Some Nashville Artists We’ve Enjoyed This Year (2023)

By Ryan G

Compiled by Kat Dobay and Ryan Getz

Photo by Sophia Wassem

Noah Pope – You might recognize him from the indie scene’s favorite Nashville band. If “Astronaut” is your favorite Future Crib song then you’re in for an exciting year. As Noah dips his foot into his alternative pop artistry, we’re all excited to see what he does for this project. -KD

Photo credit: Gina Di Maio & Asher Hunt

Hannah Cole – “She’s had my attention ever since her unreleased music was leaked to me in the car on the way to get some Chinese food. Seeing her perform live at Exit In (R.I.P) solidified my fandom” – Kat Dobay. Her gritty lyrics keep you tuned in to every word, if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss something special. She maintains honesty in lyrics that reflect one-off moments and personality. -KD

Annie Scherer – Annie self-describes her lane as “indie, dark, cinematic pop.” While it can be hard to know what “indie pop” means these days, Annie stands out from the crowd with her sweeping arrangements with a dark edge. The songs are heavily produced but not too much (a common critique but music journalists in reviews these days). Her songs “Doll” and “Take Me Places” show a good dichotomy of what she’s capable of. -RG

+CAREGIVER+ – I’ve heard this band be referred to as skramz and post-hardcore. Am I enough of a snob to draw a distinction between these for the sake of a few nerds? No. But +CAREGIVER+ is a niche band worth knowing. These songs are meant to be heard in basements and rooms where you aren’t completely sure if you’ll leave unscathed. -RG

photo credit: Brandon Exum & Elizabeth Marsh

Archie Summers – He’s established himself with a unique visual style and music that’s a blend of pop and alt-rock. I had the pleasure of attending his first live show as a solo act, Archie and his band killed it. Should be seeing some new music and more great performances from him this year. -KD

Whitsett – This band is a masterclass in how to mesh together pop punk and post hardcore. I’m not as big of a pop punk head as many of my peers on this site (no one can out-pop-punk Ray Cobra) but Whitsett writes music for both the supernerd and those on the fence. They have a big year ahead, culminating with an appearance at the legendary Furnace Fest. Where else will you see them? Time will tell, but momentum is on their side. -RG

Ava Beathard – Even though she’s still a teenager, this Nashville native has a presence in the scene. She gained a lot of popularity with videos of her singing covers and this last year she released a hand-full of original songs. She creates catchy alternative pop songs that have dream pop and folk influences. With stripped down production her velvety voice can capture your attention. -KD

The Low Blow – Through bands like Khamsin, Distend, and Poplar Grove, I’ve begun to take a deep dive into Nashville DIY. One of the reasons I love putting this list together is because I try not to discriminate between the polished and the gritty. The Low Blow is definitely a band rougher around the edges, but they put forth a sound that’s simply gorgeous. It’s an emo sound that sounds like its plucked out of the 90s. -RG

Medium Build – His songwriting really strikes a chord with emotionally available listeners everywhere. His thoughtful emotional lyrics have a sense of nostalgic and one-off moments, and his powerful voice really conveys them. His music exists somewhere between 80s country and 90s RnB. He’s on track to indie boy stardom this year. -KD

Nico Son – I’m always on the hunt for new compelling psych pop. Nico Son might only have a handful of singles released but he already has a mastery of his craft and sound. Fans of alt-J, Polyenso and Glass Animals will all find things to love here. It’s weird, but not too weird. Is there such a thing as too weird, though?

RIOT HOUSE – This evolving collective of artists are Gen Z-ers that are fully embracing the emo revival and tugging at the heartstrings of emos old and young alike on their carefully curated, fun vignettes on IG and TikTok. In a world where it’s a dog-eat-dog grind, a group of indie songwriters are finding success in community, having embarked on their first tour, supporting Starletta. A content creation house as a supporting act on a tour? Believe it. I wasn’t are what to expect here but I like the idea of several indie acts partying together onstage. -RG

Julia Cannon – I found this artist via Lightning 100’s Music City Mayhem and after reading up on her accomplishments and taking a listen it seems wildly unfair she lost in the first round. Her formidable combination of smooth jazz, R&B, and good old fashioned great songwriting landed her a slot in the Newport Folk Festival and accolades from Rolling Stone Magazine. It takes skill to sing the way she does, but it sounds easy – conversational, even. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her on more festivals next summer! -RG

Snõõper – Are you a fan of quirky, short, fuzzy punk songs? Look no further, you’ve found your new favorite band. Catch them in a basement or theater near you. Both seem like distinct possibilities in the near future.

