21 Unmissable New York Bands For 2023

This image may contain: tattoo, skin, person, back, guitar, musical instrument, necklace, ring, face, finger

21 up-and-coming New York-based bands that should be on your radar.

For the last few years, the future of music seemed altogether uncertain. Tours, concerts, and local shows were canceled left and right, and it was difficult to feel hopeful about what was to come.

However, if anything has become clear in 2022, it’s that hardship breeds creativity. The New York music scene, which previously seemed to be on life support, worsening every day, has sprung to life with a host of emerging New York music artists proving that the city still has plenty to offer – from NYC jazz bands to indie rock, and cover bands of every variety.

Here are 21 up and coming New York bands you should get to know now. Plus, catch most of these bands touring in NYC and further afield in 2023.


Heavy Halo

FROM: New York, NY

GENRE: Rock/Alternative/Industrial Rock

If you have ever found yourself wanting something that’s abrasive but catchy, you’ve found the right band.

Heavy Halo is a duo based in New York that creates music somewhere at the intersection of rock and electronic. Distorted drum machines and guitars abound while catchy vocal melodies worm their way into your brain. After listening to Heavy Halo’s self-titled album, you will absolutely find yourself humming the songs to yourself.

NEXT PLAYING: You can catch Heavy Halo at their show on January 6th at Elsewhere.

Heavy Halo | Spotify


FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Hard Rock

Lüre is a New York-based band with a bad (but good) reputation for wild on stage antics that harken back to the heyday of household names like Guns N’ Roses.

With a seemingly never-ending supply of energy, Lüre delivers the quintessential NY hardcore band experience, both on stage and in their music. However, where the band really shines is in their more emotional moments, particularly on the song 'Lotus', released in 2022.

Lüre | Spotify

A Deer A Horse

FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Hard Rock/Noise Rock

A Deer A Horse has garnered the attention of some heavy hitters in rock and metal. Their most recent album, 'Grind' was produced by none other than Sylvia Massy, who has worked with industry greats like Tool and System of a Down.

The band seems to flit between different subgenres of rock and metal, offering listeners an entertaining and unpredictable experience.

NEXT PLAYING: You can catch the band live at their first performance of 2023, on February 3rd at QXT’s in Newark, NJ.

A Deer A Horse | Spotify


FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Experimental Rock

Model/Actriz is, for lack of a better term, weird as hell. For those familiar with bands like Daughters, you will feel right at home in Model Actriz’s strange instrumentalization. It’s noisy, abrasive, and altogether anxiety-inducing at times. In other words, it feels alive.

Model/Actriz has a moderately large following when compared with other NYC local bands, but are still considered relatively underground. This is the kind of band that your friends will try to tell you about in three years and you can proudly say you heard them first.

NEXT PLAYING: Model/Actriz’s next show is on April 20th, 2023 at Racket.

Model/Actriz | Spotify

🎸 Book one of our New York music recording studios or rehearsal spaces and you might bump into one of these bands.


True Body

FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Indie Rock

Stylistically, True Body often sound like they could have released their music in the 80s and been right at home alongside classic acts like The Cure, New Order, and Tears For Fears. Likewise, their music videos feel like they can’t be placed in a particular time and bring about a strange feeling of being nostalgic for something you never experienced in the first place. Their most recent release, the 'Temple of Song' EP, sees the New York rock band at their most fully realized.

True Body | Spotify


FROM: New York, NY

GENRE: Indie Pop/Rock

IMANIGOLD, which consists of sisters April and Nikki Kae, is an indie pop/rock band originally from Austin, Texas. Now based in New York, the outfit sounds like something you would hear in an indie movie from the early 2000s in the best way.

'Comfort In Sound' would fit right in on the soundtrack for Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. That is not, however, to say that IMANIGOLD’s music sounds dated. It doesn’t – in fact, it sounds like a current version of a genre that has waned in popularity in the last decade or so. Music like this is what could bring New York indie bands back to the forefront.

Imanigold | Spotify

Alternative Pop

almost sex

FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Indie/Alternative Pop

almost sex is an alternative pop outfit, providing listeners with calm but catchy melodies.

