Here’s a list of insanely underrated artists with a little bit of commentary. I have more to say about some of them than others, so a few are lengthy. You may be wondering about the long title and I’m hoping that from now on, whenever these moments come along, you may turn on this music and know what I mean.
Side Note: Some songs by these artists are in my Spotify playlist “keep growing as you roam” if you wanna take a listen. Spotify: Kailey Harvey
- Beginning in Columbia, North Carolina, but based in Asheville, Tennessee, Elvis Depressedly was formed in 2011 by Mat Cothran, previously known as Coma Cinema (who I also talk about below). Mat played most instruments himself during this time. The next year, in 2012, more music was released; some digitally, some on cassettes (Orchid Tapes, Mickey’s Dead, and Hotter Sadness). Soon, Mat added a couple members to create a full band including Mike Roberts and Delany Mills. Soon, in 2013, the band came out with “Holo Pleasures“, which caught the attention of “Run For Cover Records”. Elvis Depressedly released the album “New Alhambra” in May of 2015. My favorite tune from this band is probably “Inside You“. I love that track because of the melody and scratchy sound that sounds like you’re listening to it on a vinyl player. This song is found on the “Holo Pleasures/California Dreamin’” album that was released in 2016 as the 2013 EP combined with an unreleased six track EP that was previously recorded during the same time.
- This band derives from Reno, Nevada and is a little more up tempo than the other bands I’m putting in this category. It’s a mix of punk and surf rock. Their first demo album was titled “Demos” and was a ten track album. In June of the same year, the album “Buds” was released. My favorite track comes off of their most recent album, “Sad Boys“, and its called “Forever Dumb“. It’s a really nostalgic surf rock sound that you would get in the 50s, but modernized with an enhanced guitar and melody base.
- This band is one of my favorites that I chose for this post. Mat Cothran is now lead of the band, Elvis Deprssedly. I can’t stop listening to the song “Virgin Veins” off of the album, “Posthumous Release“. The front man, Mat Cothran’s voice fits so well with this genre of music. They come from North Carolina and formed in 2005 during high school. After they performed locally for years after high school, they released an album called “Baby Prayers” that is a compilation of all of their music they had recorded in basements, bedrooms, and abandon houses up until then. The areas that they record this music in gives a really authentic and unique sound to each song. This caught the ear of many labels and indie blogs. In June, 2012, they released their second album, “Stoned Alone“.”Blue Suicide“, their most recent album, was released in March 2011.
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- This band comes from Nashville, Tennessee. They have a really melancholic instrumental arrangement. My favorite tune by them is “Everything Is Scary” mostly because of the guitar riff that sweeps throughout the whole thing. The lyrics paired along are also really great. My other favorite is “What Do You Want“. I think their melodies are my favorite part of their music because it seems like it intensifies but also keeps an airyness to it. The band’s first release was a self titled EP released December 2nd, 2008. In April, two years later, the band’s first album which is 12 tracks long, “To Carry Alongside“,was released. The follow-up album, “SPPLIT“, which was a collaboration with The Widowers, came out soon after in January, 2011. “After The Warmth” in February, 2011, “In Comforting” in May, 2011, “The Lifting” in April, 2013 (a collaboration with Lung Cycles) in November 2014, and their most recent album, “Haunts” in December 2014.
This funky music, created by Shari Heck, is easily one of my go to’s. This is more on the alternative side, its acoustic, laid back, and refreshingly simple. My favorite song by her is “Philadelphia II“, the lyrics to that song are some of my favorites from any song. Her first album, “Hair Piles” was released in April of 2014, following that in the same month was “Milo the Dog Sees Color“, in July, “Outdoor Activities” came out, then came “Muck” in September. Beginning a new year in February 2015, “FRIENDS“, which is a single came out. “Amy Locust Whatever” from November, “FOOTWEAR” in March, and the latest, “OOR 1.5” from July 2015. CBMC is currently signed to the really cool independent music record label called “Too Far Gone Records” which is a small diy distributor of music from Boston, Massachusetts. They have some other similar bands that you should check out.
