A year and a half ago, I was excited about all the new bands and singers I had discovered and loved. I shared a brief list of just 6 new artists I was passionate about and wanted more people to discover, too. Well, now that it’s been so long, I thought I’d give you an update. See, the aforementioned blog was called “Never Stop Discovering New Bands.” Nearly two years later, I still haven’t stopped, and there’s so much new music to be excited about.
Here are just 10 of the new – or at least, new to me – artists I’ve listened to constantly in the last year or so. I love them, and maybe you will too.
Lana Del Rey
Yes, I got on the Lana Del Rey train a little later than some. I’d heard about her before, of course. I first heard her name when I found an article criticizing her first TV performance, and promptly wrote her off. What a mistake that was. When I saw Maleficent in theaters in spring 2014, I found that her version of “Once Upon A Dream” was mesmerizing. By the end of the year, I decided I needed to look into her music some more. I went down a YouTube spiral watching all her videos. Her new Ultraviolence tracks – particularly the title track and “Shades Of Cool” – convinced me, and I promptly went to iTunes to download the album.
I played it constantly, and within a couple of months I went to my favorite record store and got my hands on Born To Die (the Paradise edition). This album was so different from Ultraviolence, and I played it constantly, too. I even got my metalhead fiancé (now husband) obsessed with Lana’s music! Out of all the new artists I’ve discovered in the last year, Lana Del Rey is definitely one of the top two that I’m most obsessed with.She’s truly talented, and her newest album, Honeymoon, did not disappoint either. I’ll be ready to see her on tour whenever she comes near my hometown.
Alice In Chains
Here’s the thing about Alice In Chains: I grew up in the Seattle area, so of course I’d heard their name. I probably even heard some of their songs on the radio my parents listened to. But I was an infant when their first album came out, and still a small child when they released their third and final record with main singer Layne Staley. Sadly, he died in 2002, so I’ll never get to see the band with the original genius lyricist and vocalist. But their old music hits me hard.
My husband (well, fiancé at the time) was listening to Alice In Chains a lot early in 2015, and a certain song struck me. “Man In The Box” was incredible, and I had the song on repeat for weeks. Soon I was listening to a bunch of their more well-known singles, and by late spring I was particularly obsessed with their album, Dirt. If ever there was a perfect album, this is it. All three of their records are amazing, from Facelift through Alice In Chains, and their many EPs and other songs are also fully worth buying. At this point I think I’ve collected every last song they ever recorded – demo, live, studio, or other – and have read their new biography that came out last summer. I discovered Alice In Chains rather late for a Seattleite, but I’m so glad I did. Everyone should listen to this band, the best band to come from the grunge scene. (Yes, better than Nirvana…. though Nirvana is great, too.)
I first heard Opeth back in 2013 thanks to my boyfriend. The album, Damnation, had something beautiful to it. When I hear it I always envision a quiet winter cabin housing dark secrets – oddly specific, but it’s true. I was surprised that they were previously known as a heavy metal band, because the music was so soft and introspective, in a rather dark and enchanting way.
It wasn’t until mid-2015 that I really got into Opeth, though. They released a new album, Pale Communion, a year before that, and my husband and I really got into it over the summer. It’s such a strong album, and their musicality is impressive and intriguing. The more I listen to it, the more I love it. Opeth is an incredible band that I’m glad to have added to my collection.
Devin Townsend Project
Perhaps the most left-field band on this list is Devin Townsend Project, whom I discovered thanks to – you guessed it – my husband. Most of the metal bands I listen to now are thanks to him. But Devin Townsend Project isn’t quite the thrashing metal you might be thinking of – they’re more progressive and genre-defying than that. The group’s namesake, Devin Townsend, writes all the music and lyrics, and he’s joined by a masterful singer named Anneke van Giersbergen. The double album, Z², is dynamic and transcendent, especially songs like “Universal Flame” and “Rejoice.” I’m only just now going back to his previous albums, and so far I like what I hear.
