Top 5 Unknown Artists of The Year

I sometimes give abnormally high scores to a few records no one has heard about. I do admit that part of it is romanticizing a newly undiscovered band that should be heard, thus unintentionally putting a score up a notch, with the hopes that people listen to the band.

While, Nancy makes me feel as if I give positive reviews to every band, some bands maintain their status much longer after I’ve reviewed their album and the only thing I can honestly say is that these 6 bands are some underrated and under the radar acts of the year.

5. Little Pictures
From: New Zealand
Album: Owl + Owl
Rating: 4 out of 5
Why are they unknown? New Zealand is a world away and when it’s considered to be successful as a Kiwi Indie band to sell just 500 records, that’s a bit of hinderance.
What makes them so good? Simple lo-fi do it yourself romantic indie pop. The music itself is simplistic yet Little Pictures take it so far by being fun and cute. It’s really a pure joy to listen to even if the quality isn’t that high. Definitely music that appeals to the masses.

I Wish I could Keep You by Little Pictures
Hopeful and Hopeless by Little Pictures

4. Bridges and Powerlines
From: Brooklyn, New York
Album: Ghost Types
Rating: 4.75 out of 5
Why are they unknown? Not enough press has picked up their album despite strong reviews (Pitchfork reviewed the track Calibrated) and while there are a lot of powerpop bands, indie powerpop bands do have a tough go when it comes to being “cool”. Especially in Hipsterland that is Brooklyn, New York.
What makes them so good? Well I believe the album is almost more then justified. Sure it’s a little high and should warrant some consideration in a top 20 list but it honestly just missed the cut. B&P made a record that features some very solid powerpop
*I know it happens a lot but I sent in 10 questions to the band only to be ignored as I wanted to do a quick interview. In that sense I’m still kind of bitter but the music is still good.

Uncalibrated by Bridges and Powerlines
The Thieves, They Are Everywhere by Bridges and Powerlines

3. Kinch
From: Phoenix, Arizona
Album: Advances
Rating: 4.25 out of 5
Why are they unknown? Determined to take the trek as a Southern rock influenced do it yourself indie band. To take this path is tough and is a road that is well traveled with many bands not succeeding like Kinch has.
What makes them so good? While I didn’t think their album was “that” good, it really grew on me that it became an album I liked to listen to on the Zune (which is busted!!) every now and then. I actually feel like Kinch’s music appeals the masses and maybe it isn’t the best financial deal to be a DIY indie band no matter how talented they are. I believe they could big with a proper push.

Long Protracted Wait by Kinch
Memphis by Kinch

2. Anthem In
From: Brooklyn, New York
Album: Self Titled
Rating: 4.75 out of 5
Why are they unknown? New band. New bands have to get their foot in the door when it comes to playing shows. No shows, no ability to gain fans (as good as posting about them helps, playing gigs is the number one way to get hardcore fans). I would say I’m a big fan of them and during the summer they probably had one show.
What makes them so good? While danceable indie pop is thrown around with their band, their debut disc features both pop sensibilities and proficiency using the guitar. While some songs are structured more as pop songs, you find bits and pieces that you are more likely to find on a Les Savy Fav record. Add in the Wurlizter used by Ashley Profitt, you have a refined sound that main indie bands strive for. While they can definitely be better, and I may overrate them a little, they are pretty talented and it would cool to see what the future brings them.

Five Minutes by Anthem In
Down by Anthem In

1. Matthew and Arrogant Sea
From: Denton, Texas
Album: Family Family Family Meets The Magic Christian
Rating:: 4.5 out of 5
Why are they unknown?: Life being a folk artist can be tough especially if you aren’t receiving absolutely rave reviews from Pitchfork and many other news outlets. No matter how much the blogs like you. A lot of the reviews for MATAS’s FFF Meets The Magic Christian were very positive but nothing over the top.
What makes them so good?: #21 on my best of the year. An excellent experimental folk album. They seem to have a midas touch when it comes to songs. Songs like The Wizard which is limited lyrically is downright amazing musically when “He Is The Wizard” is shouted constantly. This band can literally do anything and they went a multitude of ways on this record and culi

Mock Origami by Matthew and Arrogant Sea
Marry Me Annie by Matthew and Arrogant Sea

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