex Turner, Matt Helders, Jaimie Cook and Nick O'Malley. Their contributions to the genre are unforgettable. The Arctic Monkeys was formed by Turner when he was just 16 yet their debut album, 'Whatever people say I am, I am not', is the fastest-selling debut album in British history and has a spot on Rolling Stone's '100 Greatest Debut Albums of All Time.' Their dreams for international fame came true in 2013 when songs from their album 'AM' were played on American radios.
There is so much more I need to learn about these legends I encourage everyone to stream their songs while we wait for their new album.
Personal favourites: Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High? and Do I Wanna Know?
Adèle Castillon and Matthieu Reynaud are the nineteen year olds behind Videoclub. This young, French, indie pop duo is quite new to the scene but they have big plans for the coming years.
The aesthetically pleasing sounds of the group's first song,'Amour Plastique', caught the attention of many on social media. Needless to say, it was all across TikTok. In my opinion, Videoclub puts a modern twist on musical styles conventional to the '80s. This is very evident in the way they use a variety of synths in most of their songs. This gives all of their songs a charming, pretty and calming feel. These traits are very common in indie songs but you don't hear them as much in other genres.
Due to them singing mainly in French, I don't understand much of their lyrics but then again music has no language. Videoclub's compelling rhythms are all it'll take to make you fantasise about being the main character in an indie movie. I'm sure there's a lot more to come from this duo.
Personal favourites: Amour Plastique, En Nuit, Roi, Enfance 80 and Mai. PS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZeqK7IMrXU
Check this video out. Gorgeous synths, really good vocals and amazing lyrics. What's not to love?
I've always had a special spot for indie and non-mainstream artists. I feel like many singers, bands, and rappers lose their individuality and uniqueness when they become mainstream because the more they're like everybody else, the more successful they'll be. But this rule isn't very relevant or popular now. Nowadays, we appreciate artists for what makes them standout and if you enjoy music that isn't like every chart-topper ever, I highly recommend getting into indie music or exploring an upcoming artist. Larger artists may have professional producers but smaller ones have creativity. Plus for some reason, songs by smaller artists almost always feel so cozy.
I'm so sorry for not posting during October. I just had a lot of work from school and I really hope you enjoyed this article. Let me know if you think I should l start listening to a singer or brand.
All these pictures were taken from Apple Music and none of these pictures belong to me.
-by Rayansh Singh