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10 Rising Artists You Won't Want to Miss at Outside Lands This Year

Beginning on Friday, August 11 and lasting through Sunday, August 13, this year's Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival is right around the corner. Every August, thousands of festival-goers flock to Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, drawn in by wildly popular headlining acts. With renowned artists performing this weekend ranging from Kendrick Lamar to Lana del Rey, it's easy to overlook the numerous smaller artists slated to take the stages in the early afternoon. A closer inspection of many of these rising performers reveals some truly extraordinary artists well-worth seeing. So, for anyone hoping to catch some of these exceptional acts this weekend, here are 10 rising artists whose performances are not to be missed.


 

Zack Fox

One does not need to read the Spotify artist description of self-branded “comedy firebrand” Zack Fox to discern the American rapper’s flair for the absurd. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, the artist released his debut album, shut the fuck up talking to me, in 2021. Fox’s extensive background in entertainment as a writer, actor, internet personality, and stand-up comedian dictates his idiosyncratic musical sensibilities. The lyrics of tracks such as 2019’s viral “Jesus is the One (I Got Depression)” are biting, humorous, and oftentimes flat-out ridiculous. Fox translates a successful career in stand-up comedy into rap lyrics set over resounding drum beats. The entire schtick is, simply put, incredibly goofy–but for music festival attendees whose primary objective is to have fun, it might be just the set to check out.



 

EVAN GIIA

American vocalist Evan GIarruso, performing under the moniker EVAN GIIA, is a bright dance-pop artist based in Brooklyn. With numerous tracks under her belt, GIIA has achieved hit success both in charts and in streams with singles such as “Don’t let me go” (featuring ILLENIUM). Her breakout single “WESTWORLD” has garnered over 43 million streams on Spotify. As a classically trained opera singer, GIIA’s skilled vocals help set apart her distinct sound, which can be described as electronica, EDM, dance-pop, and even borderline hyperpop. With previous performances at festivals like Coachella, GIIA has established herself as an artist whose upbeat dance pop is sure to enhance any festival-goer’s experience.



 

Holly Humberstone

English singer-songwriter Holly Humberstone's alternative sound puts a unique and, at times, dark, twist on pop music. Debuting in 2022 with her album Can You Afford to Lose Me?, Humberstone has since released several promotional singles, such as the atmospheric "Superbloodmoon", ahead of her highly anticipated second album, Paint My Bedroom Back. Humberstone’s music resembles traditional pop in many aspects but puts her own spin on the genre. Synth-heavy and upbeat tracks such as the standout “Scarlett” are infused with anomalous electronic production and darkly introspective lyricism. Humberstone’s crisp, light vocals deliver lyrics that are oftentimes melancholic, contemplative, and confessional. The juxtaposition between Humberstone’s haunted lyricism and an upbeat sound defines Humberstone’s music, which is fascinating, exciting, and definitely worth exploring.



 

Alvvays

The indie pop of Canadian band Alvvays is melodic, dreamy, and irresistibly spirited. Formed in 2011, the alternative group’s eponymous debut album dropped in 2014, followed by 2017’s Antisocialites and 2022’s Blue Rev. Alvvays has been met with both critical acclaim and commercial success. A whirlwind of riffing guitars, hazy vocals, and zappy drum beats on tracks such as “After the Earthquake” demonstrate the dynamic sound of the group; described as jangle pop by music critics and the band alike, it is both catchy and emotive. Even so, the lyrics delivered by lead singer Molly Rankin are often pensive and occasionally melancholic, although not enough to prevent one from dancing.



 

midwxst

Born Edgar Nathaniel Sarratt III, midwxst is an American rapper whose fusion of various musical styles sets him apart within the genre. midwxst began his career in 2020, and has since released numerous singles and EPs. His debut studio album, E3, is scheduled to be released September 1, 2023. By incorporating aspects of various genres into his work, the Indiana-based artist molds a distinctive sound that deviates from the norms of traditional rap music. Production tends to take a backseat in most conventional rap, where the emphasis of any given song is instead on its beat and flow, but the unique sound of midwxst offers an exception. Blending aspects of hyperpop, traditional pop, and trap, midwxst's prominent production creates a unique electronic sound that is charged with electricity. midwxst, who has alternately been labeled “emo rap”, “hip hop”, and “alternative pop” cites artists such as Tyler the Creator, Frank Ocean, and XXXTentacion as influences, but fashions a sound that is uniquely his own. The unique creativity of this artist should certainly put him on your radar at this year’s Outside Lands.



