Now Playing is a blog highlighting three different emerging or lesser known artists each week that have released exciting new music in 2020. Each week will follow a specific theme varying from genre specific themes to artist characteristics. With every artist, I include a short review of their latest release, similar artists (denoted with RIYL, recommended if you like), genres they may fall under and a couple of songs you should listen to!
In this episode of Now Playing, we are showcasing male indie rock solo artists and highlighting their individual takes on the genre.
Location: Knoxville, TN
Spotify Monthly Listeners: 1.6M
Latest Release: “Deep Sea Diver”, August 21
RIYL: The Districts, Dr. Dog, Houndmouth
Genre: Indie Rock, Indie Folk
Briston Maroney’s sound is a familiar comfort, even to those who are listening for the first time. It’s often reminiscent of a coming of age film, consistently capturing the essence of youth, adventure and young love in a four minute rock song. His most popular song, “Freakin’ Out On the Interstate,” is gaining some serious traction, deservingly so, it is a beautiful and gut wrenching story of heartbreak dressed in fuzzed guitars and slow drums. Songs like “June” and “St. Augustine” follow in theme and evoke similar emotions. His most recent short EP, “Miracle”, takes on a more garage rock sound, and is more upbeat than his other works. Maroney is yet to release his debut album, but I think you will hear about it when he does. Obviously, I like Maroney’s music for its storytelling, sound and overall emotion, but I think the most admirable thing about him is that he writes all of his own music.
Best Songs: “Freakin’ Out On the Interstate”, “June”, “St. Augustine”, “Steve’s First Bruise”
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Spotify Monthly Listeners: 273K
Latest Release: “Please Don’t Die”, September 16
RIYL: The Black Keys, Together PANGEA, The Arcs
Genre: Garage Rock, Blues, Experimental
Ron Gallo’s style has been tough to nail down, since it has changed drastically from release to release. His 2017 LP “HEAVY META” is a post-punk, bluesy garage-rock album whereas his most recent EP, “Please Don’t Die”, follows more of an R&B style with pop, psychedelic and hip-hop influences seen throughout. Gallo has also explored several other genres such as jazz and prog rock — he even has a track called “The East Nashville Kroger Conversation” that is literally just an improvised skit where he pretends to run into his bandmates in a grocery store. I initially found Ron Gallo from “HEAVY META” (seriously it’s a solid album), but I continued to listen to him because his versatility and innate need to experiment with other genres is fascinating on its own.
Best Songs: “Young Lady, You’re Scaring Me”, “Please Yourself”, “Easter Island”
Location: United Kingdom
Spotify Monthly Listeners: 967K
Latest Release: “Forever Isn’t Long Enough”, September 28
RIYL: Mac Demarco, Yellow Days, Hot Flash Heat Wave
Genre: Indie Pop, Indie Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Disco
Alfie Templeman is a 17-year-old singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer based in the UK. His sound is primarily described as indie rock with elements of funk, disco and pop. His most recent EP, “Happiness in Liquid Form”, has heavy disco and pop influences whereas his 2019 EP “Sunday Morning Cereal” has a more psychedelic and funk inspired sound. His September 28 single “Forever Isn’t Long Enough” blends those two sounds together well, leaning slightly more towards the disco sound. What’s most impressive about Templeman has to be his age. He began releasing his first demos in 2016, when he was only 13 years old. I was first introduced to Templeman from the “Sunday Morning Cereal” EP — it slightly reminded me of Yellow Days, and I kept listening to him, partially because Spotify continuously recommended his new releases on my release radar, but mainly because his instrumentals are unique and ever changing.
Best Songs: “Sunday Morning Cereal”, “Stop Thinking (About Me)”, “Forever Isn’t Long Enough”