Top 10 Rock and Indie Artists You Should be Listening to in 2021
Photo Credit: Sam Hiscox
North London band Sorry serve up a hodgepodge of synths, guitars, hip-hop and shoegaze (etc. etc.). The band will probably be an acquired taste for some, but many others will be sorry if they don’t at least check them out.
#9. Nathan Evans
Photo Credit: Universal Music
He went from TikTok to the top of the UK charts, and though some have already dismissed the style that put Nathan Evans on the map – an a cappella rendering of a 19th century whaling sea shanty – as fad, the artist himself shows undeniable promise. He’s since harpooned a three-album record deal, and hopefully will explore a variety of musical forms while staying true to his roots.
#8. The Obsessives
Photo Credit: Lauren H. Adams
“The Obsessives’ style has been described as rock, pop rock, good and also bad,” is how the DC band’s own Wikipedia page characterizes them, so they must be doing something right or at the very least are worth a listen. This adult slacker indie rock will surely become at least a few people’s new obsession.
#7. The Aces
Photo Credit: Red Bull Records
Still perhaps a bit caught in the shadow of HAIM (whom they undeniably sound quite a bit like) this Provo, Utah all-women indie rock band is overdue mainstream success, and hopefully they’ll finally draw the winning hand in 2021.
#6. Jake Bugg
Photo Credit: EMI
While this Dylan-influenced folkie rocker has always been a Top 10 artist in his native UK, American audiences might have incorrectly assumed that Jake Bugg is just a Justin Bieber who bothered learning three guitar chords. However, Bugg’s first new album in four years will be releasing this summer, and it is something we can all look forward to.
#5. Hayley Williams
Photo Credit: Lindsey Byrnes
The Paramore lead singer’s second solo album FLOWERS for VASES/descantos has so far been a bit slow out of the gate, at least commercially (with the needlessly confusing title not helping anything). However, this astonishingly solid collection of raw-but-slick tunes showcasing Williams’ evolving skills as a songwriter definitely should be heard by all.
Photo Credit: Through The Eyes Of Ruby
Manchester, England’s latest import offers up a raw but tight mix of ’60s British pop and classic punk. Their latest EP National Trust should renew just about anyone’s trust about in the state of rock ‘n’ roll in 2021.
#3. Matthew Sweet
Photo Credit: Evan Carter
After three decades, the veteran indie rocker (best known for his 1992 radio hit “Girlfriend”) has not only begun providing all his own lead guitar, but has also released one of the best albums of 2021 so far, Catspaw. It’s by no means too late to catch up with this underappreciated artist.
#2. Tigers Jaw
Photo Credit: Rebecca Lader
Scranton, Pennsylvania indie rock band – co-fronted by Ben Walsh and Bianna Collins – has bite, for sure. Taking multiple cues from ’80s and ’90s alternative rock, Tiger Jaw’s latest album I Don’t Care How You Remember Me is tight, energetic and – you guessed it – highly memorable.
#1. The Snuts
Photo Credit: Gary Williamson
Their name may sound equally like that of an early British punk outfit and some obscure sub-species of Muppet, but Scottish four-piece the Snuts are already big news in the UK, where their debut album W.L. has topped the charts. The band explores a variety of styles and might alternately remind listeners of the Stone Roses, U2, the Arctic Monkeys and even Blur (just to name four), but more importantly remind us that rock ‘n’ roll is alive and well in 2021 – and hopefully beyond.