With its diverse array of venues, from historic theaters to massive arenas, Buffalo attracts top-notch talent from all over the world. But look beyond the major touring acts that visit the Queen City, and you’ll find that Buffalo’s own music scene is thriving with homegrown talent. From rappers, to folksy guitarists, to punk rockers — there’s literally every kind of musician here in Buffalo. And the best part: you can find these artists playing in your favorite bars and restaurants on any given night.
Here are five up-and-coming musical acts from the Buffalo underground scene:
For fans of: Smino, Isaiah Rashad
Rapper and vocalist Jerrell Lanos, or Pr0 Social, cites Frank Ocean and Miguel as primary influences for his catchy, R&B-inflected hip-hop. Lanos started out making beats for other local rappers, and this knack for production certainly shines through in his expertly crafted instrumentals. His latest single, “3%,” is a prime example of his unique flow and jazzy production. Though originally from Rochester, Lanos is proudly Buffalo-based and a regular at local venues like Town Ballroom.
For fans of: SOPHIE, Ashnikko
It’s hard to describe Medusa’s music, but the local electronic musician describes it themselves as “revenge pop.” It’s dark, theatrical and danceable all at once, almost closer to performance art than pop music. The boundary-crossing, non-binary musician draws inspiration from genres as disparate as hyperpop, industrial and art rock. Try their album “Boy of the Year” for some heavily distorted, bass-heavy beats with scathing lyrics that address transphobia, betrayal and identity.
For fans of: Emotional indie rock
Adelaide describes their music as “heart songs.” It’s an apt description — their emotional brand of folk pop is as confessional and tender as a diary entry. It brings to mind ‘90s indie rockers like Liz Phair, or even the early work of Mitski. Their recent EP “Dark Truths That May Cheer You Up” is a sweet trio of vulnerable, guitar-driven songs perfect for fall.
For fans of: Old school punk
Indie rock outfit CLUMP is relatively new on the scene, but they’re already calling themselves “the Buffalo Bills of bands.” Their music combines elements of garage rock, shoegaze and punk with a healthy dose of angst. The band’s debut album, titled “Stupid Idiot,” is equal parts aggressive and melodic, heavy and distorted with a clear pop sensibility underneath. CLUMP is currently on a recording hiatus, but when they return, expect to see them at local spots like Tudor Lounge and Duende.
For fans of: Alicia Keys, Ari Lennox
Classic R&B devotees will love Maegan’s smooth, soulful vocals and atmospheric instrumentals. Her latest track, “Temples,” is the perfect entry-point to the singer’s discography. A modern take on the ‘90s neo-soul of singers like Erykah Badu, its lush production and angelic harmonies are irresistible. As one of the most prolific figures in Buffalo’s R&B scene, Maegan can be found performing all over town. Catch her at Hot Mama’s Canteen next Tuesday, or as a special guest at Nietszche’s Halloween party this Saturday.
Meret Kelsey is an assistant arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meret Kelsey is an assistant arts editor at The Spectrum.