Tiny Fonts is a recurring feature in which our staff handpick the must-see smaller acts at all the major festivals.
Move over Glastonbury and Primavera Sound: Mad Cool Festival has entered the chat. In just a few years, Madrid’s Mad Cool has become one of the premiere European festivals, and 2022’s lineup is as stacked as ever. Sure, the headliners — which include Metallica, The Killers, Florence + The Machine, and 11 (!) other big names — are special, but no festival poster is complete without the excellent artists that make up the bottom few lines of each day.
Festivals are a place to bask in the glow of the biggest artists around, but they’re also a place of discovery. I can’t think of the amount of times I’ve wandered around a festival during the early hours of the day and stumbled upon pure greatness, and it’s in Mad Cool’s nature to foster an exciting and dynamic space for new artists. Plus, with Mad Cool starting its music programming each day around 6pm, attendees will have a one-of-a-kind experience with artists that they might not have gotten the chance to see at another festival.
In addition to international festival favorites like Bartees Strange and the UK’s easy life, Mad Cool 2022 also features a number of outstanding Spanish artists, like Goa and Muro María. Mad Cool’s lineup, as always, is heavily curated, featuring a mix of rising rock artists, R&B superstars, up-and-coming rappers and producers, and some special homegrown talent.
Check out the full list of 14 artists undercard to see at Mad Cool this year below. Single-day tickets for Saturday and Sunday — priced at 75€ — are currently available via the festival’s website.
Wednesday, July 6th:
Few artists can achieve what Alfie Templeman has before their 20th birthday. The British singer, songwriter, and bandleader has evolved from lo-fi bedroom recordings to full-fledged indie rock anthems, as heard on his most recent album, Mellow Moon. His irresistible melodies are often dance-worthy and packed with energy, and he’s very quickly rising to become one of the most talked-about indie artists in England — and beyond.
UK artist Baby Queen creates confessional and upbeat synth pop, often with funky guitar lines and spoken word verses. She’s an incredibly versatile vocalist — she can go from Spice Girls-esque pop to Riot Grrrl grit, with one of those voices that provides an air of comfort and intrigue. Born and raised in South Africa, the 24-year-old Baby Queen is certainly one of the most exciting figures in pop right now, and her excellent debut 2021 The Yearbook shows just how much she’s capable of.
UK upstarts DAYTIME TV are bound for the biggest stages: their undeniable alternative rock style is truly stadium sized, echoing the big room indie of bands like Nothing But Thieves, Walk The Moon, and Sam Fender. Having just released their debut album last month, the vibrant Nothing’s On But Everyone’s Watching, DAYTIME TV are quickly ascending to be one of the UK’s most talked-about rock acts.
Thursday, July 7th:
British rockers Chubby and the Gang have a classic, post-punk edge that immediately separates them from their contemporaries. Frontman “Chubby Charles” Manning-Walker possesses a gritty, anthemic voice, and treats every full-throated vocal moment like the stakes have never been higher. Fans of Parquet Courts, The Hives, and Turnstile will certainly enjoy Chubby and the Gang’s garage rock romps.
Friday, July 8th:
Los Invaders hail from Valencia, Spain, and are currently at work on their sophomore album. Their synth-covered style is tailor made for festivals, complete with chopping drum-beats, auxiliary percussion, crystalline guitars, and some shout-along moments of dance punk. Los Invaders bring such a strong influx of energy and heart that you can’t help but smile from ear to ear. If you’re attending Mad Cool this year, set aside Los Invaders’ set time for a dance off.
Saturday, July 9th:
So far, Mad Cool is Angie McMahon’s only tour date of 2022 — which means her performance is certainly a must-see, but also that she’ll likely have new music in tow. The Australian singer-songwriter’s last album, Salt, came out back in 2019, which, in pandemic years, is like a lifetime. But make no mistake: Salt was a brilliant debut album from McMahon, and her trademark confessional indie rock and expressive voice are truly classic. If you’re a fan of Camp Cope, Sharon Van Etten, and Julia Jacklin, then Angie McMahon is right up your alley.
Bartees Strange’s world domination continues into 2022, with many festival appearances already in tow for the Washington D.C.-based artist. Now on prestigious indie label 4AD, Bartees Strange is gearing up to release his second album, Farm To Table, on June 17th, and it’s sure to be the most defining statement yet for the multi-genre songwriter. His music is a conglomeration of all his influences, from fuzzy post-punk to hip-hop, R&B, and everything in between — and at the center of it all is his powerful and dynamic voice leading the charge. Get on the Bartees Strange train now; he could very well be headlining this festival in a couple years.
Bikôkô’s flamenco-inflected R&B is designed to move you. Born in Barcelona and trained extensively in jazz and classical music, Bikôkô uses a more fragmented, experimental style and truly dazzles. Her carefully restrained vocals and wildly creative production and arrangement choices call Solange to mind, but Bikôkô is a truly singular artist, carving out lots of space to explore in a style that few others have the courage to attempt. Luckily, most of Mad Cool takes place under the moonlight: a fitting environment to witness the inimitable Bikôkô.
Madrid-based singer-songwriter Irenegarry certainly has some chops: each of her songs, which span from pop, to trip-hop, to infectious R&B, emphasizes her silky smooth voice, equally subtle as it is enchanting. If you’re a fan of Billie Eilish, Rosalía, or H.E.R., you’ll appreciate Irenegarry’s delicate, multi-genre balance. One of the many Madrid-based artists set for Mad Cool 2022, Irenegarry is the definition of homegrown talent.
Muro María hail from the idyllic Alicante on the Spanish coast, and it’s clear that the beach-y vibes from their hometown have influenced their dreamy garage rock through and through. They are first and foremost a guitar band, channeling ’90s grunge and shoegaze to create catchy and nostalgic indie jams. Fans of Snail Mail, Skegss, and illuminati hotties will vibe along to Muro María’s fuzzy guitars and dreamy vocals, and Mad Cool attendees are in for a true summer treat.