Each week, we highlight five interesting new tracks in our Stack newsletter. To reflect on 2017, we asked some of the featured artists—who have defined this year in emerging music—for their favorite discoveries. Explore their answers below.
Louis Cole: Multi-instrumentalist/weirdo. This is the first video/song I ever experienced by him and I'm obsessed. It's called "Blimp"
I went to Boise Idaho for my first time ever because I had a show at this venue Neurolux.I didn't have particularly high hopes for the show, but it turned out being one of my favorite nights of tour. Met a bunch of flight attendants and really cool people that were pumped about music. Boise is a hidden gem.
Kero Kero Bonito - "Flamingo"
• The Pompidou in Paris, France - we played our second Parisian show this year and visiting the city’s incredible art museum was really a treat. The top floor kinda has “the classics” you know, old stuff most ppl agree is important art in the past 200 yrs. The floor below though had a really impressive collection of stuff from the past 50 years. Favorite new discovery: experimental filmmaker Nalini Malini
• Basilica Soundscape festival in Hudson NY - just a really pleasant small scale festival experience. Vivian Goldman performed “Private Armies” for the first time (!) Finally got to see Zola Jesus live and she’s one of the greatest imo, also really liked seeing John Maus with a full band, Darcie Wilder and Morgan Parker reading, Yvette, Protomartyr.
• Barcelona Primavera festival - saw Solange and motherfucking Grace Jones
Circuit Des Yeux - Reaching For Indigo LP
Consistently awed by Haley Fohr’s records, and this one makes me more certain than ever that she’s one of luge greatest currently working musicians
It's Liam Benzvi from the band Strange Name's solo project. It's amazing, think Rufus Wainwright singing over Arthur Russell grooves. With great dancing. (Matty Fasano)
A group of women who are insane house/disco dj's. They dj'ed our release show and absolutely crushed it. Huge house grooves. (Matty Fasano)
Logic Pro X
Since I started making recordings myself, I’ve been a devout Pro Tools user. Mostly because it’s what I learned first, and partially due to their “industry standard’ marketing that I subscribed to for so long, even subconsciously. But recently my computer started to get wonky, not being a person who can buy many dollars worth of software or equipment, and the r refurbished computer I managed to find on craigslist had Logic on it. When PT was eating up my CPU and running super slow, I decided to mess around with some tutorials and open up Logic, finding it immediately user-friendly, visually pleasing, and a new creative tool in and of itself. Experimenting with the different midi/drum machine sounds has opened up my world of recording immensely.
Jeanette Winterson (author)
A very dear longtime friend sent me her novel The Passion totally blind, no context. My favorite way to be shown something. It took me a few months to really start reading it and digesting it wholly, in between tours and lazy periods. I finally started to take it seriously and became hooked on Jeanette’s voice. Mystical and loaded and a very delicate mix of her own experience and the fantasy realm. Super queer, and manages to be romantic in ways that catch you off guard. There’s a real musicality/lyricism to her approach to writing.The Passion Jeanette Winterson’s novels have established her as one of the most important young writers in world literature. The Passion is perhaps ...
I met Lily a while ago when they were playing in Palberta. That band blew my mind initially, and then a few months ago in the folds of the web I came across a collaborative record with Lily and Andrea Schiavelli. The song “Good Time” gets stuck in my head for days. Great arrangements, a proper amount of goof ballin, and unidentifiable sounds. This record led me to Lily on Horn Horse which has also been in my rotation for a while. Lily’s approach to ‘songwriting’, or just music making in general, is something I admire.
"Me Myself I" by Joan Armatrading
Very late to the party with this one. For some reason I had it in my head that Joan was a US artist. I also had no idea how many amazing songs she had written. "Me Myself I" has very quickly become soundtrack and anthem to my life. I identify with it on every level. I want to be this song.
Miles Davis biography
I've been talking about this all year to everyone (partly because I haven't finished it yet) but mainly because it is truly fascinating . Sheds both light and darkness on the 40s bebop era of New York, and is a very personal and honest account of the man himself.Miles: The Autobiography For more than forty years Miles Davis has been in the front rank of American music. Universally acclaimed as a musical genius, Miles is one of the most important...
Wilma Archer – Like a Hunger ft. Amber Mark. Just one of my favourite tunes from the whole year.
Jimi Hey, a musician and DJ based in Los Angeles, who writes and records highly produced and intricately composed songs.Jimi Hey | dublab Jimi Hey – Rainbow Jail Episode 41 (11.09.17) Jimi Hey doesn’t want to break you out of jail...