The vocals float magically over understated instrumentals, leaving you feeling almost euphoric. almost sex may not bring any revolutionary ideas to the table, but they expertly navigate their genre, hitting every target fans expect.

almost sex | Spotify


FROM: New York, NY

GENRE: Alternative Pop

Rafaella is an alternative pop band from New York, NY. With cotton-candy sweet vocals and quirky instrumentals, Rafaella offers a version of pop music that even the pop haters can enjoy. Vocally, Rafaella is a mix of many well-known and well-loved artists, like Lana Del Rey, Halsey, and Olivia Rodrigo.

While still part of the underground, they have certainly reached a level of notoriety, with their current monthly listeners on Spotify ticking upwards of 200,000. The song 'GROWN UP' is a great introduction to Rafaella’s style, and it will surely leave you wanting more.

NEXT PLAYING: Rafaella’s next show is at First Avenue’s 'Best New Bands' on January 23rd in Minneapolis, MN.

Raffaella | Spotify


FROM: New York, NY

GENRE: Alternative/Experimental Pop

VVII, having only released one EP so far, is still a bit of a mystery. However, anyone who listens to the track 'Millipede' will have no doubt about VVII’s future in the world of music.

The rest of the 'Juvenile' EP is varied and strong, with each track offering a new facet of VVII’s sound. While the EP is certainly pop, it frequently flirts with elements of ambient and trap, making for a great listening experience for those with wide-ranging tastes.

Vvii | Spotify


How Tragic

FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Punk/Post-Punk

How Tragic is the brainchild of Brooklyn creative Paige Campbell. Fans of mid-to-late 90s pop-punk, ska, and riot grrrl will feel right at home in Campbell’s musical world.

The New York punk band's 2020 effort, the 'Past Lives' EP explodes with an energy that is rarely seen in a first outing. The band followed up their EP in early 2022 with the single 'Goodbye Cruel World'. The song expanded the band’s sonic palate, incorporating an understated but emotional vocal performance from Campbell. They’ve already started carving out their own niche in the New York scene, and it’s clear that How Tragic is here to stay.

How Tragic | Spotify

Venus Twins

FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Punk/Noise Rock

Venus Twins is a Brooklyn-based noise rock duo that are known for their wildly energetic performances.

Their most recent album, 'Raxis', was released in October 2022. Reminiscent of the early days of NYC punk bands, the chaos of their stage shows is very much present in their music. It almost feels improvised but not messy in the slightest, and with song names like 'Mist Mist Mist Mist Mist Mist Mist Mist Mist' and 'Agony Sludge Infinite', it’s no surprise the music sticks with you longer after you’ve stopped listening.

NEXT PLAYING: Fresh off of their Raxis Tour, Venus Twins have been announced as official performers at SXSW 2023.

Venus Twins | Spotify


FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Punk/Alternative

How does one even begin to explain the absolute insanity that is CHRISTEENE? Their music sounds like early Peaches if she had pushed her music to the absolute limit and maybe did a lot of shrooms. It’s equal parts catchy and disturbing.

Even though nothing is really surprising these days, CHRISTEENE’s music does somehow feel transgressive. Maybe it’s the lyrics. Maybe it’s their look. Maybe it’s the strange instrumentation. You’ll have to listen for yourself to find out!

Christeene | Spotify



FROM: Ridgewood, NY

GENRE: Metal

CONTRACT is a quintessential metal band from New York,hailing from Ridgewood. The band’s first single 'Nails', released in early 2022, showed the band bursting onto the New York scene in prime form.

The band is a new iteration of a band that was also very popular in the New York scene called Swinging Riot. However, having undergone a few lineup changes, the band re-debuted under a new moniker.

Anyone who is lucky enough to catch them live is in for a treat because their live shows are nothing short of absolute chaos. With powerful drum drums, blistering vocals, and memorable riffs, CONTRACT is sure to leave an impression.

CONTRACT | Spotify

Trace Amount

FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Industrial/Noise/Metal

Trace Amount is the Brooklyn-based solo project of Brandon Gallagher. Incorporating heavy industrial sounds, synths, and harsh vocals, Gallagher creates an almost post-apocalyptic aural landscape. The project’s most recent album, 'Anti-Body Language', plays like a soundtrack to the end of the world.

