If you know me, you know that the radio and I have a very tumultuous relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I can sing along to “Bad Blood” (all 10 words anyway, I’m working on Kendrick’s part), but sometimes listening to the same 10 songs on repeat can grate on a girl’s nerves, you know?
If you’re like me and you ever find yourself craving something that may be a bit out of the top 40 norm, give some of these folks a listen. They’ve all been around making music for the past few years, but the buzz around them is slowly growing. Better jump on the bandwagon before it gets too full and you’re left clutching the bumper wishing you knew about them before they played that overpriced sold-out show at *insert pretentious venue here.*
Sylvan Esso is sure to make your synth-loving heart sing with joy. Amelia Meath’s delicate folky vocals combined with the pulsating beats, provided by master craftsman Nick Sanborn, make for one incredibly unforgettable album. Their tunes bounce from moody to sexy to bouncy to playful, and they do it all with a killer thumping beat. Don’t believe me? Start off with “H.S.K.T” and I dare you not to shimmy along.
Best Enjoyed: At a low-key rooftop party, reminiscent of a hipster-esque bash. Are hipstery parties a thing if you don’t live in Brooklyn?
Ok, so I’m definitely cheating with this one. Chances are, you’ve heard of Chet Faker by now. And if you haven’t you may have been living under a rock for the past five years. Nick Murphy, aka Chet Faker, first made a name for himself when his cover of “No Diggity” went viral in 2011. Dare I say it’s better than the original? I’ll let you be the judge. Spoiler alert: it is.
Murphy is seamlessly weaving R&B and soul into familiar electro-pop beats. He croons his way through his full-length album Built on Glass, and I guarantee his signature soft-spoken drawl will stay with you long after you’ve finished listening. Start off with “Gold (Flume Re-Work)” and work yourself back through his catalogue. In another life, Murphy would have made an excellent phone sex operator (you’ll see what I mean).
Best Enjoyed: One of two ways:
- With your headphones on and the volume turned way up. They don’t call him the bedroom crooner for nothing (no one really calls him that, FYI).
- As the soundtrack for your next “completely chill and totally spontaneous” gathering, that you actually spent weeks planning. Black jeans, boys, beards and beanies required.
This quartet hailing from the great state of New York is slowly making their way into the blogosphere with notable tunes like “This Time” and “Victor.” They’ve only released a handful of songs to date, but I’m eagerly waiting their first full-length album if the first few tracks are anything to go by. Though they’re playing in the electro-pop field, they manage to sample beats from folk to electronica to R&B to pure synth, all anchored by Naomi Almquist’s entrancing vocals.
Do yourself a favor and download their EP (only $5 on their site!). Soon enough they’ll be billing center stage at Coachella for $500. Don’t you want to say you knew them way back when?
Best Enjoyed: In a dark dank space like NYC’s Mercury Lounge with a bunch of sweaty fans who will jump along to the beat—that’s what I did anyway.
James Keough, also known as Vance Joy, has been strumming his way into my heart since early 2013 (YouTube some of his acoustic performances and you’ll see what I mean). While he’s been quietly on the scene for a while, it’s only in the past year that his song “Riptide” has made an actual dent on the music scene. It’s been remixed, remastered and redone by dozens of artist already (the Misterwives rendition is a personal favorite), but there’s something about the original cut that hits me in all the right ways. Now, his star power may already be beyond our reach—he’s currently on tour with Taylor Swift. Let’s just hope that this Aussie native doesn’t end up as a title track on her next album.
Best Enjoyed: On that cross-country road trip you were supposed to take when you graduated college.