Dating back to the top of the aughts, year after year the Alternative Press staff would put their blood, sweat and tears into curating the almighty 100 Bands You Need To Know issue. To put it delicately, if you put a bunch of music enthusiasts into a small office space to select 100 artists, there will be shouting. It’s basically the beginning of a bad “two music journalists walk into a bar” joke. There just isn’t a good punchline. Instead, the team would compromise on their artist selections each year for over 10 years when the issue was released.
Highlighting acts such as All Time Low, Hey Monday, the Maine and more, the acclaimed 100 Bands issue was essentially released as the soundtrack of your summer. It was the perfect binge playlist ahead of Vans Warped Tour each year. But as playlisting grew and streaming services dominated everyone’s iPhone, the 100 Bands issue seemed less necessary in a music world that was run by social media and instantaneous playlists.
After the tougher-than-hell year we all collectively experienced in 2020, we sat down and considered that what we all need right now is music. What better way to provide that than to resurrect the 100 Bands issue, appropriately rebrand it as the 100 Artists issue and give the people what they want—music.
For all four of the 100 Artists covers, we selected artists who hit opposite ends of the alternative spectrum. In a special 100 Artists release, two covers will be made available Friday, Jan. 29, and two covers will be made available Monday, Feb. 1.
Throughout 2020, alt-rock darling Maggie Lindemann spent the year releasing singles from her debut EP, PARANOIA. Landing on the Most Anticipated Albums of 2021, PARANOIA arrived Jan. 22 via her own label swixxz audio and Caroline Records. If you haven’t let yourself slip into Lindemann’s debut, prepare to get stuck there for days. PARANOIA is endlessly addictive and reminiscent of ’90s grunge and dark pop.
Carefully centered around their acoustic release FGBGFM Unplugged, Bad Omens highlighted the softer side of their metalcore musings. Glued together by six fan-favorite tracks, their stripped-back release offers a new perspective on the group’s intensity and vocalist Noah Sebastian’s meticulous precision.
Across the pages of the 100 Artists issue, you’ll find artists ranging from metal and alt-rock to indie and punk. There were no rules and no limitations when selecting the 100 Artists to lead the charge in 2021. But we have one guarantee: There is something for everyone in our 100 Artists issue and some surprises that you’ll certainly get hooked on.
Here’s to a year filled with the best of the best that music has to offer.