Music Preview: Rising artists span genres and embrace lyrical depth in recent releases
(Nghi Nguyen/Daily Bruin)
As flowers begin to blossom and each day stretches on just a bit longer, spring signals a time to refresh – and while the earth rejuvenates, up-and-coming artists are ready to flourish, too. From indie pop to alternative rock, plenty of genres welcome these artists’ ascending fame. Trying out the music of these rising artists can give listeners who are stuck inside the same warm and content feeling as basking in the sun’s rays.
Keep reading for Daily Bruin’s recommendations of artists to keep an eye on this spring.
Members of Canadian band Peach Pit seem to be anything but peachy in its sad boy pop music.
The group of four made a name for itself in the indie pop genre with its debut EP, “Sweet FA,” in 2016. The track’s dulcet and tender vocals, juxtaposed by crooning electric guitar solos, narrate a cautionary tale about love’s intoxicating power.
Following its initial debut, Peach Pit released its studio album, “Being so Normal” only a year later. The lead single, “Alrighty Aphrodite,” boasts a mellow yet robust sound, earning it a slot on Billboard Canada Rock Top 50. Lead vocalist Neil Smith bitterly laments an unsatisfied lover in the track, textured by the album’s signature light percussion and eerie bassline.
Since then, Peach Pit has performed at music festivals like Bonnaroo and Shaky Knees, fully establishing itself in the indie scene. The band’s upcoming album, “You and Your Friends,” will be released Friday, followed by the beginning of its summer European tour. So as spring arrives in full bloom, Peach Pit’s popularity will surely follow suit.
– Vivian Xu
“It’s like a soul band fell into a vat of rainbow sherbert ice cream,” reads one YouTube comment under Raveena Aurora’s NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert.
Professionally known as Raveena, the singer-songwriter combines R&B and soul to create a dream pop sound of her own, releasing her first EP “Shanti” in 2017. Laid-back percussion beats coated with brighter bursts of guitar and keyboards effortlessly cultivate Raveena’s breezy environment. Raveena’s songs’ soothing nature makes them perfect to play while lying in the grass on a sunny day or dipping into a bubble bath.
Under the soft groove of her instrumentals, however, Raveena weaves more serious topics into her lyrics. In “Salt Water” from her 2019 album “Lucid,” she sings about trauma from being sexually assaulted, with the title referencing her tears. The album closes with a spoken interlude from her grandmother and a track titled “Petal,” both suggesting the inevitability of death.
Beyond the more somber lyricism of her discography, Raveena also touches on growth and healing throughout her work. The album includes a song dedicated to her mother and one about being captivated by the little things in life while being in love, letting themes of empowerment and affection shine through her work.
“Lucid,” along with Raveena’s releases since her debut, come full circle to show the darker frames of life, but also to pay homage to the people and places she loves, offering listeners a transparent look into her life while leaving them with uplifting messages.
– Anushka Jain
The velvet cushions pictured in The Marías’ first two EP covers suitably capture the band’s lush and dreamy soundscape.
Its entrancing discography of English and Spanish tracks is amplified through grainy music videos featuring vintage and surrealist aesthetics. The LA-based band has garnered a sizable fanbase despite distributing music independently from the start, and have performed at multiple sold-out shows since 2017.
The Marías is the namesake of singer María, whose airy vocals imbue the group with its chill-inducing aura. And the chemistry between her partner and drummer Josh Conway feeds into palpably intimate lyrics like “I’m lost completely, I might as well be over the moon.” Keyboardist Edward James, guitarist Jesse Perlman and bassist Carter Lee, help meld together a fusion of styles – from bossa nova to psychedelic soul – forming the band’s signature sound.
Two singles released in March continue the band’s musical exploration. The lyrics and ethereal-sounding synths in “Hold It Together” convey the intensifying feelings of love, whereas the lilting harmonies and laid-back guitar riffs in “Jupiter” embody the simple pleasures of being together.
The band’s consistent delivery of boozy grooves and enchanting cadences may soon set them at the forefront of the indie scene.
– Alyson Kong
Liza Anne just needs some space to figure it out.
Though her style has shifted over time, Anne has successfully transitioned from her soft indie albums “The Colder Months” and “Two” to become a burgeoning indie rock powerhouse. The Nashville-based singer’s single, “Desire,” which dropped early March, continues her devotion to emotionally honest lyrics accompanied by swelling beats.
With her 2018 album “Fine But Dying,” Anne layers intense drumming and smooth bass lines as she deepens her vocals. Her new indie rock sound is accompanied by an increased dedication to vulnerability. While her previous work didn’t lack depth, Anne told Billboard she viewed “Fine But Dying” as a discussion with her depression and panic disorder.
Such honesty comes through in “Panic Attack,” which features catchy yet somber lines such as “I think I wanna die/ But I guess I know I’m fine” and “My body is here and I am inside.” Pairing her melancholy with brisk rhythms prevents the album from becoming too bleak without sacrificing the nuance of her emotions. More hopeful songs, like her 2019 single “Devotion,” highlight self-love in a flurry of jubilant lyrics and energetic beats.
Whether she documents hurting those that she loves and or struggling to show kindness, Anne always makes good on her tagline of “putting sound to feeling.”
– Kristin Snyder
Matt Maeson’s alternative rock and acoustic style lyrically battle concepts of life and death.
Spending his adolescence performing in prisons with his parents, Maeson’s unorthodox upbringing echoes in the mournful yet redemptive undertones of his music. His first EP “Who Killed Matt Maeson,” which features his radio hit “Cringe,” establishes his soul-baring lyrics and pounding instrumentals. The 27-year-old singer-songwriter has since performed at Lollapalooza in 2018 and released his debut album “Bank On The Funeral” in 2019.
Maeson’s discography features authentic lyrics that grapple with personal growth, generating relatable themes for all misfits. And along with his studio releases, Maeson often publishes stripped versions of his music, showcasing his emotional depth through the resilience of his voice.
Even beyond his music, Maeson’s quirky personality – like his self-written Spotify biography about purchasing a salad only to drop it on the floor – shows how the artist is consistently true to himself. Maeson, as alive as ever, has been holding impromptu acoustic concerts on Instagram and YouTube and will be spending the remainder of 2020 touring with KALEO.
Since releasing his Amazon original single “We Were The Same” in February, Maeson appeared on a billboard in Times Square and has left fans itching for his highly anticipated second studio album.
– Yasmin Madjidi