The Best of the Unknown


By Ellie Ramsing, Reporter

Spotify is known for its “Top Tracks” and “Most Streamed” artists, but there are way more unknown bands that never get streamed than there are “Top Artists.” 

Spotify has taken steps to get these songs listened to. They created an algorithm called Forgotify which gives you a song that has never been played before. All of this is great of course and there is some good music buried deep in that program, but the average person is not going to spend hours clicking through it to find the unknown song of their dreams. 

The following bands are my Top 13 Unknown, which over the years of going down deep, dark, musical rabbit holes I have discovered. All of the bands listed  have under 100,000 monthly listeners. I have also listed my favorite of all the bands’ songs. 


Silent Pilot 


Looking up cool album covers or songs about the west coast. The East Bay Alternative Rock band has 21,603 monthly listeners. This group has a beachy summer day vibe with a large rock influence. They sing about whatever they are feeling. This can best be demonstrated by the name of one of their albums “heartSOUNDS.” They talk about the ups and downs of relationships.





Not really sure. The Dallas Folk Rock band has 86,079 monthly listeners. The group takes a softer approach to a series of anthemic songs. The acoustic guitar and banjos are balanced with a stronger bass line and percussive combos. Lyrically the group sings of the perfection within the imperfections of relationships with the people around them. They talk of how the negative parts of being with people isn’t enough to give up on them. They also discuss their connection to Texas, their “heaven on Earth.”



Heffron Drive

Mad at the World

Found by yet another musical rabbit hole. Based out of L.A., the Alternative Pop band has 60,276 monthly listeners. The group balances their songs between the cool and calm, minor-toned, acoustic melodies and their alternative, electrical, rock anthems. Lyrically the band talks more about the “What Ifs” of relationships and has a daydreamy approach to their message. They acknowledge that not everything is perfect but they still focus on the “maybes.”



All Faces

Welcome Home 

Probably another rabbit hole, just pure luck, or Shazaming a car commercial (car commercials have REALLY good lesser known indie songs so when in doubt…) Started in London, the indie group has 16,503 monthly listeners. With lots of acoustic guitar and airy vocals the band follows the same format as Dan Gautreau’s music with a hard bass drop and bouncing back and forth between the acoustic side and the faster paced bass heavy section. Lyrically the group focuses on what could be and really expresses the emotions of a short period of time. They zone in on the feelings during a split second time that feels like a century and talk of the importance of being together.



Young Pines

Start Right Now

The Happy Folk Spotify playlist. No idea when or where it started but the Indie Pop group has 62,569 monthly listeners. The group has a very digital sound with a guitar based foundation. Following the same tones as a video game soundtrack the thing that sets this group apart is their traditional indie approach to lyrics. Their songs follow the same formatting as the group The Naked and Famous with their upbeat beats and digital tones. Lyrically the group works with the idea of independence and making your own path. Their bright tones coupled with the hopeful lyrics bring a smile to anyone’s face.




Say I Do

Found by listening to a college radio monthly Indie playlist. Cannot find when or where this musician started but he works with “forward-spoken lyrics of folk and vibrant pop-inspired melodies…” and has 53,294 monthly listeners. Very orchestral but with more guitar and bass. The funky beats and guitar parts add an angelic tone to words of forever and always. The artist does an amazing job of really putting his emotions into the music itself and is very expressive. 



Fauntella Crow 

Lost Here

Found by Shazaming some background music of a TV show. An indie duet group from Los Angeles with 1,444 monthly listeners. Very orchestral backgrounds with a modern piano part. Vocals remind me of Florence and the Machine, very airy and soft. Goes really well with the strings and piano. The duo sings of reality and dependence on those around them in a hauntingly beautiful way. Highlights the emotional side of relationships with friends and family.



Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

Oregon Girl 

Googling songs about Oregon. The Indie Pop band from Missouri has 72,242 monthly listeners. The group takes a more upbeat rockish approach to your traditional indie song. They remind me of a mix between your normal indie music and James Bay with lots of electric guitar and drumset. The lyrics talk of regrets and bad times but with an upbeat tone they point out that they haven’t given up hope and they can and will do better. Very similar to the message of Heffron Drive.


The Moderates

Where Are You (Acoustic)

I do believe that it is from yet another rabbit hole. The Long Beach native Indie Rock band has 27,624 monthly listeners. This group is even more of a rock group than Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and has a very distinct tone. The group relies on strong drums and powerful electric guitar riffs to convey a message of growth and personality. The group wants their audience to feel like they are growing with the band. The young group sings about the craziness of the world and finding their way.



Dan Gautreau

Hold on Hope

Found by Shazaming a movie trailer. He is not an artist but a Writer/Producer/Mixer so technically he is not an Unknown Band but I’ll still put him in here. Started in London and did some high profile songwriting (for Alecia Keys and George Micheal) but his personal productions only have 13,511 monthly listeners. He works with new, unknown Indie pop/rock bands and does music for the film industry. His songs follow the same “Indie” start with a calm, slow guitar and soft vocals and then the bass drops and the tempo speeds up, adds in a fast banjo, and heavy bass drum. Flips between the calm and fast portions all throughout the songs making it just fun to listen too. The lyrics and tone of the songs kind of contradict each other, but in a good way. Instead of the songs being a sad calm they have a sort of anthem feel. The tone is bright and exciting while the lyrics are down, giving the impression of enjoying life through the struggles and that the artist, and humans in general, will not give up hope. 



Skin & Bones

Lone Pine

I have no idea how I found this group. The Folk Roots group from Venice Beach has 82,894 monthly listeners. The group balances bluegrass feels with a rocky sort of sound to create a completely original tone. The showmanship of the song follows the same pattern as an orchestra but sounds completely different. They sing about falling apart and the strain that life itself puts on you. Coupled with the minor key and swaying tones of a fiddle with the acoustic guitar gives the listeners an insight into how the artist is feeling.



Harbor & Home

Summer Lover 

I’m not sure how I found this. The Minneapolis Alternative Rock band has 68,246 monthly listeners. This group follows the same style as The Lumineers but more upbeat. Lyrically they sing of regret and sorrow but it contradicts the sound of the music nicely. The group does an amazing job of keeping the small town sound that many of these groups lose in the journey to becoming more mainstream.



The Weather Machine 

Some Mountaintop 

Found by looking up songs about Oregon and came across this gem of a band. A Portland-based indie rock group with 20,251 monthly listeners on Spotify. The Weather Machine is an acoustic group with an amazing balance between soft guitar and rich vocals. The group itself has kind of a dark tone with many of their songs played in a minor key. Has a very calming and soothing tone and is very simple. Lyrically they remind me of The Script with “relatable” lyrics that everyone can understand. Gives the listener an insight into its not easy or fun but small events, that may last a few minutes in reality, can make an impact and last eternally through these songs.