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Underrated Rock Artists with New Music in 2024, by Braeden Pelko

Due to the mass accessibility of recording software and music services, it's easy to get lost in the big diluted market of new music. It almost seems like there is no stopping the mega monsters of streaming platforms and the amount of music they put out daily. According to Billboard, streaming services like Spotify see around 100,000 new tracks being released daily. Are you ever looking to find hidden gems and new exciting material on the way? Here are some of my picks for the year.

Self-proclaimed as “your favorite band you’ve never heard of,” wilt (stylized in all lowercase) is based in Los Angeles, California. The band built up a pretty sizeable following since gaining social media popularity in 2022. They were able to stand out among the diluted indie rock scene with a blend of raw alternative sound, almost mirroring that of garage rock accompanied by harmonically distorted guitars and soaring vocals with emotional lyrics. The five-piece is comprised of Chelsea Rifkin (vocals), Aaron Liebman (guitar), Andrew Perrea (guitar), Jake Shpiner (bass), and Dan Bermudez (drums). The band cites Nirvana, Weezer and Car Seat Headrest as some of their biggest influences. 

The band started releasing music in 2022 with their debut single, gwen,” which became a hit seemingly overnight thanks to social media. In fact, that is how I first found out about them. The band began making videos of their house shows in people’s basements and posting them to TikTok and Instagram, which then went viral, accumulating tens of millions of views.

Since that initial taste of success, wilt has consistently been announcing new singles sparingly throughout 2023, like the raw pop rock-likemoved along,” and the fittingly named riff-heavy track the riff.” As a result, the group went on to play in festivals and tour venues across the country, supporting acts such as Lovejoy and Remo Drive. 

The band is still very active on social media via TikTok and Instagram and promised the release of their debut EP this year. Personally, I think wilt will be a very big household name in a few years, and you can expect to see them more and more in a flourishing indie scene. 

Norwegian rock quartet Slomosa emerged in August 2020 with their self-titled first album. The band released this album very inexperienced, as it was the first time putting out music for half the members. The band says, at the time, they focused on other aspects of their lives upon the release, like their families and retaining jobs amid the COVID-19 crisis. However, their combined use of grunge and fuzzed-out desert rock turned people’s heads, making them one of Europe’s most beloved up-and-coming rock bands in the underground scene.

The band currently consists of Marie Moe (bass), Tor Erik Bye (guitar), Benjamin Berdous (guitar, vocals) and Jard Hole (drums). The album Slomosa’s unexpected success prompted many tours following the world’s reopening after the pandemic, eventually earning a spot to play at a sold out show at the world’s biggest metal festival Hellfest in 2022. The band has basically been on tour ever since they were discovered by the European metal scene back in 2020, playing almost 80 shows a year.

On top of the massive number of shows, the band released two new singles, with 2023’s Cabin Fever” and 2024’s Rice,” each of which shows positive feedback among fans and critics. Slomosa plans to release a new album in 2024, following in the same vein of their raw debut. 

I am so glad I found out about Slomosa and highly encourage any fans of garage rock and alternative to check them out. I would personally say to listen to the songs Horses and There is Nothing Under the Sun to get a sense of this band’s raw aggressive power. They seriously got some potential, and I hope they break through to America this year. They are truly one of my favorite bands at the moment.

Formed in Cambridge, England, in 2009, the 4-piece hard rock and stoner metal band Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats (also known as simply Uncle Acid) has a unique sound I’ve never heard before. The band formed to create a sound reminiscent of early metal and punk rock with a sort of true crime aesthetic to them. The band now consists of Kevin R. Starrs (lead guitar and vocals), Vaughn Strokes (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), Jon Rice (drums) and Justin Smith (bass).

Uncle Acid first broke through to the spotlight with the 2012 album Blood Lust, which might not have been revolutionary, but awesomely paid tribute to early heavy musicians like Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper and The Stooges. The best way I could describe them to somebody is that they sound like Queens of the Stone Age meets Tame Impala. Using an almost buzzsaw-sounding guitar tone with high-pitched vocals and groovy yet psychedelic riffs, the band has managed to become a household name in the stoner rock community. 

Along with the unique sound, the band has a vintage aesthetic that incorporates bright colors with a dichotomy of dark undertones via topics like Jack the Ripper and true crime (as seen in 2015’s The Night Creeper) and Orwellian dystopian terror (as seen in 2013’s Mind Control and 2018’s Wasteland). This image helped them stand out and carve a completely original band to come into the underground English scene. In turn, they sold out most of their American tour dates and consistently headline venues across the globe.

Despite their success in the 2010s, the band hasn’t released music in six years. That is supposed to change on May 10, 2024, with the new album “Nell’ Ora Blu,” set to come. Hopefully, it serves as a well-made return to their classic form following their hiatus. If you want a taste of what they sound like to prepare for the album, check out the riffs in the song Poison Apple or the slow, dread-like tone of Melody Lane,” which will give a great understanding of their vibe and sound.

Brooklyn-based four-piece DIIV (pronounced “dive”) has sparingly debuted multiple albums throughout their 13-year existence. Founded by former drummer of Beach Fossils, Zachary Cole Smith (lead guitar, vocals), in 2011 decided to form DIIV as a vehicle for his own songs. DIIV now consists of Smith, Andrew Bailey (rhythm guitar), Ben Newman (drums) and Colin Caulfield (bass, backing vocals, keyboards). 

DIIV’s sound is one inspired by many artists that came before them, most notably artists like Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine. The band is a blend of dream pop and shoegaze and rose to notoriety in the underground indie rock scene. The band worked with producers who had previously helped produce albums by Nine Inch Nails and My Bloody Valentine. The group points to many personal influences that contribute to their songwriting, such as Elliott Smith, Alex G and the late Sparklehorse.