- This band originates from Valdosta, Georgia. Their first release was April of 2013. I would name all of the albums, but the names are so long that not even I would really want to read through them. The reason that I can’t seem to choose my favorite album by them is because I feel like I shouldn’t, which may sound strange. I feel like the point of these songs were kind of like when you find old journals and look back at them and they bring you a memory and that in itself is a really interesting experience and you should appreciate each one. In my opinion, each song portrays this idea in a really cool way. When I listen to their music, they remind me of poems or a thought that had to be written down right that second. Their sound is a little angsty if you can get behind that. Contron is also under the record label, “Too Far Gone Records”. Their trademark is having extremely long titles for songs, for example, “oh in the springtime yes it rains til it gets sunny i wish i was allowed 2 be 2 proud 2 take yr money“, which is the first track off of their self titled album.
- These guys are from Salt Lake City, Utah and you can find most of their music on bandcamp.com, which I use a lot to find new music. Their sound is really cool and they’re a little garage band-ish. But as they evolve, their sound gets better due to experience. The music off of each of these albums is lo-fi, muffled, sad indie (I just made that up, but it definitely makes sense if you listen). They have A LOT of music out and they released their first “Bedroom Tapes Part.1” in August of 2012. My favorite song off of that album is “Ol Rudy“.This album ends with a beautiful instrumental called “Closing Thoughts“. In November 2012, they released “Bedroom Recordings #2” which is a little softer than the first release (foreshadowing their future sound). My favorite track off of that one is “DayDeathDream” because it sounds like it was recorded off the cuff in a little echo-y room. “PAPS” is also a great tune, they used a similar melody as the song “Void in Time“, which is a song off of one of their future albums that you can find on Spotify. During the same month, they released “Bed Room Recordings #3” and my favorite track is “Massacre Isnt Marie“. I love the lyrics and just the simple melody, it really shows off the creative talent of the writer(s). “Bedroom Recordings #4” was from February 2013, and I love love love the first track “Greatest Hits” that incorporates a harmonica, which you don’t find in many songs these days. “Mama Says” from April 2013 is the original version of “Void in Time“(you can find the professionally recorded and enhanced version on Spotify). They released an album called “Bedroom Recordings Remastered” in September 2013, which are a little different from the original tracks. In December 2013, “SAD SPLIT” came out. My favorite track off of that album is called “How“, which begins with a quiet vocal and music that seems to overtake the softspokeness. During the same month, the band came out with a longer album, “Euphoria Again“, and I absolutely love the cover art. This album demonstrates their progression and discoveries of themselves throughout the years. My favorite track from this album is “Backwards“; there’s something about the beginning and how honest it is. When it begins with the acoustic, it makes you feel similar emotions to the artist even if you havent been in the same state before. Another favorite of mine is “September“.
- Thank you so so much to Ramona for showing me this band, because they’re one of my new favorites. Dope Lemon is a side project of Angus Stone, who most people know as part of the duo, Angus and Julia Stone. Angus also has a pseudonym, Lady of the Sunshine from 2009, and Broken Brights from 2009 which has a similar sound to the music that Angus and Julia Stone put out together. I like Dope Lemon the best because they have a more slackey grungy sound to them, which if you know me, you know I’m obsessed with. The band’s first album, “Honey Bones”, features Angus’s friends Rohin Brown, lead singer of The Walking Who, and Elliot Hammond on keys from The Delta Riggs. My favorite song off of the album is track 1 “Uptown Folks” which, in my opinion, is a lyrical masterpiece. I love the main guitar riff in the chorus. The album gets super experimental sounding when track 5 “How Many Times” comes on. This song gives off a Radiohead/early Muse days vibe. This track also features a couple of lyrics “she’s just dying to please ya” from Angus and Julia Stone’s song “Please You“. One of my other favorites is “Stonecutters” which has such a cool jam sound to it. It really shows off Angus’s voice in a raw way and the banjo in the back adds an original twist. He has a really authentic voice that reminds me a lot of Bob Dylan. He’s just a really cool dude in general. Angus records a lot of his music in his self-made studio on his farm that he calls Belafonte` Studios. He says he named after Bill Murray’s boat from one of my favorite movies “The Life Aquatic” directed by Wes Anderson (who is an incredible movie maker, check him out). Angus says “I’m a big fan of him, his colours, just the way he is with the script and everything, it’s just magic.” All of Angus Stone’s endeavours prove him to be an extremely multi-talented artist, which you can tell by just listening to his voice and lyrics. He also says that he eventually wants to become a producer and help other bands out with their music. For now, as the front man of Dope Lemon, he’s just sitting on it and maybe thinking of touring, festivals, etc. I’m hoping this side project goes far in the future because I’d love to see what else they come up with. Not only with Dope Lemon, but Angus Stone.
