Though we’re reaching the end of the year, we’re only just at the beginning of hundreds and thousands of careers and catalogues from unsigned artists. Here are five that might catch your fancy (in no particular order).

HAWK – Lancaster, PA

The product of nearly a decade of musicians swinging stressfully in the balance of the industry, HAWK claw their way out from the wreckage of the band formerly known as This or the Apocalypse. Frontman Ricky Armellino espouses call-outs and one-liners that would get you asked to leave Christmas dinner over chug-heavy riffs so bouncy that they make a trampoline look stiff. I think ‘Counter-Ops’ would make a great soundtrack to a bank robbery.

Certainty – London, ON

Coming out of the gate in August of this year with their debut full-length album Temporary Love, a dream-pop anthemic punk (what? Yeah, I said it!) record, Certainty push out a dynamic sound that alternates between subtle grooves layered in synth and chorus effects and hard-charging, power-pop melodies. Stand-out tracks include ‘Headache,’ ‘No You,’ and the album’s opener, ‘Pretty Eyes.’ 

Noija – Stockholm, Sweden

If I could make a list of reasons why international flights should be cheaper, the ability to see Noija live would make the top five. Garnering praise from the likes of Miss May I’s Jerod Boyd and performing sets with Atreyu, Noija’s up-and-coming catalogue includes a full-length album, Colorblind; an acoustic EP, Live in Stockholm EP; and their latest single, “Rebirth,” which has collectively been streamed well over a million times on Spotify alone.

Johnny Booth – Long Island, NY

The mangled blend of aggressive hardcore brought in by Every Time I Die’s Hot Damn, a visceral onslaught of stop-drop-and-rock, is not easily channeled or replicated. Johnny Booth picks up where we left off with the casualties of the genre, like Canada’s Dead and Divine, and carries the torch. The album opens with the force of a car crashing through a convenience store with you strapped in to the passenger seat and exits through the back onto a runaway train.

Soulkeeper – Minneapolis, MN

If you had locked Sworn In in Dragon Ball Z’s Hyperbolic Time Chamber back in 2014 and let them out just a few months ago, you’d have created something akin to Soulkeeper. What’s the point of single-tempo tracks, anyway? Panic chord lovers unite under this downtuned quartet’s latest single, ‘Gorgeous,’ which twists and turns from one bludgeoning breakdown to the next.


27-year-old east coast transplant, now living in Milwaukee, WI. Former director at an indie label, current project manager for an environmental consulting company. Life's weird. I blame music. Find me anywhere: @heyzell_

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