We waited a couple of extra weeks to throw together our 2020 new music preview, but guess what? It's here now. We've gone through and selected a dozen artists that are set to break big this year. Read up and listen.
almost monday is a San Diego-based band that taken the right road to their success. They self-booked shows in their hometown until they amassed a sizeable following of fans ready to sing the band’s songs back to them at shows. It’s paid off. They signed with Hollywood Records last year and they collaborated with famed producer Mark Needham to push their already irresistibly fun version of feel-good alt-pop to a whole new level.
Almost Monday vocalist Dawson Daughtery says:
“At some point I started dancing really crazy at our shows, and I feel like it helps the whole crowd to put their guard down and let loose. That’s what we want for our music in general; we want to give everybody that feeling of dancing alone in your bedroom, where you’re not self-conscious at all – you just feel completely free to be yourself.”
Listen to "broken people" from almost monday
The Band Camino
This is one band on the list that’s arguably already arrived. They’re inclusion here has more to do with what we think they can become. The Memphis-based quartet had a good 2019 with the release of tryhard, but they’re just getting started.
The Band CAMINO is the collaboration of Jeffery Jordan, Spencer Stewart, Graham Rowell, and Andrew Isbell. They came together at the University of Memphis. Lots of pushing on the indie scene since 2016 led to the band finally getting a deal with Elektra and the release of their 8-song EP in 2019.
Here’s the thing, that EP? It’s amazing. Songs like “What I Want”, “Daphne Blue”, and “See Through” have the power to make an immediate impression. More people just have to find the songs and listen to them. We’ll do our part. Listen to the song below, and then go and listen to tryhard, like repeatedly, it’s that good.
Listen to "What I Want" from The Band Camino
From Winnipeg, Janzen is an immensely talented vocalist and songwriter. What’s great about her music is that her writing voice is just as good as her singing voice. She’s got an honest and open way to write songs and it translates to a very distinct style.
Like a lot of songwriters, Janzen turned to songwriting as an outlet to express her emotions. Through this, Janzen’s songs became a type of diary. She’s incredibly honest with everything she writes and she writes with incredible detail on sensitive subjects; everything from mental health to emotional abuse. Janzen herself says, “the music that I write is very honest, so it speaks for itself.”
Janzen’s latest single is impressive. The song is called “What I Do…” and it was written about a serious relationship and then realizing that your issues are affecting someone else for the first time, then not knowing how to deal with it. The song was released by Glassnote Records and it was produced by Luke Niccoli, mixed by Neal Avron, and then mastered by Joe Laporta.
Listen to "What I Do..." from Taylor Janzen
Khai Dreams is a half-Vietnamese artist who has released two releases: Now and Then and Nice Colors. He writes about what he knows. His songs commonly feature the struggles of growing up and love but instead of having a sound that’s very melodramatic, Dreams’ style jumps into a calmer place that’s more relaxed and upbeat.
Dreams' latest EP, Now and Then has earned him a ton of notoriety. Despite only running at seven songs and seventeen minutes, every note on the set remains memorable. Dreams will continue to evolve and grow as an artist and we can’t wait to hear what he comes up with next.
Listen to "Sunkissed" from Khai Dreams
Maxwell Joseph and Connor Pledger are Moby Rich. The L.A.-based two-piece made an impact in 2019 with their single, “Yoko Ono.” They also scored success with their singles, “Happy Pill” and “Loser.” The duo is from Indianapolis and Atlanta but they're based in L.A.
Discussing how they met at an open mic night:
"The first time I went there was the time I met Maxwell,” says Connor Pledger in the duo’s official bio. “We had a mutual friend who it transpired knew him from Indianapolis. So, we meet and the first reaction we had was, “Yeah, that doesn’t look like a guy I want to hang out with.’”
Shortly after the two met and warmed up to each other, they began writing together. Maxwell describes, “we had this indefinable sound between the two of us.” “The funny things is, the music that we actually like doesn’t sound like the music we used to make,” he continued. “And one of the cool things about this project is that it’s the first project I would honestly buy and listen to. Before, I don’t think I would have bought my own music.”
We’d buy it too. In 2019, Moby Rich released their first EP, 2020 is sure to bring more music from this eccentrically awesome duo.
Listen to "Yoko Ono" from Moby Rich
COUNTERFEIT. Is the next great rock act to come out of the UK. They’re unreal. They’re signed to Lava Records and they’ve got an energy that’s unmatched in music right now.
Jamie Bower, Sam Bower, Roland Johnson, Tristan Marmont, and Jimmy Craig put on one hell of a live show. In fact, Jamie leaps from stage to floor and back and spends almost half of the band’s set performing from the crowd.