Ekster, a record label located in Antwerp, Belgium, which is releasing a wide range of skillfully curated electronic music – from experimental jazz piano to minimal melodic electronics.Ekster Ekster label homepage
Rural (Music Festival) at Uchiyama Camping Village Nagano, Japan
Rural is my favourite music festival & organiser team in the world. They sometimes present events in Tokyo clubs but their main festival is held every summer in beautiful nature in the countryside, with a great sound system. Hot springs, forest walks and sometimes ice cream with local fresh fruit give us additional pleasure. The line up always has a thoughtful balance/mix of decent and fresh. I saw lots of amazing acts in last 3 years: Solar, Jane Fitz, Wata Igarashi, Batu...uncountable. In 2017 I played my live set for the first time in the main open air stage and it gave me lots of musical discoveries & happiness. Looking forward to it next year too!
Contentious Constant at Zeiss Grossplanetarium Berlin.
I visited this amazing planetarium for the first time this February. Geo form Nous Disques (who released my EP The Role of Purity) showed me the place. I dreamed I could play my ambient music there...and the dream came true in November. I played with M.E.S.H and Moon Wheel, and each of us had special, exclusive projections for the show. It was just beyond reality. Meditative, ecstatic, intense, all those changing moments were full of musical pleasure. It’s really unforgettable and I’ve been motivated to pursue my musical journey.
Ableton Loop at Funkhaus Berlin
This is not the exactly a music gig but was very interesting for me. For this event I took charge of studio session, young producers’ discussion and club performance at Tresor. I can’t talk about full details for each but I leaned a lot from all of them. These days people and companies in the music industry are interested not only in music, but also education, technology, and this year especially, social contexts such as gender movements and global politics, so I saw each session and panel as reflections of that.
My sound, the Kodie Shane Sound (growing every day).
Smooky Margielaa—he's a dope young artist like myself, I'm a fan
The Weather Station - sprawling, intimate, postured.
SZA - rusty, dynamic, soothing.
Liv.e - warm, psychedelic, funk.
Beautiful sound and beautiful lyrics from Daniel Ceasar. First time hearing his doings and discovered him this year. Love the instrumentation, vocal ability, and style throughout the album.
Smino - blkswn
Just heard this album early this year. But to my knowledge it was released in 2015. Amazing album and amazing vocals from Smino. Amazing rapper lyricist and singer.
Fieh's live show (we saw the band last Friday, eye opening experience, she also plays the flute!!!<3)
We recently discovered whale song, or singing whales. It is amazing listening to the sound of nature in another form than birds chirping, or wind in the trees, but as a song from under the water surface :)
Brian Eno's diaryA Year With Swollen Appendices: Brian Eno's Diary This year in the life of provocateur and cerebral rock star Brian Eno covers four recording projects...
The Apples in Stereo. Nature's Toothbrush Forever
I wouldn't say is a discovery of 2017 knew about from around 2016 but really started incorporating it in my production towards the end of 2017 and it immediately makes a track sound 10 times better in my opinion. Its seems I'm attracted to sounds that bring out that air-pumped quality to music.Beyond The Basics: Sidechain Compression Whether you need to tame problem frequencies, balance dense mixes, sculpt a rock-solid bottom end or blow up a track with wild pumping effects,...
As a kid I would travel a lot and I've begun to pick that up again. I think the one thing I wasn't used to was, and sometimes still is, would be travelling alone or being on your own in different countries. I always had my mom or travelled with friends or family. So adapting to the beauty that is the sound of being with yourself; one could say adapting to the sound of silence.
I've always felt writing about being in love or in a relationship was too cheesy and overdone. But I think never really being open about that side of my life has made it harder for me to open up about the ugly and beauty that is love. This year I discovered that I'm capable of writing about love without it sounding too cheesy for my taste, and accepted it's one of those things that's just harder for me to open up and write about.
No Home of the Mind by Bing & Ruth
This album has been a balm for me throughout the tumult of the year. It has filled my slumber in the back seat of the van on tour and also carried me through long drives when I’m at the wheel and my bandmates are all asleep. It soothes and stirs. It’s the rich, warm cascade of piano and siren-like bowing of the double bass that speak to the haunted places in me, a wordless churning that nevertheless communicates all I’ve dreamed and have yet to say.
