Alternative music has been entertaining music lovers since the ‘60s. Today, there is no shortage of emerging alternative, rock, and indie bands. Although the trend among these artists is to sign with independent labels, some are rising beyond their niche and entering the mainstream scene. Here are several upcoming alternative artists to watch out for in 2023.
1. The Smile
English rock band The Smile dropped their debut album, A Light for Attracting Attention, in the spring of 2022. The album, released via independent label XL, soared to number 1 in the U.K.’s Alternative charts and peaked at number 5 on U.K.’s mainstream chart. That’s a pretty impressive feat for a brand-new rock band. But when you have industry legends such as Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, and Tom Skinner as members, you’d probably have a number 1 album too. Nevertheless, the band’s debut effort is nothing short of amazing, and they have a massive tour lined up to promote it.
2. Arcade Fire
Indie rock giant Arcade Fire is hardly a new band. But the Grammy-Award-winning quintet had just come out with a phenomenal sixth studio album, We. The album entered the charts in 21 countries. In the U.S., the album topped Billboard’s Top Alternative and Top Rock Albums and peaked at number 6 on the Billboard 200. In the U.K., the album also soared to number 1. The highly-acclaimed record is supported by a massive trek across the United States, so you’ll definitely see them in your city soon.
3. Lake Street Dive
This viral, southern rock outfit from Boston has been everywhere lately. Their massive 2022 tour is ongoing and will amass plenty of new followers after completing their much-awaited gigs. The band’s latest single, “Now That I Know,” is making waves on the Adult Airplay Chart. Meanwhile, the listeners of their biggest hit, “Better Than,” is growing by the millions. Alternative music fans should definitely watch out for Lake Street Dive in 2023 because the band is bound to grace their favorite indie music festivals.
4. The Backseat Lovers
The Backseat Lovers spent their early days lining up for open mic nights for the chance to perform their songs for a musically-oriented audience. Today, the band is embarking on a massive tour with 34 dates across major cities in the U.S. Moreover, they are selling out shows and garnering millions of listeners. Their biggest single, “Kilby Girl,” has gained 175 million streams. In the last quarter of 2022, the band will drop their latest album, Waiting to Spill.
5. Big Thief
Some fans predict big Thief to receive a Grammy Award nomination in 2023. But who can blame them? The New York native quarte received back-to-back Grammy nominations in 2020 and 2021 for their album U.F.O.F. and 2019 single, “Not.” In early 2022, Big Thief dropped their groundbreaking fifth album, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You, which entered the charts in 17 countries and took the number 3 spots on three Billboard charts.
6. Manchester Orchestra
Manchester Orchestra has been featured in all the cool festivals, including Coachella, Riot Fest, Reading and Leeds, Austin City Limits, and Lollapalooza. The release of their 2021 work, Million Masks of God, has brought them worldwide acclaim, charting in six albums and entering the top 5 in three major Billboard charts. In 2023, the band continues their extensive tour. You’ll definitely see them rocking in your favorite festivals soon.
7. Spacey Jane
Australian indie rock/ garage band quarte Spacey Jane has recently been making waves on U.S. shores. Four of their singles were listed in the 2020 Triple J Hottest List, and they are bound to join plenty of new “best of” lists thanks to their newly released sophomore effort, Here Comes Everybody. The album, which topped the Australian charts, is gaining momentum in the U.S. This year, Spacey Jane is conquering North America with a massive tour.
Cliffdiver resonated well with fans thanks to their eclectic emo music, cleverly treated with saxophone solos and lyrics of self-improvement, acceptance, and reflection. Some critics described Cliffdiver’s music as inspirational and able to empower its listeners. True enough, Cliffdiver’s new album, Exercise Your Demons, contains all of their best work. The band also has secured extensive dates in major U.S. cities to promote their latest effort.
9. The War on Drugs
Like Arcade Fire, Grammy-Award-winning band, The War on Drugs is hardly a new band. They have almost two decades to their name. But the band only recently started to gain recognition for their incredible works. In 2017, their fourth studio release, A Deeper Understanding, won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. This year, they continue to tour the U.S. to support their latest album, I Don’t Live Here Anymore.
10. Soccer Mommy
Last on the list is Soccer Mommy. The Swiss-American multi-instrumentalist has toured with the likes of Mitski, Slowdive, Avril Lavigne, The Chicks, and Taylor Swift. Meanwhile, her latest album, Sometimes Forever, topped Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and peaked at number 14 on the Top Alternative Albums chart. Her 2022 singles have all gone viral on streaming platforms, plus her plentiful U.S. tour dates are only the beginning.