The band made a splash in 2019 with their single “It Gets Better” and it did well on Alternative Addiction’s Top 20 when it was featured there, but they’ll look to move forward and move on to even bigger and better things with the release of their latest single, “11:44” – a high energy rock track.
“We hope to inspire people to examine themselves, to talk with their friends about what it is they’re feeling,” Bower says about the band’s song “It Gets Better.” “Certainly, there’s more to life than status and success at all costs. I’m looking for as much spiritual connection between people as I can get. I want honest, raw emotion in my interactions. In this world where we are becoming vastly more connected technologically yet more disconnected spiritually and emotionally, we truly believe that music can help draw us closer.”
We believe it and we’ll be looking for COUNTERFEIT. to continue to melt faces in 2020.
Listen to "11:44" from COUNTERFEIT.
Another Canadian artist, Goody Grace takes hip-hop, rock, and singer/songwriter music and smashes them up like a big music casserole. It’s weird as hell, but it’s also outstanding.
Goody Grace sings, raps, and plays guitar and he’s been doing it since he was four years old. He’s been making notable music since 2015, but since his major-label debut it’s been a bit of a slow burn the past couple of years. That changed with his latest song, “Scumbag” – featuring Blink-182. He’s making waves with the song right now. He’s also featured on the new Yung Pinch song with Good Charlotte.
Listen to "Scumbag (feat. blink-182)" from Goody Grace
From London, Bea Regner – known as Beabadoobee – had a single go viral in 2017 called “Coffee” – she was just 17 then but then didn’t keep her from signing with Dirty Hit. She released an EP in 2018 to some moderate attention but she really upped her game in 2019.
In 2019 Beabadoobee released Loveworm in two different forms. She released the EP as a finished product earlier in the year and then she released a Bedroom Sessions version of the EP. Both are great. The original version sounds great, but the Bedroom Sessions version is raw and intimate.
Regner is just getting going with Beabadoobee and she’s already immensely gifted. As she keeps making music and releasing it, she’ll keep getting even better at it.
Listen to "She Plays Bass" from Beabadoobee
California rapper Paris Shadows makes music that’s not definable in today’s music landscape. Really his music reflects himself; they’re both one of a kind. The L.A. rapper brings an alternative rock edge to emo-rap with hip-hop production. It’s a bit like Post Malone, but more unique than that.
Since releasing music in 2018, he’s gained millions and millions of streams. That can be attributed to the quality of his music and support slots on tour with Post Malone and 21 Savage too. Shadows will release his album, Shadows in 2020 and it’s sure to find a following.
Listen to "Enough's Enough" from Paris Shadows
From Auckland, New Zealand – BENEEE is known most for her songs “Soaked” and “Glitter” – but even with roughly 30,000,000 streams of just those songs, her music still demands more notoriety. She released two EPs in 2019, the outstanding FIRE ON MARZZ and STELLA & STEVE.
Featuring a smooth vocal and her own style, BENEE is another artist that’s not exactly definable. Working with producer Josh Fountain, BENEE crafted two great sets in 2019. STELLA & STEVE was released in November of 2019, so the cycle of that release is far from over. Songs like “Find an Island” and “Monsta” will continue to find an audience. BENEE is brilliant.
Listen to "Find an Island" from BENEE
Sometimes Gray's music is soft and mellow, other times is raucous and wild. His style is fluid, but the quality of his music isn’t. It’s just damn good.
Gray’s launch started with “Idle Town” – a song he released in 2018 about his hometown that seemed to gain him instant attention. The single would pave way to his Sunset Season EP. 2019 was a big year for Gray. He opened up for Panic! At the Disco on several shows and he put together several headline tours too. He’s been featured by everyone from The Fader, to Billboard, to MTV, but he’s just getting started.
This year Gray should be releasing more new music, whether that’s a cumulative effort of his recent singles, or just more new singles. Regardless, what he’s putting together is notable and worth paying attention to.
Listen to "Maniac" from Conan Gray
Australian artist Evie Irie has a voice that will stop you dead in your tracks. It’s soul jarring. She makes alternative soul-pop and crafts songs like someone who is twice her age. From Australia, she’s lived in Nashville and L.A. here stateside.
Her EP release, 5 Weeks in LA has picked up a ton of attention and justifiably so. It’s damn good. Songs like “The Optimist” and “Bitter” showcase her talents and the production contrasts her vocal perfectly. She might be the last artist on this list, but she might be a favorite. Her music has the power to move people, and that’s what sets apart from other artists going right now.
Listen to "The Optimist" from Evie Irie