The siren at my summer rental
And speaking of sirens, this summer I lived with my bandmates in a rental chalet, a deep teal bungalow on a pond in upstate New York. It’s where we recorded most of our new full-length album. In the middle of our first night there, a siren wail broke out in the silence and I thought it was the world ending. We heard that siren again and again throughout our time in that house, and later learned it was the local fire siren. Dry summer, frequent fire. I recorded the sound on my phone and it now lives forever on one of the tracks of the album.
Cherry Glazerr live at Dot To Dot in Manchester, UK
Back in May, I was on tour when I read a horrible comment about me on the internet that questioned my abilities as a musician, being a woman. Despite a lifetime of building armor against the pushback of the patriarchy, I felt the burn, the internal roil. I knew I was so much more than what they reduced me to, but I couldn’t help feeling the slump into smallness. The next night, I performed at the Dot To Dot festival in the UK on the same bill as Cherry Glazerr. The timing could not have been better. I watched side-stage as Clementine snarled and hurled herself around the stage, so awesome in her undiminished anguish. The keyboard player, Sasami, was equally transfixing, blasting off monster riffs on her synth bass and howling her vocal parts with pristine power. I was watching actual superheroes, and my smallness unspooled and sprawled and grew large in their presence.
I wish it was 30min instead of 3, but luckily this is just one of many millions of bliss videos on youtube dot com.
Horse Jumper of Love live at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA
Every move was perfect, my first time seeing them play, my favorite concert I’ve ever seen.
Playing Piano for Dad by h hunt. Give more love.
They've been around for a minute (since 2010) but I didn't personally get deep into Orange Milk Records until this year and can always count on them to keep it weird and interesting (not to mention I'm obsesssssssed with their cover art, all by co-labelhead Keith Rankin).Orange Milk Records Featured Products
I had seen her perform live video with Le Révélateur in Chicago a few years ago, but the solo show I saw early this year by Sabrinna Ratte at Young Projects was trippy, architectural, and unsettling in the best ways.Young Projects: a contemporary art space for moving image The only gallery in Los Angeles devoted exclusively to video, digital and film-based art works ...
I listen to audiobooks constantly, and whenever I'm depressed I like to listen and relisten to books by Neil deGrasse Tyson, partially because thinking about the universe on a grander scale makes my problems seem trivial but also largely because I find his deep voice to be super soothing.Books by Neil deGrasse Tyson
An amazing band influenced by different Latin cultures coming together to make amazing psychedelic rock. Seeing them live is unforgettable.
Of course I’m a huge "Stranger Things" fan (like everyone) but finding out Wolf was a musician was one of my favorite surprises of the year. His cover of Mac DeMarco's “Cooking Up Something Good” is top 5 best things I’ve heard all year.
Discovering these ancient healing frequencies really opened up more interest in me researching the relationship between sound & healing, & how the two marry together—from resonant frequencies shattering specific cancer cells to gong sounds baths unblocking emotional traumas. There's so much potential in sound we have yet to unlock!
Discovery of true self-worth
This is something as a woman i've needed to discover over-time - instead of it just being an inherent thing (which it should be). We've been part of a suppressive patriarchy for so long that we forget at times our power & value. Certain relationships in our life can exasperate this—especially those with particular men, which has been a topic in conversation for the final part of this year. The shit is coming to the surface and for the better.
"Success" as we think of it will not make you happy
Well, maybe it will...but only for a fleeting moment. It's great to have dreams, ambition & a goal—but what I've realised is that you often miss out on life & real living when you're too focused on one particular thing. The beauty is in the process of the thing you're creating, whatever that may be. Don't forget to connect with friends, family, community, nature & yourself / your inner world—that's where the real magic is! Slow down.
I've been doing more mixing and engineering this year than before and am always trying to find new sounds so I don't fall into patterns with effects. A friend recommended using rotor on vocals and that's probably my favorite new sound I've heard in a while!
As far as live sounds, I recently got to play a benefit show for an elementary school music program along with some other amazing bands—one of them was L'Rain who absolutely blew my mind and I can't wait to see again soon.
And now i'm gonna cheat to use my last answer to fit extra answers in, but the new albums I listened to the most this year were probably by Lana, SZA and...Weezer! lol. I've loved Weezer since I was really young and I think some of their new stuff is their best, it's cool to see a band that's been around for so long get really strong again. Also every time Lana puts out an album it's my new favorite, she keeps topping her own work. And SZA just writes some of the best songs I've ever heard.
"Sideline" (Live) - Niia ft. Jazmine Sullivan
I've stanned for Jazmine Sullivan for years but this collab with Niia took my breath away. Between the strings and runs and texture, I'm shook every time I press play.
