Matthew Stone’s Intoxicating “Armed Venus”
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In the second installation of this music series, I want to make it clear how impossible it is to make this list any where near perfect. There’s just too much good music being made right now to pick just ten artists to represent the “now.” That being said, the following group represents a wealth of genres and styles that are defining the current music scene.
1. How To Dress Well
How to Dress Well is the stage name of pop/electronic producer Tom Krell who seems to have the perfect knack for making the most ethereal that not only groove, but that also have some substance behind them. He just released his second album, entitled Total Loss, which is the musical equivalent for its title. With brooding songs that span the electronic and pop genres, How To Dress Well is the perfect music to end a long night with.
2. King Tuff
King Tuff is an enigma. When I saw him perform in early June, I was certain that he had not showered in at least a week. He, more than most musicians, allows the music he makes to live on in his person. Always. If what you need is the sort of garage rock that induces teeth gritting and PBR chugging then King Tuff is certainly your man. But he’s much more than that. With rollicking, guitar-building songs, his self-titled album proves that he’s much more than just a once rebellious teen letting his angst come out of his fingers and onto the guitar strings. With a 7” coming out later this month on SUB POP, King Tuff is one to keep your eye on.
Alt-J, another import band from across the pond, may have made the best album to be released so far in 2012. It may seem like a bold claim to make, but it is not undeserved. The band’s name derives from the Mac computer command to create the ∆ symbol. Many scientists and mathmeticians use the ∆ symbol to show change, which is what the band hope to show too. Their debut album, An Awesome Wave, is just that, a wave of awe-inducing music that pushes the boundaries of the pop genre.
4. Hannah Georgas
Hannah Georgas, for the record, is a much more sophisticated songwriter (and maker) than Feist, her most common comparison. She just released a self-titled album last week and it’s the best work she’s done yet. Hailing from Canada, her music has yet to receive any major attention in the U.S., but there is little doubt that it will. Her voice combined with her flair for slightly more experimental melodies and beats makes her music both interesting and unique. On the title track of her latest album she sings, “Is there any love left for me?” Judging by the quality of her music, there definitely is.
5. We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves
Although the name makes them sound like a melancholy folk-rock group, they’re not. We Can’t Enjoy Ourselves are a pretty underrated quartet from New York who pride themselves on having fun more than anything else. With a slightly drunken folk, rollicking sound they’re a band that is sure to soon be playing exclusive warehouse parties in Brooklyn. While their name isn’t catchy, their sound certainly is.
6. Savoir Adore
When I first heard Savoir Adore’s single, “Dreamers,” I knew I had to somehow remember the band’s name because it was the best song I had heard in months. Although they initially might seem like another two dudes from Brooklyn making music together (who isn’t?), they definitely have something musically that separates them from the rest. Their dreamy, yet acoustic, sound is perfect for lying in your bed on Sunday mornings hoping to never get up.
With a name like Abraham it seems highly unlikely that your destiny would be to become one of America’s most sought-after hip-hop producers, but that was just the case for Mr. Orellana from Providence, RI. Making crazy-fast beats and dub-step that makes the apocalypse seem very manageable, AraabMuzik is not for the faint of heart. If you need a playlist for a loud, raucous end-of-the-world party then he just might be your man.
“Fuck It Dude Life’s A Risk” might be the best band-name-acronym out there. Most similar to King Tuff of the artists on this list, FIDLAR knows how to make rock n’ roll. They clearly have a “don’t give a shit” attitude, but at the same time want to entertain. And they entertain well. Signed to way-too-cool L.A. label Mom & Pop, they’re definitely a band on the rise and a band to watch.
AlunaGeorge are a British duo that is making the kind of music we’ve all been waiting for without even realizing it. George Reid, the producer of the two, loves to make the sort of glitch-heavy, warped sounds that have been taking over the hip-hop world recently. Instead of someone rapping over these futuristic sounds, he has 24 year-old Aluna Francis spilling her silky vocals over his beats. And it works. Combining the sounds of 90s female R&B with more modern beats creates a new musical aesthetic that is simultaneously nostalgic and progressive.
10. Riff Raff
If you don’t already follow @JODYHIGHROLLER on Twitter, then you might want to take a moment to do so right now. Not only is Riff Raff the hands-down most ridiculous rapper in the game right now, but he also clearly one of the most creative as well. His mixtape, Birth of an Icon, is just as the title describes, the beginning of a name that is sure to become very familiar in the hip-hop community. With tracks like “Sour and Gunpowder” and his collaboration with Action Bronson, “Bird on a Wire,” Riff Raff is pretty in your face about the fact that he’s not one to be overlooked. Also, he is a member of Three Loco, Andy Milonakis’s hip-hop supergroup that makes hilarious music.
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