Artists to Watch: 17 Alternative & Indie Breakouts For 2019


We simply bought finished compiling what dominated final 12 months commercially and critically; now it's time to look to the longer term. What new faces from the rock and alt worlds will populate 2019's year-end charts and best-of lists?

Last 12 months, we tried our greatest and hit on just a few rising bands and artists that now seem like sticking round for the lengthy haul. Across various, punk, indie, folks, and past, listed below are 17 positive bets and deep reduce candidates to stage up considerably this 12 months. 

Angel Du$t

Baltimore's Angel Du$t options members of hardcore party-starters Turnstile and Trapped Under Ice and their final album, 2016's Rock the Fuck On Forever, was about as enjoyable as its title suggests. For 2019, they signed up with Roadrunner Records — and even higher, enlisted producer Will Yip, who's launched heavy bands like Turnstile, Code Orange, and Title Fight to dizzying new horizons. "The songs are very a lot Angel Du$t, whereas the manufacturing is a few entire different shit," the band mentioned in assertion late final 12 months. We are inclined to agree; see above. Expect a full-length launch this 12 months. 


The Los Angeles storage rockers actually ought to’ve gotten a lot greater with 2016’s Welcome the Worms, a hook-filled sophomore effort bursting with one of the best components of the Ramones, Blondie, and early Wipers with out sounding hopelessly retro or pastiche-like — largely due to the emotional urgency of vocalist-guitarist Jennifer Clavin. But regardless of that album being largely slept on, Bleached stored the momentum with 2017’s Can You Deal EP, which got here accompanied by a zine that includes phrases and artwork from quite a few forward-thinking feminine musicians. Then they toured Europe with freakin’ Paramore. The band is at present recording a brand new album to be launched later this 12 months, and we predict third time’s the appeal for a bigger breakthrough.

Dominic Fike

The Florida-born Dominic Fike emerged out of nowhere final 12 months, sparking an (alleged) major label bidding war behind his debut EP, Don't Forget About Me. He landed with Columbia, across the time his administration at Tha Lights Global (who additionally rep Lil Pump) partnered with the label's mother or father firm, Sony. Given the fuss across the Soundcloud crooner's guitar chops and Apple brand face tattoo, we'd anticipate a follow-up earlier than lengthy. And don't let the hypebeasty veneer idiot you; Fike's Motown-tinged breakout observe "three Nights" is trend-proof and irresistible, swaying forwards and backwards like a Hawaiian hula sprint decoration into your unconscious.


Rage Against the Machine for 2019? It's been a while because the originals had an opportunity to defend that title, however their fellow rap-rocking Angelenos are approaching sturdy. With police brutality, white nationalism, and normal inequality of their crosshairs (see above), FEVER 333 blew up final 12 months: Single "Walking In My Shoes" went high 10 at Mainstream Rock Songs, and its follow-up "Made An America" adopted as a staple on the chart, even incomes a 2019 Grammy nod for greatest rock efficiency. That's a tricky act to observe for a debut full size, however STRENGTH IN NUMB333RS (out Jan. 18 on Roadrunner) once more options manufacturing from Blink-182's Travis Barker and John Feldmann (who's labored too many industrial punk hits to depend at this level), so search for their ascent to proceed. 


What if the hooks of shoegaze gems weren't buried underneath reverb, however bursting loud and proud on the service? Australia's Harriette Pillbeam — aka Hatchie — mastered this experiment on final 12 months's Sugar & Spice EP, which evoked turn-of-the-90s dream-pop, in addition to the Cranberries at their brightest, and didn't function a single observe that might've sounded misplaced on the Clueless soundtrack. Plenty of Hatchie's contemporaries are leaning into pop, however few are doing it this whole-heartedly, or this properly. Her full-length debut awaits this summer time Double Double Whammy. 


Singer-songwriter-producer Dexter Tortoriello has been releasing music as Houses because the begin of the 2010s, alongside manufacturing and composition for a large swath of artists together with Lil Yachty, Kali Uchis, and Martin Garrix. On various radio, his solo work is beginning to have a second: "Fast Talk," the entrancing lead observe from his drum-and-bass-influenced EP Drugstore Heaven, has held sturdy on Billboard's Alternative Songs chart for eight weeks. It's at present at its peak place of 17 and will turn out to be one of many chart's extra sudden high 10 entrants earlier than lengthy. 

J.S. Ondara 

The Kenyan-born, Minneapolis-based Ondara owns a hanging singing voice, which ranges from a velvety croon to an immaculate upper-register. Really, you’ve simply bought to listen to it your self. Ondara is a longtime Dylan devotee whose trendy tackle Americana beckoned an all-star supporting forged: producer Mike Viola (Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis), Andrew Bird, and members of Dawes and Milk Carton Kids all contributed to his debut album, Tales of America (due Feb. 15 on Verve Forecast). Don’t be stunned to listen to Ondara throughout Triple A radio quickly. Did we point out this man can sing? 

Jade Bird

With two Adult Alternative Songs high 5 hits already to her identify, Jade Bird is ready to launch her debut album April 19 on Glassnote Records. Something American certainly displays U.S. country-folk custom; on these two early hits — “Lottery” and “Uh Huh” — the 21-year outdated singer-songwriter belts like Dolly and tells it like it’s à la​ Kacey Musgraves. (“Uh Huh” particularly simply goes so exhausting.)

