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Everybody’s trying to get on a playlist these days. There seems to be a playlist for every mood on Spotify. Going out for a jog and need that “sad indie” mix to get your broken heart pumping? You’re covered. Cooking breakfast on a drizzly Sunday morning? I’m sure there’s a plethora of playlists to choose from. 

To me, these playlists feel empty. They’re quick and easy, and ghost away. The future of SceneSC lies in archiving, documenting, and telling the story of the South Carolina music scene. The goal is to work with all types of artists, including musicians, photographers, poets, writers, videographers, and creators of all kinds to do this. It takes a collaborative effort and participation all around. This compilation is one of the ways we’ll keep doing this. 

So what’s different about the Sampler? Like the emotion and time that went into a good old mixtape, the sampler is built on a similar ethos and with the energy behind it. It’s filled with bands who submitted their music and offered us the opportunity to build a two hour genre bending listening experience. These 33 songs will have some sort of permanence and serve as a sample of the South Carolina music scene in 2023.

It’s an old trope for us at this point, but this compilation is filled with bands who have never been on a SceneSC compilation in the past. That says a lot. This being Vol. 12 and there being over 20 tracks on each, that comes out to well over 200 artists, many of whom are still active. 

This year, there are 30 new artists that we’re featuring on the compilation for the first time. Many of these songs have been out in the wild for a bit, but there are many exclusive nuggets mixed in. 

Sit back, relax, and enjoy this year’s compilation. We hope you find a new favorite local band.

-David 

Named after a vintage wooden radio, Admiral Radio is an Americana/folk outfit hailing from the heart of South Carolina. With tight-knit harmonies, endearing storytelling and authentic energy, this husband and wife duo hold an infectious presence that is palpable and real, both on and off stage.

Bones Hamilton reaches into melancholy and upset in a back and forth rock and roll pull between self and surroundings.

Cassidy Spencer is a person. Currently in Columbia, South Carolina; throughout her life she has played the roles of actor, friend, musician, writer, poet, singer, student, improviser, barista. She looks forward to the many roles she has yet to play. Mostly, she just wants to learn how to endow her art with the richness and hurt and strangeness of life, learn how to cast life in the meaningful light of art and spirit.

Metallic Hardcore based out of Laurens County, South Carolina. Candescent fuses early 2000’s Metalcore with a new school twist of Hardcore and Emo offering emotional melodic undertones into screeching breakdowns. Taking influences from acts such as Boundaries, Knocked Loose, and Seeyouspacecowboy.

cecilnick (they/them) is your friendly southern gothic sound goblin, most known as front-person for Columbia’s alt-rap ensemble Autocorrect. Their upcoming album Sleep Era chases waterfalls of sound that other projects aren’t quite used to; cascading from ADHD rap, to somnambulant drum & bass, to existential chamber pop.
Local band from Florence, SC. Cleansweep is Tanner Hopkins, Christian Chestnut, Josh McDowell, and Andy Willis.

Poppy math rock from Greenville, SC.

Death Ray Robin is an Alt-R&B act featuring Black-Korean vocalist Desirée Richardson and a rotating cast of instrumentalists from Columbia, SC. Best known for her mellifluous soprano and straightforward yet poetic pop sensibilities, Richardson vacillates between genres, writing about themes of self-preservation, identity, revenge, forgiveness, and hope.

CHARLIE GIL (as DIM JIM MARTINEZ) – musician and poet, believer in conspiracies and other crazy shit he reads on the internet, product of the foster system and pathological liar/raconteur/spinner of tall tales. According to the personal history Charlie Gil gives of himself (as “Dim Jim”), he was born in Muerto County, Texas to Mexica narco-traffickers who died in a shoot-out con la DEA when he was 11. He was then raised in the foster system until age 17, when he ran away. As a 14-year-old (or thereabouts), he discovered his then-foster dad’s old electric guitar and stash of Creem and Leg Show magazines.

  • Flippants fuse post-punk and new wave into what they’ve dubbed “party punk” with class-conscious lyrics and catchy, energetic melodies. Their high-octane concerts erase band-audience boundaries, showcasing acrobatics, eccentric stage props, and crowd interactions, evoking the vibe of a wild house party more than a conventional concert.

GAMINE is French for “attractively boyish girl” which we extrapolate further to mean androgyny, and as such, our music does not go in any particular direction residing somewhere between the ice of goth and the rumble of alt rock.

Hard Pass is Alt-Country Rock band from Columbia, SC that formed in 2022. Currently playing regional shows in support of their debut EP Mona Lisa Motel, including two singles that were released in May 2023, with the full EP
available August 2023.

Heir Metal met at The Juilliard School in 1931.  As electricity became an everyday part of life, though, they began to consider music differently. After one of their weekly midnight seances, the trio decided to drop out of school, infuriating their instructors and peers alike.

Heralded by the Charleston City Paper as “one of the clear-cut up-and-coming bands to watch in the Carolinas”, Homemade Haircuts is quickly becoming an indie rock favorite among concertgoers. With infectious melodies, sunny guitar riffs, and a pleasant stage presence, each live performance from the band grabs the attention of casual viewers and long time fans alike.

