August 12, 2015
This is our mid-year Ones To Watch. 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.
The New Paltz, NY, duo's Over Easy EP, released in February on Father/Daughter Records, was totally ace, all pent-up rage and fuck-you shouts. Think Girlpool, Liz Phair, etc.
— Music Broke My Bones
With a string of increasingly immersive singles under their belt, this turtlenecked UK duo have really hit their stride in recent months, finding a niche in the arguably restrictive alternative R&B spectrum and breaking much needed new ground by bringing together a remarkably vast wealth of influences, crafting music that thrives in the late night.
— When The Gramophone Rings
West London-based house producer Andy Smith, aka Lxury, is easily one of our favorite producers in the game right now. The Into The Everywhere EP marks his second release for Greco-Roman after last year's debut EP Playground—not to mention remixes for Jungle, CHVRCHES and Hot Natured.
— Last Gas Station
A few years back, LA-based singer/songwriter Moses Sumney landed on our radar with his refreshing blend of DIY mechanics and vintage, folkish R&B melodies. Since then, he’s shared stages with the best of them (Beck, Blood Orange, Sufjan Stevens, Erykah Badu, St. Vincent) and put out his debut EP Mid-City Island. Sumney preps us for his debut full-length LP with the release of “Seeds” and three other new tracks on 7-inch vinyl via Terrible Records, mixed by [label co-founder and Grizzly Bear member] Chris Taylor.
With delicate harmonies, Axel Flovent entered the music stratosphere last May. Based in Húsavík, the young singer-songwriter recently signed to Trellis Records in the UK to release his Forest Fires EP. Unlike his Icelandic contemporaries, Flovent is particularly anglicised: drawing comparison to Bon Iver but also the more underground artist Alexander Wolfe.
19 year-old BRIT School graduate Alex Burey has been creating quite a wave over the past eight months with his enticing blend of psychedelic soul and folk. His latest track even features revered funk/soul collective The Dap-Kings, the same legendary backing band on Amy Winehouse’s “Back To Black” album.
The time is Nao for this London newcomer, who’s worked with everyone from Jai Paul’s brother to hyped-up producer William Arcane. New EP February 15 has a better use-by date than its title suggests. It’s all crazed, future R&B, taking all the boundless, brassy pop-soul of Stevie Wonder and combining it with a slick, innovative take on pop. Her schtick is one that’s hard to resist, and her live presence is even more polished.
Chicago hip-hop artist (and member of the SaveMoney collective) Towkio has been on a reign of awesomeness as of late, impressing us with his tracks “Heaven Only Knows” alongside Chance The Rapper & Lido and “Involved” with Kaytranada and Vic Mensa.
On his breakout EP for Domino earlier this year—and even moreso on the forthcoming full-length debut—Yannick Ilunga, the Cape Town-raised singer and producer known as Petite Noir, packs in as much as he can. Waves of synthesizer mix with crumbly bass lines, tube-amp guitar lines, ominously layered vocals, and central African beats that blend computerized sounds with live drumming. He's become a close collaborator with MC Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def); toured with Solange Knowles; and started to attract significant followings in various parts of the world.
— The Fader
One of our favorite new bands, Madrid’s Hinds have a seemingly effortless knack for crafting charming, infectiously ramshackle (but always deceptively tight) garage-pop jams. Their highly-anticipated debut album will hopefully be out sometime this fall.
— Gorilla Vs. Bear
Toro Y Moi keyboardist Anthony Ferraro and his Oakland-based band Astronauts, etc. is starting to really find a groove as of late. In March, he shared the retro blue-eyed soul of “I Know”, and now we have the tranquil “No Justice”, mixing in more of an organic, late-’70s and--dare we say—yacht-rock vibe with exceptional results.
— My Old Kentucky Blog
For the last two years, we’ve been keeping a keen eye on Dornik, the former touring drummer for Jessie Ware. Part of that is because the description that he's “Off the Wall meets Frank Ocean,” seemed so incredulous. In that time, the artist has defined himself not only in the shadow of Michael Jackson and Mr. Ocean, but as his own artist, breaking through with a unique blend of pop and R&B. We’ll definitely stand in line for Dornik’s album when it drops stateside on August 14th.
Big hair and loud attire in tow, MNEK’s introduction to the world came through vocal features for both Gorgon City and Rudimental. His short-playing debut EP was the first big indicator of whether the London vocal talent had wings beyond the after-breeze of the last big collaborative hit. There are love songs for the party crowd, club tracks for the inexperienced weekend warriors and most of all, a consistent focus on soulful music for the electronic generation.
— Dancing Astronaut
This 19 year old Londoner released her debut Pools to Bathe In EP in April via Dirty Hit (Marika Hackman, Wolf Alice, The 1975). Barely-there minimalism sets the agenda, like if James Blake had a hand in producing early Imogen Heap.