Nanami Ozone

Tiny Engines is coming off a such nice 12 months that punk, emo, and post-hardcore followers could be good to observe all the pieces within the pipeline for the Carolina-based indie label. That means venturing into the desert for Phoenix's Nanami Ozone, a dual-vocalist-wielding rock band whose sophomore album is due in early 2019. They've teased it might a two-song taste of each: "Alone Too" (sung by guitarist Sophie Opich) is equal components nimble and punchy whereas "three Mile Drive" (sung by Opich and guitarist Colson Miller) is 100 % designed for the open highway. 

Never Loved

We premiered the Florida band's very catchy debut observe again in November, and fortuitously, "Dead Inside" received't be the lone music sitting on their Spotify web page for lengthy. They've signed to the punk and post-hardcore mainstay Equal Vision Records (Saves the Day, Waterparks, previously Circa Survive) and plan to launch their debut EP within the early months of 2019. Produced by Matt Squire, the person behind lots of your favorite MySpace era rock hits (and a few pop stars), Never Loved's pop-punk sound is in sturdy, time-tested fingers. 


We've been psyched about Pronoun for a pair years, and this spring, the Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter-producer-label founder Alyse Vellturo is ready to launch her debut album on Rhyme & Reason Records. As Pronoun, Vellturo has a knack for flipping heartbreak into sunbeam-lit, charismatic indie pop and the three-track teaser she launched final October is actually, actually sturdy. Post-breakup anthems in the important thing of Metric and Tegan and Sara, Pronoun's songcraft would sound correct at residence on various radio or late night time speak present phases. 


Like Houses up above, SHAED is an electro-pop upstart gaining vital hype on various radio. Shortly after "Trampoline" appeared in a MacBook Air advert final fall, the stylish single broke into our Alternative Songs chart, the place it's since risen to 22. Out on tour selling its debut EP MELT (launched final 12 months on the New York indie Photo Finish Records) the trio will attempt to stick on folks's minds as a lot as "Trampoline" and its well-timed, whistled hook.

Stella Donnelly 

Stella Donnelly, a Fremantle, Western Australia-based singer-songwriter, made waves final 12 months at SXSW alongside her debut EP, Thrush Metal. The 26-year outdated is a jarring storyteller with an attractive voice and since that six-song assortment was basically simply her and her guitar, these core parts have been on full show. On her model new observe "Old Man," Donnelly introduces a jangly, full-band indie pop sound to go along with her freshly-announced LP, Beware Of the Dogs (due March eight on Secretly Canadian). Dig into her lyrics and also you shortly uncover some compelling and pressing social messages.


Vagabon — the venture of Cameroon-born, New York City-based multi-instrumentalist Lætitia Tamko — was considered one of 2017's greatest DIY success tales. It wasn't simply that debut LP Infinite Worlds was nice, it was the way it was nice in many alternative methods. It featured guitar-and-drums intestine punches like "The Embers" and "Cold Apartment" — written early within the course of — alongside the final observe recorded, “Mal á L'aise,” a sun-kissed sound collage made solely in Logic. There are quite a few thrilling instructions Vagabon's second album may go in, and we're completely satisfied to report it's arriving later this 12 months. Tamko talked about Mitski as a selected inspiration in our 2017 interview; for those who have been one of many many who adored final 12 months's Be the Cowboy, look out for Vagabon's newest as a kindred sonic spirit. 


A pair months faraway from taking part in his first U.S. exhibits, we're anxious to listen to from London artist Will Westerman, significantly his angelic voice. Lofty Nick Drake and Arthur Russell comparisons are well-earned, and in a contemporary sense, his dreamy, deeply emotional soundscapes echo Bon Iver, early James Blake, and the subtler moments of final 12 months's acclaimed album by The 1975. His 2018 EP Ark was produced by Bullion, an digital producer and fellow Londoner whose proven a knack for serving to Westerman shine amongst his ethereal synth beds and skeletal guitars. There's a number of promise right here. Likewise, Westerman is at present engaged on his debut LP and plans to launch it this fall. 

Wicca Phase Springs Eternal

Remember these SoundCloud vs. Bandcamp memes that have been form of humorous in 2017? Adam McIlwee sits a the middle of that Venn diagram, easing the 2 worlds into peaceable equilibrium. Way again in 2005, he co-founded the Scranton, Penn. band Tigers Jaw, and helped carry the torch for emotional punk music by his departure in 2013. In the years that adopted, he morphed into Wicca Phase Springs Eternal and co-founded the emo rap collective GOTHBOICLIQUE. Last 12 months's "Stress" discovered him rapping alongside, then duetting with, Camp Cope vocalist Georgia Maq, over a beat from Lil Peep collaborator Fish Narc. It's an enormous temper, as they are saying, and simply in time to prelude Wicca's sophomore album. Suffer On is due Feb. 15 on Run For Cover Records, Tigers Jaw's outdated label.

Wild Pink

We're ending with another from Tiny Engines Records. New York City's Wild Pink make panoramic rock music that's like the War on Drugs, however with extra emphasis on poetic, storytelling lyrics, and a bit alt-country thrown in. Their 2018 sophomore effort Yolk In the Fur is a downright spellbinding pay attention. If it arrived on one of many greater indie labels, like say Matador or Sub Pop, it might have been throughout final 12 months's year-end lists. Tiny Engines suggests they've bought extra in retailer for 2019, so right here's to hoping for his or her third LP in as a few years.