Ten Boston Artists You Need To Know

Ten Local Boston Artists You Need To Know
Graphics by Kevin Shin


Matt Lorenz, the mastermind behind The Suitcase Junket, captures the essence of a solo performer through his unique "doom folk" sound. His stage name comes from his origins as a busker, where he used suitcases as drums on his travels. That DIY ethos is still in play today; his live performances feature plenty of unconventional percussion. Lorenz released his sixth album, The End is New, last year. With raw guitars and potent lyrics, he paints a picture of a troubled world filled with struggles big and small.

- Kelsey Sidman, Staff Writer



Indie pop musician Frances Forever came onto the scene in 2018 with their debut EP Pockets. Since then, they have switched up their sound for a new galactic single. "Space Girl" first gained popularity on TikTok before spreading everywhere else. Their bedroom pop instrumentals and airy voice make for the perfect light listening music. Meanwhile, their catchy and playful lyrics will have you singing their songs on repeat. A born-and-raised Massachusetts native, they continue to shine both in your ears and on social media.

- Christina Casper, Staff Writer



Here in Boston, college students are some of this city's most innovative, exciting musicians. Anjimile, a Dallas-raised Northeastern graduate, is one of them. They started playing guitar when they were eleven, writing original music when they got to college. Through simple guitar and sophisticated lyricism, they explore their trans and Malawian identity through albums like 2020's Giver Taker. There's a self-assured quality to their sound. They trust in their vision, instrumentation, and poetics to paint a complicated yet whole picture of personhood.

- Tatum Jenkins, Music Coordinator



Indie folk singer Kaiti Jones has been on her grind for over a decade. She released her debut EP Arise Child in 2009, and has since made a name for herself through extensive gigging. Her lyrics are deeply emotional; they play out like intimate letters or diary entries. Most recently, she released her sophomore album Tossed. Led by the buoyant "Gettin Around To It," the project was the result of a crowdfunding campaign last year. Jones' delicate guitar picking highlights the personal details she sprinkles through the project's nine songs.

- Riley Greenstein, Web Services Coordinator



The Q-Tip Bandits first formed at Berklee College of Music in 2018. They've been making their way into the hearts of the Boston music scene ever since. In 2019, the band broke out with the whimsical track "Willow" and took off to Europe to tour. Last year, they released their EP Ain't It Great and started recording their debut album, Melancholy Flowers. Mixing powerful vocals with their funky upbeat sound, they are definitely a band to look out for. Their sound is a fun blend of pop, indie, and funk, that's sure to perk up any day. Look out for Melancholy Flowers soon.

- Meghan Hockridge, Staff Writer



Boston rapper and R&B artist Red Shaydez began her songwriting journey as a kid. She wrote poetry and paired it with music from her karaoke machine. She put out her sophomore album, Feel the Aura, last summer. It's a bold step from her 2016 debut Magnetic Aura, which shied away from personal details. Now, Shayez exudes a fresh confidence and is much more comfortable expressing her identity and sexuality. The moody "They Call Me Shaydez" epitomizes this newfound self-assurance. On it, she explicitly says she's demisexual, and takes on a braggadocious persona. She asserts, "I can make bops and still be inspirational."

- Megan Doherty, Staff Writer



In just two years, Coral Moons has carved their name into the Boston music scene. They broke out with their 2019 EP Quarter Life Crisis, a five-track dive into retro rock. Lead singer Carly Kraft sings with the grand presence of a '70s soul diva. Last June, Coral Moons debuted the upbeat "Winnebago" alongside their first ever music video. Accompanied by horns and handclaps, the song is a prelude to some grand road trip into the unknown. Just like Kraft wants to whisk her lover on an adventure through the wilderness, the band is only starting on their own journey.

- Riely Greenstein, Web Services Coordinator



Boston-area folk and roots band Dispatch consistently delivers sweet and soulful songs that are sure to brighten up your day. Their folky instrumentals in collaboration with their often reggae-inspired vocals always make for an entertaining listening experience for all music lovers. You may have heard their songs on popular TV shows such as 90201 and One Tree Hill. Still, their music will be a more perfect addition to your next road trip playlist. Set your week off with a "Bang Bang" and give Dispatch a listen.

- Mason Standish, Staff Writer



Claire Cottrill, better known as Clairo, is a singer-songwriter who grew up in Carlisle, Massachusetts. She's posted original songs and covers on YouTube since she was 13, breaking through in 2017 with her lo-fi bop "Pretty Girl." That viral hit eventually gave way to her debut album, Immunity, in 2019. The album is filled with her signature style, combining catchy upbeat music with heavy subject matter. More recently, Clairo has shifted her focus onto collaborative projects. She's featured on songs by Wallows and Arlo Parks, plus joined forces with Claud to form the band Shelly. No matter how far her career takes her, we'll always be proud to call Clairo a Boston native at heart. 

- Nora Onanian, Staff Writer



Every Sunday for about a dozen years or so, you could hear Errol Strength playing at West End Johnnie's. Strength moved to Boston from Jamaica in 1969, just as reggae was beginning to take off in the city. The Orson Welles theater in Central Square showed Jimmy Cliff's The Harder They Come at least weekly for almost 8 years, reggae record shops popped up all across town (Taurus Records in Grove Hall persists), and musical exchange between Boston and Kingston thrived. Strength recorded many records in town, and would join Gregory Isaacs in the studio in Jamaica many times. By the 2000's much of the original musicians in that circuit had passed away or moved away. Nevertheless, Errol Strength has endured. While he hasn't released new material in a few years, it's almost a sure thing that he'll continue as one of the most exciting live performers in Boston.

- Phil Jones, Afternoon Host

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