What a year it’s been for the music industry, with songs like “Old Town Road”, “Señorita” and “Beautiful People” gaining hundreds of millions of streams, and new music being released almost every day. Don’t just stick to the mainstream stuff though. Ranging from punk rock to blues and soul, here are 5 new artists to check out this 2019 — especially if you want to treat your ears to something fresh and different.
If you were born in the ’80s or ’90s and grew up on a good amount of rock music, chances are, you’ve probably heard of Duff McKagan. That – or you’ve heard the music that he makes. He is best known as the bassist of American hard rock band Guns n’ Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success and recognition.
On 31 May this year, he released his third solo album, Tenderness, before embarking on a well-received tour in support of it. Unsurprisingly, Tenderness received positive reviews from critics and fans alike, with Rolling Stone magazine describing the album as “full of beauty and heart”.
In this hopeful and emotionally-charged country rock album, McKagan confronts America’s opioid epidemic, school shootings, personal redemption and more. Backed by producer Shooter Jennings and a team of more-than-capable musicians, this album (and provened artist) isn’t one that you should sleep on.
Songs to highlight: Tenderness, Chip Away, Last September
Alternative pop, indie pop, indie folk, rock n’ roll and most recently, punk rock. Ezra Furman, has done it all. The 33 year-old Chicago native was even tasked with doing the soundtrack for Netflix’s Sex Education, a popular coming-of-age comedy-drama that was released on 11 January. If that doesn’t tell you anything about his capabilities, then we’re not sure where you’ve been.
Furman’s ninth and latest album, Twelve Nudes, was released on 30 August to positive reviews, with Under The Radar magazine describing it as “a fantastic, filthy, punk rock record that offers to cement Furman’s growing reputation as one of the best and, coincidentally, most important artists working today.”
The punk-rock album was inspired by the singer’s reaction to the various political and social events of the last two years – Furman’s form of catharsis and a show of resistance, if you will. Raw and personal but yet relatable, this album is for all the misunderstood, confused and defiant people out there.
If punk rock’s not your cup of tea, consider checking out Day of the Dog and Transangelic Exodus as well, two of Furman’s best-performing albums to date.
Songs to highlight: My Zero, Love You So Bad, Calm Down aka I Should Not Be Alone
American rock band Alter Bridge’s frontman and vocalist Myles Kennedy is no stranger to the spotlight, having found success with the band in the early 2000s. The band has taken several hiatuses throughout the years but they’re on track to start touring again in the near future.
Meanwhile, Kennedy has recently concluded touring the world with fellow rocker Slash (of Guns n’ Roses fame) under the band name Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators in support of their latest and very well-received album, Living the Dream. Should you fancy yourself some good ol’ hard rock, don’t hesitate to give it a listen.
Aside from making music with different bands, Kennedy also released his debut studio album, Year of The Tiger, to positive reviews last year. Loudwire magazine commented that “while the album is about Kennedy’s journey, it’s one that is satisfying to us as listeners.”
Those familiar with his past work may expect to be blown away by his vocals but on the contrary, listeners will be treated to a more nuanced side of Kennedy. In his debut album, Kennedy allows himself to be vulnerable by opening up to listeners about his own tales of tragedy and how they shaped him into the man he is today.
Songs to highlight: Year of The Tiger, Ghost of Shangri-La, Blind Faith
His songs have been featured on the soundtracks of Suits, a popular American drama series, FIFA, the wildly popular football video game released annually by Electronic Arts and more.
The blues and soul-influenced singer has been steadily churning out music since 2015, with each EP outdoing the previous one. Since then, Stealth hasn’t looked back, catching the attention of listeners with his old school soulful sound.
Towards the end of last year, Stealth released his EP, Chorus, to rave reviews. In the singer’s most personal release to date, he sings about the different experiences throughout his life. His three EPs were all named after song sections. In an interview with AXS, Stealth outlined the progression of his career through the names of his EPs, saying “Intro was all about setting a standard and a sound. Verse was all about progressing the story and solidifying the work done in Intro. And now Chorus is, hopefully, where it all kicks off.”
The future looks bright for this up-and-coming musician. Give him a listen and you’ll see why.
Songs to highlight: Judgement Day, Truth Is, I Don’t Need Your Love
Unfiltered, raw and even crude. Call him what you want but Alex Pham, or better known by his stage name $tupid Young, is on the rise.
In 2017, the Long Beach native burst onto the rap scene with “Mando”, featuring fellow rapper Mozzy. Since then, he has released other hits like “Trust Nobody” and “Murder Scene”. To date, Mando has nearly 10 million streams on spotify while “Trust Nobody” and “Murder Scene” have 4.7 million and 1.3 millions streams respectively.
Like most other rappers that grew up in the street, Young experienced his share of hardships and struggles, even serving time behind bars at one point. Turning difficulty and hardships into advantages is a common topic he spits about, as are the nature of prison and gang life.
On 20 September, Young released his third album, True Story II, that no doubt contained more of his real-life experiences being converted into fiery bars. At the time of writing, no reviews have been done on the album yet but if Young’s past works are anything to go by, listeners will not be disappointed.
Songs to highlight: Mando, Trust Nobody, Glocc in My Pants