As of now, three studio albums have been released, the latest coming out almost five years ago. DIIV’s debut album Oshin came out to mixed reviews but an overall positive reception as the album aged. Their second album, Is the Is Are didn’t fare much better, having a much colder reception as listeners described it as “airy” and “lacking substance.” Despite this, the next album was their most well-received to date, scoring high on a lot of reviewers’ lists. It was an extremely emotional record, with Smith saying that the album was about recovery from addiction, something he battled while making the first two albums. An atmospheric and brooding sound was conjured to explore themes of depression, relapsing and hopelessness, ever apparent on singles like Skin Gameand, my personal favorite, Taker.” 

The band will be releasing their fourth full-length album on May 24, 2024, entitled “Frog in Boiling Water,” of which they released the three singles Brown Paper Bag,” Soul-net and Everyone Out.” The band openly described their new album as what it feels like to live in this modern condition of life and it that seems like it is collapsing. Hopefully this album lives up to the underground indie rock scene expectations they have been building up for half a decade.

Without a doubt, the oldest and most storied band on this list, the Seattle, WA based power trio Melvins, has had an interesting career. They have lived in the underground rock scene for most of their existence since 1983. Despite this, the Melvins are credited with pioneering certain rock and metal subgenres like stoner rock, sludge metal and their most well-known contribution, grunge. The Melvins were equally as important in the formation of the Seattle grunge scene as much as bands like Sonic Youth and Mother Love Bone. In fact, Melvins vocalist and guitarist Buzz Osbourne actually introduced Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic to Dave Grohl. In another bit of trivia, Dale Crover, longtime drummer for Melvins, played a year with Nirvana and appears on the Bleach album for three songs. Kurt Cobain himself cited Melvins as a big inspiration for Nirvana’s aggressive yet thought-provoking songwriting. Despite battling heavy addiction at the time, Cobain was a co-producer on the most popular Melvins album, 1993’s Houdini,” which was the last album he worked on before his tragic death.

Melvins sounds like a heavier grunge band. Buzz Osbourne utilizes a uniquely dark and heavily distorted guitar tone that uses strange effects to achieve an extremely recognizable tone. Osbourne also writes all of his lyrics, which often don’t make sense and are quirky as they are sung with lots of gusto and over pronunciation. Crover uses very blunt-sounding drums with polyrhythms to complement the guitars. This sound made Melvins one of the most respected rock and roll acts to emerge in the Seattle grunge scene. 

Melvins have made a whopping 27 albums in 37 years; they plan on making it album 28 on April 19, 2024, with “Tarantula Heart.” The band already released a single off of it called Allergic to Food,” which is very raw and aggressive, almost a synth-like Nirvana. Most of Melvins’ early work is centered around riff writing and odd compositions. To familiarize yourself with them, I’d recommend the songs “Revolve” and “Zodiac.” 

Formed in Athens, Greece, in 2015 by Chris Babalis Jr. (guitar, vocals) and Dimosthenis Varikos (bass), Acid Mammoth breathed new life into the doom metal scene in Europe. After they were joined by Babalis’s father, Chris Babalis Sr. (guitar), and good friend Marios Louvaris (drums), they were able to record and release their debut album Under Acid Hoof in 2017. The album was immediately well-received by many music publications, allowing the band to create a small and loyal audience. This album led to a record deal in 2019 with Heavy Psych Sounds Records, where they produced two albums since.

Acid Mammoth’s sound is one of the most heavy and fuzzy you will ever hear. Very slow tempos with heavy down tuning play a role in creating the doom metal sound they are revitalizing. If you are unfamiliar with doom metal, it is a subgenre that slows heavy metal down and often clean vocals with dark themes surrounding the music, like witchcraft and death. The most popular doom metal band is without a doubt Black Sabbath, where songs like “Iron Man” and “War Pigs” are classified as doom metal. 

Acid Mammoth released a new album in 2024 called Super Megafauna Collision which came out on April 5th. They released a single of the same name and another single called Atomic Shaman in anticipation of the new album. Songs from previous albums like Jack the Riffer and Them! will give new listeners an idea of what doom metal is and give people a deeper understanding of metal’s diversity.

The five-piece punk band Death Lens has recently been making headlines in the West Coast punk scene as one of the top bands to watch. From La Puente, California, Death Lens first started putting out music in 2014 with a debut EP and produced three studio albums since. The band gained traction with their first album in 2016 as they spoke about minority injustice in America frequently. The band is comprised of Jhon Reyes (guitars), Matt Silva (guitars), Eduardo Contreras (bass), Tony Rangel (drums) and Bryan Torres (vocals).

They pride themselves on their loud, punk rock attitude as they’ve experienced injustices firsthand growing up near Los Angeles. Each member of the band is of Hispanic descent and experienced heavy gang violence and constant police harassment at some point in their life. Death Lens use its punk sound and use their experiences to channel the lyricism.

Death Lens has described their sound as West Coast surf punk via bands like Ramones and Black Flag combined with brit rock artists like Oasis and Blur. The group compared their music to bands like Turnstile and Militarie Gun with an attitude similar to IDLES. They have easily become a topic of discussion among modern indie punk bands following negative feedback altogether from their latest album, No Luck. The album wasn’t comparable to their earlier and rawer works that drew fans to them in the first place.

However, Death Lens plans on bouncing back with a new album, “Cold World,” that’s being released on May 3, 2024. The band already released the title single, and their latest is entitled Disturb the Peace.” Both songs, upon first listen, are aggressive and purely punk, with lyrics about politics and rebellion at their core. Death Lens announced a tour in preparation and I personally can’t wait to hear this new album and see if it provides a breath of fresh air into the West Coast pink scene.

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