Break out your sunblock! The spring rains have gone, school is out, baseball season is in full swing, and the beach is calling your name. That’s right, it’s finally summertime. However, with all the barbecues and camping trips come some important decisions to make. Hundreds of killer up and coming artists are hitting the road to show their performance chops on the festival circuit or at your local rock club, and you only have about 90 days to squeeze in as much live music as you can before it’s time to buy your next set of textbooks. Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered.
Your friends over at Ones to Watch have compiled a list of 30 must-see acts on the road this season, so just pour yourself a glass of lemonade and decide which of these shows is going to be the highlight to your summer.
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Genre: Anthemic alt-rock that’ll have you throwing your middle fingers up
These Toronto rockers embody defiance in every facet of their being – in fact, their name is an acronym for “Pathetic Use of Potential.” How punk rock is that? Your mom might not understand you, but the crowd at these shows in the wake of their 2019 release Morbid Stuff sure will.
Genre: Immaculately written folk-pop with entrancing vocals
The release of Jade Bird’s self-titled debut album in April 2019 had the indie music scene stunned by the unassuming Brit’s poignant lyrics and old soul vocals. The successful release saw the spunky 21-year-old landing a spot supporting Father John Misty and Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit on their co-headlining tour along with a slew of festival dates.
Genre: Hardcore rap over relentless trap beats
Memphis, Tennessee native Moneybagg Yo released his raucous sophomore 43VA HEARTLESS album in May 2019. Praised for his dedication to grinding out content (Moneybagg has released ten mixtapes with 12+ tracks each since 2016, in addition to his two LPs), the rapper landed a support slot on Wiz Khalifa’s 2019 ‘The Decent Exposure Tour’ alongside Playboi Carti and French Montana.
Genre: Fervent rap characterized by political lyrics and booming hooks
Denzel Curry has been bubbling under the surface of the rap scene since his first mixtapes dropped in 2012. Known to be outspoken on political issues like police brutality, the Floridian gained further notoriety with a viral cover of anti-establishment rock group Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade.” Curry has a jam-packed summer planned, with dates supporting Billie Eilish, festival appearances, and a series of shows with $uicideboy$.
Genre: Down-home folk lush with vocal harmonies and springy mandolin
Dead Horses’ most recent album, My Mother the Moon, navigates a wealth of difficult topics like mental health, familial displacement, and opioid addiction via raw vocals and filigree strings. Having released two singles in 2019 to positive reviews, the folk duo is hitting the road for series of dates this summer, including one show supporting The Who on their ‘Moving On! Tour.’
Genre: Bilingual dream pop perfect to ease your hangover
Los Angeles-based heartthrob Cuco is rising quickly to the top. After the release of his genre-bending Chiquito EP last year, the 19-year-old secured a high profile record deal with Interscope. Cuco has a busy summer planned, with 17 US headlining dates and one festival date, so be sure to catch his unique blend of hip-hop and dream pop while the sun is still shining.
Genre: Titanic alt-pop imbued with hip-hop influence
Ones to Watch is beyond thrilled to present Australian powerhouse Chase Atlantic’s summer tour. The 3-piece band defies categorization, drawing influences from acts ranging from Tame Impala to The Weeknd. With three singles already released this year, you can be sure that Chase Atlantic is brewing up something exciting – see for yourself what they’ve got in the works when they stop by your city.
Genre: High-energy pop that’s the soundtrack to Pride Month
German songstress Kim Petras has been on an absolute tear this year, releasing a whopping nine singles in the lead up to the release of her hotly-anticipated project, Clarity, hitting shelves on June 28. The ethereal seductress will be finishing up the US leg of her ‘Broken Tour’ at the beginning of this summer before returning home to Europe for a series of festival dates.
Genre: Inventive electro-pop drawing influence from disco and R&B
Sigrid KO’d the pop world this year with her banger-packed debut album Sucker Punch, which garnered critical acclaim from sources like Pitchfork and Rolling Stone. The rising star will be hopping across the Atlantic all summer, playing stints in the UK, the US, and her native Norway.
Genre: Unapologetically promiscuous pop made to shake the club
St. Louis native Slayyyter built herself a devoted following via SoundCloud and Twitter before gaining widespread acclaim for her earth-shaking style of dance pop. The femme fatale has already had momentous 2019, highlighted by her provocative singles “Mine” and “Daddy AF,” and an upcoming collaboration with Azealia Banks, on top of a nearly sold-out debut headline tour.
Genre: Indie rock sporting dynamic vocals and shades of punk
Lindsey Jordan began her Snail Mail project while in high school, eventually leveraging her deft songwriting and entrancing voice to score a record deal at the tender age of 18. Having supported artists like Girlpool on tour, Snail Mail hits the road this summer as a headliner in order to steal hearts with her carefully curated brand of melodrama.
Genre: Soul-baring indie-folk that revels in grey areas
Nobody can tell a story quite like Matt Maeson. The singer-songwriter has had a tumultuous life, struggling with drug addiction and spending time in prison, but has emerged on the other side with a unique perspective on life that he expertly elucidates through his work. Ones to Watch is delighted to present his ‘The Day You Departed Tour’ this summer.
Genre: Hooky, synth-driven alternative pop
LANY has perfected the art of weaving together synths, vocals, and infectious beats to articulate emotions that words can’t describe. If their latest album, Malibu Nights, is anything to go by, experiencing their expansive wall of sound live should top your list of summer to-dos.
Genre: Minimalist indie-pop with enchanting vocals
Clairo’s misty vocals and raw anecdotal lyrics have seen her quickly rise through the ranks of up-and-coming indie prospects. The Boston native released her most recent single “Bags” in May, laying the groundwork for her long-awaited full-length debut IMMUNITY, set to release this August. If you’re lucky enough, you might just get a peek at what’s to come during one of her live sets this summer.