Between The Buried And Me
Yet another metal band, I know. My husband recently got their new album, Coma Ecliptic, and was playing it repeatedly over the summer. After only a few listens I grew to love it as well. Between The Buried And Me are fairly progressive, and the songs can range from peaceful piano-led introductions to chaotic frenzy to heavy metal screaming. They’ve mastered epic and grandiose, calm and minimalistic, and everything in between. I’ll be excited to see them live for the first time this March.
It was late 2014 when I first heard “Breaking Up” by Charli XCX. The song is simple and catchy, yet something about it is so addictive, too. It was infectious and worthy of endless replays, and I decided I had to hear more from her. I ended up buying her album Sucker shortly after it was released that December, and I have never regretted that decision. The whole album is fun and catchy, and a perfect blend of breezy pop and edgy attitude. Songs like “Sucker,” “Famous,” and “Need Ur Love” are the kind of pop perfection that I needed, and I’ll be ready for more from Charli XCX later this year.
I first heard about Hozier in late 2014 thanks to his massive hit, “Take Me To Church.” I have to admit that I avoided seeking out the song out at first, cluelessly assuming it would be super preachy and about praising the Lord. So when my sister convinced me to give it a listen later that year, I was pleasantly surprised. What a stunning, impressive song “Take Me To Church” turned out to be! It has a great message, and the musical style is solid. I bought the album at the beginning of 2015 and spent months slowly digging into the bluesy new songs. Luckily, Hozier’s debut album proves he’s no one-hit-wonder. I’ve really enjoyed “Jackie And Wilson,” “Someone New,” and “It Will Come Back,” and I look forward to hearing more from him in the future.
Another new artist – and the latest addition to my list here – is Elle King. It was only a month ago that I was sitting in the hair salon and found myself enjoying the song playing from the ceiling speakers. I couldn’t hear the words clearly over the noisy hair dryers, but I knew I had to figure out what that song was. When I heard it in my car a few days later, I made sure to memorize some lyrics and look it up when I got home. And thus I learned that “Ex’s And Oh’s” is by a girl about my age named Elle King. I looked up some songs on YouTube and liked what I heard, so I went ahead and bought her debut album. It’s only been a couple weeks since I got it, but I’ve been loving her kind of raspy vocals and bluesy, folky style of pop rock. “Under The Influence” and “Jackson” are two more of my favorites, and I see a great musical future for Elle King.
Type O Negative
Late in 2015, my husband suddenly got into a ’90s band he used to like called Type O Negative. He kept playing their album, Bloody Kisses, and after a few weeks of this I found myself really enjoying some of the songs. My favorites so far are “Black No. 1” and “Christian Woman” – both are dark and dynamic, and I love the horror film qualities they bring to music. My interest in Type O Negative is still young, but I expect I’ll be listening to them a lot the rest of this year.
Another late addition to this list is an influential band that is just finally getting inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Deep Purple. Of course I had already heard of them and knew the iconic “Smoke On The Water.” But I have to admit, my knowledge of them ended there. Being how I’ve been listening to more metal lately, it seems only appropriate that I be familiar with one of the founders of the genre. Currently, my favorite Deep Purple songs are “Perfect Strangers,” “Hungry Daze,” and “Knocking At Your Back Door,” all from their 1984 album Perfect Strangers.
I like a variety of music, and throughout 2015 I found myself delving more into rock – both new and old. On the other hand, I balanced it out with some great new blues and pop singers as well. All ten of the artists listed here are amazing and have made up the bulk of the new (or new to my iTunes) music I’ve listened to lately. My top two favorite new artists are Lana Del Rey and Alice In Chains, both rivaling some of my longest standing favorites, but the other artists are right up there too.
It’s always important to continue discovering new music. We all go through phases – five years ago I was into super cheery pop and latin pop, now I’m going through another rock phase, and who knows what’s next. My sister is suddenly going through a k-pop phase (she’s specifically obsessed with a band called Big Bang), and time will tell if that sticks or if she moves on to another genre or time in music history.
Keep listening to bands and singers you’ve never heard before, no matter how new or old they are. You may discover that you love something you never knew existed.