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- This band is an Australian band from Melbourne with a slow folk sound and a lovely voice coming from frontman, Caleb Karvountzis. His voice is super similar to Billy Corgen from Smashing Pumpkins (and you can NEVER go wrong with Smashing Pumpkins). The members include Sean Mullins, Al Yamin, and Clancy Bond. Their instrumental sound is really similar to the band Wild Nothing, but more melancholy. Their first EP, “You Tore Out My Heart” which came out in 2015, is amazing. My favorite song by them is probably track 1 “Soon We Won’t Exist“. I love how his voice matches with the vocals so well and the lyric “The strangest part of life. What keeps me up at night. Is you’ll sleep sound despite that I’m missing you.” (go listen to that part right now-its at the 3:00 mark). Caleb started recording music from his bedroom and they became a four piece in 2014. The song “Every Man Knows His Plague; And You Are Mine” is super cool too. It kind of has a Jake Bugg sound to it (the guitar in the beginning of that song is sick). Another song that I love is track 2″Easy” because the lyrics have so much emotion in them and they sort of go along with the song before it. It’s crazy to me that the melody of a song can be so catchy and sound so happy but really shows another side of the artist telling a story of their past. My favorite lyric in that song is “I think that we are fine. Not doing great but getting by. I guess we laughed right at the start, but now I think I’ll cry”. I feel like those words are so truthful for a lot of people. The realization that life is going on so casually despite the individual emotions that each person on this earth holds inside themselves.
- A band from Montclair, New Jersey that began in January of 2010. The band joined together because of a small music show called “Terry’s Serendipity Cafe” that was for students in Montclair. The band consists of Evan Stephans Hall on guitar and vocals, Nick Levine on guitar, Zack Levine on drums, Sam Skinner on bass, Nandi Rose Plunkett with vocals, with a mix of David Mitchell, Josh Marre, and Adan Carlo Feliciano. They caught people’s attention because of their experimental playing, and unique lead vocal and harmonizing. If you ever listen to early 90s alternative, you’ll notice that their sound stems from a lot of that inspiration. They recorded their debut album “Meridian” in 2012, their next EP “&” in 2013, and recorded with a small label called “Topshelf Records” in 2014. Later in 2015, Pinegrove released their “Everything so Far” album, which is a lengthy 21 tracks long, and then in October, signed to the label “Run For Cover Records”, who they’re still signed with. This one was my favorite album of theirs because every song sounds so different and they have a really abstract way of recording. One track that exemplifies this idea is track 2, “Angelina“, which was the first song I heard by them. Initially, this track catches your eye with the cool name, then you hear it and there’s something really special about it. For some reason, the first time that I listened to it, it made me feel a vulnerability that I didn’t recognize. It brought out every emotion all at once and I thought “This is what music is meant to do.” After listening to that 1:41 length song on repeat in the middle of the night with my earphones on full volume hundreds of times, I was so curious about it. I did some research and read what the lead vocalist, Evan, wrote about it in his reddit AMA in March 2016. He said “It’s basically 3 different melodies over the same chords, in different vocal registers. I try to play with the tension of it by selectively introducing symmetrical melodies on different layers of the song. It all feels familiar because basically it’s just variations on the same thing. i use the same trick in aphasia.” Continuing the album, another song that made me feel the same way (thank you, Carla for telling me to listen to it closely) was a song called “Size of the Moon“. It speaks for itself in the lyrics, and man does it hit you hard. Side note in case you were wondering, my favorite song at the moment by them is “Old Friends“.
Thanks for reading, see ya soon.