January 15, 2015
For 2015, we've once again refreshed our Ones To Watch feature. As before, we use Zeitgeist data to pinpoint newly-emerging artists by applying two simple qualifiers: it's their first time on the most-blogged list (and Ones to Watch), and they've yet to release a full-length LP. More about this series.
Tracks below are in random order, paired with words from the very blogs that posted them.
If there is one artist I’m excited for more than anyone else in 2015 it’s Tei Shi, who seems destined to pick up the hype train where FKA Twigs got off. After a cover version of Beyoncé’s No Angel, Tei Shi ended up releasing Bassically - a track so fully realised it's incredible she doesn’t even have an album yet. Dark, brooding and incredibly sexy.
— Black Plastic
London-based songwriter Jack Garratt has been turning heads ever since he dropped his debut single last February – and his reputation has only grown with each subsequent release. But, with all due respect to his previously released material, this latest single “The Love You’re Given” may be his best yet. It’s a shuffling, beguiling slice of soulful future pop with a composition that shifts from glistening, sample-led ballad into complete bass-dragging club banger after a swirling middle eight.
— Turntable Kitchen
With just three singles in 2014 — the misty-lens ballads “Touch” and “Just Once” and the umtempo dance-pop track “Indecision” — Shura established a compelling, unmistakable artistic imprint. By way of solo acoustic works and collaborations with London DJ/producer Hiatus, she experimented her way toward a hybrid strain of early ’90s pop, blending R&B, synthpop, and new wave with ghostly overtones of Madonna, Janet Jackson, and “Time After Time” Cyndi Lauper. Polydor Records signed Shura last fall and will release her debut this year.
Amongst other accolades, the Liverpool singer, songwriter and producer has been tipped for big things in the coming year; some had her down for Critics Choice at the Brit Awards, whilst others suggest she’ll be following in the footsteps of those who came before her on XL Recordings. Which path 2015 has paved for Låpsley may be uncertain for now, but if this ambient electronic newcomer starts as she means to go on, it’s clear that all manner of doors will be opening in front of her very eyes.
Twenty-one-year-old SoCal native Ryn Weaver became virtually an overnight sensation after posting her song “OctaHate” to Soundcloud this summer. The tune, which was produced by Michael Angelakos (of Passion Pit), Cashmere Cat, Benny Blanco and co-written by Weaver and Charli XCX, racked up 30,000 streams in the first day due to its sparkling yet non-traditional pop structure--not to mention some Twitter hype from famous friends. And her debut EP “Promises,” out now via Friends Keep Secrets and Interscope Records, is interesting enough to keep the bi-coastal artist climbing up heatseeker charts. With big names already helping out with both production and songwriting, it will be interesting to see how “fresh” she’ll keep it on forthcoming releases.
TĀLĀ is a singer, producer, and songwriter from South London with an international heritage, who makes music with a personal touch to it. Basically everyone's bigged her up over the past six months, including us. Following two EPs for Aesop, she's set to make some major label moves in the future and will inevitably come out with good things throughout 2015 and, most likely, going into 2016 too.
London synth-pop trio Years & Years, who have topped the BBC Sound of 2015 list, return to our ears with their new single “King” and it’s just about as catchy as it gets. Last year saw Years & Years release a string of well-received singles and their frontman Olly Alexander (who’s also acted in “Skins”, “Enter The Void” and “Penny Dreadful”) teaming up with The Magician and Tourist. Expect big things from Olly, Emre and Mikey in 2015.
— Last Gas Station
She loves dinosaurs, skateboarding and writing heartbreaking songs - it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world falls for SOAK. Tracks do most of the work, simple acoustic numbers draped in emotion. But there’s a big story behind the Derry-bred talent, like how she fended off A&Rs while taking her GCSE exams, how CHVRCHES put out her debut single, how she penned a deal with Rough Trade after being touted by majors for five solid years. Next year Bridie Monds-Watson releases her debut album, the eighteen year old standing out as a genuinely unique talent amongst all the Sound Of 2015 chat.
On the strength of a cassette effort released in 2013, which was only available to purchase on tour, the Canadian quartet (which includes former members of the band Women) played at last year’s SXSW and the 4 Knots Festival, and as a natural result they began to capture the attention of the blogosphere. In fact, the release of “Continental Shelf,” the first single off the band’s soon-to-be released self-titled debut full-length effort had several major blogs highly-anticipating the album. And with second single, the Bauhaus cover “Silhouettes,”, I can see why: Viet Cong’s version is perhaps moodier, stormier and more claustrophobic.
— The Joy of Violent Movement
Oh Wonder are anything but traditional as the musically-skilled duo handle the intricacies of a failing relationship in a refreshingly simplistic way, fitting into the role of masterful storytellers keen on what words to use to detail the core of their dissolving connection, while using restrained musical cadences that mix jazz, R&B, and electronic acrobatics in the style of Little Dragon and SBTRKT. This single continues an ambitious project that seeks to release one song every month, taking them deep into 2015.
— When The Gramophone Rings
George Maple, aka Jessica Higgs, mesmerises on debut EP Vacant Space, a sensual, electronic treat drawing inspiration from the talents of Future Classic labelmates Touch Sensitive and Ta-ku. From jazz and blues to R’n’B and electro, sexuality and experimental production, there is just so much in her EP that it makes guessing exactly what George Maple does next a bit of a conundrum, but I’m sure it will be the goods...
— acid stag
Once a week, Stack delivers a mix of the most interesting new music on the web, handpicked by the Hype Machine team. Here's a recent mix.