"Earth to Andre 3000" by Will Welch
Andre 3000 feels like the coolest uncle you never had and this insight into his style, growth, and creativity was most delightful.Earth to André 3000: The OutKast Icon Talks Life After “Hey Ya!” A raw interview and rare photoshoot with the elusive hip-hop legend.
"Scared Money" - NxWorries Official Video
I've been rocking with Anderson .Paak since Breezy Lovejoy days and the devastating duo he makes with Knxwledge is honestly kinda unfair, but in the best way possible. Personally think the second half of the video that showcases the "Best Ones" remix and a gorgeous vista of a Cali basketball court gives me ALL the feels.
Lil Uzi Vert is one of my favorite finds of this year. Luv is Rage 2 has such a fresh sound and it's full of emo bangers. "The Way Life Goes" has to be one of the best tracks this year - and bonus track 20 min is amazing as well.
This year I discovered Yo La Tengo, and they have quickly become one of my favorite bands. It's perfect music for the fall and for long drives (which I do a lot on tour). Painful has been my favorite album recently, but there are so many more that are great too.
Earlier this year I discovered an album by a bandcamp artist called Motiongazer that is really amazing. I know this artist and had listened to his music before, but discovering II was a really great experience. It's a really beautiful album with a unique sound. My favorite song is "Luke," but I highly suggest you listen to the whole album.
The Infinite Mix, an exhibition in LondonThe Infinite Mix Hayward Gallery at Southbank Centre in collaboration with The Vinyl Factory present the biggest audio-visual installation of its kind to ever hit London.
La Confusion by Amadou and Mariam
The sounds on this record blew my mind when I first heard it. I was driving from Seattle to Oakland and my jaw was dropped the whole time. Amazing dancey synthy tunes, cannot believe it came out this year! Plus the videos are killer!
A friend sent their record Glider Heaven to me really recently. Kinda blown away by the guitar parts and really spacey vocals. I was so saddened to learn that the guitarist was one of the victims of the Ghost Ship fire last year in Oakland (it feels like that tragedy will echo through the community forever; my friend also passed away in the fire). Nevertheless this music is incredible and should be shared and enjoyed.
A great discovery of 2017 is Charlotte Dos Santos, pure 70's inspired soul music that's dreamy and sensual. She supported me in Germany with her solo show and I look forward to seeing her full scale live production. She's really inspiring.
Gal-Dem Radio/Magazine is a fresh new platform that's been blowing my mind this year. They write articles on a diverse range of topics and create spaces for interesting events. Definitely one to watch!Gal-dem gal-dem is a vibrant online magazine written by women of colour for all to explore!
I am really impressed by Holly Macve, with her bold and beautiful voice, making a unique and engaging contribution to British Country Music.
Seeing Mdou Moctar live with his band at the Bishop in Bloomington, Indiana. I watched his hands playing guitar in awe the whole time.
Rediscovering the genius of Van Morrison's Moondance, an album that played a lot in the background of my childhood.
Hearing Mike Adams play an acoustic cover of "Love Is" by The Chi-Lites at my wedding.
I’ve listened to this track from Jon Brooks ("Ascent"), more than any other this year, it reminds me of early Eno and I’m using every day as the soundtrack to my meditation practise. Timeless, gentle beauty.
On the subject of "music as therapy," I think most people thought I was joking when I offered this as a download….but I wasn’t! Instant calm.
My favourite music book of the year...wonderful stories and the inside track on the last Talk Talk albumsAre We Still Rolling?: Studios, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll From the author's first glimpse of a magical recording studio in the mid-1960s up through a busy career ...
Thor Harris talking about "the subversive nature of kindness" in his column Yammer of Thor ~ Thor Harris for Texas Gov!Yammer of Thor: How to Be Kind "In this bossy new column for Talkhouse, I will bestow many instructions for how to proceed in the face of crushing disappointment."
I saw his performance on Fallon and then I found the video for "Turf" and have been addicted ever since. His album is amazing and I love that he is kinda a one man show basically destroying the Internet.
Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Room
Went to L.A. this Summer and visited The Broad where I got to experience the Infinity Mirrored Room. You only get 30 seconds in the room but it felt weirdly long. I felt like I was lost in some sort of Disney acid room. Really amazing.
Just saw it and loved it. Greta Gerwig is the best! I guess I first was introduced to her with Frances Ha and I’m so glad she is now also directing. My mom and I went to see it and I kinda felt like it was the first time I saw a real depiction of a mother and daughter in a film. I just thought it felt really cosy but also tumultuous and just a great little story.