Top 10 musical artists you’ve never heard of

By Sean Baker

Sean Baker/Collegian

It’s a new semester and your music library is getting old. You want new music, music no one knows about, music that you could listen to forever and ever. Well fear not, my friends, because this list was made just for you. Below you’ll find many unknown artists, some more prominent than others, but all part of genres that aren’t really mainstream, but up-and-coming. So read on, click the links to check out these tracks, and don’t forget to tell all your friends. Let’s begin, shall we?

#10 Borgore [dubstep, electronic, ridiculous, Israeli]

What can be said about Borgore that couldn’t for an institutionalized megalomaniac? Answer: not much. If you want the darkest, craziest, show-all-your-friends dubstep, Borgore is your man. The genius behind the turntables is Asaf Borger, an Israeli death-metal drummer. His expertise on complex beats and rhythms comes into play in all of his songs, which generally jump from ambient chords to loud bass wobbles and assaulting kick+snare combos.

Check out: Borgore’s rendition of Britney Spears’ Womanizer.

#9 The Knife [electronic, indie, female vocalist, Swedish]
A six-hour plane ride across the Atlantic will put you in Sweden, home of the Pirate Bay, Pirate Party, WikiLeaks, and The Knife, a brother-sister electronic music duo. This avant-garde team of musical genius has earned some attention in the mainstream US media and has even written an opera based on Darwin’s Origin of Species. The song ‘We Share Our Mother’s Health’ has been featured on the TV shows ‘Ugly Betty’ and ‘CSI: NY’. You’ve probably heard their song Heartbeats in a stores including Forever|21 and A&F. The use of heavy synthesizers, distinct lyrical style, and excellent dance breaks makes The Knife a requirement for anyone looking for a good time.
Check out: We Share Our Mother’s Health

#8 Durrty Goodz [rap, hip-hop, grime, English]
Blasting out of the UK Grime scene [British rap – think Dr. Dre, just faster and darker], south London’s Durrty Goodz brings the genre’s rhythm and flow with a vengeance in his latest album, ‘Ultrasound’. Goodz doesn’t hesitate to name names and call people out, even using a sample of a Times reporter he debated with on the radio [in the track ‘Grime Killers’]. Dubbed “the new sound,” Ultrasound packs sixteen tracks of unapologizing true UK-style hip-hop; you have never heard anything like this.
Check out: Name Out Your Mouth

#7 The Avalanches [dance, electro, sampling, Australian]
Unfortunately, the only way you’ll probably be able to hear this electronic collaborative is by listening to their album and/or their songs. The Avalanches composed their entire first album with samplers containing over 3,500 clips of movies, commercials, and music from around the world. In their hometown of Melbourne, Australia they became rock stars, hosting a monthly night club. It gained so much attention, they toured the club around the south Pacific and elsewhere around the globe. The Avalanches received light radio play in the United States following the release of their single, ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’, the more intense of the songs on the 14 track debut album, ‘Since I Left You’….
Check out: Frontier Psychiatrist

#6 Efterklang [ambient, serene, down-tempo, Dutch]
So you don’t like dance clubs, whiskey-fueled rock bands, or video game music, but you still want something new to listen to on the way to class, or laying out on the Hill; then Efterklang is just perfect for you. This group is usually four members, but their albums generally have a string section, horns, a boy’s choir, and an army of woodwinds. What is created is a wall of profound and rich ambient sounds meant to sooth and inspire. They are just as perfect for a rainy fall day as they are for a fresh snow day, and even the sunny beginnings of spring. Hailing from Denmark, Efterklang makes many appearances in the United States, mostly on the East Coast in New Haven, CT and Boston, MA.
Check out: Caravan

#5 Murder by Death [indie, folk, whiskey, American]
“Murder by Death is NOT a metal band.” That’s what a banner read, draped over the stage before the four very silly band members step into the light to play an hour of very serious music. As Sarah, the multi-instrumentalist, tunes her electric cello and practices her piano and organ, the remaining members get ready to ferry those in the audience to the wild west to experience the story of lust, religion, alcoholism, murder, and zombie children [no really…]. “Beautiful” is an understatement with this group. Their music has inspired a doctorate thesis, a ballet performance, and a novel. Strangely enough, they are larger in Europe than here in the US. With six albums and a split EP, Murder by Death is well on their way to mainstream success, but only with your help, of course.
Check out: Fuego!

#4 Russian Circles [post-rock, instrumental, heavy, American]
Russian Circles is a post-rock band out of Chicago, Ill. This three piece orchestra utilizes bass distortion, loop pedals, and driving drum beats to rip your face off in the coolest way possible. Their albums consist of six or so songs that are five minutes plus each, but don’t let that turn you away. You have never heard such deep and resonant breakdowns, break-ins, and leads come from three individuals working as one.
Check out: Harper Lewis

#3 Dizzee Rascal [grime, hip-hop, mainstream, English]
Every artist brings something different to same game and Dizzee Rascal is no different in the grime scene of London, England. This former pirate radio DJ has brought a mainstream twist to this underground style of rap. By teaming up with partners in Texas and Los Angeles, Dizzee has produced hit after hit and is constantly sampled for other songs. Dizzee Rascal is a great first artist for anyone looking to get into European rap because he consistently uses catchy hooks, slick beats, and not to mention that funny accent to draw the listener into his own little world, in which he is king.
Check out: Money, Money

#2 The Dear Hunter [rock, indie, operatic, American]
Fans of the post-hardcore band Receiving End of Sirens, will most likely know our next artist, The Dear Hunter. Founder and front man Casey Crescenzo started The Dear Hunter as a side project while he continued to play in REoS, but due to creative differences he soon left the band to work full time on his new project. What came out were a full-band setup and a six-part concept album. By cross-pollinating many styles of rock and orchestra, The Dear Hunter brings the listener back to a pre-World War I-era. You will be clamoring for more once you hear the rich and powerful chords, lyrics, and progression of any of their many songs.
Check out: He Said He Had a Story

#1 Anamanaguchi [chiptune, pop-rock, 8-bit, American]
Remember the good ol’ days when we all played with the original Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boys, SEGA, and all those wonderful [yet obsolete] 8-bit consoles? Well others around the world have found a better way to play them… as musical instruments. Of all the 8-bit artists world-wide, Anamanaguchi is the most prominent. Their use of electric guitars alongside the NES’ archaic sound chip has thrust them into the spotlight with the recent release of the Scott Pilgrim movie [the made all the music for the video game]. Having played shows all around the globe, Anamanaguchi [pronounced: ah-na-ma-na-gooch-ee], will soon be on a playlist near you.
Check out: Helix Nebula

Sean Baker can be reached at [email protected]