2024 First Half: Under The Radar
2024 First Half: Under The Radar

2024 First Half: Under The Radar

Somehow, and it’s still not clear exactly how, we are halfway through 2024. Despite the fact that spring feels like it barely started, half of this year is already done, which means that it’s almost 2025 and what is going on with time?

Part of the reason it feels like it’s going so fast is because of the sheer volume of incredible music screaming for our attention. 2024 has had so many highlights that if you look directly into it, you’ll go blind. While the conversation has focused on big hitters like Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Beyonce, there’s been a plethora of tracks far more worthy of your attention that could otherwise be missed. So many in fact, that it is literally impossible to cover them all so instead, we present to you ten which might have flown under your radar.

Rosie Tucker – All My Exes Live In Vortexes

Once you start listening to Rosie Tucker‘s back catalogue, it’s impossible to be shocked at how little attention they’ve had compared to how damn good their music is. Rosie brings expectedly eclectic flourishes to their up-tempo indie-pop in ways that still somehow gets under your skin and stays there. In her latest album UTOPIA NOW!, this knack has never sounded more honed and the lyrical theme exploring our complicity in a dystopian capitalist mess contrasts beautifully with their pristine vocals. Any song that starts with the line “I hope no one had to piss in a bottle at work to get me the thing I ordered on the internet” is going to be worth your time.

English Teacher – Nearly Daffodils

Speaking of artists creating earworms from complicated premises, this propulsive indie-banger from English Teacher takes you on an anxious journey through wasted potential while displaying none of that themselves. Scrambling bass lines underline the breezy vocals creating a song that gets under your skin in a way that’ll both excite and surprise you.

Radium Dolls – CIA

Australia’s Radium Dolls carry on a spirit of nihilistic cynicism that seems to be something their country does like no other. Like a sunburnt Viagra Boys channelling the wicked wit of The Peep Tempel, Radium Dolls have a simmering danger under their music which reaches perfection on this pummeling track from their debut album Legal Speed. With a live reputation that precedes them, Europe needs a dose of Radium Dolls stat.

Sprints – Shadow Of A Doubt

There was a lot of anticipation before Sprints dropped their debut album Letter To Self at the start of the year, and what they delivered not only met but exceeded expectations. Packed full of highlights, the band encapsulate the anthemic lyrics of IDLES at their most effective with the raw edge of Savages or The Icarus Line. The slow build of Shadow Of A Doubt has a satisfying payoff that feels inevitable from its opening notes, its dynamics enticing you slowly before ripping your face off.

Ugly – Sha

Often spoken of in the same breath as tourmates Black Country, New Road, Ugly’s EP Twice Around The Sun showed that they had a different path to take. Their EP is as packed with ideas and styles as you’d expect, but it’s when things are at their most stripped back that they’re the most effective, and Sha is exactly what that is.

Pile – Scaling Walls

Recorded during the same sessions as their 2023 album All Fiction, this opener from the Hot Air Balloon EP from Pile is a clear highlight of their musical output of recent times. Pile are often described as “Your Favourite Band’s Favourite Band” and it’s songs like this which remind you why that statement makes so much sense. Forever under the radar, but that just makes it that much more satisfying to share with others who aren’t already in the know.

Helado Negro – LFO (Lupe Finds Oliveros)

Helado Negro is effortlessly cool, with the sort of laid back breezy style, that it makes it extra impressive that he continues to find new and interesting directions with each album. This year’s PHASOR sounds as invigorated as anything he’s released in the past and LFO has that catchiness that propelled it beyond music to yearn for the summer, and put it squarely at the forefront of your attention. It’s not easy being this cool, but Helado manages it quite well.

Bolis Pupul – Spicy Crab

Hot off the heels of his incredible collaboration album with Charlotte Adigéry from 2022, Belgium’s Bolis Pupul created a concept album of incredible beauty this year (Letter To Yu) which really needs to be listened to as an entire piece to fully appreciate its feeling of saudade. Released on Soulwax’s Deewee label, this centrepiece of the album takes you on a dystopian synth-journey that tells an entire story without a single lyric.

Demax – Redefine Me

Not often does a debut track from an unknown name have as much impact as this, but Dutch artist Demax‘s debut single Redefine Me captures the soulful spirit of Bon Iver combining restrained electronica with delicate vocals delivered with a subtlety that feels like you’re staring directly into his soul. Based on this track, it’s hard not to be excited about what comes next from Demax.

1010benja – H2HAVEYOU

There’s something unhinged about the R&B masterpiece which results in its lyrical centrepiece of “Happy to have you” feeling wildly ambiguous. Finally delivering on the promise of his early singles, 1010benja‘s album Ten Total is an absolute delight. The more you listen to it the more you unfurl from the packed layers of what’s there, revealing so much more than the radio-friendly hook at the song’s core. We are also happy to have you.