We Do It Better: Underground Alternatives



Alanna Weissman

The modern mainstream is a curious thing, and one comprised almost entirely of mass-produced, unimpressive pop. At the other end of the spectrum, there are once-respectable underground bands who have “sold out” (that is, changed their style of music to appeal to the masses and make more money rather than stay true to their initial artistic vision, even if it means sustaining a smaller fan base) or mysteriously exploded onto the popular scene with a catchy radio-friendly single or the like. Some bands of the latter two categories, once deep in the underground, are now household names: Fall Out Boy, Paramore, My Chemical Romance. Meanwhile, pure-pop albums, the likes of which are churned out by artists like Ke$ha, almost exclusively exist in the mainstream, as they are primarily created for the nation’s airwaves.

Mainstream bands—particularly ones that got their start in the underground—are something of a conundrum in terms of the music world; while they achieve success, a myriad of other artists with a similar style and (often) better execution remain trapped in the underground, more often than not due simply to lack of discovery. Here I list some underground artists with one or more stylistic elements (either musical or lyrical, or both) in common with some current mainstream art­ists. For the purposes of this article, I have expanded the definition of “underground” beyond the commonly-held standard of alternative subgenres and into a compendium of all genres, the sole standard being that the artist is not as well-known as the mainstream artist and, as such, cannot be viewed as “popular.”

If you like Deadmau5, then you may also like: Blaqk Audio, μ-ziq, Breathe Carolina, Alice in Videoland, William Control

If you like Lady GaGa, then you may also like: Emilie Autumn, Jeffree Star

If you like Nickelback, then you may also like: Three Days Grace, Hinder, Saving Abel, Papa Roach, Skillet, Shinedown, Evans Blue, Stone Sour, Decyfer Down, Living Syndication

If you like Evanescence, then you may also like: We Are the Fallen, Within Temptation, Oridium, Amoric, Nightwish, Halestorm, Adastreia, Plumb

If you like Justin Bieber, then you may also like: Mercy Mercedes, Lights Out Dancing, Stereos

If you like Muse, then you may also like: Biffy Clyro, Lostprophets, Black Suit Youth, Deas Vail

If you like Kid Cudi, then you may also like: Mod Sun

If you like Vampire Weekend, then you may also like: The Airborne Toxic Event, MewithoutYou

If you like Green Day, then you may also like: Foxboro Hot Tubs, Sum 41, Pinhead Gun­powder, Asphalt Valentine, The Frustrators

If you like Taylor Swift, then you may also like: Hot Chelle Rae, Nevershoutnever, the Follow Through, Mindy Smith

If you like All Time Low, then you may also like: You Me at Six, Barely Blind, the Promise Hero

If you like Paramore, then you may also like: Hey Monday, Mayday Parade, New Found Glory

If you like 30 Seconds to Mars, then you may also like: LoveHateHero, Balance & Composure, It’s Alive, Ivoryline, Polar Bear Club, Envy on the Coast

If you like Lily Allen, then you may also like: Kate Nash, Mindy Dillard