We just got done compiling what dominated last year commercially and critically; now it’s time to look to the future. What new faces from the rock and alt worlds will populate 2019’s year-end charts and best-of lists?
Last year, we tried our best and hit on a few emerging bands and artists that now appear to be sticking around for the long haul. Across alternative, punk, indie, folk, and beyond, here are 17 sure bets and deep cut candidates to level up significantly this year.
Baltimore’s Angel Du$t features members of hardcore party-starters Turnstile and Trapped Under Ice and their last album, 2016’s Rock the Fuck On Forever, was about as fun as its title suggests. For 2019, they signed up with Roadrunner Records — and even better, enlisted producer Will Yip, who’s introduced heavy bands like Turnstile, Code Orange, and Title Fight to dizzying new horizons. “The songs are very much Angel Du$t, while the production is some whole other shit,” the band said in statement late last year. We tend to agree; see above. Expect a full-length release this year.
The Los Angeles garage rockers really should’ve gotten much bigger with 2016’s Welcome the Worms, a hook-filled sophomore effort bursting with the best parts of the Ramones, Blondie, and early Wipers without sounding hopelessly retro or pastiche-like — largely thanks to the emotional urgency of vocalist-guitarist Jennifer Clavin. But despite that album being largely slept on, Bleached kept the momentum with 2017’s Can You Deal EP, which came accompanied by a zine featuring words and art from numerous forward-thinking female musicians. Then they toured Europe with freakin’ Paramore. The band is currently recording a new album to be released later this year, and we think third time’s the charm for a larger breakthrough.
The Florida-born Dominic Fike emerged out of nowhere last year, sparking an (alleged) major label bidding war behind his debut EP, Don’t Forget About Me. He landed with Columbia, around the time his management at Tha Lights Global (who also rep Lil Pump) partnered with the label’s parent company, Sony. Given the fuss around the Soundcloud crooner’s guitar chops and Apple logo face tattoo, we’d expect a follow-up before long. And don’t let the hypebeasty veneer fool you; Fike’s Motown-tinged breakout track “3 Nights” is trend-proof and irresistible, swaying back and forth like a Hawaiian hula dash ornament into your subconscious.