 

Beabadoobee

Born Beatrice Laus, English-Filipino singer-songwriter Beabadoobee has rapidly emerged as one of the most prominent new voices in alternative music. Viral TikTok hits such as “Glue Song” and “The Perfect Pair”, as well as a coveted slot opening for Taylor Swift’s renowned Eras Tour, have made the indie pop artist a sensation. Alongside a handful of EPs, Beabadoobee has two full-length albums under her belt; her 2020 debut album Fake It Flowers was followed by 2022’s Beatopia. Beabadoobee’s sound is in constant flux between indie pop and indie rock and has been described by critics as incorporating aspects of Britpop and shoegaze. While hits such as “Glue Song” and “Death Bed” comprise soft acoustic instrumentation and stripped-down lyrics typical of the singer-songwriter genre, tracks such as “Talk” and “10:36” showcase a rock edge, with gritty guitar riffs, dynamic drumbeats, and a bold vocal inflection that conceals the artist’s naturally soft, almost sweet voice. Whether she’s performing an acoustic ballad or an energetic guitar-driven track, Beabadoobee’s performance is not to be missed.



 

Orion Sun

Born Tiffany Majette, Orion Sun is an American singer-songwriter, producer, and instrumentalist. The Philadelphia- based indie artist released her debut album, Hold Space for Me, in 2020, and she later released a handful of EPs and singles. Described as incorporating aspects of hip-hop, R&B, jazz, and alternative rock, Sun’s laid-back beats, hazy soundscape, and smoky voice craft an indie sound that is soulful and atmospheric. Airy vocals deliver lyricism that is accessible in its simplicity, romance and relationships and love. Sun cultivates an entrancing, laid-back energy to which one can’t help but vibe.



 

Pretty Sick

Formed in New York City in the early 2010s, alternative rock band Pretty Sick have only recently begun to come into the spotlight. The band’s rocky first several years were characterized by a revolving door of members; it was only in 2018 that Pretty Sick’s current incarnation was assembled, signing a record deal with independent label Dirty Hit. The long-awaited debut studio album of Pretty Sick, Makes Me Sick Makes Me Smile, came in 2022 following the release of several singles and a pair of EPs. Under its new three-piece lineup, the straightforward indie rock of the band’s early days gave way to a darker, grittier sound that seeks to emulate the alternative rock of the 1990s, drawing on aspects of 90s grunge, as well as riot grrrl and post-punk, to do so. Ringing feedback, heavy wailing guitars, and vocals that assume a practiced inflection of nihilism heavily reflect the bands cited influence of groups such as Nirvana, Hole, and the Breeders. The group’s noted dramatic, dark style is evident both lyrically and aesthetically. Lead singer and bassist Sabrina Fuentes delivers dark lyrics that border on dystopian. Live shows are intensely theatrical and music videos display imagery that is profane, gory, and shocking. Pretty Sick’s riveting show is one to attend.



 

Inhaler

Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Inhaler’s irresistibly catchy sound is infused with a rock edge that distinguishes the group from their indie band contemporaries. The group has risen rapidly since their 2021 debut, gaining a sizeable following and even opening for Harry Styles’ Love on Tour. Their first album, It Won’t Always Be Like This, was followed by the more restrained Cuts and Bruises in February 2023. While maintaining a sleek, commercial pop undertone that places the band squarely in today’s indie landscape, Inhaler’s distinctly rock edge differentiates the group from contemporary mainstream indie bands such as Wallows. Inhaler’s shimmering guitars, punchy drums, and heartfelt vocals echo the spirited arena rock of bands such as U2–no small surprise given the band’s frontman, Elijah Hewson, is Bono’s son. Hewson’s smooth yet raw and emotive vocals deliver digestible lyricism that often deals topically with young love, heartbreak, and general youthful angst and longing. More than anything, the band’s standout songs “It Won’t Always Be Like This” and “These are the Days” encapsulate the thrilling terror of being young, alive, and free. It’s a powerful sound that will both uplift and inspire any audience member.



 

Ethel Cain

Amongst a sea of emerging indie artists, American singer-songwriter Ethel Cain stands out in a league of her own. Born as Hayden Silas Anal, Ethel Cain is not only a stage name but also a character: Cain’s 2022 debut album, Preacher’s Daughter, is narrated by fictional character Ethel Cain, who chronicles her life story as she flees her home in the Deep South and travels westward across America. Although told through fables, Cain’s music centers heavily around real life themes of religion, family, trauma, heartbreak, and her own regional and national identity. Born and raised in the Florida panhandle, Cain’s music both leans into and subverts tropes of the deep rural south and America itself, and delivers a unique, macabre sound while doing so. While songs like the viral “American Teenager” showcase an ability for anthemic, Springsteen-esque power pop, Cain’s sound is often far more alternative and darker. In “Ptolemaea”, one of the many eight-minute tracks off Preachers Daughter, the song’s robotic chanting builds up to deafening, rageful screams. It’s a sharp contrast from emotive ballads “House in Nebraska” and “Strangers”, where a stripped-back, piano-heavy sound allows for husky, sorrowful vocals to dominate. Cain’s flair for the dramatic extends to production, where eerie autotune and wailing guitars add another layer to her ethereal sound. Cain’s set at Outside Lands is most definitely a must-see.



 

Check out the full Spotify playlist for this article here. What do you want to see covered on Enharmonic Magazine next? Let us know.






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