10 musicians you should have heard of

Underrated musicians to give a listen

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10 musicians you should have heard of

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Artist: X-Ray Spex

Genre: Classic Punk

Years active: 1976-1979

Why you should listen: If you like sticking it to the man the old-school way, this band is for you. The lead singer’s voice was described as “effervescently discordant” by  Dave Thompson of ALLMUSIC on March 19th of 2002, which in layman’s terms means she screams but in a good way. X-Ray Spex are the epitome of punk. They are messy and undisciplined, just as punk should be. Every word that lead singer Poly Styrene screeches oozes raw emotion and anger, best for banging one’s head to. 

Recommended first listen: “Oh Bondage, Up Yours!”

 

Artist: The The

Genre: New Wave

Years active: 1979- Now

Why you should listen: A combination of synth, drums, harmonica and a British voice with a lot of range gives The The their unique sound. Their songs have a certain depth to them, too, that will keep you listening. They could be compared to The Smiths in their style of music. The The’s themes, however, are not as melancholy, and are actually often uplifting in a nostalgic sort of way. Their songs can take you away to a different place and time, which all of us could use once in a while. 

Recommended first listen: “This Is the Day”

 

Artist: Still Woozy

Genre: Lo-Fi

Years active: 2017- Now

Why you should listen: This floaty lo-fi music style is rather up-and-coming at this moment in time, in line with Clairo, Gus Dapperton and additional recently-popular names from that scene. What makes Still Woozy stand out, though, is a bit of a funky beat in the background which is combined with a laid-back, abstract sound, creating something unusual. Sven, the man who goes by the alias “Still Woozy” makes all of his music in his garage, giving it a very homemade sound. Still Woozy’s music is floaty and dream-like, but can also make for great hangout music with friends and is feel-good all around.

Recommended first listen: “Goodie Bag”

 

Artist: Orion Sun

Genre: R&B

Years active: 2017- Now

Why you should listen: It’s just so beautiful. Tiffany Majette is a one-woman show, and she definitely doesn’t disappoint. Her voice is like liquid gold, it ebbs and flows with the beat as though it were another instrument, accompanied by the multiple other instruments Majette can play. Tiffany’s music is not R&B in the traditional sense, because she combines a strong beat one usually associates with rap music with her own silky, fluid voice. This is the type of music one can cry to, but also daydream to. Throughout her music it is hard not to stay enamored, holding on to every syllable. Not only that, but her lyrics feel relatable, no matter if you’ve experienced what she’s singing about or not. 

Recommended first listen: “Antidote”

 

Artist: Santo & Johnny

Genre: Instrumental rock

Years active: 1959-1969

Why you should listen: If sunsets were songs, Santo & Johnny would write them. Melancholic yet sweet, this music has no need for lyrics. So much emotion can be felt from their classic steel guitar alone. For their time, Santo and Johnny did very well, however it is unfortunate that their songs have mainly faded away. Their music is timeless, perfect for staring up at the night sky or a long drive home. The way the instruments are played feels effortless, and it is rare for beats so simple to create such an atmosphere. It is hard to equate any other music to Santo & Johnny’s, since they truly have their own distinct sound. 

Recommended first listen: “And I Love Her”

 

Artist: Sampa the Great

Genre: Rap

Years active: 2015- Now

Why you should listen: Sampa, a native of Botswana, worked her way up to where she is now, which is reflected in many of her songs. Her music stands out for several reasons, but mainly it is what she addresses in her songs. The themes she raps about tend to be overlooked in the male-dominated rap world and she goes out of her way to sugar coat nothing. Not to mention, all of her songs have strong beats that are different than what one tends to hear in rap music. It’s not as heavy and full as what you will usually hear on the radio because she often sticks with a simple beat accompanied only by her voice. Her music is about the message, but the catchiness is a bonus. 

Recommended first listen: “F E M A L E”

 

Artist: Twin Peaks

Genre: Alternative Rock                                                                     

Years active: 2010-

Why you should listen: Twin Peaks invokes a little bit of some classic rock bands like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and even the Rolling Stones, however they add some funk and groove that classic rock often lacks. Though Twin Peak’s drums may seem simple and lacking a unique quality in most of their songs at first, the listener will soon realize this is meant to allow the lead guitar to stick out so strongly and get the attention it deserves. This music is on the lighter side of rock and sounds like a bunch of friends are having a lot of fun together. The happiness rubs off on the listener. 

Recommended first listen: “Making Breakfast”

 

Artist: The Velvet Underground

Genre: Rock

Years active: 1964-1973

Why you should listen: This band was one of the pioneers of art rock. Lou Reed began the band, which was not as famous as his solo career despite the similar styles. The Velvet Underground was groundbreaking in its music style and influenced many after it. They were literary and poetic, really clever with their lyrics. They were also schooled in the streets of New York, though, and wrote about life as they saw it. The band was honest, and in turn created beautiful music. Many of their songs sound raw and take creative risks, which seem to have always paid off. 

Recommended first listen: “Sweet Jane”

 

Artist: Joy Again

Genre: Indie

Years active: 2015-

Why you should listen: Hopeless romantics will identify with this musical group. The lead singer of the band has a blown-out voice to accompany a soft guitar. Interestingly enough, though, Joy Again adds some strong drums to accompany the delicate sound of the rest of the music. This contrast creates something unique that still feels overall mellow. Joy Again has melodious, romantic and extremely nostalgic lyrics. Their songs range from hazy music one can practically float to, to almost indie-pop that could easily be danced to. They are not limited in what they can produce, which is special and shows their utter talent.

Recommended first listen: “Winter Snakes”

 

Artist: Scapegoat Wax

Genre: Funk/Rap

Years active: 1999-2002

Why you should listen: Scapegoat Wax mixes funk with rap with R&B, which is not a frequent find. Funk is their main theme, but almost every time a smooth solo will come in from one of their several singers to break up the song. Even if the three parts of their songs were to stand alone they would work extremely well, so to combine them all is to make magic happen. Scapegoat Wax oozes soul, and one can’t help but sway their hips to the sound. 

Recommended first listen: “Freeway”