Genre: Incorporeal indie-electronica that will have you floating
Mansionair gained notoriety for their live performances before the group was even officially formed, with frontman Jack Froggatt’s dreamy vocals drawing crowds to various Brooklyn and Paris clubs. With the addition Alex Nicholls and Lachlan Bostock, the group coalesced and built a resume that includes tours supporting Chvrches and London Grammar – so you can be certain that their live show is not something you want to miss.
Genre: Emotive singer-songwriter backed by virtuosic guitar
Alejandro Aranda writes music under the moniker Scarypoolparty, piecing together immaculate vocals with a mosaic of expertly fingerpicked guitar. Gaining notoriety after a stint on the TV series American Idol, the young talent is setting out this July to play rooms across the United States. PLUS, he just announced a massive tour in the fall.
Genre: Subdued indie sounds with shimmery vocals
Chloe Moriondo garnered the attention of indie fans everywhere via her YouTube channel, where she began by performing covers from the comfort of her bedroom. Having amassed a following on that platform totaling nearly two million users, the teen singer-songwriter is embarking on a US tour this summer in addition to playing two dates in London.
Genre: Atmospheric indie with lo-fi synths and R&B flavors
Montreal-based singer-songwriter Peter Sagar began his solo project, HOMESHAKE, in 2014 after performing as a touring member of Mac DeMarco’s band. The artist has since released four full-length albums packed with turgid but meticulous arrangements and complex, R&B-inspired instrumentation. You can catch HOMESHAKE across the western United States this August, touting tracks from his 2019 release Helium.
Genre: Smoldering bedroom pop that oozes blissful sensuality
Norwegian crooner Jakob Ogawa specializes in making slow-burning, soulful music that will keep you warm even during a Scandinavian blizzard. Hear him perform his most recent single, “All I Wanna Do,” and other smooth bedroom jams when he plays 11 cities across the US this August.
Genre: Earth-shaking K-Pop that’s bringing back the boy band
We all know bands like BTS and BLΛƆKPIИK have shattered international barriers and brought Korean pop music to America. Rocketing up through the ranks of this newly popular genre is PENTAGON, a 9-piece boy band that delivers powerhouse vocals over massive dance beats. K-pop is known for its extravagant live production, so catching the band’s ‘PRISM’ concert tour this summer is a must.
Genre: Glistening indie-pop that builds impenetrable walls of sound
Consisting of husband and wife Emil and Caroline Jonsson, ViVii’s clever approach to songwriting is notable due to its use of instruments not usually heard in pop, including a zither the pair inherited from a deceased babysitter. If you want to see something totally different, catch ViVii on tour in the US or Norway.
Genre: Spitfire rap with no fear of confrontation
English rapper slowthai released his Nothing Great About Britain album this May, a powerful debut that relentlessly critiques an era of British politics marked by the country’s departure from the European Union. If you want a little history lesson on Brexit along with your hip-hop fix, make sure to snag some tickets for one of slowthai’s headline dates or festival appearances while he’s all over the world this summer.
Ivy Sole and PARISALEXA
Genre: Sultry R&B to set the mood
We’d be remiss to miss either of these R&B queens this summer, so we were thrilled when we found out we could hear both of their silky vocal riffs at the same show. If you’re anywhere near the West Coast during the last week of June, cancel all your plans and bow down.
Genre: West Coast hip-hop’s chilled-out cousin
Aries is the epitome of DIY success, growing a cult-like fanbase via his self-directed music videos on YouTube. Boasting earworm hooks and mellow beats, catch Aries live to see why Spotify decided to make him the poster boy of their popular Anti-Pop playlist.
Genre: A verifiable emblem of modern soul
Jamila Woods made a splash before even releasing her debut album when she showcased her irresistibly smoky vocals on the hit track “Blessings” from Chance the Rapper’s GRAMMY-winning Coloring Book. Three years and two albums later, Woods is gearing up to drop some jaws with her lyrical flow on her West Coast summer tour.
Genre: A potent cocktail of Caribbean dancehall and American hip-hop
Koffee is Jamaica’s hottest export, breaking out with her rapturous debut EP in March of this year. Though the five-foot-nothing teen is endearingly bashful offstage, when you experience her authoritative flow this summer you’re going to learn firsthand that nobody knows how to party like a Caribbean.
Genre: Psychedelic indie with Latin influence
Ambar Lucid is a one-woman bastion of musical prowess, self-taught on a handful of instruments and credited as the sole producer and writer on each of her projects to date. Of New Jersey birth and Mexican/Dominican descent, Lucid often draws on her heritage as inspiration for her work. Catch her buttery vocals in both English and Spanish this summer while she’s on tour with Mon Laferte.
Genre: Alt-funk? Groovecore? You decide
Legend has it that if you cut open each of the members of Long Beach-based trio half·alive, funky jams leak out instead of blood. half·alive makes music that might defy genre, but it will definitely get anyone dancing. They’re playing dates across the US and Australia this summer, and if you happen to be at Lollapalooza, make sure to check out their Ones to Watch-presented aftershow.
Genre: Hooky indie rock perfect for a scenic road trip
Minnesota four-piece group Hippo Campus has developed a recipe consisting of shimmery guitars, eclectic drum beats, and deliciously catchy vocals that will give you the tastiest indie-rock treat every time you switch them on. Go to their show and try not to sing along – we’ll bet the farm that you can’t.
Alt Nation’s Advanced Placement Tour
Genre: The best in up-and-coming alternative acts
Live Nation and SiriusXM have partnered together to present a 15-city tour featuring our picks for alt-rock bands that are shaking things up in 2019. Starring Bloxx, Warbly Jets, and Hembree, this show will have you clearing out the garage to make space for your band.