NEXT PLAYING: Trace Amount recently completed a US tour with fellow industrial noise artist King Yosef. You can catch his upcoming shows on January 6th at Elsewhere and January 26th at St. Vitus.

Trace Amount | Spotify


FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Industrial Metal

GLDN, an industrial metal band based in Brooklyn, is relatively new to the New York scene. The band released their first EP, 'First Blood', in July 2022, and have been regularly releasing singles and music videos since.

Fans of 90s industrial and metal like Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Rob Zombie, will find something to love here. GLDN takes something familiar and refreshes it, offering their own take on a tried and true rock sound.

gldn | Spotify



FROM: New York, NY

GENRE: Latin Jazz/Latin Alternative

Alea, a singer-songwriter from Colombia, is based in New York, NY where she, along with a host of talented instrumentalists, form one of the finest Latin bands in New York, creating alternative Latin jazz music.

Alea’s 2021 release, “Alborotá” is a revelation, combining different subgenres to create something truly sublime. Vocals flow like honey over hand drums, brass, and picked acoustic guitars. You can’t help but move your body.

NEXT PLAYING: You can catch Alea’s next live performance on March 26th, 2023 at the Wave Hill Public Garden & Cultural Center in the Bronx.

Alea | Spotify


FROM: New York, NY

GENRE: Latin Rock/Reggae/Funk

PANA! is a Latin rock band with heavy reggae and funk influences. Hailing from New York, NY, the band was formed in 2004 and has been together ever since. While they may not have a large following or online presence, the music that is available is infinitely listenable. PANA!’s music feels alive and full of passion.

Pana! | Spotify


Human Target

FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Thrash

In many ways, Human Target sounds like the spiritual successor to Pantera. Their music, heavy and angry, will scratch the same itch that many classic thrash bands would. That doesn’t mean that Human Target isn’t worth listening to. The band’s newest single, 'Perpetual War Economy' is a fantastic listen.

Human Target | Spotify


Mother Cell

FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Hyperpop/Experimental

Mother Cell, an experimental hyperpop Brooklyn duo, creates some genuinely exciting music. 'Root Canal', from the group’s 2021 'Powerhouse' album, is the kind of fame-making song that one might hear right before a band gets big. It’s weird, it’s new, and it feels original. To top it off, they’re great live.

NEXT PLAYING: Catch Mother Cell on January 28th, 2023 at Zerospace.

Mother Cell | Spotify


FROM: Stony Brook, NY

GENRE: Alternative/Electronic Noise/Punk

DONT SMILE AT ME is another hard-to-define musical outfit. Some songs pulsate with grainy rhythms, others feel dreamlike and calming. You can truly say that you often don’t know what you’re going to get, and there’s something exciting about that.

With dreamy bedroom pop chords, abrasive drum n’ bass-inspired drums, and Ricky’s signature distorted vocals, DONT SMILE AT ME is an experience that is truly unique.



FROM: Brooklyn, NY

GENRE: Punk/Metal/Industrial

The most appealing aspect of Gun is how extremely difficult they are to categorize. Somewhere at the intersection of punk, metal, and industrial, they offer a unique experience that sounds old and new at the same time.

Distorted vocals expertly weave in and out of heavy riffs, energetic drums, and synthesizers. Some moments on the band’s most recent album 'Gunmetal' even verge on rap, if only because of the heavy bass and vocal delivery. If you want to listen to something that feels familiar but fresh, Gun is a strong contender.

Gun | Spotify

New York is a melting pot of different cultures and ways of life, and the music artists from New York reflect that – jazz bands, pop artists, indie groups and heavy metal bands from New York are amongst the best in the world. And if you're looking for tributes, there may be more cover bands in NYC than anywhere else.

Naysayers often seem convinced that the music scene in New York is stagnant or even dead, but the bands on this list show that the city will always be a cultural and artistic hotspot.

The New York music scene, with its many and varied genres and subgenres, is a place where creatives can come to express themselves freely, without judgment – that kind of environment is a breeding ground for interesting music.

More from Pirate