Rella – This Nashville native sticks to her roots. She is heavily influenced by country music that she grew up with, most of which was recorded right on music row. Like classic country artists she focuses on crafting her songs around storytelling. Like many artists in the new wave, she makes music that touches on multiple genres. She makes alternative country music that draws you in with the sound and hits home with personal lyrics. -KD

Lost Terra – This dude’s single, “Spaceships” actually feels less cosmic and more like a poolside disco bop made for sipping a girly cocktail while wearing some swim trunks in pastel colors. His latest, “World On Fire,” is more for the night time drivers but would go well in a movie credits sequence as well. With tour dates starting to pop up, Lost Terra is clearly here to spread the vibes. -RG

Isaia Huron – An endorsement from one of my favorite songwriters and producers in Nashvegas and a recent support tour for CHIIILD is a pretty strong foundation, going in for a blind listen to this artist. A NYC promoter describes this artist’s sound as “soothing yet exciting” and I’m honestly not sure if I could have said it any better. How would I describe this artist’s sound anyway? I’m not sure. Downtempo smooth R&B? Soultronica? -RG

Hew G. – This hip hop artist delivers on some smooth tunes that are pensive enough for those late summer/early fall vibes, but they fit chill hangs with your pals. Add to that, Hew G. has collaborated with past Nashville Artist picks of ours Candace in Wonderland and Kara Frazier. Multiple endorsements can’t be wrong, am I right?

SECONDHAND SOUND – I would say their music exists in the same niche as Briston Maroney. Not only are their songs catchy and fun, but the lead singer is a lyricist I really admire. They have been on my radar ever since they broke into the Nashville scene in 2019. Four college dropouts and heartthrobs make up this modern rock band. They’re set to release a new album with a good partners records label. Fun fact: I had the honor of naming their hit single “Pocket Change”, my favorite song of theirs. -KD

Megan Brown – Megan’s single “If God Came To Church” is a brutal one. Brutal honesty is therein, and it makes yours truly uncomfortable. As someone who wants people to find genuine community in the church, but also hates the toxicity people often experience, this song hits me in several different ways – not all of them pleasant. But Megan’s proclivity for this sort of honesty, delivered in a therapeutic, sad-beauty sort of way, is compelling and people seem to be taking notice – especially on TikTok. -RG

Peachy – In 2022, they released a new album full of fun songs. They remain my favorite pop punk band in Nashville. A city where there’s not a big punk scene, their songs are fun and feminist. Finally… something to mosh to. They should get more attention that they deserve this year. -KD

Poplar Creek – I’m not sure who coined the term “dreamo” but that person deserves a medal. There’s no reason why Poplar Creek couldn’t rise amongst their peers as this corner of DIY becomes the next unassuming niche to take over. The band’s hardcore influences could be the bridge to that takeover. Catch the band at JORTS FEST at The East Room this June 2nd. -RG

Dad Hats – Pop punk for people who don’t like pop punk? Did I just make up a new catchphrase because I listened to this band? The band states that they’re for fans of groups like PUP, The Wonder Years and The Menzingers but I’d venture there’s a segment of sophisticated emo fans that would appreciate these guys too. Also, I have to note that a recent show of theirs shared billing with North by North, a Chicago duo we dig – so gotta give them some brownie points. -RG

moony – moony is not your run-of the mill alt pop artist. Alt pop is everywhere in Nashville, but moony not only keeps good company but also releases certified bangers, as the kids say these days. “Daddy” is a hart hitting, abrasive lead single from his April release Podunk that begs a loud listen. Anything less is doing him a disservice. -RG

Cōrt – Otherwise known as Cort Dingman, is a 20-year-old multi-instrumentalist and Minneapolis native. He creates an indie rock sound by fusing alternative, psychedelia, funk, blues, and other musical genres. His upcoming album “Tinted Vibrations” will showcase the distinctiveness and use of experimentation better than ever before. -KD

GeoVoc – Come on now, did you really think I was going to let a list pass me by without a little synthwave? Well if that’s your poison, GeoVoc is here to satisfy – and don’t you go looking for an antidote. A faith inspired artist teasing his latest single with liminal and vaporwave art? Count me in! -RG

Love You Later – What happens when you combine the sounds of Julien Baker, Alvvays, and Fleurie? Love You Later is yet another emerging alt-pop act that merges indie sensibility with pop accessibility. This is pensive pop without pretense. From the looks of her Spotify statistics, it seems like many people agree that this formula is a winner. Be on the lookout for her new EP From the Window Seat. -RG

Virtue Furnace – The inclusion of this band is somewhat personal – Virtue Furnace is the latest moniker of Jimmie Getty, who relocated to Nashville several years ago to pursue greater things with his bandmates in Last of the Wildmen (who played the first EVER Tuned Up show in early 2013). Now, the um, last of the wildmen in this band are Getty and Kyle Kirchenbauer but it feels so good to hear them still at it. This is moody rock that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Their album is forthcoming in the latter half of 2023. -RG

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