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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Five artists you haven’t listened to, but should

Iranian-Dutch pop artist Sevdaliza performs at music festival in Amsterdam in 2015. She released her debut album “ISON” in April 2017. RENE PASSET/FLICKR VIA CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Do you think you’re born in the wrong generation? Are you having trouble finding good music? Are you sick and tired of listening to overplayed songs by Rihanna, Katy Perry and Drake? Well, here is a list of five artists that are making great music that you’ve probably never heard of and might want to take a listen to.

If you don’t vibe with the pop music being blared at the club or the iTunes Top 100 today, sometimes it may be difficult to find other options. But before you know it, with some digging, you can find a treasure trove of hidden gems. Here are five gems I’ve been listening to for a little workout or study inspiration, although I must warn you that I have a slight proclivity toward all things rock.

1. Sevdaliza

Sevdaliza’s full name is Sevda Alizadeh. Born in Iran and raised in the Netherlands, she cites her childhood in Iran as a major influence for her music. Before her debut as a singer, she was also a professional basketball player. If you’re into psychedelic or experimental pop, then Sevdaliza is perfect for you. Her music videos are trippy, strange and will leave you thinking “what just happened?” Her aesthetic is sensual and sultry, which is evident in her newest music video for her song “Bluecid” where she dances provocatively with a gay man and sings about how she knows she could only be with him in her dreams. Her debut album “ISON” was released in April 2017.

Recommended songs: “Bluecid” for an emotional roller coaster, “Human” for a reality check and “That Other Girl” for a husky surreal atmosphere.

2. Foster the People

Besides “Pumped Up Kicks,” have you really listened to Foster the People? I would argue that “Pumped Up Kicks,” their most famous song, is not even close to their best work. Founded by lead vocalist Mark Foster, this band is for fans of alternative rock and indie pop with a dash of psychedelia. Their songs boast lyrics like “see you smiling with your feet up like a hero’s, bit off yourself to save your reputation, strong and fearless and deprived just like your heroes, are you sharpening your sword, well you’ll bleed out anyway” from one of my favorite songs by them, “Pseudologia Fantastica.” They have two albums out: “Torches,” which came out in 2011 and “Supermodel,” from 2014. A new album called “Sacred Heart Club” is set to come out soon.

Recommended songs:  “Call It What You Want” for an upbeat happy tune, “Best Friend” for a song about Foster’s writing block and “Coming of Age” for a laid back, relaxed tone.

3. Saint Motel

Initially brought together by A/J Jackson and Aaron Sharp, this band prides itself on visuals given their bright, aesthetically-pleasing music videos for each of their songs. Like Foster the People, this band is for fans of indie rock and also funk rock. They have two albums out right now, “Voyeur” released in 2012 and “saintmotelevision” released in 2016.

Recommended songs:  “Puzzle Pieces” for a happy yet underlying sad story about things that “don’t fit together,” “Benny Goodman” for a little clarinet action and “Move” for an energizing track.

4. Magic Man

Straight from Boston, Massachusetts, this band was formed by lead singer Alex Caplow and guitarist Sam Lee. On their adventures around the world, they met a French boy who thought himself a magician and called himself “Magic Man,” and thus the name of the band came to be. This band is for fans of synthpop and electronic rock. They have two albums out as of now, “Real Life Color” released in 2010 and “Before the Waves” in 2014.

Recommended songs: “Paris” for an emotional story about two lovers, “It All Starts Here” for an inspiring and uplifting song and “Texas” for an endearing story about a girl named Evaline from, you got it, Texas.

5. Observer Drift

Started in 2011 by Collin Ward in his house in Bloomington, Minnesota, Observer Drift is for fans of dream pop, which is a subgenre of alternative rock and neo-psychedelia, chillgaze, which is dreamy transcendent retro pop and indie. Ward is a young college student who goes to Normandale Community College in Bloomington and makes music in his basement, and it’s some pretty good music for relaxing and studying if I do say so myself. I discovered his music one day while scouring the depths of YouTube and entering an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole of sorts for cool jams. Observer Drift has three albums out, “Corridors” released in 2012, “Fjords” released in 2013, and “Echolocation” released in 2015.

Recommended songs: “Echolocation” for a stunning instrumental, “Lingonberry” for a colorful childhood song, and “Azimuth” for an intense song about how “you and I are one.”

Remember kids, good music is everywhere. Sometimes, you’ve just got to let YouTube and Spotify take you down a never-ending black hole of hipster bands and unheard playlists. Good luck and happy listening.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the author.

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