Hard Pass is Alt-Country Rock band from Columbia, SC that formed in 2022. Currently playing regional shows in support of their debut EP Mona Lisa Motel, including two singles that were released in May 2023, with the full EP out now.

Infinitefreefall is the long-running and kaleidoscopic passion project of producer/songwriter Maxton Stenstrom, entering its 15th year in 2023. Unbound by genre conventions, the music runs the gamut from dream pop to krautrock, electronic music to bossa nova, and everything else in between.

Invisible Low End Power also called “Invisible”, “Low End Power” and “ILEP” is the live band and recording outlet for songs by producer Wolfgang Zimmerman and his cosmic cousins. Debut LP “Spaceprints” out October 17, 2023.

Josh Bennett is a singer-songwriter from Columbia, South Carolina. Josh began writing music in 2005, recording songs on a tape recorder and sharing them on his MySpace. Josh released his debut EP in 2009, Songs from the Drive (2019), two Christmas albums Sweaters and Lights (2019), and More Sweaters and Lights (2020), followed by a few singles.

KELLY is an indie artist, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and producer based in the Carolinas.

Kat Hammond embarks on a journey of self-discovery through sound with her new solo project. As the driving force behind the band “Charlie Boy,” Kat has already made waves in the music scene, where her talents shine in a different musical dimension. This versatility showcases her ability to effortlessly switch between genres while maintaining a signature artist identity.

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As a live performer and session musician, Moses Andrews III is a mainstay in Columbia SC’s music scene, bringing soul and wit to any genre. His latest solo endeavor, “Back in the Daze”, is a smooth rumination on liquid courage, landing somewhere between Robert Glasper and Thundercat.

My Life as a Dog is the passion project of songwriter Ryan Hanifin. Drawing from his experiences in the early 2000s pop-punk/emo scene, Hanifin’s self-produced music resonates with audiences through its catchy melodies and emotionally charged sound. Embracing influences from the genre, MyLAAD offers a unique and authentic musical experience.

Born Derovanti England Richardson on October 20, 1993, Nxx Friday is an Afro-American recording artist, songwriter, producer, singer, rapper, and audio engineer from Columbia, South Carolina.

Pirate Rodeo is the post-pandemic iteration of Charleston native and multi-hyphenate Harper Marchman-Jones’s ongoing recording and performance projects.

While their previous enterprises centered around collaborative and meticulously composed art-rock and prog-pop, Pirate Rodeo is a loose collective organized around Marchman-Jones.

Rocco and His Bones is a project from Zac Dehlbom which over the years  ranges from garage rock to psych-punk to indie pop. Started in Texas solo and now a full group in SC, in a live setting the songs take on a raw electric and cathartic experience.

Born in the era of pandemic frustration, Shows began as an off the cuff recording project between Ned Brash (Brett Nash of Secret Guest), Dillard Dickens (Dylan Dickerson of Dear Blanca) and Barshall Mrown (Marshall Brown). The band has since evolved into a sextet of ex-housepainters.

Single Sparrow is the moniker of multi-instrumentalist, Patrick Leitner, writing and recording from Charleston, SC. Exploring the depths of childhood memories, commonplace family interactions, and living in the shadow of faith through the wonder of multi-tracking and digital signal processing. This track is a family collaboration. All three of Patrick’s kids played instruments on this song.

Classically trained musician/MC Sxvxnt (pronounced ‘Savant’) first made his footprint via his affiliation with the Chicago tandem RAREBREED and his solo debut, the “Delayed Entry EP”. His subsequent “Crash Course” leak series led to his first tour, and scattered singles, glimmering vocal contributions on records with top-tier wordsmiths, and showstopping stage performances thereafter kept his profile simmering during a stretch wherein he took a step back from working on solo material in favor of learning from some of the brightest minds in music. His participation in and alignment with the 2018 launched, Santa Monica-based imprint, Sound Of Cannae, marked his return of sorts to creating as a solo artist.

The Runout is earnest Alt-Americana. The lineup is Jeff Gregory (acoustic/vocals), Chris Compton (electric), Moses Andrews III (bass) , Mike Scarboro (drums), and Kelley Gregory (bgv).

Lexington, SC native, performing tasty home-style tunes.

Toy Surprise is a kind of side project. It’s always at least Maxton Stenstrom (Infinitefreefall) and Henry Snyder (Public Luxuries). Others are often also involved, but weren’t this time.

Windley is an emo/punk band formed in 2017 in Myrtle Beach South Carolina. Drawing inspiration from classic punk bands as well as some of their contemporaries, Windley has developed a sound that is both nostalgic and fresh. With catchy, emotional lyrics, powerful riffs and melodies, and an energetic live show, Windley is a band you shouldn’t sleep on. Their second EP was recently recorded at Jam Room Studios in Columbia SC, and is slated for release in early 2024. You can follow @windley_band on Instagram and Twitter to stay updated.