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!
For this edition of Now Playing we are showcasing some more emerging indie rock bands.
Location: Detroit, MI
Spotify Monthly Listeners: 258K
Latest Release: “Red Herring,” May 1
RIYL: Inner Wave, Her’s, Gus Dapperton
Genre: Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Bedroom Pop
Ian Ruhala is a 23-year-old singer-songwriter based out of Detroit, Michigan. He has been releasing his blend of playful indie rock and bedroom pop under the name Hala since 2015. Songs like “Sorry” and “Problems” demonstrate Ruhala’s instrumental talent. The lively guitars and energetic drums create upbeat, light-hearted indie rock that feels like it is straight out of a dance scene or montage in a teen movie. His most recent LP, “Red Herring,” is a coming-of-age record that covers a wide range of emotions from tragedy to comedy. What is most impressive is the fact that Ruhala wrote and performed all of the instruments on the album including guitar, piano, bass, xylophone, vocals and more. Ruhala is writing music that is not only fun to listen to but relatable to the younger generations.
Best Songs: “Problems,” “Found A Way,” “Sorry”
Location: Costa Mesa, CA
Spotify Monthly Listeners: 310K
Latest Release: “Lullaby For You,” July 17
RIYL: Joy Again, Wallows, Peach Pit
Genre: Indie Rock, Prog Rock, Surf Rock
Greer is a Southern California indie rock band that formed in fall 2018. Despite only having seven songs released on Spotify, Greer has already managed to establish a distinct style that fuses elements of surf and progressive rock. The band managed to develop a loyal fanbase off of its first two singles “Song For Me” and “Bittersweet,” two sunny indie tracks featuring sweet harmonies and catchy melodies. Its debut EP, “Lullaby For You,” lived up to the hype earned from its first singles while also showcasing the extensive instrumental skill the young group has. The song “Bye Bye Baby” draws inspiration from 60s doo-wop while implementing complex yet intriguing guitar riffs consistently seen throughout the release. The EP shows depth, emotion and both lyrical and instrumental strength which is impressive considering the young age of the band members and the short amount of time they have been playing together.
Best Songs: “Song for Me,” “Bittersweet,” “Stay Clear”
Location: London, England
Spotify Monthly Listeners: 368K
Latest Release: “Sanctuary,” January 31
RIYL: Goth Babe, Blossoms, Sundara Karma
Genre: Indie Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Dream Pop
Gengahr (formally called RES) is an English psychedelic, indie rock band that formed in 2013. Its debut album, “A Dream Outside,” received critical acclaim for its dark yet soothing tone, guitar driven instrumentals and subtle use of psychedelia. The band’s sound has become more airy and bright over time and began to blend some aspects of electronic music in with its signature psychedelic rock. The song “Heavenly Maybe,” off of its most recent album, “Sanctuary,” is an energetic and groovy track about going out and trying to forget about your problems. I’d recommend Gengahr to any indie rock fans looking to delve deeper into its psychedelic and electronic subgenres.
Best Songs: “Heavenly Maybe,” “Bathed in Light,” “Before Sunrise”