Hidden Gems 2021

Hidden Gems 2021

By / Editorials / Friday, 14 January 2022 06:31

Ah, here we are at the start of a fresh new spin around the sun. 2021 felt in many ways like 2020 but in extra innings (or overtime, or extra time… apologies for my America-ness) but we all have survived. While there weren’t as many lockdowns and forced staycations, the pandemic still has had its influence on how we’ve consumed media. We here at Underground Press know how hard it may have been to keep up with new stuff amidst these challenging times. Allow us to uncover some gems that may not have made it on your radar last year!

Debut Gems Hannah Jadagu

Debut Gem

These days, pop music is not just the sum of how much flashy, sexually explicit, or energy one can pack into two-to-three-minute stints. Thanks to the democratization of content creation and the ease with which music can be made, the mid to late 2010s birthed a sound that centred around lofi aesthetics and the modesty of home creation. Enter Hannah Jadagu, a native of Texas who now resides in New York with her debut bedroom pop/shoegaze effort What Is Going On. Upon first listen, one would not be mistaken for thinking this was the work of a savvy singer-songwriter with decades of experience in composition and production under their belt. Jadagu, with nothing but an iPad, guitar, an old soul, and the mind of a musical maverick, has put together a collection of five tracks that could at the very least define the subgenre of bedroom pop for years to come!

Stream What Is Going On today

Single Gems Gia Mckay

Single Gem

Lyrics alone cannot carry the day and draw listeners into an experience that artists attempt to illustrate. There is more to putting pen to paper and Capetonian siren Gia Mckay has the voice to give life to her words as she does in her mid-2021 single Call Me’. Mckay’s style is not one that is unfamiliar in an era where Billie Eillish/Adele-esque singer-songwriters seem to be popping up everywhere, but not every singer can match timbre with timeless performance. ‘Call Me’ showcases Mckay’s ability to contour sparse instrumentation and urging of reassurance. From the gentle, breathy and comforting verses to the powerful refrain, listeners will be enthralled throughout the track. Every generation has immense young talent and Gia Mckay is making her case here case for sure.

Stream ‘Call Me’ today

Album Gem Fred Nagel

Album Gem

The best gumbo, to the layman, looks like a bunch of meats and vegetables thrown together at random and tossed into a pot with reckless abandon…but it is absolutely delicious. This is what Fred Nagel has cooked up with his 2021 effort Normative, an absolutely delectable combination of the various spices music has on offer. This may seem like a gross exaggeration and a stretch of an analogy, but the plate is chock full of some savoury metal, zesty upbeat rapping, and some seriously saucy musicality by way of soaring guitar leads, lush orchestration and brutal drumming from time to time. Normative has a little bit of something to fit any diet, and the balance is sure to please whatever palate. A single helping of this group of tracks will prove to be super filling, but that’s enough of the food puns…give this epic a listen! 

Stream Normative today

Make sure to put these artists on your watchlist for the rest of 2022. If last year was any indication, music will play a pivotal role in keeping us sane and grounded…might as well have some of the best to help!


Russell Miller

Russell Miller


Russell Miller is the front-of-house/monitor engineer for Red Gate Sound & contributes reviews and an occasional snarky op-ed here at UNDERGROUND PRESS. If the music has a strong melody, a drive, or ambition chances are that it’ll have my attention. Knowledge. Follow Russell on Twitter and InstagramCheck out his tunes at SoundCloud

 RED GATE SOUND: Our Facebook | Writer/Contributor: Underground Press | Engineer/Producer: Arkayem Productions

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