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Independent Artists You May Have Missed in 2023

This past year has seen no shortage of exciting and innovative artists exploding into the mainstream music scene. But for every, say, Noah Kahan or Ice Spice (who did start their career through releases on TuneCore), there are plenty of more independently-minded acts making a big noise just under the radar – for now, at least. With that in mind, SPIN has gathered five of the hottest bands to watch; get to know them today or, trust us, you’ll be playing catch-up later.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Marsh

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Marsh

Venus & the Flytraps

Brenna Kasis and Ceci Tomè met in a songwriting class their freshman year of college, and they’ve been bandmates – and best friends – almost ever since. But don’t let that sweet story, or the pair’s honeyed, harmonious vocal interplay, fool you. The music the pair creates as Venus & the Flytraps is sharp and biting, equal part sugary-sweet pop and jagged, post-grunge angst, with incisive, often humorously acerbic lyrics that capture the full range of emotions of being young and falling in (and out of) love. To that end, the band’s most recent release, Venus in Love, is a concept album tracking a young woman’s relationship journey from infatuation to disillusionment, with all the inherent highs and lows reflected in the introspective lyrics and dynamic, rousing sonics.

Photo Credit: Sela Shiloni


FIGHTMASTER draws from a rich well of classic styles, from folk and rock to pop and funk, but make no mistake – theirs is a fully modern sonic creation, with a sound and approach that is at once warm and gritty, inviting and confrontational. The musical moniker of E.R. FIGHTMASTER, an L.A.-based non-binary musician, actor and LGBTQ+ advocate, their new EP, Violence, is an expansive, all-encompassing effort, from the alt-Western lilt of “Cowboy Tumbleweed” to the anthemic, statement-of-purpose closing title track, and the masculinity-reframing “Bad Man,” which juxtaposes driving, hazy melodies against serrated bursts of distorted guitar, to the wispy, deep-groove jams of “Hot Shame,” which FIGHTMASTER has coined “Trans funk.” Just like many of the acts and artists they cite as inspiration – Annie Lennox, Joan Jett, Fleetwood Mac, the Temptations – FIGHTMASTER is a true original, and a welcome voice to our ongoing musical conversation.

Photo Credit: Orin Fleurimont


Tanerélle has been called a “space-age songstress,” and the title is apt. The sound she creates is truly out of this world. If you haven’t heard it yet (and with music in Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It and Issa Rae’s Insecure, and more than 100 million streams and 20 million YouTube views, you may be the only one) rest assured, you’re in for a transcendent experience. Tanerélle’s music approaches something akin to futuristic new-age R&B – smooth and spaced-out, with airy vocals, atmospheric keyboard flourishes, heartbeat-like percussion and lively electronic embellishments. Her most recent effort, 2023’s For Sport, is a sultry, supernatural experience, and the work of a truly inspired and independent artist – Tanerélle released the EP on her own label, fittingly named Mama Saturn Enterprises.

Photo Credit: Dominic Siri


If you’re a fan of heartland-style classic rock, but also more current indie and alternative sounds, then Michigander might just be your favorite new artist. The alter-ego of Nashville-via-Michigan singer-songwriter and producer Jason Singer, Michigander combines timeless songwriting – bold melodies, driving rhythms, singalong choruses – with a thoroughly modern sensibility. He first broke into the mainstream in 2014 with the wistful, evocative “Nineties,” and his newest release, the It Will Never Be the Same EP, sees him continue to mine emotionally resonant territory, only with bigger hooks, beefier instrumentation and more dramatic dynamics. This is soul-stirring, heart-pumping rock ‘n’ roll for a new generation.

Photo Credit: Jen Trahan

Bentley Robles

New York City has spawned its share of underground-pop-iconoclasts-turned-mainstream-stars, from Madonna to Scissor Sisters to Lady Gaga. Now following in their fabulous footsteps is Bentley Robles, who has been turning the downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn scenes into a sweaty, euphoric mess with club anthems like “i hate the weekend,” “See Me Naked” and his throbbing cover of ABBA’s “lay all your love on me.” Robles’ newest EP, UGLY CRIER, expertly captures his flair for melding ecstasy and heartbreak into a joyous, dance-fueled celebration, with late-night rave-ups like “HOPE U CRY” and “I JUST WANNA DANCE!” It’s nightclub catharsis, delivered with a smile and a tear.